January 20, 2021

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08/15 Links Pt1: Ten False Assumptions Regarding Israel; Malaysia Loses FIFA Event Over Israel Ban


From Ian:

PMW: Kids play “Zionist jailers” executing Palestinian prisoners, in Fatah camp named after terrorist
As part of the closing ceremony of a summer camp for Palestinian children organized by the Palestinian National Committee of Summer Camps and the Fatah Movement, Palestinian children performed a play showing the alleged “cruel attitude of the Zionist jailer towards our [Palestinian] heroic prisoners.” [Donia Al-Watan, independent Palestinian news agency, Aug. 12, 2016]
Photos from the play at the summer camp show children apparently playing the role of Palestinian prisoners, kneeling blindfolded and handcuffed in a row on the floor, while other children portraying Israeli prison guards stand aiming guns at them. In one photo, three children are lying on the floor, after having been “executed” by the children playing “Zionist jailers.”.
The summer camp was named after terrorist Muhammad Al-Shubaki, who stabbed and wounded an Israel soldier at the entrance to the Al-Fawwar refugee camp on Nov. 25, 2015. The terrorist’s father spoke at the closing ceremony of the summer camp, expressing his “pride and thanks for the gesture of memorializing the heroic Martyrs.”
The children’s play repeated the PA libel that Israel abuses Palestinian prisoners and kills them in cold blood, often documented by Palestinian Media Watch. Other educational activities for Palestinian children have repeated additional libels. Just a few months ago, PMW reported on a high school play showing Israeli soldiers planting knives on innocent Palestinians and then murdering them in cold blood. In an elementary school play, Palestinian children enacted the “execution” of an Israeli soldier.

Malaysia Loses FIFA Event Over Refusal to Issue Visas to Israelis

Malaysia has relinquished the rights to host the 2017 FIFA Congress, a sports official said Monday after the predominantly Muslim country refused to issue visas to Israeli delegates.
“We were advised by the government to withdraw from hosting the congress due to security issues,” Affandi Hamzah, deputy president of the Football Association of Malaysia, told AFP.
Affandi declined to elaborate on the “security issues” but said the move was tied to comments by Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi over the weekend.
Zahid had said Malaysia was unable to provide visas to Israeli officials because it did not have diplomatic ties and could rile up local sensitivities.
“Some of the conditions of hosting the event include placing the (Israeli) flag on the table during the congress,” he was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times online.
“After comparing the benefits and the risks, it is better for Malaysia to avoid playing host.”

Amb. Alan Baker: Ten False Assumptions Regarding Israel

Israel is inundated with one-sided international resolutions, declarations, “peace plans,” and advice from governments, international organizations, leaders, pundits, and elements within the Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities.
Most of the above rest on widely-held, false and mistaken assumptions regarding Israel, its leaders, government, policies, and positions held by the vast majority of the Israeli public.
These false and mistaken assumptions need to be addressed:
1. “Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank territories (Judea and Samaria) will provide Israel with security and international acceptance.” Wrong.
Prior to Israel’s entry into the territories in the 1967 war, the Arab states made every effort to attack and weaken Israel militarily and diplomatically.
The Arab and Iranian attempts today to challenge Jewish history in the Biblical land of Israel and in Jerusalem and the legitimacy of the State of Israel as a Jewish state still resonate in the international community, most recently in UNESCO.
The Palestinians are committed to eventually establishing their state over all of mandatory Palestine and they indoctrinate their children this way.

David French: The New York Times Exposes one of the Middle East’s Two Terrible Diseases

The region’s pathologies can never be accurately diagnosed so long as the role of Islam is downplayed.
This week the New York Times – to much fanfare — has dedicated its entire magazine to the story of “how the Arab world came apart.” Called “Fractured Lands,” the title over-promises. It offers a snapshot of a region in crisis, not an explanation for its collapse. Any examination of Arab disunity that focuses — as the Times does — on the Iraq War and the Arab Spring is going to grotesquely narrow an inquiry that depends on more than a thousand years of competing (and sometimes complementary) religious, tribal, and political forces.
In other words, the piece suffers a bit from recency bias — the temptation to over-use recent experience to explain present trends. But it’s still an important read. It’s a painstakingly reported examination of the lives of activists, former militants, migrants, and soldiers from Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Kurdistan. And in their stories one sees all the symptoms of one of the Middle East’s two terrible diseases — tribalism.
Reading their accounts — wonderfully written, by the way — it’s extraordinary challenging to sort through all the competing factions and shifting loyalties. The Kurds appear united to the outside world but are in reality divided by their own factions. Syrians shift loyalties in the civil war with alacrity, with militias hopping from faction to faction. Egyptians — despite living in a land with perhaps the strongest national identity in the Muslim Middle East — are torn between strongmen and Islamic fundamentalists. ISIS arises, and even some of its fighters join mainly to settle local scores or to earn handsome paychecks.

JPost Editorial: A handshake’s importance

One of the goals of the Olympic Games is to bring together the nations of the world to compete in an atmosphere of good sportsmanship and mutual respect.
Politics should not play a role and rivalry should be channeled into competition that is played out in adherence to rules and codes of etiquette. In the sporting context, therefore, even a small breach such as the refusal to shake a rival’s hand is important. A failure to respect rules of conduct on the playing field can easily lead to violence.
Unfortunately, the hostility Shehaby expressed against Israel is not an isolated phenomenon. Though Egypt has maintained diplomatic ties with Israel since 1979, large swaths of the population hold highly negative attitudes toward Israelis.
Peace between Israel and Egypt must not be only between governments. It must also be fostered between peoples. Shehaby had a chance to make a public display of the potential for such peace. Unfortunately, he squandered it.
In contrast, during the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Luz Long used a handshake to reject Nazism’s racist ideology. After losing to Jesse Owens in the long jump competition, the German athlete approached Owens before hundreds of thousands of spectators and shook Owens’s hand.
Owen later said of that experience: “You can melt down all the medals and cups I have, they wouldn’t be a plating on the 24 karat friendship I felt for Luz Long at that moment.”
The power of a handshake should not be underestimated.

Regev: Memorial for athletes killed in 1972 must be part of Olympics opening ceremony

Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev said Sunday that a commemoration for the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches killed by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics must become part of every Olympics opening ceremony.
Speaking at a memorial ceremony at the Rio De Janeiro city hall for the slain Israelis, attended by Israeli, Brazilian and Olympic officials, Regev said a “black flag” would always fly over the Games.
“This ceremony is not enough,” the minister said Sunday at the event, also attended by family members of the Israeli victims and officials from the International Olympic Committee.
“The grief for the Munich athletes does not belong only to the families, only to Israel, only to the Jewish people,” she said. “It is a tragedy also for the IOC which will have a black flag flying.”
“This must become an integral part of the Olympic Games opening ceremony to remind the free world what can happen when we let our guard down,” she added.
Also speaking at the ceremony, IOC President Thomas Bach said of the athletes: “We remember them because they are our fellows Olympians.”

An opportunity in Argentina

The nature of the Iranian regime is known to many throughout the world, but even the well-informed prefer to close their eyes and not to speak of it. Because the world, almost in its entirety, wants to invest, trade and do business with Iran. And for that you need to create favorable conditions, and conceal as much as possible any trace of evidence of the crimes committed by the murderers from Tehran.
The cunning Iranians have so far succeeded in enjoying the best of both worlds. They continue to declare their intention to wipe the “Zionist entity” from the map, while finding newfound favor in the international community; they retain their nuclear program, while evading sanctions; they advance their ballistic missile program, while trading with Western countries.
The time has come to remove the mask from the ayatollahs’ regime. Now, when the heads of government in Argentina are no longer trying to cover for those responsible for the terrible attack, Israel should lead the moral coalition against Iran. We must demand that every country that calls itself a nation of laws joins the coalition and assists in exposing the truth behind the attack. Even those who justified the nuclear deal with Iran cannot excuse the failure to punish those responsible for the deaths of 85 civilians.
Israel must not remain silent. It is our duty to remind anyone who is willing, and even more so those not willing, to listen: The hands of the regime of murderers in Tehran are stained with the blood of the dozens of innocent victims.

Jordan’s King Abdullah vows to fight Israeli ‘extremism’ at Temple Mount

King Abdullah of Jordan vowed to fight against “repeated violations and attacks carried out by Israel and extremist groups,” in an interview to the Jordanian Ad-Dustour daily on Monday.
As part of the 1994 peace agreement between the two countries, Jordan was given management of the Temple Mount and al-Aksa Mosque, the third holiest site for Muslims. Tensions have frequently erupted on the Temple Mount and Palestinians have claimed that Israeli efforts to “Judaize” the site have motivated the current wave of violence in Israel.
The king accused Israel of attempting to “violate the sanctity and compromise al-Aksa Mosque,” and added that, “Our responsibility towards the Muslim holy places in Jerusalem is our top priority in the international arena, and we use all means necessary to defend al-Aksa Mosque.”
Abdullah said that Jordan would resist Israel’s “blatantly repeated attempts to change the status quo in Jerusalem regarding its landmarks and the prejudice against Islamic and Christian peoples.”
He affirmed Jordan’s commitment to the Palestinian people saying that “the Palestinian issue is our first priority and a supreme national interest.”

Abbas to meet Erdogan by the end of the month

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by the end of the month for talks about the situation in the Gaza Strip and a French initiative for ending the conflict with Israel.
A senior Palestinian official told the Qatar-based Al Khaleej news site that the meeting will be part of a two-week international tour by Abbas covering Egypt, Jordan, France and other “Arab, Islamic and foreign countries.”
In the two men’s first meeting since a failed coup in Turkey last month, they will discuss Palestinian internal affairs, the Israeli- and Egyptian-imposed blockade of Gaza and what the official called “the recent Israeli escalation in the region.”
Abbas, said the official, wants to develop ties with Ankara, and the visit is aimed at strengthening bilateral relations.
Also reportedly under review will be a French peace initiative, as well as Palestinian intentions to appeal to the UN Security Council and the International Criminal Court against the Israeli occupation in the West Bank.

Pollard parole restrictions ‘nothing but cruelty,’ Israeli MK says

US District Judge Katherine Forrest’s decision to keep in place restrictive parole conditions imposed on Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard was based on nothing but cruelty, the head of the Knesset’s Pollard caucus, Zionist Union MK Nachman Shai, said on Sunday.
Forrest rejected Pollard’s request to cancel requirements imposed by the US Parole Commission that prevent him from leaving his New York home after 7 p.m. or before 7 a.m., force him to submit any computer he uses for inspection, and require him to wear a GPS monitoring device that forces him to break the Sabbath. The conditions were imposed when he was released from prison November 20 after serving 30 years of a life sentence for spying for Israel.
“It is frustrating to see that the unmerciful pursuit of Pollard by American authorities continues,” Shai said. “We have been saying ‘enough is enough’ for so long, and the response has been insensitivity and inflexibility. He should be allowed to live a normal life, but he can’t when he is stuck to his house and prevented from working in a manner that has passed all limits of what is reasonable. They let him leave jail, so they should have let him have a longer string.”
Pollard’s lawyer, Eliot Lauer, has 10 days to file a notice of intent to appeal.
He had argued in Manhattan federal court that the parole commission had imposed arbitrary requirements. He tried to persuade Forrest that it was inconceivable that Pollard could still disclose government secrets from more than 30 years ago.

Evangelical Lutherans in US: Stop aid to Israel if settlements allowed to stay

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America approved a resolution calling on the US government to end all aid to Israel if Israel does not stop building settlements and “enable an independent Palestinian state.”
Voting at its triennial assembly in New Orleans that ended Saturday, the church also sought a halt to all investment in companies that profit from Israel’s occupation and called on the president of the United States to recognize the State of Palestine.
The aid vote, which passed 751-162, urged church members to “call on their US Representatives, Senators and the Administration to take action requiring that to continue receiving US financial and military aid, Israel must comply with internationally recognized human rights standards as specified in existing US law, stop settlement building and the expansion of existing settlements in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, end its occupation of Palestinian territory and enable an independent Palestinian state.”
The resolution also called on the president not to prevent the application of the State of Palestine for full membership in the United Nations and, in coordination with the United Nations Security Council, to “offer a new, comprehensive and time-bound agreement to the governments of Israel and Palestine, resulting in a negotiated final status agreement between Israel and Palestine leading to two viable and secure states with a shared Jerusalem.”

IDF demolishes home of terrorist who killed 13-year-old in her bed

Israeli troops demolished overnight Sunday the home of a Palestinian terrorist who stabbed to death a 13-year-old Israeli girl in June.
A large military force, including members of the Combat Engineering Corps, arrived in the West Bank village of Bani Na’im, outside Hebron, in the early hours of Monday morning to raze the family home of Muhammad Nasser Tarayrah, 17, who on June 30 broke into the nearby Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba and stabbed Hallel Ariel to death as she slept in her bed.
The settlement’s security team arrived on the scene and shot Tarayrah dead. A member of the community’s emergency response team was also injured in the attack.
The Tarayrah family lives on the second floor of a three-story building in the village.
Both an excavator and explosive charges were used to bring down the second story of the building where Tarayrah lived.

3 years later, Palestinian arrested for attacking cop

Nearly three years after a police officer was wounded in a stabbing attack in the central West Bank, security forces arrested a Palestinian man believed to have committed the crime, Israeli officials announced Monday.
On December 23, 2013, the 30-year-old officer was directing traffic outside the Adam settlement, north of Jerusalem, when he was attacked and moderately wounded. The assailant fled the scene, leaving the knife buried in the officer’s back.
The police and IDF searched the area for the attacker, but were unable to locate him — until now, according to the Shin Bet security service.
On July 19, Israeli forces arrested Mehmed Younis Ali Abu-Hanak, 21, in his hometown of al-Abidiya, outside of Bethlehem.
During his interrogation, Abu-Hanak admitted to carrying out the attack, saying he’d done so “out of a desire to end his difficult life,” the Shin Bet said in a statement.

Police: Most weapons used in violent crimes stolen from IDF

Most weapons used in the dangerous crime family wars in Israel’s streets are stolen from the Israel Defense Forces, a secret police report Israel Hayom obtained on Sunday reveals. The use of military-grade weapons in crime families’ disputes places innocent lives at risk and has long caused great concern for the Israel Police.
The report found that between 2014 and mid-2016, some 1,004 out of 1,284 criminal incidents involved the use of military weapons, including rockets, grenades and explosives as well as firearms, stolen from military bases or personnel.
The military is aware of this, and while it allocates considerable resources to address the issue, the phenomenon has proved relentless.
According to the findings, out of 522 incidents in 2014 referred to as “criminal attacks,” some 394 were carried out using stolen military weapons. In 2015, 400 out of 476 criminal attacks were perpetrated using stolen military weapons, while the first six months of 2016 saw 232 out of 282 criminal attacks carried out using such weapons.
Criminal attacks over the past few years have included car bombs, planting explosives in parks, point-blank assassinations, at times in broad daylight, and even attempted assassinations of law enforcement officers. A police source told Israel Hayom that criminals no longer have any qualms about innocent bystanders being caught in the line of fire.

Profiling works: How Israel stops the Palestinian “lone wolf” attacker

The so-called Knife or Stabbing Intifada has not been limited to knives or stabbing. There have been shootings, bombings and car-rammings.
But one common denominator has been the “lone wolf” attacker — including women and early teens as young as 13.
Lone wolf attacks were actively encouraged throughout anti-Israel social media, and the attackers were treated as heroes.
When the attacker is not part of an organized group, it’s harder for intelligence services to prevent the attack from taking place. But after several dozen attacks and dozens of Israelis killed, the lone wolf attacks dwindled to a trickle. Certainly part of this was fatigue on the part of the Palestinian population, more aggressive policing and use of check points, and also monitoring of social media.

Former Mossad deputy director duped into Hezbollah interview

Yedioth Ahronoth, Ynet’s sister publication, revealed that in early August, an Italian journalist, who was hired by Hezbollah to personally interview Israeli officials without their knowing who was behind the project, managed to interview former ministers Tzipi Livni and Amir Peretz, former head of military intelligence Amos Yadlin, and former National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror. Former Mossad deputy director Ilan Mizrahi joined their ranks on Saturday’s program.
That evening, revealed in vivid detail, was the account of the Hezbollah broker who secured the deal that returned the coffins of Regev and Goldwasser in exchange for the release of terrorist Samir Kuntar, four Hezbollah fighters, and 199 bodies of Palestinian and other Arab fighters.
The broker, Wafiq Safah, said: “Throughout the negotiations, we made sure to keep a tight lid on the fate of the soldiers.”
The interviews were later broadcast on a Hezbollah series about the conflict on the Al-Mayadeen channel, operated by Hezbollah.

Prisoner freed in Shalit deal caught working in Israel illegally

A Palestinian convicted on terrorism charges and released as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap in 2011 was caught working illegally at a construction site in the central Israel city of Ra’anana on Monday.
The suspect, identified as Qawareiq Hindawi, 27, was detained along with seven other Palestinian workers who were also in Israel illegally.
Hindawi was released from prison five years ago as part of the prisoner exchange for the captive Israeli soldier, after serving four years of a six-year sentence for membership in an illegal organization and criminal possession of a weapon.
Under the terms of his release, he was barred from reentering Israel, and may now face serving the remainder of his prison sentence.

Facebook closes another Hamas leader’s account in campaign against incitement

Facebook closed the account of Hamas leader Ismail Radwan on Monday, continuing its campaign against Hamas leaders, who use Facebook to promote violence.
Just last week Facebook closed the accounts of Hamas leader Salah Bardawail and Islamic Jihad leader Khaled al-Batsh. Moreover, Facebook closed in July the accounts of the Deputy Chairman of the Hamas Politburo Musa Abu Marzouk, Khaled Meshaal confidante Ezzat al-Rishq, and a number of Hamas student leaders.
“Hamas Spokesman Hazem Qassim responded to the account closures, telling Ma’an, a Palestinian news agency, that they amount to an Israeli terror operation against social media platforms.” Qassim added that Hamas believes Israel wants to blind the public from its “crimes.”
“The occupation fears the revelation of its scandalous crimes at the expense of the Palestinian people through posts on social media,” he said.
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the director of Shurat HaDin, a legal advocacy group which filed a lawsuit against Facebook in July, said Facebook should have take an action earlier. “This is too little, too late. It shows that Facebook has the capabilities and the technology to track accounts and shut them down.

Erdogan’s Purge Is a Sectarian War

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the secular Turkish Republic that replaced the Islamic Ottoman Empire, died in 1938, but Turks still define themselves as pro- or anti-Ataturk — though women need not say anything because their headscarves, or lack thereof, proclaim their allegiance. The anti-Ataturk camp that wants to remake Turkey into an Islamic state was always supported by the less educated majority of the country’s population, but until 2002 it was firmly kept under control by the Turkish officer corps, whose unifying “Kemalist” ideology was strictly secular.
What undid this equilibrium was a winning alliance of populist Islamists, led by the thinly educated ex-soccer player Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the university-educated followers of Fethullah Gulen, a religious entrepreneur on a huge scale, whose followers established more than a thousand schools from Texas to Tashkent, as well as dozens of universities, student halls, and teaching institutes. Erdogan’s talent was, and is, to rally the masses by invoking their Muslim identity against all comers, from the West in general to better-educated, less devout fellow Turks; in 1999, he spent months in prison after being convicted for inciting religious hatred.
Gulen’s winning formula was to collect funds from the devout to offer free, or discounted, educational opportunities in schools presented as entirely secular, indeed with an emphasis on the teaching of science, in which Islamic practices are propagated very gradually by the friendly persuasion of slightly older students in private chats. Under Ataturk’s rules, Turkish universities were to be completely secular, banning the wearing of the Islamic headscarf and any form of worship on the premises. But with student housing both scarce and expensive in Turkish cities, Gulenist lodges offering free rooms served to convert tens of thousands of graduates into his devotees, many of them ready to do their bit after graduation by contributing funds, helping to establish schools or teaching in them, or by working in the media to good effect. Others did more than that, successfully infiltrating the Turkish officer corps by outmaneuvering its no-beard and no-headscarf rules with the blessing of Gulen, who no doubt justified such concealment with his own interpretation of the Islamic tenet of taqiyah.

Turkey warns US not to ‘sacrifice’ ties over Gulen

Turkey warned the United States on Tuesday not to sacrifice bilateral ties over Pennsylvania-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for the failed coup and wants to see extradited.
“If the US does not deliver (Gulen), they will sacrifice relations with Turkey for the sake of a terrorist,” Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag told reporters during a televised briefing in the capital Ankara.
Turkey has repeatedly pressed Washington to extradite the 75-year-old cleric to face trial over the July 15 attempted putsch, which saw a rogue military faction try to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Gulen strongly denies Ankara’s accusations and his lawyer on Friday said Turkey had failed to provide “a scintilla” of proof to support its claim.
Bozdag asked rhetorically how Washington would react if a person responsible for violence in the US was being hosted by Turkey.

Report: ‘Terrorists’ could seize US nuclear weapons from Turkish base

“Terrorists or other hostile forces” could possibly capture dozens of US nuclear weapons housed in a Turkish air base near the Syria border, AFP cited a Washington-based think tank as warning Monday.
Turkey, which has NATO’s second-largest military, allows the United States to use the Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey to launch attacks against Islamic State militants.
The claims, made in a new report issued by the non-partisan Stimson Center, raised the issue of the risk of a potential breach following Turkey’s recently failed coup. The air base’s commander was arrested on suspicion of complicity in the aftermath of the mid-July coup attempt.
“From a security point of view, it’s a roll of the dice to continue to have approximately 50 of America’s nuclear weapons stationed at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey,” AFP quoted the report’s co-author Laicie Heeley as saying.
The security of the United States’ approximately 50 nuclear bombs stored at Incirlik has been increasingly scrutinized since the attempted coup.

Exposing Iran’s Boeing Lie

After successful lobbying by Ambassador Thomas Pickering (who did not reveal his ties to Boeing when he testified before Congress and lobbied for the Iran deal), Secretary of State John Kerry and his team inserted a clause was inserted into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to permit the licensed sale of U.S. civilian aircraft to Iran. Much has been written about the subsequent proposed deal for Iran Air to purchase up to 100 Boeing aircraft worth perhaps $25 billion. Proponents of the deal point to Iran’s need to revitalize its aircraft amidst a poor air safety record. Opponents of the deal, myself included, argue that Iran might seek to cannibalize the planes to augment its military fleet or use them directly for troop transport.
Increasingly, it seems, the notion that Iranian authorities are concerned primary about civilian aircraft safety is demonstrably false. Firstly, consider that Iran also seeks to purchase approximately 100 Airbus aircraft, meaning it seeks 200 new aircraft. From Boeing, it reportedly seeks four 747’s, thirty 777’s, and forty-six 737’s, on top of which it would lease another twenty-nine 737’s.
Compare that with Iran Air’s current fleet, which totals 43 planes, more than one-third of which are relatively small, 100-seaters. If both the Boeing and Airbus deals occur, Iran Air will have a larger fleet than Japan Airlines, Qatar Airlines, and Singapore Airlines. Iran Air—and any of the other Iranian carriers—simply will not be able to carry enough people domestically to fill even a fraction of those planes. And, as for international travel, even if some Iranian leaders see themselves as a tourist mecca, realistically, tourists are not going to flood back into the country so long as the regime’s security services continually imprisons those who do make the journey.
Boeing understandably wants a sale and Kerry’s poor crafting of the JCPOA adds to some proponents’ desperation as they fear that if the U.S. Congress questions the Boeing deal, Iranian authorities might walk away from even their watered down commitments. But given that Iran cannot possible use even a fraction of the 200 planes it seeks for civilian purposes, it behooves Congress to ask: Why does Iran need 200 planes when 40 would suffice for its market?

Syrian civilians rejoice after being freed from IS control

US-backed fighters have seized a key Islamic State stronghold in northern Syria after two months of heavy fighting and freed hundreds of civilians the extremists had used as human shields, Syrian Kurdish officials and an opposition activist group said Saturday.
Nasser Haj Mansour of the predominantly Kurdish Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) told The Associated Press that the town of Manbij “is under full control,” adding that search operations are still ongoing to try to find any IS militants who might have stayed behind.
The SDF launched its offensive in late May to capture Manbij under the cover of US-led airstrikes. The town lies on a key supply route between the Turkish border and the city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of the IS group’s self-styled caliphate.
The retreat from the city, which IS captured in 2014, marked the jihadists’ worst defeat yet at the hands of the SDF.

Syrian women liberated from Isis are burning their burqas. What does that tell us?

I have written before about burqas and how they make me uncomfortable. The burqa tests two liberal values – that you should be free to wear whatever you like, and that men and women are equal – and leaves us lost. In Germany, senior ministers are now calling for a ban on the burqa. It’s an understandable ticket to run on, especially with an election looming in a country petrified of more Islamic terror. In France, a second Riviera resort has announced a ban on ‘burkinis’ to help calm tensions.
But banning the burqa – or the burkini – seems illiberal. No woman should be told what to wear – and what not to wear – and equally, religious freedom should be protected. I may not like the burqa but I distrust the idea of banning it.
That said, I was intrigued to see photos which have emerged of women in the liberated Syrian city of Manbij burning the sombre outfits, including what appears to be a burqa, which they had been forced to wear under Isis control. Some of the women smoke cigarettes, and the photos show men cutting off their beards. It is a potent symbol of their freedom. In our soft, liberal country, we see the burqa as an indicator of how diverse a country Britain has become. These photos are a reminder that strict Islamic dress can be used as a tool of oppression. Given the chance, I wonder how many British women would also like to burn their burqas?

PreOccupiedTerritory: Study: Banning Burkhas OK As Long As Anyone But Israel Does It (satire)

New scientific research has confirmed a long-suspected hypothesis according to which discriminatory policies against Muslims are acceptable in places such as France, Russia, and elsewhere, but when Israel implements such measures, that automatically constitutes Apartheid and a violation of human rights.
Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of studies from the last ten years, and published their results in the journal Proceedings of the Royal European Journal of Ubiquitous Demonstrations of Israel’s Criminal Existence (PREJUDICE). The PREJUDICE scholars looked at the contrast between, for example, French municipalities banning Burkini swimwear popular almost exclusively among Muslims and Israel taking measures to prevent Palestinian attackers from harming Israelis.
The PREJUDICE articles notes that when Israel takes measures such as building a wall to keep attackers away, or imposing security checkpoints to detect or deter would-be attackers, the human rights community, which is known for its scientific objectivity, rightly calls out Israel for discriminatory treatment. The international community, in the form of various United Nations agencies and councils, pursues, or at least endorses, steps to punish or denounce Israel for those behaviors.
In contrast, such measures are out of place when various French towns effectively bar Muslims from beaches and public pools, since those instances do not, objectively, constitute improper discrimination against Muslims. The PREJUDICE authors note that one of the key prerequisites for improper discrimination to be defined as such, according to objective international standards, is that it be perpetrated by Jews.
Lead author Sayyid Ensso of the University of Ankara explained that while many people see the Jews as controlling France, it would not be correct to see French and Israeli discrimination policies as measurable on the same scale. “You can’t blame France for French policies if it’s not really the French who run France, but the Je – I mean, the Zionists,” he said. “You can’t honestly take people to task for doing things when they’re under someone else’s control, even if they don’t know it.”

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