December 16, 2018

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09/22 Links: Soviet-style antisemitism funded by UK taxpayers; Iran blames Israel, US for military parade attack as death toll climbs to 29; Gal Gadot in Simpson cameo appearance

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2018/09/0922-links-soviet-style-antisemitism.html

From Ian:


Soviet-style antisemitism funded by UK taxpayers
It took 16 years to get the UN to expunge the infamous 1975 ‘Zionism Equals Racism” Resolution. IHRA states that it’s antisemitic to claim ‘that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor’. Mr Alsaraf and Ms Murphy did nothing to try to stop the meeting – not at the start and not later on, when antisemitism was voiced. Does Camden not provide training in antisemitism for its Prevent officers?

Campaign4Truth was at the meeting, you can see their videos here. The meeting began with a statement from the meeting Chair ‘Sam’ regarding the representations made to KCBNA to cancel the booking. He said that Philip Rosenberg, the Director of Public Affairs of the Board of Deputies, ‘attempted to use his position of influence to ban this public meeting’. Rosenberg, he said, ‘claimed with no evidence that the meeting would be antisemitic. This is a reactionary attack on those who support Palestinian self-determination….. To suggest that the RCG is antisemitic is an outrageous slur’.

I shouted to ‘Sam’ that the cloth behind him was antisemitic. He threatened to throw me out (of course – for Communists, ‘free speech’ only goes one way).

‘Sam’ thanked the organisations and people who had emailed KCBNA to support the holding of the meeting. You can guess who they were. Here are some he mentioned: Camden Abu Dis Friendship Society; Free Speech on Israel; Socialist Resistance; Geoffrey Bindman; Steve Hedley from the RMT trade union.

Additionally RCG had contacted the following for support: PSC; Labour Against the Witchhunt; International Jewish Antizionist Network; London Palestine Action; InMinds; Friends of Al Aqsa; Counterfire; Jewdas; SWP; Socialist Party.

‘Sam’ was not happy about the presence of the two Prevent Officers: ‘We are outraged that a Labour Council sees fit to send these officers to an antiracist pro-Palestinian meeting and we see this as a step towards political censorship….. We advise attendees … to treat these officers as if they are Police.’

The first speaker was ‘Witan’ (that’s how I heard the name, no family names were announced, neither were they included in the meeting announcement). (Addendum: He has been identified as probably Wesam Pinko). As might be expected from the RCG, he gave a history of Zionism which was thoroughly distorted through a Marxist prism. He said that Zionism is a racist ideology; that it was a middle-class movement; that the JNF leased land only to Jews; that the JNF head in the 1930s wanted to ‘transfer’ Arabs; that Israel has forcibly sterilised Ethiopian women; that the UN gave Israel 55% of the land when the Jewish population was only 30%; that Israel had expelled 800,000 ‘Palestinians’ in 1947-8; that the Nation State bill proved that Israel is an ‘Apartheid’ State. All liberally laced with the usual ‘settler-colonialism’ and ‘imperialist’ references.

Five of these lies are antisemitic. I corrected some of the lies in my intervention in the Q+A, see below. The ones I omitted were about the JNF (the policy of leasing land only to Jews ended long ago); sterilisation (simply a lie); the 55% reference (much of the land allocated to the Jews was desert); the Nation State accusation (a lie).

The second speaker was ‘Nicki’. I understand her name is Nicki Jameson. She spoke about the IHRA definition and the tortured process by which Labour adopted it.

Here were her lies: The IHRA ‘has clauses which restrict or forbid criticism of Israel’; that there is a ‘Zionist propaganda machine’ which in 2008/9 complained to the BBC that its coverage was anti-Israel when 7 Israelis had died versus 2000 Palestinians; that Jeremy Corbyn did not lay wreaths for terrorists associated with the 1972 Munich massacre; that Rabbi Lord Sacks is ‘right wing’. I countered two of these lies in my intervention in the Q+A, see below.

One Palestinian killed, one IDF soldier lightly wounded during Gaza riots

One Palestinian was killed and hundreds more injured during the weekly Great March of Return protests along the Gaza border fence on Friday, which also saw one IDF soldier lightly wounded from shrapnel.

The fatality was identified by the Palestinian Health Ministry as Karim Mohammad Kullab, 25. The ministry said that of the 312 wounded, 54 were injured by live bullets, including four rioters who were said to be in critical condition.

According to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, more than 10,000 protesters took part in violent demonstrations along the border fence, throwing explosive devices, grenades and stones at IDF troops, and burning tires. A number of attempts to cross the border fence also occurred throughout the riots.

One IDF soldier was lightly wounded from shrapnel, and was evacuated to the hospital to receive medical attention.

The IDF responded to the violence and attempted sabotage of the fence with crowd dispersal techniques in accordance with open-fire regulations. IAF jet fighters also struck several targets in the northern Strip.

Following several improvised devices planted along the fence in recent weeks, the military has warned of an increased use in such devices as well as the use of grenades and possibly live fire against troops.

On Friday the IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rukun, urged the residents of the Hamas-run enclave to stop cooperating with Hamas, threatening to reduce the fishing zone from nine miles back to three if the “daily terror attacks continue.”

Jason Greenblatt, President Donald Trump’s special envoy for international negotiations, also took to Twitter Friday writing “Sadly Hamas continues to choose violence over building a better future for Palestinians.”

Egypt officials arrive in Gaza to salvage Hamas truce with Israel, Fatah

Two senior Egyptian officials arrived unexpectedly in the Gaza Strip on Saturday for talks with Hamas leaders aimed at achieving a truce with Israel and ending the ongoing rift between Hamas and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction.

The two Egyptian emissaries, Ahmed Abdel Khaleq – who is in charge of the “Palestinian Portfolio” in Egypt’s Mukhabarat (General Intelligence Service), and Mustafa Shehata – a top Egyptian diplomat, entered the Gaza Strip through the Erez border crossing with Israel, and immediately held talks with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and other top officials of the movement.

The visit comes amid mounting tensions between Hamas and Fatah, and continued violence along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

On Friday, one Palestinian was killed and scores injured during Hamas-sponsored Great March of Return protests near the border with Israel. The Palestinian killed in the clashes with IDF soldiers was identified as 25-year-old Karim Kallab.

Sources in the Gaza Strip said that Egypt is trying to avoid a further deterioration in relations between Hamas and Fatah, and convince the two rival parties to implement previous “reconciliation” agreements they had signed in the past few years.

Last week, a senior Fatah delegation headed by Azzam al-Ahmed held talks in Cairo with Egyptian intelligence officials on ways of ending the crisis with Hamas.

The Fatah officials are reported to have told the Egyptians that the only way to achieve a breakthrough was for Hamas to unconditionally hand control over the Gaza Strip to the Ramallah-based government. They also rejected Hamas’s demand that the PA government incorporate thousands of Hamas employees and disarm as part of any “reconciliation” agreement.

The sources said the Egyptians are particularly worried that Abbas would impose more sanctions on the Gaza Strip if Hamas does not comply with these demands. Abbas is said to have informed the Egyptians that he will halt all PA funding to the Gaza Strip if Cairo’s efforts to end the Hamas-Fatah power struggle fail.

Abbas will tell UN to either save two-state solution or bury it — report

In his speech to the UN General Assembly next week, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will urge the international community to either save the two-state solution or take responsibility for its demise and “burial,” unnamed Palestinian sources told London-based Arabic daily Asharq Al-Awsat Friday.

The sources said Abbas’s appeal for an international peace conference will be his final effort to save the peace process before he is forced to make “difficult decisions.” These could include suspending the PA’s recognition of Israel, annulment of accords — including Oslo — and declaring the Palestinian territories to be a state under occupation.

After talks in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron Friday, Abbas denied US claims the Palestinians have refused to enter peace talks with Israel.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton said earlier this month that the Palestinian de facto embassy in Washington was being shut because the PLO hadn’t taken steps toward negotiations.

Abbas said “we didn’t reject negotiations,” adding that the Palestinian side is “ready for any confidential or public talks” on the condition that the Middle East Quartet and “other states” mediate them. The Quartet is comprised of the US, Russia, EU and the United Nations.

Since US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and initiated the relocation of the US Embassy in the Jewish state to the city, Abbas has said on multiple occasions the Palestinians will no longer cooperate with a US-dominated peace process. Israel has said that it will only work with a US-led peace process.

Abbas bluster at UN isn’t what should worry Israel

While there is no shortage of conflicts in Hamas between those in Gaza led by Yahya Sinwar and those outside of it under Saleh al-Arouri, Fatah — which is used to rivalries and quarrels — only takes its marching orders from Abbas.

No real discussion about a successor is currently taking place, though various high-ranking officials in Fatah are quietly preparing for the day after Abbas. (Some are doing this rather noisily — such as Tawfik Tirawi, some of whose people were arrested by the security services for manufacturing weapons in gun-making shops in the northern West Bank.)

All these developments between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and first and foremost among them Abbas’s imminent decision to stop the transfer of $96 million per month, are expected to have a dramatic effect on the state of affairs between Israel and Gaza.
A Palestinian man climbs a fence as tear gas canisters fired by Israeli forces land through black smoke of burning tires during a riot along the security fence east of Gaza City on September 14, 2018. (Said Khatib/AFP Photo)

His intended funding halt finds UNRWA, the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency which provides direct or indirect assistance to every third Palestinian in the West Bank, already on the verge of financial collapse, defunded by the Trump administration. Gaza’s sewage and water systems will also be ceasing operations and as the financial hardship intensifies, more and more members of Gaza’s upper middle class are falling into poverty.

And Hamas? Its purpose is clear: It will not take this lying down. It intends to do everything it can to force Israel to act decisively against such a move by Abbas.

Hamas does not want war at this stage; rather, it is planning “only” to boost the border clashes, the launching of incendiary balloons toward Israel, and so on.

But if these violent demonstrations fail to bring about any real change in the financial situation in Gaza, Hamas will likely not stop there. It will drag both sides into a violent, bloody conflict in order to keep control of the Palestinian enclave.

PA President Abbas to French leader: ‘We can resume negotiations’

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met privately with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Élysée Palace in Paris on Friday evening, later joined by their respective advisors and French Foreign Minister Yves le Drian.

Speaking with reporters outside the Elysee Palace after the meeting, Abbas said that the Palestinian leadership is willing to begin confidential or public peace negotiations with Israel.

“We have not rejected negotiations, as the Israelis say, but [Benjamin] Netanyahu always refused,” Abbas said.

Abbas is expected to continue from France to Ireland before heading to New York for the UN General Assembly.

Following the meeting, the office of President Macron stated that the lengthy discussion between the two delegations focused on the complicated situation of the Palestinian Authority at present.

According to the statement, ‘’The President of the Republic reiterated the full commitment of France to resume the thread of dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis and confirmed to President Abbas the willingness of France to mobilize on the diplomatic field, in order to change a situation that is no longer tenable.’’

Both leaders discussed the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, with President Macron urging President Abbas and Hamas to fully participate at the Egypt-mediated talks in order to allow the return of the Palestinian Authority to Gaza and the holding of Palestinian elections in the coming months.

In the statement, Macron condemns Israel’s settlement policy ‘’which has continued and accelerated in recent months.’’

In this context, the two leaders discussed the emblematic situation of the West Bank Palestinian village of Khan al-Ahmar slated by Israel for demolition. Macron reiterated the European call to Israel not to proceed with the demolition, ‘’which would constitute a very serious violation of international law.’’

Macron warned of ‘’other decisions that are dangerous for the security of all, including Israel,’’ that have jeopardized the United Nations system providing relief for Palestinian refugees.

Olmert meets Abbas, says only PA head can bring 2-state solution

Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert met Friday evening with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Paris, saying the PA leader was the only one who could help reach a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“He is the man. He can do it. He wants to do it,” Olmert said alongside Abbas in filmed remarks to Palestinian television.

“He fights against terror because this is part of his commitment to achieve peace between us and them,” Olmert added.

The former Israeli leader, who was released from prison in July 2017 after serving 16 months behind bars for bribery, said there is no alternative to a two-state solution and stressed he believes achieving such an outcome is still possible.

He also called Abbas “a great political leader and the most relevant person for the future developments in the relations between Israel and Palestinians.”

Olmert said he considered the PA chief a “friend” and insisted that had his term not been shortened by the criminal charges against him — charges which he continues to deny he was guilty of — peace would have been achieved long ago.

VOICES FROM THE ARAB PRESS: Mahmoud Abbas’s 99% agreement

MAHMOUD ABBAS’S 99% AGREEMENT
Al-Araby al-Jadeed, London, September 7

Last week, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met in Ramallah with an Israeli delegation of peace activists and made public statements regarding the political impasse between Israelis and Palestinians. Speaking to local and international news outlets, the Palestinian premier maintained that his government’s disputes with Israel remain “minimal.” To support his claim, he indicated that he had met with Shin Bet officials dozens of times and agreed with them on “99% of the issues discussed.”

I am unsure what is worse: the fact that the Palestinian president boasts of his ties with the Israeli secret security agency, or that he sees eye to eye with its officials on 99% of the matters brought up.

Which issues are included in those 99%? Which aren’t? Does Abbas agree with the Israelis on the status of Jerusalem? The right of return? Water rights? None of this was specified. Abbas didn’t even bother issuing a clarification to his statement. Instead, he simply entertained the idea that the very government in charge of occupying and abusing his people is a legitimate peace partner with whom he has little, if any, disagreements.

As a reminder, this is the very same nationalist government that has been building new settlements, confiscating Palestinian lands, and adopting controversial bills that limit the civil rights of Arabs. Instead of standing up for his people, Abbas chose to embrace Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition partners.

One can only hope that Abbas hasn’t forsaken the Palestinian struggle for liberation, in return for empty promises from the Israelis. To save face, the PA should have, at the very least, rebuked Abbas’s statements. Unfortunately, we’ve heard nothing to date. Sometimes, silence speaks louder than words.

Egypt releases 1978 Camp David Accords calling for Palestinian autonomy

Egypt on Thursday published previously classified documents from its 1978 peace negotiations with Israel that called for full Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip within five years. The talks resulted in the Camp David Accords, comprising one deal pertaining to the Palestinian issue and a second that formed the foundation of the comprehensive Israel-Egypt treaty forged a year later. The Accords were signed by then-Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin as well as former Egyptian and American presidents Anwar Sadat and Jimmy Carter.

The document regarding the Palestinians, titled “A Framework for Peace in the Middle East,” envisioned a five-year transitional period beginning with the establishment of an elected Palestinian body to administer the territories captured by Israel in the 1967 war. The Israeli military government would thereafter cease to operate in these self-ruled regions, although the terms of the pact provided for the Israel Defense Forces to remain in certain areas for an undefined period of time.

After the interim period, final-status negotiations were to be held to hash out the details of an end-of-claims agreement. Notably, the initial framework did not include mention of the status of Jerusalem or Palestinian refugees.

Some analysts believe that the document was published now, to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Accords, as a poke in the eye of United States President Donald Trump, whose administration was boycotted by the Palestinian Authority following Washington’s recognition in December of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. High-ranking Palestinian officials, including PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, repeatedly have leveled fierce criticism against the White House, which they accuse of being biased in favor of Israel and of attempting to “liquidate” the Palestinian cause through a yet-unveiled peace proposal.

In response, President Trump has cut off hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the PA and to programs in the West Bank and Gaza, including funds earmarked for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which tends to Palestinian refugees.

55 House Republicans urge Trump to allow ‘Israel’ on passports of Jerusalem-born

A letter from 55 US House of Representatives Republicans to President Donald Trump asks him to direct the State Department to allow US citizens born in Jerusalem to list Israel as their birth country on their passport.

“Despite the progress in moving the embassy, the State Department has not yet fully implemented the administration’s policy of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital for purposes of registration of birth, certification of nationality, or issuance of a passport of a United States citizen born in the city of Jerusalem,” said the letter sent September 17.

The letter was released to media on Friday by Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York, who initiated it with Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida.

Previous administrations have resisted allowing Jerusalem-born Americans to list “Israel” as their birth country, saying that it would be de facto recognition of Israel’s claim to the city. The Supreme Court in 2015 upheld the executive branch’s right to maintain that policy, although Congress in 2002 passed a law requiring the State Department to allow listing “Israel.”

Trump in December recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and in May moved the US embassy to the city.

34 Senate Democrats urge Trump to restore aid to the Palestinians

Two-thirds of Democrats in the Senate and a third of the entire body signed a letter to US President Donald Trump urging him to reinstate assistance to the Palestinians, saying the cuts risk exacerbating tensions in the region.

“Eliminating funds for programs that provide clean water, food, education, and medical services for Palestinians will exacerbate poverty, fuel extremism, further reduce the chance of a future peace agreement and threaten Israel’s security,” said the letter sent Friday and signed by 34 senators who caucus with the Democrats.

Trump’s cuts, penalizing Palestinians for shunning the administration following its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, include $200 million in aid to the Palestinians and $300 million in contributions to UNRWA, the UN agency that assists Palestinian refugees and their descendants.

The letter noted that Congress authorized the assistance and that it does not go directly to the Palestinian Authority.

“We are deeply concerned that your strategy of attempting to force the Palestinian Authority to the negotiating table by withholding humanitarian assistance from women and children is misguided and destined to backfire,” the letter said. “Your proposed cuts would undermine those who seek a peaceful resolution and strengthen the hands of Hamas and other extremists in the Gaza Strip, as the humanitarian crisis there worsens.”

The letter was supported by J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group. “By exacerbating the humanitarian nightmare in Gaza, these cuts promote instability and increase the security threat to Israelis,” the group said in a statement, adding that “the Trump administration continues to undermine prospects for a two-state solution and promote the agenda of the Israeli far right.”

WATCH: European envoys warn Israel: Khan al-Ahmar demolition violates UNSC

Eight European countries warned Israel that the demolition of the West Bank Bedouin herding village of Khan al-Ahmar would be a violation of the UN Security Council resolution 2334.

The countries, all of whom are current, past and future UNSC members, read out a joint statement in New York on Thursday prior to a council monthly debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Ambassadors from France, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Italy stood together to speak to reporters.

The EU, they said, has “repeatedly stated our long-standing position on Israel’s settlement policy, illegal under international law, as reconfirmed by Security Council Resolution 2334 (2016), and actions taken in that context, including the demolitions of Palestinian communities and possible forced transfers of population.

“The community of Khan al-Ahmar is located in a sensitive location in Area C, of strategic importance for preserving the contiguity of a future Palestinian state.

“The consequences of a demolition of this community and the displacement of its residents, including children, would be very serious and would severely threaten the viability of the two-state solution and undermine prospects for peace,” the envoys stated.

“We therefore call upon the Israeli authorities to reconsider their decision to demolish Khan al-Ahmar,” the envoys said.

Pro-Israel group warns Spain against recognizing Palestinian state

A pro-Israel lobbying group in Spain warned that if the country recognizes a Palestinian state, Israel may do the same for the restive Catalonia region.

The head of the ACOM group, Angel Mas, issued the warning last week in an op-ed for the ABC daily. It came amid reports — which were confirmed Thursday by Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell — that Spain is pushing the European Union to recognize what it is calling the State of Palestine. The reports said Madrid will recognize a Palestinian state regardless of the bloc’s position.

Asked about ACOM’s analysis on the probability of Israeli recognition for Catalonia, Emmanuel Nahshon, the top spokesperson of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, told JTA: “I do not comment on speculations.”

Catalonian separatism plunged Spain into a major crisis in October. Federal police clashed with voters over an illegal referendum on independence and the region’s parliament in Barcelona passed a motion declaring independence from Spain despite the federal government’s warning to desist. Madrid dissolved the regional government in a bid to block secession.

Russian embassy in TA slams Trump for closing PLO mission, cutting UNRWA funding

Russia’s embassy in Tel Aviv on Thursday excoriated the US for closing the PLO mission in Washington and for cutting funding for Palestinian refugees and hospitals in East Jerusalem, amid tensions between Moscow and Jerusalem over the Syrian downing of a Russian spy plane following an Israeli missile strike on a Syrian weapons facility.

“[The] closure of PLO office in Washington, US decisions on Jerusalem testify to attempts to undermine the well-known international basis for the Israeli-Palestinian settlement,” the mission wrote in a statement on its Twitter account. “We don’t understand recent funding cessation to UNRWA, refusal to help hospitals in Eastern Jerusalem.”

In a second tweet, the mission repeated Moscow’s offer to help mediate between Jerusalem and Ramallah.

“There are no (almost) political contacts between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” read the tweet. “Efforts to launch direct Israeli-Palestinian dialogue should be increased. In this regard Russia initiative to host a meeting between Israel and Palestine leaders remains relevant.”

On Thursday the embassy in Tel Aviv slammed Israel for the Monday downing of the plane, pinning the blame squarely on the Israeli Air Force. This, despite the fact that on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin had absolved Israel of direct responsibility for the incident.

Police say they nabbed Palestinian on way to carry out attack in northern Israel

Israeli police said they arrested a 21-year-old Palestinian man from the West Bank on Saturday who was planning to carry out a terror attack in northern Israel.

Both uniformed and plain-clothed troops began carrying out a mass search for the suspect throughout the northern town of Afula after authorities received an anonymous tip that an attack there was imminent.

Shortly thereafter, police said they received a call from another anonymous source who provided the license plate of the Palestinian suspect.

The alleged would-be attacker was apprehended by officers in the Yasam reconnaissance unit and transferred to security authorities for questioning.

Police did not elaborate on the details of the attack the Palestinian man had allegedly planned.

Saturday’s incident came just days after a Palestinian was shot dead while attempting to carry out a stabbing attack outside Jerusalem’s Old City.

According to police, the attacker ran at a Jewish man and knocked him over onto the ground; he then “continued running toward the police officers while waving a sharp object and trying to harm them.”

The assailant was a 26-year-old from the Qalandiya refugee camp outside Jerusalem, who was in Israel illegally, authorities said.

Report: No signs of violence on body of Palestinian who died in Israeli custody

No signs of violence were found on the body of a Palestinian man who died in Israeli custody, the Haaretz daily reported Friday, citing unnamed medical sources.

Palestinians have said that Muhammad Zaghloul Khatib, 24, died after he was beaten by soldiers following his arrest early Tuesday at his home in the West Bank village of Bayt Rima, near Ramallah.

The Israel Defense Forces has confirmed Khatib died in its custody, but it has denied claims that he was injured during the raid.

“At 6 a.m., special [Israeli] forces raided the martyr’s home and then arrested and violently beat him in front of his family. Two hours later, the Palestinian [Military] Liason informed us that he was martyred,” Bayt Rima Mayor Yazan Rimawi told The Times of Israel on Tuesday.

Following his arrest, Khatib’s family say they were contacted by a Palestinian intelligence official who asked whether he had any medical issues, Haaretz reported. The family said that he did not, and shortly after they were informed he had died without being told how, the newspaper said.

According to the Israeli military, Khatib lost consciousness shortly after his arrest for as yet unknown reasons. An autopsy has yet to be conducted to determine the cause of death, according to Haaretz.

Brazil arrests top Hezbollah financier wanted for crimes in Paraguay

Brazilian police on Friday arrested a fugitive whom US authorities have accused of serving as Hezbollah’s financier and who has repeatedly been accused of illegal activity in a lawless border area where three South American nations meet.

Police took Assad Ahmad Barakat into custody in the Brazilian city of Foz do Iguacu, which is home to the famous Iguazu Falls and sits where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay converge. The Tri-Border Area, as it is known, has long been a haven for smugglers, traffickers and counterfeiters, and US authorities and others have alleged it is also a redoubt for terrorism support and financing.

Authorities in Paraguay are seeking Barakat on allegations of false representation, police said, and Brazil’s Supreme Court authorized his arrest earlier this month. The Brazilian federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement that Barakat’s case met the requirements for an arrest with a view to extradition — but it was not clear when or if that would happen.

In 2004, the US Treasury Department said Barakat was one of the most influential members of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which the US considers a terrorist organization. It accused him of using his businesses in the Tri-Border Area as a front for fundraising for Hezbollah as well as coercing local shopkeepers into giving money to the organization.

A Treasury official at the time said he had used “every financial crime in the book” to fund Hezbollah and “underwrite terror,” and the department ordered his assets frozen in the United States. Barakat was then serving a prison sentence for tax evasion in Paraguay.

Two years later it added several of his associates to a list of people whose US assets can be frozen and whom Americans and US companies are prohibited from dealing with. Barakat remains on that list.

Iran blames Israel, US for military parade attack as death toll climbs to 29

A spokesman for the Iranian army on Saturday blamed Israel and the US for an attack that has killed at least 29 people and wounded over 60 at a military parade in the southwestern city of Ahvaz.

The death toll continued to climb on Saturday and is expected to rise further as some victims, including women and children, were critically injured in the armed assault.

Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi told the state news agency IRNA, that the gunmen who opened fire at the parade, marking the anniversary of the start of its 1980-1988 war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, were “not from Daesh [Islamic State] or other groups fighting [Iran’s] Islamic system … but are linked to America and [Israel’s intelligence agency] Mossad.”

Shekarchi also claimed “the terrorists have undergone training in two countries in the Persian Gulf.”

The Islamic State terrorist group had earlier claimed responsibility for the deadly attack. Citing a security source, its propaganda agency Amaq said: “Islamic State fighters attacked a gathering of Iranian forces in the city of Ahvaz in southern Iran.”

In a further claim, Yaghub Hur Totsari told Reuters the Ahvaz National Resistance umbrella organization of Arab anti-government armed movements was behind the attack, but did not specify which particular group carried it out.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, meanwhile, ordered the country’s security forces to identify those behind the attack, according to the semi-official ISNA news agency, and warned of an aggressive response.

Andrew Gillum’s Running Mate Claimed Jews ‘Nailed’ Him To ‘The Cross’ After He Lost Student Government Election At Harvard

Newly-unearthed comments made by Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum’s running mate raise serious concerns about Gillum’s ever-mounting ties to blatant anti-Semitism.

Gillum selected 39-year-old Chris King, a progressive businessman from Orlando, in early September to be his lieutenant governor running mate.

After a recent report from The Washington Free Beacon revealed Gillum’s ties to “several prominent anti-Semitic organizations known for promoting boycotts of Jewish goods and individuals,” Gillum’s campaign now has to deal with remarks made by King in 1999.

In an article written by Jonathan Tilove, King complained about losing an election where he was running to be the president of the Harvard Undergraduate Council by blaming Jews.

“This could have never happened in the South,” King said. “I was nailed to the cross. And most of the editorial staff that was so hard on me, the vast majority were Jewish.”

King has admitted to making the anti-Semitic remarks, but claims that they are “at odds” with who he is and says that his comments were “hurtful” and “stupid.”

Corbyn’s allies ‘draw up emergency plans to protect Labour leader’ amid fears he could be suspended for ‘undeclared overseas trips’

Allies of Jeremy Corbyn have ’emergency plans’ in place in case he is suspended from Parliament over alleged undeclared trips abroad, it has been claimed.

Labour figures are said to have drafted a clause for the party constitution which would prevent deputy leader Tom Watson changing party policy if he became caretaker leader.

The Labour leader is said to be under fire over nine trips he allegedly failed to declare when he was a backbench MP.

Party sources said Mr Corbyn’s office was concerned about a suspension after Ian Paisley Jr was given a 30-day punishment over undeclared holidays in Sri Lanka, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Mr Corbyn’s trip to Tunisia in 2014, when he laid a wreath at a controversial ceremony at a Palestinian graveyard, is claimed to be one of the trips under investigation.

His alleged undeclared visits are also said to include a trip to the West Bank and Israel in 2010 paid for by Middle East Monitor and the Friends of al-Aqsa.

He is also claimed to have visited Lebanon in February 2011 in a visit sponsored by the Palestine Return Centre and the Council for European Palestinian Relations.

MPs must declare overseas visits paid for by third parties under parliamentary rules.

How Britain’s Labour party escaped anti-Semitism row with popularity intact

As Britain’s Labour party begins its annual conference in Liverpool this weekend, many delegates are confident that, by the time they meet again next September, the party will be in government for the first time since 2010.

It is a remarkable confidence given the tempestuous six months the party and its leader have experienced.

While allegations of anti-Semitism have dogged Jeremy Corbyn since he became Labour leader three years ago this month, the furor has reached a new magnitude since March.

The revelation that Corbyn defended an anti-Semitic mural, and the Jewish community’s “Enough is Enough” demonstration in Parliament Square in its wake, were swiftly followed by the row over the party’s refusal to adopt in full the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism. To boot, there broke a seemingly never-ending series of revelations about Corbyn’s links to terrorists, anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers over the course of the summer.

But the ongoing row over anti-Semitism in its ranks does not appear to have affected Labour’s popularity.

Britain is not due to go to the polls until 2022. However, last year’s inconclusive general election, which stripped Prime Minister Theresa May of her parliamentary majority, combined with the Tories’ barely concealed civil war over Brexit, means that the country is currently experiencing near-unprecedented political turmoil.

Negotiations with Brussels over the UK’s departure from the EU next March are stalled and few are willing to stake money on May’s government, fearing it may fall if a deal is not reached or the prime minister provokes further revolts on her backbenches by compromising with the EU in order to get one.

For its part, Labour has already made clear it will do nothing to assist May and will seek any opportunity it can to defeat her in parliament and force a general election.

Current opinion polls show the Tories and Labour level-pegging. Many Conservatives are keenly aware, however, that last summer Corbyn managed to overhaul May’s huge poll lead – the Tories were over 20 points ahead when the prime minister called her ill-fated 2017 general election – and fight them to a virtual draw. Labour’s superior social media operation and its huge army of door-knocking volunteers meant that the Tories were comprehensively outgunned in the all-important election “ground war.”

Leading Scottish Muslim Politician Slams UK Labour Leader Corbyn’s ‘Duplicity’ on Antisemitism, Islamophobia

A prominent Scottish Muslim politician has accused UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn of allowing racism and antisemitism to fester in the party’s ranks.

“Let me be frank, when it comes to Jeremy Corbyn and racism he is utterly duplicitous,” Humza Yousef, the Scottish Justice Secretary, said on social media on Friday. “He says one thing and warm words, and then his actions simply do not match the rhetoric whatsoever.”

Yousef continued: “Whether that is on antisemitism which has plagued his party and continues to plague his party – or indeed whether it’s dealing with Islamophobia – I have no confidence whatsoever frankly in the Labour Party’s ability to deal with this.”

Yousef was referring to the Labour Party’s lack of progress in an investigation into a Labour councillor who made racist comments about him earlier this year. The councillor, Jim Dempster, remarked at a meeting with Scottish transportation officials in March that Yousef – at the time Scottish Transport Secretary – could not be seen “under his burka.”

Yousef pointed out that more than six months after the incident, the Labour Party has still not contacted key witnesses for an internal investigation. Pressed on the delay by reporters on Friday, Corbyn responded, “Listen, the case is being dealt with and it will be dealt with because we do not tolerate racism in any form in our society.”

UK Jewish Labour leader: Antisemitism broke party’s ties with Jews

Ahead of the UK Labour Party’s annual conference which begins on Sunday, national chairman of the Jewish Labour Movement Ivor Caplin has said that the fierce storm which blew up this summer over the party’s antisemitism definition has “broken its relationship” with the Jewish community.

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post on Thursday, Caplin said that the party was taking steps to fix its antisemitism problem and the numerous instances of antisemitic behavior from Labour members in recent years, but that it was too early to tell if Jewish voters would back the party in any forthcoming election.

In July, the Labour Party adopted a new code of conduct including a watered-down version of the widely accepted definition of antisemitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

The adoption of the incomplete definition, which excluded four key examples of antisemitism stipulated by the IHRA, generated outrage in the Jewish community and among Jewish Labour members and MPs for what critics said was an attempt to dictate to the Jewish community the definition of antisemitism and for failing to consult with it on the issue.

The party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) did eventually back down and adopted the full IHRA definition in September – nearly three months later – but with a caveat that it should not “undermine freedom of expression on Israel.”

Even in September, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn attempted to add an addendum to the definition to give members the ability to call the foundation of Israel racist, but the document was rejected by the NEC.

“What Corbyn did was ridiculous – it didn’t help. It was two steps forward and one step back,” said Caplin, echoing the sentiments of prominent Jewish Labour MP Margaret Hodge who has strongly denounced Corbyn over his handling of the antisemitism problem with the party.

Sinn Fein official: ‘Israel is an apartheid state’

Irish Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile [Sinn Féin] called on the Irish Football Association (FAI) to withdraw from the upcoming games because they are to take place in Israel.

Speaking on Thursday with the Belfast Telegraph, Donnghaile claimed that “Israel is an apartheid state which is involved in the slaughter of Palestinian civilians.”

In response, MK Michael Oren [Kulano] took to social media on Friday to respond by saying that: “A political party that murdered 1,800 of its own people, and is active in a country divided in two due to civil war, can not moralize to a country where Jews and Arabs live in together side by side.”

Sinn Fein also called to cancel Northern Ireland’s friendly match against Israel on September 11, yet the two teams played as planned and the Northern Irish team defeated Israel 3 to nil.

Sinn Fein, which means “We Ourselves” in Irish, is an Irish political party that holds that Northern Ireland should be a part of the Irish republic and not, as it currently is, a part of the United Kingdom.

Israel slams German academy hosting of Hezbollah, Hamas, BDS supporters

The German Protestant Academy in the municipality of Bad Boll in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg is coming under scathing criticism from the Israeli government and American NGOs for hosting a conference that features a who’s who of German supporters of Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as the boycott campaign against the Jewish state.

“By merely looking at the list of persons invited to the seminar, it is quite clear that is an event whose aim and purpose is Israel hatred under guise of a pseudo academia,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday. “It is particularly distressing that such an event takes place in Germany.”

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told the Post on Friday.“It is scandalous that any Christian church in Germany would utilize its moral authority to organize an event that legitimizes those who want to destroy the six million plus Jews in Israel.”

He added, “In any case, they have not read the morning paper. Hezbollah, which controls more than 200,000 missiles, threatened to unleash these against Israel.”

The Protestant Academy in the town of Bad Boll invited the Left Party MP Christine Buchholz to speak. Buchholz has defended the ‘legitimate resistance” of Hezbollah against the Jewish state. The US, Israel, the Arab League and Canada proscribed Hezbollah’s entire organization a terrorist organization.

Buchholz said “The demonization of Hezbollah is the part of the ideological conduct of war. The Left should not participate in it.”
Buchholz was asked to speak about “human rights discourse in Israel and Palestine.”

The former Left Party MP Annette Groth is slated to speak. Groth, an activist in the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) campaign against Israel, was aboard the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara in 2010. The Turkish vessel, which was filled with scores of Islamists, sought to break Israel’s UN-declared legal naval blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. In 2014, the Wiesenthal Center included Groth’s involvement in a violent antisemitic event in the Bundestag in its list of the 10 worst outbreaks of antisemitism and anti-Israelism.

58 groups call on U of Michigan to sanction professors who promote BDS

Fifty-eight organizations have called on the University of Michigan to sanction professors who implement academic boycotts of Israel.

The letter, sent Friday to university president Mark Schlissel, was signed by Jewish, Israel advocacy and political organizations and organized by the AMCHA Initiative, a nonprofit seeking to combat campus anti-Semitism.

It referred to an incident last week, in which a professor at the school, John Cheney-Lippold, refused to write a letter of recommendation for a student, Abigail Ingber, who wanted to study abroad at Tel Aviv University, citing his support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against the country.

I have extraordinary political and ethical conflict lending my name to helping that student go to that place,” Cheney-Lippold has told reporters.

On Tuesday, the university said in a statement that it opposes academic boycotts of Israel and that “injecting personal politics into a decision regarding support for our students is counter to our values and expectations as an institution.”

On Thursday, in a separate statement, Schlissel said that “we will be taking appropriate steps to address this issue and the broader questions it has raised.”

University of Michigan Regent Denounces Professor’s ‘Antisemitic’ Refusal to Recommend Student for Study in Tel Aviv

The president of the University of Michigan pledged on Thursday to take “appropriate steps” to address a professor’s refusal to help a student who plans to study Israel — an incident that was denounced as “antisemitic” by a school regent and condemned by nearly 60 groups.

“Personal views and politics should never interfere with our support of students,” said U-M President Mark Schlissel of John Cheney-Lippold, a digital studies professor who rescinded an offer to write a letter of recommendation for a student after learning that they sought to study abroad at Tel Aviv University.

“As you may know, many university departments have pledged an academic boycott against Israel in support of Palestinians living in Palestine,” explained Cheney-Lippold in a September 5 email to the student, in reference to the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

Schlissel contested this characterization, emphasizing at a Board of Regents meeting that the professor’s view “is not the position of the University of Michigan, nor does it reflect the position of any department or unit on our campus.”

In J.K. Rowling’s new novel, a villain is an Israel-hating anti-Semite

For months author J.K. Rowling has been warning about the dangers of anti-Semitism in England, sparring on Twitter with critics who either downplay the phenomenon or say its proponents are confusing criticism of Israel with Jew hatred.

Now, in her newest book, she includes a character whose obsessive anti-Zionism morphs into anti-Semitism.

“Lethal White,” the fourth book in Rowling’s Cormoran Strike mystery series, written under the pen name Robert Galbraith, features a pair of hard-left political activists who believe “Zionists” are evil and have a stranglehold on Western governments.

Extortionist Jimmy Knight’s extreme hatred of Israel has led him to hate Jews.

“I wouldn’t trust him if it was anything to do with Jews,” Knight’s ex-wife tells a detective. “He doesn’t like them. Israel’s the root of all evil, according to Jimmy. Zionism: I got sick of the bloody sound of the word. You’d think they’d suffered enough,” she says of Jews.

Rowling’s depiction of a far-left anti-Semite comes at a time of record high anti-Semitism in Britain, where she lives. Britain’s Labour Party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn have been accused of insensitivity to Jews and condoning anti-Jewish sentiments within the party’s ranks. Corbyn previously defended a grotesquely anti-Semitic London mural depicting Jewish bankers, and referred to his “friends” in terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah, though he’s said he now regrets these positions.

Dutch Islamist politician: Yom Kippur fast won’t atone for Israel’s sins

A Dutch Muslim politician who has prayed for Allah to “exterminate the Zionists” said that a day of fasting on Yom Kippur will not suffice to atone for Israel’s sins.

Arnoud van Doorn, a lawmaker of the Hague’s city council for the Islamist Party for Unity, tweeted on September 18: “Israel celebrates Yom Kippur tomorrow. I’d make it a month. One day to reflect on all its errors and regret them is not enough.”

Van Doorn was a member of Geert Wilders’ right-wing Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) until his conversion to Islam.

Separately, the mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb, who is Muslim, last week announced he has ordered prosecutors to look into calls that referenced killing Jews during a demonstration in July 2017.

Van Doorn’s tweet was denounced as anti-Semitic in the Dutch media, including De Dagelijkse Standaard website, and on social networks, where dozens of users mockingly asked him whether the month-long Muslim daytime fast of Ramadan was a response to the volume of moral sins performed by followers of that faith.

Unopened letter sent to Anne Frank’s home fetches $11,000 at auction

An unopened letter that was mailed to the home of Anne Frank while she and her family were in hiding fetched more than $11,000 at an auction.

Bidding on the envelope, which came from an insurance company in 1942, began at $570 ahead of the auction, which took place Friday at the Corinphila Auction House in Amstelveen south of Amsterdam. The name of the new owner was not disclosed.

The letter is of “paramount importance, a testament to the most difficult period in the life of the Frank family, their underground existence,” the auction house wrote in a statement.

The envelope carries a red “return to sender” stamp and is addressed to Otto Frank, the teenage diarist’s father and the only member of her nuclear family who survived the Holocaust.

When it was sent to the family’s home in Merwede Square in Amsterdam’s south, the Franks were already in hiding in what is now called the Anne Frank House in the Dutch capital’s west. They hid there for over two years, until they were discovered and sent to concentration and death camps.

Why these Dutch Christians are celebrating Sukkot

From its exterior, the massive building known as The Ark in this Dutch town looks like a typical Reform synagogue.

During the Hebrew month of Tishrei, the ancient olive tree that dominates the yard of this large worship space is dwarfed by a reed sukkah, a ceremonial hut in which Jews consume their meals for one week each year on the holiday of Sukkot, in commemoration of the Israelites’ state of homelessness after they were freed from slavery in Egypt.

An attraction for The Ark’s young congregants, the sukkah stands opposite the spacious and modern-looking building servicing their community of relatively progressive worshipers.

But The Ark is no synagogue. It’s a popular Protestant church with a giant illuminated cross affixed to the wall behind the pastor’s pulpit.

Located 40 miles (64 kilometers) south of Amsterdam in Holland’s so-called Bible Belt, The Ark’s congregation of 1,500 members is celebrating Sukkot, which this year begins on September 23, for the second consecutive year. The church has joined a growing number of Protestant churches in Holland where Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles, has been celebrated in recent years by Christians who are drawn to the Jewish holiday’s theological and ecological significance.

“Sukkot, a harvest holiday, is deeply connected to the earth and heavens,” said Piet van Veldhuizen, a longtime camping enthusiast and survivalist who has served as The Ark’s pastor for over a decade. “It has always bewildered me that it had no mark on Christianity because, especially today with rising awareness to the environment, it has so much [spiritual] potential.”

The Egyptian ‘Angel’ Who Spied for Israel

Precisely one fact is known for certain about Ashraf Marwan’s once-secret life. The son-in-law to Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and close aid to his successor Anwar Sadat, spied for Israel in the lead up to 1973’s Yom Kippur War, and provided warning of the imminent Arab attack. Everything else about Marwan’s clandestine activities is unconfirmable; falsehoods at worst and rumors at best.

Zvi Zamir, the Mossad director during the Yom Kippur war, called him “the best source we have ever had.” Simultaneously, Egypt claims he was a double agent, feeding Israeli intelligence exactly what Sadat wanted them to think. After his mysterious death from a balcony fall in 2007, Marwan received a hero’s funeral from his homeland but was eulogized in Israel as well.

Ashraf’s story is recounted as an epic espionage thriller in the Netflix Original film The Angel, titled after his Mossad codename. On the whole, the movie functions as an entertaining history lesson, with the opening narration explaining the preceding Six Day War, and the lasting effects of Israel retaking the Sinai Peninsula. Director Ariel Vromen does a stellar job fleshing out both sides of the conflict and keeping things accurate. While more time is spent with the Egyptian characters, like Sadat (Sasson Gabai of The Band’s Visit) and of course Marwan (played suavely by Marwan Kenzari), the Israeli characters like Mossad agent Danny Ben Aroya (Toby Kebbell) are given ample time to gain sympathy for their struggles.

The movie only falters when exploring its lead character. Due to the ambiguous nature of Marwan’s exploits, director Ariel Vromen attempts to skirt around the little knowledge we have of the man, leading to unsatisfactory results.

Homegrown LoveShiri Maimon thanks Israeli fans after Broadway debut

Israeli singer Shiri Maimon made her much-anticipated debut on Broadway on Friday night as Roxie Hart in the musical “Chicago,” signing off with a heartfelt message to her Israeli fans who flew out for the show.

In a short video following the performance at the Ambassador Theater in New York, Maimon is seen accepting a bouquet of flowers and thanking guests in English before switching to Hebrew to address the Israelis in the crowd. “Thank you for coming, I love you so much,” she tells them.

This was met with wild applause, as Maimon blew kisses to the audience.

Maimon can also be seen in the video excitedly greeting cheering fans outside the theater.

“Choosing me to play a leading role in Chicago on Broadway is proof that dreams are meant to be fulfilled,” Maimon said in an earlier statement. “I’m proud to bring an Israeli presence to Broadway. This is an incredible opportunity for me… and it will be a challenging and exciting time in my life.”

In an interview two weeks ago with The Times of Israel ahead of the show, Maimon said Broadway was nowhere on the radar growing up.

Gal Ga-d’oh: Gal Gadot fails to impress Homer Simpson in cameo preview

Ahead of Gal Gadot’s first cameo appearance on “The Simpsons” later this month, Fox released a preview of the episode giving viewers a sneak peek into her role on the show.

The episode sees Homer Simpson and his friend and neighbor Ned Flanders holding auditions for actors after a group of Christian producers offer the Simpsons a movie deal.

In the preview, Gadot is seen playing herself, but trying out for the part of Lisa Simpson.

As she begins reading the script, Flanders cuts her off immediately and tells her she’s got the part. But Homer is not convinced.

“Wait, wait, wait. I know you were great in “Fast & Furious,” but what else were you in?” he asks with a straight face.
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. (Clay Enos/DC Comics/via JTA)

Gadot’s first major US acting job was in the fourth installment of “Fast & Furious” (2008), but she played a supporting character and is far more well-known for her Wonder Woman movies — a series which she, in turn, asks Homer if he’s ever seen.

“Whenever I see the DC [Comics] logo, I immediately fall asleep,” Homer replies, unimpressed.



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