March 24, 2023

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07/21 Links Pt1: Lyn Julius: The Wisdom of Peter Beinart’s Grandmother; Netherlands admits to paying terrorists who killed 17-year-old Israeli

From Ian:

Lyn Julius: The Wisdom of Peter Beinart’s Grandmother
In progressive Western circles, Zionism has become decidedly un-cool. Self-declared Zionists, like the writer Bari Weiss, complain of bullying at the New York Times. In the vogue for identity politics, Jews are framed as white oppressors.

This postmodern conceptual straightjacket perverts historical truths. It dictates that only ‘people of colour’ can be victims, while the oppression of one million Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews, resulting in the ethnic cleansing of pre-Islamic Jewish communities, among other minorities, from the Arab Muslim world from the 1940s, the subject of my book Uprooted!, must be passed over in silence.

The long history of oppression of Mizrahi Jews in the Arab Middle East is the key to understanding the main drivers of the conflict with Israel – an Arab and Muslim inability to tolerate difference, to co-exist with minorities, and an abhorrence for any exercise of Jewish power.

Yet in the Western progressive mind, bound tight as it is by the postmodern conceptual straitjacket, only Palestinians can be victims. The Mizrahi Jews are airbrushed out of public discourse. In the current jargon, they are ‘cancelled’. In this topsy-turvy world, merely to draw attention to Arab and Muslim antisemitism invites accusations of racism or ‘Islamophobia’.

Progressive orthodoxy even denies Jewish indigeneity, as one woke Manhattan rabbi recently tried to do, perhaps because it conflicts with the false settler-colonial paradigm which the left habitually applies to Israel. The fact that over 50 per cent of Israeli Jews have roots in the Middle East is simply ignored.Most Israeli Jews found refuge in the only state that would defend them unconditionally from persecution. By empowering Palestinians at the expense of Jewish Israelis, Beinart and other anti-Zionists would once again put Jewish destiny in the hands of others.

Someone who did appreciate the absolute need for Zionism was Peter Beinart’s Egyptian-Jewish grandmother, Adele Pienaar. Born in Alexandria, she was driven out by Arab nationalism. In an 2014 elegy, he wrote: ‘The lessons she drew from her experience of vulnerability and dislocation were straightforward: Jews should be on the lookout for trouble and should take care of each other since no one else would … her nightmare for Israel was that Arab nationalism would imperil its Jews in the way that Arab nationalism had imperilled Alexandria.’

Beinart’s essay, in effect, disparages his grandmother’s ‘tribal’ and instinctive Zionism in order to virtue signal to a narrow liberal intellectual milieu. It is a tragedy that he thinks the imperilment of Israel is a price worth paying for that, as the ‘vulnerability’ and ‘peril’ his Grandmother knew has not gone from this world. As for the Middle East, only a fool would think the Jews will continue to thrive without a state of their own.

Beinart’s guilt damns a nation

Moreover, while many Israelis support the Palestinians’ right for self-determination, as exemplified by the multitude of peace deals offered by the Israeli government representing them, what is the Palestinian objective? Beinart quietly omits the many times that Palestinian leaders rejected peaceful opportunities for resolution and statehood. Their leaders rejected the Peel Commission partition plan in 1937. They rejected the UN partition plan in 1947. They rejected former Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s offer of 94% of the disputed territories in 2001 and former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s more generous offer in 2006. Presently, Palestinian leaders reject even a peace negotiation. Their message is clear: There is no plan short of the end of Zionism (Israel) to which they would assent.

The Jewish state, like any other state in the world, is imperfect. However, Beinart fails to mention that the surrounding Arab and Muslim countries are even less perfect. These countries are, by and large, authoritarian and unfree, and make little effort to integrate their Palestinians, improve their conditions or offer them citizenship. Even in Tunisia, which Beinart marshals as a singular example of Arab democracy even though it has only existed since 2011, one must be Muslim to be president; Islamic education is mandatory in schools; homosexuality is criminalized; spousal rape is legal; corruption is rampant both in the government and among the police; property rights are scant; the judicial branch doesn’t fully exist; the legislative branch is defunded; and the executive branch has declared a permanent state of emergency since 2015. But Beinart doesn’t suggest dismantling any of these countries.

Only his guilt drives him to hold Israel to an unattainable standard. Its inability to reach his bar implies its ultimate elimination. This is because for Beinart, the ongoing conflict is entirely the fault of Israeli Jews. The Palestinians’ plight has nothing to do with their actions or decisions. They are unwitting pawns merely reacting to Israel’s stratagems. Yet how is this outlook anything other than the racism of low expectations?

Perhaps most glaring, Beinart fails to discuss Jordan in his proposal. In Jordan, some 50% to 70% of the population is Palestinian. Wouldn’t a one-state solution work better for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Jordan, who share language, religion, culture and even relatives, than in Israel where the Jews and Palestinians share distrust?

In presenting his solution, Beinart pushes many half-truths and inaccuracies to further his narrative. For example, “Israel is already a binational state. Two peoples, roughly equal in number, live under the ultimate control of one government.” But Israeli Arabs represent only 20% of Israel’s population. Beinart intentionally blurs the line between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which has control over most of the Palestinians in the West Bank, because it serves his position; his solution is a few modifications away from reality.

There’s nothing moral about Peter Beinart’s ‘Cancel Israel’ project

Beinart’s argument is essentially that Israel has to be done away with as a Jewish state because that is the only way to alleviate Palestinian suffering. As it happens, Beinart’s call comes on the 20th anniversary of the Camp David Summit, when a US president and Israel’s government desperately tried for two weeks to cajole the Palestinians into accepting a state of their own on most of the West Bank, Gaza, and in parts of East Jerusalem. Soon afterwards – and while negotiations were still going on – the Palestinians unleashed the murderous Al-Aqsa intifada.

Five years later, Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza; and in 2008, Israel offered the Palestinians once again a state based on even more far-reaching Israeli concessions – but the Palestinian leadership again declined. As Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would tell The Washington Post in 2009, there was no rush because “in the West Bank we have a good reality.… The people are living a normal life.”

Like every anti-Israel activist who campaigns for doing away with the Jewish state for the sake of the Palestinians, Beinart downplays and whitewashes Palestinian terrorism while demonizing Israel as a monstrous evil whose existence inevitably means cruel oppression for the Palestinians. One example from the podcast is Beinart’s preposterous claim that “mass population expulsion … is after all in Israel’s political DNA” (after 42 minute mark).

There’s a term for this kind of demonization: antisemitic anti-Zionism – and the British academic Alan Johnson once provided an excellent definition:

“Antisemitic anti-Zionism bends the meaning of Israel and Zionism out of shape until both become fit receptacles for the tropes, images and ideas of classical antisemitism. In short, that which the demonological Jew once was, demonological Israel now is: uniquely malevolent, full of blood lust, all-controlling, the hidden hand, tricksy, always acting in bad faith, the obstacle to a better, purer, more spiritual world, uniquely deserving of punishment, and so on.”

Ten years ago, Peter Beinart might well have agreed: as he told Jeffrey Goldberg in May 2010:
“There certainly are leftists (and for that matter) rightists who focus so disproportionately on Israel’s failings as to raise questions about their true motives.”

Now, however, Peter Beinart hopes his efforts to mainstream antisemitic anti-Zionism among American leftists will earn him admiration as a moral leader.

JCPA: American Jewry in Transition?

The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has been researching the attitudes of Jewish-Americans for the past two years. We may now be seeing a trend in Jewish-American attitudes that represents a narrower definition of “support” for Israel.

Our latest series of data shows moderately strong but less than enthusiastic overall support for Israel.

We found mild-moderate but clear expressions of “sympathy” for the Palestinians.

There is deep concern over anti-Semitism, dissociated from concern over anti-Israel attitudes.

There is a lack of serious concern for anti-Semitism from the left-progressive elements of society.

Despite some concerns, there is a willingness to associate with possibly anti-Israel movements.

Israel-related issues are not a deciding or “make or break” factor in the voting behavior of a significant portion of our Jewish-American sample. We found preferences for “pro-Israel” candidates in local elections, but not at the expense of other issues.

We found a lack of awareness of anti-Semitism and incitement to violence promoted by Palestinian society.

A distinct but possibly meaningful minority is opposed to or not strongly in favor of a “Jewish” Israel.

Overall, there is a general endorsement of issues associated with liberal or progressive thinking.

We found that the modal response regarding annexation is opposition (around 40%), although many Jewish-Americans either do have not enough knowledge regarding the issue (about 30%), support annexation (about 12%), or feel the Israeli government has the right to make a decision in this matter (about 18%).

Two-Thirds of US Voters View Themselves as Pro-Israel, New Poll Finds

Around two-thirds of US voters describe themselves as pro-Israel and oppose reducing American security aid to the Jewish state, according to a new poll.

The survey — performed by The Mellman Group for the Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI) — found that 67 percent of all voters, 68 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of voters in battleground states view themselves as pro-Israel.

Among Democrats, 72 percent called Israel a “strong US ally,” and 71 percent wanted to see a party platform adopted this year that was at least as favorable to Israel as the 2016 one.

The poll also revealed that voters in battleground states would back pro-Israel candidates with Democratic positions over pro-Israel candidates with Republican positions by a 13-point, 51%-38%, margin.

However, pro-Israel Republicans would beat Democrats with records of “not supporting Israel” by 4 points — 44%-40%.

“While some deny the facts, the reality is, American voters have overwhelmingly positive attitudes toward Israel and are strongly supportive of the US-Israel alliance,” stated DMFI President and CEO Mark Mellman. “Support for Israel is wise policy. This poll shows that it is also smart politics for Democrats, especially in critical battleground states.”

Who is on Biden’s foreign-policy team, and what are their positions?

Blinken reiterated Biden’s commitment to resuming assistance to the Palestinians, adding that he would abide by congressional restrictions conditioning much of the aid on the Palestinian Authority ending payments to Palestinians who have killed or wounded Americans and Israelis. He repeated Biden’s position that he would not condition aid to Israel.

“He is resolutely opposed to it,” Blinken said. “He would not tie military assistance to Israel to any political decisions it makes, full stop.”

Last month, he said Biden “would not tie military assistance to Israel to things like annexation or other decisions by the Israeli government with which we might disagree.”

Another long-time Biden associate is Jake Sullivan. He was instrumental in shaping the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. In an op-ed for NowThis News in January, Sullivan defended the agreement.

“Under the deal, Iran’s nuclear program was in a box, it was frozen,” he wrote. “Under the deal, there were no rocket attacks killing Americans in Iraq… Today, Iran is attacking shipping in the Gulf and threatening the rest of the region.”

Sullivan has gone a long way with Biden and Hillary Clinton. He advised Clinton during her 2008 primary bid and later Obama in his general-election bid. When Clinton was appointed secretary of state, Sullivan served as her deputy chief of staff and director of policy planning. When Clinton left the administration during Obama’s second term, he served as Biden’s top security aide. In 2016, he again advised Clinton during her presidential campaign.

Biden snags support from prominent Muslim American officials

The Muslim American officials also praised Biden’s agenda for their communities. Among other goals, Biden has vowed to rescind the Trump administration’s travel ban affecting Muslims “on Day One” if he’s elected.

Other state- and local-level Muslim American officials signing onto the pro-Biden letter hail from several states, including Michigan, where Alzayat said he believes there are more than 150,000 registered Muslim voters. Those numbers in a swing state that Trump won by fewer than 11,000 votes make Emgage’s goal of maximizing Muslim voter turnout especially powerful in Michigan, but the group also has chapters in battleground states such as Pennsylvania and Florida.

“A lot is at stake,” Alzayat said. “The importance of Muslim American voter participation in this upcoming election cycle is greater than it has ever been.”

Youssef Chouhoud, assistant professor of political science at Christopher Newport University, said Biden’s appearance at Monday’s summit was “a very meaningful step” but noted that he didn’t participate in a large Muslim gathering last year addressed by Sanders and another then-presidential candidate, Julián Castro. Both attended a forum held at an Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) convention.

Many Muslim Americans have particularly lauded Sanders for the way he engaged their communities.

“You have this community that is kind of, you know, ripe for political engagement,” Chouhoud said.

“Negative enthusiasm” against another Trump term, he added, “is going to be the glue that holds Muslim voters together. And if you make them feel valued, they are much more likely to turn out.”

Progressive Dems praise anti-Semitic groups for letter censuring Israeli sovereignty

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) praised the support by at least 10 anti-Semitic groups for a letter issued by her and signed by other Democrats, The Washington Free Beacon recently reported, citing “an internal email circulated to House Democrats.”

The “supporting organizations” listed on the letter include ones related to the anti-Israel BDS movement, including the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, American Muslims for Palestine, American Friends Service Committee, Churches for Middle East Peace and Defense for Children International-Palestine.

The Defense for Children International-Palestine has been linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, designated a terror group by the United States and European Union.

The letter last month to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened to condition or even cut off of US assistance to Israel if the Jewish state goes ahead with its plans to apply sovereignty to – or what they call annex – parts of the West Bank, also known as Judea and Samaria.

In addition to Ocasio-Cortez, 12 other members of Congress signed the letter: Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), André Carson (D-Ind.), Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.), Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), Jesús “Chuy” Garcia (D-Ill.), Danny Davis (D-Ill.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

In the letter, the progressive members of Congress, citing unspecified “leading human rights experts,” warn that “annexing parts of the West Bank will perpetuate and entrench human rights violations against Palestinians including limitations on freedom of movement, mass expropriation of privately-owned Palestinian land, further expansion of illegal settlements, continued demolitions of Palestinian homes, and a loss of Palestinian control over their natural resources.”

Jordanian prime minister: Let’s work on a one-state solution

Jordan could be in favor of one, democratic state for Israel and the Palestinians, Jordanian Prime Minister Omar Razzaz said on Tuesday.

“You close the door to the two-state solution, I could very well look at this positively, if we’re clearly opening the door to a one-state democratic solution,” Razzaz told The Guardian.

Jordan has long been in favor of two states for two peoples, and Razzazz’s comments mark a shift in the Kingdom’s leaders public remarks.
Most of the Israeli political spectrum opposes what Razzazz suggested, arguing that it would mean the end of the only Jewish state if the Palestinian population surpasses the Jewish one.

The Jordanian prime minister pointed this out, saying “nobody in Israel is talking about that.”

Razzazz, who is appointed by the king of Jordan, as is the rest of the Jordanian cabinet and Senate, repeatedly emphasized the need for democracy and equality in the one state.

“I challenge anybody from Israel to say yes, let’s end the two-state solution, it’s not viable,” Razzazz said. “But let’s work together on a one-state democratic solution. That, I think, we will look at very favorably.”

MEMRI: Former Jordanian Deputy PM Mamdouh Al-Abadi: Our Struggle With The Jews Is Existential, And The Mutual Enmity Is Historic; Israeli Annexation Would Be An Act Of Aggression Against Jordan – If This Happens, All Options Are On The Table

Former Jordanian Deputy PM Mamdouh Al-Abadi said in a July 12, 2020 interview on Alghad TV (United Kingdom): “our relations with the Israelis and the Jews in this region are existential and beyond a border dispute.” He added that if Israel annexes parts of the West Bank, this would constitute an act of aggression against Jordan. Al-Abadi said that all options are on the table if this happens, including sanctions, cutting off relations with Israel, annulling the Jordan-Israel peace treaty and gas deals, and returning to the pre-1967 state of affairs. He said that the issue of Israeli annexation of the Jordan Valley is a matter of life and death for Jordan

“Our Relations With The Israelis And Jews In This Region Is Existential And Not Just A Border Dispute “

Mamdouh Al-Abadi: “I studied in Britain in the beginning of the 1970s, and I saw Golda Meir on TV asking this question: ‘Where are the Palestinians? I am a Palestinian.’ She did not know that there was going to be a PLO, she did not know that there was going to be an Intifada, and she did not know that [Hamas] was going to be in Gaza. If the Israelis had taken parts of Europe or Britain, they could have been worry-free. But today and tomorrow… A few months ago, a military operation was carried out by a 17-year-old [Palestinian]. He had no weapon, so he took an Israeli soldier’s weapon and killed the soldier and his friend. I forgot his name. Abu Hammad, Abu Hamed, something like that… His grandfather had been born after 1948, yet did this young 17- or 16-year-old boy forget [that he is a Palestinian]? What would Golda Meir say about that? What would Netanyahu and the others say? The hatred and the struggle between [the two] peoples is historic. Therefore, I insist that our relations with the Israelis and Jews in this region is existential and not just a border dispute. “
“[Israeli Annexation Of Parts Of The West Bank] Would Be A Real Act Of Aggression Against Jordan… All Options Are On The Table, Including Going Back To The Pre-1967 State Of Affairs”

Interviewer: “If Israel annexes parts of the West Bank, how will Jordan react? “

Al-Abadi: “We believe that this would be a real act of aggression against Jordan. All options are on the table, including going back to the pre-1967 state of affairs. There are measures that we can take, such as cutting off relations [with Israel], annulment of the peace treaty and the gas deal with Israel, and so on. All options are on the table.
“We are capable of taking a firm and true stand. The issue of annexation, especially with regard to the Jordan Valley and the settlements [in it], is a matter of life and death for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.”‘

Disinformation Abounds in Vox Annexation Explainer With Brent Sasley

Straight out of the starting gate, Jen Kirby’s Vox interview with Brent E. Sasley, meant to explain Israel’s stalled sovereignty plan, gets the facts wrong on basic issues surrounding the disputed territory (“Israel’s West Bank annexation plan and why it’s stalled, explained by an expert).” In her introduction, Kirby, a foreign and national security reporter for Vox, erred:
Under the two-state framework historically supported by the United States and the international community, the vast bulk of the West Bank would be returned to the Palestinians.

The reference to West Bank land that would be “returned to the Palestinians” is wrong because historically no West Bank land was ever under Palestinian control. Not until the Oslo Accords in the 1990s did parts of the West Bank – Area A – come under Palestinian control for the first time. (Area B came under Palestinian control to a lesser degree, involving civilian but not security control.)

Prior to the Oslo Accords, bilateral agreements often regarded as important way stations on the road towards two states, never was any part of the West Bank under Palestinian administration, including before 1967. From 1948 to 1967, Jordan was in control of the West Bank and formally annexed it in 1950. Prior to 1948, the West Bank was under the control of the British Mandate. Before the British, the land was part of the Ottoman empire.

Voice of America recently corrected the very same point after wrongly stating in an editor’s note that West Bank land was under Palestinian administration prior to 1967.

In addition, National Geographic commendably published the following correction in December 2018 after making the identical error:
The Bible Hunters, page 47: The 1993 Oslo accords provided a framework for transferring disputed territories to Palestinian control; they were not returned to Palestinian control.

CAMERA informed Vox of the straightforward factual error. As of this writing, editors have yet to correct.

Shin Bet thwarts attacks by Iranian-backed PFLP cell in the West Bank

Israel’s Shin Bet internal security service thwarted attacks against Israeli citizens and IDF soldiers by a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine cell, which was trained and financed by Iran and Hezbollah, the agency announced on Tuesday.

The exposure of the terror cell, which operated under the guise of a Palestinian civilian organization called ‘Al-Shabab Al-Alumi Al-Arabi’ (or Arab Nationalist Youth) began after the April 20 arrest and interrogation Popular Front activist Yazan Abu Salah, a 23-year-old resident of the West Bank village of Araba near Jenin.

During his interrogation, the Shin Bet received intelligence about his involvement in planning terror attacks in the West Bank, and that he purchased weapons and recruited activists to head two different cells, one in the Samaria region and one in Ramallah.

According to the Shin Bet, he confessed that he planned for the cells to carry out numerous serious attacks, including an attack in the northern Israeli town of Harish, as well as the abduction of a soldier in order to use as leverage for the release of Palestinians from Israeli prison.

The interrogation revealed his connections to the Arab Nationalist Youth organization which operated under the direction of its military wing, the al-Kharqi al-Alumi al-Arabi (Arab Nationalist Guard) which is based in Syria and that fought with regime troops against the Islamic State
group and the al-Nusra Front, as well as regime opponents.

Following Abu Salah’s interrogation, his cousin Mahmud Abu Salah, a 29-year-old resident of Bir Zeit, was arrested. During his interrogation, the agency learned that the organization conducts joint training with operatives in Iran, as well as with Hezbollah and the Syrian Arab Army, which also fund the organization’s activities.

Netherlands admits to paying terrorists who killed 17-year-old Israeli

The Netherlands paid part of the salaries of two terrorists involved in killing 17-year-old Rina Shnerb last year, Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok and Development Minister Sigrid Kaag admitted to parliament on Tuesday.

The killers are members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a designated terrorist group in the EU, and employees of the Palestinian Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), to which the Dutch representative in Ramallah pledged nearly $20 million in 2013-2021.

Their salaries were paid in part by Dutch funds covering UAWC overhead costs, though they were not directly involved in the land and water management program sponsored by the Netherlands. They also received accreditation, identifying themselves as “employees of a partner organization of the Dutch representation,” in Ramallah a letter from the ministers said.

The Netherlands is suspending its donations to UAWC indefinitely, pending an investigation.

“Because careful action is so important in this regard, I have decided to commission external research into any ties between the PFLP and UAWC,” the ministers wrote. “The Cabinet… wants to independently determine whether and how continuation of the contributions is appropriate.”
The ministers’ remarks came in response to a parliamentary question from three right-wing parties.

She also claimed that she was not previously aware of UAWC’s ties to terrorist groups, though the Dutch-Israel advocacy organization Center for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI) and UK Lawyers for Israel reached out to the government and lawmakers in the Hague in May 2019 to highlight those connections, based on research by the Israeli think tank NGO Monitor.

NGO Monitor: NGO Monitor June 2020 Letter to Foreign Minister Stef Blok Regarding Dutch Funding to UAWC

In the Dutch context, the Netherlands is providing the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) with $11.25 million for “the second phase of the Land and Water Resource Management program” (2017-2021). UAWC is a Palestinian NGO with reported ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), an EU designated terror organization.

At least three senior UAWC employees, including the current and former financial officers, were arrested as part of a 50-person terror network that operated in the West Bank by the PFLP. Two of them are currently on trial for their direct involvement in an August 2019 bombing attack in which a 17-year-old Israeli was murdered. The indicted individuals include:

Samer Arbid: UAWC ’s accountant and previously its “financial officer.” Arbid is on trial for commanding a PFLP terror cell that carried out the August 2019 bombing attack. According to the indictment against him (on file), Arbid prepared and detonated the explosive device.

Abdel Razeq Farraj: UAWC’s “Finance and Administration Director.” According to his indictment (on file), Razeq Farraj held a senior PFLP post and authorized the August 2019 bombing.

Ubai Aboudi: Apparently UAWC’s “M&E [Monitoring and Evaluation] Officer” until April 2019. In Abdel Razeq Farraj’s indictment, Aboudi is referred to a PFLP member who met with Farraj in September 2019, when Farraj told Aboudi to recruit additional members to the cell. In June 2020, Aboudi was sentenced to 12-months in prison.

Our research, publically available at, shows a direct connection between individuals employed by or serving on the board of this NGO, and the PFLP terror organization.

Court gives Ari Fuld murderer life sentence; awards family damages

The Judea Military Court on Tuesday sentenced the convicted murderer of well-known American-Israeli activist Ari Fuld to one life sentence for murder and for three attempted murders.

In addition, the court granted a monetary award of NIS 1.25 million to the Fuld family as part of the sentence.

Both the award and the jail time, which was less than multiple life sentences, were somewhat less than what the Fuld family had sought, but marked an end to the painful saga.

Palestinian Khalil Yusef Ali Jabarin was convicted by the Judea Military Court in January for the murder, as well as for three other attempted murders.

Fuld, 45, was stabbed in the upper back on September 16, 2018, outside the Gush Etzion shopping center by then 17-year-old Jabarin of Yatta, a village located south of Hebron.

“Every murder has two victims,” said Ari’s widow, Miriam Fuld in the lead up to the trial, “the victim and the family left in its wake.”

“Ari was a hero in his life, loved his fellow man, loved the Land of Israel, loved the State of Israel,” she continued. “And he protected them – whether serving in active military service still at the age of 45 or in educating the younger generation, or teaching self-defense or posting articles and videos in social media.”

She said that even in the last moments of his life he chased his killer with a fatal wound in his back to make sure the terrorist did not hurt anyone else.

Israel says ancient baptismal font, stolen 20 years ago, retrieved in West Bank

Israeli authorities on Monday said they had retrieved a rare ancient baptismal font in the West Bank that was stolen from an archaeological site near Bethlehem some twenty years ago, while Palestinian officials said the Israeli operation was itself an act of theft.

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, or COGAT, said in a statement Monday that the rock-hewn basin had been pilfered by antiquities thieves from the Tel Tekoa archaeological site in the area of the West Bank city.

“This is an important and exciting moment,” said Hananya Hizmi, head of the Archaeological Unit at the Civil Administration, the Defense Ministry body that governs the West Bank. “We have succeeded in returning a unique archaeological relic after years of searching.”

In a predawn operation, and escorted by IDF troops, the unit retrieved the item which dates back to the 5th century CE, during the Byzantine period.

The statement did not say exactly where the font was found or where it was taken after being recovered. A security source told The Times of Israel that the recovery operation began “as soon as the object was found.”

Palestinian media reported the font was taken from the town of Tuqu’, southeast of Bethlehem in the West Bank.

Hizmi described the font as “a cultural and historical treasure” and said the Civil Administration’s “heavy investment of effort and resources in the search over recent years for this item has borne fruit.”

Honest Reporting: As Racial Tensions Boil Over, Are Car Rammings In Israel Covered Differently?

In response to accusations that Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian without justification, Israel Border Police released security footage from the suspected car ramming attack in the West Bank. On June 26, CNN ran with this story, opening the network’s report of the incident with this headline:

Notice the word ‘suspected.’ But cold hard evidence, the aforementioned security footage, refutes the CNN headline’s allusion that the Palestinian man who was shot may not have even been involved in an attack. Check out the video of the incident and this is what you’ll see: a car being driven by the ‘Palestinian man’ approaches a checkpoint in Abu Dis, near Jerusalem. He abruptly accelerates and turns toward a group of police. His car then rams into a female officer who is knocked into the air before colliding with a booth and coming to a stop.

Another linguistic sleight of hand employed by CNN is to turn the attack from an active verb into a passive-sounding noun: ‘suspected attack.’ This has the effect of downplaying the horrendous nature of the attack.

By way of comparison, this was how CNN described a car ramming incident that took place outside of Israel:

As presented by CNN to its website readers, a Palestinian driver ramming his car into Israeli border police officers is reported as an unconfirmed allegation. A similar act that took place in the UK isn’t reported by CNN as ‘suspected,’ but as a fait accompli.

Unfortunately, this kind of imbalanced media coverage isn’t unique to CNN. Another serial offender is Reuters:

Again, the Reuters headline about the Palestinian driver being shot casts doubt as to whether he had in fact perpetrated an attack. Also, notice how ‘Israeli police’ is included. A cowardly attack like this seems less heinous if it’s perpetrated against the rather abstract ‘Israeli police,’ as opposed to real people, police officers.

Meanwhile, the second Reuters headline states the facts as they happened, without modifiers such as ‘alleged,’ ‘suspected,’ etc. Another difference is the use of the active verb ‘rams.’ Also, the victims of the Paris attack are humanized. They’re not described as ‘Paris police,’ but ‘two police motorcyclists.’

After a lull in alleged Israel strikes in Syria, the heat has returned

A month after Israel was last said to have struck Iranian targets in Syria, a fresh wave of airstrikes attributed to the Jewish state hit numerous targets within the war-torn country.

The strikes came in two waves and struck targets around the capital, Damascus, including a major Iranian ammunition depot and more, reportedly killing both Syrian regime forces and Iranian personnel.

It came a week and a half after Tehran and Damascus signed an agreement that would see the Islamic Republic upgrade Syria’s air defenses and two weeks after a large blast at the Natanz enrichment site caused significant damage that is estimated to have set Iran’s nuclear program back by at least a year.

The blast at Natanz was just one of over a dozen mysterious explosions and fires targeting Iran’s missile and nuclear program which have rocked Iran in recent weeks.

While Iran has not pinned the blame on Israel, it has apparently attempted a number of cyberattacks against Israel – similar to an attack on the country’s water infrastructure facilities in April. They were all thwarted.

Though cyberattacks against water facilities may be just as deadly, could Iran have been planning something in Syria that led the IAF to allegedly carry out those strikes on Monday night?

5 Iran-backed fighters said killed in alleged Israeli strikes on Syria sites

Five Iran-backed fighters were killed in an Israeli missile strike south of the Syrian capital, a Britain-based monitoring group said Tuesday.

The missile attack on Monday night hit weapons depots and military positions belonging to Syrian regime forces and Iran-backed militia fighters south of Damascus, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The attack wounded at least seven Syrian troops, according to the official SANA news agency, which said the missiles were launched by warplanes from the Golan Heights.

The five killed were all non-Syrian paramilitary fighters, according to the Observatory.
Syrian Air defenses respond to alleged Israeli missiles targeting south of the capital Damascus, on July 20, 2020 (AFP)

It added that 11 combatants were wounded in total — four non-Syrian fighters and seven Syrian troops, of whom two were in critical condition.

The group said the aerial bombardments caused several explosions around the town of Kiswah, south of the Syrian capital, an area that has long been associated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The attack reportedly came in two waves. The Reuters news service reported that the assault hit targets in the towns of Jabal al Mane, Muqaylabiya and Zakiya, causing “huge blasts” and allegedly killing Iranian personnel.

A military source quoted by Syria’s official SANA news agency claimed that most of the missiles were shot down. Such claims of interceptions by Syrian state media are generally dismissed by defense analysts as false, empty boasts.

Reuters quoted a Syrian analyst with sources on the ground named Zaid al Reys as saying that the target of the attack was a “major ammunition depot.”

MEMRI: Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki: We Are Exploring Legal Measures Against Google And Apple For Removing The ‘Palestine’ Label From Their Maps

On July 18, 2020, Palestine TV aired an interview with Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki. Al-Maliki was asked regarding the alleged removal of the “Palestine” label from Google Maps and Apple Maps, a false claim that appears to have stemmed from a viral Instagram post from July 15, 2020. Al-Maliki answered that as many Palestinians as possible should sign the petition to put the label back on the maps. He also said that Google and Apple are obviously biased towards Israel, that it is obvious who “owns” these companies, and that the Israeli-Jewish influence on them is obvious. He also said that international legal experts and bodies are being consulted regarding what legal action may be taken against Google and Apple. He added that he hopes these actions will be taken in the next few days.

“It Is Obvious Who Owns [Google And Apple]… The Israeli-Jewish Influence On Them Is Also Obvious. All This Makes Them Biased Towards Israel”

Host: “I would like to ask you about the legal measures that you said the government is looking into regarding a reaction to the removal of the ‘Palestine’ label from Google and Apple maps. Tell us about your efforts in this regard.”

Riyad Al-Maliki: “The easiest thing to do is to sign a petition demanding to put the name [‘Palestine’] back [on the maps]. The more Palestinians sign that petition, the more Apple and Google will backtrack on this issue.

“But this is not enough, as it is clear that these two companies have obvious orientations. It is obvious who owns them, and the Israeli-Jewish influence on them is also obvious.

“All this makes them biased towards Israel.

PMW: PA falsely blames Israel for Coronavirus spike and invent alternate reality

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the PA has inverted reality. The PA has repeatedly blamed Israel for the spread of the Coronavirus, never telling its people that Israel has given hundreds of tons of equipment as well as ongoing medical training to the PA to prevent the spread of the virus, as reported by Palestinian Media Watch.

As the PA is experiencing a second wave of the virus, the PA has initiated a second wave of libels coming from different PA leaders.

One example is the libel of Chairman of the PA-funded Prisoners’ Club Qadura Fares, who accused Israel of deliberately trying to spread the virus within the PA:

“[Israel] is striving to spread the Coronavirus via the invasion of soldiers who are likely to be sick into Palestinian homes and mixing with the civilians and prisoners.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 17, 2020]

Another example was delivered by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh, who gave two different explanations for the rise in the number of infected with the virus. On the one hand, Shtayyeh resorted to the PA’s standard excuse – blame Israel. On the other, he attributed the blame to Palestinian weddings and mourners’ tents.

Israel is to blame, according to Shtayyeh, due to the movement of people and goods from Israel and Jordan across the 1949 armistice lines:

Iran’s postmodern jihad against the Jews

The Islamist regime does not consider its oft-repeated phrase “Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth” a mere slogan. It has acted upon it as a point of principle and continues to do so. In 2006, the regime had Hezbollah unleash a deadly and destructive barrage of over 4,000 missiles on Israel over the span of one month, causing serious damage to cities in northern Israel and killing 165 Israeli military personnel and citizens.

Over the past decade, the regime has taken advantage of the Syrian Civil War to station its forces adjacent to the Israeli border, where they constantly encroach upon the small country’s territory and threaten it with drones, missiles and mortars. Recently, the regime has been trying to target Israeli civilians through sophisticated cyberattacks. In April of this year, Iranian hackers mounted a cyberattack on the Israeli water management system to raise the chlorine content in the nationwide water supply with the object of causing a mass poisoning of Israeli citizens.

Most recently, on the occasion of Quds Day, the Supreme Leader, while passionately inciting all Muslims to mount a jihad on Israel, used the Nazi phrase “Final Solution” to describe what he believes should be the fate of the Jewish state.

The Islamist regime in Iran, for both deep-rooted ideological reasons and grand-scale strategic purposes, obsessively and single-mindedly pursues the negation and, if possible, complete annihilation of Israel. That is why the regime, even as it suffers under the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign, will not change its behavior. Erasing Israel is essential to its nature.

Any attempt at “normalizing” the Islamist regime in the liberal world order without taking into account its inherent antipathy toward Israel, so far the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, will leave the Jewish state facing an existential threat. In recent years, Israel’s tactical “war between wars” has considerably restrained the scope and intensity of the Islamist regime’s jihad on Jews. But if it is to be stemmed once and for all, the West must construct a consistent and robust strategy toward replacing the Islamist regime in Iran with a liberal democracy. That grand strategy has yet to emerge.

MEMRI: Iraqi Columnist: Pro-Iranian Shi’ite Movements In Arab World Have Brought Nothing But Trouble To Their Countries

In his June 25, 2020 column in the Iraqi online daily, journalist Mahdi Qassem came out against the pro-Iranian Shi’ite movements and parties in the Arab world, such as the Shi’ite parties in Iraq, Hizbullah in Lebanon, and the Houthis in Yemen. These movements and parties, which are identified with Shi’ite political Islam, he wrote, have brought upon their countries nothing but ruin, corruption, poverty and unemployment by usurping public funds and neglecting public services. He contrasted them with the “clever” Shi’ite movements in Bahrain and Kuwait, which he said refused to cooperate with the Iranian plots and thereby spared their countries a similar fate.

The following are excerpts from his article:[1]
“Everyone knows that the parties of political Islam, both Shi’ite and Sunni… have nearly taken Iraq back to the stone age through their organized plundering of public funds on the one hand, and by neglecting the construction and modernization of the state institutions, the public sector, and the [systems of] education, healthcare and culture on the other hand. It has come to the point where Iraq has begun to resemble some of the African countries, with jungles full of wilds predators and with rampant scenes of ignorance, backwardness and misery. Iraq has become a bankrupt country, to the extent that the government will be helpless to pay the civil servants and pensioners in the coming months.

“The almost exact same thing has happened to the people of Lebanon due to the rule and influence of Hizbullah, with its long, armed and violent tentacles, as part of its alliance with the party of Lebanese President Michel ‘Aoun. This alliance is meant to lend some legitimacy to Hizbullah’s political blackmail, which is sometimes characterized by thuggish policy and sometimes by ‘Big Stick Policy’[2] This is the same coalition that exists in Iraq, where Shi’ite political Islam parties and Sunni Muslim Brotherhood parties have come together to form the most dubious, dangerous and destructive alliance that has ever [threatened the country’s] present and future.

“Returning to Lebanon, the stifling financial and economic crises there, and the crisis in [public] services, affect most sectors of society, and are manifested in corruption, poverty, unemployment, bad services, shortages and severe security tension. Hizbullah’s sword is held aloft, threatening to behead anyone who opposes it or protests the living conditions and poor services that currently prevail in Lebanon. This is in addition to [Hizbullah’s] covert action to suppress the freedom of opinion and expression. The situation is far worse than in the aftermath of [Lebanon’s] civil war…

Jonathan Tobin: Has Erdogan launched a new age of religious wars?

That sounds nice, but it is utterly disingenuous. By putting mosques on the Temple Mount, the caliph was signaling that Muslims were asserting their dominance over the people who had the strongest claim to the city and the holy places. Some 25 years before the Muslim conquest, Persian Sassanid conquerors had briefly thrown the Byzantines out of the region and turned Jerusalem over to the Jews, who built a synagogue on the Temple Mount.

That brief period of Jewish rebuilding was snuffed out by Christian violence and Persian betrayal. But the notion that nobody wanted the Temple Mount but the Muslims in that period of history is untrue. The Muslim conquerors could have placed their mosques anywhere. Putting them on the Temple Mount achieved the same goal as pursued in Constantinople eight centuries later.

There is only one example of a victorious power rising above sectarian conflict when it comes to religious shrines, and contrary to Akyol, it has nothing to do with the first Muslim conquerors. Rather, it is what happened in June 1967 when Israeli forces reunited Jerusalem. The city had been divided for 19 years, during which Jordan banned Jews from praying in the Old City of Jerusalem, and desecrated and destroyed synagogues and places like the ancient cemetery on the Mount of Olives.

Nevertheless, when Israeli paratroopers took possession of the Old City, they not only preserved the mosques on the Temple Mount, but Defense Minister Moshe Dayan handed over control of the area to the Muslim Waqf. This inaugurated the first period in Jerusalem’s history when free access to all the holy sites for believers of all faiths was granted. The one exception to that rule is the Temple Mount, where, to this day, Jews are prohibited from praying anywhere on the sacred plateau above the Western Wall. An Israeli government that is fearful of doing anything to validate conspiracy theories spread by Palestinian leaders about a plot to blow up the mosques has rigorously enforced this rule.

The point here is not only to bring attention to the revanchist Islamist spirit that Erdoğan’s boasts represent. Nor is it to highlight the fact that even Muslim liberals like Akyol are unable to be honest about the way Judaism’s holiest site was converted into a Muslim shrine that is inviolable in the view of world opinion.

Rather, it is to point out the only way Jewish access to holy sites in Jerusalem, as well as that of other faiths, will be preserved is by ensuring that the city is not redivided as advocates of a two-state solution with the Palestinians insist must happen. The only alternative to the status quo in Jerusalem is not a platonic utopia of two peoples living happily together in shared sovereignty, as envisaged by anti-Zionists like Peter Beinart, or by returning to the peace parameters embraced by former President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden that would split the city. Erdoğan’s revival of the brutal conqueror’s path is the only other choice. Those who care about religious freedom and the preservation of the holy sites should draw the appropriate conclusions from events in Turkey, particularly the way it is discussed in the pages of the Times.

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