Ben Rhodes Blames Jewish Donors for Obama Not Being More Anti-Israel
Ben Rhodes, a former national security aide to President Barack Obama, told the New York Times this week that the “donor class” had prevented Obama from taking more anti-Israel steps than the administration had wanted to take.
Rhodes spoke to author Nathan Thrall for a feature article titled, “How the Battle Over Israel and Anti-Semitism Is Fracturing American Politics.” The headline describes “politics,” but Thrall focused on policy debates within the Democratic Party, which has seen the rise of an assertive anti-Israel constituency in recent years. That constituency has included overtly and unabashedly antisemitic critics, largely but not exclusively from the Muslim community.
Thrall writes about the “boycott, divestment, sanctions” (BDS) movement, which seeks to isolate Israel as apartheid South Africa was once isolated — a comparison that BDS critics find not only factually wrong, but also offensive.
Enter Rhodes — one of the architects of the Iran nuclear deal, which was vehemently opposed by Israel and by pro-Israel Americans. He blamed Jewish donors for the Obama administration’s supposed restraint towards Israel:
According to Ben Rhodes, a former deputy national-security adviser and one of Obama’s closest confidants, several members of the Obama administration wanted to adopt a more assertive policy toward Israel but felt that their hands were tied. “The Washington view of Israel-Palestine is still shaped by the donor class,” Rhodes, who does not support B.D.S., told me, when I met with him at the Obama Foundation in October. “The donor class is profoundly to the right of where the activists are, and frankly, where the majority of the Jewish community is.”
Rhodes’s claims were echoed by “[a]nother former member of the Obama White House,” who told Thrall that the Obama administration had prevailed upon the United Nations Security Council to delay a vote against Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) to after the 2016 election. (The resolution also declared Israel’s presence in eastern Jerusalem — including the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, inhabited by Jews for millennia — to be illegal.)
Thrall noted: “The fear of losing Jewish donors as the party moves left on Israel may well be overstated.” He also observed that many Jewish donors to the Democratic Party have left-wing views on Israel. Yet the antisemitic canard that Jews use money to control U.S. foreign policy persists within the Democratic Party at the highest levels, and is used by insiders like Rhodes as an excuse — a scapegoat — to deflect criticism of insufficiently radical policy stances.
Notably, Rhodes was appointed by President Obama to the board of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council in the closing days of his administration. It was a controversial appointment, given Rhodes’s role as the “Iran deal salesman,” and Iran’s leading role in promoting Holocaust denial worldwide as an official ideology.
Dimitri Lascaris, who was condemned for “vile antisemtic smear” by Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, reveals that his friend & ally Michael Lynk—the UNHRC’s Palestine monitor—is lobbying to change the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement. Lynk did same as anti-Israel activist in the 90s. pic.twitter.com/h3Tv4fRhEY
— UN Watch (@UNWatch) March 29, 2019
The author of this Sunday’s New York Times magazine cover story about the campaign to boycott, divest, and sanction the state of Israel works for an organization whose major donor, Qatar, is also the largest state funder of the terrorist group Hamas. Other significant donors to the author’s organization, the International Crisis Group, are leading supporters of the anti-Semitic boycott movement the author describes in his piece.
The publication of the article, “How the Battle Over Israel and Anti-Semitism Is Fracturing American Politics,” represents another salvo in the New York Times‘ continuing promotion of anti-Israel writers and views.
The author, Nathan Thrall, is tied to a large network of BDS supporters that are funded into the millions by the Qatari government, which has long been engaged in efforts to spy on the American Jewish community and pro-Israel officials. Qatar’s foreign influence operations in Washington, D.C., have flown mostly under the radar, but are part of a larger proxy battle being waged by wealthy Middle Eastern governments eager to peddle influence in powerful D.C. circles.
Thrall, who the Times presents as a disinterested expert, serves as director of the Arab-Israeli Project at the International Crisis Group, or ICG, a left-leaning advocacy organization that has received around $4 million from the Qatari government in the just the last year. Qatar’s donations represent around 23 percent of ICG’s total budget. Qatar is not mentioned in Thrall’s 11,500-word piece.
Is The Left’s Anti-Semitism A Problem For Leftist Jews?
The Economist labeled Ben Shapiro an “alt-right sage” in a headline, then apologized after the right-wing pundit protested the characterization.
The British weekly’s apology was added Thursday to a profile about Shapiro that originally carried the headline “Inside the mind of Ben Shapiro, the alt-right sage without the rage.” It also called Shapiro “a pop idol of the alt right.”
After an exchange on Twitter between Shapiro, an Orthodox Jew, and Anne Mcelvoy, one of the article’s two authors, The Economist changed the headline to “Inside the mind of Ben Shapiro, a radical conservative.” The apology said the references to the alt-right — a loose right-wing movement that includes white nationalists and anti-Semites – was made “mistakenly,” adding “In fact, he has been strongly critical of the alt-right movement. We apologize.”
Founded in 1843, The Economist is one of the world’s most reputed [and anti-Semitic] periodicals.
In the exchange, Shapiro wrote: “This is a vile lie. Not only am I not alt-right, I am probably their leading critic on the right. I was the number one target of their hate in 2016 online according to ADL data. I demand a retraction.”
He added: “If you lump me in with people who are so evil I literally hire security to walk me to shul on Shabbat, you can go straight to hell.” (h/t Elder of Lobby)
The 1997 movie Wag the Dog stars Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman as a political strategist and a film director enlisted to do damage control in light of a sex scandal involving a president running for reelection. They concoct a fake war in Albania, releasing footage of fictional battles, destruction and a photogenic orphan.
When Palestinian terrorists shot rockets into central Israel and completely destroyed a house in Moshav Mishmeret, injuring all three generations of one family, some thought that instead of condemning Hamas for targeting infants, toddlers and their grandparents, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the real problem here.
A conspiracy theory in the style of Wag the Dog began to be floated in news outlets of varying levels of respectability – like the UK’s Independent – and on the social media accounts of anti-Israel organizations that Netanyahu wants a war, because it’ll somehow help him ahead of the April 9 election. They claimed that Netanyahu intentionally sparks wars right before elections to help him win.
“History shows a terrible pattern of Netanyahu heightening violence right before Israeli elections,” Jewish progressive group IfNotNow tweeted.
“We cannot give in to this pattern of fear – it keeps fascist leaders like Netanyahu in power.”
This claim is not only false, but is preposterous for many reasons.
First, the dry facts: the only wars – really operations – that have taken place while Netanyahu was in power were Pillar of Defense in 2012 and Protective Edge in 2014.
Protective Edge began eight months before the 2015 elections. It’s true that in Israel’s chaotic political system, an election could break out at any time, but July 2014 wasn’t a time when it seemed particularly likely. And the coalition was relatively united after the operation, reflecting a public rallying around the flag. It took a few more months for Netanyahu to summarily fire ministers in his coalition and trigger an election.
One thing I’ll add to this excellent piece: the Steele dossier pushed a Jew-baiting conspiracy theory that cast Jews in America as disloyal. Everyone who just tossed this sh*t-schnitzel into the public consciousness ought to be making apologies and amends https://t.co/xpMS0vzqJh
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) March 29, 2019
America’s military commitment to its Asian allies, like its commitment to its European allies, requires more risk and sacrifice than its arrangement with Israel. Because the post–World War II Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security Between the United States and Japan prohibits the latter from having offensive military capabilities, the U.S. is pledged to protect the nation from attack. The United States made a similar pledge to South Korea following a war in which 30,000 Americans died defending it from an invasion by the Communist North Korea. (No “American blood” was expended to save Israel when a coalition of Arab armies attacked it in 1948. Indeed, not a single American soldier has ever died defending Israel, something that cannot be said about many of our allies). The 1979 Taiwan Relations Act compels Washington to “maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people on Taiwan.” That stops just short of an outright commitment to defend the island from an attack by mainland China, but ensures enough strategic ambiguity to keep Beijing at bay.
Finally, Israel is hardly the only American ally in the Middle East to receive military aid. Egypt is the second-largest non-NATO recipient after Israel, and Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are beneficiaries as well.
Unlike U.S. aid to Israel, most of which is funneled back to the American defense sector, U.S. defense spending toward its forward-operating presence in Europe and Asia is composed of hundreds of thousands of “boots on the ground,” soldiers whose lives would be at stake in any scenario involving an attack on treaty allies. And these allies lie under our nuclear umbrella, meaning that conflicts on either continent could theoretically ensnare the United States in nuclear war.
Viewed in this light, U.S. military aid to Israel looks less like the special dispensation of a powerful ethnic lobby and more like the logical extension of America’s postwar power projection. It is not all that spectacular compared with U.S. defense arrangements with the dozens of countries it is obliged to defend, up to and including with weapons of mass destruction. Of course, U.S. support for Israel has an emotional dimension, as the passionate speeches at AIPAC invoking the Holocaust attest. But much the same can be said for the United States’ military arrangements with Estonia, South Korea, and Taiwan: All are small, vulnerable democracies facing authoritarian, rapacious adversaries, and this underdog quality animates American public support. Yet for some reason, none of these alliances engenders anywhere near the same sort of antipathy as does the one between the United States and the world’s only Jewish state.
Intelligence Squared: Anti-Zionism is Anti-Semitism
Who’s right and who’s wrong? On June 17th, join the debate and hear leading experts including Mehdi Hasan, Ilan Pappe and Einat Wilf go head to head.
Is there a country in the world that attracts so much criticism as Israel? Studies consistently show Israel to be one of the most disliked nations in the world (along with Iran and North Korea). But how much of this is to do with genuine concern about Israel’s actions, and how much is actually a cover for the age-old hatred of the Jews? Is what we are seeing here anti-Zionism – broadly understood as opposition to the existence of a Jewish state in the territory of Israel – or is it anti-Semitism?
Many people who have been accused of anti-Semitism argue that the accusation is deeply unjust: what enrages them is not the Jewish people per se, but the nature of Israel, the Jewish state. Israel, they say, is a country based on ethnic nationalism, designed to privilege the Jewish majority at the expense of the Palestinians. Israel’s critics claim that its creation in 1948 led to more than 700,000 Palestinians fleeing or being expelled from their land, and that today’s Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank are still denied their basic rights. Israel’s immigration policy allows any Jew in the world to gain automatic citizenship, yet Palestinian immigration to Israel is virtually impossible. The Israeli flag features the Star of David and its national anthem refers to the ‘Jewish soul’, but over 20 per cent of its citizens are Arabs. To be anti-Zionist isn’t to be anti-Semitic – it’s to take a legitimate moral stand against Israel’s discriminatory practices.
But others see anti-Zionism as a fig leaf for old-fashioned anti-Semitism. Yes, of course it’s possible to be a staunch critic of Zionism and not to be anti-Semitic, but mostly you find that the two go together. Despite being the only functioning liberal democracy in the region, Israel is fanatically singled out for criticism by its enemies. Anti-Zionists, it is said, often rehash ancient anti-Semitic tropes, using phrases like the ‘Israel lobby’ as a racist dog whistle to signify an all-powerful Jewish conspiracy. Attacks against Jews are on the rise across the world, with many of their perpetrators claiming they are responding to Israel’s policies, but in fact they are disguising their hatred of Jews in the garb of anti-Zionism – in France, anti-Semitic acts increased by 74% last year. And when anti-Zionists talk about Israel’s founding and its impact on the Palestinians, they conveniently omit the fact that in 1948 Israel was immediately attacked by its Arab neighbours who sought to wipe it off the map. It’s the only Jewish-majority country in the world, a homeland and haven for the Jews created in the aftermath of the Holocaust. Sure, you can criticise the policies of Israel’s government, but if you deny its right to exist you are inescapably an anti-Semite.
Just as the Dems were recovering from their anti-Semitism controversy with Rep. Omar, they’ve got an anti-Semitic bigot with name recognition running for Senate in New Mexico.
It’s yesterday’s lefty heroine, Valerie Plame, covert secret agent and inspiration for James Bond who inspired one of the more unintentionally hilarious lefty Bush era movies (one that Aaron Sorkin would probably like to forget.)
Plame was force to apologize after sharing on Twitter an anti-Semitic article from the UNZ Review entitled “America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars.” The article stated that Jews “own the media,” that they should wear labels while on national television, and that their beliefs were as dangerous as “a bottle of rat poison.”
Her initial response was: “First of all, calm down. Re-tweets don’t imply endorsement. Yes, very provocative, but thoughtful. Many neocon hawks ARE Jewish.”
Funny how these scandals just “vanish” when they involve lefties.
Post-Bush, Plame had been flailing. She had a brief moment in the sun defending the Iran nuke sellout for Ploughshares. But that ended when her anti-Semitism became a little too public.
Her anti-Trump lobbying has been shambolic and futile. The Twitter gimmick was particularly pathetic. So she’s hoping to ride the #Resistance wave some more. And while any normal person would have been out after posting anti-Semitic content from a hate site, lefties have different rules. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the media kept right on touting her. And ignoring the whole anti-Semitism issue.
War correspondent, philosopher, activist, TV star: Bernard-Henri Lévy is among the world’s most prominent — and controversial — public intellectuals. He’s searched for Daniel Pearl’s killers, followed in the footsteps of diplomat and historian Alexis de Tocqueville, staunchly defended Israel. His latest, “The Empire and the Five Kings: America’s Abdication and the Fate of the World,” takes on the implications of 21st-century American Isolationism. David Suissa, the Journal’s publisher and editor-in-chief, spoke with Lévy for his “Suissa” podcast, from which this interview was condensed.
Jewish Journal: I’ve been fascinated by your journey. You studied philosophy and you end up going for the adventure. You’ve been in so many places in the world where they had conflicts and wars. At which point did you realize that you were not just going to be a person of the mind?
Bernard-Henri Lévy: Immediately. I decided since the very start that the best thought is the thought which can be proved by experience; and the best way, the most honest way to speak and to make philosophy is to go and check with your own eyes.
On March 16, 2019, BBC Arabic (U.K.) hosted a debate about extremism and Islam. Dr. Makram Khouri-Machool, the director of the Cambridge-based European Centre for the Study of Extremism, said that most Muslim societies are peaceful and that Islam should not be accused of extremism. He said that there had been no killing of Arab Christians in the Middle East until American and Western occupation. Dr. Arwa Al-Khattabi, a Yemeni expert in European and German history, said that the Islamic State (ISIS) represents Islam and that it has attempted to implement it by the book without distorting, changing, or adding anything. She said that Arabs and Muslims must discuss the matter honestly and take responsibility for what is happening in the world rather than act like victims and blame others.
“ISIS Has Come To Implement Islam As It Is, By The Book – It Has Not Come Up With Anything On Its Own”
Dr. Makram Khour-Machool: “This is an important point for everyone to understand – the matter is between extremist forces in the West and the Muslims.
“This is why we say that most Muslim societies in the world are peaceful societies, and Westerners cannot look at the religion of Islam and accuse it of extremism in the world. This must stop – from a scientific, legal, practical, and procedural perspective.”
Host: “Okay let’s hear from…”
Dr. Makram Khour-Machool: “Just one more thing… The problem is that the Arab regimes do not have the power to stand before the European regimes and tell them: ‘What you want to apply to us – you must apply to yourselves.’
“We had not seen the killing of Arab Christians and easterners until the intervention and occupation by America and the West in the Arab east and in our Arab world. The Arab Christians lived with their Muslim brothers in security in their countries, and there were no problems until the invading Western powers came in and nurtured the hatred and supported it financially, as they still do. Thus, there is no connection or correlation between Western terrorism and Christianity in the East.”
Germany’s best-selling newspaper Bild published a scathing editorial on Wednesday accusing the country’s UN Ambassador Christoph Heusgen of betraying Chancellor Angela Merkel’s security pledge to Israel by comparing the Jewish State to the terrorist organization Hamas.
The editorial, authored by Filipp Piatov, took Heusgen to task for comparing Israel’s security measures against Palestinian terrorists with Hamas rocket attacks.
In response to Heusgen’s statement that “Civilians must live without fear of Palestinian rockets or Israeli bulldozers,” the Bild journalist wrote: “After 130 missiles in a week, pure malice. Murderous rockets are not bulldozers. The Israeli government is not a terrorist militia. This comparison has nothing to do with the promise of Chancellor Merkel.
In 2008, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Israel’s Knesset: “For me as German chancellor, Israel’s security is non-negotiable.”
The Bild journalist wrote ”At the UN Security Council meeting, German UN Ambassador Christoph Heusgen compared Hamas rocket terrorism with the demolition of houses without a building permit – a means that Israel uses against buildings illegally built by Palestinians (but also Israelis).”
The journalist further noted that Heusgen’s parallel between Hamas and Israel came after “In recent days, the radical Islamic Hamas has fired more than 130 missiles at Israel… injuring seven people, including two small children.”
The US government, the European Union and Israel classify the Sunni Jihadi organization Hamas as a terrorist entity.
Piatov concluded his editorial: “When Islamist terrorists fire rockets at Israeli children,” the German government should be “crystal clear about standing on Israel’s side.”
Germany voted 16 times in 2018 to condemn the Jewish State at the UN.
German police say they have arrested 10 people in the west of the country on suspicion of planning an Islamic extremist terror attack.
The dpa news agency reported the suspects were taken into custody on Friday and Saturday in the towns of Essen, Duesseldorf, Wuppertal, Moenchengladbach, Duisburg and Ulm, citing a spokesman for prosecutors in Duesseldorf.
The prosecutors’ spokesman was quoted as saying Saturday that the group was suspected of a connection to the Islamic State group, either as sympathizers or a splinter group, and of planning a “serious act of violent subversion,” although there was currently no indication of a specific target. Prosecutors were not yet certain if criminal cases would be brought against all those taken into custody.
Officials said one of the suspects was from Tajikistan but provided no information about the nationality of the others.
If we ever needed proof of the old adage, “He who hesitates is lost,” the mukhtar protocol is a perfect example.
In many areas in east Jerusalem, no survey or registration of ownership was conducted after the Six Day War. Instead, the operational guidelines that enabled the authorities to grant building permits gave local mukhtars (chieftains or village dignitaries) sole authority to decide who the legal owners of the land in question are – in effect reaffirming the Ottoman Empire’s traditional method and circumventing the procedures that normally regulate land registry under Israeli law.
In practice, the “mukhtar protocol” spawned a massive industry of wholesale land giveaways and illegal land deals, forgery of documents and deeds, under-the-table payments, false testimony, and more. And it has created devastating results for the rightful owners of property, Arabs and Jews alike.
What, you might wonder, allowed this bizarre, backward system to override normal procedures of land registration? The answer is as pathetic as it is predictable: The State of Israel preferred to self-impose restrictions on its own sovereignty in Jerusalem, in the hope that undercutting its sovereignty would appease its critics. But by failing to clearly assert and enforce Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, the government handed those seeking to deny Israeli sovereignty the perfect opportunity to do so.
Beyond the devastating practical results of the mukhtar protocol for the rule of law, for property rights and for Jerusalem’s delicate demographic balance, the political implications are a self-fulfilling prophecy: When sovereignty is not exercised, it is lost. A government that does not enforce the law does not govern, and the vacuum is filled immediately – and often, irrevocably.
An IDF tank struck a Hamas position in the northern Gaza Strip Friday night in retaliation for explosive devices thrown across the security fence during violent riots.
The strike came after violent night time riots broke out across the Gaza border which saw several Palestinians wounded by IDF gunfire. Loud explosions were also heard through the night in communities in southern Israel after explosive devices went off in the Strip.
The violence on Friday night comes as the IDF prepares for thousands of Palestinians to violently riot across the fence to mark Land Day.
The military warned Palestinians not to approach or cross the security fence or risk being shot.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi examined the readiness of troops ahead of the expected violent riots on the Gaza border fence, the military said Friday evening.
“The Chief of Staff examined the preparedness in the Gaza Division area along the border fence and the main centers of disturbances in the area,” the IDF said in a statement, adding that during his visit Kochavi was presented with assessments of the troops and their response to various scenarios which could occur during the Land Day on Saturday.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) March 29, 2019
HAPPENING NOW: 40,000 violent rioters in Gaza, some armed with knives, explosives, and grenades, are attempting to breach Israel’s border and reach Israeli families on the other side of the fence. If our soldiers weren’t there, they could. pic.twitter.com/Zy61KkbiYb
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) March 30, 2019
EXCLUSIVE FOOTAGE: Violence today on Israel’s border with Gaza. IDF soldiers are stationed along the border to protect Israeli families under attack. #StopHamas pic.twitter.com/XFHm14YNOy
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) March 30, 2019
These are the people that we are protecting: pic.twitter.com/Nt4XsMZhEg
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) March 30, 2019
Over 40,000 Palestinians took part in protests at the Gaza border Saturday afternoon, the Israel Defense Forces said, with some rioters throwing grenades and explosives toward the security fence as well as lobbing rocks at troops and burning tires.
The army said soldiers responded with “riot dispersal means” and live fire in accordance with IDF regulations, noting that most Palestinians attending the one-year anniversary of the “March of Return” protests remained at a distance from the border.
The coastal enclave’s Hamas-run health ministry said two Palestinians were killed during the protests, while at least 200 were injured. Most of those hurt were lightly wounded, but three were said to be in critical condition.
The dead Palestinians were 17-year-old Adham Nidal Sakr Amara, who was apparently shot in the head, and another 17-year-old, Tamer Abu Khair, who was shot in the chest.
The Hamas-run interior ministry said it had deployed 8,000 security personnel along the border to prevent demonstrators from approaching the fence, Army Radio reported. Channel 12 said this was the first time in a year that Hamas had acted in this way to keep a check on the protests.
But warnings to stay far back from the heavily fortified fence that marks the border were not being heeded by all.
“We will move towards the borders even if we die,” said Yusef Ziyada, 21, his face painted in the colors of the Palestinian flag. “We are not leaving. We are returning to our land.”
This DIY video was posted on Palestinian social media showing Gazans preparing explosives for violent Hamas riots. #StopHamas pic.twitter.com/mr9XHdtpqM
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) March 29, 2019
Hamas plans to use children as human shields during mass border demonstrations planned for Saturday, Israel’s UN envoy warned on Friday.
In a letter to the UN Security Council and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon wrote, “Hamas has cancelled school on 30 March so that children will be free to attend the riots. As always, Hamas will exploit these children as human shields and compensate the rioters and their families, should they suffer injuries.”
Danon continued, “There can be no doubt that in the upcoming riots, Hamas will seek to fulfill the words of Yahya Sinwar, its leader in Gaza: ‘We will take down the border and tear out their hearts from their bodies.’”
“But we will not tolerate any action that threatens our people, our sovereignty and our borders, whether it comes from terrorists, violent rioters or so-called ‘peaceful protesters,’” Danon concluded.
Meanwhile, seven Palestinians were reportedly wounded on the Gaza border on Friday.
The IDF’s Arabic spokesperson released a video in which mothers in the Hamas-controlled territory of Gaza were called to “protect the lives of their children.”
As mass protests erupted along the Gaza Strip border on Saturday, the video warned against incitement, stressing that “a child who throws stones [on IDF troops] is not a hero.”
Forty thousand protesters gathered along the Gaza border on Saturday afternoon as a part of the “March of Return” protests, inciting violence with stone-throwing and tire-burning.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh joined the riots along with members of the Egyptian intelligence, Palestinian media reported.
The children of Gaza deserve the right to a future without violence. #StopHamas pic.twitter.com/iryTmlgjx6
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) March 30, 2019
Hamas and Islamic Jihad officials said on Saturday that the weekly protests near the Gaza-Israel border will continue despite Egypt’s ongoing efforts to reach ceasefire understandings between the Palestinian factions and Israel.
Palestinian sources claimed that the Egyptian intelligence officials who have been mediating between the Palestinian factions and Israel in the past few days have made progress towards reaching new ceasefire understandings. The Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip are now waiting for Israel’s final response to their demands, the sources added.
The sources claimed that Israel has accepted most of the Palestinian factions’ demands, including the expansion of the fishing zone, the reopening of the border crossings, the delivery of additional Qatari funds to the Gaza Strip and creating job opportunities for thousands of unemployed Palestinians there.
The Egyptian team, headed by senior General Intelligence Service official Ahmed Abdel Khaleq, met on Thursday and Friday with leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian factions and discussed with them ways of achieving a new truce with Israel.
Khalil al-Haya, member of the Hamas “political bureau,” said that the Egyptian intelligence officials carried “positive responses” from Israel. The Egyptian officials, he said, will return to Israel on Sunday to receive timelines for the implementation of the reported understandings.
Haya said that the weekly protests along the border with Israel, which are called “Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege,” will continue until they achieve their goals. “In the past year, the weekly marches achieved some of their goals,” he added. “They will achieve more goals.”
Iran’s rulers issued yet another chilling call for Israel’s elimination on Friday, as the Tehran regime vented its anger at US President Donald Trump’s decision recognize the Jewish state’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
The call for what Iran’s Foreign Ministry described as a “complete end to the occupation of Palestine” was timed to coincide with “Land Day,” an annual day of protests and commemorations among Arab citizens of Israel for the six Arab protesters killed in violent clashes with Israeli soldiers and police on March 30, 1976.
“The US president’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital…and the occupied Golan Heights as part of the illegitimate Zionist regime…shows clearly that Palestinian resistance and perseverance as symbolized by ‘Land Day’ is the right path,” the Foreign Ministry said on its website.
The statement continued: “The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that the establishment of sustainable and fair peace in the region will only be possible through the continuation of resistance until the complete end of Palestine’s occupation.”
An assertive anti-Iranian regime policy by the US Ambassador to Germany and American sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic of Iran’s economy caused a 9% decrease in German exports to Iran in 2018.
According to Ulrich Nussbaum, a state secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, German exports plummeted from €3.15b in 2017 to €2.7b in 2018.
The German weekly Die Zeit first reported on the drop in German exports to Iran. The governments of Germany, France and the United Kingdom created a financial mechanism called Instex to circumvent US sanctions against Iran. Nussbaum said Instex is “at this time in the phase of being operationalized.”
Major German financial institutions including Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank have declined to conduct business with Iran because of exposure to US sanctions. As a result, according to an early March article in the Hamburger Abendblatt, for companies in the German state of Lower Saxony this presents a “big challenge.” The paper wrote “since November, virtually no transfers of funds from Iran to the house banks of the Lower Saxony companies have taken place.”
Mid-level German companies have over the years exported engineering equipment to Iran. Tilman Brunner, a foreign trade expert for the chamber of commerce in the capital of Hanover in Lower Saxony, said: “Many companies would like to do more Iran business,” adding they have contracts, but could not process the payments. He said that’s why there are many requests for the chamber of commerce and a lot of business frustration.
That framing was again promoted by the BBC’s US State Department correspondent Barabara Plett Usher in several recent reports concerning US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
In an article titled “Trump: Time to recognise Golan Heights as Israeli territory” that appeared on the BBC News website on March 21st, readers saw superfluous scare quotes attached to the phrase military entrenchment.
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – who has warned about the “military entrenchment” of his country’s arch-enemy Iran in Syria and has ordered air strikes in an attempt to thwart it…”
Subsequent analysis from Plett Usher suggested to readers that the subject of the Iranian build-up of force in Syria is not only open to debate but a tactic used by Israel to advance its interests. [emphasis in bold added]
“Israel has gained traction in the White House and parts of Congress by arguing that Iran is using Syria as a base from which to target Israel, with the Golan Heights as the front line.”
The same ‘analysis’ from Plett Usher appeared in a report published on March 22nd under the title “Golan Heights: Syria condemns Donald Trump’s remarks”.
“Israel has gained traction in the White House and parts of Congress by arguing that Iran is using Syria as a base from which to target Israel, with the Golan Heights as the front line.”
Following Omar’s remarks, The Daily Wire reached out to her office via phone and email to get her thoughts on two recent news items.
The first story comes from Brunei, where Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah has said that new Sharia laws that are going into effect are a form of “special guidance” from God, according to Sky News.
The nation is going to introduce death by stoning as a punishment for gay sex and “amputation for those guilty of theft under sharia law, with both penalties to also apply to children once implemented.”
The second story comes out of the Middle East, where the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas recently fired 20 rockets into Israel and destroyed the homes of innocent civilians.
The Daily Wire asked Omar if she could provide comment on either story and if she found either of these acts to be “abhorrent and inhumane.”
The Daily Wire also asked Omar if she would say that these acts are due to radical Islam.
Omar and her office refused to respond to multiple requests for comment.
The Daily Wire again contacted Omar’s office on Friday via phone and email to give them another chance to respond and notified them that a non-response would be considered a “refusal to condemn” these acts. Omar’s office again did not respond to the inquiries.
Later on Thursday, Omar tweeted from her official Congressional Twitter account a condemnation of “conversion therapy.”
The president of Pitzer College is facing calls for resignation by student leaders over his decision to maintain the California school’s relationship with the University of Haifa, despite calls to end it by faculty and students opposed to Israeli policy.
President Melvin Oliver vetoed a resolution passed earlier this month by the Pitzer College Council — which includes faculty, students, and staff — to suspend its only study abroad program in Israel.
In a message announcing his decision, Oliver pointed out the lack of consensus behind the politically-driven measure, the “harm” it would have on the academic freedom of individual students and “the free exchange of ideas,” and the prejudiced stance it took by singling out Israel while maintaining cooperation with universities in other nations.
The measure was introduced by Professor Daniel Segal, who has a record of supporting the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, which calls for an end to all academic cooperation with universities in the Jewish state.
Anger over Oliver’s decision has led members of the Pitzer Student Senate to draft a resolution declaring no confidence in the president, and — if “Oliver does not retract his anti-democratic decision by the end of the day on April 11, 2019” — urging his immediate resignation or removal from office, the student-run Claremont Independent reported.
When we returned from a free catered lunch, Shai Tamari, the conference organizer, announced that audience members were no longer allowed to record the conference. A few minutes later, Tamari leaned over me to tell the person sitting next to me to stop recording – my neighbor had been taking photographs of each slide. Then, Tamari sat down in the aisle next to me and kept looking our way for about 30 minutes.
The next speakers were Mohammed Eid (a UNC Rotary Peace Fellow from Gaza studying Global Studies) and Tania Hary (an Israeli activist) on “In and Out: Gaza and Freedom of Movement.” An audience member asked Eid if he is able to lobby Hamas on issues such as human rights and corruption the same way that Hary can safely lobby the Israeli government on these issues. Eid responded, “As far as I know we don’t have that tradition.” Eid’s response may qualify him for the understatement of the year.
Eid continued his response by providing the example of a family in Gaza going to the Palestinian police station to complain and the Palestinian government then “bombed everyone” and killed them. Eid added that when Palestinians protest their government, “We get whipped on our backs for doing that, we get shot, we get killed, we get dragged down the streets.”
An audience member then asked, “Ninety-eight percent of the conversation today has been about Israel. Why is there not more pressure on Egypt to open its borders [with Gaza]?” Eid responded that it was an important question but that discussing the Palestinian-Egyptian relationship would be best for a different panel or conference. In other words, Eid was saying this is a conference for bashing Israel, not Egypt.
Evidently I’m a “f***ing Jew bastard.”
Earlier this month I had just arrived in this city on a visit and was walking along the street in the downtown Chelsea neighborhood chatting with Eddy Portnoy, a Yiddish scholar and the author of the wonderful book “Bad Rabbi,” when a homeless man approached us and began screaming. At first I brushed it off. While I have lived in Israel for the past 14 years, I grew up in Manhattan and such behavior was just the background hum of life in the big city. As such, it took a second for his words to penetrate my brain.
“F***ing Jew bastards,” he ranted. “Heil Hitler.”
I was shocked but also, in a perverse way, comforted. As a journalist, I have written about anti-Semitism for years. I’ve had coffee with Hamas members, chatted with European ultranationalists and have written a soon-to-be-published book on the instrumentalization of anti-Semitism in modern hybrid war. But I’ve never experienced anti-Semitism aimed at me personally. It was as if, as a journalist, I was exempt.
As Eddy and I continued walking, my anger warred with my relief that my first experience of anti-Semitism was so innocuous. I felt as if I were overdue. It wasn’t a particularly memorable experience, we both decided, but it seemed significant in that the homeless man’s words seemed a bit like a mirror reflecting the current zeitgeist.
Local politicians in the Loire region of central France rallied on Friday in support of a Jewish deputy mayor who was personally targeted by violently antisemitic graffiti earlier this week.
Antisemitic inscriptions including, “Death to the Jews,” and Nazi swastikas were discovered on the walls of municipally-run nautical club in the town of Roanne on Thursday morning. One inscription specifically threatened Roanne’s deputy mayor, who is Jewish, with the words, “Death to the Jew Sophie Rotkopf.”
The latest outrage came just one week after Roanne’s public prosecutor, Abdelkrim Grini, announced an investigation into a similar antisemitic incident on March 18. Swastikas and inscriptions including, “Death to the Jews,” were found daubed at the town’s sports stadium.
Local police said on Thursday that no arrests had been made in either of these incidents.
Rotkopf, a member of the center-right Republicans (LR), said in a statement carried by local media outlets that the French people should not permit what she called “the ordinary hatred of everyday life” to enter into “our house.”
“When the Jewish community is attacked, France, its citizens and the Republic are attacked, and this is intolerable,” Rotkopf declared.
For the first time since the Holocaust, a kosher restaurant opened on Tuesday in the German city of Leipzig, Deutsche Welle reported.
Cafe Salomon serves fish, as well as dairy, vegetarian and vegan options. Dittrich and Gabriele Goldfuss, from the local Rahn high school, are responsible for international collaboration in Leipzig and had the idea for the restaurant. The school has a close partnership with a high school in the Israeli city of Herzliya, DW reported.
“I hope that guests from all over the world come here,” Goldfuss told the Leipziger Volkszeitung (LVZ) newspaper. “I am proud that the Jewish community has become a part of the living identity of this city.”
Gotthard Dittrich, head of the Rahn school, added, “We are trying to close a gap in Leipzig.”
The IRG, a Jewish community organization in Leipzig, said more than 15,000 Jews living in the city were persecuted after the passage of the antisemitic and discriminatory Nuremberg Laws in Nazi Germany in 1935. Leipzig now has the most active Jewish community in Saxony, with around 1,300 members.
The St. Joseph’s girls’ school in Sierra Leone’s capital of Freeport has received Israeli technology that produces fresh, safe-drinking water out of air.
The technology, which comes in the form of an atmospheric water generator known as the “GEN-350,” offers the schoolchildren a source of clean water that can produce up to 900 liters of water per day.
Water pollution is one of the leading causes of death in the West African country, which has an average life expectancy of 56 years, one of the lowest in the world. Approximately half of the population has no access to clean drinking water, and a little less than three-quarters of urban dwellers have a safe water supply available for use.
Sierra Leone’s water sources, which primarily consist of ponds, unprotected wells and freestanding water, have been contaminated by mining and chemicals used in the agricultural industry. Water-borne infections and parasites have increased the probability of Sierra Leoneans contracting diseases such as typhoid fever and Hepatitis A.
The GEN-350, which offers the school a supply of fresh water on site, is a technological innovation of the Israel-based company Watergen, led by its president, Dr. Michael Mirilashvili. It was purchased from Watergen USA by the local company, SL Watergen.
With a weight of just 800 kilograms, the GEN-350 is easily transportable and can be installed easily. The GEN-350 units are provided with an internal water-treatment system and need no infrastructure except a source of electricity in order to operate.
The World’s Longest Salt Caves at Mount Sodom
After initially discovering the salt caves of Mount Sodom decades ago, Hebrew University officially unveiled their findings on a tour for the press, inside Mount Sodom. Our Shelby Weiner has the story. Story: Deep inside Mt. Sodom on the coast of the Dead Sea lies a newly revealed secret. In the heart of the geological formation, water and the passage of time have slowly carved out what is now the world’s largest salt cave. The Dead Sea is famous for its high salt concentration and the hills surrounding it are formed of salt deposits layered with dust and cap rock rising from the ground. These hills are famously peppered with networks of caves — most famous of which are the Qumram caves which for centuries housed the Dead Sea scrolls. But the Malham cave, just off of Highway 90 along the coast of the Dead Sea, is home to a different kind of secret. Dated at some 7,000 years old, a network of cave chambers and channels have slowly been carved out of the mountain by rain water dissolving the salty layers of the hill. A scarce 50 millimeters, just under 2 inches of rain falls in the area annually. But that small amount of water has hollowed out a spectacular space beneath the earth’s surface.
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