Melanie Phillips: Leaving Egypt to cross the (metaphorical) seas
In the face of all this, America’s Jewish leaders are largely and disgracefully silent. Most of them, that is, except the head of the Zionist Organisation of America, Mort Klein, who tells it as it is.
Sitting alongside Owens at the same judiciary committee hearing, Klein called for the removal of Omar and Tlaib from their committees. And he went much further.
While acknowledging the dangers of white nationalism, Klein identified the major issue threatening violence against Jews and all Americans as “Muslim antisemitism, which is strengthened by significant institutional support, and is becoming mainstream”.
He pointed to statistics showing that among American Muslims antisemitism was running at more than double the rate among than people of other faiths and none, and four times as much in parts of Europe. “It’s always about the Muslims and left attacking, verbally abusing, and threatening Jewish and pro-Israel students”, he said. And he also blamed institutional support for Jew-hatred by leading imams.
In a New York meeting a few days ago, Klein spoke further about the growing antisemitism from left-wing Muslims in Congress and how this is largely ignored not only by government officials and the media but also by the Jewish community.
In the current climate of intimidation, character assassination and cultural conformity, these are the words of an extremely brave man. He shames the craven Jewish community by speaking plain truths which others, including many diaspora Jewish leaders, seek all too successfully to suppress.
The epidemic of antisemitism and the twisting of the western mind are part of the great battle under way over the survival of western civilisation. It will require all our courage to fight for what’s right and true.
Personally, I shall be spending Passover in Israel, where the fight for freedom is in the very DNA of the people who have to defend it with their lives every day.
Have a good one.
Eugene Kontorovich: The Trump Effect Saves U.S. Soldiers From Runaway Prosecutors
“…The Trump foreign policy team scored a big victory in The Hague last Friday that will protect American soldiers from illegitimate and unaccountable foreign prosecutions.
The International Criminal Court dropped a more than decade-long inquiry into alleged crimes by U.S. personnel in Afghanistan. The action came soon after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the U.S. would deny a visa to the court’s prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, and potentially other court officials, because of their possible prosecution of Americans. The court said in an opinion that it wouldn’t proceed because of ‘changes within the relevant political landscape’ suggesting it would not get ‘cooperation’ from the U.S. In other words, the Trump Effect.
The U.S.-like most other non-European major military powers-never accepted the court’s jurisdiction. According to its own statute, the ICC can only prosecute when a country is ‘unwilling or unable’ to prosecute its own war crimes. But the U.S. has no problem prosecuting its soldiers domestically in military courts if they violate the law.
If the ICC were to indict U.S. servicemen, no American president would turn them over, but it would have a real effect on their lives. They would face peril in traveling to countries that have joined the ICC, including all of Western Europe. They would be international fugitives…
President Trump, Mr. Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton correctly understand that their primary duty is to protect American nationals, not prop up the reputation of an already-failing treaty organization of which the U.S. is not a member. At very low cost, they have rescued American troops who served in Afghanistan from living under a Damocles sword of Hague-based prosecution…”
Dore Gold: America and the International Criminal Court
In April, the State Department revoked the U.S. visa of International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda after she declared her intention to conduct an investigation of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.
The ICC had been based on the principle of complementarity – that is, it only has jurisdiction if an alleged crime occurred in a state that has no effective legal system to prosecute it, due to a lack of capacity or political will.
American critics rightfully are concerned that the ICC could be abused to drag American military personnel in front of the court, regardless of the fact that the U.S. military has its own system for investigating allegations.
Israel’s concerns have been similar to those of the U.S., due to its bad experience with multilateral institutions in the past that have made baseless allegations against IDF soldiers, accusing them of war crimes.
U.S. law prohibits economic support for the Palestinian Authority if it prompts a process that places Israelis under an ICC investigation.
The debate over the creation of the ICC in 1998 illustrated that any political issue might be converted into a legal weapon. The U.S. has long been aware of this problem, which explains why, like Israel, it could not back what started as a noble cause but later became a seriously flawed idea.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu touted what he said were burgeoning ties between Israel and the Arab and Muslim world Friday in a Passover video he released on his social media platforms hours before the start of the Jewish festival.
“Citizens of Israel, Jewish brothers and sisters around the world. Each year on Seder night, I am deeply moved. Passover touches upon the roots of our national identity. Thousands of years ago we raised the banner of freedom and liberty,” he said of the Jewish festival that celebrates the Jewish people’s liberation from slavery and Exodus from Egypt.
“We went from slavery to freedom, from subjugation to independence. We began our long journey from Egypt to our home — Zion and Jerusalem,” he said in the Hebrew clip.
Presenting the Jewish state’s “incredible achievements by any standard,” Netanyahu said that he is “persistently and systematically turning Israel into a rising global power. Specifically, “a country admired by many other countries, including in the Arab and Muslim world.”
Each year at the Seder table, I am deeply moved. Passover touches upon the roots of our national identity. Thousands of years ago we raised the banner of freedom and liberty. We went from slavery to freedom, from subjugation to independence.
Happy Passover! pic.twitter.com/r2IAWrDqUm
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) April 19, 2019
Netanyahu has made diplomatic outreach to Africa, Latin America and the Far East a cornerstone of his foreign policy, and has pushed for more open ties with moderate Arab states.
Israel has formal relations only with Egypt and Jordan, but its relations with some Gulf countries, including the United Arab Emirates, indeed appear to have recently warmed as part of a tacit alliance against Iran.
It is time for a paradigm shift in how we think about the Middle East because the current paradigm between Israel and its neighbors that has prevailed for more than a half-century is increasingly at odds with reality.
After the June 1967 Six-Day War, the “normal” diplomatic model (enshrined in UN Security Council Resolution 242) has assumed that Israel would trade territory in exchange for security and peace. Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt, allowing the two countries to sign a peace treaty that has endured to this day. But it is no longer possible to imagine peace talks, much less agreements, between Syrian President Assad’s government and that of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Diplomatic progress between Israel and the Palestinians is equally difficult to imagine. Negotiations came close several times to establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel, but at the last minute, Palestinian leaders balked. This was a historic error. What was on offer in the past is no longer. Much of the world has grown weary of the conflict. Quite a few Arab governments, worried about Iran or internal threats more than Israel, are prepared to work with Israel quietly, and in some cases openly.
The PA and its leadership are responsible for their dire financial situation. Had the PA chosen to reject terrorism and abolish its “Pay for Slay” policy, then the financial crises could have been avoided. It is the PA that rejected all U.S. aid after the U.S. passed the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA). The Act provides that any state or body which receives U.S. aid inherently agrees to the jurisdiction of the U.S. courts to consider claims against those aid recipient states for terror involvement.
ATCA was passed after the PA was found to be responsible for a number of terror acts and ordered to pay over $600 million in damages to the victims and their families. The PA is responsible for the four years of terror from 2000-2004 in which 1,200 Israelis were murdered, and ongoing terror since then.
In addition, the Taylor Force Act made much of the U.S. aid to the PA conditional on it abolishing its policy of paying financial incentives and rewards to Palestinian terrorists and their families. If the PA has hundreds of millions of dollars a year to squander paying incentives and rewards to terrorists, it obviously does not need U.S. aid.
Jason Greenblatt, the US Special Envoy for Middle East negotiations, has been engaged in a Twitter debate for the last two days with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, over the direction of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
President Trump’s peace plan is due to be rolled out in June, and has been the subject of intense speculation by politicians and journalists.
After Shtayyeh declared Wednesday that Trump’s upcoming peace plan will be “born dead,” Greenblatt fired back, asking “Why does the new PA Prime Minister hope for our plan to be “born dead” & for peace to fail? By working with us, perhaps something wonderful can happen for Palestinians. We’ve repeatedly said this won’t just be an economic plan.”
He ended his tweet thread, “PM Shtayyeh, starting a new job by condemning a plan you haven’t seen is unfair to Palestinians. You have an obligation to first look at an opportunity before you dismiss it. The PA can continue to push us away, but that will do nothing to improve the lives of the Palestinians.”
Khaled Abu Toameh: PA Moves to Block U.S. Peace Plan
As the US administration prepares to announce its long-awaited plan for peace in the Middle East, also known as the “deal of the century,” there is growing concern in Ramallah that some Arab countries may not support the PA’s position, which is vehemently opposed to the plan.
Worse, Palestinian Authority officials are worried that US President Donald Trump’s administration may be seeking to establish an alternative Palestinian leadership that would accept the deal.
That’s why the PA’s efforts are now focusing on ensuring that no Arab country or Palestinian personality take a stance contradicting its official position toward Trump’s upcoming plan.
Palestinian officials say that PA President Mahmoud Abbas has requested an urgent meeting of the Arab League, in an attempt to win Arab support for Palestinian opposition to the plan. It’s not clear yet when the Arab League would meet. However, Abbas’s request is seen as an indication of the growing concern in Ramallah that some Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Oman and the United Arab Emirates – whose leaders have close relations with the Trump administration – may “betray” the Palestinians by accepting the deal.
On Saturday, a new cabinet was sworn into office in Ramallah, with the newly appointed prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh at its head. Shtayyeh and his colleagues face a widespread perception among Palestinians that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is corrupt, alongside a worsening financial crisis. Ultimately, that crisis can be resolved only by the PA’s president, Mahmoud Abbas, who has brought it about in the first place through his insistence on rewarding terror with cash. Katherine Bauer and Ghaith al-Omari write:
[I]n February, Israel moved to withhold $138 million annually, or $11.5 million a month (roughly 6 percent of the tax revenues it collects on the PA’s behalf), in [response to] the PA’s payments to the families of prisoners [in Israeli jails] and “martyrs”—a practice about which Abbas has refused to negotiate. In response, the PA has refused to accept the remaining portion of the transfer so long as Israel continues to withhold any of it. This has reportedly led the PA to adopt strict austerity measures, including payment of only partial salaries to government employees in both March and April. . . .
[T]he PA seems to be calculating that concerns over instability in the PA and the West Bank will prompt Israel to reverse its decision. Such a reversal, in addition to stabilizing PA finances, would give Abbas a political victory. Yet while effective in the past, the same approach is less certain to work this time around. For Israel, the basis for partial withholding of the funds is enshrined in the law and enjoys Israeli consensus across the political spectrum. Moreover, . . . the PA’s decision to reject any partial transfer from Israel struck some [countries that might make up for the shortfalls] as grandstanding, eliciting neither sympathy nor support. . . .
The fact that the PA has suspended formal contacts with the U.S., argue Bauer and Omari, does not mean Washington has no cards to play:
The U.S. Department of Justice released on Thursday the highly-anticipated report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller that the Trump campaign did not collude with Russia to interfere the 2016 election despite Moscow’s attempt to influence it.
Two Israel-related matters were mentioned in the report, which have previously been reported in the press:
1. Led by S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, the Trump transition team attempted to persuade foreign governments, with then-incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn talking to Russia, to oppose the December 2016 United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, condemning Israeli neighborhoods in Judea and Samaria. The resolution passed as the U.S. did not exercise its automatic veto power and instead abstained.
2. While George Papadopoulos, who was a foreign policy adviser on the Trump campaign, had ties to Israel, the special counsel “ultimately determined that the evidence was not sufficient to obtain or sustain a conviction” that he “committed a crime or crimes by acting as an unregistered agent of the Israeli government” in accordance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires those lobbying on behalf of foreign governments to disclose such activity with the Justice Department.
Not mentioned in the report is that former Trump deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates reportedly consulted with Israeli intelligence firm Psy-Group in 2016 to create fake identities online in order to manipulate voters and defeat Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
The company was reportedly of interest to Mueller.
Gates “sought one proposal to use bogus personas to target and sway 5,000 delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention by attacking Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Mr. Trump’s main opponent at the time,” according to The New York Times, which first reported the story, citing interviews and proposal copies.
“Another proposal describes opposition research and ‘complementary intelligence activities’ about Mrs. Clinton and people close to her.”
The Australian Jewish News: ‘An insult to our national debate’
AS the Australian Labor Party battles against anti-Israel elements within its ranks, leader Bill Shorten has stressed that a “Shorten Labor government will be committed to maintaining close ties with Israel”.
Last week Melissa Parke, Labor’s candidate for the WA seat of Curtin, pulled out of the election race over comments she made about Israel.
This week sitting Labor MP Josh Wilson is under pressure because he claimed that Palestinians are killed at Israeli checkpoints. And it has emerged western Sydney Labor MP Susan Templeman likened the situation in the West Bank to apartheid.
Wilson, the Member for Fremantle, told the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN) last December that Israeli checkpoints are “places you go to and you go to jail … sometimes they are places you go to and you die”.
“They are going to turn Palestine into Swiss cheese and that is what is happening,” he said.
“Checkpoints in Palestine are like holding pens or cattle runs.”
Jewish leaders have blasted Wilson, but Shorten insisted the party is a great friend of Israel.
“Labor’s policy is crystal clear – we support a two-state solution, which recognises the right of Israel and Palestine to exist within secure and recognised borders,” Shorten said.
“The Labor National Conference confirmed this position as late as December last year.
“That position will not change.”
No, Israel isn’t deporting you for “human rights work”. There are literally thousands of people human rights workers in Israel – none of them are facing the threat of deportion.https://t.co/i10jVqWROB
— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) April 19, 2019
A Swiss court ruled that the archive of the renowned Jewish writer Franz Kafka must be handed over to Israel, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.
The court upheld several Israeli verdicts that over the course of the years stated that the manuscripts by the German speaking Bohemian author belong to the National Library of Israel.
Following the ruling, a number of safe deposit boxes kept in the vaults of the UBS bank in Zurich may be opened and their contents sent to Jerusalem.
Kafka’s archive has been the object of a decades-long legal battle between the State of Israel and the family of the late Esther Hoffe, who was in possession of the material partially located in Israel and partially in Switzerland.
Hoffe was the secretary of Max Brod, a close friend of Kafka. In 1924 Kafka, at the point of death, entrusted his archive – including drafts, note, letters and drawings – to Brod, asking him to destroy everything.
Brod disobeyed Kafka’s wishes, publishing “The Trial,” “The Castle” and “Amerika” in the late 1920s and 1930s.
When Brod and his wife, Elsa, fled Nazi-occupied Prague for Tel Aviv in 1939, Brod carried all of Kafka’s papers with him in a suitcase.
A Paris appeal court on Thursday handed a 30-year jail term to Abdelkader Merah, brother of a French jihadist who shot dead seven people, finding him guilty of being an accomplice in the 2012 murders.
The verdict was received in silence in the courtroom, before sobs broke out among the victim’s relatives in the public gallery.
Merah, 36, had in 2017 been jailed for 20 years being part of a terrorist conspiracy but had been cleared, by the lower court, of having a direct hand in his brother’s shooting spree.
The appeal court decision, reached after 12 hours of deliberations, the 30-year term falling short of the prosecution’s request for a life term for Merah.
His brother Mohamed Merah killed three soldiers in March 2012 before turning his sights on a Jewish school in Toulouse, where he gunned down a rabbi, two of the rabbi’s children, aged three and five, and an eight-year-old girl.
The attack was the deadliest on Jews in France in three decades and marked the advent of a new threat from French-born radicals goaded by foreign terror groups to strike their homeland.
Mohamed Merah was killed by police after a 32-hour siege at his home, three days after the school assault.
Avi Dichter, former director of the Israel Security Agency, said that during the Second Intifada, the ISA and IDF arrested 8,000 terrorists. The intelligence that Israel was able to extract from them is what enabled the country to win. “With dead terrorists, you get no information. With terrorists captured alive, you can extract tremendous amounts of information and turn them into action items. This gives the ability to foil more and more terrorists, plots and cells.”
In Gaza, destroying the terrorist military infrastructure can happen in one of two ways, according to Dichter. Either Saudi Arabia and Egypt lead a diplomatic initiative that completely rids Gaza of its terrorist military infrastructure, or Israel will need to launch a major and long-lasting operation to root it out.
He says the chances of the first option are low – and believes that Israel needs to prepare itself for a major campaign that would consist of ground troops and air power. Otherwise, within a decade, Hamas will have much more sophisticated weapons that will endanger Israel to a significantly higher degree.
A gunshot was reportedly fired at Israeli troops serving along the Gaza border on Friday, prompting a number of retaliatory strikes against nearby Hamas positions, the Israel Defense Forces said.
No injuries were reported on either side in the exchange of fire.
The IDF said the soldiers were targeted while at the security fence. According to outlets in the Gaza Strip, the incident occurred east of the Gazan city Deir al-Balah.
A short time later, an Israeli tank and aircraft targeted two Hamas observation posts along the Gaza border, the army said.
“An IDF aircraft and tank attacked two military positions belonging to the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip in response to a shot that was fired a short time ago at troops near the security fence,” the IDF said.
The fire came as troops were gearing up for the weekly protests and riots along the Gaza border that have been held almost every Friday for more than a year.
Several thousand Palestinians took part in the protests later Friday, with some rioting along the border, throwing rocks and explosive devices at soldiers who responded with tear gas and occasional live fire.
The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said 12 people were wounded by live fire.
Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan has instructed not to allow a soccer tournament to take place in Jerusalem on Friday.
The match was sponsored and funded by the Palestinian Authority and organized by members of Hamas, meant to mark Palestinian Prisoners’ Day.
Erdan said that “I will not allow an event that glorifies terrorists and violate the Israeli sovereignty to take place in Jerusalem, our capital.”
The minister signed an order to close the tournament that was supposed to take place on the football field in Beit Tzafafa, in the capital.
In the past, Erdan extended the order to close the Orient House building and other institutions of the Palestinian Authority in east Jerusalem. In recent months, he issued closing orders for a commemorative event in east Jerusalem financed by the Palestinian Authority, for a conference in Silwan that promoted the Palestinian takeover of east Jerusalem and other events Palestinian settlements planned for Jerusalem.
A terror cell in central Africa that was backed by Iran for the purpose of launching attacks and spreading its anti-Western ideology was dismantled this week, i24NEWS reported on Friday.
According to the report on i24NEWS Iran “was behind the recruitment and training of men between the ages of 25-35, several already belonging to a designated terror group operating out of the region known as Seleka, to commit terror attacks against Westerners residing on the continent.”
“We want to create an army to fight against Westerners in Africa,” the head of the central African cell, Ismael Djida, told the outlet, which is the only international news channel based in Tel Aviv.
The channel, which focuses on reporting from Israel and the Middle East, has several bureaus in major cities around the world and has seen a growing viewership in recent years.
Iran, according to the information obtained by i24NEWS, paid the leader of Seneka more than 100,000 dollars to recruit terrorists and launch attacks that would undermine relations of African countries with Israel.
“The cell was arrested in Chad, a country in which had been visited by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this year,” the i24NEWS report said.
MEMRI: Iranian Majlis Designates U.S. CENTCOM As Terrorist Organization: All U.S. Forces In Region And Their Facilities, Bases, Logistics Apparatus, And Personnel – Are Now Considered Terrorist Entities
IRINN TV reported on April 16, 2019 that the Iranian Majlis ratified with an overwhelming majority a bill that would designate the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) as a terrorist organization. Iranian Defense Minister General Amir Hatami said: “American’s deception and sanctions have become ineffective.” He added that 26 rounds of U.S. sanctions, the U.S. pulling out of the JCPOA, and designating the IRGC a terrorist organization “prove that the U.S. sanctions weapon is no longer capable of shooting at the target.” Hossein Naghavi-Hosseini, of the Foreign Affairs and Security Committee told IRINN TV: “All the U.S. forces deployed in the region, all their facilities, their bases, and the entire logistic apparatus at their disposal are considered terrorist entities.” He added that all U.S. bases and the personnel in them “should be treated as terror bases.” Mohammad Ali Vakili, a Majlis member, told IRINN TV that this is only the first bill of a group of bills “aimed at confronting the hostile measures of the American government against the Iranian people” and the U.S. should be warned against further steps in the future.
“The U.S. Sanctions Weapon Is No Longer Capable Of Shooting At The Target”
Anchor: “In an afternoon session today, the Majlis ratified a bill in response to the U.S. designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization.”
Iranian MP: “The voting is over. The bill was ratified in an overwhelming vote.”
Members of Majlis: “Death to America! Death to America!”
“All The U.S. Forces Deployed In The Region, All Their Facilities, Their Bases, And The Entire Logistics Apparatus At Their Disposal Are Considered Terrorist Entities”
The actor Miriam Margolyes, best known for her portrayal of Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter film series, has attempted to diminish the scale and impact of the Labour antisemitism scandal by characterising it as a plot to undermine Jeremy Corbyn. In an interview given to the Radio Times, Ms Margolyes said: “I don’t think there is the extent of antisemitism in the Labour Party that people seem to imply” and stated that she believes “…it’s to do with trying to stop Corbyn from being Prime Minister.”
Accusing Jews of making accusations of antisemitism in bad faith in order to aid a hidden agenda is a well-established antisemitic slur.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has begun pre-enforcement proceedings against the Labour Party following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant. The pre-enforcement proceedings are a precursor to opening a full statutory investigation.
Ms Margolyes has a history of making appalling remarks about Jews. In 2016 she was caught on film, appearing to suggest that “Jews and blacks are stingy”. The previous year, in an interview in The Telegraph, she asserted that “nobody likes Jews” and claimed that “People understandably and correctly associate Israel with Jews and Jews are killing people. Innocent people.”
The UK Labour Party, already deeply embroiled in an anti-Semitism scandal, tried to reach out to Jews on Friday with a Passover greeting, only to have the effort compound its woes.
The greeting, posted on Twitter by London Labour, wished a “Happy Passover from everyone at Labour,” but was illustrated with a glass of wine and a loaf of bread.
One of the central laws of Passover is that Jews are prohibited from eating leavened products, most notably bread.
The Passover custom of eating only unleavened products commemorates the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, which, according to the Bible, took place so quickly that they did not have time for their bread to rise.
The presumably well-intentioned if misfiring Tweet was quickly deleted, but not before prompting sarcasm, ire and ridicule from some British Jews and others.
— Ozraeli Dave (((דיויד לנג))) (@Israellycool) April 19, 2019
The Anti-Defamation League, along with the Jewish Federation of Arkansas and more than 40 Holocaust scholars, has written a letter to Arkansas Tech University criticizing it for naming a scholarship after Dr. Michael Link, a known Holocaust denier.
According to the ADL, a 2005 graduate seminar by Link used antisemitic, neo-Nazi articles as historical texts and numerous students have testified against his use of bigotry in the classroom.
Link taught at the Arkansas university for over 50 years.
“Over the course of Dr. Link’s tenure, the university allowed him to expose thousands of students to these odious, dangerous mistruths under the guise of three deeply disturbing and absolutely intolerable tactics,” the letter reads.
“First, Dr. Link presented misinformation as history. Second, he presented the antisemitic nature of this misinformation as though it were truthful, correct, and acceptable. Third, he presented the question of whether the Holocaust occurred — an irrefutable historical fact — as though it were an appropriate, valid point of debate.”
The letter was addressed to the president of the university and called on him to rethink the university’s decision. It was signed by numerous scholars and organization leaders, including Dr. Deborah Lipstadt, the leading world expert on Holocaust denial, and Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO and national director of the ADL.
— Ozraeli Dave (((דיויד לנג))) (@Israellycool) April 19, 2019
TIME magazine’s 2019 list of the world’s 100 Most Influential People, published on Wednesday, includes the self-professed “proud” anti-semitic prime minister of Malaysia, who has publicly disparaged Jews as “hook-nosed.”
The magazine praised PM Mahathir Mohamad, who took office on May 2018, for coming out of retirement after ruling Malaysia for 22 years, adding:
The formidable old warhorse dazzled during a grueling campaign, gathering vast crowds; his reliance on core values united electoral groups, and his age inspired trust in a grand man of politics.
Citing the PM’s decision to liberate the 71-year-old former leader of the opposition Anwar Ibrahim, who is expected to replace Mohamad, TIME credits him with re-establishing democracy “in a country that almost teetered into totalitarianism.”
In an October 2018 interview with BBC, Mohamad described Jews as “hook-nosed” and denied the Holocaust that killed millions of them.
“There are many races in this world, I have said nasty things about them but they never accused me of being anti-this or anti-that,” he declared in response to criticism about his anti-semitic tendencies.
Asked about his derogatory comments, he doubled down, saying, “They are hook-nosed.”
Facebook on Thursday banned a range of far-right British groups for violating its policies against hate speech and incitement.
The social network officially removed pages belonging to groups including Britain First, the British National Party, the English Defense League, the National Front and other groups and individuals associated with nationalism and neo-Nazi politics.
“Individuals and organizations who spread hate, or attack or call for the exclusion of others on the basis of who they are, have no place on Facebook,” it said in a statement, according to BBC. “Under our dangerous individuals and organizations policy, we ban those who proclaim a violent or hateful mission or are engaged in acts of hate or violence.”
The social media platform said that all the groups and individuals included in the ban will not be allowed on any Facebook platform, which includes Instagram. It went further to note that “posts and other content which expresses praise or support for these figures and groups will also be banned.”
Knights Templar International, one of the banned groups, wrote on its website Thursday that due to “major tech companies purging patriot groups from their platforms” it would be moving to the social network Telegram.
— Amy Spiro (@AmySpiro) March 28, 2018
Architecture and built heritage can be powerful symbols.
Notre-Dame de Paris is one of the most famous and familiar buildings in the world, visited by an astonishing 30,000 people a day, or 13 million people a year. It is embedded in global collective consciousness and immortalized around the world in a zillion holiday snaps, videos, works of fine art and memories.
My Facebook and Twitter feeds this week have been full of posts grieving over the great cathedral’s fiery fate and heaving sighs of relief that most of the 800-year-old building and its treasures apparently will be saved.
But they have also been full of posts questioning why so much emotion – and money – is (or will be) spent over the fate of one building, however old or iconic, while myriad other important heritage sites are under threat worldwide and millions of people are homeless or go hungry.
My most recent visit to Notre Dame, last October, was for the opening event of an international conference about how to save the thousands of abandoned or endangered churches, synagogues and other sites of religious heritage in Europe. I’ve been working to document and preserve crumbling Jewish heritage sites for three decades, and it’s often been an uphill battle.
Introduction: “The Jews Are Burning France”
As Notre Dame cathedral was burning in Paris, the French website Démocratie participative (“Participating in Democracy”) posted articles accusing the Jews of setting the blaze. The first article, posted April 15, 2019, was titled “The Jews Are Burning France.”
The article, authored by “Captain Harlock,” the main contributor to the website who may also be the site’s founder, shared tweeted news stories and photos of the blaze and accused the Jews of arson. It stated: “The most emblematic French cathedral in the country that has gone through a millennium of history and is consumed so quickly, in the middle of the day, in front of the whole world. It is in any case a perfect allegory: France always burned by the Jews.”
Lower down, alongside a photo showing individuals who he appears to think look Jewish, he wrote: “Obviously. This is the ultimate warning that God sends us.”
April 16: “With The Destruction Of Notre Dame, Semitic Genocidal Hatred Is Expressed More Clearly Than Ever”
Another post the following day, also by Captain Harlock, focused on “demonstrations of joy at the announcement of the destruction by the fire of a part of Notre-Dame de Paris – primarily the Jews, who never part with… their tribal memory.” The post was titled “With The Destruction Of Notre Dame, Semitic Genocidal Hatred Is Expressed More Clearly Than Ever.” A main focus of the post was Jews’ failure to express sufficient sadness about the fire. It also touched on the issue of “a France… biologically altered by Negro blood.” It read in part:
“…We have long explained that the present war is between two irreducibly opposed minds: Semitism on the one hand and Aryanism on the other. Aryanism has the work of fundamental value, where Semitism has theft and speculation as a guiding principle…
The Jerusalem municipality projected a French flag onto the walls of the city’s own Notre Dame center on Thursday in a sign of solidarity with Paris, following Monday’s devastating fire at the iconic French cathedral.
“The city of Jerusalem and its residents are saddened by the difficult events that took place at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. We extend our sympathies, and are sending a warm embrace to the French people from our capital, Jerusalem. For the next 24 hours, Jerusalem’s Notre Dame will be lit with the colors of the French flag,” Jerusalem mayor Moshe Lion said.
The hotel, restaurant and conference complex is owned by the Vatican and is located just outside the Old City’s New Gate.
The compound opened as a center for Christian pilgrims in 1888 and today continues to welcome clergy and other members of the church to Jerusalem, according to its website.
On Monday, Israeli president Reuven Rivlin offered condolences to Paris following the fire.
“The Notre Dame [cathedral] is among the most beautiful of Paris’s symbols and of France’s in general, but also one of the most important to any cultured person,” Rivlin said in a tweet.
The Great Synagogue of Warsaw, which was destroyed by German forces during World War II, made a brief reappearance as an apparition of light during commemorations for the Ghetto Uprising of 1943.
Light was projected Thursday night onto the modern glass building in the place where the synagogue used to stand.
For two hours, a grand building fronted by classical Greek-style columns was returned virtually to a city where most traces of a large prewar Jewish community have vanished.
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Archival recordings of the synagogue’s cantor, Gerszon Sirota, revived the sounds of Jewish Warsaw. Sirota died in the ghetto.
The light-and-sound show was the work of Polish multimedia artist Gabi von Seltmann, who wants Polish society to remember the large Jewish community that was once an integral part of a multicultural country. It was organized by Open Republic, a group that fights anti-Semitism.
“Awaking memory in Poland to me also means to teach empathy, because when there is empathy there is no fear anymore,” von Seltmann said.
On this EXACT date, 76 years ago… pic.twitter.com/Q8dts761X3
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) April 19, 2019
As the owner of the world’s largest collection of haggadot, the National Library of Israel is no stranger to unusual versions of the text that Jews read on Passover.
Among the library’s 10,000-odd haggadot is the Prague Hagaddah from 1556, of which only two copies exist. And the even older Rothschild Hagaddah from 1450, which was written in Italy on parchment so delicate that it’s kept in a dark vault (unusually, the library in Jerusalem put that Haggadah on display this year, but only for two days.)
Yet one of the library’s most special haggadot is younger than the institution’s chairman, 74-year-old David Bloomberg.
Dubbed the Korean War Haggadah, the booklet from 1952 was recently purchased by the library because it is “extremely rare,” the museum said in a statement. It did not say how much the 32-page booklet cost.
Printed in Korea for the use of US military personnel fighting there, it was first used in a seder, the traditional Passover meal, organized by two Jewish chaplains who were also responsible for producing the Haggadah.
Jewish soldiers from across Korea were given furlough and transported to that seder.
“The soldiers I serve with are my family, and I’m sure it will be a meaningful Passover with the IDF.”
These were the words of Harel Mizrahi, a lone soldier from Seattle, Washington, who is serving in the Nahal Infantry Brigade and will remain in service over the first part of the holiday. This is his first Jewish holiday on base away from his family since drafting into the army.
Mizrahi told The Jerusalem Post that they had worked hard over the last few days to clean their tents and make the base kosher for Passover.
“It’s been hard work,” he teased. “A lot of cleaning and the dinning hall is being cleaned for Passover too, by tomorrow [Thursday], we’ll already be eating kosher-for-Passover food.”
Harel Mizrahi, a lone soldier from Seattle, will continue serving in the army over Passover. (IDF Spokesman’s Unit)Harel Mizrahi, a lone soldier from Seattle, will continue serving in the army over Passover. (IDF Spokesman’s Unit)
“My whole unit is going to spend the holiday on guard in the South, and I’m really excited to be spending Passover with the army and with my fellow soldiers who are like my family,” he said. “We’re there for each other and I’m expecting a regular Passover, aside for the fact that I will be away from my family.”
Chag Pesach kasher vesame’ach to all my Jewish friends around the world. pic.twitter.com/BAoKS3FyLc
— Rɪᴄʜᴀʀᴅ Kᴇᴍᴘ ⋁ (@COLRICHARDKEMP) April 19, 2019
The Israeli Army has pressed into service some 200 IDF chaplains, including reservists, to make hundreds of kitchens and mess halls kosher for the holiday. In Jerusalem before the holiday, yeshiva students wielding blowtorches preside over huge vats of boiling water stationed every few blocks to allow residents to cleanse cutlery and dishes.
The day before Passover, families burn the remainder of their bread in empty lots. Mailboxes are full of Passover appeals from the myriad of organizations helping the poor celebrate the holiday. Hundreds of Israelis volunteer before the holiday to collect, package and distribute Passover supplies to the needy.
Just before the holiday, Israel’s chief rabbis sell the nation’s food products made from wheat, barley, rye, or oats (chametz) to Hussein Jabar, a Muslim Arab resident of the Israeli town of Abu Ghosh. He will sell it back after the holiday.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) April 19, 2019
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