March 4, 2021

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03/07 Links: Why Abbas Rejects Trump’s Deal (And Any Other Deal With Israel); Melanie Phillips: The real centre ground the only political show in town; Remembering a one-armed Zionist hero

From Ian:

Ha’aretz: Why Abbas Rejects Trump’s Deal (And Any Other Deal With Israel)
Years passed, and, responding to Trump’s plan at a January 28, 2020 press conference in Ramallah, Abbas exposed the deeper layer of the PLO’s beliefs, saying: “Dear brothers, I consider this deal as the culmination of the Balfour declaration… The ‘Deal of the Century’ is based on the Balfour Declaration, which was created by America and Britain. Some may find this strange. America? Yes, America! And Britain. It was America that formulated [the Balfour Declaration], in agreement with Britain, and it was America that incorporated it into the Covenant of the League of Nations… America founded the Balfour Declaration, and it has now begun to implement it.”

Indeed, according to Article 20 of the 1964 Palestinian Covenant, “The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void.” And so, even 22 years after the ceremony in which the covenant was “abolished,” the PLO continues to consider the Balfour Declaration a source of continuous injustice that has been done to the Palestinians. It is in this spirit that in his article marking the centenary of the declaration titled “The Burden of Lord Balfour” (The Cairo Reviews of Global Affairs, November 17, 2017) Abbas wrote: “Lord Arthur Balfour was a British foreign secretary who decided to change the identity and fate of Palestine, a land that he did not own, by promising it to the Zionist movement, and dramatically altering the history of the Palestinian people… The Balfour Declaration of 1917 symbolizes the international role in the Palestinian catastrophe and exodus, the Nakba of 1948.”

In that article Abbas also proposed a solution to the refugee issue: “We also reiterate that, in order to end claims with Israel, there must be a just solution for the seven million Palestinian refugees based on the choice of every refugee,” i.e., his choice between returning to his family’s original home in Israel and accepting financial compensation.

The meaning of this permanent demand is that the PLO is not authorized to represent the will of each individual refugee, and hence the PLO is unable to agree with the Israeli government on any quota of refugees that would be allowed to settle in Israel. Hence, the PLO is unable to include in any agreement the vital component of “mutual end of claims.” This barrier is in addition to the PLO’s ongoing claim to the entire territory of Israel, a demand on which organization still educate its youth.

The new American “Peace to Prosperity” plan implicitly anticipates that, within the next four years, the PLO leadership will return to the negotiation table. In order to avoid future mistakes, we must abandon the erroneous theory that “the PLO is the solution.” We must not close our eyes to the simple fact that, for the PLO, the core issue is the hundred-year-old “injustice” embedded in the very existence of Jewish sovereignty in any part of Palestine. This gap cannot be bridged, and no plan that any Israeli government can accept can also satisfy the PLO. Therefore, a peace treaty with the PLO cannot and will not be signed.
Ze’ev B. Begin is a researcher in MEMRI, The Middle East Media Research Institute.

How Bad Is Antisemitism In Europe? Surveys Suggest It’s Rampant

Pew Research nodded toward this issue last year, while studying European attitudes 30 years after the Berlin Wall’s fall. Jews were not the poll’s focus, but it’s striking that Jews were rated favorably by their fellow countrymen in “the Netherlands (92%), Sweden (92%), the UK (90%) and France (89%).”

Seventy-four years after the Holocaust’s end, Pew also learned that only 12 percent of Germans in former East Germany and 5 percent in former West Germany viewed Jews unfavorably. Eighty-six percent of Germans told Pew they had favorable opinions of Jews in 2019, compared to 53 percent in 1991.

Unfortunately, other surveys don’t echo these upbeat numbers. Asked about this, a Pew Research spokesman, who pointed to some questions posed by Pew’s “international religion survey team” in 2017, emailed, “Neither survey set out to measure antisemitism. In fact, we are very careful NOT to make any claims that our questions are actually measuring antisemitism.”

So, stipulating that Pew’s surveys do not expressly study antisemitism, lack the qualitative data Pew’s spokesman considers necessary, and include few questions, let’s look at the 2017 data, because Pew remains a reputable source. That year, surveyors asked Europeans in 15 countries whether they would accept a Jew as family or a neighbor, whether Jews “pursue their own interests” rather than their home country’s, and whether Jews “overstate how much they have suffered.”

I’d submit that the number of Europeans opposed to Jewish relatives is irrelevant here. While it reflects a form of prejudice and is upsetting to any people involved, it doesn’t threaten Jews’ ability to live freely or safely.

By contrast, not wanting Jewish neighbors is housing discrimination and affects every Jewish citizen. So when 12 percent of Italians, along with 10 percent of Irish and Portuguese respondents say they wouldn’t “be willing to accept Jews as” neighbors, that matters.

When 36 percent of Portuguese respondents, along with 32 percent of Spaniards, 31 percent of Italians, and 28 percent of Belgians agree that “Jews always pursue their own interests and not the interest of the country they live in,” that’s concerning.

And when 36 percent of Italians, 33 percent of Portuguese, 30 percent of Spanish, and 28 percent of Belgian respondents tell Pew pollsters they agree that “Jews always overstate how much they have suffered,” that’s a red flag. Neighbors who believe you’re exaggerating about historical suffering are unlikely to empathize over your contemporary concerns.

Anti-Zionist Propaganda, Conspiracy Theories Fueling Rise of Antisemitism in Italy, New Report Shows

Anti-Jewish incidents in Italy climbed sharply in 2019, the latest report from the country’s main antisemitism monitor revealed on Friday.

Data gathered by the Milan-based “Osservatorio Antisemitismo” (Antisemitism Observatory) showed that there were 251 incidents of hatred targeting Jews last year, compared with 197 such incidents in 2018.

About 30,000 Jews live in Italy, concentrated in a handful of major cities.

The majority of the 2019 incidents — 173 — involved antisemitic posts online that were reported to the Observatory. In other categories, there were 31 incidents of verbal abuse, 23 instances of antisemitic graffiti and two violent assaults, one involving a woman in Rome who was slapped and spat upon by her assailant, and the other a man in the northern town of Prunetto who was punched and insulted with anti-Jewish epithets.

Stefano Gatti — the editor of the Observatory’s report — told the Italian Jewish news outlet Bet Magazine Mosaico that part of the reason for the increase was a greater willingness among victims to report attacks.

Equally, Gatti emphasized that the available data was likely an “underestimate” of the scale of the problem, “because they only include explicit complaints and not cases that are unknown or unreported.”

Asked to explain the broader context around the rise of antisemitism in Italy, Gatti pointed to the visibility of anti-Zionist propaganda demonizing the State of Israel and the related popularity of conspiracy theories centered upon Jews.

Two of the incidents recorded by the Observatory in 2019 — the cancellation of a concert in Sardinia by the Israeli musician Eyal Lerner and a public campaign for the boycott of Israeli goods — were characterized as antisemitism promoted by Italian supporters of the effort to subject the Jewish state to boycotts, divestment and sanctions.

“In the pro-Palestinian rhetoric, the themes, myths and symbols of anti-Judaism re-emerge,” Gatti commented. “Deicide, the blood libel, exclusivism, hatred for the rest of humanity: Anti-Zionist propaganda is hybridized with anti-Jewish myths.”

Melanie Phillips: The real centre ground the only political show in town

Democracy, the process through which the people get to choose who governs them, involves a choice of leaders telling competing stories about how the world should be organized.

A healthy society, we have told ourselves, involves regularly changing those leaders and their stories to provide the checks and balances essential to avoid the dangers inherent in one-party rule.

In Israel, the United States and Britain, that process has stalled. The reason is that, in all three countries as elsewhere in the west, the story offered by the progressive side of politics has simply collapsed.

In Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud delivered a decisive election victory this week with 36 mandates to 33 for Benny Gantz’s Blue and White, and with the right-wing bloc winning 58 mandates to the left-wing’s 55. It is unclear whether the prime minister will be able to cobble together a coalition government. Nevertheless, this was undeniably a personal victory for Netanyahu.

Despite the looming prosecution against him for corruption and the overwhelming hostility of the media, a majority of people still voted for him, delivering the highest vote for the Likud in decades.

The reason is clear. Regardless of his undoubtedly formidable political skills, Netanyahu is not a magician. He didn’t win this popular mandate through the dark arts of political alchemy. He won because the majority of Israelis simply don’t trust anyone else to meet their overwhelming concern – to keep the country safe from its enemies.

Blue and White, Yisrael Beytenu MKs vow to form government, say no 4th election

Lawmakers from the Blue and White and Yisrael Beytenu parties vowed on Saturday to form a government without Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following the results of this week’s national election and claimed there would not be a fourth election despite the prospect of continued political gridlock.

Speaking on stage during an event in Modiin, Blue and White MK Asaf Zamir said: “This time, Gantz will swear-in a government.”

He did not say whether Blue and White would seek outside backing from the predominantly Arab Joint List for a minority government but expressed confidence his party would form a coalition.

He added that Blue and White would not sit in a government that includes the Joint List, but could work with it to advance legislation both back.

“We’ve always said we won’t sit in a coalition with the Joint List. I say again today, we won’t sit in a coalition with the Joint List,” Zamir said.

Zamir said working with the Joint List to pass laws supported by both parties, however, was “always an option on the table.”

The Blue and White MK did not specify what proposed laws both parties could back and whether this would include proposed legislation to bar a member of Knesset under indictment from leading a government — which would prevent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from assembling a coalition.

Speaking at the same event, Yisrael Beytenu MK Eli Avidar vowed there would not be a fourth round of elections and took a shot at Netanyahu after the premier’s Likud party and its right-wing religious allies again fell short of a majority.

Defense minister’s Twitter hacked, shares Palestinian flag, Turkish anthem

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett’s Twitter account was hacked early Saturday, posting an image of a Palestinian flag and the lyrics to Turkey’s national anthem.

The tweets were swiftly deleted after being sent out at around 2 a.m.

“The hack lasted a number of minutes. The content was immediately erased and the account password was replaced,” Bennett’s office said in a statement. “The matter was brought to the authorized cyber elements in the security forces to be dealt with.”

According to Channel 13 news, Israeli intelligence and cyber investigators were probing whether the hack also compromised Bennett’s cellphone.
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett’s Twitter account credits the author of Turkey’s national anthem in an apparent hack, March 7, 2020. (Screenshot/Twitter)

The defense establishment was working to determine if there was any security damage linked to the hacked, the report said.

The first tweet in the series posted on Bennett’s account said “freedom for palestine…” with the Palestinian flag, and was followed by the entirety of Turkey’s anthem in English, with images of the Turkish flag.

The last post credited the anthem’s author, Turkish poet Mehmet Akif Ersoy.

The incident was not the first time that apparent Turkish hackers cracked an Israeli official’s Twitter account.

Man Arrested for Allegedly Threatening Property Manager of Jersey City Building Where Deadly Kosher Market Shooting Took Place

A man from Jersey City, New Jersey, was arrested on Thursday two days after he allegedly threatened the property manager of the building that houses the kosher grocery store that was the site of a deadly antisemitic shooting in December.

Taylor Stackhouse, 38, was charged for making “terroristic threats” and committing “related bias crimes,” the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement.

“On Tuesday, March 3, 2020, at approximately 11:50 a.m., Stackhouse approached the victim — who was dressed in traditional Hasidic Jewish clothing and exiting the building on Martin Luther King Drive — and made multiple threats to the victim,” the statement noted.

“At this stage of the investigation, there is no indication that there is any connection between Stackhouse and the events of Dec. 10th,” the statement added.

Three civilians were murdered in the December attack. They were Leah Mindel Ferencz, 33, and Moshe Hirsch Deutsch, 24 — both members of the local Jewish community — as well as Douglas Miguel Rodriguez, a 49-year-old store employee who was an Ecuadorian native.

US health officials say no known risk to AIPAC attendees despite infections

US health authorities said Saturday that they had not identified a risk to AIPAC conference attendees, after the pro-Israel lobby group said at least two people who attended its policy conference have tested positive for the coronavirus.

AIPAC sent out a statement from the DC Health Department, which read: “Based on our investigation thus far, in collaboration with the New York State Department of Health (NYSDH), there is no identified risk to conference attendees at this time.”

The statement called for attendees to abide by public health guidelines and be wary of symptoms. The health department said it would work with AIPAC to keep attendees informed of any developments going forward.

AIPAC on Friday warned Congress, the Trump administration, activists and others about the virus infections, raising fears that politicians, including US Vice President Mike Pence, could have been exposed.

The annual conference, which ran from February 28 to March 2, drew 18,000 to Washington, DC.

Israeli delegation said holding talks in US on countering ICC war crimes probes

An Israeli delegation traveled to the United States this week for talks on coordinating a joint US-Israeli campaign against the International Criminal Court, Israeli television reported Friday.

According to Channel 13 news, the Israeli team landed in Washington on Thursday and was led by Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, the cabinet member in charge of Israel’s efforts to counter a potential ICC investigation into alleged war crimes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

An Israeli official told the network the trip was timed to coincide with the ICC’s approval on Thursday of a war crimes probe in Afghanistan, as American anger over the decision would underline that both the US and Israel have a common interest in opposing the court.

Steinitz, who was accompanied by Deputy National Security Adviser Reuven Azar, reportedly met with officials at the White House, State Department and Congress. An Israeli official said some of the meetings were with Democratic lawmakers, as Israel wants bipartisan backing against the court.

“The US has a lot of influence over the countries of the world and we want them to also put pressure on our matter when they are putting pressure on their matter and integrate us into their campaign,” the official said.

Fatou Bensouda, the ICC’s chief prosecutor, announced in December she had concluded her half-decade long preliminary examination of the “situation in Palestine” and has “reasonable basis to believe that war crimes were committed” by the Israel Defense Forces, Hamas and other “Palestinian armed groups.”

At the same time, she acknowledged that The Hague may not have the jurisdiction to deal with Israel/Palestine. Hence, she asked for a ruling by three ICC judges to determine the scope of the court’s territorial jurisdiction.

Trump Admin Rips International Criminal Court Decision to Probe U.S. Conduct in Afghanistan

The Trump administration will fight efforts by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate American personnel for alleged war crimes in Afghanistan, according to top U.S. officials who described the court’s efforts as a dangerous sham.

The ICC ruled on Thursday that it has jurisdiction to investigate and potentially prosecute American service members for alleged war crimes perpetrated in Afghanistan during America’s 18-plus years in the country. The decision marks a reversal of the court’s initial findings on the matter and prompted fierce pushback from the Trump administration, which maintains the ICC is conducting a politically motivated stunt meant to undermine America’s efforts to foster peace in the war-torn nation.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ripped the court’s decision in comments to reporters at the State Department.

“I received word this morning that the ICC Appeals Chamber authorized an investigation into the activities of the Taliban and U.S. and Afghan personnel there,” Pompeo said. “This is a truly breathtaking action by an unaccountable political institution masquerading as a legal body.”

The United States is not a member of the ICC and will fight efforts to target American military members, Pompeo said. He added that the timing of the decision showed disregard for ongoing U.S.-led peace efforts with the Taliban.

“It is all the more reckless for this ruling to come just days after the United States signed a historic peace deal in Afghanistan, which is the best chance for peace in a generation,” Pompeo said. “Indeed, the Afghan government itself pleaded with the ICC not to take this course. But the ICC politicians had other goals.”

“I will reiterate one more time: The United States is not a party to the ICC, and we will take all necessary measures to protect our citizens from this renegade, unlawful, so-called court,” the secretary added.

US Army scraps $1b. Iron Dome project, after Israel refuses to provide key codes

The US Army said it was curbing its plans to adopt the Iron Dome missile defense system due to concerns about its compatibility with existing US technologies, scrapping its plans to buy two more batteries and explore long-term integration of the Israel-developed system.

A central problem was Israel’s refusal to provide the US military with Iron Dome’s source code, hampering the Americans’ ability to integrate the system into their air defenses.

Gen. Mike Murray, head of Army Futures Command, said the service identified a number of problems — including cyber vulnerabilities and operational challenges — during efforts last year to integrate elements of Iron Dome with the US Army’s Integrated Battle Command System.

“It took us longer to acquire those [first] two batteries than we would have liked,” Murray told the House Armed Service tactical air and land forces subcommittee on Thursday. “We believe we cannot integrate them into our air defense system based on some interoperability challenges, some cyber challenges and some other challenges.”

Last year, the Army announced plans to acquire two Iron Dome batteries to provide US forces an interim cruise missile defense capability, as well as explore full adoption of the Israeli-developed system for a program called Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2-Intercept program.

The Army earmarked over $1 billion for the project to pluck select Iron Dome components and integrate them with US military’s Integrated Battle Command System by 2023.

Highest EU Court to Hold Hearings on Belgian Kosher Slaughter Ban

The European Court of Justice is to open hearings into the legality of measures adopted by Belgium’s Flanders and Wallonia regions effectively banning Shechita — the Jewish method of slaughtering animals for meat consumption — the main Belgian Jewish representative organization announced on Friday.

The court — the supreme authority on disputes concerning European Union law — will hear parties to the appeal on April 21 in Luxembourg, the Coordinating Committee of Belgian Jewish Organisations (CCOJB) said in a statement.

EU legislation allows exemption on religious grounds for non-stunned slaughter provided that they take place in authorized slaughterhouses.

The CCOJB said it would present its position during the hearings. The court will be asked to address issues concerning the competence of national governments to supersede EU legislation, freedom of religion, the neutrality of the state and fundamental rights.

The ban, initially legislated in 2017 to prevent both Jewish and Muslim methods of animal slaughter, has been in effect since Sept. 1, 2019. In a letter sent to the president of the Belgian regional parliament of Wallonia immediately after the measure was passed, Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog slammed what he called “an unacceptable infringement of general freedom of religion.”

Wrote Herzog: “We thought that restrictions on the practice of religion belonged to Europe’s history, not to its present and even less so to its future.”

Saudis reportedly detain three royal princes over ‘coup plot’

Saudi authorities have detained three princes including King Salman’s brother and nephew on charges of plotting a coup, US media reported Friday, signaling a further consolidation of power by the kingdom’s de facto ruler.

The detentions cast aside the last vestiges of potential opposition to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and come as the kingdom limits access to Islam’s holiest sites in a highly sensitive move to contain the fast-spreading coronavirus.

Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, a brother of King Salman, and the monarch’s nephew Prince Mohammed bin Nayef were accused of treason and taken from their homes early Friday by black-clad royal guards, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources.

The Saudi royal court has accused the two men, once potential contenders for the throne, of “plotting a coup to unseat the king and crown prince” and could face lifetime imprisonment or execution, the newspaper said.

The New York Times also reported the detentions, adding that Prince Nayef’s younger brother, Prince Nawaf bin Nayef, had also been detained.

Saudi authorities did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Saudi Arabia Reopens Mecca, Medina Holy Sites After Coronavirus Closure

Saudi Arabia reopened two of the most holy religious sites in Islam, Al-Haram Mosque in Mecca and Al-Masjid al Nabawy in Medina, after they were closed for sterilization to halt the spread of the new coronavirus, state TV Al-Ekhbariya reported on Friday.

Saudi Arabia closed the sites to foreign pilgrims and traditional tourists from some 25 countries to stop the spread of the virus. It also said that citizens and residents of Gulf Cooperation Council countries wishing to enter must wait 14 days after returning from outside the region.

Saudi Arabia has reported five cases of the coronavirus.

It was not clear from the Al-Ekhbariya report if pilgrims would be allowed to return to the sites.

2nd Tehran lawmaker dies from coronavirus as Iran death toll hits 145

An Iranian lawmaker died from the novel coronavirus on Saturday, state news agency IRNA reported, one of several officials to succumb to the illness in the epidemic-hit country.

Fatemeh Rahbar, 55, was a conservative MP and had recently been elected to the parliament from the capital Tehran, the agency said.

She is the second lawmaker killed by the virus in Iran and one of seven politicians and government officials who have died in the outbreak since the country reported its first cases in mid-February.

Rahbar was among the top candidates in Tehran for the conservatives, who overwhelmingly won February’s general election marked by the lowest turnout in the Islamic Republic’s history.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohamamd Javad Zarif later said American sanctions — reimposed from 2018, after Washington pulled out of a multilateral nuclear deal — were undermining Iran’s battle against the coronavirus.

US President Donald Trump “is maliciously tightening US’ illegal sanctions with the aim of draining Iran’s resources needed in the fight against #COVID-19 — while our citizens are dying from it” Zarif tweeted on Saturday.

“The world can no longer be silent as US #EconomicTerrorism is supplanted by its #MedicalTerrorism,” he said.

Known white supremacist unfurls Nazi flag at Bernie Sanders rally

A reporter for ABC 15 Arizona posted video on Twitter of what appeared to be the protester sauntering out of the arena shouting a racial epithet.

The Anti-Defamation League identified the white supremacist as Robert Sterkeson of Glendale, Arizona, who on multiple occasions has posted video of himself harassing Muslim and Jewish targets.

On Oct. 27, 2018, the day a white supremacist murdered 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue complex in Pittsburgh, Sterkeson unfurled a Nazi flag at a Jewish National Fund conference in the Phoenix area shouting anti-Semitic epithets while someone filmed him.

“Flying the swastika at Jewish National Fund conference on the same day as the synagogue shooting! #RobertBowersDidNothingWrong,” Sterkeson said at the time on social media.

2016: Palestinian flag waved at DNC

2016: US, Israeli flags burned at Bernie protest

Due to the far-left character of much of the Bernie Sanders support, anti-Israel and anti-American elements are attracted to the protests. On the first night of the convention Palestinian flags were raised in the audience. At the protests on the street last night, flags of countries less approved by some of the protesters were burned. Observers said they saw more PLO flags than US flags at the convention.

The Conservatarians Podcast: Benjamin Weingarten: Ilhan and Ingratitude

Benjamin Weingarten has written a new book titled American Ingrate: Ilhan Omar and the Progressive-Islamist Takeover of the Democratic Party, focusing on Minnesota’s favorite Squad member. Ben is a Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, Fellow at the Claremont Institute, and Senior Contributor at The Federalist. Follow him on Twitter!

Arabic paper in Canada says Israelis bury Palestinians alive, steal their organs

An Arabic-language newspaper in the greater Toronto area published an article falsely accusing Israel of burying Palestinians alive and stealing their organs, a Jewish group said.

The February 28 edition of al-Meshwar dedicates a half-page to “The Abuse of the Martyrs and the Manipulation of Their Bodies Are Jewish Commandments and Israeli Directives” by Mustafa Yusuf al-Lidawi, B’nai Brith Canada wrote in a statement Tuesday.

According to al-Lidawi’s Facebook page, he serves as a member of Hamas’ Department of Arab and Islamic Relations.

In the article, al-Lidawi falsely accuses Israel and blames the false accusation on the country’s “ancient malice, and Talmudic and Torah commandments.”

B’nai Brith Canada has reached out to Toronto Police in order to file a complaint.

“It is unacceptable that Canadian publications, in any language, continue to demonize Jews and glorify terrorism,” said Michael Mostyn, chief executive officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “These relentless and baseless attacks on our community undermine inter-communal relations and increase the risk to our safety.”

Brazilian high school students display Nazi salute to support a classmate

A group of 11 senior students from a Brazilian high school made the Nazi salute in support of a classmate running to become their speaker.

The students, aged 16 and 17, stood with one of their arms outstretched facing their colleague, displaying the gesture used by Nazis who supported Adolf Hitler.

The incident occurred at Saint Mary School, a private academy in Brazil’s northeastern city of Recife. A picture was posted on Instagram on Wednesday along with a message full of Nazi-related terms, reported the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper and other Brazilian media on Thursday.

“He promises to be the new Fuhrer of the grade on this journey towards building a new and innovative Reich,” the post said.

“A people person with good rhetoric,” it continued, followed by hashtags with the words “Aryan” and “fourth Reich.” It also included unrelated lewd comments.

On Thursday, the school principal met with the students, who were suspended for one week, and their parents. The account on which the picture was posted was removed from the internet.

“We apologize to all those who were offended,” read a school note. “Our school does not support any behavior that goes against Christian and ethical values and in relation to valuing life and respecting all races, peoples and beliefs.”

Muslim leader accused of writing Hitler was Jewish in pro-Hamas email

An email from 2014 bearing the signature of an influential leader of Dutch Muslims expressed support for Hamas and said that Adolf Hitler was Jewish.

The email carrying the signature of Yahia Bouyafa, chairman of the Association of Moroccan Mosques in the Netherlands, said that “Hamas is a legitimate and growing protest movement” against “usurpers” that used the Holocaust, “perpetrated by the Jew Hitler,” as a “pretext to steal Palestinian land,” the text read, according to an article published Sunday by De Telegraaf daily.

Bouyafa told the paper that the email was a forgery, but his Facebook page also contains references to “Hitler the Jew,” Telegraaf reported.
Aron Vrieler, a spokesman for the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, or CIDI, called the letter “the most vicious form of anti-Semitism” and urged Muslim groups to condemn it.

Saïd Bouharrou, the association’s second in command, told De Telegraaf: “This is bizarre and light years removed from everything we do. The association distances itself from such statements and I distance myself from it. We have a warm place in our heart towards the Jewish community, I don’t want to hear about this sort of nonsense.”

Dutch soccer coach called a Jewish player ‘cancer Jew,’ teammates say

A Dutch soccer coach is accused of calling an 11-year-old Jewish player “cancer Jew” during practice and harassing him over his religion.

The Dutch soccer association has suspended the team.

The boy, identified in an article Friday in Het Parool only as Tobias, caught the attention of the coach, who wasn’t named, last year because he wore a pendant with a Star of David, the boy told the daily. The team is the little league of the GeuzenMiddenmeer club from eastern Amsterdam.

“He asked me whether I’m an Ajax fan or a Jew,” the boy said, referencing the Amsterdam team that has many fans who use Jewish symbols as mascots. When Tobias told him he is Jewish, the coach asked: “And you’re not ashamed of it?” according to the boy.

During practice, the coach would yell to other players about Tobias: “Don’t let that Jew boy in” and “don’t let Jew boy score,” the boy said. During one match, when the players left the pitch due to rain, the coach said: “It seems like Hanukkah’s arrived,” according to the boy.

Genetic research: almost 25% of Latinos, Hispanics have Jewish DNA

A few weeks ago, something extraordinary happened that could forever affect the future of the Jewish People and the State of Israel.

There has long been speculation of significant Jewish ancestry among the populations of Latin and North America and Europe. Much of that was consistent with historical data, in that we know that extremely large numbers of those Jews who had been forcibly converted in Spain and Portugal – referred to variously as Anousim, Marranos, Conversos and Crypto-Jews – fled the Iberian Peninsula to the New World during the Age of Discovery, beginning late in the 15th century.

Throughout the years, many tried to place a number on the descendants of these Jews, the progeny of a couple of hundred thousand who were forced to the baptismal font to regain kidnapped children held hostage or as a result of repressive legislation and oppression.

Now, unprecedented genetic research undertaken by dozens of professors from around the world has provided evidence that almost a quarter of Latinos and Hispanics have significant Jewish DNA. The study, published in Nature Communications in December 2018, revealed that the number of descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jewish communities is far higher than even the largest estimates previously suggested.

The last official approximation of the number of people in Latin America, conducted by the United Nations in 2016, resulted in a figure of over 650 million. Add to that assessment the 60 million or so Latinos and Hispanics in the U.S., as well as the data from earlier genetic research showing that around 20% of the current population of 60 million people in the Iberian Peninsula have Jewish ancestry and the statistic becomes staggering. There could be as many as 200 million descendants of the Spanish and Portuguese Jewish communities around the world today.

Remembering a one-armed Zionist hero

The 100th yahrziet of Yosef Trumpeldor is the Shabbat eve before Purim this year. A century after his combat death, Trumpeldor stands out as one of the most important individuals who played a part in the founding and building of the State Of Israel. A courageous soldier, a brilliant and indefatigable organizer, and a highly principled and selfless pioneer, Trumpeldor was universally mourned by Zionists of all ideological persuasions.

Born in Russia in 1880, Trumpeldor lost an arm during the Russo-Japanese War at the 1904/1905 Siege of Port Arthur. Taken off of the front-lines because of his injury, he pleaded with his commander: “Even though I have only one arm, it is my right arm, and my request is that I be given a sword and rifle to continue to fight.”

Later he was a prisoner of war and organized Zionist activities for hundreds of Jewish fellow captives.

Trumpeldor rose to become an officer in the Czarist army, an extremely rare accomplishment for a Jew. After returning from the war, the intensification of Russian anti-Semitism convinced him that as a Jew, he had no future in Russia. His thoughts turned again to practical Zionism and he decided to leave Russia for the Land of Israel.

At this time, he developed the theoretical groundwork for the pioneering Zionist organization that eventually became known as HeChalutz. This was a group of young Jews who focused on preparing a generation of diaspora youth for a life of farming and manual labor in the Land of Israel. Trumpeldor envisaged the HeChalutz as “an army of anonymous servants of Zion,” which would renounce lives of ease and luxury for the “supreme challenge of building up” the Jewish community in the Land of Israel.

Trumpeldor arrived in the Land of Israel in 1911 and worked as a laborer in the Galilee. There, he became acquainted with the problems Zionist pioneers were facing. He saw that many Jewish landowners were hiring Arab workers instead of Jewish laborers because they were cheaper; he chose to take up the issue and called for Jewish employment. He also became involved with the HaShomer Jewish defense group.

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