April 10, 2020

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04/02 Links: PMW: Fatah students threaten Israel; Paris Hilton gets in on SodaStream gag


From Ian:

PMW: April 17 will be day of terror and killing, Fatah students threaten Israel
Hamas cleric: Allah gathered Zionists in one place “so it will be easier to slaughter and kill” them
Hamas cleric, Sheikh Muhammad Salah Abu Rajab in Friday sermon:
“Here are the Zionists, who have gathered from all around. They occupy and usurp Jerusalem and its environs, and so the promise of Allah is realized: ‘We will bring you forth in [one] gathering’ (Quran, Sura 17:104) so that it will be easier to slaughter and kill you. O Zionists, you know this for certain. You know this because you are here temporarily.
You live here, but your eyes are set on the airports [to escape]… Know that Jihad for the sake of Allah does not rely on any individual. Otherwise, the death of the Prophet Muhammad would have ended the call [for Islam]. However, after his death, the light of Islam reached the borders of France and the borders of China. Our Jihad does not rely on any individual.”
[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), Aug. 22, 2014]

Collier: Cork day two – breeding Zionist monsters and untermenschen

Today, 01st April 2017 was the second day in the three day anti-Israel conference in Cork. As I arrived in the morning, I was still feeling somewhat bitter over the events of the day before. This the central difference between the usual anti-Israel events and a conference such as this. There is simply no recovery time. Speech after speech, panel after panel, and then day after day. It is as difficult to digest as it is relentless.
In my mind I was still going over the twisted talk by Oren Ben Dor as I had breakfast. And was replaying the outrageous comments by Ghada Karmi as I walked towards the venue for the second day. When you go to anti-Israel meetings you become accustomed to ludicrous comments, but these people are academics. What on earth was Kharmi doing suggesting Palestinians are the real descendants of the Jews?
Three central pillars of Cork
Just as was originally intended at Southampton, Ben-Dor had split up the conference into three areas of discussion. Legitimacy (showing Israel has no legitimacy), Exceptionalism (showing Israel is an Apartheid Settler colonial state) and responsibility (the ‘what to do about it’ section).
The first day had seen the discussion of legitimacy, so today was all about how disgusting a nation these anti-Israel activists think Israel is. Each of the papers were rancid, none more so than the one by Shalhoub-Kevorian, that dealt with children and what were described as ‘death zones’. It was little more than a desperate and despicable attempt by an activist to use children as an academic sympathy toy.

IsraellyCool: WATCH: Israeli-Arab Muhammad Kabiya Castigates Leftist Israeli For Dissing Israel

A few days ago I posted a video of Israeli-Arab Muhammad Kabiya defending Israel on a US campus.
Another video of him in action has surfaced, with Muhammad this time schooling a leftist Israeli (hat tip: Yoel).

Londonistan: 423 New Mosques; 500 Closed Churches

“London is more Islamic than many Muslim countries put together”, according to Maulana Syed Raza Rizvi, one of the Islamic preachers who now lead “Londonistan”, as the journalist Melanie Phillips has called the English capital. No, Rizvi is not a right-wing extremist. Wole Soyinka, a Nobel Laureate for Literature, was less generous; he called the UK “a cesspit for Islamists”.
“Terrorists can not stand London multiculturalism”, London’s mayor Sadiq Khan said after the recent deadly terror attack at Westminster. The opposite is true: British multiculturalists are feeding Islamic fundamentalism. Above all, Londonistan, with its new 423 mosques, is built on the sad ruins of English Christianity.
The Hyatt United Church was bought by the Egyptian community to be converted to a mosque. St Peter’s Church has been converted into the Madina Mosque. The Brick Lane Mosque was built on a former Methodist church. Not only buildings are converted, but also people. The number of converts to Islam has doubled; often they embrace radical Islam, as with Khalid Masood, the terrorist who struck Westminster.
The Daily Mail published photographs of a church and a mosque a few meters from each other in the heart of London. At the Church of San Giorgio, designed to accommodate 1,230 worshipers, only 12 people gathered to celebrate Mass. At the Church of Santa Maria, there were 20.
The nearby Brune Street Estate mosque has a different problem: overcrowding. Its small room and can contain only 100. On Friday, the faithful must pour into the street to pray. Given the current trends, Christianity in England is becoming a relic, while Islam will be the religion of the future.

MEMRI: Westminster Attack Victims Going to the Hellfire – Anthony Small

Former British Boxer Islamist Anthony Small: Insensitive to Burn Candles for Westminster Attack Victims Because They Go to the Hellfire
Former British boxer and Islamist activist Anthony Small posted a video online in which he pinned responsibility for the recent Westminster terror attack on the policies of the West, including the “Not-So-Great Britain.” He also said that it was insensitive to burn candles out of respect of the victims, because they are going to the Hellfire. “It’s like rubbing salt into the wound,” he said. The video was posted on Small’s YouTube account on March 28.

Elliott Abrams: The Trump Administration Settles In on Settlements

Israeli settlement activity has been in the news this past week because the Trump administration is steadily defining its policy.
What has emerged is a good policy: sensible, flexible, and realistic. Which is to say, it’s a lot like Bush policy.
Obama policy had made construction in the settlements a sore point for eight full years. This was one reason among many for the constant tension between the government of Israel and that of the United States during all of Mr. Obama’s term in office.
What are the terms of the agreement between the Netanyahu government and the Trump administration? First, there is no written agreement and that’s a good thing. There are understandings. That means there can be some arguments, but no accusations that “you’re violating what you signed!” Second, the Trump administration understands that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and does not view construction there as “settlement activity.” Third, there will be no new settlements built except the one being created for the people evicted from Amona, a settlement deemed illegal by the Israeli Supreme Court. Netanyahu apparently persuaded the administration that he had made that commitment last year, before the Trump presidency, and needed to keep it. Fourth, new construction in settlements in the West Bank will be in already built-up areas, or if that’s impossible, as close to them as possible. Fifth, there will be some restraint in the pace of settlement expansion. Sixth, apparently Netanyahu agreed not to permit new “outposts” to be built–small groups of houses erected without government permission. And finally, there will be no annexation of land in the West Bank.

Netanyahu preparing package of good-will ‘gestures’ for PA

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is preparing a package of good-will gestures for the Palestinian Authority, the left-leaning daily Haaretz reported Sunday.
According to the report, the Prime Minister informed members of the Security Cabinet last Thursday that the Trump administration had requested Israel reach out to the Palestinian Authority with a benefits package, and that the Israeli government would comply with the request.
Earlier on Sunday, Education Minister Naftali Bennett discussed the cabinet’s agreement to restrain Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria.
“Last Thursday evening the cabinet accepted the policies presented by the Prime Minister, balanced policies including continued construction in Judea and Samaria with no demographic limitations, but with certain [other] limitations.” said Bennett.
Bennett was referring to the prime minister’s announcement that President Trump asked to buld within town limits in Judea and Samaria, unless there is no other choice, and to refrain from building outposts.

Trump to host Middle East leaders after Israel curbs settlement construction

Israel agreed to curb West Bank settlement construction in advance of the separate meetings US President Donald Trump plans to hold in Washington this week with the Jordanian and Egyptian heads of state.
Trump will meet in the White House with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Monday and with King Abdullah II of Jordan on Wednesday.
In February, Trump and King Abdullah spoke briefly at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.
“We are going to be discussing the general outlines of our approach with the Middle East peace process and provide information as to the context of what we’ve been doing over the last few weeks to advance the process,” a senior administration official told reporters on Friday.
The official added that the issue of West Bank settlements was not expected to be a focal point of the discussions.

Report: US-Israel talks on settlements suspended after no progress made

Negotiations between Israel and the United States on limiting building in the settlements reportedly has been suspended after representatives of the two countries failed to reach an agreement.
Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s international envoy and an Orthodox Jew, has traveled in recent weeks to the Middle East for meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
Representatives of the Netanyahu government, the prime minister’s chief of staff, Yoav Horowitz, and Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, met in Washington late last month with Greenblatt to follow up on his meetings with Netanyahu in Israel earlier in the month.
Israel Radio reported on Sunday that the discussions between the Israeli envoys and Greenblatt had been suspended due to a lack of progress.

Israel Katz to ‘Post’ Talk about a Palestinian state is premature

The State of Israel is not yet at the stage where it can consider supporting any kind of a Palestinian state, Intelligence and Transportation Minister Israel Katz said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post last week.
“I do not see a situation now in which establishing a Palestinian state will solve our security problems, end the ongoing dispute over Jerusalem, or the debate on the history of Judea and Samaria,” said Katz. “It’s important that we think [about how a future agreement between Israel and the Palestinians will look], but I believe that the steps taken so far were unrealistic and thus they have failed. And that was not a coincidence.”
Israel must develop regional security stability to keep Iran from gaining strength and control in neighboring countries, he said. Then it needs to create a strong economic base – with European-style transportation infrastructures – and promote regional economic initiatives.
Only then should policy revisions be made on whether a Palestinian state, or some sort of autonomy, could exist side-by- side with Israel.
Katz, a member of the security cabinet, has formulated a three-part regional concept. In simplest terms, those steps are: Israel builds stable protection; prospers economically; and opens a channel for peace.

Envoy calls for Passover cleaning to rid UN of anti-Israel bias

Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon called for a “spring cleaning” of sorts at the U.N. to rid the world body of its anti-Israel bias. Speaking at an event in honor of U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley and attended by local Jewish community leaders at his home on Thursday, Danon said, “Ahead of Passover, we clean our homes of leavened foods — and now is the time to give the U.N. a thorough cleaning and rid it of its anti-Israel obsession.
“You have brought a new spirit of justice and truth to the U.N.,” Danon told Haley, “the state of Israel thanks you and appreciates that you stand firmly with us. We have no stronger ally than the United States, and I am confident that together we can bring far-reaching change in the name of our common values.”
Last week, the U.N. General Assembly hosted a conference dedicated to the fight against the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. Over 2,000 people attended the event, at which Haley gave an impassioned speech in support of Israel.
Danon, who initiated the first such conference last year, told Israel Hayom that “legislation against the boycott has gained traction around the United States, and governments and leaders are finally recognizing the BDS movement as pure anti-Semitism. On university campuses, change is in the air. Students today have the tools, the energy and the pride to fight. They know they are not alone. Also in the Jewish-American community, there are organizations that do not [normally] communicate with one another, but in the name of this battle, they are prepared to work together under our umbrella. That is very significant.

Tibi and Zoabi: Incitement against the occupation is a right

At a conference that took place following reports in Israel and abroad concerning incitement in the Palestinian educational system, MKs Ahmed Tibi and Hanin Zoabi of the Joint Arab List expressed support for that incitement, with Zoabi going so far as to say that inciting others against Israel is not only a right, but an obligation.
The conference took place following reports from watchdog group “Palestinian Media Watch” (PMW), and saw the participation of members of the PA education department and Israeli Arabs in top positions – including MKs Tibi and Zoabi.
PMW cited the MKs’ main talking points at the conference, as expressed by PA spokesman Al-Hiat Al-Jedida.
According to the spokesman, Tibi “emphasized that it is the right of a Palestinian who finds himself under occupation to incite others against the occupation, and spoke of Israeli incitement against the Palestinian nation [sic] and its educational system.”

Ahlam Tamimi, Most Wanted Terrorist – now in Arabic

The Department of Justice in Washington, which added the Sbarro massacre mastermind Ahlam Tamimi to its Most Wanted Terrorists list on March 14, 2017, yesterday (Friday) published an Arabic-language version of the Most Wanted poster:
Tamimi, who has boasted openly and gleefully of her key role as mastermind of the massacre at Jerusalem’s Sbarro pizzeria in 2001, appears now to have changed her approach in the wake of the American efforts to bring her before a US court and says she “didn’t do anything” and the “charges are untrue” [“31-Mar-17: Tamimi, our daughter’s grinning, boasting murderer, now says she is innocent”]
We hope our friends in the Arabic-language media will circulate the poster so that it gets the widest possible exposure, especially in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan where she was born and lives as a free citizen.

PreOccupiedTerritory: Waqf Guide Tries To Explain How Mooning Dome Of Rock Is Sign Of Reverence (satire)

A representative of the religious council that administers the Temple Mount – known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif – encountered difficulty in describing to a group of tourists today how the respect and attachment Muslims feel for the location is manifest in the five-times-daily practice of bending over and pointing their backsides toward the golden dome marking the spot where Muhammad landed with his horse on the way to Heaven.
Ali, a tour guide, detailed for his guests the worship routine at the Al-Aqsa Mosque at the compound’s southern end, an Islamic set of rituals that involves recitation of passages proclaiming the greatness of Allah while engaging in a series of prostrations. In the process, worshipers face south, pointedly directing their derrières toward the Dome of the Rock. The location, considered sacred in Islam because of its association with the Prophet, is thus subjected to a collective mooning of up to tens of thousands of Muslim bottoms at a time.
The guide attempted to explain that no slight was intended to Muhammad or his horse Al-Buraq, and that the demonstrable disrespect to the site was a mere function of bowing toward Mecca in what is now Saudi Arabia. A tourist observed that the awkwardness could have been avoided by constructing Al-Aqsa to the north of the Dome, allowing worshipers to display reverence for both locations at once, given that, as the Waqf insists, the Haram al-Sharif is the third-holiest place in Islam.
“I, uh, it’s important, but not as important as Mecca or Medina,” stammered Ali. “In fact we used to bow to the Rock, centuries ago,” he added, with a burst of confidence.

Launching latest missile shield, Netanyahu warns Israel’s foes

A new Israeli system designed to intercept medium-range missiles became operational on Sunday after it was unveiled at a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US defense officials.
At the event at the IDF’s Hatzor base in central Israel, Netanyahu said that the “pioneering technology” of David’s Sling will help protect Israel against its enemies.
“I will reiterate, that whoever wants to strike us will be beaten, and those who threaten our existence are putting their own lives at risk,” he said, while adding that defending the home front is of the “utmost importance.”
Netanyau also hailed the David’s Sling anti-missile system as an “important milestone” in US-Israeli defense cooperation and thanked the US for its longstanding support of the Israeli military and joint missile defense projects.
“Together we can meet challenges a lot better than any of us can alone,” he told American officials in attendance, including director of the US Missile Defense Agency Vice Admiral James Syring. “In this case, the white and blue is better together with the red, white and blue.”
David’s Sling was developed in a joint project by the Israel Missile Defense Organization and the US Defense Department’s Missile Defense Agency. It is meant to replace the Patriot missiles currently in Israel’s arsenal. The new system, which can shoot down medium-range missiles, can also be deployed against aircraft.

Soldiers foil attempted West Bank stabbing attempt

A Palestinian man was arrested after brandishing a screwdriver and threatening to stab a soldier at a West Bank checkpoint on Sunday, the army said.
The Palestinian man approached the soldiers’ post near the Tzufim settlement near the northwestern West Bank city of Qalqilya armed with a screwdriver. He threatened to stab the soldier at the gate.
Following military protocol the soldiers called for him to stop, and the man “surrendered himself to them,” without the use of force, the army said.
The suspect was taken for interrogation.
This is the latest in a spate of stabbings and attempted stabbings over the past week.
On Saturday, a Palestinian teenage assailant stabbed two young men and a police officer in the Old City before being shot and killed by security forces.
Earlier the youth posted a selfie of himself outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Hamas looking undersea, not just underground, for attack routes

While Hamas’s terror tunnels and its reportedly refilled and upgraded rocket arsenal garner attention, the Israeli Navy is keeping a watchful eye on the terror group’s growing maritime capabilities and is investing its resources in preventing attacks “at sea and from the sea,” a naval officer said.
Since the 50-day war in 2014, Hamas has developed both its tactics and weaponry for sea-based warfare, training “endlessly” to carry out attacks with them, according to Maj. Irad Shtatar.
A 20-year veteran of the navy, Shtatar commands the Ashdod Observation Company, a unit of mostly female soldiers who monitor optical cameras and radar arrays.
“We see rearming on every level on the sea-front — systems, weapons and trainings. Hamas sees the sea as an option to achieve its aggressive, operational ambitions,” he said in his office at the Ashdod Naval Base.
“In parallel, we are tracking these developments to make sure that we have a response to these threats,” he added.
Hamas naval smuggling of people and materiel appears to have dropped off significantly, if not stopped completely, according to Shtatar.
However, he said, there’s no way to ensure a “hermetic” seal of Gaza’s coast, leaving open the possibility that people could still be smuggled via the sea.
In the time immediately following the 2014 war, the navy saw an increase in such smuggling attempts. But while there are regular reports of Israeli sailors firing warning shots toward Gazan fishing boats, Shtatar said his team has not seen any cases of it in nearly a year.

Hamas rejects Israeli insinuation it took out own terror commander

A spokesperson for Hamas’s military wing rejected claims by Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman that the Gaza-based terror group was behind the recent assassination of one its top commanders, reiterating its claim that Israel killed Mazen Faqha.
“We affirm that no one is responsible for the crime apart from the Zionist enemy, and it will not succeed in any of its declared or hidden attempts to disclaim or to shuffle the cards,” Abu Obeida said.
The spokesman said Liberman’s comments were a sign that Israel was afraid after Hamas vowed revenge over the killing.
Faqha was shot dead on March 25 near his home in Tel el-Hawa, a neighborhood in southwestern Gaza City, with a weapon equipped with a silencer. He was hit by four bullets to the head in an ambush in his underground parking garage, reports in Gaza said.
On Sunday, Liberman said the assassination had been an inside job.

PreOccupiedTerritory: Therapist Urges ‘Trans’Jordan To Embrace Sexual Identity (satire)

A counselor working with the Hashemite kingdom that currently declares itself “Jordan” has begun encouraging it to stop repressing its original, authentic identity as Transjordan, so that the country can remain secure in the fullness of its gender identity.
Jordan has refused to identify as Trans since 1949, and since then has remained steadfast in refusing to engage with all aspects of its sexuality, preferring to deny its origins as Transjordan. Therapist Ever HaYardeni began exploring Jordan’s repressed past last year, and this March finally elicited from it a willingness to acknowledge that being Trans was not an alien aspect of Jordan’s identity, and while at present the country prefers to call itself just Jordan, it would be healthier and more constructive in emotional and psychological terms to feel connected to being Transjordan, even if only as part of the continuum of its existence and not a currently manifest part of identity.
HaYardeni emphasized that the process requires time, patience, and understanding. “Countries in this neighborhood feel tremendous pressure to conform to certain cultural expectations,” he explained. “Trans is not something that has been welcomed in the Middle East, and as the societies of the region confront modernity, those prejudices often assert themselves with extra force. It is no wonder that Jordan, as it currently prefers to call itself, hesitates to express its Trans aspects, or even to acknowledge that being Trans was once a prominent part of its identity.”

Paris Hilton gets in on SodaStream gag

An elaborate April Fools’ Day joke saw one-time celebrity Paris Hilton team up with Israel-based SodaStream to push a tiny water supposedly 5,000 times more hydrating than regular water.
In an ad released last week, Hilton announced she had teamed up with the Weizmann Institute of Science to create a groundbreaking new product that “will reinvent drinking forever,” tiny bottles of something called NanoDrop meant to save the planet and consumers from waste.
“Think how stupid and 2003 you look carrying your sparkling water home from the store,” Hilton pointed out as she lugged a six-pack of large plastic bottles, which then broke free of their packaging and fell to the floor.
A mock NanoDrop website and Facebook page were launched to accompany the original ad.

BDS leader calls Israeli tax fraud probe ‘vicious lies’

The founder of an anti-Israel boycott movement said Saturday that the Israeli authorities’ investigation into his suspected tax evasion is based on “vicious lies.”
Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian who holds Israeli residency, said he is not allowed to delve into details of his case because of a gag order. But he insists the probe is politically motivated.
The Israel Tax Authority says Barghouti is suspected of evading taxes between 2007 and 2017 on $700,000 in income from managing a cash machine business, and on income from lectures around the world and royalties on a book.
Barghouti is a founder of the BDS movement advocating boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel. Supporters say BDS is a nonviolent movement for Palestinian independence, but Israel says it aims to delegitimize the Jewish state.
Israeli authorities refused to renew Barghouti’s travel documents last year, effectively making it impossible for him to ravel.

Daphne Anson: On a French Campus, the Falk-Tilley Report Raises its Ugly Head (video)

At Rennes, in Brittany, a city whose name all familiar with the infamous Dreyfus Affair will recognise, university students prove their crass immaturity and fascistic left credentials by disrupting a talk by Israel’s ambasssador to France, Madame Aliza Bin-Noun.
Screaming the usual malicious canards, and citing the despicable one-sided report just released by the loathsome Richard Falk and his accomplice Virginia Tilley, they belie the very liberty, equality and fraternity that underpins the Republic, and the very democratic principles they accuse Israel of lacking.
May their own futures not be blighted, ces enfants, by the Islamic menace that endangers the viability of long-term Jewish existence in La Belle Pays …

IsraellyCool: YouTube Is A Battle Ground And Defending Israel Will Be Collateral Damage

There are currently anti-free speech campaigns against videos which criticise third wave feminism and a number of other subjects. Anything marked as “controversial” is being de-monetised on YouTube. For sure nobody wants their products associated with Jew hatred or ISIS beheading videos, but what control should big brands have over the material they advertise alongside when it comes to amateur and semi-amateur generated content on blogs, YouTube and other self publishing platforms?
The relevance for those of us talking positively about Israel and rebutting endless lies and slanders against the Jewish people is that our entire subject area is already considered “controversial”. What are the practical implications?
YouTube channels that talk about Israel or rebut hate speech against Jews (like Palestine Media Watch or MEMRI) are at risk of being taken down. Already my own channel is very hard to place advertising alongside: this was never a huge money spinner but removing any access to financial compensation for the huge work I put in does put a damper on creating new material. Eventually this will extend to the Google Adverts that appear on sites like this one. That is a serious problem.
The darker future is that this goes beyond advertising and pressure is brought down on those who host “controversial” material or the social networks that help many of us spread our work. That’s not just an indirect attack on an ability to raise funds, that would be the shutting down of speech. This is already common on Facebook and Twitter, both with crowd reporting systems that allow Social Justice Warriors and other far left devotees of Saul Alinsky to attempt to shut out arguments and ideas they have no answer for.
Finally, if you’re still interested in this subject, I’m embedding just one video here. It’s a fantastic overview of all this and goes into some more detail.

New settlement policy. Haaretz: ‘construction curbed’. Guardian: ‘unrestrained expansion’

Haaretz’s take was echoed by The Washington Post (“Netanyahu to slow down settlement activity in effort to appease Trump”) and Associated Press (“Israel says will try to curb growth of settlement footprint”).
Moreover, as Raphael Ahren, diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel, astutely observed, “reining in settlement construction is actually in line with Netanyahu’s strategic and ideological outlook on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”. Ahern added that “despite his public comments, [Netanyahu] is no advocate of unfettered settlement growth”. Indeed, the caricature of the prime minister’s putatively far-right views on the issue have been contradicted by data indicating that the rate of settlement construction was actually lower under Netanyahu than under his predecessors.
Whilst it won’t become clear for quite a while if the new guidelines will result in a continuation of this construction slow-down, it’s quite a commentary when far-left Haaretz frames the settlement policy of a ‘far right’ Israeli government far more sympathetically than the Guardian.

BBC contradicts years of its own narrative on Israeli construction

Clearly then the BBC understands that there is a significant difference between the construction of houses within the municipal boundaries of existing communities and the establishment of a “new settlement”. The question that therefore arises is why – given its supposedly rigorous standards of accuracy – for so many years its journalists regularly employed imprecise language that materially misled audiences on the topic of Israeli construction.
While we do not anticipate any public accountability on that issue, we will be closely monitoring the language used in future BBC reporting relating to construction.
Another notable aspect of the March 31st written report comes in this paragraph:
“It [ the Israeli security cabinet] also approved tenders to build 1,992 new homes at four other existing settlements, and declared almost 100 hectares (247 acres) as “public land” in order to enable the retroactive legalisation of three outposts, according to Peace Now.”
Readers are not told that those “1,992 new homes” were already reported by the BBC when they were first announced in January. As has been noted here on previous occasions, BBC audiences often receive misleading impressions regarding the scale of construction in Judea & Samaria and parts of Jerusalem because – rather than reporting actual building – the BBC covers announcements of building plans, planning approvals and issues of tenders, regardless of whether they actually come to fruition.

40 of 50 headstones at French Jewish cemetery are smashed, toppled

Forty of the 50 headstones at an 18th-century Jewish cemetery in France were smashed or toppled.
A passer-by noticed the vandalism earlier this week at the cemetery in Waldwisse, a village situated 215 miles east of Paris, the France3 television channel reported Thursday. The cemetery is no longer in use.
Police are investigating the attack, the second on the cemetery since 2014. Three young men perpetrated the previous attack and received suspended sentences.
Separately, a monument commemorating the Holocaust in the Greek municipality of Kavala was smashed one year after its unveiling in memory of 1,484 locals who were murdered, the Ekathimerini daily reported. The perpetrators used a hammer to smash the marble façade, which is emblazoned with a Star of David, according to the report.
Police have no suspects in custody.

Major Jewish Organizations Decry New York State High School Assignment to Debate ‘Final Solution’ From Nazi Point of View

The deputy director of a major Jewish organization criticized an assignment at a New York State high school asking students to role-play Nazis debating the Final Solution.
Etzion Neuer, of the Anti-Defamation League’s New York regional office, told The Algemeiner on Friday that though he does not believe that the teacher who assigned “Top Secret: Memorandum for Senior Nazi Party Members” — in which students were asked to simulate the debate that took place at the infamous Wannsee Conference and explain their “Nazi point of view” — was ill-intentioned, it was nevertheless “grossly inappropriate.”
Neuer said he learned of the lesson plan when a student contacted the ADL to “convey discomfort” at having to present an argument for the resolving the Jewish question — even though the assignment stated that “the point of this activity is not for you to be sympathetic” to the Nazis.
“Ultimately, this is an exercise on expanding your point of view by going outside your comfort zone and training your brain to logistically find the evidence necessary to prove a point, even if it is existentially and philosophically against what you believe,” it read.

Apex Partners said to buy Israel’s Syneron for $450 million

Apex Partners LLC has acquired Israel’s Syneron Medical Ltd., a maker of aesthetic devices for around $450 million, a person familiar with the matter said. The price would be at a 22 percent premium to the value of the company which is traded on the Nasdaq and whose market cap is around $369 million.
The news was first reported by Israeli financial website Calcalist. A person familiar with the matter said the healthcare arm of Apex in London is handling the deal.
According to Syneron’s website, its technology allows physicians to provide patients with medical-aesthetic services, including body contouring, hair removal, wrinkle reduction, improvement to the skin’s appearance through the treatment of superficial benign vascular and pigmented lesions, and the treatment of acne, leg veins and cellulite. The company sells its products under two distinct brands, Syneron and Candela.
The company was founded in 2000, and has its corporate, R&D, and manufacturing headquarters located in Israel. The company also has R&D and manufacturing operations in the US, and sells its products and services in 86 countries. Syneron has offices in North America, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, UK, Australia, China, Japan, and Hong Kong and distributors worldwide, the website said.

Israeli Olympic Medalists Yarden Gerbi, Ori Sasson Highlight Connection Between Judo and Patriotism: On the Mat, ‘We Are Fighting for Our Country’

Israeli Olympic Medalists Yarden Gerbi, Ori Sasson Highlight Connection Between Judo and Patriotism: On the Mat, ‘We Are Fighting for Our Country’
avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian
Star Israeli judokas, both of whom won bronze medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics, told a gathering of American Jews in the Big Apple last week about the connection between their sport and service to their country.
“We are patriotic. We are fighting for our country. When we get on the mat, we know how to fight. It’s inside us,” said Yarden Gerbi, who, together with Ori Sasson, was addressing an audience at the headquarters of the UJA-Federation of New York on Tuesday.
They also spoke about the unsportsmanlike treatment they received on a number occasions as representatives of the Jewish state.
When Sasson beat Egypt’s Islam El Shehaby, for instance, the victor’s customary hand shake at the end of the match was refused – a gesture that resulted in El Shehaby’s being sent home.
Prior to the match, El Shehaby was urged by anti-Israel fans on social media not to compete against Sasson.
“You will shame Islam,” wrote one angry follower. “If you lose, you will shame an entire nation and yourself. We don’t want to think what will happen if you lost to an Israeli. Victory will give you nothing. How can you cooperate with a murderous nation?”

500-year-old ‘Prague Haggadah’ found

Just prior to Pesach (Passover), the National Library of Israel revealed that it had acquired the velum Prague Haggadah two months ago, when the library purchased the famed Valmadonna Collection of Judaica.
The Haggadah was printed in Prague in 1556. A previous Haggadah was printed in 1526, but no copy survived. Several elements of the 1556 Haggadah, such as the illustrations, were found in another Haggdah printed 30 years later and continued to be printed the same way for hundreds of years.
Only two copies of the Prague Haggadah have survived. One is preserved in a London library, and the second is the one that is now in Jerusalem’s National Library, together with the other rare items in the Valmadonna Collection.
The Valmadonna Collection is considered the most important private collection of Jewish books in the world. It contains over 10,000 books and other items printed in Hebrew, dating from the beginning of the 15th century, among them an incunabula of the Pentateuch, printed in Lisbon in 1491 .
In addition to rare Hebrew books, the collection contains over 100 manuscripts dating from the beginning of the sixteenth century.

Russian poet who told the world about Babi Yar dies at 84

Acclaimed Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, whose work focused on war atrocities and denounced anti-Semitism and tyrannical dictators, has died. He was 84.
Ginny Hensley, a spokeswoman for Hillcrest Medical Center in the eastern Oklahoma city of Tulsa, confirmed Yevtushenko’s death. Roger Blais, the provost at the University of Tulsa, where Yevtushenko was a longtime faculty member, said he was told Yevtushenko died Saturday morning.
“He died a few minutes ago surrounded by relatives and close friends,” his widow, Maria Novikova, was quoted as saying by the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti. She said he died peacefully in his sleep of heart failure.
Yevtushenko gained notoriety in the former Soviet Union while in his 20s, with poetry denouncing Josef Stalin. He gained international acclaim as a young revolutionary with “Babi Yar,” the unflinching 1961 poem that told of the slaughter of nearly 34,000 Jews by the Nazis and denounced the anti-Semitism that had spread throughout the Soviet Union.
At the height of his fame, Yevtushenko read his works in packed soccer stadiums and arenas, including to a crowd of 200,000 in 1991 that came to listen during a failed coup attempt in Russia. He also attracted large audiences on tours of the West.

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