February 27, 2021

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07/01 Links: Where Are the Moderate Muslims?; 2nd Projectile from Syria hits Israel – For 6th time in 1 week


From Ian:

Where Are the Moderate Muslims?
To many Muslims — especially radical Islamists — Jewish sovereignty in any part of the Holy Land is a red line that cannot be crossed. The mere existence of a Jewish State in the Middle East is totally unacceptable to their Islamic doctrine. As a consequence, Jews in Israel have been subjected to violence, murder and destruction. And until that doctrine undergoes reformation, the “religion of peace” will view the Jewish state as an unacceptable intruder in the Middle East.
This is the true heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was very prescient to demand that any peace agreement include the formal recognition of Israel as a Jewish state — because violence and war by internal and external Muslim terrorist organizations and by neighboring Muslim countries have remained an inescapable barrier to a final status peace agreement.
Israel has no choice but to protect its existence as the Jewish homeland, against all those who wish to destroy it. Genuine peace can only come after hostility from Islamists ends. Violence, incitement and anti-Jewish diatribes preached by Muslim and Palestinian leaders must stop.
Ultimately, the transition of Islam to a true religion of peace will end conflicts in Muslim societies, the Middle East and elsewhere. Shias and Sunnis will stop killing each other, and civil wars will end. ISIS will be defeated. And the Muslim world and local Arab leaders will formally accept the reality of the Jewish state of Israel.
We can hope that — in the near future — the influence of global communications, the internet and social networks can help trigger a 21st century Islamic reformation. In past centuries and millennia, Islam’s elder brethren — Judaism and Christianity — underwent significant reforms that helped lay the foundation of the modern world. The time has now come for Islam to become a genuine religion of peace.

Fred Maroun: Another anti-Semitic war is coming while the world again looks the other way

The overriding responsibility, however, rests with the terrorist regime of Iran which finances the Lebanese terrorists and supplies them with weapons. Although Hezbullah is very much a Lebanese organization that is motivated by its own hatred of Israel, it is also a proxy of Iran, and it would be far less dangerous without Iran, despite Hezbullah’s strong support among the Lebanese population. Iran, however, has a free hand in supporting Hezbullah. Iran is even considered somewhat respectable after it signed a nuclear deal with the US, the UK, France, China, Russia, and Germany.
Since the nuclear deal with Iran did not require that Iran stop supporting terrorism, all six nations that signed the deal also hold part of the responsibility for the impending war. Barack Obama, David Cameron, Francois Hollande, Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, and their governments did not try to stop the terrorist regime’s single-minded determination to attack the Jewish state, but chose the economic benefits of trade with Iran instead.
So-called peace groups indicate by their names a distaste for war; however, they are busy denouncing Israel, the country that would be at the receiving end of the war. Denouncing Hezbullah, the side that is itching for war, seems to be the furthest thing from their minds. Among those so-called peace groups are Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER), CODEPINK: Women for Peace, and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), which are listed by the Anti-Defamation League among the top ten anti-Israel organizations in the United States.
The United Nations Security Council stated in resolution 1701 that, “The clear path forward was by disarming and disbanding Hizbollah and other militias, as well as by Lebanon’s exercise of authority over all its territory”, but neither the United Nations nor its Security Council has done anything to enforce that direction. On the contrary. Since 2006, the UN General Assembly adopted numerous resolutions against the Jewish state (20 in 2016 alone), but not a single one against the Lebanese terrorists.

Primetime French TV Show Hosts Frank Discussion on Antisemitism in Wake of Sarah Halimi Murder

The issue of Traore’s motives was front and center during a recent panel discussion on the popular weekend TV talk show “On n’est pas couché” (“We’re not lying”).
The main guest was Michel Boujenah, a French Jewish actor and writer, who engaged in a sometimes emotional examination of Halimi’s murder with three other panelists and the show’s presenter, Laurent Ruquier.
On the subject of Traore, Halimi’s killer, Boujenah told the audience: “They said it was a mentally unstable person. But it was a mentally unstable person who chose his victim, who tortured her, insulted her with every antisemitic slur, and threw her out of the window.”
Boujenah, who was born in Tunis, continued: “He was crazy. But he was a crazy antisemite. There is no doubt about this question.”
Another panelist, Yann Moix, said that the silence around Sarah Halimi’s murder was reminiscent of the case of Ilan Halimi, no relation, the 23 year-old kidnapped, tortured and murdered in 2006 by an antisemitic gang who set out to find a Jewish victim in the belief that Jews were wealthy and therefore would pay a ransom demand.
Responding, Boujenah reflected, “We are 15 million Jews on this planet. There are a billion and a half Chinese. What did we do? What did we do that is so bad? To be hated in this manner. What did we do? I would like an explanation.”

After UN hosts 2-day anti-Israel event, Israel’s envoy says it colludes with terror supporters

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon accused the United Nations of “colluding with supporters of terror seeking to harm Israel,” following a two-day panel Thursday-Friday marking “50 years of occupation” in which groups Israel says have links to Palestinian terror organizations participated.
The panel was addressed by Palestinian officials, an Israeli MK, Israeli and Palestinian activists and others.
“It is beyond comprehension that UN funds are supporting organizations which aid terrorists and incite against Israel,” Danon said in a statement about the event, which was organized by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and held at UN headquarters in New York.
The committee was tasked in 2016 with “bring[ing] together international experts, including from the State of Palestine and Israel, representatives of the diplomatic community, civil society, as well as academics and students to discuss the ongoing occupation.”
Israel protested the meetings which began Thursday, saying that two of the groups participating, Al Haq and the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, had links to Hamas and the PFLP.

B’Tselem chief: Israel sabotaging fight against anti-Semitism to retain West Bank

The director of Israeli human rights group B’Tselem told a conference at the UN in New York on Friday that Israel was sabotaging efforts to combat anti-Semitism in order to retain control of the West Bank.
Speaking on the second day of a two-day forum at the UN headquarters in New York marking “50 years of occupation,” the left-wing NGO’s executive director Hagai El-Ad said that Israel tries to minimize international criticism of its West Bank policy by labeling it anti-Semitic.
“Palestinians who oppose the occupation are terrorists, Israelis who oppose the occupation are traitors, and those in the international community who oppose the occupation are of course anti-Semitic,” El-Ad said.
“The Israeli government is prepared to undermine the real fight against anti-Semitism in order to preserve the occupation with minimal repercussions from the international community,” he charged. (h/t Elder of Lobby)

UN Palestinian Forum Promotes BDS, Claims Israel ‘Worse Than Apartheid South Africa’

A UN forum on the Palestinian issue on Friday provided a platform for anti-Zionist activists to promote the BDS campaign, claim that Israel practices “apartheid worse than South Africa,” and even – in the case of one Israeli Jewish speaker – proffer a formal apology for having taken up Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return.
The second day of the two-day forum marking “Fifty Years of Occupation” was designed to showcase the perspectives of Palestinian NGOs and their international supporters. Hosted by the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP), the forum was earlier this week strongly condemned by Israeli diplomats at the UN, who stated that some of the speakers were connected to terrorist groups including Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres – who declared in April that the denial of Israel’s right to exist is a “modern form of antisemitism” – earlier distanced himself from the meeting. Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for Guterres, told reporters on Thursday that the forum “is not something that is being sponsored by the Secretariat. I think any questions as to the invitees and the way the meeting is organized should be directed to the members of the committee.”
Friday’s speakers did not hold back from recycling the favored themes of anti-Zionist activists, such as the analogy between Israel and the white supremacist regime in South Africa, and the familiar accusation that expressing concern about antisemitism is designed to mute criticism of Israeli policy. Allusions as well as explicit references to the supposedly overwhelming power of pro-Israel groups in the US were frequently made, with the moderator of the final panel – Helena Cobban, a veteran pro-Palestinian activist – telling the audience that “the name of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People needs to be restated again and again. And that needs restating in this city (New York) and this country.”

UN cuts peacekeeping budget after pressure from Trump

The General Assembly on Friday agreed to a significant cut in the budget for the UN’s far-flung peacekeeping missions, a reduction that the Trump administration fought hard to achieve though it wanted an even larger decrease.
After lengthy and heated negotiations, the assembly’s powerful budget committee agreed to a $7.3 billion budget for 14 peacekeeping missions for the year starting July 1, a $570 million cut from the current budget of $7.87 billion.
The 193-member world body voted by consensus to approve $6.8 billion. It also agreed to an additional $500 million for two missions that are in the throes of downsizing — the joint UN-African Union mission in Sudan’s troubled western Darfur region and the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley said after the budget committee’s agreement early Thursday: “Just five months into our time here, we’ve already been able to cut over half a billion dollars from the UN peacekeeping budget and we’re only getting started.”

Livni urges UNESCO not to pass Hebron decision

Former foreign minister Tizpi Livni criticized the UN’s cultural body for its repeated decisions against Israel and called on the organization to reject a further provocative vote on the flash point West Bank city of Hebron set for Sunday.
The Palestinians are pushing to have Hebron — the site of the Tomb of the Patriarchs — declared as a “World Heritage Site in Danger” during the upcoming World Heritage Committee meeting.
Speaking Friday at the UNESCO International Conference on the Empowerment of Women in Paris, Livni, a member of the opposition Zionist Union party, said she had seriously considered skipping the event due to previous “false” decisions against the Jewish state, Ynet reported.
“I am an opposition leader in Israel, but I am not in opposition to the history of my people and not an opposition to the truth,” Livni said. “These decisions will not harm my people’s connection to [Jerusalem and Hebron], but they will hurt UNESCO and the ability to promote common interests.”

Want to Resolve the Kotel Controversy? Here’s a Wild Idea: Try Politics

For a rudimentary introduction to its true splendor, just look at what happened this week in Jerusalem. When their bid to force the Israeli government into a compromise failed this week—to the surprise of precisely no one—the leaders of the Reform and Conservative movements reacted much as the Democrats do these days, by declaring the defeat a moral victory and vowing more outrage. The setback, Reform and Conservative movements exclaimed, was nothing less than a “betrayal,” a blow so cataclysmic after which any further conversation was futile: The Reform movement, thundered its head, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, was no longer interested in negotiating with the Jewish state.
That’s a shame. While many of us in Poughkeepsie and Phoenix and Portland don’t particularly care for Bibi, we care even less for leaders who spend almost all of their time advancing fashionable progressive causes and almost none of it doing what to us comes naturally, which is to recognize that when real and present dangers abound, we ought to set our priorities accordingly. And when we see a leadership that time after time after time lectures the democratically elected government in Jerusalem on its imperfections while, say, praising the leader of an Israeli-Arab party whose colleagues have smuggled cellphones to convicted terrorists and compared the Jewish state to Nazi Germany, we may feel a little unsure about the wisdom of our leadership.
How, then, should we proceed if we are people who are both deeply committed to egalitarian access to the Kotel but not interested in torching our entire relationship to the state of Israel over it?
This is where the art of politics comes in, and it offers us three weapons with which to wage our wars: our bucks, our butts, and our words. (h/t Elder of Lobby)

Report: Germany approves sale of 3 more submarines to Israel

Germany’s National Security Council has approved the sale of three advanced submarines to Israel, another chapter in a controversial defense deal.
According to the report, Israel will receive three more Dolphin submarines in a $1.5 billion deal with German shipmaker ThyssenKrupp, in addition to the one already being built in a deal mired in corruption allegations.
In April, Israel agreed to a request by Germany to insert a clause into the contract in a memorandum of understanding. The clause gives Germany the right to cancel the deal if the any improprieties or criminal offenses were proven by the Israeli police investigation.
Israel currently has three Dolphin-class submarines and two Dolphin 2-class submarines (another one is expected to be delivered in 2018). The new Dolphin 2-class submarines would not reach Israel’s coast for another decade are expected to replace the older Dolphins at a cost of combined price of NIS 5 billion ($1.3 billion), a third of which will be financed by Germany.

Second Projectile from Syria civil war hits Israel within hour – For sixth time in 1 week

A projectile landed in Israel’s northern Golan Heights believed to be from fighting between the Assad regime and rebel groups near the city of Quneitra, the army said Saturday evening.
Less than an hour later, a second projectile struck Israeli territory between Quneitra and the Valley of Tears in what the IDF described as spillover from the Syrian civil war.
No injuries were reported from the incident and IDF forces were sent to the scenes to find the projectiles which landed in a “no man’s land” between the border fences of the two countries.
A number of projectiles have landed in Israeli territory due to the fighting which has intensified the Syrian side of Quneitra as the Assad regime fights against the al-Qaida-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other rebels groups who launched an offensive to take control of the city of al-Baath (new Quneitra) which is one of the few towns in the province that has remained under control of Syrian government forces.

Voll’s Palestinian History Book Ranked #16 on Barnes & Noble

This is simply incredible.
Assaf A. Voll’s book, A History of the Palestinian People: From Ancient Times to the Modern Era, which we first reviewed here, became the #1 ranked History book on Amazon, until Amazon banned the book.
Yesterday, we reported that the book can be bought on Barnes & Noble.
Today, the blank book is ranked #16 in best-selling books on Barnes & Noble, beating out books like The Handmaid’s Tale (#17), Harry Potter Paperback Boxed Set, Books 1-7 (#28), House of Spies (#30), Al Franken, Giant of the Senate (#38), and Understanding Trump (#55)
Way to go Muqata readers (and JewishPress.com).
You can buy the book at this link and help make it #1.
The anti-Semites are probably going to notice the book there and start putting pressure on B&N to take it down, so you might want to order your copy sooner rather than later.
Update: June 30, 2017: B&N has taken the book down.

Dahlan confidant says Abbas pushing Hamas toward war

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is pushing Hamas toward a war with Israel, Sufian Abu Zaida, a close confidant of self-exiled Fatah leader Muhammad Dahlan, said on Thursday.
“If Abu Mazen’s [Abbas’s] pressure on Gaza continues with Israel’s participation, Hamas will not just accept it,” Abu Zaida, who is a former PA prisoner affairs and civil affairs minister, said in a telephone interview with The Jerusalem Post. “Hamas will decide that it has no choice but to have another confrontation with Israel.”
Over the past two months, Abbas has undertaken a series of measures to pressure Hamas to concede control of the Gaza Strip. He has slashed the salaries of PA employees in Gaza, reduced electricity supplied to the area (with Israel’s help) and cut medical budgets.
Abu Zaida is not the only one saying Abbas’s moves could lead to another round of combat. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman told the Herzliya Conference last Thursday that the PA president is aiming “to pull Israel into a war with Hamas.”

Articles In Gulf Press: The Escalation In Gaza – A Result Of Qatar, Iran, Turkey Toying With Lives Of Innocent Palestinians

Following the June 27, 2017 Israeli airstrikes in Gaza in response to the firing of a rocket from Gaza into Israel, articles in the Gulf press attacked Hamas and the countries that support it: Qatar, Iran and Turkey. The articles – published against the backdrop of the inter-Gulf tension and the Boycott imposed on Qatar, chiefly by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt – blamed Hamas of the firing of the rocket into Israel, and claimed that it was escalating the situation in Gaza on purpose in order to serve the interests of its three patron countries. These countries, said the articles, place innocent Palestinians in danger in order to divert global attention away from the Gulf crisis.
The following are excerpts from two articles on this topic:
‘Al-Ittihad’ Editorial: Qatar, Iran, Turkey Use Gaza As Bargaining Chip, Toying With The Lives Of Its Innocent People
Muhammad Al-Hamadi, editor of the UAE daily Al-Ittihad, wrote: “On June 27, without any warning, the Arabs woke up to discover that Gaza had been bombarded. Why? What has happened that we don’t know about? What did the Gazan Palestinians do to find themselves under Israeli fire? Has a third intifada broken out? Has the battle for the liberation of Jerusalem begun?
“In practice, none [of the above] happened. All [that happened was] that those who trade in the Palestinian problem, who are themselves in trouble, remembered an old bargaining chip that they have long been using successfully, [and decided] to use it in the dire circumstances that have befallen their friend Qatar, which serves as their open bank [account]. They thought that [using this bargaining chip] would be a good way to divert the Arabs’ attention away from Qatar and focus it [instead] on Gaza and its residents who are being bombarded with missiles by the Israeli enemy.

EXCLUSIVE: Islamic State Terrorist Claims Attacks Against Israel to Escalate

Attacks against Israel by jihadi organizations and supporters of the Islamic State group are expected to increase, a Palestinian jihadi associated with the Islamic State told Breitbart Jerusalem in response to a rocket attack Monday from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel.
The rocket was fired in the evening at an Israeli town near the border with Gaza. A group affiliated with the Islamic State organization claimed responsibility. The Israeli Air Force responded to the attack by striking Hamas targets in the Strip, as Israel holds Gaza’s Hamas rulers responsible for any rocket attacks launched from the costal enclave.
In response to the incident, Abou Baker Almaqdesi, a jihadi from the Gaza Strip who fought in the ranks of the Islamic State in Syria and Iran and managed to return to the Gaza Strip after being wounded, said that the attacks against Israel are expected to continue.
Citing an attack in Jerusalem in which an Israeli policewoman was stabbed to death, and for which both the Shin Bet and Palestinian organizations rejected the Islamic State group’s claim of responsibility, he stated, “It won’t necessarily be with rocket fire. It could also be attacks like that carried out two weeks ago in Jerusalem, and it could be attacks in the heart of Tel Aviv. The Jews will always be a target for our brothers in the leadership and this will manifest itself soon.”
Almaqdesi claimed, “Israel is directly involved in the war against the Mujahedeen in Sinai alongside the infidel Egyptian army. Israeli intelligence is involved in the war against us by the crusader coalition led by the chief infidels, the United States, in Syria, Iraq, Libya and other places. And as our leaders in the Caliphate promised, all who are involved in the war against the Muslims will pay the price.”

EXCLUSIVE – Source: Hamas ‘Military Wing’ Being Reorganized In Gaza

The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ so-called military wing, has begun a process of redeployment that includes the reorganization of the movement’s terrorist infrastructure, a Hamas official told Breitbart Jerusalem.
According to the source, the organization of terror units in the al-Qassam Brigades has been cancelled by the Brigades hierarchy and the movement has begun rebuilding and integrating its fighters in a structure that more closely resembles a military regiment.
The source noted that Hamas units were disbanded in all five areas of the Gaza Strip: the north, Gaza City, the center, Khan Younis and Rafah. The five companies, said the official, will be integrated into two main regiments.
One terror regiment will incorporate the northern Gaza company as well as companies from Gaza City and part of the old central district. The second regiment will integrate the rest of the central district along with jihadists previously responsible for southern Gaza.

Exclusive: 11 Gazans Join Islamic State In Sinai In Another Blow to Hamas

Eleven jihadist residents of the Gaza Strip who swore allegiance to the Islamic State organization succeeded last weekend in joining Wilayat Sinai, the Egyptian branch of the Islamic State, a senior jihadist source in Gaza told Breitbart Jerusalem.
All 11 managed to flee the Strip through the tunnels that connect Gaza to Sinai and joined the ranks of IS in Sinai, where the group is fighting a difficult war against Egyptian military forces.
According to the jihadist source, all 11 were jailed in Hamas prisons in the last few months. He stated that they were sentenced to 6-9 months and were all released last week. “Our brothers spent four days out of jail before making their way to the ranks of the mujahedeen in Sinai,” he said.
The Gazan jihadists’ flight from the Strip to Sinai is a blow to Hamas after the organization made a commitment to Egypt in recent weeks to increase enforcement and military presence along the Gaza-Sinai border in order to prevent the movement of jihadists between the two zones.
The commitment from Hamas was declared during a delegation of Hamas officials’ visit to Egypt, led by Hamas’ Gaza politburo chief Yehya Senwar, who met with Egyptian representatives responsible for Palestinian affairs.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar: Iran has conquered Syria

The coalition of Shiite forces that invaded Syria (Iranians, Iraqis, Lebanese, Afghans) are carrying out ethnic cleansing against Sunni Syrian citizens, and in parts of the country have ejected Sunni residents in order to preempt their homes and villages for Shiite migrants from Syria, Iraq and Afganistan.
This is how, maneuvering between Obama government’s purposeful intentions and Trump’s choice of objectives, Iran managed to become the clear victor in the Syrian war. No one in the world will succeed in removing the Iranian army from Syria, and we, in israel, Europe and the US, will have to get used to the fact that Iran now includes large swathes of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Hezbollah in Lebanon is now connected to Iran by land, and that is the reason Hassan Nasrallah feels such confidence vis a vis Israel, and why Israel hesitates to build a concrete wall in its own territory to protect Israelis from Hezbollah snipers.
Two years ago, when Syria was in the midst of falling apart, there were Israelis who claimed that Israel’s security situation had improved now that Syria was a threat no more and Hezbollah was stuck in the Syrian quagmire. Today it looks very different. Instead of Syria, we have Iran as our immediate neighbor. Hezbollah is no more an isolated terror group in Lebanon but an important arm of the Iranian entity, parked only a short distance from Israel’s border.
Worst of all is the fact that Israel’s media, which reports from time to time on Iranian forces in Syria, does not show the larger, more threatening picture, the one that has developed from the Iranian line that connects the dots on the map of what was once Syria.
Iran has emerged the great, ultimate victor of the civil war in Syria. The sooner we and the rest of the world realize this, the better off we and the rest of the world will be. (h/t Elder of Lobby)

Analysis: 2 US cases provide unique window into Iran’s global terror network

On June 8, the Department of Justice (DOJ) made an announcement that deserves more attention. Two alleged Hizballah operatives had been arrested inside the United States after carrying out various missions on behalf of the Iranian-sponsored terrorist organization. The plots took the men around the globe, from Thailand to Panama and even into the heart of New York City.
Both men are naturalized U.S. citizens. And they are both accused of performing surveillance on prospective targets for Hizballah’s highly secretive external operations wing, known as the Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO).
Ali Kourani, a 32-year-old who was living in the Bronx, New York (pictured on the right*), allegedly gathered “information regarding operations and security at airports in the U.S. and elsewhere,” while also “surveilling U.S. military and law enforcement facilities in Manhattan and Brooklyn.” Hizballah asked Kourani to identify “individuals affiliated with the Israeli Defense Force” inside the U.S. and locate “weapons suppliers in the U.S. who could provide firearms to support IJO operations” as well. Kourani allegedly conducted all of these missions on behalf of his IJO “handler,” who was safely ensconced back home in Lebanon.
Samer el Debek, a 37-year-old resident of Dearborn, Michigan, is charged with “casing security procedures at the Panama Canal and the Israeli Embassy” in Panama, identifying “areas of weakness and construction at the Panama Canal,” and determining for Hizballah “how close someone could get to a ship passing through the Canal.” His “IJO handlers” also “asked him for photographs of the U.S. Embassy” in Panama, as well as “details” concerning its “security procedures.” (El Debek told authorities he did not provide Hizballah with the information requested on the American embassy.)

Qatari cinemas quit airing ‘Wonder Woman’

Two Qatari movie theater chains have pulled showings of “Wonder Woman” over the weekend, apparently because the film stars Israeli actress Gal Gadot.
Advertising for the superhero movie disappeared from the websites of Vox Cinemas and Novo Cinemas on Friday, according to DOHA News. Both chains later confirmed that they would no longer be screening Wonder Woman at any of their theaters.
It is not clear why they had the change of heart after apparently showing the film for several weeks.
Last month, both Lebanon and Tunisia banned the movie over Gadot’s role. Lebanon is officially at war with Israel and bans Israeli products. Later that month, a prominent Palestinian movie theater in Ramallah banned the movie, citing “political reasons related to the Israeli occupation and the Israeli actress starring in the film.”
Gadot, 32, does not shy away from touting her Israeli heritage. She praised the Israeli military in a widely shared Facebook post during the 2014 Gaza war.

Boycotting Jewish comedian is anti-Semitism — Tunisian NGO

A Tunisian watchdog group on racism accused promoters of a boycott against Israel of anti-Semitism after they protested the invitation extended to a Jewish comedian to appear at a local festival.
The accusation Thursday by the Tunisian Association for Support of Minorities was over an open letter sent earlier this week to the Tunisian Ministry of Culture and the organizers of the annual Catharge Festival of music next month to protest the invitation extended by organizers to Michel Boujenah, a well-known Tunisia-born French Jewish standup artist.
The letter, authored by Tunisian activists of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, says that Boujenah, who often speaks lovingly of his native Tunisia during his shows, should not be allowed to perform because he is a Zionist.
Boujenah, who is not a citizen of Israel, has often spoken during interviews about his support for Israel, including during a 2009 talk with Gilles Sitruk, an organizer of interfaith delegations to Israel and writer. (h/t Zvi)

Criminal complaint filed against BDS for disruption of MK talk in Berlin

The German-Israel Society branch in Berlin has lodged a criminal complaint against three BDS activists for disrupting a talk at the city’s Humboldt University in late June.
The panel at the discussion on “Life in Israel – Terror, Bias and the Chance for Peace” consisted of MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid); Holocaust survivor Deborah Weinstein, 82, a musician from Tel Aviv; and four young Israelis. An estimated 60 people attended the June 20 event, the society said.
According to the complaint obtained by The Jerusalem Post, a female BDS activist “swung [her fists] wildly around her and attendees” as she was escorted from the university room for disrupting the event. She “continuously attempted to reenter the lecture hall and pounded on the door.”
A member of the German-Israel Society positioned himself by the door to block her reentry, noted the complaint. Humboldt University security appeared after the start of disruptions to provide assistance.

Anti-Semitism in Bay Area Schools

Vice recently posted a fine piece that affirms what I have seen while teaching in the Bay Area over the last few years: a growing level of anti-Semitic incidents carried out by students against other classmates. Max Cherney writes:
During the first quarter of 2017, compared with the first quarter of 2016, there has been an 86 percent spike in anti-Semitic incidents nationwide, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Among those 541 preliminarily identified incidents were 380 cases of harassment and 155 reports of vandalism—as well as the wave of 161 bomb threats against Jewish institutions.

I decided to take a closer look at what’s happening at Bay Area public schools, requesting records of reported anti-Semitic activity from approximately 40 districts in the region. Those records showed a spike in incidents at schools in nearly every county, from Marin to the Peninsula to the East Bay and beyond.
So far this year, 29 anti-Semitic incidents have been reported by more than 25 schools—compared with 25 incidents reported by more than 16 schools in all of 2016. Some schools have experienced multiple incidents, while others faced ongoing problems in the classroom. Many of the incidents have not been reported in the news media, and some parents of the affected students have complained about slow or lackluster responses from administrators and school districts.

Unfortunately, I believe that last statement from Max is more common than one would expect. There is a general unwillingness for schools to report when these incidents occur. Even at a good public school like the one I work at, the general tendency is to try and deal with these issues discretely and not draw attention from community activists.

PreOccupiedTerritory: How Dare You Call My Bigotry Of Low Expectations ‘Soft’ By SJW McWoke (satire)

If mathematics were not such a patriarchal system, I would feel comfortable about counting the number of times we progressives have been accused of “soft” bigotry by not demanding that all peoples adhere to the same standards of behavior. I am here to correct that misimpression. There is nothing soft about my bigotry.
This is about, and has always been about, my participating in the heroic rescue of oppressed peoples, thus burnishing my credentials as a superior moral being. It will simply not do to have those oppressed peoples be capable of self-empowerment, and not be dependent on my nobility of spirit. I must therefore adopt the position that they are irredeemably oppressed, and are therefore owed all consideration, understanding, and double standards that we can apply. It’s an essential part of the identity I assign them. It must be so, or my identity as knight in shining armor swooping in to rescue the populations in distress is in jeopardy, if you’ll pardon the patriarchal Eurocentrist sexist violent metaphor. Nothing soft about it.
Of course it does not look good when phrased in those terms, so we must always phrase it differently. The vocabulary of intersectionality does that for us. In the hierarchy of victimhood – the only hierarchy that we can accept – the more numerous the victim-points one amasses, the more flexibility and understanding they are owed when they perpetrate the same actions against others that we decry the white, male, cisgender oppressors for perpetrating. They cannot help it, the poor souls. They were oppressed, and are forever doomed to victim status. The poor dears, But I can help them! And so must you! And if you don’t you’re a racist!

Harvard’s Sara Roy: All Hamas Needs is Love

Another anonymous Gaza resident — all of Roy’s sources in the piece are curiously anonymous — insists that the pious Muslims of Gaza are on the verge of forgetting about Jerusalem. Roy credulously relays his assessment: “One well-placed person claimed that ‘50 to 60 per cent of Hamas’ would give up any claim to Jerusalem in return for the Rafah border crossing being opened up again.”
This type of all-it-takes thinking is also directed at Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader in the West Bank. “I was consistently told that if Abbas wanted to win the support of Gaza’s people all he would have to do is pay the [Hamas] civil servants their salaries,” the author writes.
Roy endorses each of these grandiose assurances without question or skepticism, steering her readers to do the same. In other words, with her Harvard affiliation as a certificate of authenticity, she is selling snake oil to the urbane readers of the London Review of Books.
Does the Gaza businessman who insisted his countrymen only want “open borders for export” truly represent his fellow citizens, as Roy suggests? Surely, she is familiar with polls showing that a majority of Gazans want much, much more. In one recent survey, for example, over 60 percent of Gaza Palestinians indicated that even a Palestinian state in all of the Gaza Strip and West Bank wouldn’t be a conflict-ending solution in their eyes. An even higher percentage expressed their opposition to a binational state. (What, then, is their preferred solution?)

Teen Magazine Promotes Conspiracy Theory from Protocols of the Elders of Zion

Affinity Magazine is a publication written by and for teenagers. Its Editor-in-Chief, Evelyn Woodsen, is nineteen, and its Senior Editor Alex Brown is in high school.
Its website gets between 200,000 and 600,000 views per month, and it claims that it “serves a purpose of showcasing the voices of aspiring teen journalists.” The publication aims to “mix[] pop culture with social justice and politics….”
The young age of its writers and editors, however, does not excuse its promotion of an antisemitic conspiracy theory. In January, the magazine published an article titled, “Money and Israel Control the Media: Who Cares?” (January 8, 2017) Seventeen year-old author Zoya Wazir, relying on the antisemitic Rense website, wrote that:
Israel has political and economic ties to America of such necessity that they control the majority of the media. In fact, the big six corporations mentioned earlier all have Israeli ties and are headed by powerful Jewish families within the United States.
Given the publication’s left-wing bent, Affinity’s editors might be dismayed to learn that in promoting this myth, they are joining former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke, who made the same claim last fall. One can also find similar content on the neo-nazi sites Stormfront and Daily Stormer, and in the /pol/, or “politically incorrect,” section of 4chan. (Ironically, a June 15 4chan thread asked, “If the Jews control the media (which they do), then why do they take such an anti-Israeli stance?”)

West Bank building drops, but media spins it into surge

In December 2014, I blogged about how the latest Israeli construction statistics in the West Bank at that time had been distorted in the news, revealing how clear data showing a drop in construction had been spun into a story claiming a “surge” based on a misleading interpretation of the data.
Now, it has happened again.
On June 19, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics issued its housing construction report for the first quarter of 2017. The statistics revealed that Israeli housing starts in the West Bank were down 59% in the first quarter of 2017 compared to Q4 2016 and 23% compared to Q1 2016.
According to the report, 344 new homes were started in West Bank settlements in the quarter, compared with 477 in Q1 2106 and 839 in Q4 2016.
Yet not only housing starts dropped, but housing completions, down 34%, with 403 completions in Q1 2017 compared to 611 in Q1 2016.
This story made the front page of the Jerusalem Post, which reported the news accurately.
Yet, in reporting the same news item, the Times of Israel used an AFP story with only supplemental reporting by a TOI staffer. Their story had the misleading headline: “Israeli settlement building has risen, official data shows” and the subhead “West Bank construction increased by 70% in past year, while work in the rest of the country declined”.
How was the AFP story misleading? It used a much longer timeframe in order to spin the narrative on the latest data into a construction surge instead of a decline.

Austrian court: Hitler house expropriation stands

Austria’s highest court ruled Friday in favor of last year’s controversial expropriation of the house where Adolf Hitler was born, ending a long-running bitter saga between the state and the former owner.
The government took control of the dilapidated building in the northern town of Braunau in December after MPs approved an expropriation law specifically aimed at the property.
The move came after years of wrangling with owner Gerlinde Pommer who had been renting the house to the interior ministry since the 1970s and refused to sell it or carry out essential renovation works.
The government said it had been necessary to force a decision on the issue to stop the premises from becoming a neo-Nazi shrine.
A lawyer for the notoriously reclusive Pommer accused the move of being excessive and launched an appeal in January.
But the constitutional court in Vienna has sided with the government, arguing that the expropriation was “in the public interest.”

Brazil denied 16,000 visas to Jews during Nazi regime — study

The Brazilian government denied some 16,000 visas to European Jews attempting to escape the Nazi regime, according to new research looking at thousands of Brazilian documents from the World War II era.
The research was undertaken by Brazil’s Virtual Archives on Holocaust and Antisemitism Institute, or Arqshoah. It was made public for the first time last week in a documentary aired on Brazilian television.
The figures were based on monthly reports sent by Brazilian diplomats in service in Germany and Nazi-occupied countries. They obeyed 26 secret memos that forbade the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to grant visas to during the terms of presidents Getulio Vargas and Eurico Gaspar Dutra between 1937 and 1950.
“I believe the number could be much higher, since I researched only part of the documentation. Even after the news about the Holocaust was released, the Brazilian government continued to deny visas to survivors who, in many cases, obtained visas as Catholics,” historian and Holocaust expert Maria Luiza Tucci Carneiro told JTA.
“Both the Vargas and Dutra governments were intolerant, with political actions marked by xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and nationalist sentiments that had serious consequences for Jews seeking a host country,” she said.

Airing of Comedic Roast Recently-Retired Red Sox Star Nixed Due to Racist and Antisemitic Jokes

A comedic roast of recently-retired Red Sox baseball star David Ortiz was not aired as scheduled last weekend due to racist and antisemitic jokes made during the taping, the New York Post reported.
The roast — filmed by the New England Sports Network (NESN) — featured comedians Bill Burr, Lenny Clarke and Sarah Tiana, and also others poking fun at Ortiz. The comics also attacked each other and, at one point, New England Patriots football player Rob Gronkowski became a target of the roast when Burr mentioned the Ku Klux Klan to joke about the NFL athlete’s willingness to endorse items.
“Do you ever turn anything down, Gronk?” Burr said. “You would f–king spike a flaming cross at a Klan rally if they promised you travel and some buffalo wings.” Gronkowski joined in when he quipped, “You wanna know why Jews do play football? To get their quarter back, you cheap f–k.”

Quentin Tarantino engaged to Israeli Daniela Pick

Move over Gal Gadot, another Israeli woman is set to steal the Hollywood headlines: singer Daniela Pick has gotten engaged to boyfriend Quentin Tarantino.
The two met in 2009 when the filmmaker was in Israel to promote “Inglourious Basterds,” and have since led an on-again, off-again relationship.
However the couple appears to have decided to settle down, with Hebrew media reporting Saturday that the two are officially engaged.
Pick confirmed the news to the Ynet news website, saying “It’s true. We’re very happy and excited.”
Pick is the daughter of Israeli singer and songwriter Tzvika Pick.
Tarantino himself is no stranger to Israel, having last visited along with Pick in January. Last July he was an honored guest at the 33rd Jerusalem Film Festival.

Olive oil helps prevent Alzheimer’s, study shows

Researchers at Philadelphia’s Temple University have found that extra-virgin olive oil helps improve one’s learning capacity and protects against memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Domenico Pratico, a professor at Temple’s medical school, said that the new research contributed to a number of studies showing the benefits of the olive-oil infused Mediterranean diet, which is considered to have multiple health benefits.
The study will be particularly welcome in Israel and the Palestinian territories, where olive oil is a staple, used extensively in cooking and dressings, and poured liberally over plates of hummus.
In the course of their research, scientists at the university’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine discovered olive oil’s role in helping to prevent the formation of amyloid-beta plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain, two of the most prominent signs marking Alzheimers.
“The thinking is that extra-virgin olive oil is better than fruits and vegetables alone, and as a monounsaturated vegetable fat it is healthier than saturated animal fats,” he said. (h/t Elder of Lobby)

US pilots from vital Yom Kippur War mission reunite with Israeli ‘brothers in arms’

The arrival of US fighter jets in Israel, as part of a month-long arms drop, was critical to turning the tide of the Yom Kippur War in favor of the Jewish state.
But for the American pilots who volunteered to deliver the aircraft, it was just another mission. Alan Chesterman, part of a US Navy squadron that flew a handful of the jets, said he had little knowledge of Israel or its security situation when he landed here in October 1973.
“We knew we were flying into a combat zone, but we didn’t know anything about it,” he said. “It was more like I’m young, adventurous and fearless – you might say young and stupid. I just lived to fly.”
Chesterman, 72, was one of two pilots who this week reunited with some of the Israelis to whom they handed the Douglas A-4 Skyhawks. Along with nine other American pilots and their wives, they took a VIP tour of Israel to see what has become of the country since they helped to fend off the surprise onslaught by its Arab neighbors 44 years ago.
The Americans landed at Ben-Gurion Airport Saturday on commercial flights, and have since been traveling around the country and receiving briefings from top military officials. They visited the Tel Nof airbase Wednesday, where they exchanged war stories with more than a dozen Israeli pilots who flew the American Skyhawks and recreated a photograph several of them, including retired US fighter pilot Roy “Bubba” Segars, 76, and former Israeli airman Jacob “Booby” Daube, had taken together during the war.

Video of Israeli Toddler’s Amazing Soccer Skills Goes Viral

A video of a 3-year-old Israeli boy displaying impressive soccer skills has gone viral online.
Toddler Matan Shaulov’s Instagram page, which more than 60,000 people follow, features numerous clips in which he showcases his talents.
Attention was first brought to Shaulov’s abilities last month by Bleacher Report, which dubbed him the “3-year-old football trick-shot king of Instagram.”

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