January 25, 2022

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12/15 Links: Douglas Murray: Why are Jewish people ‘wandering’ again?; Australia recognizes West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; Bar Refaeli to Co-Host Eurovision 2019 in Tel Aviv


From Ian:

Douglas Murray: Why are Jewish people ‘wandering’ again?
Like many other Jews, it is the discovery that anti-Semitism has crept up on them from the political Left that is one of the propelling factors for such a move. It is one of the cruellest ironies of our day that the place of last resort for Jews worldwide should have become the primary focus of hatred by people who – among other things – like to think of themselves as ‘progressive’ and on the side of minority groups.

However, the most heart-breaking comment – which should be widely heard across Britain and Europe – is what Lewis said as he arrived in Israel. “We’re a wandering people, and it’s time to wander again,” he said. “People just don’t want to see it.” He also knows other people considering the same path.

Perhaps they will see it in due course. One of the most haunting phrases in fiction in recent years is the moment in Michel Houellebecq’s novel Submission in which the French law professor learns that his student, and lover (who is Jewish) is planning to leave France and go to Israel to live. As she mentions it, Houellebecq’s character reflects that “I don’t have an Israel”.

To that haunting phrase of Houellebecq’s invention can now be added Lewis’s terrible one. There are many things that people can say are emblematic of an era. But that statement, “It’s time to wander again”, is as sobering and disturbing a phrase as I have heard. With implications that go deep as well as wide.

Whether words mean anything in the current era (where they often seem to mean whatever anyone wants them to) is one matter. Whether actions count for much in an era deluged by unprecedented noise and images, is another. But it seems to me that the words and actions last week of this one Jewish man and his partner should count for something. And should be thought upon by anybody who still cares to think.

Melanie Phillips: Is the State of Israel supping with the devil

The visit to Israel this week by Italian deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini has provoked criticism and dismay within the Jewish world.

Salvini, who heads Italy’s right-wing “populist” Lega party, is controversial because of his anti-immigration stance.

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin declined to meet him, citing “scheduling issues.” Rivlin’s view of political parties such as Lega were made clear, however, when he told CNN that the whole world needed to work against xenophobia, discrimination and antisemitism.

“There are neo-fascist movements today that have considerable and very dangerous influence, and sometimes they also express their strong support for the State of Israel,” he said.

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, would seem to disagree. Indeed, he has gone out of his way to embrace leaders who, although some insist they are just conservative nationalists, are described by others as neo-fascists.

Among such politicians are Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orbán, who has introduced what he calls an “illiberal democracy”; the Austrian chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, who heads a coalition including a party whose first two leaders were former SS officers; the Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, who supports extra-judicial killing for drug-users and other criminals; and the new president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, who opposes just about everything on the progressive agenda.

So what’s going on? Well obviously, Israel needs all the friends it can get. Its overarching goal is to ensure its survival. If it were too fastidious about its allies, it would place itself in far greater danger.

Netanyahu’s calculation is that the new “populist” parties, which overwhelmingly support Israel, can be encouraged to shatter the monolithic animosity against it in both the European Union and the United Nations.

Moreover, when it comes to supporting Israel, these “authoritarian” leaders are putting liberal Western Europe to shame.

MEMRI: Former Hamas Leader Khaled Mashal Calls For West Bank ‘Guerrilla Warfare,’ States: ‘I Resist, Therefore I Am’

Former chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau Khaled Mashal said that resistance is the basis of day-to-day life for people under occupation, and that just as people say “I think, therefore I am,” the Palestinians say: “I resist, therefore I am.” Explaining that the abandonment of Jihad leads to humiliation and death, Mashal said that resistance is the pinnacle of life. He criticized Fatah for not engaging in “resistance” and added: “The West Bank, which spans over 5,600 square kilometers, and which has mountains and valleys… has everything necessary for guerrilla warfare.” Mashal’s comments aired on Al-Jazeera Network (Qatar) on December 2, 2018.

To view the clip of Khaled Mashal on MEMRI TV, click here or below.

“The Quran Goes Even Further Than That By Defining Jihad, Resistance, And Self-Defense As The Essence Of Life”

Khaled Mashal: “For peoples under occupation, resistance is the natural way of life. It is the basis of day-to-day life. This is because it is inconceivable that we live under daily suffering and all of its implications under occupation, without living our daily lives with the resistance. It is the natural and reciprocal response. Just like they say: ‘I think, therefore I am, as Palestinians and as a great nation that is creative when it comes to resisting, we say: ‘I resist, therefore I am.’

“The Quran goes even further than that by defining Jihad, resistance, and self-defense as the essence of life. ‘Oh you who believe, respond to Allah and to the Messenger, when he calls you to that which gives you life.’ Indeed, this is the case. The abandonment of Jihad leads to humiliation and death. Hence, resistance is the pinnacle of life. A person who lives under occupation, and who does not resist, is in fact dead.

“A country cannot be liberated and rights cannot be restored without resistance. It is not possible. Without resistance, the occupation cannot be defeated or forced to retreat. Every means of power must be put to use.

“[The West Bank] Has Everything Necessary For Guerilla Warfare – Why Are We Not Preparing For That?”

Australia recognizes West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Australia on Saturday officially recognized West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, but a contentious embassy shift from Tel Aviv will not occur until a peace settlement is achieved.

“The Australian government has decided that Australia now recognizes West Jerusalem, as the seat of the Knesset and many of the institutions of government, is the capital of Israel,” he said.

He said the decision respects both a commitment to a two-state solution and longstanding respect for relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

Morrison also committed to recognizing the aspirations for a future state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital when the city’s status is determined in a peace deal.

While the embassy move is delayed, Morrison said his government will establish a defense and trade office in Jerusalem and will also start looking for an appropriate site for the embassy.

“We look forward to moving our embassy to West Jerusalem when practical, in support of and after final status of determination,” he said, adding that work on a new site for the embassy was under way.

Israel said ‘disappointed’ by Australia’s recognition of West Jerusalem only

Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday evening issued a positive yet decidedly tempered response to Australia’s decision to recognize West Jerusalem as the nation’s capital.

In a short statement, the ministry — which, due to the lack of a foreign minister, is directly under the authority of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — did not comment on the recognition itself, but called Canberra’s decision to open a defense and trade office in Jerusalem “a step in the right direction.”

It also welcomed Australia’s stance on “sanctions against Iran and its steadfast position in support of Israel at the UN and against anti-Semitism.”

Meanwhile a senior Israeli official told Hebrew media anonymously that Israel was disappointed by Australia’s decision to stress that its recognition only pertained to West Jerusalem.

“We’re disappointed with the Australian decision…Morrison only went half-way. It’s a step in the right direction, but we expected more,” the official said.

Unlike the US last December, Australia did not recognize all of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It also stopped short of announcing a relocation of its embassy from Tel Aviv, saying it would only do so after a peace accord is achieved with the Palestinians.

Executive Council of Australian Jewry: ECAJ welcomes the Government recognition of West Jerusalem as Capital of Israel..

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), the peak representative body of the Australian Jewish community, has welcomed the Australian government’s ground-breaking announcement that

“Australia now recognises West Jerusalem, as the seat of the Knesset and many of the institutions of government, is the capital of Israel.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the announcement at a speech at the Sydney Institute today.

In a joint statement made by ECAJ President Anton Block and CEOs, Peter Wertheim and Alex Ryvchin, the ECAJ praised the announcement as “a simple acknowledgement of a reality that has existed since 1950. The Prime Minister deserves credit for resisting pressure from many quarters against taking even this modest step”.

“Recognising that Israel’s seat of government is located in the western part of the city, which is incontestably sovereign Israeli territory, does not in any way impact upon or pre-judge the future status of the contested eastern and other parts of the city captured by Israel in 1967”, they said.

“The Prime Minister noted that Jerusalem’s ultimate status, including its borders and boundaries, is a final status issue to be resolved between the parties”, they added. “This is a pointed rejection of the Palestinian demand that its claim to the whole of eastern Jerusalem must be accepted up front, as was the Prime Minister’s statement that Australia expects the capital of a future Palestinian state to be located ‘in’ east Jerusalem. This leaves open the possibility that the predominantly Jewish neighbourhoods located in east Jerusalem can become a part of Israel in any negotiated settlement”.

“Australia is a respected regional power which has good relations with both Israel and the Palestinians”, the ECAJ said. “The Australian government’s announcement sends a message to Palestinian leaders that their unilateralist approach, seeking to prise concessions out of Israel without any quid pro quo, through the UN and its agencies and via the BDS campaign, is rejected by reasonable people, and has had the opposite results to those the Palestinians had intended. It’s a failed strategy, and the Palestinians need to return to the negotiating table. There is no other way to achieve a Palestinian State that will be viable, and a just and lasting peace based on the principle of two States for two peoples”.

Palestinians accuse Australian PM of ‘bribing Zionist lobby’

Palestinian officials on Saturday condemned the Australian government’s decision to recognize west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and called the move an “irresponsible policy that contradicts world peace and security.”

PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat said that the Palestinians perceive the decision “as one wherein petty domestic policies steer irresponsible policies that contradict world peace and security.” The reference to West Jerusalem in their announcement reflects Australis’a inability to go ahead as was previously announced.”

Erekat noted that in his announcement, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison mentions that the decision was made in light of alleged Australian support for the two-sate solution. “However, the policies of this Australian administration have done nothing to advance the two-step solution,” Erekat charged. “In fact, Australia has chosen to join [US President Donald] Trump, [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, and two other governments, in voting against the two-state solution, in a UN resolution supported by 165 nations. Additionally, the Australian government is refusing to recognize Palestine as a state, voting in international forums against the Palestinian right to self-determination, and continuing to trade with Israeli settlements.”

Erekat said that “all of Jerusalem remains a final status issue for negotiations, while East Jerusalem, under international law, is. An integral part of the occupied Palestinian territory.” Australia’s announcement that it will open a trade office in Jerusalem, he added, “negates its very claim that it abides by UN Security Council Resolution 478, which refers to Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem as null and void and calls upon countries to withdraw diplomatic missions from the city.”

PA Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki said in a statement that he “rejects and condemns” the Australian decision. The decision, he said, “does not absolve the Australian government of its complete contradiction with the references of the peace process, which are based on international law that considers East Jerusalem as an occupied Palestinian territory, and that any recognition of West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital must be accompanied by recognition of East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.”

Malki accused the Australian government of “total bias” towards Israel. He also accused the Australian prime minister of seeking to “appease the Zionist lobby” in Australia. The Palestinians, he added, will study their future steps in response to the Australian decision in coordination with the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which consists of 57 member states.

Is Islamic anti-Zionism comparable to Nazi anti-Semitism?

Many educated people believe that anti-Semitism is a regrettable, yet altogether recent phenomenon in the Muslim World. In their Islamophile view of history, Jews and Muslims lived peacefully together until Zionism ruined their idyllic coexistence.

This argument implies that Jews are to blame for anti-Semitism in the Muslim World. The corollary of this position being that the onus of restoring peace to the Middle East rests on Jews.

That prior to 1948, the Muslim World tended to be somewhat less inhospitable to Jews than Europe, is correct. Nevertheless, to extrapolate from this truism that Islamic tolerance was the forerunner of modern liberal democracies’ respect of religious minorities is an insult to the Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, Alevites, Armenians, Yazidis and other religious minorities massacred in the name of Islam.

The establishment of the State of Israel has fueled a Jew-hatred in the Islamic World only comparable to that of Nazi Germany. The fact Hamas would rather starve the children of Gaza than coexist with a Jewish neighbor epitomizes the degree to which Jew-hatred is a paramount value in the contemporary Islamic World.

The viciousness of this hatred is often hard to fathom unless one takes the time and effort to view the pages of Prophet Mohammed’s followers on social media. Claims that Jews are the driving force behind ISIS, that Jewish bankers are to blame for the misery of Muslim countries and that Israelis treat Palestinians worse than Nazis treated Jews, interlace the posts of people who are far from being religious extremists.

Jihadist Psychopath: How he is charming, seducing, and devouring us

On the North West Frontier and soon again in Sudan, Churchill saw “Islamic fundamentalism up close…It was not unlike the political fanaticism that he was to encounter forty years later. None of the three British Prime Ministers of the 1930s… had ever personally encountered such extremism in their personal lives and they were tragically slow to discern the nature of Nazi ideology. Churchill had fought against fanaticism in his youth and recognized its salient features earlier than anyone else.”

Author Jamie Glazov was born in Soviet Russia to dissident parents who published and circulated “samizdat.” Glazov himself obtained a Ph.D in history and he has a similarly keen and Churchillian sense of the overwhelming and imminent danger posed by totalitarianism and fanaticism—and therefore by Islamic Jihad. In his new book Jihadist Psychopath: How He is Charming, Seducing, and Devouring Us, Glazov clearly and powerfully exposes the nature of Islamic Jihad and Jihad Denial in America, which he views, correctly, as a form of psychological suicide.

I am on record having challenged what I’ve called “psychiatric imperialism,” the non-clinical use of clinical diagnoses to explain an entire culture or ideology. However, we are long past that minute before midnight and Glazov’s analogy of a psychopath with a Jihadist achieves an eery resonance. The analogy more or less works.

Although I have been covering Islamic terrorism for the last eighteen years, Glazov’s book still has the power to make my blood boil. He is masterful when he describes well-known Jihad attacks in America that were quickly “spun” as having nothing to do with Islam, or with Muslim terrorist organizations.

The Jihadist who shouted “Allahu Akhbar” and who pledged loyalty to ISIS or who studied with Anwar Al-Awlaki, is always described as a lone, mentally ill, self-radicalized, economically impoverished and racially oppressed man, a one-off, certainly not a new kind of soldier in an old kind of war against the infidel, the apostate, the West, and the “wrong” kind of Muslim.

IDF soldier injured after being stabbed during a fight with Palestinian

A Palestinian stabbed a soldier and hit him in the head with a stone, seriously injuring him, as he stood by an army post on the outskirts of the Beit El settlement on Friday morning.

“A fight broke out between the soldier and the assailant, who stabbed the soldier and struck him with a rock from a short distance. Evidence in the field indicates that the assailant was also injured in the struggle. The incident is still being examined. IDF troops are searching the area,” read a statement released by the IDF’s Spokesperson’s Unit.

The army post is located just outside of the back entrance to Ramallah where the IDF has been operating this week in search of terrorists, with links to Hamas, who have been behind two of the main attacks in the West Bank this week.

The soldier was transferred to a Jerusalem hospital and was in serious condition.

The army said that the soldier and the Palestinian assailant struggled. In the course of that struggle the Palestinian stabbed the soldier and hit him with a stone before fleeing the scene. The soldier was transferred to a Jerusalem hospital and is in critical condition.

“We are in a tense period,” Judea and Samaria Division Brigadier General Eran Niv said on Friday after the attack.

West Bank unrest continued Friday in the aftermath of the Thursday morning attack in which two soldiers were killed and another soldier and a civilian were injured.

Palestinian assailant who seriously wounded soldier turns himself in

A Palestinian man who stabbed an Israeli soldier and hit him in the head with a rock Friday at a West Bank military post, seriously injuring him, turned himself in to Israeli security forces Saturday, Israel’s Shin Bet security agency said.

The agency said the man had surrendered thanks to the “continuous and concerted operational efforts” by the IDF and the Shin Bet in the West Bank over the weekend.

The suspect was taken in for questioning.

The attack occurred at a military post outside the Beit El settlement in the central West Bank.

The Israel Defense Forces said a fight broke out between the two after the Palestinian attacker broke into the military position near Beit El, outside Ramallah, where Israeli forces have been searching for the terrorist who committed a shooting attack on Thursday, killing two soldiers and seriously injuring a third serviceman and a civilian woman.

The assailant stabbed the soldier and struck him with a rock, the army said. He then fled the scene, prompting a manhunt.

The 21-year-old soldier, Naveh Rotem, was taken to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem in serious condition, unconscious and hooked up to a ventilator. Doctors said he was in life-threatening condition.

Amid New Terror Wave in Israel, Top US Jewish Group Calls for Global Condemnation of Palestinian Violence

As Israel faces a new wave of terrorism, a top US Jewish group is calling on the world to denounce Palestinian violence.

Over the past week, three Israelis — including a three-day-old infant — have died and more than a dozen have been wounded as a result of a spate of Palestinian attacks in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (CoP) Chairman Arthur Stark and Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein said in a statement on Friday, “We await the international community’s forceful condemnation of these terrorist outrages against innocent citizens, but we know from past history that it will be, at best, slow in coming, except from the United States.”

“Just last week,” they added, “the members of the United Nations were unable to summon the necessary conviction, decency, and moral clarity to condemn Hamas, an organization which has claimed responsibility for a number of these attacks, which has actively sought the destruction of a sovereign country, and planned and undertaken thousands of terrorist acts targeting civilians over the last 30 years.”

IDF demolishes home of Palestinian who killed elite soldier

The IDF demolished the home of Islam Yousef Abu Hmaid, 32, who has been charged with killing St.-Sgt. Ronen Lubarsky during a raid on May 26, the army’s Spokesperson’s Unit announced Saturday.

During the demolition of the four-story Abu Hmaid family building in Ramallah’s al-Am’ari refugee camp, riots broke out between Palestinians and troops, who responded with riot dispersal methods.

While no casualties reported, 56 Palestinians were injured.

According to reports, IDF troops cordoned off a section of the densely-populated refugee camp for the demolition, evacuating some 400 men, women and children from neighboring homes.

Palestinian News Agency Maan reported IDF forces detonated explosives inside the building at 7 and 9:20 a.m.

The IDF had initially informed the Hamid family that Israel intended to demolish the upper two floors of the building. In September, it was decided all four floors would be destroyed.

Israel’s military noted that the home was erected on a plot where a building was previously demolished in the 1990s following an attack by Hamid’s brother which killed Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) operative Noam Cohen.

PA President Abbas orders reconstruction of house demolished by IDF

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has issued instructions to rebuild the house of the Abu Hmaid family that was demolished by the IDF in the al-Ama’ari refugee camp near Ramallah, Hussein al-Sheikh, member of the Fatah Central Committee, announced on Saturday.

The announcement came shortly after the IDF demolished the four-story building belonging to Islam Yusef Abu Hmaid, a camp resident who threw a marble slab at the head of Staff Sergeant Ronen Lubarsky, who was subsequently killed by the blow.

The PA, Hamas and other Palestinian groups condemned the demolition of the house as a “crime” and urged Palestinians to continue their “resistance” against Israel.

“President Abbas has issued direct instructions to immediately rebuild the house of the Abu Hmaid family in the al-Ama’ari refugee camp,” al-Sheikh told reporters in Ramallah. Abbas will travel to Amman on Sunday for talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah on the latest developments in the West Bank, he said.

Abbas, he added, was conducting intensive regional and international contacts in an effort to stop Israeli “aggression and settler terrorism” against the Palestinians.

“The Palestinian leadership will not stand still in the face of this frenzied onslaught targeting our people, first and foremost the Palestinian leadership because of its rejection of schemes aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause,” al-Sheikh said. He also called on Hamas to “take advantage of this historic phase” to achieve unity among the Palestinians.

PA: Security Coordination with Israel remains despite West Bank violence

Security coordination between the Palestinian Authority and Israel will not be affected by the recent flare-up of violence in the West Bank, an adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas told The Jerusalem Post.

The adviser’s assertion came hours after Egyptian intelligence officials visited Ramallah on Friday, where they held talks with Abbas on ways of calming the situation in the aftermath of the recent terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers in the West Bank.
The Egyptian officials expressed support for Abbas and the PA leadership, the adviser told the Post. “They also urged President Abbas to take the necessary measures to prevent a further deterioration,” he said.

He also rejected increased calls by Palestinians to end security coordination between the PA and Israel, and said those who are making such demands are “acting against the interests of the Palestinian people.”

Several Palestinian groups, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, have in recent days repeated their call for halting security coordination with Israel.

“Hamas is trying to ignite the West Bank after it reached a ceasefire with Israel in the Gaza Strip,” Abbas’s adviser said. “The Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip feel comfortable and safe now that they know that they wouldn’t be targeted by Israel, and are receiving millions of dollars from Qatar. Hamas is trying to undermine the Palestinian Authority.”

On Friday, PA policemen used force to disperse dozens of Palestinians who took to the streets of Hebron and Nablus to celebrate the 31st anniversary of the founding of Hamas.

Report: MBS mulling public Netanyahu meeting to counter Khashoggi fallout

Saudi Arabia’s Muhammad bin Salman is considering a Camp David-style meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump, a London-based website claimed, in what it said would be a grand diplomatic gesture intended to help rehabilitate the crown prince’s image in the wake of the brutal murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khasoggi.

According to the Qatari-funded Middle East Eye website, Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader is “seriously considering” pursuing a “game changing” summit with the Israeli and US leaders.

The report quoted unnamed Saudi sources and could not be independently confirmed.

The plan for a meeting with Netanyahu would purportedly include a public handshake modeled on the handshake between Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat following the signing of the peace agreement at Camp David under the auspices of US President Jimmy Carter in 1978.

An emergency task-force has reportedly been set up to explore ways to deflect growing criticism of the crown prince, who is widely believed to have ordered Khashoggi’s murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October.

EU court rejects Hamas appeal over terror listing

A top EU court on Friday threw out an appeal by the Palestinian organization Hamas against its listing by the bloc as a terrorist organization.

The General Court of the EU rejected a bid by Hamas, the terror group which has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007, to end a freeze on assets held in the bloc that was imposed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in the United States.

The ruling by the Luxembourg-based court is the latest round in a protracted legal battle between the EU and Hamas, which has opposed the sanctions from the outset.

“By its judgment today… the General Court dismisses Hamas’ appeal concerning the acts of the Council adopted between 2010 and 2014 and in 2017,” the bloc’s second-highest tribunal said.

Hamas displays apparent truck-mounted rockets at parade to mark its founding

Palestinian terrorist group Hamas on Saturday marked the 31st anniversary of its establishment with a military-style parade near the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis.

The group showcased various weapons, such as what appeared to be rockets mounted on trucks, as well as elite unit members and snipers.

It was not clear whether the weapons on display were real and operational.

The parade was dedicated to members of the group’s military wing who exposed the activity of a special IDF unit that operated in the area one month ago.

On the night of November 11, an Israeli special forces unit operating inside Khan Younis was exposed following a search at a Hamas checkpoint, resulting in a firefight in which an Israeli lieutenant colonel was killed, along with seven Palestinian gunmen.

Saturday’s parade took place in front of the home of Nur Barakeh, the commander of Hamas’s East Khan Younis military wing, who was killed in the incident, the Ynet news site reported.

Turkey Will Enter Syria’s Manbij If US Doesn’t Remove YPG Fighters, Erdogan Says

Turkish forces will enter the Syrian town of Manbij if the United States does not remove YPG Kurdish fighters, and it will also target Kurdish-controlled areas further east, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.

Erdogan said this week that Turkey would launch a new operation within days against the US-backed Syrian Kurdish YPG militia which controls swathes of Syria’s northern border region, in what will be Turkey’s third military campaign in Syria in two years.

Ankara and Washington have long been at odds in Syria, where the United States has backed the YPG in the fight against Islamic State. Turkey says the YPG is a terrorist organization and an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Turkey has complained over the slow implementation of a deal with Washington to pull YPG Kurdish fighters out of Manbij, which lies in mainly Arab territory west of the Euphrates, back to the eastern bank of the river.

“Manbij is a place where Arabs live, but they have surrendered the area to the terror organization,” Erdogan told members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in a speech in Istanbul. “Now we are saying that you should cleanse, remove them, or else we will enter Manbij. I am speaking very clearly.”

Erdogan again likens Israel to Nazi Germany, says it commits ‘cultural genocide’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday compared Israel to Nazi Germany and accused the Jewish state of committing a “cultural genocide” against the Palestinian people.

“Today, the Palestinians are subjected to pressures, violence and intimidation policies no less grave than the oppression done to the Jews during WWII,” he said at a conference on Jerusalem in Istanbul, according to a transcript of his speech posted to his website.

“To us, it does not matter who the perpetrator is. Both of these are massacres, atrocities and oppressions. Shelling with bombs the children playing on the beach of Gaza is as serious a crime against humanity as the inhumane crime called the Holocaust.”

It was not clear what Erdogan was referring to, though he may have been talking about an incident during the 2014 Gaza war in which four children were killed.

Palestinians are paying the price for the Holocaust, the Turkish leader argued, saying that European countries are ignoring Israel’s actions because of their “shame” for what happened during World War II.

Turkey opposes oppression “no matter where it takes place and regardless of its identity, faith, ethnic or cultural origin,” Erdogan said, rejecting claims that his aforementioned claims could be viewed as anti-Semitic.

“It is by no means anti-Semitism to react to the spoilt acts of Israel. No one can stop us from calling a spade a spade,” he said.

Congress Moves to Blacklist Iranian Banks

Iran hawks in Congress are in the early stages of planning an all-out campaign to blacklist, sanction, and isolate Iranian banks tied to the funding of terrorism and money laundering, according to sources and legislation obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

New legislation spearheaded by Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and allies in both the House and Senate would disconnect from the global financial system every Iranian bank identified as playing a part in the funding of Iran’s global terror operations, sources told the Free Beacon.

The legislation, which was viewed by the Free Beacon, would also treat all Iranian banks as a terrorism and money laundering threat, a massive escalation in the American sanctions regime that goes even further than the Trump administration has, a sign that Iran hawks on Capitol Hill are growing weary with what they view as an effort by the administration to slow roll the sanctions in a bid to appease European allies still working with Tehran.

The new legislation also would address alternate financing methods used by Iran and European allies to skirt new U.S. sanctions, such as the use of cryptocurrency.

The legislation comes on the heels of reports indicating that Iran has been meddling in foreign exchange markets in a bid to save its collapsing currency, the rial.

Three of the many problems with BDS

The student government of New York University (NYU) recently passed a resolution endorsing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. NYU is now one of a handful of universities across the United States whose student government has approved a pro-BDS motion.

BDS advocates boycotting Israel, divesting from Israeli companies and sanctioning the Israeli government. It professes to support the Palestinian cause for independence by “pressuring” Israel. It claims to be part of a progressive movement to promote human rights and fight racism around the world – but nothing could be further from the truth. NYU and other campuses that have endorsed BDS should reassess their actions. There are myriad claims one can make against BDS, but I will suffice here with only three.

1) BDS is antisemitic. It imitates the blatantly antisemitic European and pre-state Palestine boycotts of Jewish businesses by targeting Israel and not countries like Russia or China, countries with truly egregious human rights records. BDS’s ultimate goal is a “one-state solution,” in essence, to replace Israel with a non-Jewish state. This would deny the Jewish people the right to self-determination.
Some BDS-inspired organizations give financial support to terrorist groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, groups that openly seek the destruction of Israel and killing of Jews. Moreover, BDS often employs antisemitic rhetoric that results in physical attacks against Jews on campuses. For example, a study by Brandeis University found that the passing of pro-BDS motions and presence of pro-BDS groups on campuses correlate with the number of antisemitic incidences (including harassment, intimidation, assault and vandalism) on such campuses.

Prominent BDS leaders such as Omar Barghouti and Hatem Bazian have called for “armed resistance” against Jews in both the United States and Israel. Bazian has even suggested that Jews control academia and stated that Jews “kill, rape, smuggle organs and steal the land of Palestinians.” These statements echo classic antisemitic tropes, including the slanders that Jews drink the blood of non-Jews and Jews are conspiring to take over the world.

2) BDS only does harm – to Jews, Arabs and others. This includes not only the physical harm BDS inflicts on Jewish university students, but also the economic harm it does to Jewish and American businesses operating in Israel and often employing Palestinians. In 2015, BDS forced a SodaStream factory in the West Bank to close down, causing hundreds of Palestinians employees to lose their jobs. Thousands more Palestinians depend on Israeli companies to make a living; BDS threatens their livelihoods. In June, US congressmen introduced legislation designed to protect American businesses from BDS pressure. To preempt BDS pressure, many US states have passed anti-BDS legislation, such as funding restrictions or bans.

3) BDS consistently mischaracterizes the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a racial conflict. BDS claims Israel is an “apartheid state” and that “white” Jews conspire against “brown” Arabs. These statements are not only inaccurate, but also offensive and even antisemitic. “Apartheid” refers to a legal system that segregates populations based on race. This does not apply to Israel because Israel guarantees equality before the law to all its citizens, Arab, Jew, or other. Jews and Arabs generally do not view themselves as constituting “races,” but rather peoples in conflict over land.

Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue Event at Syracuse University Cancelled Amid Bias Concerns, Student Says

A dialogue event on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at Syracuse University was nixed last week, allegedly over concerns about its political leanings.

The event — organized as a capstone project by senior Alanna Sadler — was meant to take place on Dec. 3, with the help of the school’s Department of Jewish Studies, the Muslim Student Association, and the interfaith Hendricks Chapel.

A Hanukkah candle lighting was scheduled for 15 minutes prior to the event, which would open with introductory remarks by Hendricks Dean Brian Konkol, followed by a brief lecture by Professor Miriam Elman, who teaches a course on the conflict. Students would then break up into groups to discuss some of the contentious issues that contribute to tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, like the status of Jerusalem and refugees.

Closing remarks would be delivered by Imam Amir Duric and Rabbi Leah Fein — the latter of whom had to back out in late November due to an unforeseen scheduling conflict, Sadler said.

More withdrawals would shortly follow, ultimately prompting the event’s cancellation.

In a presentation on her project last week, Sadler said Konkol pulled out of the event on Dec. 1, at which point some 50 people were expected to attend. The dean told her in a phone call that “he received numerous calls from concerned students who felt that he was endorsing an pro-Israeli event,” and that “these students felt that it was a biased event,” she recalled.

Spanish police arrest three behind anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi website

Spanish police on Saturday announced the arrest of three men they said ran the Spanish section of “one of the most influential neo-Nazi websites” in the world.

The arrests were in Barcelona, Tarragona and Saragossa, all in the northeast of the country, said a police statement.

The aim of the website is to “propagate anti-Semitic, homophobic and racist hate messages on the Internet among Spanish-speaking followers,” the statement added.

Police said they had tracked down to Switzerland “the leader and ideologue of this section, a Spanish citizen considered a leading international neo-Nazi, with a network of more than 50,000 subscribers.”

The suspects, aged from 21 to 23, had used false identities and servers based abroad to try to avoid detection, said the statement.

Chelsea vows ‘strongest possible action’ after anti-Semitic chants by fans

Chelsea promised to take the “strongest possible action” against any supporters of the English soccer team found to have sung an anti-Semitic chant in Budapest, just days after four fans were suspended for abusing a player from a rival club.

Minutes into Thursday’s Europa League clash with Vidi in Budapest’s Groupama Arena, which ended 2-2, a vocal minority of Chelsea fans were heard singing a derogatory chant about Tottenham supporters, featuring anti-Semitic language.

Chelsea in January launched a campaign to raise awareness and educate about anti-Semitism in soccer and the club — including its Russian-Israeli owner Roman Abramovich, who is Jewish — have expressed disgust at the latest incident.

“Anti-Semitism and any other kind of race-related or religious hatred is abhorrent to this club and the overwhelming majority of our fans,” said a Chelsea spokesman. “It has no place at Chelsea or in any of our communities.

“We have stated this loud and clear on many occasions from the owner, the board, coaches and players.

“Any individuals that can’t summon the brainpower to comprehend this simple message and are found to have shamed the club by used using anti-Semitic or racist words or actions will face the strongest possible action from the club.”

LATAM Airlines Completes First Direct Flight From Latin America to Israel

One of Latin America’s largest air carriers, LATAM Airlines, completed on Thursday its first-ever direct flight from the region to Israel.

The trip took place from the Chilean capital of Santiago via São Paulo/Guarulhos-Governador André Franco Montoro International Airport to Ben-Gurion International Airport outside of Tel Aviv. This is the sole direct route from Latin America to Israel, and will function once a day on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“After years of separation and as a result of the unprecedented momentum in tourism traffic into Israel, we inaugurate today the first direct flight from South America,” said Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin. “The arrival in Israel of LATAM Airlines—one of the largest in South America—is a breakthrough in flight connections between Israel and Brazil, and an expression of confidence in Israel’s tourism potential. And this in light of the huge increase in incoming tourism from Latin America.”

He added, “I set tourism development from Latin America as a key objective and, within this framework, the ministry is implementing innovative marketing actions, including filming a popular soap opera in Israel that will be broadcast throughout America at this time.”

Jerusalem is fastest-growing tourism destination in world

Jerusalem is the fastest-growing tourism destination among 100 cities, and is expected by the end of the year to break its own record by achieving a 38 percent growth in tourism. Israel’s capital city had a 32% tourism growth rate in 2017.

This data comes from the “Top 100 City Destinations” report from UK-based Euromonitor International.

Wouter Geerts, who conducted the research, predicted that Jerusalem will lead growth in inbound tourists and is one of the top four cities to watch in terms of tourism popularity; the others are Mumbai, Porto and Osaka. Israel’s capital city placed 63rd on the list of 100 most visited cities in 2018. The top spot went to Hong Kong.

The Euromonitor report also showed an increase of 47% in the number of overnight stays in Jerusalem from incoming tourism. Jerusalem offers about 20,000 hotel rooms.

Report: Israeli Supermodel Bar Refaeli to Co-Host Eurovision 2019 Song Contest in Tel Aviv

Supermodel Bar Refaeli, famed mentalist Lior Suchard and actor Erez Tal are slated to host the 2019 Eurovision singing competition that will take place in Tel Aviv in May, Israel Hayom reported on Thursday.

The three triumphed over dozens of celebrities who auditioned, according to Israel Hayom.

The report noted that their final contracts had not yet been finalized, but the European Broadcasting Union was expected to approve the three hosts and an official announcement would be made soon after.

Forty-two countries will compete in the Eurovision contest, with the first semi-final taking place on May 14, the second semi-final on May 16 and the grand final scheduled for May 18.

Last year’s Eurovision winner was Israeli singer Netta Barzilai, who took home the victory with her original song “Toy.” The song recently passed 100 million views on YouTube.

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