September 25, 2020

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05/08 Links Pt2: Trump says US withdrawing from Iran nuclear deal; Walid Shoebat site video calls Judaism a ‘satanic religion’; Rabbis on secret visit to Muslim country

From Ian:

Defying world, Trump says US withdrawing from Iran nuclear deal
President Trump announced the US was withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday, following through on a campaign promise and defying European allies who implored him to maintain an agreement that international agencies have said Tehran is honoring.

In a highly anticipated address from the White House’s Diplomatic Reception Room, Trump cast the landmark agreement forged under predecessor Barack Obama as ‘defective’ and unable to rein in Iranian behavior or halt the Islamic Republic’s quest to develop a nuclear program.

“I’m announcing today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal,” he said while adding that his administration “will be instituting the highest level of economic sanction.”

Trump said the 2015 agreement, which included Germany, France, and Britain, was a “horrible one-sided deal that should never ever have been made.”

His remarks came ahead of his self-imposed May 12 deadline to walk away from the deal, which is when the president is required to renew waivers on sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program as required under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the deal is formally called.

Netanyahu: Israel ‘fully supports’ Trump’s ‘bold’ pullout from Iran deal

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday led a chorus of effusive Israeli praise for US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal and reinstate the “highest level” of US sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

“Israel fully supports President Trump’s bold decision today to reject the disastrous nuclear deal with the terrorist regime in Tehran,” Netanyahu said in a live English-language televised statement from his office, moments after Trump’s announcement.

Trump on Tuesday announced the US withdrawal from what he called the “defective” multinational nuclear deal with Iran, signing a presidential memorandum to reintroduce high-level sanctions on the rogue regime.

Netanyahu said Israel opposed the nuclear deal “from the start,” because, rather than keeping Tehran away from the bomb, “it paves Iran’s path to an entire arsenal of nuclear bombs.”

The lifting of sanctions by world powers since the 2015 accord “has already produced disastrous results,” said the prime minister.

“The deal didn’t push war further away, it actually brought it closer. The deal didn’t reduce Iran’s aggression, it dramatically increased it,” the prime minister said, citing the regime’s military activities across the region.

“Since the deal, we’ve seen Iran’s aggression grow every day — in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Yemen, in Gaza, and most of all, in Syria, where Iran is trying to establish military bases from which to attack Israel.”

Ben Shapiro: WATCH: Trump Just Shredded The Iran Deal. Here Are 5 Reasons He Was Absolutely Right To Do So.

On Tuesday, President Trump announced that the United States would be terminating the Iran deal. He did so on firm footing, to the consternation of the nation’s media as well as European allies who have been itching to do business with the Islamic Republic for decades. Trump explained, correctly, that “the Iranian regime is the leading state sponsor of terror. It exports dangerous missiles, fuels conflicts across the Middle East, and supports terrorist proxies and militias such as Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban and Al Qaeda.” He went on to list the terrorist activities in which the regime has participated, and mentioned that the mullahs have “plunder[ed] the wealth of its own people.”

Then he got into the good stuff.

Trump said that Barack Obama’s Iran deal “was supposed to protect the United States and our allies from the lunacy of an Iranian nuclear bomb,” but that the deal “allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium and – over time – reach the brink of a nuclear breakout.” This is eminently correct. All of the deal’s proponents who suggest that Iran’s nuclear ambitions were curbed by the deal are, quite simply, lying – Iran’s ambitions were merely postponed, with the knowledge that a full nuclear breakout in 2025 would result in zero sanctions of any kind. As Trump stated, “at the point when the United States had maximum leverage, this disastrous deal gave this regime – and it’s a regime of great terror – many billions of dollars, some of it in actual cash – a great embarrassment to me as a citizen and to all citizens of the United States.”

Trump mentioned that Israeli-garnered intelligence showed that Iran had lied repeatedly about its ambitions – that it wanted to develop nuclear weapons all along. The deal, Trump concluded, “didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.” As Trump pointed out, Iran’s military budget “has grown by almost 40 percent,” and the mullahs used the new money “to build its nuclear-capable missiles, support terrorism, and cause havoc throughout the Middle East and beyond.”

5. The Deal Did Not Deter The Quest For Nuclear Weapons. After the Iraq War, Muammar Qaddafi gave up his nuclear program, knowing that there was a serious possibility that the United States would take action. After the Iran nuclear deal, the North Korean regime even more loudly pursued nuclear development, knowing that it would earn goodies from the United States. By pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal and making it clear that there are continuing consequences for dictatorships seeking nuclear weapons, Trump has made it obvious to North Korea that their best move here is to disarm, and to do so with credible methods of enforcement.

No, killing the deal won’t lead to US-led war in Iran – Trump has no such desire. But it could and should lead to concerted action by America’s allies, both economic and military, if need be. The false binary presented by the Obama team was always a horrible lie, a propagandistic effort to paint foreign policy hawks into the corner.

The Iran deal was a disaster. Trump is right to kill it.

And the Obama team’s new attempts to curry favor with terrorists in Tehran should tell you everything you need to know about their agenda in the first place.

Walid Shoebat site video calls Judaism a ‘satanic religion’

Walid Shoebat’s foundation has a website, that would expose persecution of Christians and Jews in the War on Terror. I hadn’t looked at the site in a while but when I went there I was greeted by a headline that read, “Judaism is Satanic”. It also featured a strange trailer from either the Arab miniseries A Horseman Without A Horse which is based on the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion and was used to foment pogroms since the 19th century on Jews or else from Mel Gibson’s Passion of Christ which is just as bad.

When I scrolled down on the website I was besieged with all manner of mendacious lecturing by Walid’s son, Theodore, describing the Talmud and Judaism as Satanic devices, also spewing out attacks on gays. The messages were the same as those on militant Islamist websites or those of Neo-Nazis, yet declared to be true representations of Christian doctrine and “telling it like it is” about the Jews who “killed God.” Some readers even carried on further: The Jews in Israel aren’t real Jews; The Talmud teaches ideas from the Devil; The Church revealed the devil worship of the Jews and on and on. Readers can see all this by visiting the website. I recommend viewing it on the Internet Archive here in case it has been removed by the time you read this article, but it was up at this writing.

At first, I thought maybe the site was hacked or that Walid wasn’t aware of what his son, Theodore was doing; the attacks on Judaism and Jews, the attacks on gays, his militant and almost persecutorial representations of Christianity that were Taliban-like behavior. But Walid told me everything was right, or so he said, and followed his 27 year-old son’s ideas. Now, the Shoebats say the Jews, not the Romans, killed Christ, and how Judaism is a Satanic cult. Walid and son described me as a “money grubbing Jew.”

Walid asked me if I wanted to do an interview with his son. But when his son called me he began insulting me with obscenity-laced accusations and nonsense.. The Palestinian militant came out, it seems, in both Walid and his son. This wasn’t a misunderstanding of Judaism, this was every bit as anti-Semitic as Hamas.

The BDS activists who used to berate Shoebat as a fraud will no doubt dance a jig, but who could have imagined his rantings when it comes to the Jews? Will Walid Shoebat please clear this up?

Roberto Saviano, Author of ‘Gomorrah,’ Takes on Internet Nazis

Later this month, Roberto Saviano, the renowned Italian journalist, will testify at the first hearing of a trial against 39 Italian neo-Nazis who were accused, among other things, of participating in an online group that incited racial discrimination and violence. For years, between 2009 and 2012, the group held discussions that included white supremacist and anti-Semitic rhetoric on the American hate site Stormfront.

In one of the threads, members of the site posted lists of alleged influential Jews: entrepreneurs, artists, and journalists. Among the people listed, were Carlo De Benedetti, former president of the publishing group L’Espresso, TV host Gad Lerner, and Saviano himself, whose maternal grandparents had Jewish origins, although he identifies as atheist.

An investigation carried out by the Italian police revealed chilling conversations among the members of Stormfront Italy. “I still believe that the great Führer had found the right solution for those damn rats,” wrote Filippo Galbesi, one of the users, in one of the threads. Another member, Alessandro Pedroni, stated: “To build—this time FOR REAL—homicidal gas chambers, applying for real what they pretend happened to them, I believe that would be the REAL FINAL SOLUTION.” All members took part in the discussions under nicknames, but the police discovered and published their names.

Roberto Saviano is no stranger to hatred, online hatred included. After publishing in 2006 his debut novel, Gomorrah, in which he exposed the operations of a cartel of the Neapolitan mafia, the death threats became so serious and frequent that he was put under police protection. As of today, the book has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide and was translated into over 50 languages. The hatred toward him remains—from the mafia, of course, but also from the people who bitterly accuse him of capitalizing on his anti-mafia fight to enrich himself.

But what he read in the Italian threads of Stormfront—which was later shut down in Italy—and the thousands of hate emails that followed, calling him a Jew and a Mason, particularly upset him.

“They began creating these lists [of Jews], claiming there was a secret connection between them in order to manipulate public opinion,” Saviano said in an interview at Tablet magazine’s office in New York. Anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists often claim the existence of a Jewish lobby that controls politics, the media, and the economy. “These lists were very dangerous, as they were successful, getting thousands of clicks.”

Daphne Anson: Well, Flamin’ Kites! Corbynista Shadow Minister Makes “Three Solemn Guarantees”

Emily Thornberry, a lawyer and Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury, who’s Corbyn’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, has been the focus of my blog once before.

Last week she posted the following rosy-eyed declaration on Facebook:

“I had the privilege these past few days of representing the Labour Party at the conference of the Palestinian National Council in Ramallah, the PNC’s first official meeting in more than two decades, and one that comes at a crucial time.

The recent actions of the Netanyahu and Trump governments have displayed a blatant contempt for the interests of peace in the Middle East and the chances of making progress towards a two-state solution.

And it was on the latter point that I provided my hosts with strong reassurance that – if they stuck to the path of peace – they would receive strong support from the British Labour Party, and from a future Labour government, and I made three solemn guarantees of the action we would take as soon as we are in office again.

First, as we rightly mark this month the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the State of Israel, I said it is also right – and long overdue – for the United Kingdom to formally recognise the State of Palestine, and urge other countries to do the same, not in due course, not when the time is right, but now and without delay.

Second, I said that as a matter of urgency, a Labour government would host an international funding conference to address the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people, and the millions of Palestinian refugees across the region, in particular to plug the gaps in funding caused by Donald Trump’s cruel and spiteful cuts.

And third, I said a Labour government in Britain would immediately review the sale of arms by the United Kingdom to Israel to ensure that none of the weapons sold by our country are being used by the Netanyahu government to attack innocent Palestinian civilians in Gaza or anywhere else.

But it was not just in London that I said a future Labour government would make a difference, but in New York, at meetings of the United Nations, and in Washington DC, in our talks with the Trump administration.

IsraellyCool: WATCH: Norman Finkelstein – Lies, Damn Lies, And Antisemitism

Israel hater Norman Finkelstein recently spoke about Israel and the situation in Gaza at Alwan For The Arts in New York City.

The full speech is available here. You can either subject yourselves to watching it (a particularly inhumane type of torture), or watch the below video I created from it, which contains the more vile of his statements.

Lies and distortions, antisemitism, and generalizations about Israelis – it has it all.

The new anti-Semites promote a very modern ‘blood libel’

When neo-Nazis and members of the Ku Klux Klan marched last summer in Charlottesville, Va, American Jews were scared witless. The marchers were members of tiny, marginal groups with no influence, but the imagery of their torchlight parade conjured up the nightmares of the Jewish past.

The fears sparked by Charlottesville resonated because the scene was familiar. We know what that enemy looks like and what to think about them. But when it comes to a more insidious and potentially far more dangerous threat to Jews, the face of hatred not only looks different but is also completely unthreatening. That’s especially true when young and supposedly idealistic Jews promote anti-Semitism.

An example of how that works came last month in Durham, NC, where the city council passed a resolution banning the local police department from taking part in “military-style training” in Israel. The measure was the result of agitation by Jewish Voice for Peace and its allies in the Black Lives Matter movement. Ostensibly the goal was to push back against a national trend of militarizing law enforcement that is supposedly linked to police shootings of African-Americans. But the real purpose was to score a victory for the BDS movement that would undermine Israel and smear American Jews.

Those activists aren’t the only new face of anti-Semitism that doesn’t resemble the familiar image we saw in Charlottesville.

The leaders of the Women’s March — the movement that has organized the mass protests against the Trump administration and become the face of the “resistance” to the president — also happen to be supporters of the Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan. Farrakhan is a well-known anti-Semitic hatemonger, but people like Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour, who are the face of the Women’s March, aren’t so easily categorized, and the instincts of some of their conventional liberal allies is to defend them.

But, they, too, are the new faces of anti-Semitism. Mallory is currently in Israel on a propaganda tour organized by a left-wing outfit. On Sunday, she blamed President Trump’s travel ban and border wall on the president following Israel’s “playbook.”

Women’s March leader blames Trump Muslim ban, Mexican border wall on Israeli PM

Returning from trip to region, Tamika Mallory says US leader’s actions ‘are all lines out of the Netanyahu book of oppression’

Women’s March leader Tamika Mallory said in a tweet Monday that President Donald Trump’s so-called Muslim ban and plan for a wall on the border with Mexico were inspired directly by the policies of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Mallory, who returned over the weekend from a trip to Israel sponsored by the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, said in the tweet Sunday, “Be clear: Donald Trump’s wall + #muslimban + #deportation plan are all lines out of the #Netanyahu book of oppression. Trump has referenced this himself. We ought pay attention & not allow folks to label us + try to black list us in to silence. #JusticeDelegation (more 2 come).”

An hour later she tweeted: “While I was traveling ppl insisted that I must hear ‘both sides.’ As long as the side of injustice exists, we must address it. I heard from some who support the Israeli gvt, but could not explain what I saw with my own eyes. Injustice is a threat to ALL SIDES.#JusticeDelegation”

Mallory was criticized in February by the Anti-Defamation League and others for tweeting enthusiastically about her appearance at a rally by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who delivered a speech laced with anti-Semitic and homophobic remarks. More recently she criticized Starbucks for including the ADL in its anti-bias training, saying the Jewish group “constantly” attacks black and brown people. (h/t Daniel)

BDS operative to be expelled from Israel

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri decided not to approve the continued stay in Israel of Human Rights Watch operative Omar Shakir for his actions against Israel. Therefore, Shakir must leave Israel within 14 days.

Minister Deri made his decision on the recommendation of the Strategic Affairs Ministry headed by Minister Gilad Erdan.

The recommendation included information about Shakir’s activities over the years, according to which he is a BDS operative who actively supports boycotting Israel, disinvestment, and imposing sanctions on Israel.
Erdan, DeriFlash 90

Minister Deri explained the decision: “It is inconceivable that a boycott operative receives a permit to stay in Israel so he can act in every way possible to harm the State, and I will work to remove such people from Israel by all means available to me, so Omar Shakir will leave Israel.

Sussex University Students Renew Commitment to Boycott Israel

Students at the University of Sussex in England voted to support the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, the school’s Students’ Union announced on Friday.

Nearly 69 percent of voters urged their representatives to “continue to hold a policy in support of the BDS movement.”

The union, which initially endorsed BDS against the Jewish state in 2015, does not currently support a boycott of any other country.

The referendum was considered by 940 voters, representing 7 percent of the university’s more than 13,000 students. It commits the union “to lobby the University to drop all investments in and not work with all companies that are complicit.”

“It is vital that a BDS policy is passed at Sussex due to the links the university has with companies that help Israel violate international law,” the Sussex Friends of Palestine Society wrote in a document accompanying the referendum.

The university “refuses to commit to remove its investments from companies complicit in Israeli Violations of International Law,” it argued, and “has a contract with Eden Springs, a company that uses water from a spring in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.”

Students opposed to the referendum, whose counter-argument was also included on the ballot, warned that it would tell Jewish students to “stay away.”

“Stay away because the 93% of you who say Israel is central to your Jewish identity will need to leave that part of you at the door if you want to fit in,” the Vote NO: #PromotePeace coalition wrote, referencing a study of British Jews carried out by City University in 2015.

NGOs Accuse Israel Of Carwashing (satire)

Human rights and civil rights groups lambasted the Jewish state again this week, this time pointing to the country’s alleged attempt to distract from its treatment of Palestinians by engaging in having automobiles cleaned.

Amnesty International, Code Pink, Human Rights Watch, and several other non-governmental organizations decried on Monday what they called Israel’s practice of “carwashing,” in which the country tries to divert attention from the occupation and oppression of Palestinians by noticing that the car is getting a little dirty and it’s time to have it professionally scrubbed and dried.

In a joint statement, the organizations criticized Israel for such behavior and called on it to address Palestinian demands. “For too long Israel has exploited the international community’s willingness to look only at certain aspects of the state’s policies,” the statement began. “The short attention span and fleeting news cycle make it possible for Israel to take its vehicles to an establishment that uses either machines or manual labor to apply water and detergent to the exterior of those vehicles so as to remove accumulated dust, dirt, and debris.”

“Sometimes this carwashing activity also features an application of polish, though that requires additional expense and time,” it continued. “For some units, the automated, conveyor-belt-type of carwashing might prove too abrasive, and instead the facility staff power-wash the vehicle. In all cases the drying is done either by hand or in the sun.”

“Moreover, most such facilities offer interior vacuum-cleaning services for an additional charge,” the statement added. “This is most common in the week or two before the Passover holiday and immediately following the occasional dust storms that hit the region. We call upon the international community not to fall into the trap of being distracted by Israel’s carwashing, and not to let Netanyahu and his far-right allies continue to enjoy impunity. The carwashing must stop.”

BBC Whitewashes HR’s Jeremy Bowen Complaint

This past February we launched a complaint to the BBC backed by thousands of people who signed our petition. This was in response to a prime time BBC News report by Jeremy Bowen on the Ahed Tamimi trial that was taking place at the time.

In order to gauge Israeli public opinion, Bowen, out of 120 Knesset members, chose to interview a disgraced, provocative politician and well-known enfant terrible, Oren Hazan, who had been suspended from the Knesset for his behavior only one day prior to the broadcast.

We believed that Bowen, no stranger to Israel, knew exactly what sort of performance he would get from Hazan.

And Hazan didn’t disappoint.

Hazan was not introduced to viewers, except for a caption saying “Oren Hazan, Israeli Member of Parliament.”

To fight anti-Semitism, first you have to define it

In recent years we have witnessed anti-Israel demonstrations that have turned overtly anti-Semitic and even violent, but police ignored initially as only political activity.

We have seen prosecutors and judges rule that an arson attack on a synagogue is not anti-Semitic because the perpetrator was motivated by anti-Israel sentiments.

And we have been confronted by traditional anti-Semitic invective where only the word “Zionist” has been substituted for “Jew,” as though that somehow makes it permissible.

What guidance can we offer police and other law enforcement officials in responding to anti-Semitic hate crimes and to raise public awareness of anti-Semitic discourse in its ever-changing forms?

Thirteen years have passed since a comprehensive and updated definition of anti-Semitism was drafted and adopted by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, or EUMC. Now, with proposed congressional legislation and various state and local initiatives, there are calls for employing a definition here.

The need for such a definition in Europe became evident after the EUMC conducted its first analysis of anti-Semitism in the European Union in 2004 showing that few of its monitors had any definition of anti-Semitism to guide them in preparing the report. I am proud that I was able to play a role, working with the EUMC director and Jewish organizations at the time, in the development of what has come to be known as the Working Definition of Anti-Semitism. It offers a succinct core definition along with clear and practical examples, including Jewish stereotypes, conspiracy theories, Holocaust denial and, notably, ways in which anti-Zionism can mask anti-Semitism.

Poland’s Holocaust law triggers tide of abuse against Auschwitz museum

Officials at the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial and museum have described how they were subjected to a wave of “hate, fake news and manipulations” as a result of the controversy surrounding a contentious Holocaust speech law passed by Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party earlier this year.

The campaign of disinformation and abuse at the hands of Polish nationalists has raised concerns about pressure being exerted on official guides at the site in southern Poland, after the home of one foreign guide was attacked and supporters of a convicted antisemite filmed themselves repeatedly hectoring their guide during a visit to the camp in March.

Conceived in part as a means to prevent facilities established by Poland’s German occupiers from being described as “Polish death camps”, the legislation, which criminalises the false attribution to the Polish state or nation of complicity in the crimes committed by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust, prompted a furious reaction in Israel and elsewhere amid concerns it could be used to restrict open discussion of Poland’s wartime history.

This in turn provoked an angry backlash from nationalist and pro-government media in Poland, many of whom accused the museum – which administers the site, conducts historical research, and trains and licenses official guides – of deliberately downplaying the fate of the approximately 74,000 non-Jewish Polish prisoners who perished in the camp, by focusing exclusively on its Jewish victims.

Man Who Filmed Himself Harassing A Hasidic Jewish Boy Apologizes In Twitter Video

A man who filmed himself harassing and belittling a small Hasidic Jewish child over traditional haircut has posted a second video — this time, apologizing profusely for his first brush with viral fame.

The man, known on Twitter as “Quai James” says in the video that he is “truly sorry” for his actions and that he would like to “sincerely apologize to that young boy and his family.” He calls the incident “just a joke,” but admits that he was being “truly immature” and that the video was “one of the most immature videos [he’d] ever recorded.

This is the second apology James has made. The first came on Twitter after the video was pulled down by moderators, who said they received thousands of complaints.

Twitter and Snapchat users were horrified by the video, which shows James confronting the boy, who is maybe only four or five years old, about his traditional Hasidic sidelocks.

Amazon ships itself a modular office building, puts it up in Haifa parking lot

There’s still no confirmation about when or even whether Amazon will begin full operations in Israel, but the mammoth online retailer has been stocking up on office leases.

Besides leasing space in Tel Aviv’s Azrieli Sarona Tower, it also pre-leased an entire 12,000-square meter building currently under construction at MATAM, a technology park that also houses Google, Yahoo, Intel, Microsoft and other local giants.

In the meantime, Amazon is building temporary offices on an external parking lot of MATAM.

“There’s literally no available space in MATAM,” said Larry Garner, who heads the corporate services department of Cushman & Wakefield’s Israel affiliate, Inter Israel. “They got express permits from the city and erected an entire building of a few thousand square meters in a day or two. Otherwise, they would have no place to put their people until the new building is ready.”

According to Garner, some 300 Amazon staff members will be housed in the new office building.

Problem solvers: Book spotlights Israeli firms smoothing out the world’s snags

A new book about Israeli technological prowess, “Solution Nation: One Nation is Disproportionately Responding to the World’s Most Intractable Problems,” gives readers an in-depth analysis of 62 emerging Israeli companies, all of which are developing solutions to life-threatening problems.

The solutions these companies bring to the world include preventing amputations, reducing the risk of accidents, using smartphones to diagnose cervical cancer, converting blood dialysis machines into water purification devices, vanquishing influenza and generating water from air.

David Wanetick, the author of the self-published book, said the 62 companies were selected after his team solicited recommendations from thousands of Israelis and others who are familiar with the local high-tech scene, and after reviewing, researching, surveying and getting nominations from countless parties, including university technology transfer offices, incubators, lawyers, accountants and investors.

“In all, we garnered approximately 500 nominations,” Wanetick said in an email interview from California, where he resides. “I reviewed as much information about candidate companies as I could before conducting required interviews with the management teams of selected companies.”

Wanetick, who has authored six books before this one, has 20 years’ experience in valuing companies and patents and emerging technologies for clients including Fortune 100 firms, venture capital and private-equity funds, and others, he says. “My book that most closely parallels ‘Solution Nation’ is called ‘Business Model Validation.’ That book explains some of the methodologies I used to select and diagnose the companies featured in ‘Solution Nation,’” he said.

Rabbis on secret visit to Muslim country

A delegation of the Conference of European Rabbis, rabbis from Israel, and heads of Jewish organizations visited Tunisia last weekend.

The rabbis were invited by the Tunisian government to strengthen the Jewish community, the Rabbi of Tunisia Rabbi Haim Bitan, and cooperation between Jews and Muslims in the war against Islamic terror.

The rabbis received a royal reception and hospitality from the Tunisian Tourism Ministry. Many policemen secured the delegation and each trip was carried out in convoy and coordinated with the security forces in the country.

The visit was initiated by rabbis in the large Jewish quarter of the island of Djerba, populated entirely by observant Jews. The rabbis walked through the streets of the neighborhood as all the residents came out to greet them, offering refreshments and thanksgiving to the rabbis for the encouraging visit.

The rabbis also came to the local Talmud Torah and the local Heder where studies are conducted according to the Jewish tradition of Djerba. Afterwards, the rabbis arrived at the Kanfei Yonah girls’ school.

Mufti of Tunisia to Arutz Sheva: ‘We are united by our humanity’

Arutz Sheva spoke with the Grand Mufti of Tunisia, Othman Battikh during the recent visit of a delegation of the Conference of European Rabbis to Tunisia last weekend.

The rabbis were invited by the Tunisian government to strengthen the Jewish community, the Rabbi of Tunisia Rabbi Haim Bitan, and cooperation between Jews and Muslims in the war against Islamic terror.

The mufti welcomed the delegation, calling for unity between different faiths.

“Welcome dear visitors, our brothers from the Jewish community and their head rabbi, and everyone who is with him.

“Welcome to our beloved country, the land of peace, the land of coexistence of all religions, it doesn’t matter if you are from the three religions which worship God (Christianity, Jewish, Islam) or any other one, what unites is that we are humans.

“God gave us value and it is our duty to give values to others, without looking at their beliefs, welcome again and thank you and we wish you a good stay in Tunisia so we can accomplish our goals to unite all our worlds together and that is to be hand in hand and to communicate and to get to know each other more, and thank you.”

‘A community unlike anywhere else in the world’

Arutz Sheva spoke with President of the Conference of European Rabbis, Rabbi Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, about the impressions of the delegation comprised of European and Israeli rabbis that visited Tunisia last weekend.

The rabbis were invited by the Tunisian government to strengthen the Jewish community, the Rabbi of Tunisia Rabbi Haim Bitan, and cooperation between Jews and Muslims in the war against Islamic terror.

“We were surprised to see a vibrant Jewish community that still has its old customs. I don’t think there is a [similar] community anywhere else in the world,” Rabbi Goldschmidt said.

“It is a small community – only about a thousand members – but it expresses its Jewishness very freely and very authentically.”

“We are in the process of building bridges to other faith communities,” the rabbi explained. “We are dealing with the Jewish-Muslim dialogue […] We found interest in normalizing relations between the Jewish community and Tunis. We hope that our trip here with further the relationship between the Tunisian people and the Jewish people.”

“Many changes are happening in the Middle East, so we believe we are at an important junction at which the Council of European Rabbis can play an important role in building new relationships and new bridges.”

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