August 15, 2018

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05/12 Links: U.S. Ambassador Friedman: THIS year in Jerusalem; Salt Lake Tribune doubles down on Antisemitic op-ed; IDF destroys 9th Hamas tunnel for this year

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2018/05/0512-links-us-ambassador-friedman-this.html

From Ian:


Winning big with both Trump and Putin, Netanyahu had a royal flush of a week
On Sunday, Benjamin Netanyahu began his week by meeting his Cypriot and Greek counterparts to finalize the commercial export to Europe of Israeli gas that he has pushed to exploit for about a decade.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from nuclear deal with Iran was widely seen as a coup for Israel’s prime minister, a fierce opponent of the deal.

On Wednesday, he was the only Western leader at the annual May 9 military parade in Moscow as a personal guest of President Vladimir Putin — a patron of Syria and of Iran with whom Netanyahu has nonetheless cultivated a beneficial partnership.

And on Thursday, Netanyahu ordered — with backing from the European Union and Russia’s silent approval — a punishing strike on Iranian bases in Syria. It was a retaliation for the firing into Israel of a barrage of rockets that did not hit thanks to Israel’s advanced projectile interception systems — and even Iran’s allies failed to come to its defense.

All in all, a pretty good buildup for Netanyahu’s grand prize: The inauguration of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, which Netanyahu has celebrated as a historical moment since Trump announced it in December.

This streak of successes for Netanyahu has wowed his critics and supporters alike, who see it as a huge return on several of his most controversial long-term strategies.

JPost Editorial: A modern Jerusalem

Today, marks Jerusalem Day and 51 years of a unified Israeli capital. On Monday, the United States will be the first country to move its embassy to the city, in a sequence of events that demonstrates not only the significance of Jerusalem as the epicenter of the Jewish people, but also of Israel’s growing diplomatic gravitas across the globe.

Ever since Donald Trump announced five months ago that the US would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a select group of additional countries have followed suit. In the coming weeks, Guatemala, Paraguay and possibly others will follow in America’s footsteps and move their embassies to Jerusalem as well.

This a correction of a historic injustice. No other country has the location of its capital dictated to it by the world. The sole exception has been Israel, for the last 51 years. Even now, after Trump made his decision, the countries of Europe prefer to stick to a fallacy that they know is wrong.

When the president of France comes to Israel, he comes to Jerusalem. When the prime minister of Belgium comes to Israel, he comes to Jerusalem. So why are their embassies in Tel Aviv? It’s due to some fantasy that if they keep them in Tel Aviv, they remain neutral. They need to realize that is doing so, they are taking a stand, and it is the wrong one.

The Palestinians needs to digest this as well. Their continued intransigence is not working. The world is not turning against Israel. On the contrary – it is standing with the Jewish state. Mahmoud Abbas’s strategy of ignoring Israel and hoping the world will solve the conflict for him, is not working. The moving of the US Embassy to Jerusalem is proof of that.

David Harris: May 14, 2018: A historic day

May 14 loomed large in 1948.

It was the date, according to the secular calendar, when the modern state of Israel was born. It was a time of ecstasy. Nearly 19 centuries had passed since the last chance for Jewish sovereignty was destroyed, but the prayers for a return to the ancestral land – and to Jerusalem, the heartbeat of the Jewish people – had never stopped through all the years of wandering, exile, and persecution.

Fast forward 70 years to May 14, 2018.

This day will be remembered, above all, for another celebration – the transfer of the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to its rightful place in Jerusalem.

I am in Israel’s capital city to join in the festivities and express appreciation, on behalf of the nonpartisan American Jewish Committee (AJC), to the Trump administration for its bold decision.

It shouldn’t have had to be so bold. Every country ought to have the right to choose its own capital. But that basic political rule applies to each nation on earth, save one.

Think about it. The other 192 United Nations member states pick the site for their capital and it’s no one else’s business.

No doubt, diplomats assigned to Australia would prefer to be situated in Melbourne or Sydney, but the political choice was Canberra and that was that.

US ambassador gives first glimpse of new embassy in Jerusalem

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman on Friday gave a first glimpse of the new US embassy in Jerusalem, showing off workers erecting the official seal on the building and preparing for the opening ceremony.

“We are so excited,” Friedman said in a video posted on the embassy’s Facebook page. “We have the official seal of the United States embassy. We have the dedication plaque. They are covered right now, but on Monday they are going to be unveiled.”

The video showed constructions workers setting up scaffolding and busy installing the huge seal. Friedman said the ceremony on Monday would be a “beautiful, inspirational event.”

“This year, thanks to the US administration, the courage, the vision of President Donald Trump we can say ‘this year in Jerusalem,’” he said, referencing the Passover wish of “next year in Jerusalem.”

Trump on Friday hailed the “big week” of the impending move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“Big week next week when the American Embassy in Israel will be moved to Jerusalem. Congratulations to all!” Trump tweeted.

Trump will deliver a video address for the opening of the new embassy, senior administration officials told reporters Friday morning.

Among the administration members attending are John J. Sullivan, the deputy secretary of state, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, US Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka Trump.

Salt Lake Tribune doubles down on Antisemitic op-ed (EOZ)
Battle of demonizers solves nothing in a violent Middle East

A little googling led to a post on the website of the pro-Israel organization called CAMERA — Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America. Wednesday it posted on its website an article headlined, “Salt Lake Tribune Op-Ed Fits EU Definition of Anti-Semitism”.

I would quibble with that title and much of the focus of that article. Questioning the behavior of a civil government, no matter its religious leanings, is always in bounds. Robinson did not seek violence against Jews or suggest that they be stripped of their human rights. He did not deny or excuse the Holocaust.

He did not deny Jews their humanity. Rather, he accused them, with an excessively broad brush, of exhibiting that most human of traits, the double standard. Of living and governing as if things that are a crime when done by others are an inalienable right when done by your side.

Robinson did, in the eyes of many, step over the line by using phrases such as “the Jews” to suggest that all Jews everywhere share the blame when a nation founded by and for Jews does something bad.

The article is accompanied by this photo of “journalist” Ahmed Abu Hussein mourners, complete with PFLP flags.

Marines said sent to US legations in Mideast ahead of Jerusalem embassy opening

The US has dispatched Marines to bolster security at US diplomatic facilities around the Middle East, Hadashot TV news reported Saturday citing a CNN report, two days ahead of the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem.

The deployment of Marines, the Israeli TV report said, came because of fears of disturbances related to the opening of the embassy. For weeks, thousands of Gazans have been protesting at the border with Israel, encouraged by Hamas, the terror group that rules the Strip, whose leaders have vowed to ratchet up protests to coincide with the embassy opening.

Demonstrations against the US move have been held in recent days in Tunisia, Jordan, and Indonesia.

CNN reported earlier Saturday that, “For weeks, the State Department has been working to bolster security at US diplomatic posts around the Muslim world in advance of the embassy move.”

It said officials anticipate possible violence even though “they say the issue no longer galvanizes the Mideast the way it once did. The embassy move, they say, will eventually lead to greater regional stability.”

PA blasts Hungary, Romania and Czechs for blocking EU censure of US embassy move

The Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday accused Hungary, Romania, and the Czech Republic of violating international law, after a report said the countries worked with Israel to block EU condemnation of the US’s embassy’s move to Jerusalem.

In a statement carried by the official Palestinian news agency Wafa, the PA said the countries’ stance was in opposition to European Union policy, United Nations resolutions, and the Geneva Convention. It said Budapest, Bucharest, and Prague would suffer consequences for their actions, in particular in their ties with the Arab and Islamic worlds.

The PA also called on other countries not to follow the US in moving its embassy to the Israeli capital and said it would take legal action against any country that does so.

The PA condemnation of Hungary, Romania, and the Czech Republic came after a Channel 10 report Friday said Israel teamed up with the three countries to block a resolution sought by France, which sought to present a unified European front against Washington’s move.

According to the report, the draft resolution stated that Jerusalem should be the capital of two states — Israel and Palestine; that the status of Jerusalem should only be resolved as part of peace negotiations; and that EU nations will not follow the US in moving their missions to the holy city.

Obama’s envoy to Israel says embassy move to Jerusalem ‘could help end conflict’

Daniel Shapiro, the US ambassador to Israel during the Obama administration, said on Saturday that the move initiated by US President Donald Trump to transfer the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem may help end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Trump announced the plan in December, much to Israel’s approval, the international community’s condemnation, and the Palestinian Authority’s harsh criticism. The highly anticipated move is set for May 14, the anniversary of Israel’s founding according to the civil calendar.

The Palestinians launched over a month of violent protests in Gaza, which are set to culminate ahead of what Palestinians call their “nakba,” or catastrophe of Israel’s founding in 1948, on May 15 when demonstrations are expected to reach their peak and may spread to the West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to the Israeli military.

In an essay published on CNN.com Saturday, Shapiro said that amid the concerns about the decision “and its impact on prospects for peace,” he would be taking the “contrarian view” that the controversial transfer of the US Embassy to Jerusalem “can actually help advance an end to the conflict.”

Dinner diplomacy revealed: Netanyahu’s genial encounter with UAE, Bahrain envoys

Officially, their governments don’t speak. The United Arab Emirates doesn’t even formally recognize that Israel exists.

But an impromptu bit of dinner diplomacy between Israel’s prime minister and a prominent Emirati ambassador sheds light on one of the worst-kept secrets in the Arab world: the quiet ties between Israel and some of its Arab neighbors that are increasingly coming out in the open as they find common cause against mutual foe Iran.

The venue back in March was Cafe Milano, the upscale Georgetown restaurant often frequented by powerful Washingtonians, from Barack Obama to Trump Cabinet members. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in town for an annual pro-Israel policy conference, was midway through dinner with his wife, Sara, when an unexpected request came his way.

By coincidence, the Emirati ambassador to the US, Yousef al-Otaiba, was at the restaurant hosting Brian Hook, the State Department’s policy planning chief, and a group of US journalists, along with Bahrain’s ambassador, Sheikh Abdullah bin Rashed bin Abdullah Al Khalifa.

The Americans dining with Otaiba got wind that Netanyahu was nearby. Word was sent to see if the Israeli would mind making an appearance at their dinner. That request first passed through the restaurant’s owner, then one of the journalists, who had walked by Netanyahu’s table while on the way to the restroom. (h/t Elder of Lobby)

THE ERA OF TRUMP: Trump, Kushner Stimulate Israel-Gulf State Alliance

When President Trump decided he would not, as his predecessor had, try to imagine Iran as a peaceful entity or Israel as a source of trouble in the Middle East, he paved the way for something remarkable and previously unthinkable to happen: the relationships between Israel and the Gulf states of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain and the UAE to become genuinely warm and friendly. Here are some reasons why, as Axios notes:

From the beginning of Trump’s tenure, senior adviser Jared Kushner and special envoy Jason Greenblatt reached out to Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) and Jordan’s King Abdullah II, which paid dividends when Kushner and the King of Jordan consulted about forestalling a crisis over the Israeli embassy in Amman in July last year.

Another example: Kushner’s relationship with the Saudi crown prince was a factor in the prince’s recent positive rhetoric regarding Israel, as exemplified in his interview with The Atlantic, in which he recognized Israel’s right to exist in peace, and his criticism of the Palestinians when they cut off any negotiations.

Kushner and Greenblatt catalyzed an astonishing change when they persuaded Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain to send representatives to the special meeting on the Gaza crisis in Mid-March, where they joined the Israeli general in charge of the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

After Trump announced the withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain all joined in lauding the decision.

IsraellyCool: Palestinians Caught Lying About Iconic Photo

It keeps happening. Almost every day, I find the palestinians and their supporters lying, distorting and embellishing in order to advance their narrative and agenda.

Here’s the latest example:

This photo was taken by photographer John Phillips of Life Magazine. The original caption was:
A 13-yr-old Arab boy lying dead on street of Haifa while flies swarm over him. May 01, 1948

It is unclear how the boy died (while I would assume during fighting, the Battle of Haifa ended April 22nd, and this body does not seem 10 or more days old). Be that as it may, the lie being perpetuated by Quds News Network is the claim that it shows “Two armed Zionists appear stealing some furniture from the Palestinian houses while walking beside dead Palestinians.”

The men walking by carrying something are clearly, judging by their uniforms, British soldiers, not “Zionists.” Don’t believe me? There are plenty of photos online of British soldiers in Palestine at the time;

Team Obama Claims There Was Nothing New In Israel’s Intelligence Grab From Iran. This Former IAEA Deputy Director General Explodes That Myth.

After Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced last week that Israeli intelligence had spirited an astonishing 183 discs containing 55,000 pages of documents and 55,000 files dealing with Iran’s nuclear program out of Iran, members of former president Barack Obama’s administration came out of their well-deserved obscurity to denounce Netanyahu’s claim that there was new information revealed in the documents. That claim was then parroted throughout the mainstream media.

Guess what? Netanyahu was correct, and Team Obama was, as usual, wrong.

Writing in an article for the Australia/Israel & Jewish affairs council (AIJAC), Tzvi Fleischer and AIJAC staff note, “Former Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Olli Heinonen was among the first to define the material Israel exposed as a ‘jackpot.’ While he said he had seen some of the documents revealed by Israel before, he added that ‘there was also new information.’”

Additionally, David Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector and nuclear physicist, detailed on a Wall Street Journal podcast interview some of the new information, including:

Iran, which had promised to denuclearize under the JCPOA, hid a “sleeping” nuclear weapons program. Fleischer and the AIJAC staff write, “The purpose of this new program was to keep alive capabilities and know-how to manufacture the bomb, including by assigning people with relevant expertise scientific work to keep their knowledge up to date for that purpose. This program went underground and was maintained so it can ‘pop up’ again at will to quickly resume efforts to produce nuclear weapons.”

Ben-Dror Yemini: Gazans are victims of an ideology of hatred

Israelis, all Israelis—apart from a minority of hard-hearted people—are looking at the residents of the Gaza Strip with great sadness. It’s such a pity: An unemployment rate of 60 percent among young Gazans, a serious shortage of clean water and medications, and power supply only several hours a day.

Most Israelis would like to see Gaza blooming and thriving. Once, before the disengagement, there were plans to build the “Singapore of the Middle East.” For the first time in their short history, the Palestinians gained sovereignty, even if it was over a small territory.

It could have been a wonderful beginning. Without occupation. Without settlements. Without Israel. The crossings to Israel and Egypt were operated under agreements which the European Union was part of. Goods were flowing in. An entire world was watching them with a huge desire to help. Mohammad Dahlan, who dealt with the disengagement on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, appointed teams with 42 experts who were supposed to fulfill the Singapore dream with the World Bank’s help.

We know what happened next. Instead of Singapore, we got Afghanistan. It happened primarily because the industry of hatred overpowered the industry of prosperity. Hamas took over the strip with shocking violence, which included mass executions. The cancellation of the crossing agreements led to a siege, which Israel never wanted. But that’s exactly what Hamas wanted.

Gaza turned into a mass of oppression, distress and self-victimization. The settlements’ industrial zones turned into ruins or into jihad training camps. The strip was covered with great darkness. Once again, we learned that wherever radical Islam rears its head, the result is destruction, ruin and bloodshed. Gaza suffered the same fate. Not because of Israel, not because of Egypt, but because dark Islam provided the only thing it can provide—destruction.

Israel to close key Gaza crossing while it repairs immense damage by rioters

The Israeli military on Saturday announced the closure of the Kerem Shalom border crossing into the Gaza Strip, a day after Palestinian rioters trashed key infrastructure serving the only entry point of outside goods into the Hamas-run Strip, causing immense damage.

The crossing will be closed while the damage is repaired, and will reopen in accordance with the security situation, officials said.

The army said its recommendation to shutter the crossing, which ordinarily sees hundreds of cargo-bearing trucks pass into Gaza each day, was approved by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.

Apart from humanitarian cases, the IDF said the Kerem Shalom crossing would remain closed until the “extensive damage” caused to the torched gas lines, electricity infrastructure and a conveyor belt used to transfer goods into the Strip is repaired.

The army estimated the damage to Kerem Shalom would cost $9 million to repair.

Earlier on Saturday, Israeli officials toured the Kerem Shalom area and said they were “astonished by the devastation and destruction Palestinians left in their wake.”

“They’re bringing a disaster upon themselves,” one unnamed official told the Ynet news site.

IDF using drones to bring down bomb kites at Gaza border (h/t Yenta Press)

Palestinian killed, 170 wounded in final ‘March of Return’ Gaza protest

Israeli troops killed a Palestinian and wounded at least 170 protesters in the Gaza Strip Friday, Palestinian medical workers said, bringing to 44 the number killed during a six-week protest at the Gaza-Israel border.

Approximately 5,000 Palestinians have participated in what the IDF has called a violent “riot,” burning tires, hurling rocks at the security fence and at Israeli soldiers, and launching flaming kites into Israeli territory.

“IDF troops are responding with riot dispersal means and are firing in accordance with the rules of engagement,” the IDF said in a statement. “The IDF will not allow any harm to the security infrastructure or security fence and will continue standing by its mission to defend and ensure the security of the citizens of Israel and Israeli sovereignty, as necessary.”

The “kite bombs,” as they have been dubbed, consist of a flaming rag that is attached to a kite with the capability of getting across the fence and igniting dry farm fields. In recent weeks, Gazans have also attached Molotov cocktails to kites.

Friday marks the last week of the protest.

Organizers of the protest, dubbed the “Great March of Return,” said they expected tens of thousands of Gazans at border encampments in the coming days.

A report by the aid charity Save the Children, published on Friday, said that at least 250 Gazan children had been hit with live bullets during the protests, among nearly 700 children injured overall. The analysis was based on data collected by the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza.

IDF destroys Hamas tunnel in northern Gaza, the 9th in a year

The Israeli military said Saturday night that it destroyed a Hamas tunnel mere meters away from Israeli territory, hitting the underground structure with a number of airstrikes.

This was the ninth Gaza tunnel destroyed by Israel since October 30. Five of them were attack tunnels that crossed the border into Israeli territory, the rest were inside the coastal enclave, more likely used to move fighters and munitions around the Strip undetected.

The Israel Defense Forces said the Hamas “terror tunnel” destroyed in airstrikes on Saturday night ran by the Erez pedestrian crossing and was meters away from reaching into Israeli territory.

This was the first attack tunnel that the army destroyed inside Gaza territory, as opposed to the other five that penetrated Israeli territory, the army said.

“The detection of the tunnel and its demolition is part of the ongoing effort to thwart the underground terror by Gaza-based terror groups headed by the Palestinian terror group Hamas,” the military said, adding that the operation was part of increased efforts to detect tunnels using advanced technological means.

The military added that the tunnel, which originated in Beit Hanoun in the northern Strip, was “neutralized” in the strikes, but not necessarily fully destroyed. IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said the army decided to hit the tunnel with airstrikes, as opposed to more effective ground-based methods, because of a number of operational considerations, including “convenience” and the issues posed by its proximity to the Erez Crossing.

Conricus said the tunnel was approximately one kilometer (0.6 miles) long and had been under construction for several months.

LEWISHAM LABOUR FRONTRUNNER COMPARED PALESTINE TO HOLOCAUST

The frontrunner to be Labour’s candidate in Lewisham East compared the Israel-Palestine conflict to the Holocaust, Guido can reveal. Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, who is the bookies’ favourite and is being backed by Team Corbyn, equated Israel to the Nazis and claimed Palestinians were victims of a “genocide”. She wrote on her Facebook page on Holocaust Memorial Day last year: “Today is the day when we remember all those affected by the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur – I’m adding Palestinian to the list”. A very stupid comment, to say the least. Will the Corbynistas still stitch up the selection for her anyway?

Who Were Corbyn’s “Friends” from Hezbollah?

Jeremy Corbyn’s “friend” from Hezbollah, Hussein el Hajj Hassan, has been re-elected as a Hezbollah MP.

He has been serving as Lebanon’s Minister of Industry in recent years and found himself caught up in a smuggling scandal in the run up to the elections. El Hajj Hassan was one of the Hezbollah guests of Corbyn’s when he made his now infamous comments about “our friends in Hezbollah”.

Both Hussein el Hajj Hassan and Dyab Abou Jahjah were the guests of honour at an event he hosted in the House of Commons in 2009. He made the comments to them at a Stop the War Coalition event the night before the event he hosted in Parliament.

The event in the House of Commons was to launch the British wing of the organisation Dyab Abou Jahjah had recently founded; the International Union of Parliamentarians for Palestine (IUPFP), Sukant Chandon is listed as the head of the British wing of the group, HP posted a good summary of what Chandon was up to at the time.

The official reason Hassan and Jahjah were here was to launch the British wing of the group International Union of Parliamentarians For Palestine of which Abou Jahjah was the International Director. The chair of the British wing of the group was Sukant Chandan who continued to host events in the name of the group in 2009.

Note the tag line from the Stop the War Coalition publicity above is “come and hear elected representatives from the resistance in Palestine and Lebanon”.

The sick joke about Corbyn saying that he was encouraging for there to be a discussion about peace is that el Hajj Hassan’s speech was all about “resistance” to Israel during which he wasn’t challenged by that fan of “robust debate”Corbyn or anyone else. You can watch his speech in the video below.

Dyab Abou Jahjah
The second Hezbollah man Corbyn was addressing when he said “my friends in Hezbollah” was Dyab Abou Jahjah. He admits he was a member of Hezbollah and received training from them. Here he is as a younger man posing with an AK 47 assault rifle.

Before Corbyn met him and called him his friend Abou Jahjah was already infamous. In 2006 the Arab European League, which he founded, published a series of Holocaust denial cartoons as a response to the Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammad.

The Case of the Illegal Bedouin Village of Khan al-Ahmar

Khan al-Ahmar is an embattled Bedouin village that has been in the news — and in the Israeli courts — for more than a decade. The history of Khan al-Ahmar is an eye-opening lesson in Middle Eastern politics. This seemingly unimposing settlement may well be the quintessential example of one of the major problems facing Israel today.

Khan al-Ahmar was built on land that belongs to the State of Israel. It is situated in an area under full Israeli administrative and security authority according to both the Oslo Accords and international law. In fact, it sits on land that is part of Kfar Adumim, in the heart of an area that is strategically critical to Israel’s security.

The residents of Khan al-Ahmar are one branch of the large Jahalin Bedouin tribe. Until fairly recently, they were nomadic shepherds who lived, with the rest of the tribe, near Arad, and moved their herds and tents around southern Israel with the changing seasons. At some point, a feud broke out between different branches of the tribe; in the 1970s, the Jahalin were forced out of the Arad area and traveled northward. That’s how they ended up where they are today.

Aerial photos paint a clear picture of the Jahalin’s history ever since: They arrived in the Adumim region in the mid-1970s, most probably after the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Like almost all other Bedouin in Israel and the Middle East, the Jahalin began to abandon their nomadic lifestyle in favor of semi-permanent or permanent settlements; shepherding became more of a hobby to preserve their folklore, but they, like Bedouin throughout Israel and the Middle East, began to take up other lines of work.

The problem is that this branch of the tribe began to put up illegal structures and tap into municipal water and electricity lines in a highly sensitive, strategically critical area adjacent to a major highway, where they endanger their own lives, as well as those of motorists.

SSI: The New Jewish Reality and the Old Antisemitism

After experiencing the language used on campuses towards Zionist Israelis or any individual who identifies as a Zionist, I realized the time has come for the Jews to redefine what anti-Semitism really is. Today, when Jews try to claim that anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism, they are mostly dismissed. Since anti-Semitism is illegal in many countries, attention has been shifted instead to the only Jewish country in the world. Although criticism is important, and I myself criticize Israel often, criticism has crossed the line towards dangerous hatred. In a number of anti-Israel events on Columbia’s campus, I heard Israel accused of being responsible for all conflicts in the Middle East (which is a lot like controlling the world), I heard that Israel was responsible for increasing homophobia among Palestinians and that it was legitimate to kill any Israelis in order to fight the state of Israel. All baseless, absurd accusations targeted to promote hatred. By propagating these fabricated wild accusations their proponents clearly intend not to argue with Israel or its policies but to delegitimize it. We have learnt from history that delegitimizing a people sets the stage for attacking it. Having heard these expressions and views, and realizing their scary similarity to what my grandmother was witnessing in Europe during the 30’s, I am not surprised there is a significant and consistent increase in violent attacks against Jews.

It is time for the Jews to define what hatred against them looks like. Our reality cannot be defined from other people’s perspective. Allowing someone else’s view of a reality to define your own is a post-modernist approach which is dangerous to the Jews, and any other threatened minority. There is one reality and truth when it comes to anti-Semitism, and it is the Jews who can describe it best and accurately.

African Americans, Muslims, Native Americans and all other minority groups rightfully denounce any expression of bigotry against them and work to have it recognized as such. Thankfully, most student bodies on college campuses are supportive of such movements representing minorities. When Jews try to stand up to the hatred directed towards them and call it for what it is, they are told they are merely trying to protect their country by hiding behind such important definitions. When will enough be enough? are these surges of anti-Semitic attacks not enough? is the call for killing of Israelis on campuses not enough? I say it is. My friends and I will do all we can to fight this new anti-Semitism and call it for what it is until the right to define our own grievance will be given back to us. I hope my fellow Jews and Zionists, as well as all those who cherish the truth, freedom of speech and minority rights will join us in our new, yet old, struggle.

Why a gory Holocaust film is a blockbuster in Russia

A decade ago, relatively few people in Russia even knew about the existence of Sobibor, the smallest-scale facility of the six killing centers that the Nazis built in occupied Poland.

This relative obscurity persisted for decades in Russia, Israel and beyond despite the fact that the camp is tied to a dramatic story of heroism: In 1943, Russian inmates led a successful escape, one of only two such occurrences during the Holocaust (the other happened that same year in Treblinka).

Following the Sobibor uprising, however, the Nazis razed the camp so that little more than a forest clearing remained in the remote area where SS guards and Ukrainians murdered 250,000 Jews. This is why Sobibor receives a fraction of the visitor traffic observed at the Auschwitz or Majdanek camps, whose gas chambers and other structures remained intact and were turned into museum exhibits.

Ten years on, though, Sobibor has made a huge splash in Russia thanks to a government-led commemoration campaign that culminated this year, the uprising’s 75th anniversary, with last week’s commercial release of Russia’s largest-ever Holocaust movie production.

Featured prominently in national media, the war drama “Sobibor” is a box-office hit with $2 million in ticket sales — an unprecedented success for its genre in Russia, especially for a movie unsuitable for children.

The two-hour Russian-language film — a multi-million dollar production with state funding — features Konstantin Khabenskiy, one of Russia’s best-known actors. It has an international cast and convincing visuals but its main significance is that it goes into finer detail and nuance than any feature film made before about the camp, according to Michael Edelstein, a lecturer at Moscow State University and the film’s scientific consultant.

Israel holds its breath as Eurovision carnival hits its peak at Saturday finals

A peaceful Danish Viking, an Estonian soprano in a giant dress and a gay-themed dance will be on display at Saturday’s Eurovision final in Portugal, which is toning down the frills at the annual song contest.

Favorites include Cyprus’ fiery song “Fuego” by Eleni Foureira and Israeli singer Netta Barzilai’s “Toy,” whose lyrics “I am not your toy” sum up the concerns of many women who have adopted the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment.

The 25-year-old accompanies the uptempo song with trills, clucking sounds and chicken-like dance moves.

The final gets under way at 8:00 p.m. (1900 GMT) at Lisbon’s riverside Altice Arena, Portugal’s largest entertainment venue.

Highlights will undoubtedly include Denmark’s red-bearded Rasmussen, whose song is based on a legend about a Viking who refused to fight, and a special dress worn by Estonian soprano Elina Nechayeva which flows down from her waist, beyond her feet and out across the stage.
Elina Nechayeva from Estonia performs the song ‘La Forza’ in Lisbon, Portugal, Friday, May 11, 2018 during a dress rehearsal for the Eurovision Song Contest (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

The dress comes to life with lightening displays and laser effects while she sings.



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