Amb. Alan Baker: Palestinian Manipulation of the International Criminal Court
According to an Israeli television news report on January 9, 2018, the Israeli prime minister’s National Security Council recently cautioned the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee that the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) will likely open a formal investigation against Israeli officials and officers in response to Palestinian complaints regarding Israel’s 2014 “Protective Edge” operation in the Gaza Strip and Israel’s building of settlements in the West Bank areas of Judea and Samaria.
According to this report, “The opening of an investigation has serious implications for Israel. It will be directed against people and could involve warrants for investigations and arrests.”
In light of the lack of any valid legal basis to the Palestinian claim to statehood, and in light of the fact that Palestinians’ status, and that the status of the territories are under ongoing dispute and negotiation, there can be no legal or logical foundation to accept “Palestine” as party to the ICC statute. Thus, there is no basis for extending the court’s jurisdiction over the territories under dispute, pending resolution of the dispute and the determination, by agreement, of their final and permanent status.
Lacking any legal foundation, the Palestinian complaints – regarding both the “Protective Edge” operation and Israeli settlements – must, therefore, be rejected by the ICC.
The ICC statute renders inadmissible any case that has been duly investigated and, as necessary, prosecuted by the legal authorities of the state concerned. The appropriate legal and law enforcement authorities in Israel maintain the highest international standards, in fitting with the norms and requirements set out in the ICC Statute.
In March 1979, shortly after the mullahs grabbed power and dragged Iran into theocratic dictatorship, destructive wars and terrorism, Iranian women took to the streets to protest the forced hijab. “Freedom is not eastern, not western, it is universal,” they chanted.
Almost 40 years later, the Iranian people are still fighting the same tyrants. In the struggle for freedom, you would expect an institution like the European Union, defined by the universal character of liberty and democracy, to stand in solidarity with the oppressed against their oppressors.
So far Europe has sent the opposite message. “We are not going to sustain political and economic relations with a country engaged in the brutal oppression of peaceful protesters,” are the words Federica Mogherini, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, never uttered. Instead, she remained silent for six days.
When she finally broke her silence, Mogherini’s message was tainted by moral myopia. “We expect all concerned to refrain from violence,” she said, after Iranian security forces had already killed at least 22 people and incarcerated more than 3,000. The EU statement echoed earlier ambiguous messages from the British, German, French and Swedish governments.
The EU’s cowardly reaction contrasts with the strong response from the United States. Lawmakers from the left and right of the political spectrum – everyone from President Donald Trump and Marco Rubio to Bernie Sanders and Bob Menendez – responded to the call for freedom in Iran.
When Adam Ringer was forcibly removed from Poland simply because he was Jewish, he didn’t think he’d ever be able to return to his homeland.
It was back in 1968 that Mr Ringer, 19 at the time, was made to renounce his Polish citizenship and kicked out of the country, during one of communism’s darker episodes.
Just 23 years after the Holocaust, Poland’s surviving Jewish population was targeted by an anti-Semitic purge officially sanctioned by the country’s then communist authorities.
Branded an “anti-Zionist” campaign, Polish Jews were stripped of their jobs and deported, because of the government’s – and the wider Soviet Bloc’s – growing hostility towards Israel at the time.
An estimated 14,000 Poles of Jewish faith or ancestry were forced to leave the country, after each being given a document that stated that its holder was stateless and had no right to ever return to Poland.
Looking back, Mr Ringer says: “Many of my colleagues were arrested… my father was expelled from his job. We were all in shock and feared for the worst.” (h/t Zvi)
The only European leader who starkly defied the protesting chorus to applaud Donald Trump’s recognition of Israel’s capital was the President of the Czech Republic, Miloš Zeman.
By so doing, Zeman was renewing a peculiar tradition of his office that started with the founding president Thomas Masaryk, a philosophy professor who first became a public figure in Austro-Hungarian days by powerfully defending Leopold Hilsner, a Jewish tramp tried and convicted of the ritual murder of a girl in 1899. To the fury of the Catholic prelates who had incited mobs against Hilsner, the imperial authorities intervened from Vienna to stop Hilsner’s execution. A long campaign ensued till Hilsner’s liberation, and, in the process, Masaryk won over many Czechs to his view that anti-semitism was a pernicious pack of lies at a time when it was almost Catholic doctrine ( Viennas’s mayor Karl Lueger kept been re-elected till his death in 1910 on an explicitly anti-semitic platform, strongly backed by the Church).
Upon independence, Thomas Masaryk became President of Czechoslovakia, and it was in that capacity that he warmly welcomed the first Zionist Congress convened after the Balfour Declaration, at Karlovy Vary in 1921—two more would follow in 1923 and 1933, under Chaim Weizmann’s leadership.
With that, Masaryk established a more than life-long friendship with Chaim Weizmann and with Zionism; in 1948, when Masaryk was dead and Weizmann was president of the newly declared State of Israel, his son Jan Masaryk personally signed as Foreign Minister the order to sell weapons to Israel.
A central aim of this campaign is to convince the UN Secretary-General to blacklist the Israel Defense Force (IDF) by including it in the “Annex” to his annual report on grave violators of children’s rights – alongside terror groups such as ISIS, Boko Haram, and Al-Qaeda. UNICEF, the UN agency trusted with defending children’s rights, also plays a key role in legitmizing this process through its leadership of a “working group” on Israel made up of terror affiliated and/or radical political advocacy NGOs. As documented in NGO Monitor’s report, the NGO members of this group feed unverifiable and factually inaccurate data and reports into a database that is used by UNICEF in crafting its own reports. In this way, UNICEF promotes the NGO campaign, whose claims are then echoed in other UN documents and ultimately in the UN Secretary-General’s annual report on Children and Armed Conflict. NGO members of UNICEF’s Working Group include DCI-P, B’Tselem, Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), and World Vision.
Further, although Palestinian armed groups routinely use children as combatants, there is little evidence that UNICEF devotes resources toward exposing or ending this practice. In fact, a UNICEF Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) bulletin admits that “In Gaza, the Working Group was not in a position to document cases of child recruitment and use of children in armed conflict owing to a number of factors, including security and protection risks related to collecting comprehensive and detailed information”. The NGOs’ and UNICEF’s failure to monitor and report on Palestinian minors involved in violent attacks negates this form of child abuse – namely, incitement, recruitment, and weaponization. This critical dimension of the conflict goes unmentioned by the EU in its statement.
In 2012-2017, the EU provided $27 million to “UNICEF-State of Palestine.” It would appear that, in return, the EU has adopted the same failures of UNICEF and its NGO partners, undermining its commitment to children’s rights in the region.
The UN Human Rights Council’s annual report for 2017 presents a full list of resolutions passed by the Council throughout the year. The disproportionate number of resolutions against Israel reflects the nearly 100 NGOs that are receiving millions of dollars from governments around the world to push anti-Israel agendas at the UN. Unsurprisingly, these NGOs state that the UNHRC and Agenda Item 7 are a “vital platform” and “essential if justice is to be obtained.”
In one of the pathos-filled, flowery articles published last week by former Breaking the Silence CEO Yuli Novak in Haaretz, she explained her transformation from “just” another privileged Ashkenazi Jewish woman to a dissident – a persecuted opponent of a “tyrannical regime” and an object of threats and abuse. This is the price of resistance, she explained, writing she would rather face the trials and tribulations of resisting than endorse government policies.
Breaking the Silence is a left-wing organization that aims to expose alleged human rights violations by the Israeli military. Novak’s opinion piece sought to use semantics to lend her and her group the glorious air reserved for those who, faced with testing times, chose to look evil straight in the face instead of remaining silent. She invited her conscientious readers, wherever the may be, to join her.
She could have hesitated before besmirching the term “dissent,” an affront that in and of itself should stir feelings of disgust in anyone who has ever read a history book. It was important, however, for Novak to emphasize the high price of “dissidence.” But when you think of it, what has Breaking the Silence actually achieved so far?
At first glance, it seems the group has accomplished very much. Since its establishment in 2004, and even more so under Novak’s direction, Breaking the Silence has become one of the leading peace movements in Israel. It has garnered unprecedented support in cultural, intellectual and academic circles. It may not have won any official awards, but academic conferences like the one held in May 2016 at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev honoring “breakers of silence throughout the ages” are held in the group’s honor. Senior academics line up to read high-profile testimonies compiled by the group at its events. There is even a movie in the making based on its activities.
A woman who appeared in a recent L’Oreal UK ad campaign for hair care products has stepped down after she received criticism for a series of anti-Israel tweets in 2014.
Writing on Twitter on Monday, Amena Khan, a social-media activist, wrote that she regrets the tweets she posted and will be leaving the campaign because of the backlash.
“I deeply regret the content of the tweets I made in 2014, and sincerely apologize for the upset and hurt that they have caused,” she wrote. “Championing diversity is one of my passions, I don’t discriminate against anyone. I have chosen to delete them as they do not represent the message of harmony that I stand for.”
Khan said she has chosen to step down from the L’Oreal campaign “because the current conversations surrounding it detract from the positive and inclusive sentiment that it set out to deliver.”
In response to a request for comment, L’Oreal told The Jerusalem Post that it had “recently been made aware” of Khan’s tweets. “We appreciate that Amena has since apologized for the content of these tweets and the offense they have caused,” said a representative for the company. “L’Oreal Paris is committed to tolerance and respect toward all people. We agree with her decision to step down from the campaign.”
Yep, you heard it right: the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement does not bother me. Yes, I’m a proud Zionist, and yes I love Israel, and yes I’m concerned by anti-Israel sentiment, but I do not mind having the BDS movement around.
The truth is, the only thing BDS has been successful at is creating a brand for itself. Sure, it did manage to convince a few second-rate artists and angry has-been rock stars from gracing the shores of Israel with their washed-up presence but in return for this, it has inadvertently turned any apolitical artist who does choose to perform in Israel into a high-profile friend of its cause. Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Radiohead – y’know, the real rock stars of the world – even if they don’t want to get involved, still support Israel by simply showing up.
On top of it all, the willingness and graciousness of these musicians to reward their loyal Israeli fans with rocking concerts only further emphasizes the spiteful nature of the BDS movement and the has-been musicians who buy into its kooky ways. While Radiohead are focusing on bringing their music to the people, Brian Eno, Devendra Banhart and Vanessa Paradis are picking sides in a political conflict they, let’s face it, probably know nothing about and canceling concerts because of it – which is kind of sad since these obscure artists could use all the exposure they can get, right? Cultural boycotts are just one example of how BDS exposes the world to what the anti-Israel sentiment is all about. It’s not about helping the Palestinians, it’s about hurting Israel and weakening it to nothing. Even if it means bringing harm to its own people and economy, the BDS movement is hell-bent on the obliteration of Israel and each time it rolls out one of its desperate schemes, the more the world sees BDS for what it truly is.
Even the extreme haters like Norman Finkelstein and Noam Chomsky are beginning to distance themselves from BDS because of how the organization’s extreme and reckless measures are exposing them for the radicals they really are.
Consider what it says. Among the examples which form part of the IHRA Definition
are the following:
Claiming there is a world Jewish conspiracy;
Denying the Holocaust;
Calling Israel a racist state;
Comparing actions of Jews to those of the Nazis.
So Professor Black – According to LSE, it is not antisemitic to say there is a world Jewish conspiracy ‘unless there is additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent’; not antisemitic to deny the Holocaust ‘unless there is additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent’; not antisemitic to call Israel a racist state ‘unless there is additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent’; not antisemitic to compare the actions of Jews to Nazis ‘unless there is additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent’.
This is absurdly circular. It says that an action is antisemitic only if it’s antisemitic. And precisely how are you going to determine ‘if there is antisemitic intent‘? By a vote of all the faculty?
But it’s worse than that. It’s a kick in the teeth to the Jewish community.
I don’t care how many “Jewish staff and students at LSE” you have consulted, Professor Black. Imagine if LSE said that calling a person of colour a ‘ni**er’ is only racist if there is racist intent! Or that ripping the headscarf off the head of a Muslim woman is only Islamophobic if there is Islamophobic intent!
“We would never do that!” I hear you say, Professor Black
So why are Jews any different?
I’m no biblical scholar, but if I was asked to name great Jewish prophets off the top of my head, Moses, Abraham and Jonah would likely get a mention. Gideon Levy, the Israeli commentator, would not.
Nevertheless, on Levy’s visit to New Zealand in December, the unctuous RNZ interviewer Wallace Chapman observed with awe that Noam Chomsky had called Levy a “Jewish prophet”. That, Levy replied, was an exaggerated description, noting however that Chomsky is an “intellectual giant”. On searching for the source for this Chomsky quote, all I found was Levy’s own pronouncement that Chomsky had anointed him as such.
Levy spent much time in his self-aggrandising interviews – including one on each of TVNZ1 and RNZ, as well as in Australia – explaining how he holds a mirror up to Israeli society and tells Israelis the truth that they are blind to and brainwashed about. Blind and brainwashed, I guess, because Israelis are not interested in politics, Jews are not ones for self-reflection and enquiry, and the Palestinian issue garners scant attention in the media, at the UN, and on campuses. He heroically takes on this role – despite the vitriol he attracts and near-death experiences on his regular West Bank visits – because he cares about his people, and is a patriot. A patriot, mind you, who wants to dismantle his homeland, the one Jewish state in the world.
Levy, as with most one-staters, obfuscates this, cloaking his desire for the demise of Jewish self-determination in the language of human rights. He has written that Zionism “contradicts human rights, and thus is indeed an ultranationalist, colonialist and perhaps even racist movement, as proponents of justice worldwide maintain”. His solution is a state where Jews and Palestinians have equal rights. Who could not want that, he asks?
Amnesty International UK on Monday cancelled an event that had been planned for their London offices this Wednesday, because the featured speaker, Hillel Neuer of UN Watch, has written an article praising companies doing business with Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria, the Middle East Monitor reported.
The event, organized by the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC), had been set for Wednesday evening at Amnesty International UK, 25 New Inn Yard, and was titled “The UN Human Rights Council and Israel – How it works, what’s not working, and how it might be repaired.” It was scheduled to feature a debate between Hillel Neuer of UN Watch, and Fred Carver of the UN Association. The debate was going to be chaired by British human rights lawyer Danny Friedman QC.
However, MEM reported, after concerns were raised both externally and within the organization, Amnesty UK has pulled the plug, saying it has “improved the way we review the hosting of events at Amnesty.”
“We are currently campaigning for all governments around the world to ban the import of goods produced in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian Territories,” said Kerry Moscogiuri, Amnesty International UK’s Director of Supporter Campaigning and Communications, “We do not think it’s appropriate for Amnesty to host an event by an organization that actively supports Israel’s settlements.”
PreOccupiedTerritory: Mossad’s ‘Operation: Get Them To Eat Detergent’ Declared A Success (satire)
Section heads at Israel’s secret intelligence organization shared congratulatory handshakes and plaudits today after ascertaining that a multi-year effort to get Americans to ingest laundry soap has begun to yield the desired results.
As numerous Americans, principally in the crucial teen demographic, document themselves eating Tide detergent pods, officials at the Mossad allowed gratified smiles to reach their faces, knowing that the stage has now been set for long-term mind-control of the emerging US electorate.
“I can’t believe we’ve finally done it,” breathed Deputy Director of Operations Avqat Kvisa. “This has been decades in the making. Decades. When I started here in 1988 we were just putting the finishing touches on the program before launch, and to see it come to fruition like this, just as we planned. I am intensely proud of this organization today.”
Deputy Director Kvisa spoke of a multifaceted effort on four continents that involved manipulation of manufacturing, marketing, design, and distribution of detergent pods at several Procter and Gamble facilities and subcontractors, an operation that he claimed rivaled the sophistication of the Stuxnet virus that disabled large numbers of Iranian centrifuges and slowed down that country’s nuclear weapons program. “But the complexity of the production and placement was only half the battle,” he recalled. “We had to make sure to get exactly the right demographic to start eating Tide pods at exactly the right time, and to do so without being noticed. Kudos to everyone here and in the field. Just kudos.”
When baseless accusations are left unanswered, the risk is that they’ll become accepted as “conventional wisdom.” This is precisely what makes rhetoric the instrument of choice among Israel’s detractors.
In his latest Kingston Whig-Standard commentary published on January 20, Louis Delvoie reverts to historical revisionism when claiming that “The agony of the Palestinians began in 1948 with the proclamation of the state of Israel.”
In fact, it was in 1948, that the Arab world refused to agree to the existence of a Jewish state living side-by-side with what would have been a newly-formed Arab state. The War of Independence in 1948 saw combined armies of Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon invade the nascent state of Israel to annihilate it. The stated goal of this genocidal war was to rid the Arab world of the region’s, and the world’s, only Jewish state. Their intentions were declared by Azzam Pasha, Secretary-General of the Arab League at the time: “This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades.”
While Israel successfully fought off five united Arab armies, one of two fates awaited the Jews whose cities and towns were captured by the Arabs: massacre or forced expulsion. It must be noted that this Arab-instigated war created a dual refugee problem with over 800,000 Jews being forcibly expelled from their homes in Arab and Muslim countries (they were successfully resettled in Israel and other countries, whereas the Arab world forced approximately 800,000 Palestinians to live in squalor in refugee camps, not granting them citizenship, equal rights, etc.).
True to form and consistent with recent CBC journalistic infractions, CBC News.ca continued its disturbing trend of not labelling Palestinians as attackers in its headline coverage.
An article published today on the CBC News website carried the following misleading headline: “Palestinian man killed, another another arrested as Israel hunts for rabbi’s killer”.
As we’ve noted previously, readers view headlines 3:1 over the adjacent article. What this headline failed to mention is that the Palestinian man who was killed was a suspected terrorist, Israel claims, and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) tried to capture/arrest the suspect who was wanted for the murder of a Rabbi recently. The terrorist opened fire on arresting soldiers who returned fire killing the terrorist.
HRC Executive Director Mike Fegelman filed a complaint with CBC News asking that the headline be amended. We contend that the following headline would have been appropriate: “Palestinian assailant suspected of killing Israeli Rabbi killed, another arrested.”
Once again making no effort to challenge Barghouti’s “ethnic cleansing” lie or his misrepresentation of the number of people registered as refugees, Sharp closed the interview there.
In the next edition of the programme, listeners heard an edited version of that interview (from 01:22 here) in which – once again – Barghouti’s falsehoods were amplified without any challenge whatsoever.
Barghouti: “This decision by the Trump administration is another irresponsible, reckless and harmful decision which is…which represents in our opinion an act of collective punishment against millions of Palestinian refugees who have been victims of occupation and the policy of Israeli ethnic cleansing that displaced them from their country in 1948 and they are also still subjected to the policy of apartheid and racial discrimination by Israeli occupation. It’s an act of collective punishment against people who will now suffer deprivation, who will lose education, who will lose healthcare. And we don’t understand why the United States continue to be complicit in Israeli policies.”
Moreover, Barghouti was brought back for yet another interview on the same topic in a later edition of the programme which will be discussed in part two of this post.
In part one of this post we saw how Mustafa Barghouti was given an unchallenged platform on two editions of the BBC World Service programme ‘Newsday‘ from which to promote anti-Israel propaganda and falsehoods while supposedly discussing the US administration’s withholding of donations to UNRWA.
In a later edition of that same programme – presented by Lawrence Pollard and Shaimaa Khalil – listeners heard from Dr Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank before Mustafa Barghouti was brought in (from 05:02 here) for yet another interview.
Pollard: “Well let’s speak now to Mustafa Barghouti who is a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council which was the parliament of the occupied territories. Welcome back to the programme, sir. Very briefly, what will the effect of this move be?”
Barghouti: “Well this is another irresponsible, reckless and harmful decision of President Trump. It represents an act of collective punishment against the victims of Israeli ethnic cleansing that took place in 1948. It’s a collective punishment against millions of Palestinian refugees and it will affect their humanitarian needs. This means that hundreds of thousands of children will not be able to go to school. This means that hundreds of thousands of people will not be able to receive healthcare. It means that hundreds of thousands of elderly people and disabled will be deprived from humanitarian support and it is a political act. It is clearly a political act from the side of the president of the United States…”
Barghouti: “…who is complicit in Israeli policies to liquidate the rights of Palestinian refugees to come home to the place they were displaced from which is an international United Nations resolution.”
The resolution to which Barghouti refers is of course UNGA resolution 194 which is non-binding but Pollard failed to clarify that fact to listeners just as he avoided informing them that there is no factual basis to Barghouti’s egregious claims of “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians by Israel.
Hawkins made no effort to help listeners understand what part UNRWA’s unique policy of automatically awarding hereditary refugee status plays in causing the number of Palestinian refugees to rise, why refugee camps still exist in areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas or why Palestinians with Jordanian citizenship are still classified as refugees.
Hawkins: “Just very quickly because we’re running out of time, Chris – apologies for that – but there’s also been a few questions raised about UNRWA’s…about the money that UNRWA provides – a lot of it going to political activity and what some may think is a questionable use of funds.”
Gunness: “Well we are one of the most audited of UN organisations on the planet. We maintain the highest standards of neutrality. The aid pipeline which we have is…it guarantees…I don’t understand where you say…I don’t understand where these accusations are coming from. Our funds are used for the purposes they’re intended for and that is a matter of public record and it’s something which we achieve to the satisfaction of all our major donors.”
The interview ended there, with no further questioning of Gunness’ (frequently touted) claims of “neutrality” despite his own well-documented activities and the agency’s record of political advocacy.
Once again, BBC audiences heard nothing of the UNRWA employees who were elected to the Hamas political bureau, of the Hamas tunnels dug underneath UNRWA schools or of the antisemitic incitement posted on social media by UNRWA employees.
After Gunness answered that UNRWA is “going after other donors”, Khalil asked him “how will this shortfall affect your operations?” to which (despite having claimed in the previous interview that “what is at stake [is] nothing less than the security and stability of the Middle East”) he replied:
Gunness: “Well let us be clear. The commissioner-general said in his statement that we intend to robustly defend our mandate and we are determined that services will not be impacted. And that remains our position. It is premature to talk about cuts. We will do everything I can…we can a) to go after additional funds and b) to protect the mandate and make sure that the dignity of these people living in such fragile and vulnerable circumstances can continue to be protected with the services that we deliver.”
As we see, not only was Gunness not asked any in-depth questions about UNRWA’s record and agenda that would help BBC audiences understand this story better but his inaccurate and misleading claim concerning hereditary refugee status and his politically motivated allegations concerning Israeli counter-terrorism measures were not challenged at all.
Moreover, not only was the same interview rebroadcast in a later edition of the same programme (from 00:35 here) but the BBC World Service also chose to promote a slightly edited version of it on social media.
An undercover television report that showed members of a Polish neo-Nazi group celebrating Adolf Hitler’s birthday and burning a swastika has prompted a criminal investigation.
Poland’s prime minister also denounced fascism in response to the report broadcast by Polish news channel TVN24 on Saturday.
The report featured members of a group called Pride and Modernity wearing Nazi uniforms, performing the Nazi salute in front of a flaming swastika and singing while presenting a cake with a swastika on it. It said the same group was behind a November protest where pictures of centrist European Parliament lawmakers from Poland were hung on mock gallows.
Poland’s prosecutor general opened an investigation Sunday for suspected “public propagation of fascism,” a crime punishable by up to two years in prison.
The representative body of Jews in France has called on the government to take “all necessary measures” to deter further antisemitic attacks, following a spate of hate crimes targeting Jews this month.
“In recent days, several serious incidents have occurred in the Paris region,” a statement issued this week by France’s leading Jewish communal organization CRIF said. The organization said these incidents were “evidence that a worrying and dangerous climate is settling over our country, creating a real concern for the Jewish community.”
The antisemitic incidents listed by CRIF as part of its “Zero Tolerance” call included the vandalism and subsequent arson of two stores selling kosher products in a mall in the suburb of Créteil and an anonymous threatening letter sent to a synagogue in the suburb of Saint-Maur.
Decorated with Nazi swastikas, the letter to the synagogue warned, “dirty jew bastards, Hitler will win,” and “you will burn.”
Undeterred by the threat, the Saint-Maur community announced on Sunday that a planned Bar Mitzvah party would be going ahead, with security provided and paid for by the family hosting the celebration. Michel Dluto, a representative of the synagogue, told local newspaper Le Parisien that security arrangements at the majority of communal events were now being funded by the community itself. “It’s been over a year since we had troops standing guard outside the synagogue,” Dluto said.
A public broadcaster in France is being criticized for airing a Belgian comedienne’s joke about the Holocaust.
France 2 aired the joke by Laura Laune, 31, on Friday in its 8 p.m. news journal. A winner of the 2017 season of the French version of “America’s Got Talent,” she was seen saying on stage: “What do sneakers and Jews have in common? They’re more common in 39 than in 45.”
World War II, during which six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust in Europe, began in 1939 and ended in 1945. The European shoe sizes of 39 and 45 translate to 8.5 and 11 in US sizes, respectively.
The flattering profile reportage on Laune noted her “boldness” and her popularity in the stand-up comedy scene in France.
Gilles-William Goldnadel, a well-known lawyer in France and a former member of the executive board of the CRIF umbrella of French Jewish communities, called the joke “horrific” on Twitter and accused France 2 and French media in general of pursuing a double standard on black humor that permits its application to Jews but not women.
Notorious Holocaust denier Mark Weber has reportedly been stranded in Madrid after being refused permission to board a flight to London where he had hoped to take a further flight to Los Angeles, where he runs the so-called Institute for Historical Review.
It emerged that Theresa May had personally made Mr Weber “the subject of an exclusion decision…on Unacceptable Behaviour grounds” when she was Home Secretary, according to a letter drafted—but not sent—in 2015 by the Home Office, which added that Ms May “personally directed that you should be excluded from the United Kingdom on the grounds that your presence here is not conductive to the public good.” The Home Office said that it did not send the letter to Mr Weber at the time because it did not know his address.
Ms May’s decision was taken on 28th April 2015, just over a week after Mail on Sunday investigation exposed a secret meeting of the far-right London Forum at which Mr Weber spoke, telling delegates: “As long as the power of the Jewish lobby remains entrenched, there will be no end to the systematic Jewish distortion of history…no task is more important or pressing than to identify, counter and break this power.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism applauds Ms May for her decision to exclude Mr Weber from our country.
A Sunday Times exposé has revealed that a meeting of the Seven Sisters branch of the Labour Party in London failed to react in any way when one of its activists claimed that “The only reason there are prostitutes in this ward is because of the Jews.”
According to the Labour Party member who made the allegation: “No one said a word. No action was taken. Everyone, including him, just carried on with the discussion, and it was one of countless examples, including things like open hate material being shared on the Tottenham Labour Facebook forum. A new set of norms has been created in the Haringey Labour Party.”
Haringey Council, which includes a large Jewish population, is currently expected to fall under the control of Momentum in elections due to be held in May. Momentum is the sub-group within the Labour Party which brought Jeremy Corbyn to power and has long been beset by antisemitism scandals, including when its Vice Chair, Jackie Walker, claimed that Jews were “the chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade”, and whose activists threatened and heckled Haringey Councillors when they voted to adopt the International Definition of Antisemitism.
Momentum now also has control over the Labour Party’s Discipline Panel, which rules on allegations of antisemitism within the Party.
Is a cure for hemophilia on the horizon? American biotechnology company BioMarin aims to find out with the help of Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, Israel.
BioMarin has chosen Sheba to take part in the next phase of international trials for what’s being touted as a “magic bullet” cure for hemophilia A, a genetic blood-clotting deficiency that results in patients bleeding longer after an injury and more easily bruising. Hemophilia A, which affects mostly men, can be life-threatening.
BioMarin has developed a treatment using viruses to implant new genes into a patient’s cells; a single dose seems to be enough to stop or even cure the disease.
BioMarin has conducted an initial trial on nine patients – all stopped using clotting factor drugs to treat their hemophilia and their annualized bleeding rate fell from some 16 episodes a year to just one.
Prof. Gili Kenet will run the project in Israel. Kenet, the director of the National Hemophilia Center and Institute of Thrombosis and Hemostasis at Sheba Medical Center, is impressed by what she’s seen so far.
“People in the medical community are beginning to speak about curing hemophilia after a one-time treatment with this new drug,” she said.
On a recent Wednesday morning, volunteer emergency medical technician Sanaa Mahameed was the first responder on the scene as fire and rescue personnel extricated two injured people from their vehicles following a car crash.
Unfortunately, motor vehicle accidents aren’t a rare occurrence. What was unusual about this scene is that the woman tending the wounded was a religious Muslim who modestly covers her hair and neck with a hijab.
Sanaa Mahameed holds the distinction of being the first female Muslim volunteer EMT in the United Hatzalah of Israel voluntary first-responder network, whose total volunteer force of 4,000 includes about 320 Muslims and 330 women.
United Hatzalah international spokesman Raphael Poch describes Mahameed as one of the most active volunteers in Umm al-Fahm, an Arab town in the Haifa district.
“Sanaa Mahameed is a powerhouse of lifesaving. She has spent the better part of her adult life dedicating her time to save the lives of others,” Poch said.
Fresh off his new Hebrew remix with Israeli singer Rotem Cohen, Latin superstar Enrique Iglesias will be returning to Tel Aviv this year.
Spanish singer Iglesias will be performing at Yarkon Park on May 28, according to Mako, which first reported the news. It won’t be the pop singer’s first or even second performance in Israel, but it will be his biggest to date.
Iglesias last performed in Israel in 2015, when he took the stage at Menorah Mivtachim Arena. Before that he played the same arena in June 2011. Iglesias’s father, Julio Iglesias, himself a well-known singer, has also performed in Israel multiple times.
Just last month, Iglesias released a Hebrew remix of his song “Subleme La Radio,” with Cuban singer Descemer Bueno Israeli crooner Rotem Cohen. While details are not yet confirmed, it wouldn’t be surprising if Cohen showed up to accompany Iglesias on the song in May. Iglesias will definitely be joined on stage, however, by his guitarist of several years, Israeli native Sean Hurwitz.
The 42-year-old pop superstar has had a slew of hit songs over the years, including “Bailamos,” “Hero,” “Be With You” and “I Like It.” He also just became a father for the first time last time, when he had twins with his long-term girlfriend tennis player Anna Kournikova.
The Israeli micro-satellite developer Effective Space Solutions last week announced the signing of a $100 million multi-year contract to provide satellite maintenance services to an unnamed client.
The signing of the contract with what Effective Space Solutions referred to as a “major regional satellite operator” marks the closure of the company’s first such deal in the industry.
Headquartered in Tel Aviv with an additional office in the UK, Effective Space Solutions was founded in 2013 and specializes in developing and operating small spacecraft that perform life-extending maintenance services on satellites in space.
“We are seeing steady growth in the number of satellite launches per year, but little progress has been made in increasing the lifespan of this space hardware,” said Arie Halsband, founder and CEO of Effective Space Solutions. “Our technology enables satellite owners to maximize the lifespan of their hardware, and run expensive fuel resources to zero before decommissioning….This will be one of the first commercial mission contracts of in-orbit servicing.”
Adding to Israel’s existing reputation as the “start-up nation” and a major hub of innovation, the Jewish state is a rising star in space and satellite technology. Israel is the smallest country in the world to launch its own satellites, and is also one of only 11 nations with the ability to independently launch unmanned missions into space.
Utilizing 60 minuscule fragments of mysterious ancient code from the second-to-last unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls, researchers at the University of Haifa have decoded a unique 364-day calendar once used by the enigmatic Qumran Sect in the Judean Desert.
The 900 Dead Sea Scrolls (also known as the “Qumran Scrolls”) dating to the Second Temple Period were discovered in the 1940s and 1950s in the Qumran Caves near the Dead Sea.
The Qumran Sect referred to itself as the Yahad (“Together Community”) and was a fanatical group that lived a hermitic lifestyle in the desert, facing persecution by the dominant establishment of the time.
They wrote numerous scrolls, a small number of them in code – including the 60 relics on parchment that Dr. Eshbal Ratson and Prof. Jonathan Ben-Dov of Haifa University’s Department of Bible Studies were able to translate.
The researchers spent a year painstakingly studying the tiny fragments from the second-to-last scroll, some which measured smaller than one square centimeter.
“The reward for their hard work is fresh insight into the unique 364-day calendar used by the members of the Judean Desert sect, including the discovery for the first time of the name given by the sect to the special days marking the transitions between the four seasons,” the university said in a statement on Sunday.
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