September 22, 2019

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02/16 Links: Hot Mic: Netanyahu lashes EU’s ‘crazy’ policy on Israel; The True History of the Land of Israel; 14 must-read books about Israel

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2019/02/0216-links-hot-mic-netanyahu-lashes-eus.html

From Ian:


In hot mic comments, Netanyahu lashes EU’s ‘crazy’ policy on Israel
Unaware that his remarks were also being transmitted to reporters outside, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the European Union in unusually harsh terms on Wednesday for its treatment of Israel, urging the leaders of four Central European countries to use their influence in the organization to ease its conditions for advancing bilateral ties.

“I think Europe has to decide if it wants to live and thrive or if it wants to shrivel and disappear,” he said in a closed-door meeting whose content was accidentally broadcast to journalists outside the room. “I am not very politically correct. I know that’s a shock to some of you. It’s a joke. But the truth is the truth — both about Europe’s security and Europe’s economic future. Both of these concerns mandate a different policy towards Israel.”

During the meeting, Netanyahu also urged the leaders of Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Poland to close their borders to refugees from Africa and the Arab world, and praised the administration of US President Donald Trump for its “stronger” position on Iran and Syria.

“The European Union is the only association of countries in the world that conditions the relations with Israel, that produces technology in every area, on political conditions. The only ones! Nobody does it,” Netanyahu said in the minutes before officials realized the meeting was being overheard by reporters, and cut the feed.

“It’s crazy. It’s actually crazy,” he said, referring to the EU’s insistence on conditioning some agreements with Israel on progress in the peace process. He referred the EU-Israel Association Agreement, which has not been renewed since 2000. He urged the prime ministers who were present — Hungary’s Viktor Orban, the Czech Republic’s Bohuslav Sobotka, Poland’s Beata Szydlo and Slovakia’s Robert Fico — to work toward convincing Brussels to advance talks about renewing the agreement without reference to progress in the peace process.

“Please help us, and help Europe, in the expediting this association agreement,” he said.

“It’s not about my interests, Israel’s interest. I’m talking about Europe’s interest,” Netanyahu said.

Hezbollah releases video of deadly 2015 attack on IDF convoy

The Lebanese Hezollah terror group on Friday released new video footage from a deadly 2015 attack in which the group fired a salvo of anti-tank missiles at an IDF convoy, killing two Israeli soldiers.

The video aired by al-Mayadeen, a television station linked with Hezbollah, appears to show two anti-tank missiles being fired at an Israeli military convoy in the Mount Dov area near the Lebanon border, and two vehicles going up in flames.

Israeli analysts said the timing of the new footage appeared to be a message from Hezbollah to Israel that it has the capabilities to respond to Israel. In recent months Israel has repeatedly hit Iranian attempts to transfer advanced weapons to the group and uncovered Hezbollah’s cross border attack tunnels.

The release of the footage came soon after the conclusion of a massive IDF drill that simulated war with Hezbollah.

Cpt. Yochai Kalengel and Sgt. Dor Nini were killed in the attack on January 28, 2015, while another seven soldiers were injured.

Hezbollah said at the time the anti-tank fire was in retaliation for an airstrike in Syria attributed to Israel the week before in which at least seven people were killed, including a top commander in the terror organization and an Iranian general.

The commander killed in the attack was Jihad Mugniyeh, the son of Imad Mughniyeh, a top Hezbollah operative thought to have been killed by Israel in Damascus in 2008.

The video’s release also appeared to be timed to coincide with the February 12 anniversary of Imad Mughniyeh’s death.

The True History of the Land of Israel

Millennia before Palestinians appeared on the world stage following the Six-Day War, the “West Bank” was already known as Judea and Samaria. “Palestine” dates from the League of Nations Mandate (1923) that granted England governing power over the land, including Trans-Jordan, that was previously controlled by the defeated Ottoman Empire. The Mandate recognized “the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine.” “Palestinians” were not mentioned; Arabs in the Land of Israel lacked national consciousness as a people. Two decades after the birth of Israel, following the Six-Day War, they borrowed so extensively from Jewish and Zionist sources as to virtually constitute historical plagiarism.

“Palestine” had emerged as an abbreviation of “Syria-Palestine,” imposed by Roman conquerors in the 2nd century CE to obliterate the Jews’ connection to their biblical homeland. Modern conceptions of Palestine did not appear until the 19th century, when British artists and writers began to explore the ”Holy Land.” Jews, wrote Rev. Alexander Keith, are “a people without a country” while “their own land . . . [is] a country without a people.” Several years later Lord Ashley Cooper described “a country without a nation” needing “a nation without a country.” That nation, he asserted, was “the ancient and rightful lords of the soil, the Jews!”

During the early years of the British Mandate, Arabs in Palestine still had little awareness of a distinctive national identity. Testifying before the Peel Commission in 1937, Syrian leader Auni Bey Abdul-Nadi asserted: “There is no such country as Palestine. … ‘Palestine’ is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it.” Even Columbia history professor Rashid Khalidi, an expert on Palestinian identity, would acknowledge that before World War I “Palestine” did not exist in Arab consciousness. Zionist land development served as a magnet for Arabs from Middle Eastern countries who came to Palestine in search of a better life and eventually became “Palestinians.”

Shortly before the birth of the State of Israel, Arab historian Philip Hitti conceded: “There is no such thing as Palestine in history.” Even the UN General Assembly Resolution in 1947 referred to the area west of the Jordan River as Judea and Samaria. A distinctive Palestinian identity did not emerge until the humiliating Arab defeat in the Six-Day War. Why was it, wondered Walid Shoebat from Bethlehem, that “on June 4th 1967 I was a Jordanian and overnight I became a Palestinian. … We considered ourselves Jordanian until the Jews returned to Jerusalem.”

Nasrallah: Warsaw meet unmasked Israel-Gulf ties, Arab leaders Israel’s ‘tools’

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Saturday dismissed last week’s Middle East conference in Warsaw as “weak and stale,” and warned that Arab leaders moving toward normalization with Israel were only “a tool” in Israel’s hands.

In a speech marking the terror group’s annual remembrance day for “martyrs,” Nasrallah said the summit in Poland, which focused strongly on Iran’s belligerence in the region, aimed to “rally against Iran and the resistance movements in the region… The enemies are trying to rally the world to conspire against the resistance after their wars failed to eradicate it.”

He said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was “speaking from the heart” when he talked at the conference of seeking “war with Iran,” a statement that has been characterized as a mistranslation of Netanyahu’s original Hebrew comments.

But Nasrallah asserted that “today Iran is a strong state and stronger than anyone who targets it with war.”

Nasrallah said the Warsaw summit had “brought out into the open Israel’s relations with the Gulf states.

“We knew about normalization between Israel and Oman and the United Arab Emirates, but at the summit we also clearly saw normalization with the Saudis,” he said.

After Warsaw summit, Arabs launch ‘anti-normalization’ campaign

In response to last week’s US-sponsored conference in Warsaw on peace and security in the Middle East, which brought together several Arab foreign ministers and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Arab political activists and media representatives have launched a campaign aimed at criminalizing normalization between the Arab states and Israel.

The campaign, launched on Saturday on Twitter, is being waged under the hashtag “Normalization is Treason.”

The purpose of the campaign is to shame Arabs who visit Israel or meet with Israelis by accusing them of promoting normalization with the Israeli “enemy.”

Many Arabs, including Palestinians, have expressed outrage over the participation of Arab foreign ministers in the Warsaw conference, which they claim was part of a US “conspiracy” to promote normalization between the Arab countries and Israel.

“Normalization with the occupation is an unforgivable treason,” commented Abdel Qaser El-Sharif. “Our Palestinian people have paid a heavy price for the sake of their freedom and the dignity of the Arab nation.”

Yasser al-Agha, from the Gaza Strip, said that “normalization with the occupation means rewarding it for its crimes against our people.” He also urged the Arab people to “move quickly to stop the train of normalization.”

Sweden Rules Out Moving Israel Embassy To Jerusalem

The Swedish government has totally ruled out moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem following a request by the Liberal Party with Foreign Minister Margot Wallström saying a move would contradict European Union convention.

The initial request to move the Swedish embassy to Jerusalem came last Autumn when both the populist Sweden Democrats (SD) and the Christian Democrats both submitted motions and have now been joined in support by Liberal Party foreign policy spokesman Fredrik Malm Sveriges Radio reports.

Christian Democrat Magnus Jacobsson wrote in support of the move last Autumn saying, “This is a peculiar mark that signals that Sweden has a closer relationship with the Palestinian Authority than to the only eastern functioning democracy, Israel.”

A final decision on the proposal is expected this week from the foreign affairs committee with Mr Malm arguing, “Sweden must fully accept and acknowledge that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and that also means that, at the appropriate time, Sweden should move our embassy to Jerusalem.”

Record number of reports criticizing Israel said to be released by UN next month

The United Nations Humans Rights Council is expected to release a series of reports critical of Israel next month, including one reportedly accusing the military of war crimes over its response to violent protests by Palestinians on the Gaza border.

According to the pro-Israel watchdog group UN Watch, the March 18 session in Geneva will also see the release of a “blacklist” of companies operating in West Bank settlements.

Other reports are set to accuse Israel of alleged human rights violations in the Golan Heights, which it captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war, and in territories claimed by the Palestinians for a future state, Channel 12 news reported Thursday.

The main focus of the meeting will likely be the findings of an investigation that the UNHRC approved in May into Israeli troops’ killings of Palestinians in riots along the security fence with the Gaza Strip.

Israel vowed not to cooperate with the probe and defended its response to the clashes, which it has accused the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group of using as cover to carry out attacks and attempts to breach the border.

The investigation is being headed by Santiago Canton of Argentina, a former aide to US president Jimmy Carter.

Mayors of US cities now have the option of joining an annual trip to Israel

The US Conference of Mayors has entered into an agreement for the American Jewish Committee to host a delegation of US mayors on a structured tour of Israel each year.

Leading the initiative for the Mayors Conference is Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, chair of the conference’s international committee. She and AJC CEO David Harris participated in the signing ceremony on January 24 at the Mayors Conference winter meeting in Washington, DC.

Whaley said the Mayors Conference tested the project with two trips over the last year and a half. She chaired the second trip in May 2018.

“These kind of trips, that are really well done and full of content, help mayors understand the world more,” she says. “Cities are places with really diverse populations. And having contacts with those populations is important.”

NY Mayor declares city’s intention to ‘wage war’ on antisemitism

New York Mayor Bill de Bellazio delivered a “Declaration Against Antisemitism” speech at a rally in a Brooklyn synagogue on Thursday.

The speech cam after a series of antisemitic incidents struck his city and the United States, and in light of recent antisemitic political statements made by senior government officials.

“The recent events are a reminder to all of us – and this is a very sad reality, but antisemitism exists in this world, in this city, in this country, and must stop it,” De Blasio told an audience at the Kingsway Jewish Center.

“If someone tries to underestimate the importance of the war on antisemitism, if someone tries to hint that this is not a big problem, he should look at history, not just the last few years, about the two thousand years of history, the bias and discrimination of the Jewish people, but we will not allow it to happen in New York , In a city with the largest Jewish community in the world,” De Blasio continued.

De Blasio called on politicians to support Israel.

US-backed forces in Syria to declare defeat of IS in coming days

Kurdish-led forces said Saturday they were holding up the announcement of final victory over the Islamic State jihadist group for “a few days” because the large number of civilians remaining on the battlefield had forced a delay.

US President Donald Trump had said Friday that he expected the eradication of the “caliphate” that IS proclaimed in 2014 to be announced within 24 hours.

But spokesmen for the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said the surprise discovery of so many civilians still inside the jihadists’ last enclave had forced commanders to slow the advance.

IS is now reduced to a tiny pocket of half a square kilometer (a fifth of a square mile) where its fighters and civilians still under their control are holed up in tunnels, the assault’s overall commander Jia Furat told a news conference.

“In a very short time, not longer than a few days, we will officially announce the end of IS’s existence,” Furat said.

“These days, IS is besieged in a neighborhood that is estimated to be 700 meters long and 700 meters wide.”

Iran and India slam Pakistan for “sheltering terrorists”

Iran and India are both outraged over recent terror attacks that appear to involve networks linked to extremists in Pakistan. Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Commander Mohammed Ali Jafar called on Pakistan to fight “takifiri” terrorists after 27 IRGC members were killed in a suicide bombing targeting a bus near the Pakistan border.

Meanwhile India is also outraged at a terror attack in Pulwana in which 40 Indian Central Reserve Police Force members were killed. The attack on the Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir also targeted a bus. A group called Jaish-e-Mohammed was fingered as responsible. In Iran it was the IRGC members patrolling the border in Sistan and Baluchestan province and the attack is blamed on Jaish al-Asl, a Baluch militant group. In both cases the attacks took place in regions that have long had a restive insurgency involving Islamist groups that are both separatists and involved in terrorism. In both cases the groups are said to receive support from across the border in Pakistan.

Indian intelligence chiefs are meeting and expected to come down harshly on Pakistan for its alleged involvement. This is not the first time that extremists from Pakistan have attacked India, either in Kashmir or Mumbai and other areas. India and Iran have received sympathy from countries around the world, particularly Russia which sent condolences to both. Iran appears ready to strike at the militants across the border if Pakistan does not act quickly.

India says it is working to isolate Pakistan diplomatically after the attack. Like Iran, India has said those responsible in Pakistan will pay a “heavy price” and this indicates there may be reprisals.

CAMERA Op-Ee: Forty Years of Misreading Iran

The Washington Post, meanwhile, reported that Khomeini was “sometimes called Iran’s Mahatma Gandhi” and unlike “what the Shah’s propagandists had claimed,” the dictator wasn’t going to return Iran “to the Middle Ages.” The regime, the newspaper told readers, couldn’t afford to be ideological if it was to survive.

Failures of imagination have plagued Iran analyses ever since.

For example, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who oversaw assassinations of dissidents as head of the Supreme National Security Council, is often labeled a “moderate” by press and policymakers alike.

The Islamic Republic’s employment of terror and assassinations are but tools in service of its vision. Yet, here too the mullah’s endgame is frequently misunderstood with many overstating the role of sectarianism. Shi’ite Muslim Iran, they claim, is in a pitched battle with Sunni Muslim Arab nations predicated exclusively on their belonging to different sects.

But Khomeini’s dream was much broader, and more ambitious, than that. As the historian Ray Takeyh noted, Iran wanted to launch a new “Islamic epoch” with it at the epicenter. Calling for a “revolution without borders,” Khomeini exhorted: “We don’t recognize Iran as ours, as all Muslim countries are a part of us.”

Henry Kissinger once asserted that Iran must decide, “whether it is a nation or a cause.” Yet, the Islamic Republic’s decision—to lead an Islamic revolution across the region and beyond—has always been clear, muddled observations notwithstanding.

Iran Mocks Trump Admin as U.S. Preps New Campaign to Crush Tehran

Meanwhile, back in Washington, D.C., top GOP lawmakers are gearing up to launch a new blitz on Iran, according to sources from multiple offices who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

The Warsaw ministerial was held amid growing concerns on Capitol Hill about weaknesses in the Trump administration’s efforts to further isolate Iran. To that end, lawmakers will seek to ratchet up pressure on Tehran following a brief recess period.

“Lawmakers will strongly support Vice President Pence’s timely call for Europe to end the nuke deal, stop helping the terrorist regime in Tehran to evade sanctions, and start standing with the Iranian people in their struggle for freedom and human rights against the theocratic dictatorship,” one senior Republican congressional official told the Free Beacon.

The White House National Security Council is said to be in full agreement with these congressional hardliners, a situation that is likely to generate a level of tension with the U.S. State Department, which has faced criticism for what some sources described as its tendency to play both sides of the coin in the Iran debate.

A second senior Congressional official who deals with Iran issues told the Free Beacon that choking off Iran’s ongoing oil trade will emerge as a key portion of the new pressure campaign on Tehran.

“Zarif is right that Iran’s economy is holding up under pressure, but that has nothing to do with Europe, even though the Europeans have certainly tried. It’s because the Trump administration lets Iran export a million barrels a day and stay connected to banks around the world,” said the source, who was not authorized to speak on record. “That’s both readily apparent and easily solved.”

While the Trump administration abandoned the landmark nuclear deal last year, some in the State Department have sought to keep the agreement on life support via talks with European leaders still eager to conduct business with Tehran.

This inter-agency battle is likely to come to a head in the coming weeks as new economic sanctions and Iran’s contested missile program make their way back onto Congress’s agenda. It has become clear in recent days that the White House and Congress are calibrating a fierce response to Tehran’s posturing, sources said.

Pence accuses Iran of Nazi-like antisemitism

US Vice President Mike Pence accused Iran on Friday of antisemitism akin to the Nazis following his visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland that had strengthened his resolve to act against Tehran.

“We have the regime in Tehran that’s breathing out murderous threats, with the same vile antisemitic hatred that animated the Nazis in Europe,” Pence told reporters on Air Force Two before landing in Munich.

He said that being in Auschwitz had made him reflect to “strengthen the resolve of the free world to oppose that kind of vile hatred and to confront authoritarian threats of our time.”

In a related development, US Vice President Mike Pence accused Washington’s European allies of trying to break US sanctions against Tehran and called on them to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, during the Warsaw ministerial conference on Thursday.

“Sadly, some of our leading European partners have not been nearly as cooperative. In fact, they have led the effort to create mechanisms to break up our sanctions,” Pence said.

Iran rejects antisemitism allegation by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence

Iran on Saturday rejected accusations of antisemitism leveled against it by US Vice President Mike Pence, saying it respected Judaism but opposed Israel, which Tehran said was acting like a “killing machine against the Palestinians.”

Pence accused Iran of Nazi-like antisemitism on Friday after visiting the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, maintaining his harsh rhetoric just a day after attacking European powers for trying to undermine US sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

“Iran’s historic and cultural record of coexistence and respect for divine religions, particularly Judaism, is recorded in reliable historic documents of various nations,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said.

“The principle that underlies our foreign policy is the aggressive and occupying nature of the Zionist regime (Israel)…, which is a killing machine against the Palestinian people,” Qasemi said, according the ministry’s website.

Speaking to Germany’s Der Spiegel Online, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described Pence’s accusation as “laughable,” adding: “Iran has always supported the Jews. We are just against Zionists. The Holocaust was a disaster.”

Iran confirms second failed satellite launch, alleges possible US sabotage

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif confirmed that Tehran attempted a second satellite launch earlier this month despite US criticism that its space program is helping to develop ballistic missiles.

In an interview with NBC news screened Friday, Zarif said it was “quite possible” the United States was sabotaging the Iranian space program.

“We don’t know yet,” he said. “We need to look into it very carefully.”

Zarif said Tehran was already investigating the failed satellite launches in January and February, but was now “looking into the specifics” of a sabotage campaign following a report in The New York Times this week.

Current and former US officials told the Times the Trump administration had accelerated a George W. Bush-era program to sabotage Iran’s development of rockets and missiles.

Last week, images released by Colorado-based company DigitalGlobe showed that rockets previously spotted at the Imam Khomeini Space Center were gone, with what appeared to be burn marks on its launch pad.

The US alleges such launches defy a UN Security Council resolution prohibiting Iran from engaging in activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads.

Twitter just punished the @Khamenei_ir account for promoting the murder of Salman Rushdie but it wasn’t as serious a violation as tweeting ‘learn to code’ at a journo

The tweet we told you about earlier from Ayatollah Khamenei promoting a bounty for the death of author Salman Rushdie is no longer available online:

So basically, tweeting “learn to code” at a journo gets you suspended but a tweet calling for the death of an author gets you put in “read-only mode”?

Yisrael Medad: A Wales of a Pogrom

I was sent this:
The Times, 15 February 2019:
Sir, Winston Churchill’s detractors need to recall that in August 1911 the Jewish communities of the “Western Valleys” (West Monmouthshire and East Glamorgan) were subjected to a week of brutal, premeditated assaults, robbery and looting by coal miners and their wives, whipped up by socialist propaganda. Only the troops deployed by Churchill, who was then home secretary, protected them. Churchill quite correctly referred to these incidents as a “pogrom”. Professor Geoffrey AldermanUniversity of Buckingham

Professor Alderman authored “The Jew as Scapegoat? The Settlement and Reception of Jews in South Wales before 1914”, Transactions & Miscellanies (Jewish Historical Society of England), Vol. 26 (1974-1978), pp. 62-70.

I admit I was unaware of this event. I am going to guess most of you are as well. So, a bit of history –

A campus infected with hostility: A professor says he’s been targeted for being a conservative Jew

Each time I walk into my office at Kingsborough Community College, I draw inspiration from a picture of my father, Leon Goldstein, the school’s president for 29 years and the man who built the college’s modern-day campus.

Yet in recent months, anti-Semites turned my father’s photo from a source of inspiration into a symbol of destruction. The vandalism marked the start of a systematic and pernicious campaign in which I have been targeted and harassed because of who I am and what I believe.

I’ve worked at Kingsborough for 20 years, and within the City University of New York network for 30 years. The anti-Semitic vandalism and death threat perpetrated outside my office this past February was unlike anything I’ve experienced before.

The reason for their attack? I’m Jewish, politically conservative and I believe in Zionism, the civil rights movement of the Jewish people.

The vandals defaced a photo of my father with anti-Semitic graffiti, including the words “F–k Trump Goldstein, Kill the Zionist Entity.” I later learned the incident came one day after Kingsborough Professor Katia Perea apparently told an administrator who refused her request to fire me, “I guess I will have to handle this myself.”

Perea, whom I have never met or spoken to, is a member of the Progressive Faculty Caucus, a radical faculty group at Kingsborough. (h/t Jewess)

Syracuse University Called to Stop Offering Credits for Internships With BDS Group

Syracuse University is being urged to cease granting college credits to students who intern with an activist group that promotes the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign.

The Syracuse Peace Council (SPC) is listed as one of 14 “internship sites” available to students majoring in Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition, each of which offers three credits and a letter grade.

The calls come in the wake of a gathering hosted by the SPC’s Justice for Palestine Committee on January 22 at ArtRage Gallery in Syracuse, which was attended by more than two dozen people, among them Campus Reform correspondent and SU student Justine Murray.

Activists at the event — titled “Palestine: Behind the Wall” — repeatedly denounced Zionism, a diverse movement that supports the Jewish people’s right to national self-determination, as a racist ideology.

During a one-on-one conversation with Murray, SPC member Julia Ganson — a former program manager at SU — was recorded agreeing when asked whether young kids should be taught about the US-designated terrorist organization Hamas and all “the good work they do.”

“I think so, yeah, yeah,” Ganson said of the Gaza-based Islamist group. “We’ve made it into this very simple thing, you know, Hamas is a terrorist group so we shouldn’t have anything to do with them. They have done a lot of good for Palestinians.”

Introducing France 24 Watch

France 24 (pronounced “France vingt-quatre”) the wholly state-owned international news and current affairs television network broadcasts in French, English, Arabic, and Spanish via satellite and cable operators around the world and apps for mobile phones. It aims to compete with leading English-language international news channels BBC World News and CNN International. With a €100 million budget each year it certainly has a shot.

It occurred to me that although France 24 (and occasionally other French media in English) generally don’t show the degree of nastiness and anti Israel advocacy of the BBC, the Guardian or the New York Times it would be a public service to keep an occasional eye on their Israel reporting.
For our first effort

Is this the whole story on Two Gazans who died in Egypt border tunnel?

Two omissions struck me in this report.

The first was implication that the Rafah crossing is now open and goods are freely moving into Gaza. Some goods including cooking oil, cement, and benzene have recently entered but that isn’t free trading.

It was not noted in the France 24 account that the crossing is specifically for pedestrians and generally not goods. Surely France 24 should be informing its readers that the crossing is closed most of the time and the reasons for this. Significantly even the illustrative photograph shows the gates closed.

Holocaust Denier David Irving Reportedly on New Speaking Tour of UK

David Irving, the octogenarian British Holocaust denier, is reported to have been back on the road this week with a speaking tour on “Unusual History.”

Irving, who unsuccessfully sued the American Jewish historian Deborah Lipstadt for libel two decades ago, is the author of several books on Nazi Germany, all of which whitewash Hitler’s regime and demonize Allied leaders like Winston Churchill and FDR as “war criminals.” After his libel action against Lipstadt failed, the judge in the case, Sir Charles Gray, famously reduced Irving’s reputation to that of a “Holocaust denier, antisemite, and racist.”

Irving has continued to push his Holocaust denial agenda, and was even jailed by the Austrian authorities in 2006 for a talk he gave in Vienna nearly twenty years earlier that described the Nazi gas chambers as a “fairytale.” This week, the Scottish news outlet The Ferret discovered Irving on his latest tour of the British Isles, taking in Glasgow and Stirling in Scotland and Manchester, Birmingham and Coventry in England.

News of Irving’s presence in Scotland brought condemnation from local Jewish and anti-racist groups, The Ferret reported.

Edward Sutherland of the Confederation of Friends of Israel Scotland (COFIS) said: “We reject the discredited and grossly offensive views that David Irving has expressed about the Holocaust, and believe the secrecy surrounding his tour shows that even he now recognizes that they are not appropriate for any public space.”

French Political Parties Unite Behind Upcoming Rally in Paris Against Antisemitism

Fourteen of France’s political parties, ranging from the far-left to the center-right, have signed onto a call urging French citizens to attend a rally against antisemitism in Paris on Tuesday night.

The appeal for a mass show of opposition to antisemitism came at the close of a traumatic week, with at least three high-profile incidents targeting Jews reported, as well as the publication of government statistics that showed a shocking rise of 74 percent in antisemitic hate crimes during 2018.

Around 460,000 Jews live in France, approximately 0.71 percent of the country’s total population.

The initiative for Tuesday’s rally, scheduled for 7 p.m. local time in the French capital’s Place de la Republique, came from the French Socialist Party (PS). Announcing the rally in a tweet that included the logos of all 14 parties backing it, PS parliamentarian Olivier Faure declared, “Let’s gather together to say that antisemitism kills. It’s not just an issue for the Jews, but for the whole nation.”

Microsoft, TomTom Partner With Israeli Navigation Startup Moovit

Microsoft and Dutch traffic and navigation app developer TomTom N.V. have partnered with Israeli public transit app developer Moovit App Global Ltd. to offer a comprehensive trip planner, the companies announced Tuesday.

The collaborative app, based on Microsoft’s Azure Maps technology, is designed to identify and present all of the driving, parking, and public transportation options available for a specific trip. The app displays trip options that include real time driving directions and public transport data, car, scooter, and bike-sharing information, parking lots, and on-foot travel.

Chris Pendleton, head of Azure Maps, together with Moovit co-founder and CEO Nir Erez and TomTom managing director Anders Truelsen, unveiled the new app during a keynote presentation at the MOVE 2019 mobility conference in London.

Moovit first announced it will integrate its public transit information to Microsoft’s Azure Maps in November 2018.

Founded in 2012 and based in central Israel, Moovit develops a free public transportation app used by over 300 million people in more than 2,700 cities in 86 countries, the company stated. Moovit has raised approximately $132 million to date, according to Pitchbook data. Investors in the company include actor Ashton Kutcher and BMW iVentures.

How Israel solves the concrete problem that’s killing the oceans

Concrete is the second most consumed material in the world after water, says ECOncrete co-founder Ido Sella in a video produced by Palestinian-Israeli Nuseir Yassin blogger who reached millions of fans via his Daily Nas page.

The issue is that concrete, as it is currently used in marine-related construction like bridges and wave-breakers, causes damage to marine life.

The damage is caused both by how current cement blocks are designed, which doesn’t take into account the needs of sea life forms, and the chemicals used to create modern concrete, which have a negative effect on the ecosystem.

The solution offered by Sella and ECOncrete CEO Shimrit Perkol-Finkel is both structural and material-based.

Their innovative design includes small holes and spaces for fish to hid in, and sea-weed to grow in, and they use less Portland cement than other types of concrete, OZY reported in January 2018, replacing it with recycled materials.

Son of ‘Japanese Schindler’ dedicates memorial in Jerusalem

The story of Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist who saved hundreds of Jews from death in the Holocaust and honored by Yad Vashem as a “Righteous Among the Nations,” is one of the most well known episodes in Holocaust history.

Less well known is the story of the “Japanese Schindler,” Chiune Sugihara, who according to estimates saved roughly 6,000 Lithuanian Jews simply by granting them visas.

Sugihara was Japan’s ambassador to Lithuania in 1940, when the Germans invaded the country. Jews came to the Japanese consulate in the hope of obtaining visas to escape the Nazis. The Japanese government denied Sugihara’s request to grant them visas, but he decided to disobey the order and grant them anyway.

He was able to print and stamp about 2,000 family visas, on which multiple people could travel, before he was forced to leave Kaunas (at that time the Lithuanian capital). According to witnesses, he kept writing visas on his way to the train, and when he ran out of time he threw papers stamped with the consulate seal and his signature out the train window, so that refugees in the following crowd could write the visas on their own.

Once he returned to Japan, he was fired by the government for disobediance.

A report on Israel’s Kan News followed Sugihara’s son, Nobuki, at a dedication of a plaque for his father at the Chamber of the Holocaust, a small museum on Mt. Zion in Jerusalem.

Researchers unlock the mystery of Polish diplomats who rescued Jews

Growing up, Heidi Fishman knew that she was alive thanks to her grandfather’s Paraguayan passport.

A Jewish author from Vermont, she was told as a little girl that Heinz Lichtenstern’s passport was the only reason that her maternal grandparents and mother managed to avoid being sent to a Nazi death camp in occupied Europe.

But only long after his death did Fishman, 56, begin to wonder how the passport got to her grandfather, a Germany-born Jew with no known ties to Paraguay.

“I never knew where the passport came from,” she said earlier this month at a lecture about her family’s survival story. “I just accepted the story from my mom: We had a Paraguayan passport. But where did it come from?”

This question last year led Fishman and others to lift from the shadows one of the most remarkable and large-scale Holocaust operations of its kind.

14 must-read books about Israel

In this advanced digital age sometimes it’s still nice to receive a good book that can be held in your hands, flipped through, and used as a learning tool in your household.

The following 14 English-language books, all from the last decade, are excellent representations of Israel in food, culture, history, technology and children’s literature, written by leading authors, illustrators, and photographers from Israel and the English-speaking world.

Each one would make a stellar gift for family or friends with a broad range of interests, or would do as just a little something for yourself to learn about one of the most fascinating countries in the world.

Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn, by Daniel Gordis
No Room for Small Dreams: Courage, Imagination and the Making of Modern Israel, by Shimon Peres
Israel Rising: Ancient Prophecy/Modern Lens, by Doug Hershey
A History of Israel: From the Bronze Age through the Jewish Wars, by Walter C. Kaiser Jr. and Paul D. Wegner
The Story of the Holy Land: A Visual History, by Peter Walker
Israeli Soul, by Michael Solomonov
Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
Thou Shalt Innovate: How Israeli Ingenuity Repairs the World, by Avi Jorisch
Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-Starved World, by Seth M. Siegel
Fast Asleep in a Little Village in Israel, by Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod
The Colors of Israel, by Rachel Raz
Israel 70 Year Independence Coloring Book, by Rachel Mintz
A Year in the Garden (Shana BaGina) Gardening Calendar, by Ilana Stein
DIY Tel Aviv – Your Alternative City Guide, by Shimrit Elisar

Pence Warns at Auschwitz: Flames of Anti-Semitism Rising in U.S., Across Globe

Vice President Mike Pence, during a tour of the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp where millions of Jews were put to death during World War II, warned that anti-Semitism is still alive, well, and growing at an alarming rate in the United States and abroad.

Pence, on the heels his participation in a global conference in Warsaw aimed at confronting Iran—one of the chief international purveyors of Jew hatred—warned that historical dark days like those of the Holocaust begin “with vile rhetoric.”

Pence’s comments on anti-Semitism come at a noteworthy time in the United States, as Democrats in Congress grapple with rising anti-Semitism in their own ranks. Thanks to a class of newly elected freshman Democrats such as Reps. Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and others, anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel is quickly becoming a topic du jour in America.

Omar, for instance, has made multiple anti-Semitic statements and appears to be unrepentant about her hatred of Israel and what the nation represents to global Jewry.

“Well we just walked to the end of the road of anti-Semitism in Auschwitz and that’s why anti-Semitism needs to be universally condemned,” Pence said as he finished his tour of the infamous death camp.



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