Caroline Glick: Europe beats Iran’s war drums
Last Saturday, Iran’s “moderate” President Hassan Rouhani called Israel “a cancerous tumor” in a speech at the regime’s annual Islamic Unity Conference.
Rouhani’s fellow speakers included deputy Hezbollah chief Naim Qassem and Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh. Both terror bosses called for the destruction of the “cancerous tumor.”
With the predictability of a Swiss clock, the Europeans rushed to condemn Rouhani. The EU in Brussels condemned Rouhani. The German Foreign Ministry condemned Rouhani. And so on and so forth.
We could have done without their statements.
Just two days after Rouhani’s Jewish cancer speech, his representatives sat down with senior EU officials in Brussels to discuss Iranian-EU nuclear cooperation in the framework of the 2015 nuclear deal. Following the talks, EU Foreign Affairs Chief Federica Mogherini’s office put out a statement claiming that the sides “expressed their determination to preserve the nuclear agreement as… a key pillar for European and regional security.”
As Mogherini and her colleagues were sitting with the Iranians, the Wall Street Journal reported that the French and German governments have agreed to set up a back channel, in the form of a joint corporation, owned by European governments, whose job will be to arrange for payments for Iranian exports in a manner that bypasses and so undermines US financial and trade sanctions on Iran.
How are we to understand Europe’s behavior? What is possessing Germany and France and Brussels and even Britain, (which is reportedly considering joining the Germans and French in their sanctions-busting operations) to stand with Iran against the US?
It isn’t because Iran has proved its good intentions to them. To the contrary, over the past six months, Iran has plotted three terror attacks in Europe. In June, Iranian operatives murdered a regime opponent in Holland. In July, Belgian authorities prevented an Iranian plot to attack a regime opposition rally in Paris. And in October, Danish authorities intercepted an Iranian terror squad en route to assassinate the head of an organization of Ahwaz Arabs, Iran’s Arab minority that suffers from harsh repression at the hands of the regime.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday accused Iran of testing a medium-range ballistic missile capable of “carrying multiple warheads,” which he said could strike “anywhere” in the Middle East and even parts of Europe.
In a statement, Pompeo said the missile test violated United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, which was adopted as part of the 2015 nuclear deal curbing Iran’s nuclear program and bans Iranian tests of nuclear-capable ballistic weapons.
He not specify when the test took place, but said it had “just” occurred.
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“As we have been warning for some time, Iran’s missile testing and missile proliferation is growing. We are accumulating risk of escalation in the region if we fail to restore deterrence,” Pompeo said.
He also called on Iran to “cease immediately all activities” related to the development of ballistic missiles designed to carry nuclear warheads.
No one should whitewash, rationalize, or excuse what former CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill did this week. He spoke at a gathering of anti-Semites at the UN, a notoriously anti-Semitic institution, and called for violence against Israel and for destruction of the Jewish state. There is no other explanation for his actions that make the slightest bit of sense. He did not use a “dog whistle.” He stood and shouted.
Simply put, his actions were the left-wing anti-Semite version of walking into a white nationalist meeting and speaking the infamous 14 words.
On Wednesday, Hill spoke at a U.N. event honoring the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and made two despicable statements. First, he at length defended violent Palestinian resistance against Israel. He condemned romanticizing or fetishizing peace, scorned the politics of “respectability,” and compared Palestinian resistance to slave rebellions. He added that while “we must promote non-violence at every opportunity” he could not “endorse narrow politics that shames Palestinians for resisting, for refusing to do nothing in ethnic cleansing.”
This is important context for his second statement, an explicit call for a “free Palestine from the river to the sea.” In other words, he called for violence with an explicit anti-Semitic goal — the physical destruction of the Jewish state of Israel.
Why do I compare this statement to the white supremacist’s 14 words? (For those who are blessedly ignorant of white-supremacist propaganda, the 14 words are “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”) Because of content and context. The content is plain enough. “Palestine” is not Israel and Israel is not Palestine. Any two-state solution would not result in a Palestine “from the river to the sea.” He is expressing a desire for a one-state solution, and that state is not Israel. A free Palestine in that context means the destruction of the Jewish state. Full stop.
Mediaite reported first on Thursday that Hill had been dismissed, quoting a CNN spokesman with a one-sentence statement: “Marc Lamont Hill is no longer under contract with CNN.” That same statement went out to multiple other outlets, although it was unclear at first when he had been dropped—an IQ Media search showed he hadn’t been on the network since September. The Washington Free Beacon confirmed with a separate source that Hill had been terminated that day.
The spokeswoman handling the matter, Barbara Levin, did not return multiple calls and emails on Thursday and Friday asking for elaboration. CNN also did not outright condemn his comments in any statement. The Free Beacon will update the story if it gets responses.
Some labor disputes end with both sides agreeing to remain silent, although it’s unclear if that’s the situation regarding Hill and CNN.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a nonprofit that works to combat global anti-Semitism, praised CNN for its reporting on anti-Semitism in Europe and for terminating Hill, but he said it would be “appropriate and helpful” for CNN to be explicit about what merited the firing.
“The Simon Wiesenthal Center is appreciative that CNN, through its poll and reportage on anti-Semitism, has generated a global focus on history’s oldest hate that will hopefully help to break down the apathy and lack of understanding of the scope that it poses to Jews here in the Americas and Europe,” Cooper told the Free Beacon in a statement.
“We are also grateful that CNN took decisive action in firing Marc Lamont Hill as a commentator after his horrible speech at the United nations,” Cooper continued. “This is one of the few times in recent memory where there has been a price to pay for this kind of behavior. It would be appropriate and important for CNN to add in a sentence or two, linking their decision to Lamont Hill’s extreme anti-Israel/anti-Semitic and pro-terrorist views and rhetoric. It would be appropriate and helpful if CNN would state for the record, if they haven’t already, that he was let go for those reasons.”
Last night on Fox’s “The Ingraham Angle,” Code Pink’s national co-director, Ariel Gold, defended Linda Sarsour, claiming that the Jewish community has “no greater ally” than she.
“You say that Linda Sarsour is an ally of the Jewish people, then why would Jewish Americans like Jonathan Greenblatt— he is the head of the Anti-Defamation League— have a real problem with her statements?” Laura Ingraham asked.
Gold responded by calling it “disgraceful” that Greenblatt is “spending his time going after people who are our real allies. After the attack on Jewish cemeteries, Linda Sarsour raised over $100,000 after the Pittsburgh massacre, she raised over $200,000.”
“We have no greater ally in the Jewish community in this time where anti-Semitism is dangerously on the rise than Linda Sarsour,” Gold said.
Gold went on to accuse the ADL of being on a “witch hunt” against Sarsour because she is a “strong, Palestinian, Muslim woman,” instead of “dealing with the fact that we have white nationalism in the Senate, in the House, and in the White House.”
Laughing, Ingraham asked her to clarify.
“Name three white nationalist Senators,” Ingraham said.
“What about Shaun King?” Gold responded.
“Why is he a white nationalist? In the U.S. Senate? Shaun King?”
“In the House,” Gold clarified.
“He is an activist for Black Lives Matter,” Ingraham responded.
“Sorry I might be referring to…”
“That’s all right,” Ingraham responded.
Gold later clarified that she was referring to Representative Steve King (R-IA).
Gold also went on to defend Marc Lamont Hill, who was recently fired from CNN for implying Israel should be eliminated when he used the slogan “free Palestine from the river to the sea,” which is commonly used by Hamas and other terrorist organizations that call for the elimination of the state of Israel.
“Marc Lamont Hill was clear that what he was discussing is that Palestinians deserve freedom, equality, and justice, just as Israelis do,” Gold said.
Ingraham asked, “Why is he hanging out with Farrakhan, would you hang out with Farrakhan?”
Code Pink Activist makes a fool out of herself on LIVE TV – 11/29/18
US Vice President Mike Pence said the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel has “no place” in the US market, and cited Airbnb’s delisting of West Bank Jewish settlements as an example of the movement.
“In the wake of Airbnb’s decision to ban Jewish homes in Jerusalem and the West Bank, we made it clear, the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is wrong and it has no place in the free enterprise of the United States of America,” Pence said at the annual conference of the Israeli American Council, taking place this year in southern Florida.
Pence did not explain what specifically the Trump administration had done to “make it clear” BDS was unwelcome in the United States. As Indiana governor from 2013-2017 Pence was among the first to sign a law banning state cooperation with businesses that boycott Israel. There are similar bills under consideration federally; Pence may have been signaling administration support for the legislation.
Airbnb still lists dwellings within Israel’s 1967 borders.
Pence, long a pro-Israel leader dating back to his days in Congress, got multiple standing ovations during the conference and repeatedly said — to applause — that Donald Trump is the most pro-Israel president ever.
“It’s a great pleasure to serve with a man who has made the alliance between America and Israel stronger than ever before, President Trump,” he said.
The left-wing lobbying organization J Street has denounced the “irresponsible smears” and calls for punitive action against booking website Airbnb for delisting rental properties in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
“These attacks, falsely charging Airbnb with ‘anti-semitism,’ ‘discrimination,’ and ‘boycotting Israel,’ do not promote the best interests of Israel and the Jewish people, but rather serve to aid the interests of the settlement movement,” J street said in a statement Thursday.
The announcement in November by Airbnb has been condemned by Israeli and American politicians, as well as by US Jewish groups, with accusations of anti-Semitism being leveled against the company for allegedly singling out Israel.
But J Street accused Israeli officials, who have said Airbnb’s decision is an example of anti-Semitism, of “grossly abusing that term,” adding that they were “diminishing the very real threat of rising, deadly anti-Semitism in this country and around the world.”
“Whether or not one agrees with Airbnb’s decision, it should be clear that it is rooted in concern over the ongoing occupation, settlements and the treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank — and not about opposition to Israel, Israelis or the Jewish people,” the group said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday hailed George H.W. Bush for his efforts to boost Israeli security and for helping Jews immigrate from the Soviet Union, following the death of the 41st president of the United States.
“The people of Israel will always remember his commitment to Israel’s security, his important contribution to the liberation of Soviet Jewry and his efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East at the Madrid Conference,” Netanyahu said in a statement after the end of the Jewish sabbath.
Netanyahu also remembered Bush as a “great American patriot” and praised his “wise leadership” at the end of the Cold War, which “helped steer the world to a peaceful transition and the spread of democracy.”
President Reuven Rivlin also issued a statement on Saturday evening, praising Bush for his help in bringing Ethiopian Jews to Israel and for his “determination to ensure the Arab world recognize the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security.”
“We have lost an American hero, George HW Bush, who fought in the killing fields of the Second World War, who knew to distinguish between good and evil and how to build strong regional coalitions against cruel tyrants,” the president said.
“The Jewish people will always remember his help in bringing the Jews of Ethiopia to Israel and his determination to ensure the Arab world recognize the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security.
“Personally and on behalf of the people of Israel, my deepest condolences to President George W Bush, a true friend of Israel, to Jeb, Neil, Marvin and Doro and their families. May his memory be for a blessing,” read Rivlin’s statement.
The Bush presidency was marked by tensions both with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and the American Jewish leadership.
In 1991, Bush lashed out at pro-Israel activists who had flooded Congress in response to the president’s reluctance to approve loan guarantees requested by Israel to help absorb hundreds of thousands of Jews from the just-collapsed Soviet Union.
Bush called himself “one lonely guy” battling “a thousand lobbyists on the Hill.” Jewish leaders saw the insinuation that the pro-Israel community was possessed of a power sinister enough to unsettle the leader of the free world as borderline anti-Semitic. The “one lonely guy” comment haunted Bush thereafter, with even Republican Jews apt to use the first Bush presidency as a signifier of how far they had traveled in attracting Jewish support.
Yet, that was hardly the whole story. Less remembered was how, as Ronald Reagan’s vice president, Bush quietly helped engineer some of the pivotal moments in the effort to bring Jews out of the former Soviet Union, Ethiopia and Syria.
“When you add up the Jews he saved, he will be a great tzaddik,” Abraham Foxman, the Anti-Defamation League’s former national director, said in 2013, using the Hebrew word for “righteous man.”
Bush was deeply involved in foreign policy as vice president, and Jewish leaders said he helped orchestrate the dramatic seder hosted by Secretary of State George Schultz at the American embassy in Moscow in 1987.
The UN General Assembly will vote Thursday on a US-drafted resolution that would condemn the Palestinian Hamas terror movement, a measure championed by US Ambassador Nikki Haley.
The United States won crucial backing from the European Union for the draft resolution that condemns the firing by Hamas of rockets into Israel and demands an end to the violence.
If adopted, it would mark the first time that the assembly has taken aim at Hamas, the Islamist terrorist group that has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007.
All 28 EU countries agreed to support the measure after the United States included a mention of relevant UN resolutions in a text that does not, however, refer to the two-state solution.
Nikki Haley speaks at a UN Security Council Meeting on the Middle East on November 19, 2018 (Courtesy)
In a statement, the US mission to the United Nations said it had hoped to put the draft resolution to a vote on Monday but that the Palestinians had pushed for a delay until Thursday.
“The issue before the United Nations on Thursday is not whether it supports one form or another of a Middle East peace plan,” the US mission said.
“Each country will be asked to vote for or against the activities of Hamas, along with other militant groups like Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”
“If the UN cannot bring itself to adopt this resolution, then it has no business being involved in peace discussions,” it added.
The Palestinian Authority on Saturday accused US presidential envoy Jason Greenblatt of promoting the ideas and positions of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The PA denounced Greenblatt as an “arrogant colonist” and an “ally of settlements.”
The PA’s renewed attack on Greenblatt came in response to an article he published in the Palestinian daily Al-Quds.
The PA leadership has been boycotting Greenblatt and other US administration officials since December 2017, when President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“Palestinians deserve more from their leadership than political statements and bargaining positions,” Greenblatt, who serves as Trump’s Special Representative for International Negotiations, wrote. “While waiting for a possible political solution, it is high time to build the Palestinian economy and provide Palestinians with the opportunities they deserve.”
Greenblatt accused Palestinian leaders of preventing their people from “getting too comfortable.” These leaders, he said, “believe that if Palestinians get too comfortable economically, they would lost interest in the Palestinian cause. And so, year after year, Palestinians suffer and are unable to live comfortable lives.”
Hamas leader Ismael Haniyyeh was slated to arrive in Russia on Thursday, as the Kremlin seems to be wading into the Palestinian political foray that traditionally has been the diplomatic turf of the United States. This comes after Nabil Sha’ath, a senior adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and Hussein al-Sheikh, a member of the Central Committee of Abbas’ ruling Fatah faction who is responsible for overseeing reconciliation talks with rival Hamas, held discussions this week with officials in Moscow.
“There is a Russian effort to work on creating Palestinian unity, especially after the negative news that was published suggesting that a meeting held in Cairo was not fruitful,” Sha’ath related to The Media Line from the Russian capital.
“A Hamas delegation led by Haniyyeh will be visiting,” he continued, “but Fatah representatives will not meet with them directly and will instead travel to Rome, where President Abbas will be.” The Palestinians have been internally divided since Hamas ousted Fatah from the Gaza Strip in a 2007 internecine war, with numerous subsequent reconciliation efforts having failed to bridge the gaps. Russia has in the past hosted several rounds of these talks, and it appears that the groundwork is being laid for another go.
Additionally, Russian President Vladimir Putin repeatedly has offered to host a peace summit to bring Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table, a subject undoubtedly broached with the PA officials. In fact, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterated just last week that Moscow is willing to mediate between the sides, adding that regional stability would remain elusive until the conflict was resolved.
Russia has completed a comprehensive air defense system in Syria that constrains the United States’ ability to operate in the country and in the eastern Mediterranean, according to a new report published by the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War.
The report paints a stark picture of increasing Russian entrenchment in Syria as Putin and the west have squared off in recent days over naval confrontations in Ukraine.
The Russian moves include the deployment of S-300 and S-400 missiles and other weapons systems as well as electronic warfare capabilities in Syria. Underlying the Kremlin’s efforts, the report claims, is a wider push to force American troops to withdraw from Syria.
The Syrian deployments will also severely limit Israel’s ability to launch strikes against Iranian forces in the country. Syrian media claimed that Israel targeted Iranian-backed militias in al-Kiswah south of the capital of Damascus, some 50 kilometers from the border with Israel, on Thursday evening.
“The US and Israel both must be prepared to suppress a larger number of air defense systems and use more expensive stealth aircraft such as the F-35 in Syria,” the ISW’s report said.
Evidence emerging from southwest Syria indicates that the Assad regime has begun to settle accounts with former rebels who worked with Israel and with Western countries during the years that this area was outside of regime control.
A number of prominent former rebel commanders in Deraa and Quneitra provinces have recently disappeared after being apprehended by regime forces. Other former rebels have been prevented from leaving the area for opposition-controlled Idlib province in the country’s northeast.
The regime’s measures against those it deems unfit for “reconciliation” are continuing parallel to the integration of rank-and-file former rebels into the regime’s security structures.
What is returning to Syria’s south, however, is not the status quo antebellum. Iran and its allies have a central role in the emergent power structure. Indeed, the emergent reality is one in which it is difficult to discern where precisely the Syrian state ends and Iran and its allies begin. Syria’s southwest, which was the cradle of the uprising against Assad, is now being transformed into the birthplace of a new Syria, in which Iran and its allies form a vital and inseparable component.
Syria on Friday sent the UN Security Council complaints over Thursday’s air strikes attributed to Israel that targeted an area home to military bases south of Damascus.
Syria’s Foreign Ministry said in its letter that such “aggression” aims to prolong the Syrian crisis, according to The Associated Press.
The complaints also referred to strikes against Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists in Syria by the US-led coalition that claimed civilian lives. The coalition offensive, which began in September, aims to drive ISIS from their last pocket along the Syrian-Iraqi border.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry said the attacks are “a direct consequence of the US’s lack of respect to international law and human values, in line with the targets of Israeli aggression.”
“We ask the UN Security Council to act in order to immediately put an end to this aggression,” it added.
The Hezbollah terror group on Friday issued a warning video to Israel apparently filled with satellite images and precise map locations of strategic sites in the Jewish state, with a message: “Attack and you will regret it.”
The video was posted after an alleged Israeli airstrike on Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria the night before.
The video, with Hebrew subtitles, opened with scenes of Hezbollah fighters preparing to launch rockets and leader Hassan Nasrallah warning that the Lebanese terror group would respond to any attack on Lebanon.
In recent years, Israel has acknowledged conducting hundreds of airstrikes in Syria, which it says are aimed at both preventing Iran from establishing a permanent military presence in Syria and blocking the transfer of advanced munitions to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Israel has designated these two issues as “red lines” that it will take military action to prevent.
But it has not attacked Lebanon, even though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu disclosed the locations of missile sites near Beirut during his address to the United Nations earlier this year.
Reports in recent days have indicated that Iran is now flying weapons for Hezbollah directly to Beirut rather than via Syria.
The Palestinian Authority does not rule out the possibility that Israel will storm the prison where an American-Palestinian is being held on suspicion of involvement in a real estate transaction with Israeli Jews, Adnan Damiri, spokesman for the PA security forces, said on Saturday.
The Jerusalem Post revealed that the man, Issam Akel, a resident of east Jerusalem with US citizenship, was arrested by the PA security forces two months ago. He is suspected of acting as a solicitor in the sale of a house in the Old City of Jerusalem to an Israeli Jewish organization.
Last week, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman called for the release of Akel.
“The Palestinian Authority has been holding US citizen Issam Akel in prison for two months,” Friedman said on Twitter. “His suspected ‘crime?’ Selling land to a Jew. Akel’s incarceration is antithetical to the values of the US and to all who advocate the cause of peaceful coexistence. We demand his immediate release.”
An incident in 2016, when Pakistan’s defense minister threatened Israel with nuclear attack in the wake of what turned out to be a fake news story, has been revealed to be just one small instance of an Iran-based global disinformation campaign that has been running for six years and has included dozens of news and media outlets.
According to an extensive Reuters investigation published Friday, over 70 news sites have been spreading disinformation and pushing a pro-Tehran narrative in 15 countries, as part of a widespread and sophisticated online campaign to influence public option all over the world.
The investigation directly tied the sites to Iran, but not to the Iranian government itself. “They look like normal news and media outlets, but only a couple disclose any Iranian ties,” Reuters noted. “They have published in 16 different languages, from Azerbaijani to Urdu.”
According to the Reuters piece, headlined “How Iran spreads disinformation around the world,” the Iran-linked news and media sites it uncovered draw more than half a million visitors a month, and are served by social media accounts with over a million followers.
It said journalists, cybersecurity experts and social media firms are only now starting to uncover the scope of the Iranian influence campaign. The report revealed a number of news sites targeting audiences across the Middle East and North Africa with pro-Iranian propaganda, often times alongside authentic news stories, some dating back to 2012.
The Reuters investigation established that the news agency called “Another Western Dawn,” which duped the Pakistani defense minister into issuing a nuclear threat against Israel in December 2016, is linked to Iran.
In a November 2018 press release, the organization Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) urged Israeli and Palestinian authorities to “facilitate the treatment of patients in Gaza and abroad,” after months of clashes along the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel left many Palestinian rioters injured.
“What is required now is for the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to do all they can to facilitate the free access and work of all health care providers in Gaza that are trying to build the advanced capacity to care for these people; for other countries in the region and around the globe to step forward and offer funding and space in their hospitals where advanced surgical capacity exists; and for authorities in Palestine and Israel to facilitate the transfer of these patients abroad,” said MSF’s representative in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The French wire agency Agence France Presse straightforwardly reported on the MSF’s statement — at least in its French-language coverage, which made clear that MSF “calls on Israeli and Palestinian authorities to facilitate … the transfer of injured people out of the enclave under blockade when necessary.” In the English copy of AFP’s story, though, MSF’s appeal to Palestinian authorities was inexplicably missing. “The NGO called on Israel to allow those injured out of the blockaded strip for necessary treatment and for governments to offer their medical facilities for the wounded,” AFP reported.
HonestReporting: Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: Hyperbole, Lies and Half-Truths
British commentator Yasmin Alibhai-Brown has a reputation for publishing anti-Israel screeds dating back over many years. So it isn’t unexpected to find the usual litany of lies, half-truths and hatred in her latest piece that appears in i News.
According to Alibhai-Brown:
Over the centuries, various holy land sites have been sacred to all three Abrahamic faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Jewish believers believe these were promised to them by Abraham, and for Muslims, Jerusalem is where Prophet Mohammed was sent glorious dreams and despatches from Allah. For centuries the three faiths were able to coexist in peace. Not any longer.
Why is the Jewish claim to the land a religious ‘belief’ while Islamic links to the holy land are referred to as factual?
In any case, Jewish links to the region in a purely religious context ignores (most likely deliberately) 3,500 years of Jewish nationhood that goes far beyond Judaism as just a religion.
And what history books has Alibhai-Brown been reading? Apparently none if she believes that “the three faiths were able to coexist in peace” for centuries, ignoring the fact that she is talking about one of the most fought-over pieces of real estate in the world.
Leaving aside the issue of Sackur’s style of interviewing, it is perfectly obvious that his aim in this programme was not to provide BBC audiences with insight into the context to the defence minister’s resignation, not to explain the differences between the approaches of different Israeli politicians to the 17 year long plight of Israeli civilians living under the shadow of terrorism that includes attacks using military grade projectiles and not to answer the questions posed in its own synopsis:
“What’s behind the chaos in Israeli politics? Are the right wing factions putting their own interests before those of the nation?”
Rather – as usual – Sackur was intent on promoting his own agenda: in this case primarily to focus audience attentions on civilian suffering in Gaza and allegedly ‘disproportionate’ Israeli actions. In promoting that agenda, Sackur tossed accuracy and impartiality out of the window, citing dubious casualty ratios, promoting the notion of a non-existent ‘siege’, distorting unemployment figures and falsely claiming that Israel’s actions have brought about power and potable water shortages.
So much for the BBC’s obligation to provide audiences with “accurate and impartial news, current affairs and factual programming of the highest editorial standards…”
Both those entries fail to inform BBC audiences that the recommendation for partition was rejected outright by the Arab States as well as the Arab Higher Committee. The BBC’s portrayals make no mention of the fact that immediately following those rejections, Arab rioting ensued and Arab forces launched what the UN described at the time as “armed incursions” into what was then still Mandate Palestine.
The omission of the fact that hostilities – and with them, displacement of civilians – had in fact begun five and a half months prior to Israel’s declaration of independence is all the more significant because entries that follow in both those timelines tell BBC audiences that “[t]housands of Palestinians were forced out or fled from their homes in the war that followed Israel’s independence”.
As our CAMERA colleague Gilead Ini has noted, the displacement of Palestinian Arabs did not take place – as the BBC would have its audiences believe – only after Israel declared independence on May 14th 1948.
“Most broadly, the Arab flight can be divided into two time periods corresponding with the two major phases of fighting. Roughly half of those fleeing did so between November 1947 (when Palestinian Arabs responded to the United Nations partition recommendation with anti-Jewish violence) and May 1948 (when the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon invaded Palestine). During this period, the conflict more closely resembled a civil war, with Palestinian Jews battling Palestinian Arabs and several thousand Arab militiamen. A second phase of the fighting and flight occurred after May 1948, when neighboring Arab armies initiated the conventional phase of the war by joining in the fighting on the side of the Palestinians.”
In other words, the BBC continues to airbrush the fact that the displacement of Palestinians came about after Arab leaders elected – at their own admittance – to launch hostilities.
On November 19th the latest amendments were made to the timeline included in the BBC News website’s Israel profile.
There are currently two entries for 2018, with the first one reading as follows:
“2018 July-November – UN and Egypt attempt to broker a long-term ceasefire between Israel and Hamas amid an upsurge in violence on the Gaza border from March.”
The fact that the “upsurge in violence on the Gaza border” – i.e. the ‘Great Return March’ – was initiated, organised and facilitated by Gaza Strip based terror factions is apparently not considered a ‘key fact’ by the BBC.
The second entry for 2018 misspells the first name of the former Minister of Defence.
“I will tell you a story,” volunteered Father Patrick Desbois, during a conversation with The Algemeiner on Thursday morning. “Twenty five years ago, I was in Poland, speaking to a high-level Catholic functionary, and he said to me, ‘Hitler made a mistake.’ I asked him what this mistake was, and he told me, ‘Hitler built Auschwitz.’ And why was that a mistake? He said, ‘because the Jews came back. They never came back when they were executed in the forests.’”
As brutal as that comment must have sounded, it made sense to Fr. Desbois. For the last fifteen years, the French Catholic priest — a former director of the French Bishops’ Committee for Catholic-Jewish Relations and now a professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Jewish Civilization — has devoted his life to identifying the mass graves of Jews murdered by Nazi mobile killing squads across occupied eastern Europe. What Desbois calls the “Holocaust by bullets” — the execution by shooting of up to 2 million victims of the Nazi extermination program — is also, he said, a “paradigm” for understanding the nature of antisemitic hatred today.
An individual that has studied the Holocaust in the depth that Desbois has doesn’t make such an observation lightly. “For me, the Holocaust by bullets was Pittsburgh every day,” Desbois remarked, in a reference to the Oct. 27 massacre of 11 Jews at the Tree of Life Synagogue. “As well, people are ready to die in order to kill Jews today. They are ready to die or to be in jail, they don’t care. They think they are super-heroes.”
That was certainly the case with Pittsburgh shooter Robert Bowers, who expressed satisfaction with his murder spree after being taken alive by police. As for dying oneself while in the act of killing Jews with bullets, Desbois noted that this option was chosen by Islamist shooters in his native France — Mohammed Merah, whose victims in Toulouse in March 2012 included a Jewish school principal and his two small children along with a third child, and Amedy Coulibaly, who executed four Jewish hostages during the Jan. 2015 siege at a kosher supermarket in Paris.
When Danny Weissberg’s grandmother was overcome by a stroke 10 years ago, she lost the ability to speak intelligibly, and their family lost the primary way to communicate with its matriarch.
In the wake of his grandmother’s sudden impairment, the young engineer resolved he’d find a way to help.
The result is Voiceitt, a Tel Aviv-based startup that has developed deep learning, signal processing and customizable speech recognition technologies to provide a synthesized voice for those whose speech has been garbled.
The beneficiaries won’t just be Weissberg’s grandmother, of course. Each year, millions of people have their speech impaired due to strokes and aneurysms, diseases such as cerebral palsy and Parkinson’s, brain injuries from accidents, and other medical conditions.
Earlier this month, the 16 employee-strong company was one of eight finalists in NVIDIA’s GTC Israel Inception awards competition to find the country’s best AI startup. The same week, it won a $1.5 million grant from VentureClash, a global venture competition backed by the state of Connecticut.
Voiceitt’s first product is a mobile app that converts non-standard language into readily understood speech. It’s already in beta testing with more than 200 users in four different languages.
Everyone loves ingenious devices that help us do things more easily or in a more fun way. Ahead of December gift-giving season (Hanukkah starts the night of December 2 this year!) consider putting some of these Israeli inventions on your shopping list.
6. Lishtot TestDrop Pro
This reusable keychain device made TIME magazine’s 2018 Genius Companies list. In less than two seconds, it will let you know – via a green or red light – if your tap, bottled or natural drinking water is safe.
Lishtot (Hebrew for “to drink”) uses patented sensor technology for detecting contaminants like E. coli, lead, PFOA, arsenic, mercury, copper, chlorine, and protein. You can Bluetooth the data to the Lishtot app to see how your different water sources compare.
9. Pulse Play Smartwatch ($129)
This wearable for racket sports was the brainchild of Israeli former professional tennis player Andy Ram. Using a unique machine-learning algorithm, Pulse Play offers complete game history, global ranking system, live scorekeeping announcements, a social community, and opponent matching. There are gamification elements as well. The general goal is to provide amateur players with an active worldwide community.
Countless words have been written about hell. Usually descriptions include pits of fire and malevolent fallen angels who have their way with the damned souls. But when Ricky Yaakobi, 81, describes the hell she endured as a child during World War II in Greece, she describes a place full of benevolent souls.
“Every time the Germans raided the village, the partisans would ring the church bells and send one of the local kids to take us to a cave in the mountains. The kids would cover the mouth of the cave with branches so that we wouldn’t be discovered. I don’t remember it as being traumatic. I don’t remember being afraid. I only remember the piece of sky that I could see between the branches,” she says.
It is 2 p.m. in Kryoneri, a small village in Corinthia, Greece. Today, 74 years after Greece was liberated from the Nazis, two people are being honored posthumously with the title of Righteous Among the Nations, reserved for non-Jews who helped rescue Jews in World War II.
One of them is Father Nikolaos Athanasoulis, who saved the lives of Ricky Yaakobi and her family. The other is Athanasios Dimopoulos, who hid the family in his home. The honor was being accepted on their behalf by nine of their descendants.
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