November 30, 2021

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01/28 Links: Amnesty International shows its anti-Israel bias yet again; The UN’s horrid Holocaust hypocrisy

From Ian:

NY Post Editorial: Amnesty International shows its anti-Israel bias yet again
The official excuse: Because Amnesty supports the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, “it would be inappropriate [for us] to host an event by those actively supporting” West Bank Jewish settlements.

By which AI specifically meant the watchdog group UN Watch — whose extremely effective executive director, Hillel Neuer, was to take part in the debate with a pro-UN advocate.

Worse, Amnesty suddenly claimed that allowing Neuer to appear at its building would put the work of its people “on the ground . . . at risk.”

By which it probably meant that some of its well-heeled supporters had raised objections. Or maybe the group simply got cold feet over the potential embarrassment of hosting a debate in which Neuer was sure to prevail.

None of this comes as any surprise: Amnesty International has a long record of opposing Israeli policies — but, worse still, of holding the Jewish state to an unfair double standard that would qualify AI for membership on that same Israel-bashing UN Human Rights Council.

Amnesty, like the rest of the left, has an obsessive and unbalanced interest in Israel. It routinely publishes reports denouncing Israeli actions while ignoring the Palestinian terror attacks — including missile fire — that provoke them.

It has demanded that Israel — but not Hamas — be prosecuted for war crimes. And its “people on the ground” have included at least one person who served as a “human shield” against Israeli troops.

Amnesty International has long failed to live up to its own media hype. Maybe its officials should reschedule that debate — and then stay to watch it.

PMW: PA attacks PMW for “wild incitement campaign” against PA radio

The Palestinian Authority has reopened its verbal attacks on Palestinian Media Watch. This follows PMW’s repeated exposure of incitement to violence on official PA radio, including the broadcast of a recent song calling for Martyrdom for Jerusalem.

A few days after PMW reported that The Voice of Palestine station had broadcast a song encouraging Palestinians to “redeem” Jerusalem “with your life and blood”, the station’s Director-General Bassam Daghlas, accused PMW of “waging an incitement campaign” against the station.

“Director-General of [the official PA radio station] The Voice of Palestine Bassam Daghlas said that ‘The incitement campaign that the Israeli center Palestinian Media Watch is waging against The Voice of Palestine radio station is not the first case, as it has been subject to similar attacks in the past.’ …
He also emphasized that ‘Our media message is clear and will not change, and if they consider playing national songs incitement, they can think what they want.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 25, 2018]

The PA Ministry of Information also attacked PMW, claiming PMW is waging a “wild incitement campaign” against The Voice of Palestine, and that PMW reports are “part of the deceptive Zionist discourse”:

“The [PA] Ministry of Information believes that the wild incitement campaign that the Israeli center called Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) is waging against [the official PA] radio station The Voice of Palestine projects on the other… what happens within its own entity [Israel], and that it [PMW] already waged other attacks against the Palestinian, Arab, and international media… The ministry said that the repeated claims of the Israeli center [PMW] are part of the deceptive Zionist discourse – that is full of incitement and that is the sole sponsor of terror and the ugly racism.”
[PA Ministry of Information website, Jan, 24, 2018, emphasis added]

The PA has attacked PMW for exposing PA incitement to hate and terror numerous times. Last year, PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi counted PMW among the “toxic organizations,” accusing PMW of just waiting “to attack”:

The UN’s horrid Holocaust hypocrisy

Thirteen years ago, the United Nations General Assembly designated Jan. 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, an occasion for its member nations to commemorate Nazi Germany’s murder of 6 million Jews and millions of others. The UN also urged nations to use the occasion to educate their citizens about the horrors of the Holocaust to help prevent future acts of genocide.

Yet in the intervening years, across Europe and worldwide, we have seen the rise of extremist politics, from the National Front Party in France to extremist electoral gains in Austria, Greece, Hungary and the Netherlands, much of it fueled by anti-immigration rhetoric and intolerance, but also by neo-Nazism and the very same anti-Semitic language and tropes that gave rise to Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.

During the French elections last year, for example, National Front leader and presidential candidate Marine Le Pen denied France was responsible for the infamous 1942 roundup and deportation of 13,000 French Jews, reopening old wounds. In Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro, who is increasingly allying with Iran, said that “Israel doesn’t kill in error, it kills in horror.”

Meanwhile, the European Forum on Anti-Semitism, a watchdog group founded in 2008, reported 767 anti-Semitic incidents across the continent in the first half of 2017, a 30% rise from the previous year and the highest number it has since recorded . In Caracas, Venezuela, Foreign Policy magazine reported increasing instances of graffiti with phrases like “be patriotic: kill a Jew.”

Many have raised their voices about this threat — but not the UN. The organization I founded 35 years ago, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, has seen first-hand the impact of a resurgence in anti-Semitism.

Sephardi Jewry suffered, too

I was born in Jaffa 10 years after the end of the war to a family from Sofia, Bulgaria. My family, like many in the Balkans, was originally from Spain.

When I was young, Jews from southeast Europe weren’t mentioned in a single text about the Holocaust. We didn’t know that our parents, too, were survivors, and possibly heroes.

When I asked my mother what had happened there during the war, she tended to brush me off by saying, “We were deported to Ruse (a town at the border of Bulgaria) and I was always hungry, but we weren’t in camps.” In other words, there is a hierarchy of suffering and Holocaust stories.

The response of my mother, who was a girl during the war, is an expression of the trauma of the Israeli perception of the 1950s and 60s – anyone who wasn’t in Auschwitz wasn’t considered a survivor. The Holocaust was identified as Auschwitz, Birkenau, and Treblinka.

Who knew names like Transnistria (Romania), Logor Jasenovac (Croatia), Dakovo (Croatia, designated for women and children), Sajmiste and Banjica (Belgrade), Rab (Yugoslavia), Drancy and Gurs (France), Westerbork, Amersfoort, Vught (the Netherlands), Mauthausen (Austria), or Somovit in Bulgaria?

We spent our childhood among the mythic, inconceivable number “6 million,” the terms Sabra [native-born Israeli] and “the first generation of the redemption.” We looked ahead to the founding of the Jewish state and the development of the ethos of Israeli heroism. So places from which no witnesses were left were forgotten.

PM: Israel won’t tolerate Poland ‘distorting truth or re-writing history’

Israel has zero tolerance for “distorting the truth, rewriting history or denying the Holocaust,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at Sunday’s cabinet meeting, addressing the controversy over the draft bill that passed the lower house of Poland’s parliament on Friday making it illegal to attribute complicity in the Holocaust to the “Polish nation” or to use terms such as “Polish death camps.”

Netanyahu said that Israel’s ambassador to Poland, Anna Azaria, made Israel’s firm position known to Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki at a memorial ceremony marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day at Auschwitz on Saturday night.

During the coming week, he said, she will hold additional meetings about the matter with Morawiecki, as well as the country’s president and the Polish senate. The president and senate still have to sign off on the legislation before it becomes law.

“Every day, and especially on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we remember three things,” Netanyahu said. “First, the six million of our brothers and sisters who were annihilated in the Nazi inferno; Second, the price humanity paid for failing to stand up on time and with the proper strength against a murderous ideology; And thirdly, the constant need to continue and nurture the strength of the State of Israel vis-à-vis the regimes of modern fanaticism.”

It was Germany, not Poland

Poland has a long history of anti-Semitism, as long as the history of Jews in Poland itself. Anti-Semitism is still widespread there today. Poland is still not confronting its past and current anti-Semitism appropriately. It was a long time before it starting compensating Holocaust survivors and their descendants for their stolen property. Poland had and still has a problem with Jews.

But Poland wasn’t responsible for the Holocaust. The Holocaust was a German crime. Yes, plenty of Europeans helped the Germans try to wipe out European Jewry. But the Holocaust was conceived, planned, and executed by the Germans. So the intense Polish sensitivity to attempts to transfer responsibility for the industrial extermination camps from Germany to Poland is understandable. There were plenty of reasons why the Nazi regime elected to set up the biggest death camps in Poland: the large Jewish communities there, plans to repopulate that required “mass evacuation” as well as the German assessment that the Polish hatred for Jews would allow the killing to proceed without any interference from the locals. Many Poles were murdered by the Germans as a result of the insane Nazi race doctrine. More importantly, there were more “righteous gentiles” (gentiles who risked their own lives to save Jews during the Holocaust) in Poland than in any other Nazi-occupied country, and they also outnumbered the Poles who cooperated with the Nazis to carry out the Final Solution.

The evil Polish anti-Semitism, as expressed in the pogroms perpetrated against the few remaining Jewish refugees after the Holocaust and under communist rule – as well as in the attempt over the course of many years to cast the people murdered in concentration camps as Poles rather than Jews – should not distract us from the fact that Germany was and will always bear the sole responsibility for the camps’ existence in Poland in the first place. (h/t Elder of Lobby)

Polish atrocities can’t be erased

I first heard about this ridiculous and demented law around a year and a half after the current Polish regime ascended to power. With or without the law, they cannot shed responsibility for their crimes – Poland actively, willingly collaborated with the Germans. People tend to associate Auschwitz with Germany because it was a Nazi concentration camp, but it was on Polish soil.

Today, as a living witness who tells his story to students, I often travel to Poland and feel the anti-Semitism. I know their language, I look like one of them, and they don’t know I am Jewish. I hear their anti-Semitic undertones. To this day I can still hear the mother admonishing her son who doesn’t want to eat: “I’ll sell you to the Jews or the Gypsies.” But I go back there, time and again, because giving testimony is important.

Despite their best efforts to bury their Nazi past – they cannot outrun history. Just last month I was at Yad Vashem speaking to Polish army colonels; I told them, in their own language, my life story and how we suffered from the anti-Semitism their country, about the wrongs done to us. They admitted it was all true. They bowed their heads. So now what, will these colonels be arrested? I delivered a similar speech in Poland in front of the mayor of Lodz. Will those who listened to me in humiliated silence now be arrested as well? It is absurd.

Because they won’t ever be able to erase the horrors they perpetrated, not while Holocaust survivors are still alive, and not as long there are Jews in the world who can tell the story.

Amid growing outrage, Polish president promises to review Holocaust bill

The Polish president on Sunday vowed to review a new bill that would outlaw blaming Poles for crimes of the Holocaust committed in the country, after the measure sparked a diplomatic row with Israel.

Poland’s right-wing-controlled parliament on Friday adopted legislation that sets fines or a maximum three-year jail term for anyone who ascribes “responsibility or co-responsibility to the Polish nation or state for crimes committed by the German Third Reich — or other crimes against humanity, peace and war crimes.”

The measure, intended to apply to both Poles and foreigners, must still pass the Senate before being signed by the president.

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda said in a statement on Sunday that he would present his “final evaluation of procedural legal provisions after the completion of parliament’s work and a careful analysis of the final shape of the act.”

Zoabi: Polish denial of Holocaust role shouldn’t surprise Israelis

MK Haneen Zoabi (Joint List) has condemned the Polish parliament’s passage of a law banning references to Polish involvement in the Holocaust. But the controversial Balad party MK added that Israelis “should not be surprised” by the Polish move since, in her view, they deny responsibility for crimes against Palestinians.

Zoabi said in a press statement Sunday that the Polish law, which passed the lower house Friday and is expected to be approved by the upper house, is a “Polish version” of Israel’s Nakba law, which authorizes the finance minister to cut state funding to an institution if it commemorates independence day as a day of mourning.

“He who denies his responsibility for war crimes that he himself perpetrates against the Palestinians should not be surprised by others,” Zoabi said.

Abbas Honors the Dozens of Jews Killed During Holocaust (satire)

In a move aimed at building trust with world Jewry, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day with a statement honoring the “dozens of Jews who tragically lost their lives.”

“We must never forget that the horrors of Nazi rule robbed nearly 100 Jewish individuals of their lives,” the statement read. “While this tragedy does not reach the level of the Rwandan genocide or Clay Aiken’s loss in the 2003 American Idol series, it is a tragedy nonetheless.”

The touching statement marked a departure for Abbas, whose PhD thesis argued that Jews collaborated with the Nazis during the Holocaust and that the number of Jewish deaths has been inflated.

“Though many of the Jews killed were Nazi collaborators intent on colonizing Palestinians lands and drinking the blood of children, this does not change the fact that they died and that this is bad,” Abbas’s statement continued.

The president’s statement won accolades from across media and diplomatic circles.

“If only Prime Minister Netanyahu could make a similar statement about Rachael Ray’s tweets about hummus,” Arab American Institute President James Zogby said, “then we may finally have peace.”

Release of concealed 2005 Obama-Farrakhan photo shows first post at Legal Insurrection was prescient

Had the Obama-Farrakhan photo been released, it would have added context to other problematic Obama connections, like Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers. It also might have given even greater pressure for the L.A. Times to release a tape of Obama attending a speech by anti-Israel extremist Rashid Khalidi (that tape has never been released).

The very first post at Legal Insurrection was on October 12, 2008, Obama is “Door No. 2” in which I suggested the public Obama may not be the real Obama:

As in Let’s Make a Deal, choosing Door No. 2 carries great risks. So does choosing Obama.

Obama may be a post-racial healer, or he may be someone who carefully uses race and false accusations of racism to advance his political career. Obama may not have known about Jeremiah Wright’s political race-baiting, or he may have known but not cared. Obama may be someone who views this country as inherently good, or he may secretly share the views of his political enabler, William Ayers, that this country is inherently bad. We may know Obama better than Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers know Obama, or we may not know Obama at all.

Obama may be everything good, or the promise Obama embodies may just be a figment of our own imagination.

Obama is the perfect vehicle for imagining hope, because he has almost no record. Obama is a blank canvas upon which we can paint our imagined hope. Obama has avoided almost every hard issue that has confronted him in his political career, choosing to vote “present” (literally or figuratively) hundreds of times.

Just about the only thing we know about Obama is what he has told us about himself. To inquire deeper invites accusations that one is a “smear merchant” and using “racially tinged subtexts.”

Dershowitz on Collusion, Corruption, and Obama Photo with Farrakhan. (4:09)

Obama: ‘Skyrocketing’ settlement means Palestinian state ‘almost impossible’

Barack Obama said his administration refrained from vetoing a 2016 United Nations Security Council resolution critical of Israeli settlements because the pace of their construction had “skyrocketed.”

“The pace of settlement skyrocketed and accelerated. If you look at a map (of the West Bank), it starts becoming a Swiss cheese map, where it becomes almost impossible to create any kind of functioning Palestinian state,” Obama said, speaking earlier this week at New York’s Temple Emanu-El.

“Voting against the resolution would have damaged our credibility on affirming human rights only when it’s convenient, not when it has to do with ourselves and our friends,” said the former president, who has rarely spoken about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since leaving office.

To be “a true friend of Israel, it is important to be honest about it, and the politics of this country sometimes do not allow for it,” Obama also said.

The former president said that he and his staff would often joke that he was “basically a liberal Jew,” according to the British Daily Mail.

Israeli PM Netanyahu: Even Though Obama Favored the Palestinians, We Never Said He Couldn’t Serve as Fair Peace Mediator

At a meeting with Likud members of his cabinet on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the Palestinians of preventing a renewal of peace negotiations, the Hebrew news site Walla reported.

“The Palestinians claim [US President Donald] Trump is biased toward Israel, so therefore they’re not willing to have the US serve as a mediator,” Netanyahu was quoted as saying. “But we never said that [ex-President Barack] Obama couldn’t serve as a honest broker, even though he was biased toward the Palestinians. This is just another excuse of the Palestinians.”

Following Trump’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas dismissed any future leading role for the US in the peace process.

“We will not accept anything the United States may try to impose on us and we will not accept its mediation following that crime,” Abbas said.

David Singer: Trump Readies to Dump PLO for Jordan-Israel Negotiations

Replacing Abbas will not solve the PLO’s dilemma. Abbas’s speech to the PLO Central Council was frequently interrupted by loud applause from the entire PLO leadership gathered in Ramallah.

Trump ominously remarked that Israel would have to pay for Jerusalem being taken off the table as the toughest issue requiring resolution in any negotiations.

Israeli concessions can be more easily negotiated if Jordan – not the PLO – is Israel’s negotiating partner – because:

· Amman is Jordan’s long-established capital

· Jordan also enjoys negotiating rights on Jerusalem’s future under article 9 (2) of the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty:
“In this regard [freedom of access to places of religious and historical significance] in accordance with the Washington Declaration, Israel respects the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem. When negotiations on the permanent status will take place, Israel will give high priority to the Jordanian historic role in these shrines.”

Israel-Jordan negotiations indeed represent the best opportunity to end the 100 years-old Arab-Jewish conflict.
The PLO has seemingly done its dash – and hundreds of millions in cash – in defiantly taking on Trump.

$16.3 Billion For What?
Where is the money for Palestinians in Gaza going? Let review:

Jewish leaders meet Guatemalan president in support of Jerusalem embassy move

Leaders of Jewish and Christian communities in the US and Latin America met with Guatemala’s President Jimmy Morales over the weekend in a show of support for his decision to move the Guatemalan Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

According to pro-Israel NGO Fuente Latina, the meeting was part of a “mission of gratitude and solidarity with Guatemala” comprised of 70 people: representatives of international organizations, religious and community leaders, businessmen and citizens from the USA, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, Argentina and the Dominican Republic.

The delegation arrived in Guatemala on Thursday, and was received at the National Palace of Culture for a dinner with Morales, Vice President Jafeth Cabrera, Foreign Minister Sandra Jovel, Guatemalan Ambassador to Washington Manuel Espina, Israeli Ambassador in Guatemala Matanya Cohen, and government secretaries, members of the Jewish community in Guatemala and Christian associations.

After dinner, several individual meetings were held during which representatives of the mission expressed their gratitude and support for Guatemala and its president.

Morales’s announcement last month that he would move the embassy made Guatemala the first country to follow in the footsteps of US President Donald Trump.

Pro-Israel Zeman scores second term as Czech president

In the final days of campaigning Drahos underscored his concerns about possible Russian meddling in the campaign, saying that “for [Russian President] Vladimir Putin’s regime, NATO is the biggest enemy and we are part of NATO.”

Petr Vasicek, a Prague artist, told AFP that he chose the “educated and intelligent” Drahos over Zeman who is “pro-Russian and pro-Chinese, which I don’t like at all.”

Zeman has repeatedly called on the EU to lift its sanctions on Russia over its 2014 takeover of Crimea from Ukraine.

He was also one of the few European leaders to endorse Donald Trump’s bid for the White House.

Zeman, who is known as a supporter of Israel, also has voiced support for Trump’s plan to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

He later accused EU states of being “cowards” in their response to Trump recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Tree planting marks 3 years since murder of ‘the 3 boys’

In keeping with the holiday of Tu-B’shvat, on Friday morning February 2, at 10 am, 20 families will gather on the newly constructed Gush Etzion ‘boys promenade’ to plant trees in memory of Gil-ad Shaer, who along with two other Israeli teens was kidnapped and murdered by Hamas terrorists three years ago.

The event is being hosted by The Gush Etzion Foundation and the Shaer family, who invited particular Israeli families to participate, bonded by the fact that they all named a child born in the last three years ‘Gil-ad’ in their son’s memory.

The promenade itself, stretching from the community of Rosh Tzurim to the Alon Shvut Junction where the boys were kidnapped, was built in their memory with a lookout point dedicated to the late Ezra Schwartz, the Boston teen murdered in a Gush shooting terror attack two years ago. The promenade was constructed as part of a partnership between the Gush Etzion Foundation, JNF-USA, and private donors.

Beleaguered poet apologizes for comparing Palestinian protester to Anne Frank

Israeli poet and songwriter Yehonatan Geffen apologized for a poem he wrote comparing a teenage Palestinian activist to Holocaust victim Anne Frank, saying that his sole intention was to raise awareness of the Israeli occupation.

At a small concert on Saturday night, Geffen told the audience, “It was a mistake and I apologize for it, especially to anyone who was personally offended.”

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman had sought to ban Geffen from Army Radio for the comparison between Frank and Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi, whose family is known for public protests against the IDF presence in the West Bank. Both men drew criticism for their actions: Liberman for trying to interfere with the programming of a national radio station and Geffen for the comparison.

After media reported Geffen’s apology, Liberman tweeted, “The one who confesses [their sins] and renounces them finds mercy” — a quote from the biblical book of Proverbs.

Gaza police block women from attending soccer game

Police blocked dozens of women from attending a soccer game on Sunday in the Gaza Strip, in what activists said they hoped would have been the first such permission under Hamas’s rule.

Authorities in the Palestinian enclave run by Islamist Hamas told the women they had orders not to allow them into the stadium at Nuseirat refugee camp south of Gaza City.

Some of the women instead watched the match between Al-Nuseirat and Al-Jalaa by standing outside the fence, an AFP journalist reported.

“We came here to encourage the team and youths in Nuseirat and watch the game, but we were surprised by the presence of Hamas security guards who closed the gates in our faces and did not allow us to go inside to cheer,” Ayat Othman, one of the women who tried to attend, told AFP.

Female relatives of players have previously been allowed to attend games in Gaza, but Sunday’s match would have marked the first time under Hamas women could have attended on a large-scale basis, according to organizers.

PreOccupiedTerritory: Hamas Fighter Drawn To Bright Light In Tunnel, Not Realizing He’s Dead (satire)

Confusion reigned in the subterranean passages that snake through and out of the Gaza Strip today after a terrorist killed in a collapsing section remained unaware of his situation because his immediate post-death experience of being drawn toward an inviting light at the end of a tunnel differed in no way from his situation a moment before.

Faqhin al-Aghal, 22, met his demise (today) Wednesday afternoon when a portion of the concrete ceiling in the tunnel in which he was training failed, resulting in several tons of rocky debris crushing him to death. The speed of the collapse and fatality was such that al-Aghal had no chance to notice it happening. Owing to the similarity between his environment and what the consciousness sees in the moments following death, the Khan Yunis refugee camp native did not realize he had perished, and his consciousness continued to move along the remaining section of tunnel toward an illuminated target.

“It might take him a few more moments for reality to hit him,” predicted one observer. “Soon he’ll notice the sense of detachment, perhaps even bliss, that often accompanies this experience, and that will give him pause. He will stop, look around, and realize he’s not embodied. He might even notice the presence of ancestors, deceased loved ones, or others clearly out of place in a tunnel intended for use in combat against Israel, and then it will hit him, so to speak.”

“Of course there’s also the chance that the realization will involve anxiety and fear, rather than bliss,” remarked another. “Up to one fifth of dead or dying people experience that. There’s no telling until it happens.”

Lebanon should be wary of becoming Iran’s pawn, IDF official says

An Iranian dictator is in control of the Lebanese people’s future, IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis warned Sunday in an article published on opposition-affiliated media in Lebanon in what has been described as a highly unusual move.

Recalling a Lebanon-Israel border tour that Iran’s regional proxy, Hezbollah, gave journalists in April, Manelis wrote, “Those unique images unmask the reality of Iran’s growing control in Lebanon. It is clear that this unique phenomenon of ‘terror tourism’ is a concrete expression of the threat to the future of the Cedar State [Lebanon] and the entire region, which is in danger of being overrun by Tehran’s henchmen.

“The past year, like the 11 years that followed the conclusion of the Second Lebanon War, has been characterized by relative stability on the Lebanese front. This calm benefits residents on both sides [of the border]. The fact that sixth-graders in northern Israel and southern Lebanon have never heard an air raid siren is the best proof of the stability of Israeli deterrence and the fact that the Lebanese people remember the magnitude of [Hezbollah leader Hassan] Nasrallah’s previous mistake.”

The Israeli military, he said, “used the past year to significantly improve its war readiness on the northern front. The IDF has held several drills, most notably the Northern Corps exercise, held for the first time in 20 years, which included practicing the IDF’s operational contingencies on the ground in the northern sector.

“Our intelligence gathering efforts are also ongoing and, as the chief of staff and head of the Military Intelligence have said, if our enemies knew how much we know about them they would remain deterred for years to come. We do not seek war,” he stressed, noting, “We ended [2017] better equipped and better prepared for any scenario in the northern sector.”

Hezbollah may use suicide ships in next war, former naval officer warns

Israel’s Navy should anticipate Hezbollah using suicide ships in the next war with the terror group, Rear Admiral (Ret.) Professor Shaul Chorev told The Jerusalem Post.

“Hezbollah will not need to equip themselves with ships like Israel, but we must assume they will use asymmetric warfare to challenge Israeli technology like land-to-sea missiles or suicide ships like you see in Yemen,” Chorev, a former deputy chief of naval operations, said following a special geostrategy conference jointly organized by Haifa University’s Research Center for Maritime Policy & Strategy (HMS) and the Chaikin Chair for Geostrategy.

Iran and Hezbollah advisors have been aiding Yemen’s Houthi rebels in their fight against the Saudi-led coalition, and in January of last year, two Saudi sailors were killed when Houthi rebels rammed the side of Saudi frigate off the coast of Yemen with a small boat before a suicide bomber detonated the vessel.

According to Chorev, while it is not in Hezbollah’s interest to start a war with the Jewish State, “when you look at their strategy, it is clear that they will target Israeli strategic assets.”

“The next war with Hezbollah could see a focus on the sea,” he warned.

Israel is highly dependent on the sea, with over 90% of Israel’s imports arriving via the sea, but according to Chorev, there is a major lack of awareness about the maritime domain, both among government leaders and the public.

Israel Can’t Deny the Reality That BDS Is in Decline

Recently, I’ve been nursing some concerns about the way the Israeli government is handling its response to the BDS campaign against the Jewish state, and with it the wider challenges of anti-Zionism and antisemitism in the Western world.

Some of my concerns have already been expressed with enviable clarity by two other commentators — my JNS colleague Jonathan Tobin, and The Times of Israel’s Haviv Rettig Gur. Following Israel’s decision this month to ban 20 BDS-related organizations from entering the country, Tobin made the broader point in his column that the material impact of the BDS campaign upon Israel has been gratifyingly minimal. The true danger of this campaign, he continued, lies in its persistent targeting of Jewish communities in the Diaspora.

Meanwhile, Rettig Gur’s critique of the official Israeli response to BDS included a wryly amusing account of how Israel has generated a handful of boutique-sized government ministries during the last decade. These ministries have no clear mandate, but are staffed by bureaucracies whose “primal” goal is survival. This drive, Rettig-Gur argued, explains to significant degree why the Israeli government’s own campaign to counter BDS is escalating.

I want to amplify some of these concerns, and then offer a few of my own. As a general rule, governments engaging in campaigns to defend their own records, or to project a certain image of their country, is rarely a good idea, especially if the ultimate goal is to win over skeptics and adversaries — or at least persuade them to consider a given situation from more than one point of view. That is particularly true, I think, when the bone of contention is not the record of the elected government in power, but the deeper reputation and legitimacy of the nation that government represents.

Hen Mazzig at UCL

In 2016, Hen Mazzig, an openly gay IDF soldier of Iraqi and Tunisian descent, spoke at UCL in a talk sponsored by CAMERA on Campus, only to be harassed and threatened by violent protesters who assaulted Jewish students attending the talk. His speech prompted an investigation into antisemitism at the university and Hen was ultimately invited back to speak this week to speak at UCL. Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) brought him back to UCL to speak yet once again, anti-Israel protesters showed their true colors, calling for Israel’s destruction and protesting outside the event. In response, dozens of Jewish students countered protested bravely singing Hatikvah in the face of anti-Israel haters who were screaming for the destruction of the Jewish state.

Birthday Party for Ahed Tamimi sponsored by local Israel Haters

Ahed Tamimi is turning 17. Local Israel haters are marking the event with a protest and a birthday celebration for the young woman who has called for “stabbings and martyrdom operations” against the Israeli people.

Northern California Friends of Sabeel, Jewish Voice for Peace, SFSU GUPS, Palestinian Youth Movement, and the Arab Resource Organizing Center (AROC)- all organizations dedicated to the destruction of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people are co-sponsoring the event.

Wednesday, January 31, the pre-celebration protest will take place at the Oakland Federal Building at 4:30

Reem’s Cafe in Oakland, also known for its open support of terror will be hosting the after protest celebration.

South Africa sports minister to boycott Davis Cup tennis tie, blames Israel

South Africa’s Sports and Recreation Minister Thulas Nxesi has decided to boycott the Davis Cup (the World Cup of tennis) tie between Israel and South Africa in Pretoria over Friday and Saturday.

In an open letter, Nxesi said he “would actually have loved to attend the Davis Cup but given the concerns that activists and fellow South Africans are raising regarding the presence of an Israeli team I believe that it would not be proper for me to attend.”

Nxesi was responding to a letter sent to him by anti-Israel groups that include BDS South Africa and SA Jews for a Free Palestine.

The groups, in their letter to the minister, appealed to him not to attend and allegedly suggested that the tie be called off.

“International solidarity and the boycott against Apartheid South Africa played a big role in our liberation,” the sports minister wrote. “Indeed, one of the most well-known slogans came out of that context – ‘no normal sport with an abnormal regime!’”

He said that “South Africa’s own Human Sciences Research Council, in 2009, produced a report documenting how Israel is practicing apartheid in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

Christine Shawcroft, Chair of Labour’s Disputes Panel, fails to recuse herself from sitting in judgement of antisemitic “friend”

Last week, Campaign Against Antisemitism was in direct contact with Christine Shawcroft, Momentum’s newly-appointed chair of the Party’s National Executive Committee’s Disputes Panel, requesting that she clarify her position with regard to the case of Tony Greenstein, a notorious antisemite previously expelled from Labour for antisemitism, inexplicably re-admitted, and now re-suspended for antisemitism once more. As chair of the Disputes Panel, Ms Shawcroft has the casting vote in disciplinary matters, such as whether to refer a member of the Party to the National Constitution Committee (NCC) for expulsion from the Party.

In her initial reply to us, Ms Shawcroft confirmed to us that she had indeed elected to be Mr Greenstein’s “silent friend” at his recent disciplinary hearing, and that as such there was a “potential conflict” in her continuing to act in that role. However, she failed, after two requests, to confirm whether or not she would be recusing herself from any future case in which Mr Greenstein was involved, in which she would hold the casting vote.

The Disputes Panel’s behaviour last week in merely issuing a warning to former council candidates Mike Sivier and Billy J Wells, instead of referring their cases to the NCC for potential expulsion, has already brought condemnation. What is more, Mr Sivier’s refusal to countenance taking the antisemitism education the Disputes Panel sent him for has made a laughing stock of National Executive Committee (NEC) member Darren Williams, who interceded on his behalf.

NGO Monitor: Letter to the Editor of The New York Times (Unpublished)

Dear Editor,

What happens when a journalist exclusively engages with a narrow selection of civil society in a foreign country? Roger Cohen’s column about Israeli policy in Hebron (“Holy City of Sterile Streets,” January 20, 2018) exemplifies the problems. Cohen provides the single perspective of an openly political group, “Breaking the Silence.”

Breaking the Silence is perhaps the most controversial civil society organization in Israel precisely because it distorts complex human rights and security issues in service of its political agenda. This organization represents a marginal swath of Israel’s diverse discourse on the difficult questions of Hebron and Israeli-Palestinian relations.

NGO Monitor, the Jerusalem-based research institution I work for, encourages decision makers and influencers to experience the diversity of Israeli society, to better understand the situation and improve their policy making and reporting. Last year, both EU Ambassador Emanuelle Giafret and Canadian Ambassador Deborah Lyons saw fit to balance their Breaking the Silence tours with meetings with groups that provide alternative perspectives. We hope that journalists will follow suit.

BBC claims Abbas’ historical distortions and smears not ‘relevant’

Two weeks ago we noted that the BBC’s report on a long speech given by Mahmoud Abbas at a meeting of the PLO’s Central Council made no mention whatsoever of the assorted distortions of history, anti-Israel smears and renewed commitment to rewarding terrorism that made up a significant proportion of the Palestinian president’s address.

A member of the public who wrote to the BBC to complain about those omissions received the following reply:
“Thank you for getting in touch about our report on Mahmoud Abbas’s comments following the announcement of US plans for an embassy in Jerusalem.

He gave a two-hour speech and we have selected what we believe to be the relevant sections as far as the topic in hand is concerned.

We don’t believe the rest of Mr Abbas’s comments are relevant, or reveal anything that was not previously known – our report contains a section entitled “Did he say anything new?”.

Out of his full speech, you have made a selection of comments that you felt were of note – we believe we have carried the most newsworthy and there will be many more from such a long presentation that will not get reported.”

Apparently we can therefore conclude that the BBC does not consider it relevant that the Palestinian leader it frequently touts as a ‘moderate’ denied the Jewish people’s historical and religious links to the region and portrayed modern Israel as a Western colonialist endeavour.

Haaretz Falsehood: Knesset Cleared of Arabs

In addition, the first paragraph of Bisharat’s (spelled “Bisheret” in the print edition and Bisharat in Haaretz’s digital edition) analysis repeats the falsehood: “in just 10 seconds, “our forces” had overpowered “the enemy” and the Knesset was cleared of Arabs and their Jewish supporters.”

Not all Israeli Arab Knesset members violated Knesset rules and participated in the Joint List’s disruption of Pence’s speech. Israeli Arab Knesset members who did not disrupt the speech, were not removed. For instance, CAMERA reached the offices of MK Issawi Frej (Meretz) and MK Zouhrair Bahloul (Zionist Union), and both confirmed that they stayed until the end of the vice president’s speech.

In addition, Druze Knesset members MK Salah Saad (Zionist Union), MK Hamad Amar (Yisrael Beiteinu), MK Akram Hasson (Kulanu), and MK Ayoub Kara (Likud) all remained throughout Pence’s speech.

Haaretz has been informed of the falsehood. As of this writing, there has been no correction.

UPI Corrects: U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem Will Not Be A First

CAMERA’s Israel office last week prompted correction of a United Press International article which incorrectly stated: “The establishment of an embassy in Jerusalem will be the first by a foreign government in Israel.”

CAMERA contacted UPI, noting that numerous embassies have previously existed in Jerusalem. As Haaretz reported:
But there was a period in Israels [sic] short history when at least 16 states had their ambassadors stationed in the city.

Three of them were African nations – Ivory Coast, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Kenya; 11 were from Latin America – Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Uruguay and Venezuela, opening embassies as early as the 1950s; as well as the Netherlands and Haiti.

Although these embassies all closed by 1980, Costa Rica and El Salvador reopened their embassies in West Jerusalem, where they remained from 1984 to 2006.

In response to communication from CAMERA, UPI commendably amended the text, which now accurately states: “The establishment of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem will be the first by any foreign government there in over a decade.” (It also links to the detailed Haaretz source that CAMERA provided.)

Blaze Bernstein’s suspected killer trained with militant neo-Nazi group — report

A California man who is suspected of murdering Jewish college student Blaze Bernstein earlier this month was reportedly a devoted member of a militant neo-Nazi group.

Samuel Woodward, 20, is accused of stabbing his former high school classmate over 20 times before burying his body in a shallow grave in an Orange County park, where it was discovered over a week later.

California state prosecutors are increasing looking into whether Woodward murdered Bernstein, who was Jewish and openly gay, in a homophobic or white supremacist-motivated hate crime.

On Friday, the ProPublica news site reported that three of Woodward’s friends had come forward to shed light on his history of extremist activities, confirming that he was an active member in the Atomwaffen Division, an armed neo-Nazi group.

Israel’s fears for ‘trapped’ Moroccan Jews in 1955

This paper in Middle Eastern Studies by Avi Picard shows that, in Israel’s early years, prime minister Ben Gurion was consistent in preferring a selective aliya policy prioritising young and healthy immigrants to build the country, rather than rescue endangered Diaspora Jews. (He did not discriminate on ethnic lines. When Jews from Poland came flooding in during the mid-1950s, including some very sick immigrants, he said, ‘I would rather a healthy Jew from Persia than a sick one from Poland.’) However, Avi Picard shows that he was prepared to revise his preferences when he perceived communities were genuinely at risk.

Three events in October and November 1955 sharpened the conflict between rescue and building. In early October, it was news of the arms deal between Egypt and Czechoslovakia,which altered the balance of armaments in the region and inspired great fear in Israel. On 3 November, a new Government was installed in Israel, with Ben-Gurion returning to the prime minister’s office. On 16 November, the exiled Sultan Sidi Mohammed ben Yusef (later King Mohammed V) returned to Morocco and the country’s march to independence gained momentum.

The country’s faster-than-expected progress towards independence added a new concern: no longer just the safety of Morocco’s Jews during a revolt against the colonial authorities, but now their very ability to leave an independent Morocco. If the fear for their safety was abstract, the fear that they might be trapped in the country was all too concrete.

Is this water safe to drink? Israeli startup lets you know

Drinking water is generally tested at source, but before it reaches our glasses it passes through miles of old pipes — so, in effect, we have no control over the water we imbibe.

“We want to try to give you a tool to change the equation,” said Netanel Raisch, the CEO and co-founder of Lishtot Detection Ltd., in a phone interview.

Lishtot is the Hebrew word for “to drink”

The Jerusalem-based company, which was founded in 2015, has developed the TestDrop, a key chain-like device that the company says detects contaminants in water such as E. coli, lead, arsenic, mercury, copper and chlorine in just two seconds. All users need to do is point the device at a plastic glass filled with water and bingo: if the device lights up in blue, you have the all-clear to drink. But if the light is red, then stop because something is wrong.

“We can also tell if someone has spit in your water, which is always good to know,” offered Raisch.

Another co-founder, Alan Bauer, developed the technology after discovering that the electric fields in water change when contamination is present, explained Raisch.

US News, Wharton school vote Israel among “Best countries”

The study and model used to score and rank countries were developed by Y&R’s BAV Group and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, specifically professor David J. Reibstein, in consultation with U.S. News & World Report.
A set of 65 country attributes – terms that can be used to describe a country and that are also relevant to the success of a modern nation – were identified. Attributes by nation were presented in a survey of more than 21,000 people from across the globe. Participants assessed how closely they associated an attribute with a nation.

Each country was scored on each of the 65 country attributes based on a collection of individual survey responses. The more a country was perceived to exemplify a certain characteristic in relation to the average, the higher that country’s attribute score and vice versa. These scores were normalized to account for outliers and transformed into a scale that could be compared across the board.

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