November 18, 2019

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04/11 Links Pt2: On verge of space history, Beresheet fails to land safely on Moon; BDS founder Omar Barghouti denied entry to US; The Well-Financed War on Birthright Israel

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2019/04/0411-links-pt2-on-verge-of-space.html

From Ian:


On verge of space history, Beresheet fails to land safely on Moon
Israel almost rewrote the lunar history books on Thursday evening as spacecraft Beresheet (Hebrew for Genesis) failed to land safely on the Moon.

Millions around the world tuned in live to watch the SpaceIL vessel, carrying an Israeli flag and a nano-Bible, descend to the Moon’s Mare Serenitatis (Sea of Serenity), but the State of Israel fell just short of becoming only the fourth member of a prestigious club of nations to complete the formidable task of landing a spacecraft on the lunar surface.

SpaceIL lost contact with the spacecraft only minutes before it was due to complete the historic landing – a feat previously achieved only by the United States, Russia (then the USSR) and China – after an epic seven-week, 6.5 million km. journey since Beresheet, an ambitious project developed by SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries, blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida on board a SpaceX rocket on February 22.

For 48 days, Beresheet’s ground crew watched, monitored and executed every maneuver of the spacecraft from a control center at IAI’s Yehud headquarters. Once in position to descend, the landing maneuver – split into two phases of decreasing horizontal velocity and then vertical velocity – commenced but failed to land safely after contact was lost.

“If it at first you don’t succeed, you try and try again – and we’ll try again,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the control center.

“We reached the moon, but we wanted to land more safely. The attempt alone is a huge achievement. An Israeli satellite will one day land on the moon.”

Beresheet takes a selfie minutes before touching down on the moon .

Palestinian BDS founder Omar Barghouti denied entry to US

The US government this week denied entry to Omar Barghouti, the leader of the Palestinian-led boycott movement against Israel, according to a Washington-based advocacy group who claimed the travel ban was retribution for his political activities.

The Arab American Institute (AII) said that Barghouti was barred from boarding a Wednesday flight to New York for a multi-city speaking tour in the United States, despite having a valid travel document and visa.

The AII, which coordinated Barghouti’s US visit, said in a statement that he was informed by airline staff at Ben Gurion International Airport that the US Consulate in Tel Aviv had directed US immigration services to deny his entry.

The statement said Barghouti, a resident of Acre who is married to an Arab Israeli and holds Israeli permanent resident status, was not provided an explanation for his denial of entry beyond being told it was an “immigration matter.”

Barghouti, a co-founder of the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement, possessed a valid US visa, and the required Israel-issued travel documents, the institute said.

The Well-Financed War on Birthright Israel

The war on Birthright continues. IfNotNow protested outside of Birthright’s New York City headquarters on April 5, demanding that Birthright make institutional changes to its programming.

These events follow weeks of threats from IfNotNow, which is bankrolled by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and dozens of news articles from activists and activist-journalists over the past few months detailing IfNotNow participants who were removed from their Birthright trips for “coordinated plans to ruin the experience for others in order to promote a specific agenda.” All of these actions come after a series of well-publicized stunts (or “walk offs”) attacking Birthright and claiming that the organization had failed to focus on the Palestinian narrative of the occupation.

For the uninitiated, Birthright Israel offers free 10-day trips to the Jewish state for young Jewish adults, dedicated to enabling them to explore their Jewish identity and build a connection to Israel.

Why are these groups going after Birthright? What’s wrong with educating young Jews about their heritage and homeland?

Birthright Israel is a remarkable program; as a participant and staff member of four trips, I should know. The program has managed to engage a wide spectrum of Jewish youth — attracting everyone from the secular and unaffiliated to religious, from straight to LGBTQ, from elite athletes to those with physical handicaps. Birthright has engaged more than 650,000 young Jewish adults from 67 countries, including places like Poland and Uganda.

Palestinian aggression against interfaith harmony at UNESCO

The United States and Israel left the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization on December 31, 2018.

On April 11, the organization’s 58-member executive board will vote on the twice-a-year resolutions on “Occupied Palestine… Jerusalem and its Walls,” “Palestinian Education, Youth,” etc., and on the “Occupied Syrian Golan.”

These votes will impact on the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in July – a Palestinian instrument for ID theft of the Jewish and Christian narratives in order to validate the cause of “Palestine.”

Since Palestinian entry into UNESCO in November 2011, along with a voracious appetite, it has annually demanded and received as heritage sites: the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, Battir (the headquarters of Bar-Kochba’s Beitar revolt against the Romans), Bilal ibn Rabah Mosque (Rachel’s Tomb), Haram al Sharif (the Temple Mount), Buraq Plaza (the Kotel, or Western Wall), and Al-Haram al-Ibrahimi Mosque (Tomb of the Patriarchs) in Khalil (Hebron).

Celestial and terrestrial Jerusalem meet in the so-called “Holy Basin,” where most of the three monotheistic faiths’ shrines are concentrated. Through the World Heritage Committee, their claims are ultimately aimed at sovereignty.

The Jewish Western Wall stands below the Temple Mount esplanade, connected by the “Mughrabi Ascent.” If Islamized, a non-Muslim worshiper at the Western Wall could conceivably be viewed as a trespassing infidel.

The aim is patently to obtain sites to surround Jerusalem and its suburbs.

In the absence of Israel, the Palestinians have courted the UNESCO Secretariat with a series of demands:

• On December 3, “Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls” (additions have been made to previous versions).
• On December 14, “Al-Khalil/Hebron Old Town” (an addition to the already designated Cave of the Patriarchs).
• On January 7, “Palestinian Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of South Jerusalem” (an addition to the already designated Battir).
• On February 25, “Palestinian Nabi Zakkarya” (Prophet Zecharia).

BBC News report on Airbnb backtrack follows usual recipe

However the BBC did not inform its audiences of the basis for that class action suit.

“The suit was filed under the Fair Housing Act, which was meant to prevent discrimination against minorities in the United States. Because Airbnb is based in the United States, it must adhere to the act in all its listings worldwide.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs claimed that Airbnb was discriminating against them for being Jewish, given that it still allowed listings by Palestinian Muslims and Christians in the West Bank.

“The policy Airbnb announced last November was abject discrimination against Jewish users of the website,” Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the president of Shurat Hadin, said in a statement. “Whatever one’s political view, discrimination based on religious affiliation should never be the solution.””

Readers would hence no doubt have found it difficult to understand why one of the people quoted in a section of the report sub-headed “What’s the reaction been?” used the term “discriminatory”.

“Eugene Kontorovich, director of international law at the Kohelet Policy Forum in Jerusalem, told AFP news agency: “Airbnb has realized what we have long argued – that boycotts of Jews anywhere, even just in the West Bank, are discriminatory.”

That sub-section went on to uncritically amplify statements from two of the BBC’s most quoted and promoted political NGOs – Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International – while making no effort to adhere to the corporation’s own editorial guidelines by informing audiences of the political agenda of those organisations.

Palestinians condemn Airbnb about-face on de-listing Israeli settlements

Airbnb’s decision not to exclude Jewish communities in the West Bank from its accommodation listings triggered Palestinian condemnation on Wednesday and accusations that the company was helping perpetuate Israeli occupation.

Heeding calls from Palestinians who want the West Bank for a future state, Airbnb had said in November it would remove the listings of some 200 settlement homes.

That decision was deplored by Israel and challenged in some U.S. jurisdictions.

Announcing a resolution of lawsuits brought against it, Airbnb said it “will not move forward with implementing the removal of listings in the West Bank from the platform.”

Chief Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat said in a statement that this “signals the complicity of the company with the systematic denial of our inalienable right to self-determination.”

He said Airbnb’s announcement that it would take no profits from its activities in the West Bank “is nothing but a shameful attempt at whitewashing their complicity.”

There was no official comment from Israel, which held a national election on Tuesday.

Airbnb was sued over its proposed delisting of West Bank apartments last November in Jerusalem District Court and, separately, in U.S. federal courts in Delaware and California.

Ilhan Omar: Accusations of Dual Loyalty Are ‘Dangerous Incitement’ (not satire)

Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar complained Wednesday after her critics accused her of dual loyalty, calling it a “dangerous incitement.”

Fox News host Brian Kilmeade and Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R.) were critical of recently resurfaced comments in which Omar was vague when referring to the 9/11 hijackers. “CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something, and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties,” she said.

“Really? ‘Some people did something?'” Kilmeade asked on Fox & Friends. “You have to wonder if she’s an American first.”

Crenshaw tweeted that Omar was the “first Member of Congress to ever describe terrorists who killed thousands of Americans on 9/11 as ‘some people who did something.’ Unbelievable.”

NY Post Editorial: Ilhan Omar’s outrageous writeoff of 9/11’s horrors

Some people did something? Wow. What a way to describe the heinous surprise attack on America that claimed 3,000 lives.

Especially when Omar’s focus was Muslim rights: That made it all the more vital to note that the terrorists acted in the name of Islam — as self-described “jihadists” in a war against America, Israel and the West. To call them merely “some people” is to deny a cancer festering in the world Muslim community.

She went further: “Many people expect our community to feel like it needs to hide every time something happens.” Again, by “something happens,” she means (but won’t say) “when Muslims commit acts of terror.”

No one expects Muslims to “hide” after an attack by Islamist terrorists. No group should be blamed for the deeds of a few of its members. But defeating terrorism requires facing the facts of who’s behind it and why.

Instead, Omar claimed Muslims are being “terrorized” by the nation’s response to 9/11.

By the way: CAIR wasn’t founded post-9/11, but in 1994. And the feds later named it an unindicted co-conspirator in a plot to steer US funds to the terror group Hamas.

Yet Omar upped the obscure-the-facts ante Wednesday, declaring criticism of her “some people did something” line to be “incitement,” on the grounds that she has received death threats.

Huh? She’d rightly be outraged if anyone minimized those threats as merely “some words from some people.”

Omar’s cavalier brushing off of the murder of thousands of innocents on 9/11 should shock all Americans, Muslims included.

WaPo Fact Checker Compares Omar’s 9/11 Comments to Bush’s Ground Zero Speech

The Washington Post‘s Fact-Checker wrote that Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D., Minn.) glib remarks referring to the September 11 terrorist attacks called to mind George W. Bush’s famous bullhorn speech at Ground Zero.

Glenn Kessler dove into the controversy surrounding the freshman lawmaker’s speech last month before the Council on American-Islamic Relations. A snippet went viral where Omar appeared to glibly refer to the worst terror attack in U.S. history as “some people did something.”

“Here’s the truth. For far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen and, frankly, I’m tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it. CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties,” Omar said. “So you can’t just say that today someone is looking at me strange and that I am trying to make myself look pleasant. You have to say that this person is looking at me strange, I am not comfortable with it, and I am going to talk to them and ask them why. Because that is the right you have.”

“We will leave it to readers to determine whether Omar should have referred to ‘terrorists’ or if the context for ‘some people’ is clear from the speech,” Kessler wrote.

PreOccupiedTerritory: Allies Fear ADL Not Doing Enough To Downplay Left-Wing Attacks On Jews (satire)

Organizations that have joined the oldest Jewish civil rights group in combating various forms of bigotry voiced concern this week that the venerable enterprise has fallen far short of its capabilities in the important arena of focusing only on threats to Jews from the right-hand side of the political spectrum.

Officials from the Southern Poverty Law Center, J Street, and several other progressive groups met Wednesday to discuss their qualms with the Anti-Defamation League, now under the leadership of Jonathan Greenblatt. Their chief worry, according to several people present, stems from the ADL’s apparent inability or unwillingness of late to ignore, minimize, or otherwise dismiss the importance of animus and violence toward Jews from groups identified with progressive politics.

“We’re disappointed, and somewhat nonplussed,” admitted one participant who spoke on condition of anonymity. “We thought that Mr. Greenblatt, as an alumnus of the Obama administration, would serve as a natural ally in attributing all ills affecting society – especially minorities in society – only to right-wing bigotry. The ADL has definitely made some important moves in that regard, but in the assessment of all the groups here, their embrace of that modus operandi has been half-hearted in the last year or so, and none of us can explain it.”

Ami on the Move: Open Anti-Semitism At UNC And Duke Conference

Ami Horowitz is on the move at a Gaza conference organized by UNC and Duke University on the conflict in Gaza. Ami quickly discovers the thin veneer of anti-Israel sentiment hides an ocean of open anti-Semitism.

Divestment Vote Fails at UCSB

The vote on UC Santa Barbara divesting from companies that conduct business with Israel failed by a margin of 14-10 at 5 a.m. on April 11.

The Daily Nexus reports that the Associated Students Senate meeting, which began at 6:30 p.m. on April 10, lasted around 10 and a half hours due to a lengthy debate on the issue of divestment. The Nexus report states that around 90 people from the audience spoke on the matter with opinions evenly split on the matter; Max Samarov, StandWithUs’ executive director of Research and Strategy and an alumnus of UCSB, told The College Fix that around 100 people spoke and he believed that “there were more students speaking against it than for it.”

Among the student senators who spoke out against the resolution included Lea Toubian, who reportedly “left the vote crying” when the vote ended after discussing her personal experience with anti-Semitism.

“I firmly believe this resolution provides a platform for hate,” Toubian said before the vote.

The vote was conducted via secret ballot out of concern of student senators being doxxed.

With the divestment vote failing, UCSB remains the only UC campus not to have voted for divestment. It is also the sixth time in seven years that divestment has failed at UCSB.

Cornell’s Anti-Israel Divestment Resolution Is Full of Lies, Slanders, and Inaccuracies

On April 11, the Cornell Student Assembly will vote on a resolution submitted by Students for Justice in Palestine (Resolution 36).

Much of Resolution 36 is deeply misleading and inaccurate, and it must be rejected by the Student Assembly, which should not adopt a document that falls below basic academic standards.

Resolution 36 misleads students on the history of the Gaza Strip when it discusses “the blockaded Palestinian territories” as being “controlled militarily by the Israeli government.” After Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005, the terror group Hamas took control in 2007.

Hamas has smuggled in weapons by land and sea to attack Israeli civilians, and therefore, Israel has been forced to check goods that enter Gaza. With these measures in place, Hamas has still indiscriminately targeted Israeli civilians with thousands of rockets, mortars, tunnels, and other forms of terrorism. Furthermore, the United Nations’ Palmer report ruled that Israel’s policy in Gaza is legal under international law.

Resolution 36 also omits critical information about the West Bank, when it talks about “occupied” territories being “controlled militarily by the Israeli government.”

Between 1948 and 1967, Jordan occupied the West Bank. That territory had been designated by the League of Nations as part of a Jewish homeland.

European Court of Justice Hears Case Over Labeling Wine From West Bank and Golan

A hearing took place on Tuesday at the European Court of Justice in a major case against the discriminatory labeling of Israeli products.

The case, brought by Israeli wine producer and exporter Psâgot Winery Ltd., along with the Lawfare Project, was referred to the court by the French Conseil d’État.

The plaintiffs were represented by French Supreme Court law firm Cabinet Briard, which challenged an opinion published by the French Minister of Economics and Finance in November 2016. The minister’s opinion stated that products from the Golan Heights or West Bank have to be labeled as coming from “colonies Israéliennes” (aka Israeli settlements) or equivalent terms.

At Tuesday’s hearing, counsel for Psâgot—France’s Supreme Court Attorney François-Henri Briard—argued that the insistence on applying the label violates the law.

Briard added that applying the law in such a way would open a “Pandora’s Box,” requiring complex labeling for items from more than 100 different areas globally where there are territorial disputes.

Zeid Truscott disqualified as candidate for National Union of Students Executive Council over claim that Mossad trained ISIS leader

Zeid Truscott has been disqualified as standing as a candidate for the National Union of Students (NUS) Executive Council after complaints over antisemitic social media posts, including one claiming that Mossad trained the leader of ISIS.

Jules Mason, NUS Chief Returning Officer, tweeted a statement confirming: “As your Chief Returning Officer, I am responsible for ensuring that elections are not just fair, safe and accessible but with that they also follow the rules and abide with NUS rules and policy. As I mentioned in my accountability report yesterday, I have ruled on a complaint concerning antisemitism…Despite being informed of the potential of disqualification [Mr Truscott] has not complied with my ruling in respect to a complaint made about them concerning antisemitism whilst a candidate. As a result, I have disqualified that candidate from this year’s NUS NEC Block of 15 election.”

Mr Truscott has refused to apologise for reportedly sharing an article on Facebook claiming that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, was trained by Mossad.

Another post claimed that the International Definition of Antisemitism is “anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab.” Another message said that: “Some of the [definition’s] examples ([such as] Israel being a racist endeavour) aim to silence Arab lived experience and sideline oppression of Arabs.” He also allegedly tweeted: “Just your daily reminder that Israel is a racist, apartheid state. Founded on ‘divine right’ and created through terrorism and ethnic cleansing.”

A number of messages allegedly sent from his Facebook and Twitter accounts were uncovered by a Twitter user.

In a statement posted on social media, Mr Truscott, a University of Bath student, declined to apologise for the posts, instead saying that he rejected accusations of antisemitism. He wrote: “Since my involvement in the student movement, I have always tried to advocate for justice, liberation and amplifying the voices of the marginalised.”

NY Times Errs on Oslo and Two-State Solution

The New York Times incorrectly claimed this week that the Oslo Accords “committed both sides to a two-state solution.” The inaccurate description appeared in Richard Pérez-Peña’s story online on April 8 and in print the following day.

While the Accords, a set of peace agreements signed by Israel and Palestinian leaders in the early 1990s, did give Palestinians self-government and promised further negotiations on the main issues dividing the parties, none of the agreements call for a Palestinian state.

This was underscored by Martin Indyk, formerly a U.S. ambassador to Israel and Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, in a piece for the Atlantic marking the 25th anniversary of the agreements. The Oslo Accords, he wrote, “did not provide for a Palestinian state.” Later in the piece he re-emphasized that the two-state solution is “a concept that is nowhere mentioned in the Oslo Accords.”

Update: New York Times Corrects
After CAMERA informed editors that the Oslo Accords do not refer to Palestinian statehood or a two-state solution, the newspaper published the following correction:

An earlier version of this article misstated a commitment of the Oslo accords, the 1993 agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians. The Oslo accords called for a negotiated settlement, but did not commit both sides to a two-state solution.

We commend the forthright correction.

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – March 2019

The BBC News website belatedly covered the terror attacks at two locations in Samaria on March 17th in which Staff Sergeant Gal Keidan and Rabbi Achiad Ettinger were murdered.

Rocket attacks on Tel Aviv on March 14th received belated coverage and the rocket attack on Moshav Mishmeret on March 25th in which 7 civilians were injured was also reported, as were additional attacks later in the day and others on March 31st. Several other rocket and mortar attacks throughout the month went unreported.

A vehicular attack in the Binyamin district on March 4th in which two members of the security forces were injured did not receive any BBC coverage and neither did a shooting incident in which a 7 year-old boy was injured in Beit El on March 25th. BBC audiences saw no reporting on the stabbing of two prison guards by Hamas prisoners on March 24th or a petrol bomb attack on passengers in a car travelling near Elon Moreh on March 21st.

In all the BBC can be said to have covered 36 of the 308 incidents which took place during March while also making vague references to some Israeli reports of IED attacks along the border with the Gaza Strip.

Since the beginning of the year the BBC News website has reported 5.9% of the Palestinian terror attacks that have taken place (including half of the incidents of rocket fire) and 66% of the total fatalities.

Antisemitic Facebook page could pose threat to Lakewood Jews

New Jersey officials are asking Facebook to look at a page they say poses a threat to the Lakewood Orthodox Jewish community.

New Jersey Attorney-General Gurbir S. Grewal said the page “Rise Up Ocean County” is full of hateful comments that could escalate, according to a report by the Asbury Park Press.

The page, which was created last year, “uses real problems in the Jewish community as a way to spread Jew hatred. It’s baked into pretty much everything they do,” according to one explanation posted on Facebook.

“Far too often, we have seen how hateful comments can escalate to hateful conduct,” the A-G told the press. “Our Division on Civil Rights is committed to fighting this rising tide of hate, and we’ll continue taking proactive steps to make New Jersey a more welcoming community for people of all backgrounds and faiths.”

New Jersey officials wrote a letter to Facebook asking that the social media giant review the page and consider action. Among those signed on the letter were Division of Civil Rights Director Rachel Wainer Apter. She told The Jewish Voice that the officials were not asking Facebook for any specific action, but the county just wants to make sure that something is done to protect area Jews.

Among the posts on the Rise Up Ocean County page are statements like, “We need to get rid of them like Hitler did,” or “…The gang war has begun. I have my mac11 loaded.”

The page has about 10,000 followers. The identities of the administrators are unknown.

Antisemitic graffiti painted on French wall: Grab me with the Shoah

Municipal workers in France’s Cherbourg-en-Cotentin neighborhood erased an antisemitic slogan from a wall on the Avenue du Paris, a main thoroughfare in the coastal town of Cherbourg. The hate speech had been discovered over the weekend.

The graffiti, captured in a Twitter picture and reported on by the French media, said, “I grab you by the kippa/you grab me with the Shoah.”

The local mayor, Benoît Arrivé, said the graffiti had been reported to the local prosecutor’s office and that police were working to track down the culprit.

“Antisemitism is not an opinion, it’s a crime,” Arrivé told the media.

Lithuania Jewish community slams Holocaust center’s faulty info

The state-funded Center for the Study of the Genocide and Resistance of Residents of Lithuania has been under fire for publishing last month that “the Lithuanians operated against the will of the Germans” during World War II, and that “the residents of occupied Lithuania in 1941 didn’t understand ghettos as part of the Holocaust.”

On its website a few weeks ago, the Jewish Community of Lithuania (JCL) slammed the center’s defense of Lithuanian army officer Jonas Noreika, the governor of the Lithuanian Šiauliai district under the Germans who allegedly oversaw and benefited personally from the persecution of the area’s Jews.

“Noreika belonged to the anti-Nazi underground of Šiauliai which rescued Jews, Noreika helped those who rescued Jews,” said the center.

The JCL, which has threatened to take legal action against the center unless it is recanted, said the government agency’s remarks “contains features which are crimes under the Lithuanian criminal code- namely, denial or gross belittlement of the Holocaust.”

The American Jewish Committee condemned what it labeled as a way “to distort the history of the Holocaust” in Lithuania.

Israeli Tech Helps Blind People Vote in Elections



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