Melanie Phillips: Israel shows the West the real source of national resilience
National identity was replaced by factional interest groups. Morality was replaced by a Marxist view of the world based on competing power blocs. Biblical morality was replaced by man-made, universalizing ideologies, such as moral and cultural relativism or multiculturalism.
Above all, the Western nation could never defend itself by force. Every conflict had to be resolved through negotiation, compromise and peace processes – even with non-negotiable, genocidal agendas. Hence the terrible Iran nuclear deal, and the reframing altogether of the Arab war of extermination against Israel as a conflict between two rival claims to the land.
In the Western progressive mind, therefore, Israel is damned many times over: as a (supposedly) Western, ethnic nation that defends itself with force.
Perhaps even more enraging to the Left than that, the ancient kingdom of Israel was the original paradigm nation, on which at some level America and Britain modeled themselves.
The current resurgence of antisemitism in the West is part of a far deeper and wider struggle. It’s a fight between two views of the world and of humanity itself. A fight over how we should live in this world, what it means to be moral and what it means to be human. And Jews are on both sides in this great battle.
But if the West is ever to learn to love the Jewish people and their nation in Israel, it will first have to learn to love again the Western nation itself.
Douglas Murray: Does America oppose female genital mutilation – or not?
Twenty years ago almost no one in the West had heard of Female Genital Mutilation. Then in the 2000s, thanks to a few brave and vocal campaigners like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, knowledge of this barbaric practice began to spread.
Originally there was some queasiness about taking up the subject at all. Lawmakers and opinion formers took a while to work out their line. There was an early question mark over whether FGM wasn’t just the same as male circumcision. Most people swiftly learned that the difference was, gynaecologically speaking, almost everything. There were some hold-outs among people who thought that since FGM was practiced among Muslims there might be something ‘Islamophobic’ about objecting to the mutilation of young girls’ genitals with knives. On such fine judgement calls (‘child mutilation’ vs the suspicion of prejudice?) is the modern liberal conscience formed.
Eventually by this decade most countries in the West had settled on a consensus that FGM was wrong. Although the question of exactly what to do about it remained.
In the UK, a law banning the practice has actually been on the books for three decades. Yet to date only a handful of people have been charged with the offence and there has not been a single successful prosecution. Some of the reasons are understandable. Collecting evidence in such cases is difficult, and it often relies on children giving evidence about someone close to them. Nevertheless there is a huge question mark over the whole matter. If thousands of girls are being tortured and mutilated in your country every year why would the state not move heaven and earth to bring all those responsible to justice?
Do you know what we commemorate on November 30?
Sadly, for most Israelis and Jews around the world, it is just another day. However, according to a law passed in 2014 by Knesset member Dr. Shimon Ohayon, November 30 is now the official day of commemoration for Jewish refugees from Arab countries.
It should be an important day on the official global Jewish calendar, because the Jews of the Middle East and North Africa are an essential part of Jewish history, even for those of us who did not come from there.
One of the issues I was able and proud to raise during my time in government was the ethnic cleansing of almost a million Jews from the Middle East and North Africa — communities massively predating Islam and the Arab conquest of the region in the seventh century — and the appropriation of their assets, estimated in today’s prices to be many billions of dollars.
Unfortunately, this history — the forced exodus of Jews who, along with their descendants, constitute the majority of Jews in Israel — is barely studied, mostly ignored, and seemingly of little interest to the general population and Diaspora Jewry.
Apart from the great work of organizations like Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa, Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, and Harif, I was amazed that the issue had only seldom been raised in any meaningful way around the world.
Growing up in a thriving Jewish community, attending a Jewish school, and being involved in the Jewish community and Zionist organizations, I am astounded now, thinking back, how little was taught about the long and illustrious history of the Jewish communities of the Middle East and North Africa, and their subsequent expulsion.
Israel’s Channel 10 News has came out with an amazing report about how head Hamashole Ismail Haniyeh used to be close with an Israeli man who employed him as a youngster.
Here is the story translated from the Hebrew:
Danny Machlouf of Ashkelon was a construction contractor 40 years ago when he employed the 16-year-old Gazan laborer, who later became the leader of Hamas. Ismail Haniyeh was a member of the Machlouf family during the nine years he worked with Machluf. He would eat in their house and they would visit him and stay at his home in Gaza. Haniyeh even took part in family events and weddings of Machlouf’s daughters.
At the same time, the border with Gaza was open, Israelis and Palestinians could move in and out freely, and the Machlouf family did not fear or feel threatened by those responsible for launching rockets into Israel and for actions against soldiers and civilians. “He was a laborer of my father for many years,” says Zehava, Danny’s daughter, “he used to eat with us, we would go to him to stay with us every day or in our house or we would go to Gaza.
I knew him as a laborer when he knew how to make only clay. I taught him to work, he worked with me for nine years. “I heard that he was in to terror, so I went into Gaza,” he says, referring to Haniyeh, He said he encountered a large number of masked men calling out to him “Allah Akbar,” one of them took off his kaffiyeh and said to them, “Come back, this is my boss.” Haniyeh asked him, “Dad, why did you enter? “I came to tell you to stop terror and calm down.” According to Machlouf, Haniyeh replied: “I promise you that I will not go out to the roads with terror.”
It is amazing to think that since then, Haniyeh has given the order to launch rockets into the houses that he himself built. It just goes to show you what blind hatred can do to a person.
On NGO Monitor’s “Human Rights and Hot Coffee” podcast, we discuss Israeli current events through the lens of human rights, international law, humanitarian aid, and international relations.
Episode 1 discusses Airbnb’s November 19, 2018 announcement that it will be “removing listings” in “Israeli settlements in the Occupied West Bank.”
What drove them to this decision? What does international law say on this issue? What does this mean for other companies?
Lior Weintraub, Vice President and Director of the Israel Office of The Israel Project, hosted journalists Tal Shalev and Neri Zilber to review an intense week in Israel on the latest Tipping Point podcast.
The three discussed how early elections in Israel were avoided last minute and how long the government will last. They also asked who are the winners and losers of the latest political drama, which new figures are expected to shine in the next elections, and will Ehud Barak make a comeback?
Afterwards, they discussed whether Israel lost its deterrence following last week’s intense fighting and the controversial cease-fire agreement with Hamas. The panel also examined whether the political crisis in Israel impacts Netanyahu’s maneuverability on Gaza and if Trump’s long-awaited peace plan will be able to bring any real change.
At the end, Shalev, Zilber and Weintraub faced a pop-quiz and suggested a surprising nominee for Israel’s position for foreign minister.
A few days ago, I posted about American Muslims for Palestine’s Palestine Convention 2018, featuring a star-studded cast of antisemites, Israel haters and terror supporters, such as Hatem Bazian and Linda Sarsour.
It turns out there are a lot of convention organizers and speakers connected to US-designated terror organizations:
Convention chairman, Salah Sarsour, who fundraised for the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), an organization that was shut down and its members convicted in the US for funneling over $12 million to US-designated terror organization Hamas
Abdelbaset Hamayel, a member of the Steering Committee for the convention, who was the Director and Secretary General of the Islamic Association for Palestine, an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case and described as Hamas’ public relations arm in the US
Convention speaker Kifah Mustapha, the Illinois Representative and Head of Chicago Office for the Holy Land Foundation, who was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case
As you can see, we are not talking about one or two dodgy characters – this is a smorgasbord of people somehow connected with terrorism.
And this conference is being held in plain view, on US soil.
IsraellyCool: Linda Sarsour’s Antisemitism Problem
Ah, now it all becomes clear. It was Israel who made Jeremy ignore the mural, it was Israel who made Jeremy hang out with Holocaust denier Paul Eisen, it was Israel who made him make his infamous comments about Zionists” and “irony” at a conference advertised by the armed wing of Hamas. It was Israel who made him invite blood libeller Raed Salah to tea in Parliament. It was Israel who made all those Labour Party councillors share antisemitic material on social media, it was Israel who forced him to refer to his “brothers” in Hamas and his “friends” in Hezbollah while sitting next to abu Jahjah a man who has shared such virulently antisemitic images that only Jeremy Corbyn would ever have given him a platform in the first place. It was Israel who, on Holocaust Memorial Day 2010 forced dear Jeremy to ignore events hosting hundreds of Holocaust survivors commemorating the genocide and honouring the victims in favour of the one survivor who used the occasion to call Israelis Nazis.
What is Miller, author of such game changing works as :‘the alleged chemical attack in Douma on 7 April 2018, and other alleged chlorine attacks in Syria since 2014’ where he strongly implies poison gas attacks on civilians never happened:
“In a widely-publicized incident in Sarmin on 16 March 2015, the deaths of a family of six were allegedly caused by a chlorine barrel bomb. For this incident the alleged munition is implausible, the alleged mode of delivery is improbable, and the images of the child victims in hospital are consistent with drug overdose rather than chlorine exposure as the cause of death.”
even doing at Bristol in the first place? Thanks to Miller that prestigious university now soils itself with links to the pro-Assad conspiracy group the so called Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and the Media. The Times exposed them a while back saying:
Dowload the Full Report
This report, the second in a series, is designed to put the HRC’s “database” project in a global perspective. It examines business activity in support of settlement enterprises in occupied territories around the world. This study reveals that such business is ubiquitous and involves some of the world’s largest industrial, financial services, transport, and other major publicly traded companies. Such companies include Coca Cola, Air France, Priceline Group, Ford Motor Company, Airbnb, Zurich Insurance Group, Danske Bank, ENEL, and BNP Paribas SA, to take
just a few examples.
As a matter of human rights, the Council’s focus on Israel is difficult to understand. There are numerous territories around the world currently under belligerent occupation, where the occupying power has allowed or facilitated the movement of settlers into the occupied territory.
In all these cases, this is done over the vigorous objection of the occupied party and is at odds with its sovereignty or self-determination.
Among the most salient examples are Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara and Turkey’s of northern Cyprus. Both of these have seen massive government-backed settlement enterprises that dwarf anything in the West Bank. The majority of the population in these territories now consists of settlers, fundamentally undermining the possibility of self-determination or a political solution. There are also settlers in Armenian-occupied Nagorno-Karabakh and the Occupied Ukrainian Territories. In all these cases, foreign companies actively support the various settlement enterprises. These activities include extracting natural resources from the territories, providing infrastructure support to the occupying power, and in general, making the settlement enterprises more economically viable.
“There are numerous territories around the world currently under belligerent occupation, where the occupying power has allowed or facilitated the movement of settlers into the occupied territory.
In all these cases, this is done over the vigorous objection of the occupied party and is at odds with its sovereignty or self-determination.
Among the most salient examples are Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara and Turkey’s of northern Cyprus. Both of these have seen massive government-backed settlement enterprises that dwarf anything in the West Bank. The majority of the population in these territories now consists of settlers, fundamentally undermining the possibility of self-determination or a political solution. There are also settlers in Armenian-occupied Nagorno-Karabakh and the Occupied Ukrainian Territories. In all these cases, foreign companies actively support the various settlement enterprises. These activities include extracting natural resources from the territories, providing infrastructure support to the occupying power, and in general, making the settlement enterprises more economically viable.”
Two Jewish students from United Herzlia Middle School in Cape Town, South Africa dropped to one knee during the playing of Israel’s national anthem “Hatikvah” in protest of the Jewish state.
The move was similar to the kneeling of American football players during the “Star Spangled Banner,” protesting incidents of police brutality.
“We cannot sing ‘Hatikvah’ when we don’t approve of Israel’s policy,” said one of the students in a recorded audio statement. “It is a beautiful song, but it is also Israel’s national anthem. … You support Israel by singing its national anthem. They forced us to sing it, and we didn’t want that. The school claims they believe in freedom of speech, but in practice they only let us express favorable opinions towards Israel.”
“I hope that our protest will show other students that there is another side and that pro-Palestinians are not terrorists but students just like us. There is a huge debate about politics and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the local Jewish community. … I hope that we started a conversation,” he added.
The school put out a statement condemning the boys’ kneeling as “inappropriate,” and said their move “demonstrated deliberate and flagrant disregard for the ethos of the school.”
Over more than two and a half years writing a press criticism column focused on The New York Times for The Algemeiner, I’ve covered nearly every part of the Times, including plenty that you might not have thought would be battlegrounds over Israel or Judaism. I’ve found material not just in the front-page news articles about Israel or the op-ed columns, but also in the food section, the travel section, movie reviews, even Times dance and fashion coverage.
At least until today, though, I’ve never had to write about the New York Times crossword puzzle.
There’s a first time for everything, however. Sure enough, it looks like the Times‘ well known and well documented inability to handle basic matters of Jewish literacy has infected even the area of the paper given over to the entertainment of wordplay.
Wednesday’s Times crossword clue for 12 down was “Ninth month of the Hebrew calendar.” Thursday’s answer key gave the solution the Times was seeking as Kislev.
As anyone scrambling to prepare for Chanukah realizes, however, we’re already in Kislev, and it hasn’t been anywhere near nine months since Rosh Hashana, which literally means “head of the year.”
After that long and very sympathetic interview, listeners heard excerpts from the interviews with Ghazi Hamad and Michael Oren aired in the previous edition of the programme. Franks then quoted casualty figures provided by UNOCHA before introducing the Israeli journalist Anshell Pfeffer on the topic of ceasefire ‘negotiations’.
Towards the end of the programme (49:47) Franks spoke with the BBC’s Tom Bateman and listeners heard for the first time about the anti-tank missile attack on the Israeli bus, the fact that there had been direct hits on homes in some Israeli towns, the fact that Israel’s strikes were directed at “militant sites” and that two “militants” as they were dubbed by Bateman had been killed in the northern Gaza Strip.
In short, over 24 hours following the incident near Khan Younis and hours after the unprecedented barrage of missile attacks against Israeli civilians had commenced, ‘Newshour’ listeners had heard from two Gaza Strip residents, one Hamas spokesman (twice), one Israeli MK (twice) and one Israeli journalist. They had not however heard from any Israelis affected by the attacks. The programmes had repeatedly led listeners to believe that just one of the seven Palestinians killed in the incident near Khan Younis was a member of Hamas, while failing to clarify that in fact all were members of terrorist factions.
In part two of this post we will review the following day’s editions of ‘Newshour’.
After listeners had heard Shimomi’s description of alarms and running to the shelter, Knell told ‘Newshour’ listeners for the first time in all four programmes that the seven Palestinians killed in the incident near Khan Younis were “militants”.
The item continued with segments from the interviews with Majd Masharawi in Gaza and Sigal Arieli in Ashkelon which had been heard in that day’s earlier edition of ‘Newshour’ and closed with an interview about ceasefire prospects with Ilan Goldenberg – described by Franks as “a man who used to be one of President Obama’s point men on the Middle East”.
In the four editions of ‘Newshour’ aired on November 12th and 13th BBC World Service listeners around the world heard one short statement from an IDF spokesperson and one lengthy interview with a Hamas spokesman – parts of which were later repeated. Listeners heard comment relating to the broader background to the story from one Israeli journalist and one American commentator as well as one Israeli MK. Interviews with four different residents of the Gaza Strip – two of them lengthy and one partly repeated – were aired in contrast to interviews with two Israeli civilians affected by the rocket attacks – one lengthy and partly repeated.
A man was the victim of an antisemitic assault on a bus in Wales on Monday after his mother reportedly told another passengers of she was born in Israel.
They were travelling on a bus travelling from Barry to Cardiff at around 1.15pm on Monday when they were approached by a man and a woman who asked whether they were Welsh.
The woman from the couple then punched the man, 38, who required hospital treatment for facial injuries.
Witnesses reportedly intervened in support of the victims.
Sonya Ataou, whose 21-year-old son was among the witnesses who helped remove the pair from the bus, told WalesOnline: “People told the man to be quiet and he started shouting at people on the bus. He went up to the boy and said ‘where are you from?’.
“He then started verbal, antisemitic abuse. Everyone on the bus was standing up for the boy.
A 95-year-old Berlin resident has been charged with being an accessory to the murder of over 36,000 people at the Mauthausen death camp in Austria during World War Two, the Berlin prosecutor’s office said.
The man, identified only as Hans H. for legal reasons, is alleged to have served in a Nazi SS-company at the largest Nazi death camp in Austria from summer 1944 to spring 1945.
He is accused of having guarded inmates at the camp, about 20 km from the Austrian city of Linz, and during marches to forced labor sites, the office said in a statement.
“During the time of the crime, at least 36,223 people were killed at the Mauthausen concentration camp. The killings were mostly carried out through gassing, but also through ‘death bath actions’, injections and shootings, as well as through starvation and freezing,” it said.
The suspect was “aware of all the killing methods as well as the disastrous living conditions of the incarcerated people at the camp” the statement said. It said he wanted to “support or at least help make easier the many thousands of deaths carried out by the main perpetrator.”
From Paris to Pittsburgh, Jews are under siege as the scourge of violent antisemitism reaches depths not seen since World War II. Just this week, FBI Hate Crime data was released, which showed that Jewish Americans were subject to 60% of religiously motivated hate crimes in 2017, despite being just 2 percent of the US population, a 37% increase over 2016.
For the last 12 months we have been on a mission to assess the depth, manifestation and trajectory of antisemitism in key European counties as well as the physical security of the Jewish diaspora, personally commissioned by Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress.
While we left New York City last January for London, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Budapest and other points east, it was when we were in Kiev, on October 27, that the deadly and dastardly attack against Pittsburgh’s long-standing Jewish community erased the distance and some of our notions about differences between Paris and Pittsburgh.
As part of our fact finding mission, we have met with scores of government policy makers and diplomats, police and intelligence officials, rabbis and students, as well as academics and leaders of the myriad Jewish organizations in the UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Hungary and Ukraine. And we’ve walked in the footsteps of martyred Jews in Dachau, Babi Yar and the Paris Hypercacher Kosher supermarket, among others.
We have also analyzed country specific survey data and statistics and met with leadership of US based watchdog groups like the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Congress and World Jewish Congress.
It was an unlikely group of more than 100 people who came to clean up the Jewish cemetery in the western Ukrainian town of Kalush in mid-October.
Among them were local high school students, about a dozen American Peace Corps volunteers, and municipal office workers given the day off work by Mayor Ihor Matviychuk. Only a handful of the participants were Jewish.
The picture of harmonious Ukrainian-Jewish relations runs counter to the stereotypical anti-Semitism portrayed in the media — but it just may be the forerunner of larger things to come.
“When I became principal three years ago, I felt a big sense of responsibility to do something about the neglected condition of the cemetery,” says Oksana Tabachuk, 49, head of the Kalush Gymnasium and one of the initiative’s creators.
“My family has been in Kalush since the 17th century and I know that the Jewish community was also here for many generations,” Tabachuk says. She adds that her mother had related to her chilling stories about her experiences as a child during World War II.
Israel artificial intelligence is helping improve safety along a stretch of Las Vegas’ busiest highway.
The Nevada Highway Patrol says a yearlong partnership between public safety agencies and an Israeli startup technology firm resulted in a 17 percent reduction in crashes along a portion of northbound Interstate 15 just west of the Las Vegas Strip.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports Waycare, a provider of artificial intelligence-based mobility products and services for smart cities, helped lead the crash prevention pilot program.
They hope to use it in other parts of the Las Vegas Valley, including a stretch of US 95 between I-15 and the Rainbow Boulevard curve.
The program uses in-vehicle information, cameras, sensors and other traffic data to develop prediction models to reduce congestion.
The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, the Nevada Department of Transportation and the Nevada Highway Patrol teamed up for the pilot program with Waycare. The Israeli startup already carried out a similar program in Tel Aviv, and it started a crash prevention program last year in Tampa, Florida.
Military tech: can’t live without them
What picture does the word “military technology” bring to your mind? Most probably war scenes and destruction. But you will be pleasantly surprised to know how many military tools we use in our day to day life unknowingly. Of course, metaphorically speaking life is also a war.
The list includes lifesaving penicillin, ambulances, blood transfusion technology; communication techs like internet, GPS; household crisis busters like duct tapes, superglue; wearables like wristwatches, aviator sunglasses and many more.
The famous quote by Seneca “A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer’s hand” holds particularly true for military technologies used for civilian purposes.
One military technology that has been garnering a lot of attention from the tech world recently is drone technology. It is now thought that over 50 countries have employed military drones in one form or another since 2013.
The voice of God – or the closest human equivalent – was spotted in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
That’s right, actor Morgan Freeman is in Israel this week filming for his National Geographic show The Story of God. The show, which began airing on the channel in 2016, is billed as a “global journey to understand how religion has evolved throughout the course of civilization.” The third season of the show is slated to air next year.
On Wednesday Freeman, was sighted both at Western Wall and at the Israel Museum in the capital.
This isn’t the first time Freeman has been to Israel – it isn’t even the first time he’s filming in Jerusalem for the sake of the show.
Back in 2015, Freeman visited the country to film an episode that aired in the show’s first season, titled Creation, which saw him at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
In an interview with Reuters during his trip to Jerusalem three years ago, Freeman declined to comment on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Israel’s use of targeted killings during the Second Intifada is the focus of an episode of a new Netflix docuseries.
While controversial, the practice of assassinating Palestinian terror leaders helped Israel quell the surge of violence it faced between 2001-2005.
In an interview with The Algemeiner this week, Jon Loew — the chairman of Big Media and an executive producer of “Terrorism Close Calls,” which delves into the details of major thwarted attacks across the globe — talked about the episode — titled “The Israel Honey Trap” — and what he learned about the Jewish state’s counter-terror expertise during its making.
A transcript of the interview follows:
Why did you think it was important to include an episode on Israel?
“To many people, including me, it’s clear that Israel is on the front lines of the West’s war on terrorism. It became obvious throughout the production of the series that many other countries law enforcement and intelligence agencies felt the same, and capitalized off of Israel’s decades of experience fighting the same enemies. Many media companies seemed to be afraid of including positive stories about Israel for fear of a backlash of some sort. We are not afraid of speaking the truth.”
Dutch author Jigal Krant won the Dutch Booksellers Federation’s 2018 Golden Cookbook Award (Het Gouden Kookboek) for his TLV: Recipes and Stories from Tel Aviv, a paean to Israeli cuisine.
At the Amsterdam ceremony earlier this month, jury chairwoman Janny van der Heijden said Krant’s book “teaches, pleases and entertains. It’s a cookbook, good reading material and a travel guide.”
TLV has been described as “a culinary declaration of love by Jigal Krant to his second home, Tel Aviv, translated to more than 100 recipes and stories.”
Krant writes: “Tel Aviv is a progressive city in a conservative region. A melting pot where many cuisines fuse. In an area where religious rules often determines what end up on the table, Tel Aviv has an innovative and free cuisine with no rules.”
The dishes in his cookbook include, for example, purple tabbouleh, fish shawarma, pita ratatouille, beetroot carpaccio, grilled avocado and freekeh risotto.
Tel Aviv has the sixth most millionaires per square mile of any city in the world, according to a new ranking by the R.S. Components Limited UK electronics company.
Tel Aviv’s 35,200 millionaires in 20.08 square miles mean the city has 1,753 millionaires per square mile.
In contrast, London is home to 357,200 millionaires, New York is home to 339,200, and Hong Kong home to 227,900.
However, Geneva ranked at the top of the list with 16,958 millionaires per measuring unit, followed by Monaco at 13,400.
Though Jerusalem did not rank at the top, it still features its share of wealthy residents, with 271 millionaires per square mile.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDFSpokesperson) November 22, 2018
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