Ronen Lubarsky, soldier struck by marble slab in West Bank, dies of wounds
A soldier from an elite army unit died Saturday after being critically injured Thursday when a marble slab was dropped on his head during an operation to arrest suspected terrorists in the West Bank.
The Israel Defense Forces named the soldier as Ronen Lubarsky, 20, from the central city of Rehovot.
The army posthumously promoted him to the rank of staff sergeant.
He was to be buried at 2 a.m. overnight Saturday-Sunday at the Mt. Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem.
“On Shabbat we lost Duvdevan soldier Sergeant Ronen Lubarsky, who was critically wounded during an operation to arrest wanted suspects,” said Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. “Duvdevan, one our elite units, every night carries out many arrests in an endless war…”
“I wish to send my condolences to the family in the family of the entire nation of Israel and am closely monitoring the efforts to arrest the terrorist,” added Liberman. “We will bring justice for Ronen.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also expressed his condolences to Lubarsky’s familly.
“Our security forces will get to the terrorist and the State of Israel will bring him to justice,” he said.
Writing in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, Uri Blau claims in “Spying on Linda Sarsour: Israeli Firm Compiled BDS Dossier for Adelson-funded U.S. Group Battling Her Campus Appearances,” to have outed a Sheldon Adelson-funded Israeli “spying” operation against the American Islamist Linda Sarsour.
But Blau and Ha’aretz got the story entirely wrong: The Middle East Forum (MEF), an American think-tank, compiled the Sarsour dossier.
The real story: MEF has publicly and openly tracked Linda Sarsour’s career since 2010, when she was still an obscure figure. MEF’s president and founder, Daniel Pipes, has maintained a running account since then of her foibles and extremism. Using this and other information (see here, here, here, and here for examples), MEF created the Sarsour dossier in December 2017.
There is nothing shocking or wrong about this. MEF is a research organization and has produced similar documents studying other American Islamists. For instance, see our CAIR study here, our Islamic Relief study here, and our recent report on Islamists lobbying Congress here. We’ve disseminated our research all over the world, working with moderate Muslim allies.
Further, MEF has never received funding from Sheldon Adelson; nor is MEF part of any coalition mentioned in the article; and no foreign government has been involved with financing or providing information for our research on Sarsour.
With Blau’s article established to be fake news, the Middle East Forum calls on Ha’aretz to issue a public correction and apology.
Rather than waste his own and his readers’ time investigating the research on Sarsour, Blau would do better joining us in researching Sarsour’s career, for she has a long history of vicious antagonism and radical sentiments.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, considered a moderate by many, was caught on tape Thursday joining a crowd in a chant calling for the destruction of Iran’s enemies—among them the US, UK and Israel.
The chant broke out after a speech delivered by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei held in Tehran.
The crowd is then heard chanting “Death to America”, “Death to Britain” and “Death to Israel,” all while Zarif is seen smiling and mouthing the words shouted by the participants.
Among the participants in the event were Iran’s Atomic Energy Commission, former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and Iran’s Chief of Staff General Mohammed Hussein Bakri.
Zarif left last week for a trip to Asia and Europe as part of efforts to maintain the nuclear agreement after the US withdrew from it.
In the days before President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the deal, Zarif attacked the United States and Israel, threatening I ran is ready to resume its nuclear activities “at a much greater speed” should the US decides to pull out of the 2015 international agreement aimed at preventing Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
On Wednesday, Khamenei set out seven conditions for Tehran to stay in its nuclear deal with world powers, including steps by European banks to safeguard trade with Tehran.
Michael Lumish: Dani Behan Swats Away a Huffington Post anti-Zionist
Behan’s most recent piece is a response to an article by Marc Lamont Hill published in the Huffington Post on May 17, 2018, entitled, “7 Myths About The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict.”
Behan’s response in the Times of Israel is entitled, Marc Lamont Hill’s ‘7 Myths’ Are Not Myths at All.
Hill, to my horror and disgust, is the “Steve Charles Professor of Media, Cities, and Solutions at Temple University.”
Behan addresses seven ideas around the Long Arab War against the Jews of the Middle East that Professor Hill claims are false.
1. These people have been fighting forever.
Hill writes: The truth is that Arabs and Jews have not been fighting forever. Rather, it can be dated to the end of the 19th century or, more acutely, the beginning of the post-World War I British Mandatory period.
Behan refutes: Land theft, colonization, dhimmitude, heritage theft, massacres (beginning with the slaughter of Jews at Khaybar, in case anyone is wondering where the Palestinian “Khaybar” chant comes from), expulsions, confiscation/destruction of Jewish cultural sites – the list of injustices committed by Arabs against Jews is very long, and that’s only accounting for the pre-20th century stuff.
2. This is a religious conflict.
Hill writes: Simply put, this is not about religion. It’s about land theft, expulsion and ethnic cleansing by foreign settlers to indigenous land.
Behan refutes: Why else would Hamas’ charter include Islamic hadiths in it? Why else would they regularly invoke the Gharqad tree hadith explicitly commanding Muslims to kill Jews? Why else would the PA exclaim that Jews have “no right to desecrate our holy sites with their filthy feet” in response to Jews visiting the Temple Mount?…
I didn’t know indigenous peoples (Jews, in this case) could become “foreign settlers” in their own land by being exiled for centuries.
And I didn’t know colonizers (Arabs, in this case) could become indigenous by stealing land and replacing indigenous sacred sites with mosques.
The recent riots in Gaza again brought to the fore the problem of human shields, with Hamas now using not a handful of civilians as cover for its murderous attacks on Israel but tens of thousands of unarmed people, there to confound the Israeli soldiers as the terror group’s operatives conduct their assaults.
And while Hamas has seldom put its own civilian constituents at risk on such a large scale before, it’s no stranger to the practice of using human shields: In 2014, for example, the terror group stored mortars and weapons in at least three UN schools, using them as bases from which to fire on Israel. The same practice was applied in 2012’s Operation Pillar of Defense, and, last month, the European Parliament, in an uncharacteristic step, condemned Hamas for once again using civilians as cover in its recent marches on the Israeli border.
Thankfully, a new bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act seeks to make it more difficult for Hamas—and other terrorist groups, including Hezbollah—to continue this practice. Proposed by Ted Cruz (R.-TX), the amendment calls on the Defense and State Departments to issue a report on the use of human shields by terrorist groups. It’s supposed to be submitted in a timely way and will focus on guidelines for civilized countries fighting against terrorists such as Hamas and Hezbollah who use human shields.
“Terrorists have increasingly been using civilians as human shields, in no small part because they know that the media can be trusted to falsely blame civilian deaths on the civilized countries battling against the terrorists,” said Senator Cruz. “American forces have faced this challenge with terrorist groups Al Qaeda and ISIS. Our Israeli allies have recently faced it with Iran-backed Hamas terrorists who have been trying to breach Israel’s border with Gaza for months, and have in the past deliberately put their military command centers in schools, hospitals, mosques, and homes. My amendment requires a report to Congress that describes what we’ve learned from these terrorists’ tactics and what we can do about it, so that we can deter, counter, and defeat these terrorist organizations.”
JPost Editorial: Recognize the Golan
More than half a century since the Six Day War and after the recent move of the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, there seems to be an opportunity to get parts of the world to begin recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said so in an interview last week with Reuters. “This is the perfect time to make such a move. The most painful response you can give the Iranians is to recognize Israel’s Golan sovereignty – with an American statement, a presidential proclamation, enshrined [in law],” he said.
We couldn’t agree more. The Golan has been part and parcel of Israel for the last 51 years and it would be difficult to imagine the State of Israel without it. Nevertheless, there are those who argue that it doesn’t belong to Israel and that for there ever to be true peace with Syria, the Knesset’s decision in 1981 to apply Israeli law there should not be recognized. One day, these people claim, Israel will need to give it back to Syria.
This is wrong for many reasons but first and foremost is the fact that there is no one to return it to. Does the world want Israel to give the Golan to the murderous regime of Bashar Assad, the president of Syria who has used chemical weapons to kill his own people? Or, does it prefer that Israel relinquish the territory to ISIS or al-Qaeda, two other forces that until recently controlled large parts of the country? Maybe Israel should give the land to Hezbollah to hold onto until Assad is ready?
The very talk of “returning” the Golan is absurd. Nevertheless, this reality doesn’t stop Europe from labeling Israeli products, manufactured on the Golan, due to their origin in so-called “occupied territory.” It is just another example of the sad state of affairs in Europe today. While we can understand (but completely disagree) with the opposition to Israel’s presence in the West Bank, what does Europe want Israel to do with the Golan? To label products made there is not just wrong. It is not smart and achieves nothing of the lofty goals that the EU pretends to be interested in advancing in the region.
Ben-Dror Yemini: The boomerang effect of anti-Israel lies
When the “massacre” lie appears in the first act, the United Nations Human Rights Council will appear in the third act, to help Hamas.
The UNHRC, as we all know, has an automatic majority of unenlightened anti-Israel countries. Even if all European countries had voted against the new commission of inquiry, whose conclusions we already know, the resolution would have been adopted.
The thing is that the representatives of the unenlightened countries are not alone. The “enlightened” are providing them with ammunition. “How long after this week’s Gaza massacre are we going to continue pretending that the Palestinians are non-people?” asked Robert Fisk, the Middle East correspondent of The Independent.
With Fisk, it’s already a tradition. When the Palestinians fired rockets, he was there to explain that they are simply reminding the world that they were expelled by Israel. If we adopt his logic, Ukrainians should fire rockets at Poland, because that’s where they were expelled from. And Germans should fire rockets at the Czech Republic, because they were expelled. And Finns should fire rockets at Russia, because they were expelled. And Greeks should fire rockets at Turkey, because they were expelled. And Turks should fire rockets at Greece, because they were expelled.
We can go on. The list is long. And we have yet to mention the Jews, who according to Fisk’s logic were not only supposed to fire rockets at Germany but also to wipe it off the face of the earth in acts of retaliation. Interestingly enough, nothing happened. And had it happened, no one would justify it.
A new book by Adi Schwartz and Dr. Einat Wilf shows how Israel absurdly ignores the Palestinian refugee issue at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and continues to defend UNRWA, which perpetuates Palestinian expectations of “going home.”
Anyone who still isn’t convinced that the Palestinians mean every word they say when it comes to their “right of return,” that they aren’t just paying lip service to the Palestinian ethos and that they won’t be satisfied with a symbolic return, will cease to doubt after reading a new book, “The War for Return,” by Adi Schwartz and Dr. Einat Wilf.
The book, which came out as tens of thousands of Palestinians were attempting to breach the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, underscores its authors’ documented, and sometimes surprising, insights.
Schwartz is a researcher and lecturer who has worked for Haaretz and Israel Hayom and is now finishing his doctorate in conflict resolution at Bar-Ilan University. Wilf, a former MK who represented the Labor and Atzmaut parties and served as chairwoman of the Knesset Education Committee, has spent considerable time researching the Palestinian refugee issue. Both Wilf and Schwartz were raised as left-wing Zionists.
In an interview with Israel Hayom, the authors say their book is aimed “particularly at the thinking Left,” but also at the current government, which they criticize for “continuing to protect UNRWA [the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East] and prevent any attack on its funding.”
They say that UNRWA has not been an arm of the U.N. for some time, and that for years the Palestinian refugee agency has served as a “womb of Palestinian terrorism, and never ceased to foster an awareness of expulsion and return among the Palestinians.” (h/t Elder of Lobby)
And yet, from his vantage point, the struggle with Israel is perhaps just beginning. It is a little more than 12 months since his victory in a national referendum granted him dictatorial powers, and it is, at present, a little more than a decade before he will leave office — by some calculations, he could still be Turkey’s president in 2034, at the age of 81.
Nothing that Erdogan has said or done in the past 15 years at Turkey’s helm suggests that he will ever play the role of the great conciliator, as was hopefully imagined by more than one US administration and more than one Israeli prime minister. Instead, he repaid that confidence by becoming, in February 2017, the first-ever leader of a NATO member state to exhort a 6-year-old girl to carry out a suicide operation. “She has the Turkish flag in her pocket,” Erdogan said of the sobbing child, dressed in the uniform of the Turkish Special Forces, who joined him on stage at his ruling AKP Party’s annual congress. “If she becomes a martyr, Insh’allah, this flag will be draped on her.”
As ever, the ongoing Erdogan spectacle will divide its audience between those who see the Turkish president as a pragmatist given to theatrics, and those who see an imperial purpose behind his criminal military incursions into Syria, his political maneuverings with the Russians and the Iranians, and his broader projections of power and influence in the Middle East, in the Balkans and in the sizable Turkish diaspora throughout Western Europe.
In the context of the victory he rightly anticipates in Turkey’s snap June 24 elections, Erdogan may yet decide that announcing an official boycott of Israel — even when he knows it cannot be effectively implemented — will provide him with an extra fillip in an Islamic world that he aspires to lead. That would certainly mean an ugly propaganda campaign that targets Israel and all those who consume its products, very possibly accompanied by laws that restrict commercial and political ties with Israel as well. It will win Erdogan the plaudits of Hamas and admiring editorials in Iranian media outlets. But not much more.
In exile, Ayatollah Khomenei had dreamed of creating a revolutionary army modeled after the Algerian National Liberation Front. In Lebanon, the PLO helped make Khomenei’s dream a reality.
Supporters of Khomeini were provided with training overseen by Force 17, the Fatah movement’s elite intelligence unit that also acted as Arafat’s bodyguard. As Ronen Bergman recounted in his 2018 work Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations:
“At the training bases, PLO experts taught young men the arts of sabotage, intelligence operations, and terror tactics. For Arafat, having Khomeini’s men train at his bases was a way to acquire support for the Palestinian cause and to make himself into an international figure. But for Khomeini and Mohtashamipur, it was part of a long, focused strategy: to eventually extend the Islamic revolution….”
Like Lenin and other ideologues, Khomeini viewed himself as the leader of a revolution without borders. Khomeinism was bigger and broader than merely Iran and the Shi’ite branch of Islam. And the cleric viewed inroads in Lebanon as crucial; a “forward strategic position that brought us close to Jerusalem.”
The first component of what would become the IRGC was comprised of approximately 6,000 men, according to Steven R. Ward, a former CIA intelligence analyst and author of Immortal: A Military History of Iran and Its Armed Forces. By the time of the Islamic Revolution and Khomeini’s return from exile, hundreds of Shi’ites, many from Lebanon, were joining up and being trained as a guerrilla army by Force 17 operatives.
After the revolution, Mohtashamipur would be made the Islamic Republic’s ambassador to Syria – a post that he held while simultaneously serving as a high-ranking member of the newly formed IRGC. In July 1982, Mohtashamipur forged a successful military alliance with the government of then-Syrian leader Hafez Assad. Iran began to expand upon the success that began with the formation of the IRGC by building up Shi’ite militias in Lebanon. Among them was one that the ambassador named Hezbollah (“Party of God”).
Four Palestinians infiltrated Israel on Saturday by crossing the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip.
Soldiers fired warning shots, and the Gazans retreated back whence they came, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said.
The four men were inside Israel for a very short period, and left behind a tent on which was written: “The March of Return, Returning to the land of Palestine.”
There were no casualties on either side.
Also on Saturday, a fire kite launched from the Gaza Strip caused flames to break out in the Kissufim Forest.
Thousands of Gazans have been demonstrating along the security fence since March 30, and on Friday some 5,000 gathered in two locations, burning tires and throwing stones at IDF troops, who fired tear gas and live rounds toward rioters.
An explosive device was thrown Friday at Israeli troops along the Gaza border in the Strip’s north, the army said, as Palestinians took part in weekly clashes near the security fence.
The army said no soldiers were injured by the bomb.
It said some 1,600 Palestinians took part in riots at two locations along the border, where they threw rocks and burned tires. Numerous attempts were made to damage security infrastructure, the army said.
Troops used riot dispersal means and live fire in accordance with IDF regulations, it added.
Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry said 86 people were injured. Most were treated for tear gas inhalation while some sustained gunshot wounds.
Also during the afternoon, several incendiary kites were flown into Israel from the Palestinian coastal enclave, sparking fires. Strong winds hampered efforts to douse the blazes, though all were eventually brought under control.
Israeli aircraft carried out a series of strikes against Hamas positions in the southern Gaza Strip late Saturday night, following a border breach earlier in the day, the army said.
“The Israel Defense Forces, using fighter jets, attacked a number of terror targets in an military compound belonging to the Hamas terror group in the southern Gaza Strip,” the army said in a statement.
Palestinian media reported that the airstrikes hit a number of Hamas positions in the areas of Rafah and Khan Younis.
The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said it had not received any reports of injuries.
The army said its airstrikes were in response to the infiltration earlier in the day.
“The IDF takes seriously the continued daily attempts by the Hamas terror group to damage the security infrastructure in Israel, while threatening the security of residents and soldiers,” the army said.
It is repulsive that days after Prime Minister Trudeau apologized for Canada’s refusal to allow the 940 Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany aboard the St.Louis to dock in Canada in 1939, he condemned Israeli defensive action against tens of thousands of armed Hamas-led Gazans breaching Israel’s border fence 2km from Israeli civilian areas as “inexcusable” and called for an international commission to look into Israel’s conduct. So first he condemns and then he calls for an inquiry. “Sentence first, trial after,” said the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland. If his apology for the actions of Liberal Prime Minister Mackenzie King that resulted in the subsequent slaughter of the St.Louis refugees at Auschwitz was sincere, one would think he would have the decency and intellectual honesty not to twist facts and to allow the Jews of today the same right of self-defence that is accorded to all other nations so that in the future no further apologies would be necessary.
The Jewish people do not need apologies after they are dead. They need western leaders to stop pandering to extremist elements for the sake of a few votes and to stand with the frontline nation of the family of the free in today’s existential struggle. It’s easy to apologize to the dead. It takes courage to stand with the living against a bodyguard of lies.
Our outrage is shared through a great part of Canadian civil society and through the entire Jewish community, even among those who are normally sympathetic to — and understanding of — this Prime Minister. CIJA, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, went as far as putting out a nationwide call for letters of protest to be sent to the PMO. It was a unique and telling action speaking to the one-sided nature of Mr. Trudeau’s comments. We urge all readers to go to the following link and go on record.
Even Liberal members of Parliment Anthony Housefather and Michael Levitt felt compelled to write a letter sent out nationally distancing themselves from the Prime Minister’s position. But it’s closing line was, “There is a need for all parties to work towards de-escalation and avoid further violence to create the conditions necessary for advancing peace.” That last line equates Israel with Hamas. What more does Israel need to do? Israel evacuated everyone out of Gaza, leaving behind green houses, waterworks, fuel and gas depots, pipelines and hospitals that Hamas destroyed. Israel never attacked Gaza without Hamas first inciting a conflict through thousands of rocket attacks. What more can be expected of Israel other than abandonment of its own sovereign right to exist? As Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has said, “If Hamas laid down its arms there will be peace. If Israel laid down it’s arms there will be no Israel.”
Seeking support for Israel among both Democrats and Republicans should still be Israel’s goal, Oren said, noting that “it’s important that neither side should assume that they have the Jewish vote in their pocket.” He added, “The historical example I always give to illustrate this principle is the fact that Franklin Roosevelt got 90 percent of the Jewish vote, and yet he did absolutely nothing for European Jews during the Holocaust.”
Oren acknowledged there are “significant obstacles” to winning over substantial support among Democrats. Part of the problem, in his view, is the “political culture among young Democrats.” Some of the values that are very important to Israelis, “such as family, tradition, and the need for a strong military,” are “not necessarily prevalent among many younger Democrats.”
The Sanders perspective is also being amplified by large segments of the news media, Oren pointed out. “Many news media representatives couldn’t care less when Arabs kill Arabs in various countries; they only care about Arab deaths when Jews are forced to kill Arabs in self-defense.”
Oren also reminded us that the Western news media seldom report that “Hamas starves its own population, blocks trucks coming from Israel with food, and manipulates young Palestinians to go to the border fence — all for the purpose of getting killed, so that their sympathizers can get on television and accuse the Israelis of being killers.”
He said that if the statements made by Sanders and biased media outlets “persuade Hamas that its strategy is working, [and that leads Hamas to send] more young people to the border fence to throw bombs,” then those media representatives and political figures will “become accessories to terror, abettors to terror — the blood of those young people will be on their hands.”
Iran on Saturday denied any of its troops were killed in a suspected Israeli airstrike in Syria, after a report said nine Iranians were among the dead.
Reports that Iranians were killed in Thursday’s strike are “a sheer lie and quite baseless,” the official IRNA news agency quoted an unnamed military official as saying.
The targets of the strike, which sparked large explosions, were munitions depots belonging to the Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorist group, located on an air base south of the city of Homs, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, which also said the strikes were most likely carried out by Israel.
Sky News Arabic reported Saturday that 21 people were killed in the strike, including nine Iranians.
“Six missiles were fired at the Daba’a military airport and surrounding area in the western sector of Homs province, targeting Lebanese Hezbollah weapons warehouses,” Rami Abd el-Rahman, director of the Observatory, told AFP.
A recent headline in the Arabic-language newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat asked readers, “Do you stand with Iran or Israel?”
The writer, Abd al-Rahman al-Rashid, is a seasoned editor of Saudi Arabia’s government-sponsored publications, and al-Sharq al-Awsat is among the Arab world’s most prestigious newspapers.
“It’s an embarrassing question, one which contradicts the most basic notions of our political culture,” al-Rashid wrote. Nevertheless, al-Rashid maintained that rethinking the Saudi relationship with the Jewish state was the only way forward.
As the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Israel emerges into the public eye, Saudi media are conducting an intense debate over normalization with the Jewish state, utilizing articles, tweets, and viral videos.
Ties between Israel and the conservative monarchies of the Gulf have long been the Middle East’s worst-kept secret. But in recent months, governments on both sides of the Red Sea have made increasingly public signals of solidarity, from reported diplomatic offensives in Egypt to tweets in support of Israel’s right to defend itself.
A shared fear of Iranian power, a reformer’s rise in Saudi Arabia, and a desire on the part of elites to get past the Palestinian issue have ushered in a new era, Simon Henderson, a Saudi observer and analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told The Times of Israel.
Riyadh pulled the plug on awarding government contracts to German companies, in a possible response to Berlin’s pro-Iranian regime polices and its accusation that the kingdom’s foreign policy constitutes “political adventurism” in the Middle East.
Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman is “deeply offended” by the German government and froze new business with the Federal Republic, wrote Der Spiegel.
The newsweekly’s source was Detlef Daues, a German business owner active in Saudi Arabia, who said he was told by confidants in Riyadh about the prince’s displeasure with Berlin.
“Good morning from #Germany where tensions rising w/ Saudi Arabia over German position on Iran. Saudi govt is said to halt orders from German companies,” Holger Zschaepitz, a business editor with the Die Welt daily, tweeted on Saturday.
A senior German businessman in Saudi Arabia, who asked to remain anonymous, told Reuters on Friday that the healthcare sector in particular was feeling added scrutiny when applying for Saudi tenders.
“They have even been asking: Where are the products coming from? Are they made in Germany? Do you have other manufacturing sites? And as soon as this is made in Germany, they have been rejecting any German applications for tender,” the businessman said. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
Caroline Glick: U.S. Should Support Morocco Against Iran
As Khamenei’s ultimatum to the EU indicates, Iran believes that it has the ability to threaten Europe. That cannot be due to Iran’s financial leverage. So t
The subtext of his threat was clearly Iran’s capacity to attack Europe, whether through mass migration caused by the destabilization of the Moroccan government, or through the activation of terror cells already present in Europe. Under the circumstances, protecting the government in Rabat is now a key U.S. – and European – interest.
Given the acute threat that illegal migration through the Strait of Gibraltar poses to European security, the stronger U.S. relations with Morocco become, the more those relations can be used to leverage European support for the administration’s policies towards Iran.
Iran is on the march, and while Europe preens and pines for the Obama administration, outside Europe, endangered nations that have emboldened by the Trump administration are standing up to Iranian aggression. Morocco’s determination to block Iran from using the Polisario to enter North Africa is a sign that U.S. efforts are working.
Morocco’s actions are important in and of themselves. And strong U.S. support for Morocco, as its works to counter Iran’s efforts to expand into North Africa, can have a multiplier effect on U.S. counter-terror efforts in West Africa, and on Washington’s diplomatic position in Europe.
Longtime Labor lawmaker Eitan Cabel called on his party to adopt a position in favor of annexing the so-called “settlement blocs.”
Lamenting that Labor has led Israel for just six years in the past four decades, Cabel urged his colleagues to “sober up and shake off” their adherence to the land-for-peace paradigm of the Yitzhak Rabin-era Oslo Accords. Only if Labor takes “a world view that reflects reality,” he wrote, can it expect the public to return it to power.
According to the Labor MK, who set out his thinking in a Friday op-ed in the Haaretz daily, Israel “cannot wait for the Palestinian side because Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] has already given up on the two-state solution.”
Therefore, Cabel introduced what he called his “disillusionment initiative” and called on the Labor party to adopt its recommendations.
The proposal would see Israel first define what exactly constitutes the “settlement blocs” — the heavily populated Jewish areas in the West Bank that are mostly close to the pre-1967 Green Line and that most Israeli leaders believe will remain part of the Jewish state in any future peace deal.
In a candid memoir, Ehud Barak looks back on a life that has spanned the history of the State of Israel.
In December 1987, an Israeli truck crashed into a minibus, killing four Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Riots and violence soon spread from Gaza to Jerusalem and the West Bank.
“We assumed its ferocity and scale would subside,” Ehud Barak, then the deputy IDF chief of staff, recalls. But it didn’t subside; it turned into the first intifada.
“Now, we were asking teenage recruits to operate as riot police against stone-throwing mobs.” For the veteran soldier, the changing dynamics had a deep impact on questions about Israel’s future and its rule over millions of civilians. As prime minister, he would seek to bring peace. Now, years later, he looks back on those decisions.
In My Country, My Life: Fighting for Israel, Searching for Peace, Barak, one of Israel’s most famous commandos and generals, tells a riveting tale of his life in Israel. He was a central figure from the 1970s in various operations and at key stages in the country’s history. He tries to weigh the lessons learned in his book with the desire to tell the story as it happened.
“This book is only partly the story of my life,” he writes. “It’s also about Israel, the country whose birth I had the privilege of witnessing.”
In a disturbing case of blatant anti-Semitism, Councilmember Kshama Sawant, the LGBTQ Commission, and the Commission for People with disAbilities, under the guise of encouraging “learning and civil discourse”, hosted an anti-Semitic event. And the Commission isn’t even hiding their agenda, which likely explains why the event has been slammed by Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan.
Clearly taking an anti-Israel position, the Commission’s Facebook event page claimed “Israel is the country most famous for pinkwashing” and argues they engage in “apartheid” (a term these folks don’t understand). They’re not seeking to discuss whether or not these claims are true; they’re presenting them as fact. This is their way of siding against Israel defending itself against Hamas, which purposely puts civilians in harm’s way in an effort to create anti-Israel propaganda. This is Jew-hating at its most destructive. They’re siding with a Palestinian cause that wishes to wipe Israel off the map and it’s a textbook definition of anti-Semitic.
And Councilmember Kshama Sawant is no stranger to this issue. She refused to identify Hamas as a terrorist organization when I asked in an hour-long debate. Her statements on Israel have been so extreme, that Ron Dermer, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, joined me on air to condemn her.
They screened the propaganda documentary “Pinkwashing Exposed: Seattle Fights Back!” which claims Israel promotes itself as gay-friendly, to hide their supposed “terrible human rights violations.” How ironic, since this event is promoting LGBTQ solidarity to hide their anti-Semitism.
In the opening moments of the film, Nada Elia, an activist wearing a sweater that says “Palestine – We will return”, claims “Israel is not a gay friendly country.” Homosexuality is illegal in “Palestine”. Elia, a Palestinian BDS activist, has called for an intifada against Israel, defended a young terrorist, and pushes anti-Israel conspiracy theories. Yet the Commission claims to “unequivocally condemns anti-Semitic/anti-Jewish behavior.” This event is the physical manifestation of anti-Semitism.
Speaking to the BBC, Sir Eric Pickles has called for a new law against Holocaust denial to ensure that perpetrators receive longer sentences.
Sir Eric, who is an Honorary Patron of Campaign Against Antisemitism, made the comments in the wake of the landmark conviction of Alison Chabloz today following a private prosecution by Campaign Against Antisemitism which was eventually taken over by the Crown Prosecution Service, which should have taken action in the first place.
Speaking to Martin Bashir, the BBC’s Religion Editor, Sir Eric said that he had been “root and branch” opposed to a law against Holocaust denial, but he wanted longer sentences.
Ms Chabloz is the first person to be convicted of a crime for denying the Holocaust, but the offence she was charged with by Campaign Against Antisemitism carries a maximum six-month sentence.
The UK is one of the few countries in Europe which does not have a specific law against Holocaust denial, and the UK is even a signatory to an EU framework which requires countries to pass such a law, but no government has ever done so.
Campaign Against Antisemitism welcomes Sir Eric’s call for the law to be strengthened so that Holocaust denial carries a much tougher sentence.
Zionism is a Jewish conspiracy meant to manipulate Western societies to benefit Jews.
That’s the belief of a majority of 1,007 French respondents to a poll about the Jewish nationalist movement.
Some 53 percent of the respondents to the survey conducted this year by the Ifop polling company agreed with the statement that “Zionism is an international organization that seeks to influence the world and societies to the Jews’ benefit,” the Union of Jewish Students in France, or UEJF, said in a report this week about the poll that it commissioned Ifop to perform.
Of those, 11% said they “strongly agree.” Half of the respondents said Zionism was a “racist ideology.”
At the same time, 54% of respondents agreed that anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism and 59% agreed with the statement that Zionism is a “movement of liberation and emancipation for the Jewish people.”
Twenty-six percent of respondents said they thought a boycott of Israel was justified. Israel’s existence “feeds anti-Semitism,” 38% of the respondents said.
“I have a confession to make. If you are Jewish… I used to hate you. I hated you because I thought you were responsible for the [Somali civil] war which took my father from me for so long… When we had no water, I thought you closed the tap. … If my mother was unkind to me, I knew you were definitely behind it. If and when I failed an exam, I knew it was your fault. You are by nature evil, you had evil powers and you used them to evil ends. Learning to hate you was easy. Unlearning it was difficult.” — Ayaan Hirsi Ali, quoted in The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History, by Andrew G. Bostom.
In Canada, Wael al-Ghitawi, the imam of Al-Andalous Islamic Centre, and Sayed al-Ghitawi “both called for the death of Jews. The sermons came to public attention in February 2017, when YouTube videos of the talks were translated into English.”
Let us be frank: as is all too clear from the recent European experience, importing large numbers of Muslims means importing Islamic antisemitism. Hate crimes against Canadian Jews are already on an upward trajectory. Is it the Canadian Government’s policy to encourage an increase in antisemitic hate crimes?
Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives are calling on NDP Leader Andrea Horwath to part ways with a candidate in Toronto who shared an Adolf Hitler meme on social media several years ago.
At a morning news conference, two PC candidates, Todd Smith and Gila Martow, presented what they say is evidence of anti-Semitism “festering” in the NDP.
The pair provided a printout of an October 2013 social media meme shared by the NDP candidate in Scarborough–Agincourt, Tasleem Riaz.
The Facebook post features a quote that is commonly attributed to Hitler overlaid over a photo of the tyrannical despot giving a Nazi salute to a gathered crowd. A title above the image reads, “The Ruler said about Rule.”
The phrase below it — “If you don’t like a rule … just follow it … reach on the top … and change the rule,” is attributed to Hitler, though there’s no direct historical evidence the Nazi dictator ever uttered it.
Smith called the post the “most serious example of anti-Semitism we’ve seen in Ontario politics for a long, long time” and criticized Horwath for what he characterized as a laissez faire approach to dealing with candidates who express controversial views.
Professor Itamar Grotto — an associate director-general at the Israeli Health Ministry — was elected on Friday to the Executive Board of the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO).
The vote took place in the Swiss city of Geneva, where WHO is headquartered. Representatives from Finland, Germany and Romania also won spots on the Executive Board on Friday.
“It is both a great honor and a great responsibility,” Grotto said. “I hope to bring the best of Israel’s knowledge and expertise and work with our partners towards achieving ‘Health for All’” — the moniker of a WHO programming goal.
Israel’s permanent representative to the UN and other international organizations in Geneva, Ambassador Aviva Raz Shechter, said, “This is a great accomplishment for Israel, and a world recognition of Israel’s expertise in the field of health.”
Grotto will be the second Israeli ever to serve on WHO’s Executive Board. The first was Pnina Herzog, who was elected two and a half decades ago.
Investment from firms seeking access to Israeli expertise in automated driving, much of it gathered by engineers during their conscription, is pouring into startups.
U.S. chipmaker Intel, German auto supplier Continental, Samsung, Daimler, Ford Motor Co and GM are among those to have bought startups or set up their own development centers in Israel.
Inexperience in car-making, distance from traditional auto centers and competition from other tech sectors for top staff are a challenge for investors.
Israeli auto tech startups still raised almost as much as similar U.S. companies last year.
“A lot of the entrepreneurs are coming out of the Israel Defence Forces and they tend to be older than the traditional Silicon Valley (entrepreneurs),” Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. told Reuters.
“They have a lot of judgment and wisdom. Particularly in areas like cybersecurity, there’s tremendous activity coming out of Israel.”
The United States attracts the most investment in the sector with companies raising $1.2 billion last year, according to venture capital data provider CB Insights. Silicon Valley, Pittsburgh and Detroit are making efforts to be leaders in the driverless car era.
Bethlehem Endale, or “Betty” as her friends call her, enjoys the shock she evokes speaking Russian in Israel.
Endale was born and raised in Kharkiv, Ukraine, the daughter of two Ethiopian Jews. A former contestant on Ukraine’s “The Voice” and a finalist in Ukraine’s Eurovision competition, the emerging singer is spending her summer staffing Taglit-Birthright trips for Russian-speakers.
She recently spoke with The Times of Israel from Birthright’s staff seminar in Jerusalem about her unique background and how she hopes to use it to inspire her groups.
Endale is the daughter of two Jewish Ethiopian parents who met in the former-USSR under improbable circumstances.
“In 1986 my parents were on an exchange program for Ethiopians and Soviet students,” Endale said. “Both of them came to the USSR — my dad to Bolhrad and my mom, Kharkiv. My dad didn’t like Bolhrad so he moved to Kharkiv where he met my mom.”
“When they met, they realized they were both Jewish. They set a date and they got married and had me in 1988,” she said.
“As I grew up, I was a part of the Jewish community. We keep the basics of Shabbat with challah and kiddush. We didn’t do everything, but it was good enough and I’m very grateful.”
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