July 15, 2020

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03/16 Links: Nothing happened at Gaza border today, proving Hamas completely controls the ‘Great March of Return’; Germany to deport terrorist Rasmea Odeh at urging of Amb. Grenell; Pro-Israel Lawyers Question Jurisdiction Of ICC


From Ian:

Nothing happened at Gaza border today, proving Hamas completely controls the ‘Great March of Return’
The supposedly civilian and spontaneous border ‘protests’ are a charade, a propaganda event, turned on and off by Hamas like a spigot. It’s deadly Pallywood.

The so-called ‘Great March of Return’ was launched in late March 2018.

Palestinian propagandists and western anti-Israel activists, amplified by the international media, routinely depict the ‘protests’ as a spontaneous civilian uprising caused by Israel’s blockade of Gaza.

But as we have shown in dozens of posts, the protests are violent riots, often under cover of huge clouds of burning tires.

The participants are led by Hamas and Islamic Jihad military operatives. It is no coincidence that at least 80% of the Palestinians killed were terrorist group members.

Joe Truzman has extensively documented both the violence and involvement of terror groups.

Even many of the “children” involved and sometimes killed are teenage terror group members.

So what didn’t happen today that proves our point?

The best proof that the riots are not spontaneous or civilian is that nothing happened today, for the first Friday in almost a year.

Germany to deport Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh at urging of U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell

When Rasmea Odeh was deported to Jordan by the U.S. government for immigration fraud in September 2017, it was uncertain whether we would hear from her again.

Who is Rasmea Odeh?

Odeh was the military member of the terrorist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine who masterminded and carried out the bombing of the SuperSol Supermarket in Jerusalem in 1969, killing two Hebrew University students. We recently marked the 50th Anniversary of the bombing, In Memory of Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner, murdered 50 years ago in a Jerusalem supermarket bombing.

Odeh was convicted of the bombing after a lengthy trial which even an observer from the International Red Cross said was fair. Odeh served 10 years of her life sentence before being released in a prisoner exchange for an Israeli soldier captured in Lebanon. Odeh then made her way to the U.S. where she lied on her visa and naturalization forms. When her fraud was discovered, she was prosecuted, and then deported in a plea deal by which she escaped a prison term.

Odeh and her supporters concocted a demonstrably false story that she only was convicted in Israel after she falsely confessed after 25 days of sexual torture. In fact, the evidence showed that she confessed after one day, and the additional evidence against her was overwhelming. For a full discussion, see this post, The Lies of Rasmea Odeh and Her Supporters Exposed.

Rasmea became a hero to the anti-Israel movement in the U.S., including now-Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib.

Sbarro terrorist wanted in the US

Ahlam al-Tamimi, a Jordanian terrorist who assisted in the 2001 suicide bombing in the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem, responded to a tweet by US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, who linked to the State Department’s Rewards for Justice program which offers financial rewards for information on the whereabouts of terrorists, including Tamimi.

Tamimi, who served a prison term for her part in the attack at the Sbarro restaurant and was released as part of an exchange deal with Hamas, said that Greenblatt’s remarks showed that he is a “racist figure working for the occupation.”

Tamimi, the first woman to join Hamas, was the person who drove the suicide bomber who carried out the Sbarro attack.

In 2017, the FBI placed her on its “Most Wanted Terrorist” list, charging her with “conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against US nationals outside the US, resulting in death.”

15 people, including two American citizens, were killed in the attack. Over 120 others were injured, including four Americans.

About Time: Pro-Israel Lawyers Question Jurisdiction Of International Criminal Court

On Friday, an international group of pro-Israel lawyers submitted formal evidence that challenges the infamously anti-Israel International Criminal Court’s (ICC) jurisdiction over Israeli “settlements” in the historical Jewish homeland of Judea and Samara — otherwise frequently referred to as the “West Bank.” Despite much of the “international community” settling on an alternative viewpoint, the most straightforward application of longstanding principles of international law is that Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria is entirely lawful.

Here is an excerpt of the press release from the pro-Israel group The Lawfare Project:

Top lawyers specializing in cases before the International Criminal Court (ICC) have filed a submission questioning the admissibility of cases regarding Israeli settlements. Steven Kay QC and Joshua Kern of 9 Bedford Row chambers in London made the submission with support from The Lawfare Project and UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI). An article regarding the submission is available here.

The submission emphasizes that the Israeli Supreme Court (sitting as the High Court of Justice) plays an active role ruling on matters relating to Israeli settlements. Because Israel’s own courts already rule on the issue and have issued several landmark rulings on settlements in the past, such cases are not admissible before the ICC. That is because — according to the core principle of “complementarity” under the Rome Statute, which governs the ICC — the ICC is not supposed to rule on issues where there are genuine proceedings before national courts. …

Pompeo pulls visas for International Criminal Court officials targeting Americans

International officials trying to prosecute American military personnel will not be allowed to enter the United States, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Friday.

“We are determined to protect the American, allied, and civilian personnel from living in fear of unjust prosecutions for actions taken to defend our great nation,” Pompeo told reporters at the State Department.

Pompeo’s decision puts personal pressure on the International Criminal Court, a European-based tribunal that is trying to investigate whether “war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed” since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. The top diplomat said that the court, which was established by a treaty that the United States voted against, is “attacking America’s rule of law” by second-guessing the government’s existing mechanisms for enforcing a “strict” code of conduct for U.S. troops.

“If you’re responsible for the proposed ICC investigation of U.S. personnel in connection with the situation in Afghanistan, you should not assume that you still have, or will get, a visa or that you will be permitted to enter the United States,” he told reporters.

The visa revocation is the latest clash between President Trump’s team and the international court. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda asked the tribunal in 2017 for the authority to launch an investigation into U.S. operations in Afghanistan. She wants to probe potential “war crimes” committed by American military personnel after the invasion, as well as CIA activities “in secret detention facilities in Afghanistan” and around the world. The ICC rejected Pompeo’s rebuke.

Not So Jewish, Not For Peace

What is it? The Washington Post recently described JVP as “a group that advocates for an end to Israeli occupation of the West Bank.” The New York Times has identified it as “a peace-advocacy group” or on another occasion as a “liberal group . . . critical of the right-wing Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu,” while the Los Angeles Times labels it an organization “critical of Israeli treatment of Palestinians.” But these descriptions are unenlightening. Most Jews are liberals, many are critical of Netanyahu and wish for an end to the occupation of the West Bank, and virtually all yearn for peace. The positions of JVP, however, are strikingly distinctive.

The group was founded in 1996 in Northern California’s Bay Area. Over the past two decades, it has grown into a national organization boasting a staff of more than two dozen and an annual budget of nearly $3 million, with its largest reported donor being the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.1

In its “guiding principles,” JVP says it is “inspired by Jewish tradition to work for justice.” What does this mean? The answer may be found in one of the few books JVP has published, in an essay by…Palestinian activist Linda Sarsour. Although her fierce hostility to Israel is felt by many to have crossed the line into anti-Semitism, Sarsour nonetheless used the platform provided by JVP to offer instruction on the meaning of Judaism. She opined that “being pro-Palestinian . . . is foundational to Judaism” because “wanting freedom and justice for Palestinians . . . reflects the teachings of Judaism, which focuses on uplifting the oppressed.”

In invoking “Jewish tradition” as the source of its “justice work,” JVP appends the further thought: “Such work is part of our own liberation.” This lingo suggests that JVP’s interpretation of Jewish tradition is elastic, if not idiosyncratic. Apart from commemorating the escape from bondage in Egypt, Judaism’s focus is on self-demand and self-discipline (10 commandments, 613 mitzvot), not self-liberation. The roots of JVP’s thoughts on “liberation” can be traced more readily to Marxism and 1960s New Leftism than to Judaism.

The affinity with broader leftist tradition is given voice by JVP’s campus coordinator Ben Lorber in an article on the JVP website about “Jewish Alternatives to Zionism.” In it he waxes nostalgic about a time when “thousands of left-wing Jews of various stripes eagerly supported the USSR and socialist or anarchist movements across Europe, drawing sharp distinctions between their varied commitments to workers’ revolution, on the one hand, and the false liberation promised by Zionist bourgeois nationalism, on the other.”

The Myth of the Kidnapped Yemenite Children, and the Sin It Conceals

In the 1960s, several Yemenite immigrants to Israel began to suspect that their infant children—who had been reported dead shortly after their arrival in the country some fifteen years earlier—were indeed alive. Since the children had died in hospitals when the parents were not present, and the parents never saw the bodies, they thought it possible that Israeli officials had secretly put the babies up for adoption with more Western, Ashkenazi families. The ensuing scandal led to three separate formal investigations, with the first beginning in 1967 and the last concluding in 2001. Most of the children could be accounted for, and there was no evidence of unauthorized adoptions. More recently, the Israeli State Archives made public all the information available on the affair. Yaakov Lozowick, the archives’ director at the time, reveals what was discovered:
There are no documents that tell or even hint at a governmental policy of kidnapping children for adoption. Not one. Had there been such a practice, there would by necessity be hundreds or thousands of elderly dark-skinned Israelis who grew up in light-skinned families in the 1950s and 60s. These people don’t exist. . . .

The stubborn staying power of the Yemenite kidnapped babies story comes from emotions, not historical data. There [are no such data], and never were—which is why opening thousands of files never made a dent. . . . Yet many family members will admit, at least in private, that what they are seeking is not evidence of kidnapping but closure for the deaths of their loved ones. They want to see a grave, not a scanned image of a Xeroxed copy of a list of graves from the 1970s. They want explanations for the demeaning behavior of arrogant medical staff and bureaucrats who brushed them off, and otherwise treated them as inferiors, or at least as bothersome.

If you assume—as I’m inclined to do—that the overworked staff trying to deal with a tsunami of immigrants in a poor country were normal people, and sometimes even idealists, it is also easy to imagine the callousness, and obtuseness, and even contempt, with which the young parents were fobbed off. Some of it can be explained by pressure, some by prejudice. And some, perhaps, by the need indeed to hide a secret—just not the one the activists seek.

Pompeo Heads to Israel Ahead of Contested Election

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to head to Israel next week ahead of a contested Israeli election that is seen as no guarantee for longtime Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The timing of Pompeo’s trip has generated much speculation about whether he is throwing the Trump administration’s support behind Netanyahu as he is locked in the race of his political career, an election being followed closely across the Middle East as it could reshape the Jewish state’s government at a critical juncture in the United States’s regional fight to thwart Iran and its terrorist proxies.

Pompeo, State Department officials said, has no plan to wade into Israel’s election, with sources saying his talks with Netanyahu and other senior Israeli diplomats will focus on the destabilizing role Hezbollah plays in Lebanon, another country Pompeo is slated to visit while in the region.

With the Israeli elections heating up, Israel has experienced a rash of terrorist attacks in recent days, making Pompeo’s appearance in the Jewish state all the more remarkable. Sources expect the secretary of state to affirm Israel’s right to self defense and, in private meetings, discuss aiding the Israeli military’s efforts to combat Hezbollah, which still asserts control in Lebanon.

However, Pompeo is facing a tricky diplomatic hurdle during his trip: How to convince concerned Israeli leaders the United States is combatting Hezbollah at the same time is provides the Lebanese Armed Forces with weaponry (LAF), some of which has made its way to Hezbollah militants embedded in that fighting force.

From Toulouse to New Zealand: Thoughts on the New Zealand terror attack

How should we weigh this attack and what can we learn from it. Authorities in New Zealand indicate the perpetrator had five guns, including two semi-automatic rifles. He was stopped by police 36 minutes after the first emergency call was made. That is not extremely fast, but it’s faster than many other terror attacks have been stopped. It took four hours to find and take down the San Barnardino terrorists in 2015, who killed 16 people. It took three hours to stop the mass murder in Orlando by a ISIS-inspired terrorist in 2016. Forty-nine people were killed. It took two days to stop the perpetrators of the Charlie Hebdo and kosher supermarket attack in January 2015 in France. The perpetrator of the Toulouse and Montauban shootings evaded police for a week, during which he attacked a Jewish school, filming the murders, on March 19, 2012.

Despite criticism of social media for spreading the initial video that the New Zealand terrorist live-streamed, the reality is that authorities and social media worked hard to stop the shooter and also to contain the spread of links to the video. In fact they may have gone too far in attempting to scrub the internet of the perpetrator’s presence, making it more difficult to understand how he was radicalized. This has become a typical response to terror in recent years, especially when confronting the far-right. Robert Bowers, the perpetrator of the Pittsburgh Synagogue massacre in October 2018, was active on the social network Gab, which came under criticism for hosting hate after the attack.

Social media companies have been quick to take down accounts of perpetrators, such as Nasim Aghdam, who attacked YouTube’s California headquarters in 2018. In 2018 Facebook and Twitter suspended accounts linked to Cesar Sayoc, who was accused of mail bombs. But it’s not entirely clear what motivates the decision to remove these accounts. Is it really to prevent the perpetrator’s ideas spreading? In many cases the perpetrator is in prison or dead, so is the theory that their account will be visited by like-minded copy-cats? Or is the real motive to hide the role that social media giants play in radicalizing these extremists and also to quickly disappear the network of “followers” these people have, which gives the follows anonymity to move on to follow other extremists.

The latter is an important question and the public is largely being excluded from a say in demanding more transparency and information about these attacks. The group-think after the New Zealand attack was to not share any video or details associated with the attacker, certainly not his “manifesto” or the footage of the murder, and also not even to say his name. But is this really a good way to confront the hate that fueled him. If you just stopped mentioning the KKK or Hitler would that mean that there was no KKK or Hitler? Don’t we usually want to learn from the crimes of the past to prevent their re-occurrence.

Why Is the Catholic Church Vocal on a Jewish Attack, but Not an Arab One?

As a Roman Catholic and a supporter of the Jewish state, I’m disappointed by the failure of law enforcement officials in Israel to successfully prosecute and punish the criminals who vandalized Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem in 2016.

The Associated Press recently reported that two Israeli Jews suspected of vandalizing the abbey were acquitted after the court ruled that a confession from one of the suspects was obtained through “emotional torture,” and therefore inadmissible. The ruling prompted prosecutors to drop the case for lack of evidence.

Wadie Abunassar, an Israeli Arab Christian who was quoted under the vague title “advisor to church leaders in the Holy Land,” declared that the outcome was “unacceptable” and that the Israeli government must bring the people responsible for the vandalism “to justice.”

I understand Abunassar’s anger. Vandals wrote “Death to Christians” and “Jesus is a Monkey” on the walls of the abbey dedicated to Mary. That’s pretty blasphemous and insulting stuff. But I’m not going to riot, stab, or intimidate anyone. I’m not going to set anything on fire. Instead, I will take some solace that one of the suspects remains in jail after having been convicted of a 2015 arson attack at the Church of the Multiplication.

This is how it goes. Sometimes evidence against a suspect is thrown out of court because it is deemed inadmissible, and seemingly guilty people walk free. It also happens in the United States. It has something to do with the rights of the accused in a democracy.

Like Monty Python: TV details how Hamas ‘accidentally’ fired rockets at Tel Aviv

The two Gaza rockets that almost brought Israel and Hamas to war late Thursday were fired by accident, Israel’s Channel 13 news reported Friday, when low-level Hamas operatives “messed with” a Gaza beach rocket launcher that was set up to fire toward Tel Aviv in the event of future conflict.

The report said the farcical chain of events that almost led to war was “like something out of Monty Python,” referring to the legendary British comedy group.

The report said news of rocket sirens blaring in Tel Aviv broke as Yihya Sinwar and other Hamas leaders were meeting with an Egyptian delegation trying to mediate eased Israeli economic restrictions on Gaza.

“You’re meeting with us at the same time as you’re firing on Tel Aviv?” the Egyptians reportedly asked Sinwar in fury.

He told them he knew nothing about the matter, went to check, and established what had happened, the report said.

The Egyptians then called Israeli defense chiefs and relayed what they had been told. Israel told the Egyptian delegation to leave Gaza — the delegates crossed into Israel at the Erez crossing — and then began its retaliatory strikes on Hamas targets.

Kim Kardashian cancels her Israeli visit

Celebrity Kim Kardashian will not be coming to Israel on Tuesday as planned, Maariv reported on Saturday.

The world-famous star of the E! show Keeping Up with the Karashians, and wife of rapper Kanye West, was meant to meet her Israeli fans on Wednesday as part of the promotional efforts for a new eye-wear collection by Carolina Lemke.

Photos of Kardashian and her co-launcher super-model Bar Refaeli were released last week and the collection is already available for online shoppers.

The reason for the cancellation was not given.

Palestinians rip doors off disputed building on Temple Mount

Palestinian worshipers on Friday ripped the doors off a building on the Temple Mount complex at the heart of recent tensions between Israeli security forces and the Islamic Waqf, which acts as the custodian of the volatile holy site on behalf of Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.

The Palestinian protesters removed the doors of the Gate of Mercy, or Bab al-Rahma, after Friday prayers, despite instructions from the Waqf, the Temple Mount custodian and the head sheikh, all of whom had urged calm.

A group of protesters also raised the Palestinian flag on the roof of the building, and it was then removed by police, according to the Haaretz daily.

The Gate of Mercy was sealed by Israeli authorities in 2003 because the group managing the area had ties to Hamas, and it has been kept closed to stop illegal construction work there by the Waqf.

Israeli officials believe the work carried out by the Waqf, which refused to allow any Israeli observers, has led to the destruction of antiquities from periods of Jewish presence in the area.

The Waqf has repeatedly challenged the closure, convening and staging prayer-protests in the area that often erupted into clashes with police.

Palestinian self-immolates on 3rd day of Gaza protests against Hamas

A senior Palestinian official said Saturday that the Ramallah-based leadership has asked Egypt to pressure Hamas over the violent suppression of protests, as a man set himself alight during a third day of demonstrations in Gaza against the terror group and the dire economic conditions in the enclave.

PLO Executive Committee member Wasel Abu-Youssef told the Times of Israel that the Palestinian representative to Egypt and the Arab League, Diab al-Louh, has called for an emergency high-level meeting of the regional organization to discuss the situation in Gaza. When asked if the meeting would discuss the violent suppression of protests, Abu Yousef said that it would.

According to Palestinian media reports, Qatar has also been asked to intervene in the escalating violence.

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip took to the streets on Saturday for the third successive day, with unverified footage emerging which appears to show a protester setting himself alight.

MEMRI: Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Calls For Anti-Regime Vengeance, Uprising Following Execution Of Its Activists

In February 2018, the Egyptian press reported that 15 members of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) had been executed.[1] On February 20, nine young men were executed for the assassination of Egypt’s prosecutor-general Hisham Barakat in 2015 – among them Ahmad Taha Wahdan, the son of Muhammad Taha Wahdan, a member of the Office of the MB General Guide. This is the first time the Egyptian regime has executed a son of a prominent MB official.[2] One week earlier, three men were executed for the murder of Egyptian General Nabil Faraj in 2013,[3] and two weeks before that another three were executed for killing the son of Appellate Court judge Mahmoud Al-Sayyid Al-Murli in 2014.[4]

The MB, both its old guard and its young guard, which is considered more militant,[5] responded to the executions with fury. The young guard condemned the executions and promised to continue its efforts to topple the regime and avenge its actions. An especially harsh statement was issued by this faction on February 21, following the execution of the nine convicted in the assassination of the prosecutor general, including the son of MB official Muhammad Taha Wahdan. The statement urged the MB activists to prepare for “a revolution that will not spare any of the oppressors, and [to] avenge the blood of the martyrs,” even at the cost of their lives. The old guard issued a statement in which it expressed reservations about the young guard’s violent rhetoric, but likewise called to unite for the sake of an uprising against the regime.

This report reviews the responses of the MB factions to the executions of the past month in Egypt.

MB Young Guard: Prepare For “A Revolution That Will Not Spare Any Of The Oppressors”
As stated, the MB young guard harshly condemned the executions and called to take revenge on the Al-Sisi regime and to continue the efforts to topple it until achieving either victory or martyrdom. Following the February 7 execution of the three convicted of killing the son of Judge Al-Murli, the young guard issued a statement expressing pain over “the loss of our brothers” and promising to continue fighting until “we attain victory… or else meet Allah as martyrs.” The statement said: “Despite the pain caused by the loss of our brothers and the death of innocent people, [know that] today’s execution and everything that preceded it – the death of a detainee due to medical neglect, the wholesale assassinations without trial or justice and the massacres and violations [of human rights] – [all of these] only increase our determination to complete our efforts to depose this criminal regime, restore freedom and justice to this homeland and mete out the appropriate punishment to all those who took part in spilling this pure blood and destroying this land and its resources. This, in order to renew our pact with our brothers who came before us and were martyred for the sake of [our] path, and with those who sacrificed years of their lives, [which they spent] in the oppressive prisons [of the Al-Sisi regime]. We renew our pact with all these prisoners, with the bereaved mothers and with every wife, sister and daughter [of a martyr]. By Allah, this blood and these sacrifices were not sacrificed in vain, and just as we followed in their footsteps, so shall we complete the path and attain victory… or else meet Allah as martyrs for the sake of the [path] for which they died…”[6]

Iran Inches Closer to its Goal: “Wipe Israel off the Map”

Unfortunately, some news outlets and politicians have been attempting to create a narrative to lead people to believe that the Iranian leaders’ threats are just talk. Iran’s leaders, however, continue to demonstrate their intentions not only with verbal threats, but with military actions as well. Since 1979, Iran has authorized firing rockets and missiles into Israel, and have also used proxies, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, to attack Israel viciously. Iran appears to have Israel solidly in its cross-hairs.

Apparently in a rush to provide cover for Iran, some world leaders have also, for years, been attempting to tell the public that there is a difference between “moderate” Iranian politicians and the hardliners. Unfortunately, that distinction is make-believe. Iran’s current president, Hassan Rouhani, like the previous president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has called Israel a “cancerous tumor.” Iranian politicians across the political spectrum (hardliners or “moderates”) all agree on one thing: destroy Israel.

The Prime Minister of Hungary, Victor Orbán, previously pointed out the duplicity with which Israel is treated:
“The EU should value the efforts made by the state of Israel for stability in the region. This is of interest not only for Israel but for Europe, too, as it protects us from more and more migrant invasions… The EU’s relations with Israel are not rational enough and need to be repaired. Instead of criticizing Israel, we should open the door to cooperation with Israel.”

It is mind-boggling that some politicians and governments, including the EU, criticize Israel for its Middle East policy and then turn a blind eye to Iran’s military buildup near Israel’s border — all while Iran fires missiles and rockets into Israel from Syria, ships ballistic missiles to Israel’s self-declared enemy, Hezbollah, and continues to threaten to annihilate Israel in the near future.

When will the international community begin to take the Iranian government’s clear verbal threats and physical aggression seriously? Or would the international community secretly like to see Israel destroyed, under Europe’s Orwellian inversion of the words: “the peace process”?

Secret Mossad files show underground Iran nuke facility older than admitted

New evidence disclosed in Iran’s secret nuclear files taken by the Mossad show that its underground Fordow nuclear facility is older than it has admitted, according to a think-tank report.

This discovery could be significant, says the Institute for Science and International Security, because it shows that Iran is still lying to the international community about a nuclear facility that has no reasonable use other than military.

The report says that photographs and documents it reviewed from the materials taken from Iran in January 2018 by the Mossad date the facility to as much as five years earlier than the Islamic Republic has led the world to believe.

In 2009, the international community confronted Tehran with the fact that it had uncovered Fordow, which Iran had worked hard to conceal.

The catching of Iran red-handed building a secret underground nuclear facility at the time was the beginning of what rallied Russia, China and the UN Security Council to pressure the Islamic Republic with sanctions.

Those sanctions eventually led Tehran to sign the 2015 nuclear deal.

Star Columnist Tony Burman Excuses Ilhan Omar’s Antisemitic Comments

In an op-ed published in the Toronto Star on March 9, Tony Burman (former head of CBC News and Al-Jazeera English) came to the defense of Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar claiming she’s been wrongly accused of making antisemitic statements.

In truth, Omar didn’t just criticize Israeli policies by voicing disagreement with Israeli settlement policies or Israel’s blockade of Gaza, had she done so, that would have been perfectly legitimate. Instead, she uttered odious antisemitic tropes in an attempt to criticize individuals for their support for the Jewish state.

On Twitter, Omar said that U.S. support for Israel in Congress was “all about the Benjamins, baby.” Her claim that members of U.S. Congress support Israel and the Jewish people’s right to self-determination because, not only do they have issues with dual loyalties, an age-old antisemitic trope, they are being bribed to do so or are being paid off. After understandable outrage ensued, Omar apologized for this tweet which tacitly proclaimed that the Israeli tail wags the American dog.

Omar’s bigoted comments prompted the US Congress to pass a resolution acknowledging that dual loyalty accusations “have an insidious and pernicious history.”

UK Labour lawmaker apologizes for posting anti-Semitic caricature

A senior lawmaker for Labour apologized for sharing on Facebook what he called an anti-Semitic caricature of a hook-nosed Santa Claus.

Mike Amesbury, the British party’s shadow secretary for employment, on Tuesday apologized for the caricature, which he posted in 2013 but had initially denied sharing.

The post, which was reported by blogger David Collier, also contained the words: “Support the banks and corporations this Christmas in their continued efforts to enslave mankind, by spending money you haven’t got on things you don’t need.”

The Santa figure also features the symbol of the Illuminati, a name given to a number of secret societies that existed in the 18th century and which are often the focus of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

“This appalling image contains an antisemitic caricature and a reference to the ‘illuminati’ conspiracy theory. I would never have intentionally shared such antisemitic tropes and I am sincerely sorry that I did,” Amesbury wrote, the Jewish News reported.

Amnesty Campaign to Boycott Israel Sparks Outcry from Jewish Groups

Amnesty International, an NGO known for its hostility toward Israel, has come under fire after sending a press release to top British firms informing them that operating in the West Bank and East Jerusalem makes them complicit in “Israeli war crimes,” The Jewish Chronicle reported Wednesday.

Along with the press release, the London-based branch of Amnesty sent copies of a report titled “Think Twice: Can companies do business with the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories while respecting human rights?” to all chief executives of companies featured in Britain’s top financial indexes.

“It’s very simple,” said Peter Frankental, Amnesty International UK’s Economic Affairs Programme Director, “if you’re a company operating in or doing business with the settlements, then you’re involved in systematic injustice, discrimination and other human rights violations perpetrated by the state of Israel against Palestinians.”

Frankental continued: “Any involvement in the deeply exploitative settlement enterprise is bad for the Palestinian people and bad for your company, whose reputation may be tarnished for years to come.”

He also cautioned business that “any profits made by a company via the settlements come at the cost of systematically violating the rights of thousands of Palestinian people.”

Several Jewish groups reacted with anger to Amnesty’s position. Jewish Leadership Council Chief Executive Simon Johnson said he hoped the company bosses would “discard” the report. He said Amnesty “has no credibility on this issue.”

Italian Mayor Cancels International Jazz Festival Over Artistic Director’s Support for Boycott of Israeli Artists

The mayor of Santa Teresa Gallura, Italy, recently cancelled an international jazz festival set to be held in August in the city after the program’s artistic director expressed support for barring Israeli artists from participating in the event, the blog Israellycool reported on Friday.

Israeli musician Eyal Lerner acknowledged in a Facebook post that he was late in submitting his request to join the festival Musica sui Bocche, and that the event’s program was already complete. He added that Enzo Favata, the Hungarian artistic director of the festival, expressed anti-Israel sentiments in his email response to the artist regarding his submission request.

According to Lerner, the artistic director wrote to him, “Good morning. The festival has closed the program. But I must tell you that Musica delle Bocche policy is to boycott any Israeli or Zionist artist because of Israel’s attitude to Gaza and the occupied Palestinian territories.”

Lerner’s Facebook post sparked outrage and garnered the attention the mayor of Santa Teresa di Gallura, who then suspended the event.

Pitzer College President Vetoes Move to Suspend Study Abroad in Israel

By a margin of 67-28, with eight abstentions, the College Council at Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif., voted on Thursday to suspend the school’s study-abroad program at the University of Haifa in Israel; however, college president Melvin L. Oliver, said he would not implement the recommendation.

Introduced by anthropology and history Professor Daniel Segal, who had a previous record in support of the anti-Zionist boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign, the motion said that “Pitzer would suspend the study-abroad program in Haifa until (a) the Israeli state ends its restrictions on entry to Israel based on ancestry and/or political speech; and (b) the Israeli state adopts policies granting visas for exchanges to Palestinian universities on a fully equal basis as it does to Israeli universities.”

The measure was supported by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), an advocate of BDS.

Oliver vetoed the motion on Thursday evening, saying that “under the College’s system of shared governance, the motion is a recommendation to the president of the College. As president of Pitzer College, I have determined that I will not implement this recommendation.”

“While my decision not to implement the recommendation is being communicated immediately,” he continued, “it is a decision that I have reached in a careful and deliberate manner. Some will say that I am taking my own position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in choosing not to implement the recommendation of the College Council. I am not. Instead, I am refusing to permit Pitzer College to take a position that I believe will only harm the College.”

Last November, the council also voted in favor of Pitzer halting its study-abroad program in Israel.

Leeds University Students Say Antisemitism Resolution Won’t Face Campus-Wide Referendum

Student leaders at the University of Leeds in England expressed solidarity on Thursday with Jewish peers and announced that a referendum on a resolution to combat antisemitism would not take place.

The announcement addressed fears raised earlier this week after the Leeds University Union (LUU) failed to pass a motion brought forward by the Leeds Jewish Society, which sought to increase student awareness of antisemitism, as defined by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). Per LUU rules, the measure was consequently set to face a campus-wide vote, facing criticism from groups including the Leeds Labour Students Committee.

Jewish people, “like any minority, should be free to define their own oppression,” the committee said. “It should not be up for a vote, during which the entire student population (the vast majority of whom are not Jewish), will have a say.”

Emma Jacobs, who introduced the resolution on Monday night, said she faced sniggers from some LUU members and was asked to withdraw the motion.

“After discussion, a collective decision has been reached that a referendum on the idea will not be happening,” LUU said in a statement on Thursday, adding that the content of the resolution “is already in place in LUU.”

The United Church of Christ Is Not a ‘Just Peace’ Church

The “just peace” resolution also declares that the “state should be based on participatory consent and should be primarily responsible for developing justice and well-being, enforcing law, and minimizing violence in the process.” This would seem to necessitate a critique of the Palestinian Authority and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, who has not held an election to affirm his legitimacy in more than a decade, but the UCC’s General Synod has refrained from commenting on his corrupt, unaccountable, and authoritarian rule.

This is a big deal. Polling data indicates that many Palestinians support a negotiated settlement with Israel, but because democratic institutions are non-existent in the West Bank and Gaza, rank-and-file Palestinians have no mechanism to make it happen. This is not a subject that peacemakers in the UCC or any other mainline denomination have addressed. When would-be peacemakers remain silent about Palestinian misdeeds while banging on about the things Israel does to protect its citizens, it promotes Jewish fears of isolation.

By doing what it has done over the past few decades, the UCC’s General Synod has made things worse, not better. In his most recent book, Catch-67: The Left, The Right, and the Legacy of the Six-Day War, Micah Goodman reports how Palestinian violence has activated an age-old “Jewish fear in the Israelis’ subconscious.”

Sadly enough, this is exactly what the UCC — a self-declared “just peace” church — has assisted in. By remaining silent about Palestinian misdeeds, it has provoked Jewish fear. And by placing all the blame for Palestinian suffering on Israel, it has affirmed Arab and Muslim feelings of humiliation — even when the cause of such humiliation lies with Arab and Muslim leaders themselves. In doing these things, the UCC’s General Synod has placed itself on the side of fear, anger, and bloodshed.

That’s the wrong side of history to be on.

CAMERA Tells The Baltimore Sun BDS is Discriminatory

Ron Machol and Joseph Sabag are correct to note that Maryland’s anti-BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) legislation is “narrowly tailored” and “similar to many other anti-discrimination laws that protect women, racial minorities and LGBTQ individual” which “do not restrict a person’s right to speak against Israel”(Md’s BDS law prevents discrimination against Israel, March 11). BDS is, in fact, a discriminatory movement—and many of its supporters have said as much.

As the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) has documented, BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti opposes a two-state solution and has called for a “unitary state, where, by definition, Jews will be a minority” and, using a euphemism for terror, has praised, “armed resistance” on the inaccurate grounds that Jews “aren’t indigenous” to the land.

Terrorist groups have, as Machol and Sabag noted, links to the BDS movement. Congressional testimony delivered on April 19, 2016 has noted that some “leading drivers” of the BDS campaign have extensive ties to Hamas-linked charities. Research by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, has also turned up links to another U.S.-designated terror organization, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

Both BDS and these terror groups seek the delegitimization and destruction of the Jewish state. These movements are not grassroots. But they are discriminatory and destructive.

Guns seized from father, son who threatened Jewish institution in Argentina

Argentina’s federal police found guns and Nazi propaganda in the home of a father and son who allegedly threatened the Delegation of Argentine Jewish Associations (DAIA) umbrella group on social media.

The Jewish umbrella then filed a police complaint with the Justice Department, and the police opened an investigation. They followed an internet protocol address to the home of the father and son in Merlo, a town west of the Greater Buenos Aires area.

In the home, police found guns, ammunition, Nazi-themed books, Nazi propaganda and Nazi memorabilia including uniforms, as well as Italian fascist flags and Nazi brochures. The father and son were arrested Wednesday.

On Thursday, the federal police released photos of some of the items seized at the house.

German author’s memoir about holocaust guilt wins award

A German author’s graphic memoir about what she calls the inherited sin of the Holocaust won the prestigious National Book Critics Circle award.

Nora Krug’s “Belonging” won the autobiography category on Thursday during the Circle’s annual award ceremony in New York.

On Krug’s website, “Belonging” is described as being rooted in how “the simple fact of her German citizenship bound her to the Holocaust and its unspeakable atrocities and left her without a sense of cultural belonging.” She knew little about her own family’s involvement in World War II and “though all four grandparents lived through the war, they never spoke of it,” according to the site. The book follows the author’s research into her family’s history in archives, flea markets and interviews.

Other winners announced during the ceremony at the New School include “Milkman,” a novel by Irish author Anna Burns that surprised most readers last year by winning Britain’s Man Booker Prize.

German team to wear anti-racism shirts after Israeli player’s anti-Semitic abuse

Second-division German club Ingolstadt will wear jerseys with an anti-fascist message in response to anti-Semitic abuse targeting its Israeli captain, Almog Cohen.

The club wrote on Twitter that its main sponsor has agreed to let it carry the message “Right-wing? Only in a 4-3-3!” on the front of its jersey for its game at Paderborn on Sunday.

The tweet includes the hashtags #SayNoToRacism and #SayNoToAntisemitism.

The move comes after the club highlighted a message Cohen received via Twitter on March 8 from an apparent Union Berlin fan calling the player a “Jewish brute” and demanding he be sent “to the chamber.”

Google’s Online Museum Features Newton’s Theological Papers from Israel’s National Library

Three collections from Israel’s National Library are featured in a new Google Arts & Culture online exhibition, Once Upon a Try, reportedly the largest online exhibition about inventions and discoveries ever curated.

The show features more than 400 interactive exhibitions, collections and interactive stories from 110 renowned institutions across 23 countries.

Once Upon a Try aims to present great leaps in science and technology progress, the visionaries behind those advancements and tales of epic fails and happy accidents.

The National Library’s contributions to Once Upon a Try include a selection of Sir Isaac Newton’s theological papers from its unique collection of nearly 8,000 of Newton’s handwritten manuscripts.

Newton took a deep interest in Jewish sources, particularly the role of the Jews in the process of salvation. The documents reveal a lesser-known side of the legendary scientist and mathematician, covering topics such as interpretations of the Bible, theology, the history of ancient cultures, the Tabernacle and Temple, calculations dealing with the end of time, historical documents — even alchemy.

Jerusalem to fund feeding stations for stray cats

Anybody who’s been to Jerusalem knows that street cats are everywhere. Most of the strays get their food from the open trash bins across the city.

However, those bins are starting to be phased out in favor of underground garbage receptacles – a move that is better for aesthetic and health reasons but catastrophic for the cats.

So as one of his first initiatives since taking office on December 4, 2018, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion gave the stamp of approval to a proposal by city councilmember Yehuda Ben-Yosef to set up and stock feeding stations for cats in those neighborhoods with underground trash bins.

An annual budget NIS100,000 ($27,685) was allocated to building and supplying the feeding stations. The municipality will provide 210 18-kilo sacks of cat food per month.

Ben-Yosef also met with about 70 Jerusalem residents who already feed street cats to discuss how they can work with the municipality for the welfare of the street cats.

10 ways to have a rockin’ Purim in Israel

Israel is a great place to be on the Jewish holiday of Purim, celebrated this year from sunset March 20 through sundown March 21 (March 21-22 in Jerusalem).

Marking the events described in the biblical book of Esther, in which Mordechai and his cousin Esther help the Jewish people in the ancient Persian Empire triumph over the murderous plot of evil court official Haman, Purim is primetime for parties, costumes and treats.

Here’s ISRAEL21c’s guide to a rockin’ Purim in Israel.

1. Party it up in the streets
The streets of Nachlaot in Jerusalem become one big party at Purim. Photo by Nati Shohat/ FLASH90

Purim in Israel is one big party, and lucky for you, you’re more likely to be spoiled for choice than left out in the springy “cold.”

But with all the street parties, parades, all-night club and bar parties, remember to take “ad lo yada” — the notion that people should drink until they don’t know the difference between the good guys and the bad guys in the Purim story — with a big grain of salt. In other words: Drink and party responsibly!

Clubs in major cities are sure to be packed wall to wall with special events, like Purim Land — a giant DJ-fueled Tel Aviv party held at a secret location — but so are the city streets with annual parades like this one in Tel Aviv and this legendary one in Holon, appropriately named “Ad Lo Yada.”

The theme of this year’s Holon festival is carnivals of the world, so expect all kinds of shenanigans like circus performers, dancers, roller-skaters, floats, and displays from around the world, and of course crowds dressed in full Purim costume.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

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