The Incitement Must End
On Sunday October 9 2016, after a busy day with family I sat down to catch up with the events of the day across the world. I’ve always been interested in the world around me and given my job I feel it’s my duty to be as informed as possible about events in Israel and the wider Middle East.
My heart sunk when I read that there had been a terrorist shooting in Jerusalem, reminding me of how I felt when I was last in Israel and heard about the Sarona Market attacks. Since October 2015 a wave of terror has hit Israel, with this infographic from BICOM providing the details of the terrorism Israel has faced.
As highlighted by the infographic many Israelis have been killed and injured, just because they are Israelis. Palestinian terrorists are brought up on a diet of hating Israelis, and in many cases, hating Jews. That motivation led to the murder of two Israelis in Jerusalem on October 9 2016.
We can often become desensitised to terrorist attacks and forget that behind every person murdered is a personal story. Therefore, I’ve written below about those who died in Jerusalem.
Amnesty International now a terrorists’ rights organization
Anti-Semitism continues to rage worldwide. YouTube is now joining the vindictive party.
Israel National News reported this week that the popular social media channel, owned by YouTube, has placed 21 videos of nonprofit educational organization “Prager University,” run by conservative talk-show host Dennis Prager, on “restricted mode.” Among these are three pro-Israel videos relating to the founding of Israel, the IDF and Palestinian refugees.
Restricted mode allows guardians to protect children from objectionable content by filtering out “restricted” videos in Youtube searches. “PragerU” videos are designed to be viewed by all ages.
Israel National News reports that “One of the restricted PragerU Israel-related videos titled ‘Why are There Still Palestinian Refugees?’ explains that while Jewish refugees from Arab countries were quickly absorbed into Israel, Arab countries have intentionally refrained from absorbing Palestinian refugees so as to continue to use the Palestinians as a political tool.”
The second video, titled “The World’s Most Moral Army,” features retired British general Richard Kemp explaining the uniqueness of the Israeli army in its intense care not to injure innocent civilians on the battlefield.
The third video, titled “Israel’s Legal Founding,” features world-renowned attorney Alan Dershowitz relating how Israel was founded “step by legal step.”
Vox, the organization that invented a bridge between Gaza and the West Bank, has created a series of videos, or “Vox Docs,” purporting to explain why Jews live in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank. While these videos appear very slick and polished on the surface, they are filled with half-truths as well as actual falsehoods, and legitimize bigotry of the same sort that the US fought in the civil rights era.
Throughout the three-part series, filmmaker and narrator Johnny Harris omits important historical facts, leading to a thoroughly inaccurate portrayal of Israel’s War of Independence as well as of the Six-Day War. He also unquestioningly accepts the premise that Jews living in the West Bank are an obstacle to Palestinian statehood, as well as that Jews should be barred from certain neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem.
Part I: Distorting History
In Part I, titled “The Maps,” Harris purports to provide the history of the region. His version of history, however, starts with 1948. Harris ignores three millennia of Jewish history in the region that informs the way that Jews view the conflict today, including the ancient Jewish Kingdoms of Israel, centuries of Jewish presence in the land that is today Israel and the West Bank, including Judea and Samaria, and centuries in which Jews in the Middle East lived in second-class status under Muslim rule, often subjected to violence. This one-sided account of history leaves viewers with an extremely distorted perspective on the region.
Therefore, when Harris reports that neighboring Arabs states viewed the UN Partition Plan as “European colonialism,” there is no balance to show that for Jews, this was not a colonization but a return to their indigenous land. While later in the “doc” he does refer in the most vague terms to Judea and Samaria as the “place where a huge amount of Jewish history happened,” he still omits the religious significance of places like Hebron. While Harris purports to explain the ideology of the settlers, these omissions demonstrate that he never really understood it at all.
If there will be a surprise and Trump wins – it will also be a victory for the pollsters of the Los Angeles Times, who since the beginning of the race have suggested an alternative method, which also takes into account the chances that those polled will actually go to the ballot box, and they have had Trump leading for several consecutive months.
In Israel as well, the media coverage of the US election race has been mostly emotional. Washed with hatred and loathing for Trump, most of the Israeli journalists covering the election struggle to paint a true picture of America. In the last few days, a number of scholarly articles have been published, detailing the anti-Semitic statements of some of Trump’s supporters and coming to the conclusion that he will be the next enemy of the Jewish people. I suggest to these writers that they also take a look at the feeds of Israeli Internet surfers. The filth that the net drudges up here does not smell any better, but it also does not reflect the opinion of the majority.
I am not certain that the last word in these elections has been heard. The battle that is taking place now far from Washington, in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, is liable to motivate ISIS supporters in the US and Europe to act in the coming days, and a big terror attack can have a serious influence on election results.
And in Israel? Almost across the entire political spectrum people are joining with enthusiasm the national hunt after “traitors,” and “Israel-haters.” We have adopted the agenda and existential concerns of a teenage girl, such as “Who doesn’t love us in the world,” and “Why doesn’t he like us.” It saves us from dealing with the annoying question of how do we make our future here better and should we not also go back to the democratic principle of changing the leadership form time to time. On this occasion: Congratulations to Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is celebrating his 67th birthday, which is the official retirement age for men in Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin reaffirmed their commitment to continue developing ties between Russia and Israel on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries, and amid a surge in Russian military forces in neighboring Syria in recent weeks.
In a phone call Friday, the Kremlin Press Service said the leaders “exchanged congratulations on the occasion of the 25th anniversary [on October 18] of the restoration of diplomatic relations between Russia and Israel and expressed commitment to further development of the multifaceted bilateral cooperation.”
The press service also said Putin “warmly congratulated” Netanyahu on his 67th birthday on Friday.
This was the sixth phone call between the two leaders this year amid Russia’s deepened involvement in the Syrian civil war on behalf of embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Netanyahu and Putin also met twice this year, including in June when the Israeli PM made a high profile visit to Russia to discuss regional threats and mutual interests with the Russian leader. In their meetings, the two reviewed the ongoing security coordination between the Russian and the Israeli armies, especially their so-called de-conflicting mechanism, set up to assure the Israel Defense Forces does not strike Russian jets operating in Syrian airspace.
The impending arrival of Russia’s sole aircraft carrier — the Admiral Kuznetsov — off the coast of Syria has the Israeli defense establishment concerned, the Hebrew news site Walla reported on Friday.
Israeli defense officials and senior IDF officers told Walla that the Admiral Kuznetsov’s presence in the eastern Mediterranean Sea will limit the Israeli military’s ability to act — both openly and covertly — in Syria and Lebanon.
In recent years, Israel has reportedly carried out a number of airstrikes in Syria to prevent to transfer of advanced Iranian weaponry to the Lebanese Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah.
On Friday, the Admiral Kuznetsov was among a group of Russian warships pictured off the coast of Great Britain as they made their way to the eastern Mediterranean, where they are expected to take part in the Russian military’s effort to defeat rebel groups who seeking to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.
According to the Walla report, the Admiral Kuznetsov — with a crew of around 2,000 sailors and dozens of fighter jets and helicopters — will reach the Syrian coast within a week.
The report said that the coordination mechanism set up by the Israeli and Russian militaries to avoid unnecessary friction following Russia’s entry into the Syria fray last year has weakened in recent months — as evidenced, for example, by a July incident in which a Russian drone entered Israeli airspace and an IDF attempt to shoot it down failed before it flew back across the border into Syria.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with his Italian counterpart Matteo Renzi Saturday, thanking him for his criticism of the UNESCO resolution last week that ignored Judaism’s ties to Jerusalem.
Renzi on Friday said the UN motion was “incomprehensible, unacceptable and wrong.”
Italy abstained during the October 13 vote, in line with other EU nations, but Renzi has characterized the vote as a mistake and told RTL radio that he would consider breaking EU unity in future votes of such a nature.
Netanyahu told Renzi that he believed self-respecting nations should not participate in such a “theater of the absurd,” government officials said, adding that the matter was “not a question of politics but of historic facts.”
Renzi for his part repeated to Netanyahu his statement to RTL that denying Judaism’s history in Jerusalem was similar to stating that “the sun emits darkness.”
He told the Israeli premier that he would seek to influence other European nations on such matters in future.
At UN Security Council, Malaysia equates Israelis to Nazis
The Israel Defense Forces will close off the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Saturday for the Simhat Torah holiday, which begins Sunday evening. Palestinian will be barred passage into Israel for 48 hours beginning at 11:59 p.m. Saturday.
The army said exceptions would be made for medical emergencies and other “humanitarian cases,” dependent upon the approval of the Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).
Simhat Torah, a festival of the Jewish Bible, is celebrated at the tail-end of the week-long Sukkot holiday. A closure on the West Bank and Gaza was similarly imposed at the start of Sukkot.
The checkpoints and crossings are expected to re-open on Monday at 11:59 p.m., dependent upon a “situational assessment,” the army said in a statement.
Ordinarily, tens of thousands of Palestinians pass through the checkpoints between Israel and the West Bank each day. Though Gaza is often considered a sealed area, some residents with special permits are able to enter and exit through the Erez Crossing into Israel.
The IDF previously shut down the West Bank’s checkpoints on Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, last week, and on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, earlier this month.
A member of the Hamas terror group was killed on Saturday when a tunnel collapsed in the Gaza Strip, reports in Palestinian media said.
The official Palestinian news agency WAFA identified the man as Anas Abu Lashin, 22, and said he was a member of Hamas’s military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.
He was reportedly working in a tunnel in the al-Maghazi area in central Gaza when it caved in.
The Brigades in a statement said Abu Lashin was killed “during preparation” of a tunnel, but did not provide further details.
The Islamist terror movement which controls the coastal enclave has a network of tunnels in the territory, both for smuggling and attack purposes. It was not clear which type of tunnel Abu Lashin was killed in.
The collapse on Saturday is the latest in a series of cave-ins to claim Palestinian lives. Over a dozen Palestinians, most of them reportedly members of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, have been killed in collapses since the beginning of the year.
On Friday, the Islamic Jihad — another Gaza-based terror group and longtime ally/rival of Hamas — staged a public show of force in the Strip, with its leader praising Iran and criticizing Arab states.
Thousands of supporters, including fighters from the party’s Al-Quds Brigades military wing, took part in the event.
An Egyptian appeals court upheld on Saturday a 20-year sentence for ousted president Mohamed Morsi, the first final ruling in a string of trials for the deposed Islamist leader.
The Court of Cassation also upheld sentences against eight of his codefendants, including seven who received the same prison term and one who was sentenced to 10 years in prison, a judicial official said.
Morsi had been convicted in April 2015 of involvement in deadly clashes outside the presidential palace during his year in power.
His supporters and protesters had clashed after he issued a decree that placed his decisions beyond judicial review, sparking anger that culminated in mass protests against him in June and July 2013.
The military deposed him on July 3 that year, and he has faced several trials since.
His lawyers are appealing a death sentence in one of his trials, on charges of participating in prison breaks and violence against policemen during the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime president Hosni Mubarak.
The Syrian army attacked the village of Qmenas with chemical weapons in March 2015, UN experts said in a report released Friday.
But they were unable to determine who was responsible for two other chemical weapons attacks — against Binnish in Idlib province in March 2015 and Kafr Zita in Hama province in April 2014.
The report was presented Friday to the UN Security Council.
The UN-led joint investigative mechanism (JIM) in late August reported that Syrian government forces had carried out at least two chemical attacks in 2014 and 2015 and that Islamic State jihadists had used mustard gas as a weapon.
Of the nine total alleged chemical attacks it is considering in its ongoing probe, the JIM has now attributed three to the Syrian government and one to the Islamic State group.
In its fourth report, investigators concluded that there is now “sufficient information” that the attack on Qmenas “was caused by a Syrian Arab Armed Forces helicopter dropping a device from a high altitude which hit the ground and released the toxic substance that affected the population.”
Investigators say the substance may have been chlorine gas, based on the symptoms the victims displayed.
Democratic candidate for Florida’s 40th state district Dwight Bullard, who likened a Palestinian-Arab terrorist to Nelson Mandela, wrote the following statement in response to weeks of maelstroms highlighting his former tour guide in Jerusalem:
Though Bullard suggests that his opponents “resorted to lies,” he did not deny that he toured Jerusalem with Mahmoud Jiddah, a former member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who was arrested by the Israelis for planting bombs in the late 1960s. Furthermore, he did not disavow his tweet where he likened Jiddah to Nelson Mandela.
Bullard’s campaign received considerable backlash since news broke that he met with Jiddah. President Barack Obama endorsed 13 candidates for Florida’s state legislature. Bullard’s name did not make the list. Today, his Republican opponent Frank Artiles wrote a post linking Obama’s list, suggesting that the President failed to endorse Bullard because he met with a former terrorist.
In Artiles’s post, Florida International University’s pro-Hillary group said that Bullard should resign.
Florida State University’s pro-Hillary group also expressed opposition to Bullard, announcing their support for Artiles on Twitter.
Citing the success of her “Russian Reset” as Secretary of State, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has promised to launch an “ISIS Reset” if elected this November.
“While it’s clear that the United States and the Islamic State have gotten off on the wrong foot, it’s about time that we focus on our common interests and work together on key objectives,” Clinton said in a joint press conference with ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. “It’s time we hit the ‘reset’ button.”
With that, Clinton brought out a symbolic button, with the word “RESET” written in English. The same word was intended to appear in Arabic on the button; due to a translation error, however, the Arabic text instead read “Death to the infidels.”
Though both Clinton and al-Baghdadi spoke positively at the possibility of improved relations, early indications are less than positive. Within hours of the meeting, ISIS had reportedly shot down a Malaysian airliner and invaded and annexed the Ukrainian Crimea Peninsula.
Australia – One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts has rejected calls from Jewish leaders that he repudiate the work of an anti-Semitic author he has cited to support his claim that a “cabal” of international bankers is trying to create a socialist global government.
The B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission and the Australia/Israel And Jewish Affairs Council have demanded Senator Roberts dissociate himself from the writings of Eustace Mullins, an American anti-Semite who claimed that international banks and the US Federal Reserve were part of a Jewish conspiracy to introduce global socialism.
Senator Roberts has cited Mullins’s 1952 book The Secrets Of The Federal Reserve as a primary source for his claim that international banks are part of a “tight-knit secret group” using climate change to usher in a new world order. The senator wrote widely on the issue in his previous role as project director of the climate-sceptic group The Galileo Movement.
Senator Roberts … said: “I object completely to the stupidity of trying to link me with anti-Semitism,’’ adding that he enjoyed close friendships with Jewish people and had a high regard for the Jewish community.
The chairman of B’nai B’rith, Dvir Abramovich, said he was disappointed that Senator Roberts was defending the work of Mullins, a virulent racist who had called Jews parasites, praised Hitler and described the Federal Reserve as “the high Jewish bank”.
A French municipality has honored the persecuted Jewish soldier Alfred Dreyfus with a statue and a Dutch town honored the Holocaust survivor and writer Jules Schelvis with a street sign.
Dreyfus, a French army captain who was wrongfully convicted of spying for Germany in 1894, was commemorated earlier this month in his native city of Mulhouse in eastern France. On Oct. 9, the day Dreyfus was born in 1859, one of his grandsons unveiled a statue of him at a local park during a ceremony attended by the mayor, France 3 reported.
Paris, the city where his show trial was held and where he was eventually exonerated in 1906, has no street named after Dreyfus, who was exiled to a French colony in South America for the false charges brought against him.
On Wednesday, the municipality of Amstelveen, south of Amsterdam, where several thousand Jews live, inaugurated a street sign bearing the name of Schelvis, who survived seven Nazi concentration and death camps. He died earlier this year in Amstelveen.
The sign will be installed in 2018 in a neighborhood that is still being constructed, according to the municipality’s official blog.
The University of Amsterdam gave Schelvis an honorary doctorate in 2008 for his research of the Sobibor death camp in Poland, which he survived. His 1993 book “Extermination Camp Sobibor” is considered one of the most detailed documents ever written on the death site, which fewer than 50 people are believed to have escaped and which the Nazis largely obliterated to cover up their atrocities.
The Birthright Israel program, which provides free trips to Israel for young Jews across the world, has contributed some $1.1 billion to the economy of the State of Israel, in the 15 years since it begun in 2000 until 2015, according to a recent study conducted by the firm Ernst & Young.
The figures show that the gross contribution was made both directly and indirectly. The direct contribution of Birthright Israel to the country’s economy, which consists of paying for hotels, tourism suppliers, flights and educational activities, amounts to $840 million.
The indirect contribution, consisting of participants’ expenses such as food, beverages, souvenirs, trip extensions and returning trips, amounts to $325 million.
Ernst & Young’s report also stated that Birthright Israel participants make up 12% of the total number of tourists visiting Israel from June to August and December to January. The document also states that while the Israeli tourism sector is often affected by the security situation, Birthright participants growth remains steady, highlighting that most Birthright groups arrive in off season of Israel tourism and therefore balance supply and demand.
In addition, Birthright Israel participants were found to be significant drivers of small businesses in Israel, with 47% of Birthright overnights taking place in peripheral areas in Israel, in locally owned accommodations, compared to only 28% of overnights for the overall incoming tourism.
Readers of the luxury magazine Condé Nast Traveler have a thing for Israel.
They voted both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv among the 40 “best cities in the world,” in the magazine’s 2016 survey of destinations outside the US, published Monday.
Jerusalem came in at number 28 and was praised for its “cutting-edge art scene” and growing restaurant scene.
The magazine elaborates: “Long a place of religious pilgrimage for Christians, Jews and Muslims, Jerusalem is now drawing a different sort of pilgrim: the global traveler. In addition to its significant sacred and religious sights, the city draws visitors with its cutting-edge art scene and a growing number of notable restaurants. Head to the Israel Museum for an exploration of the country’s culture, and stop for a bite at Machneyuda for authentic Mediterranean cuisine.”
Condé Nast Traveler readers were even more enamored with Tel Aviv, which the magazine called “one of the world’s most vibrant, diverse cities” and which clocked in at number 17:
A stone tablet thought to be about 1,500 years old with a worn-down chiseled inscription of the Ten Commandments will be sold next month at auction, with a stipulation that the buyer must put it on public display, an auction house said on Friday.
The two-foot (61 cm) square slab of white marble weighs about 200 pounds (90 kgs) and is believed to be the oldest existing stone inscription of the commandments, Dallas-Based Heritage Auctions said. Opening bid is $250,000 for the stone, which the current owner likes to point out is not the original.
The tablet is inscribed in Samaritan script with the principles which are fundamental to Judaism and Christianity. It was probably chiseled during the late Roman or Byzantine era, between 300 and 500 A.D., and marked the entrance of an ancient synagogue that was likely destroyed by the Romans, Heritage said in a statement.
It was discovered in 1913 during an excavation for a railroad line in Israel, said Rabbi Shaul Deutsch, founder of the Living Torah Museum, in Brooklyn, New York, which obtained the tablet in 2005.
An Arab man, possibly a construction worker, acquired it and set it in his courtyard, where it remained for three decades, Deutsch said.
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