Kevin Williamson: It is time to cut off financial support to Abbas
Abbas boasts that the Palestinian state and the Palestinian National Authority no longer receive U.S. aid, but that isn’t quite true. The United States is a very large contributor to UNRWA, the relief agency for Palestinian “refugees.” (There aren’t any Palestinian refugees, really, but, unlike the rest of the world’s peoples, Palestinians inherit refugee status.) The United States is also a large contributor to other U.N. programs and international organizations that provide aid to the Palestinians, who, thanks to their incompetent and malevolent leadership, have no real economy to speak of. In 2016, the United States gave more in aid to the Palestinians than any other country did.
It is time to rethink that.
UNRWA is a troubled and troubling organization on its best day, an encourager and enabler of Palestinian radicalism. The prospects for peace probably would improve if it were dissolved. But, short of that, the United States should consider accommodating President Abbas’s demand and stepping away from the situation for a while, taking our aid money with us. If President Abbas must have his obstinacy and his cheap theatrics, then let him pay the full price for them. Let’s see how much loose change Erdogan can scramble up from the cushions of his ottoman. The haul is likely to be disappointing.
The United States has global interests, and one of those is seeing to the interests of our allies, including Israel. President Abbas thinks the United States has no role in future peace negotiations in the Middle East. One could not blame Americans for thinking much the same thing about him. What’s certain is that American power and American interests will be here when President Abbas has joined the footnotes, and the powers that be in the Islamic world would do well to meditate on that fact.
This past Saturday, a Hanukkah party at a synagogue in Goteborg, Sweden, was abruptly interrupted by Molotov cocktails. They were hurled by a gang of men in masks at the Jews, mostly teenagers, who had gathered to celebrate the holiday.
Two days later, two fire bombs were discovered outside the Jewish burial chapel in the southern Swedish city of Malmo.
Who knows what tomorrow may bring?
For Sweden’s 18,000 Jews, sadly, none of this comes as a surprise. They are by now used to anti-Semitic threats and attacks — especially during periods of unrest in the Middle East, which provide cover to those whose actual goal has little to do with Israel and much to do with harming Jews.
Both of these recent attacks followed days of incitement against Jews. Last Friday, 200 people protested in Malmo against President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The protesters called for an intifada and promised “we will shoot the Jews.” A day later, during a demonstration in Stockholm, a speaker called Jews “apes and pigs.” There were promises of martyrdom.
Malmo’s sole Hasidic rabbi has reported being the victim of more than 100 incidents of hostility ranging from hate speech to physical assault. In response to such attacks, the Simon Wiesenthal Center issued a travel warning in 2010 advising “extreme caution when visiting southern Sweden” because of officials’ failure to act against the “serial harassment” of Jews in Malmo.
Today, entering a synagogue anywhere in Sweden usually requires going through security checks, including airport-like questioning. At times of high alert, police officers with machine guns guard Jewish schools. Children at the Jewish kindergarten in Malmo play behind bulletproof glass. Not even funerals are safe from harassment.
Klein later points out the irony that Paris today is a city “where keffiyeh-wearing men and veiled women speak Arabic on every street corner” but where “soldiers are walking every street that houses a Jewish institution.”
Sammy Ghozlan, the president of the Jewish communal security organization BNCVA, told 20 Minutes that it was vital “not to underestimate the antisemitism we experience on a daily basis.”
“For a long time, Jews were targeted through their symbols — today, people themselves are targeted directly,” Ghozlan said.
As Breitbart Jerusalem has reported, the experience of Jews in Paris is much the same across the rest of the country. More and more are feeling so unsafe that they now feel they have no other choice but to move to Israel for safety.
They are continuing a trend that has seen tens of thousands of Jews quit the country in the past decade.
More than 5,000 departures were recorded in 2016 on top of the record 7,900 who left in 2015 and 7,231 in 2014. In total, 40,000 French Jews have emigrated since 2006, according to figures cited by AFP.
On the evidence, that number will not be falling anytime soon.
David French: What if America Won a War and No One Cared?
The momentous news of ISIS’s defeat was greeted, in large part, with silence. Why?
The announcement came on Saturday. Just three days before the Alabama special election that transfixed the nation, and on the same day that President Trump fact-checked the Washington Post’s Dave Weigel, Iraq’s prime minister declared victory in the war against ISIS. Iraq — with indispensable American help — has regained control of its cities and its border with Syria. ISIS has been reduced to a shadow of its former self.
The victory isn’t confined to Iraq. American-allied forces control ISIS’s former capital in Syria, and the world’s largest jihadist army is gone. Bands of insurgents still prowl the countryside, and ISIS cells exist across the world, but the war against the “caliphate” is over. It’s been won.
So why does no one seem to care?
It was exactly three years ago that the Middle East was in crisis. The ISIS blitzkrieg had brought Iraq to its knees. Jihadists controlled immense sections of Iraq and Syria. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi spoke from Mosul’s Great Mosque, declared himself “Caliph Ibrahim,” and called on Muslims across the world to join him in his jihad.
They answered his call by the thousands. They flocked to Syria and Iraq from North Africa, Europe, and Asia. Britain was rocked by reports that more of its Muslim residents had joined ISIS than joined the British military. ISIS initiated genocide. It threatened the Kurds. It threatened Baghdad. Americans old enough to remember the fall of Saigon began to wonder: Was history repeating itself?
For veterans of the Iraq War like me, these were extraordinarily painful months. Friends died over there. Others lost limbs or suffered terrible wounds. Every man and woman who served in Iraq sacrificed something, even if it was “only” a year of their life. And now our nation looked like a bystander to a calamity. Through withdrawal, we’d squandered the military victory of the Surge. Through withdrawal, we’d empowered our enemies.
King Herod’s grand Third Palace is being systematically destroyed by the Palestinians, who are stripping its stone and building homes around it • The site is in Area A, meters from Israeli-controlled territory, but the Israeli government can do nothing.
Here is a lesson that teaches us how the Palestinians today treat remnants of the past. Following the revolt led by Mattityahu and his sons (the Macabbees) against the Greeks in 167 BCE, Jews had sovereignty in the Land of Israel for some 200 years, until the Herodian era. Forty years after Mattiyahu the Hasmonean and his sons first relit the Temple menorah and found that its oil miraculously lasted eight days, their descendants built grand winter palaces at the mouth of the Parat stream, at the entrance to Jericho. King Herod, who excelled at building – but also at killing and destruction – built three more palaces of his own nearby.
The Hasmonean palaces are located in what is today Area C, which is under full Israel control, but they can only be accessed via Area A, where the Palestinians are in full control. Most of Herod’s Third Palace, the grandest of the trio, lies within Area A.
Recently, a team from the Kfar Etzion Field School visited the site and was appalled to find that the Palestinians, who received the excavated and orderly site as part of the Oslo Accords, had built housing around it. Some homes were constructed on the grounds of the palace itself. The remains of the palace are being systematically demolished to construct a road. The historic edifice is being stripped of its stone, and the supporting pillars and arches have been defaced.
Melanie Phillips: Open antisemitism in Britain. Who cares Not the anti-racist left
A demonstration was held in London last week in protest at President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It featured the usual suspects: the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition, Friends of Al Aqsa, War on Want, Socialist Worker.
Nothing surprising about any of that. The far left — along with significant NGOs — is motivated by a vicious loathing of Israel and support for those committed to its extermination. It’s hardly news, therefore, that they would react so virulently against the idea that the Jewish people are fully entitled, legally, historically and morally, to declare that Jerusalem, which was only ever the capital city of the Jewish people’s own national kingdom, remains its capital city today.
Oh –– and Jewish Voice for Labour, which claims not to be anti-Zionist but merely to “uphold the right of supporters of justice for Palestinians to engage in solidarity activities”, was also at the demo.
Well, this is the “right” that JVL upheld last at last week’s “solidarity” activity. Watch here as the demonstrators chanted “Khaybar Khaybar, ya yahud, jaish Mohammed, as yahud”.
This translates as “Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jews, the army of Mohammed will return” — a reference to the Muslims’ slaughter of the Jews of Khaybar in 628 CE.
For Islamist extremists and terrorists, this is a touchstone historical event which they seek to re-enact today. Chanting this is to declare their intention to do so. It is effectively incitement to murder Jews. And it was chanted on the streets of London, at a demonstration supported by Jewish Voice for Labour and under the noses of the “hate-crime” obsessed British police.
Of course, the police don’t speak Arabic. But shouldn’t someone, somewhere in the British security apparatus have worked out by now that it might be useful to deploy a few Arabic speakers at such events because they invariably feature a spot of incitement to genocide?
Caroline Glick: Policy speeches vs policy
Over the years, the US has been unable to tell its allies from its enemies because they were fluid.
As McMaster rightly recalled, for years the Saudis behaved like the Qataris. And they also served as the anchor of the US alliance system with the Sunni Arab world.
Even today, as Crown Prince Muhammad and Saudi Arabia and Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in Egypt make unprecedented steps to fight both jihadist forces and the ideology of jihad, the US cannot know whether either leader will be alive tomorrow or if they will have a sudden change of heart and leave the US high and dry.
Yet despite the uncertainty about their future, today we have more clarity than we had in the past.
Today it is obvious that Iran, its satellites Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Gaza and its allies Turkey and Qatar are the ascendant enemies of the US and its allies.
The forces willing to confront and fight them – Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE – are also self-evident.
True, Muhammad and Sisi may not be around forever. But the steps they have already taken to move their nations and Sunni Islam more generally away from jihadist ideology and practice are unprecedented.
Their actions to date have earned them Washington’s support.
The significant positions McMaster set out on Tuesday will in all likelihood be reflected in the document Trump will release on Monday. But as the arms transfer to Lebanon, Tillerson’s remarks in Paris, and the administration’s incoherent position on Qatar make clear, even the best national security strategies are not worth the paper they are written on unless they are translated into real policies implemented on the ground.
At last week’s Security Council meeting, US Ambassador Nicky Haley once again called out the world organization, saying: “The UN has done much more to damage the prospects for Mideast peace than to advance them.”
She’s right. Accustomed to getting special treatment at the UN, the Palestinians and those who support them and their relentless efforts to delegitimize Israel have been served notice by a cold splash of reality.
For the past nearly 25 years, since the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993, the UN has been used as a battering ram against Israel, whose resolutions have provided cover to the Palestinians to avoid negotiations with Israel.
The “days of rage” threat rings hollow, as the Palestinians have run out of excuses.
Are they serious about a resolution of the conflict, or would they prefer the path they have perfected at the UN, which is to promote their nihilistic campaigns of defamation against Israel? If anyone is entitled to rage, it is Israel, which has led an orphan-like existence in a world body supposedly founded on higher values.
The recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital suggests new thinking about right and wrong in how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is viewed. Will other countries, long tied to the misguided conventional wisdom of the past, follow suit? Let’s hope the first test, at last week’s Security Council meeting, is the last at which hypocrisy on this issue reigns.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Thursday unveiled recently declassified evidence that she believes proves Iran is violating international law by funneling missiles to Houthi rebels in Yemen.
“Its ballistic missiles and advanced weapons are turning up in war zones across the region,” Haley said at a press conference at the Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C. “It’s hard to find a conflict or a terrorist group in the Middle East that does not have Iran’s fingerprints all over it.”
Haley then pushed back against Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s recent New York Times op-ed, in which he argued that Iran’s military activities comply with international law, saying that a newly released report tells the opposite story of what Zarif claims.
“It tells the story of Iran as the arsonist. The report shows the Tehran regime not putting out fires, but fanning the flames of conflict in the region,” Haley said. “In its strongest language yet, the secretary general’s report shows violation after violation of weapons transfers and ballistic missile activity. The United States welcomes this report, as should every nation concerned about uranium expansion.”
Haley added that the report makes a “convincing case” that Iran is illegally providing the Houthi militants in Yemen with dangerous weapons.
“The report provides devastating evidence of missiles, conventional arms, and explosive boats of Iranian origin used by the rebels in Yemen, all of which violate U.N. resolutions,” Haley said. ” The United States and our partners went to great lengths to support the U.N. investigations into Iranian violations by declassifying evidence, so that the world could better be informed of the extent of Iran’s maligned activities. “
U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned Wednesday that Iran may be defying a U.N. call to halt ballistic missile development even as it complies with the nuclear deal with six world powers.
The U.N. chief says in a report to the Security Council that the United Nations is investigating Iran’s possible transfer of ballistic missiles to Houthi Shiite rebels in Yemen that may have been used in launches aimed at Saudi Arabia on July 22 and Nov. 4.
The U.S. Mission to the United Nations said Ambassador Nikki Haley would hold a news conference Thursday in Washington to highlight current U.N. findings as well as Iran’s “destabilizing activities in the Middle East region and elsewhere in the world.”
In the report, Guterres stressed that the nuclear deal remains “the best way” to ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.
He said President Donald Trump’s Oct. 13 decision not to certify the agreement under U.S. law created “considerable uncertainty” about its future. But, he added, “I am reassured that the United States has expressed its commitment to stay in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action for now.” Trump, however, has left open the possibility of pulling out of the nuclear deal.
Guterres welcomed support for the treaty from its other parties – China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany, the European Union and numerous other countries.
Trump was unimpressed by the threats from Ramallah, Amman and Ankara. The refusal to give in to threats, blackmail and uncompromising stances—along with the message that the Palestinians have no veto right—is a very important precedent for the continuation of the diplomatic process. It’s time to stop the irrational policy of trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Twenty-five years of sticking to the same paradigm have led to a deadlock. Trump’s move has the potential of turning the tables and encouraging creative thinking outside the familiar parameters.
It’s important to stress that the announcement did not change the acceptable framework for negotiations (two states subject to the parties’ agreement, the core issues would be determined in negotiations, no change in the status quo), but the US policy opened a window for new ideas and for challenging the principle of “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”
Israel should leverage this positive move and examine its own working hypotheses vis-à-vis the Palestinians. The Israeli government has a rare strategic opportunity to shape the agreement with the Palestinians according to more convenient parameters than the ones the Obama administration tried to impose.
On the conscious level, the “Jewish Jerusalem” narrative presented by Trump touched the exposed nerves of the Palestinians, who are having trouble accepting the Jewish historical affiliation with Jerusalem. They have enjoyed UNESCO’s resolutions on Jerusalem and failed to understand that in the diplomatic arena (which they have favored in recent years), both sides have maneuvering options.
On the practical level, the speech demonstrates to the Palestinians, contrary to what they may believe, that time is not on their side. An ongoing serial postponement of any compromise would only help Israel achieve its goals at their expense.
Only about a year ago, the situation was completely different. In the final months of its term, the Obama administration used UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which gave the Palestinians a feeling that the parameters most important to them would be determined before the negotiations. As a result, they were in no rush to enter the talks. The discourse raised by then-US Secretary of State John Kerry’s comments, that Israel would be lost without an agreement, was even more damaging. It served as a significant incentive for the Palestinians to insist on parameters that Israel could not accept. Resolution 2334 actually had the opposite effect of what was expected by its initiators.
Less than a week after a rocket exploded in their playground, children from the Rimon Kindergarten in the southern town of Sderot penned a letter inviting US Vice President Mike Pence to visit during his upcoming trip to Israel.
In the letter, signed by the children and their kindergarten teachers, they wrote, “It was very hard to wake up in the morning and find out that our kindergarten was struck by the rocket, but our parents and teachers, Sima, Tali and Nili, kept us calm and promised that everything is going to be alright.”
The rocket hit the kindergarten when it was closed last Saturday evening. However, windows were shattered, with a large hole in the glass, and shrapnel hit the side of the classroom.
“There is now a gaping hole in the middle of the playground,” the children wrote. “We thank God that no one was injured and that all our toys remained intact.”
They added: “The people of Sderot are good-hearted and our parents work hard to protect us from in the constant threat of attacks. Even though the situation here is frightening, our teachers and parents have always taught us to remain hopeful and pray that one day we will have peace with our neighbors in Gaza.”
At the bottom of the letter, the children added a drawing and invited Pence to join them in lighting Hanukka candles and eat sufganiyot, traditional Hanukka donuts.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin will shorten convicted IDF soldier Elor Azariya’s sentence as part of a pardoning on Israel’s Independence Day, Maariv reported.
Azariya is currently serving an 18-month sentence, and will be released in May 2018. Rivlin’s decision will shorten Azariya’s sentence by a few weeks.
Last month, Rivlin refused to pardon Azariya. In his letter then, Rivlin wrote that “since in September 2017 IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot decided to reduce your sentence….by four months, out of kindness and mercy, and out of consideration of the fact that you were a soldier in the field, the President feels that…additionally lightening the punishment will harm the strength of the IDF and the State of Israel.”
“The IDF’s values, among them the purity of arms, are the foundation of the IDF’s strength and have always served us in our righteous battle for our right to a national and safe homeland, and in building a strong society.
“The President’s decision takes into consideration that you are scheduled to appear before a committee which will discuss whether to reduce your sentence or release you in another three months.”
Amid heightened tensions in Israeli communities near the Gaza border as a result of near-daily rocket fire in recent days, farmers in the area told Israel Hayom on Thursday that an escalation of hostilities could harm their livelihood.
“There is a lot of anxiety and uncertainty, and we are praying we won’t have to stop the [farming] season in the middle,” said Shai Shaked, a farmer from Kibbutz Netiv Ha’asara.
“Those who carry the burden from an economic standpoint are the farmers, who won’t be able to work their fields and who invested all their money [in their crops] before the season,” Shaked said.
“Up until last month, we invested and put in all our money to launch the marketing season, which, if cut short now, will be a huge financial disaster [and cause] irreversible damage.”
Shaked was forced to relinquish greenhouses he owned due to the combustible situation.
“I opted to move all the crops to the northern side, farther away from the Erez border crossing [into Gaza],” he said.
Shaked said that even just a “drizzle” of rocket fire, which residents of the area consider routine, is damaging to farmers.
IsraellyCool: Choose Your Own Adventure: Palestinian Edition
My latest post on Mahmoud Abbas’ speech to the OIC, which included antisemitism and historical negationism, reminded me of the many different versions of the “palestinian” origin story put forward by the palestinians themselves.
It is all rather confusing; so I thought I would make it easier for everyone to follow, using the iconic Choose Your Own Adventure motif.
The pedestrian Erez crossing between Israel and Gaza reopened Friday morning after a one-day closure due to stepped-up rocket attacks from terror groups in the enclave, the IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories confirmed.
The Kerem Shalom crossing, from which goods enter and leave the Strip, will remain shuttered, a COGAT spokesman said.
Kerem Shalom had been closed on Thursday, along with the Erez crossing.
The army said Thursday’s move was made in light of “security events and in accordance with security assessments.”
Police find a rocket, fired from Gaza, inside a kindergarten in the southern Israeli town of Sderot on December 9, 2017. (Israel Police)
While the Gaza crossings are typically closed for Jewish and national holidays, it is uncommon for Israel to shut them for punitive reasons.
For over a decade, Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade on Gaza, which they say is necessary to keep arms and other materials that can be used for military purposes out of the hands of Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups.
A Gaza Strip eatery is offering large discounts to North Korean diners, but is encountering just one problem: There are no North Koreans in the coastal enclave.
Ibrahim Raba, manager of a shawarma restaurant in the Jabaliya refugee camp, says he is offering the 80% discounts to show his appreciation for North Korea’s rejection of U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
He has also placed a large photo of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on the glass door at the entrance to his restaurant.
A new fan of the North Korean leader, Raba likes to quote him, saying: “Trump proved he is mentally deranged.”
Although Raba knows there are no North Koreans in Gaza, he hopes they will come someday, perhaps after joining other foreign aid workers.
Deriding the myth of anti-Semitism in the Labour party, JVL seeks to break its Zionist ‘monopoly’ — to the delight of BDS supporters
Leaked emails indicate that JVL’s founders quite consciously sought, in the words of one, to “discard the shackles” of “the Israel thing” when drawing up its mission statement, although that statement also made clear the group’s determination to “uphold the right of supporters of justice for Palestinians to engage in solidarity activities, such as Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.”
However, JVL is closely linked to Free Speech on Israel (FSOI), which is explicit in its opposition to Zionism. Founded in 2016 to “counter the manufactured moral panic over a supposed epidemic of anti-Semitism in the UK” and oppose the notion that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, it enthusiastically welcomed the launch of JVL.
Wimborne-Idrissi says JVL and FSOI are “two separate organizations with different aims and objectives.”
There is, though, a close overlap in the leading personnel of the two groups. FSOI’s chair, Mike Cushman, is JVL’s membership officer. Its vice-chair, Jonathan Rosenhead, is JVL’s information officer, while its secretary, Glyn Secker, holds the same position at JVL.
Cushman has a somewhat conspiratorial view of Israel’s role in British politics. Earlier this year, he suggested that Labour had become “a pawn of Zionist organizations that place loyalty to Israel’s interests above advancing the Labour Party”; argued that May’s foreign policy was dictated by “reciprocity for previous career assistance from the Israelis”; and labeled “most senior members of both main parties, with the exception of Corbyn and his close associates, and the Liberal Democrats” part of “the network of Israeli influence.”
It has been a bad few months for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
First, the state of Wisconsin adopted a rule in October prohibiting companies that engage in the boycott from receiving local government contracts, joining 23 other American states with similar laws. Then, Australian rocker Nick Cave declared: “I love Israel and I love Israeli people.” He said that his decision to perform in the country in November was an act of defiance against the BDS campaign, which “bullies and censors” artists. And as part of a trade delegation to Israel in December, Florida Governor Rick Scott presented El Al with a Governor’s Business Ambassador Award for its investments in the state of Florida.
For the BDS movement, the bad news keeps coming.
Last month, El Al relaunched the only nonstop flights from Miami to Tel Aviv — with three flights weekly — to meet the increased demand from business people and tourists to visit the Jewish state. Miami is the airline’s sixth North American destination, which already includes nonstop links from New York, Newark, Boston, Los Angeles, and Toronto.
The development is yet another blow to the incitement campaign waged by BDS activists against Israel, who exploit the rhetoric of human rights to advocate for economic and cultural warfare against the only Jewish state in the world, the sole democracy in the Middle East and a steadfast ally of the US.
Members of the public will be banned from a menorah lighting due to alleged threats from anti-Israel activists, it has been reported.
Councillors will mark Chanukah by welcoming a local rabbi to light candles at tonight’s Brighton and Hove City Council meeting at Hove Town Hall.
But the Brighton Argus reported that the meeting would now take place behind closed doors, due to planned protests by pro-Palestinian activists in the city.
Rabbi Andreas Zanardo of Brighton’s Reform synagogue is expected to light the menorah following an invitation from the mayor.
The local authority told the Argus that no members of the public would be admitted to the building until the lighting was completed.
Police said they had been made aware this morning of a “possible protest” and were “addressing the resources required”.
The paper said sources close to anti-Israel groups in the city had denied any plans to demonstrate.
The city of Mülheim in northwestern Germany cancelled its official Hanukkah festivities, citing ‘security concerns,’ German newspaper Bild Zeitung reported. All the outdoor Hanukkah events due to take place in Mülheim and the adjoining region have also been cancelled, the head of the local Jewish community confirmed.
The German state of North-Rhine Westphalia, where Mülheim is located, has seen an upsurge of antisemitic attacks in the recent years. In the nearby city of Bochum, the Jewish community leaders have urged Jews to stop wearing kippah, the traditional Jewish skullcap that identifies them as Jews, in public. Last month, the local broadcaster Radio Bochum reported that Jews “routinely faced with insults on public streets when they are recognized as Jews.” The broadcaster identified the perpetrators as “Muslim youths.”
A study published by the Berlin branch of American Jewish Committee (AJC) today points to “widespread antisemitism among Arab refugees in Germany.”
“Until now, reports that many new arrivals in Germany espouse anti-Semitism have been largely anecdotal,” said AJC Berlin Director Deidre Berger. “But this new scientific analysis shows that the problem is widespread in the refugee communities from Syria and Iraq. Anti-Semitic attitudes, stereotypes, and conspiracy theories are common, as well as a categorical rejection by many of the State of Israel.”
On Wednesday evening, Bal Harbour, Florida became the first municipality in the country to implement an ordinance that provides law enforcement with a definition of anti-Semitism, enabling them to investigate such incidents as hate crimes.
Originally passed last month, a second public reading is required by the town bylaws before it can become law. By unanimous vote, the proposed ordinance became law and went into effect immediately upon passage.
“I applaud the Bal Harbour Village Council for standing with me and supporting the passage of this historic ordinance,” said Mayor Gabriel Groisman. “This ordinance protects the interests of our residents by providing our law enforcement officers a clear definition of anti-Semitism, thereby helping to ascertain the intent of persons who engage in unlawful activities, such as assault or vandalism.”
The new law allows law enforcement to use the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism as a guideline, while at the same time permitting police to use their discretion in determining whether an incident can be classified as a hate crime.
Anti-Semitism among Muslim refugees is rampant and requires urgent attention, a new study suggests.
But the study commissioned by the American Jewish Committee’s Ramer Institute for German-Jewish Relations in Berlin also suggests that refugees from persecuted minority communities are more likely to take a stand against anti-Semitism and for Israel.
Titled “Attitudes of refugees from Syria and Iraq towards integration, identity, Jews and the Shoah,” the research report was prepared by historian and sociologist Günther Jikeli of Indiana University and the University of Potsdam, Germany, with help from Lars Breuer and Matthias Becker. The study was commissioned by the American Jewish Committee.
The report, based on interviews with 68 refugees, comes amid a series of virulent anti-Israel and anti-America demonstrations in the German capital denouncing the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Thousands of protesters burned homemade Israeli flags and crowded city subway stations chanting anti-Israel and anti-American slogans on their way to rallies. The numbers of refugees among the demonstrators was unknown.
At the same time, in a show of solidarity with Jewish communities in Germany, local imams joined with Christian and Jewish leaders in public celebrations of Hanukkah, including the annual candle-lighting ceremony at the Brandenburg Gate, where Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal of Berlin was joined in a cherry picker by Mayor Michael Mueller. Security has been tightened throughout Germany and at Jewish venues.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Friday demanded his country’s immigrants reject anti-Semitism, characterizing it as a “non-negotiable” condition for living in Germany.
“There are things which are part of Germany. And one of these is our responsibility for our past: the lessons of two World Wars, the lessons from the Holocaust, the responsibility for Israel’s security, the rejection of any form of racism and anti-Semitism,” said the German president at a Hanukkah event at the Israeli embassy in Berlin.
“For this responsibility, no line can be drawn under the past for later generations – and no exceptions be made for immigrants. It is non-negotiable – for all who live in Germany and want to live here!” he added.
A study published earlier this week found that anti-Semitism among Muslim refugees in Germany is rampant and requires urgent attention.
More emphasis should be placed on the Holocaust in integration courses for migrants, Germany’s justice minister said, reflecting heightened unease among leading politicians about a spate of antisemitic acts including Israeli flag burnings.
More than a million migrants have arrived in Germany in the last three years, many of them fleeing conflict in the Middle East, causing concern that antisemitism could increase.
German police have reported protesters setting Israeli flags ablaze and using antisemitic slogans in Berlin and other cities in demonstrations against US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
In a piece for weekly magazine Der Spiegel, Justice Minister Heiko Maas wrote that the Holocaust, in which the Nazis killed six million Jews, and its significance needed to become an even more important part of integration courses and migrants should be tested on it in the examination at the end of their course.
“The lessons from the Holocaust need to be one of the guiding ideas in those lessons and not just some chapter of German history,” he said.
“Racism has no place in Germany, so everyone who wants to stay in Germany for the long term needs to be clear that we fight the neo-Nazis’ antisemitism and we won’t tolerate any imported antisemitism from immigrants either,” Maas added.
An 8th grade homework assignment about Hitler has angered parents in a suburban Chicago school.
Students at the Woodland Middle School in Gurnee, Illinois, were assigned last week to “create a comic strip for little kids that exemplifies Europe’s appeasement towards Hitler,” Chicago television channel WGN reported.
The cartoons that were turned in included swastikas and characters dressed like Nazi storm troopers.
One parent posted a picture of the Hitler-themed homework on her Facebook page, which raised questions from other parents.
The school district is investigating the assignment, WGN reported.
A New Jersey imam who delivered two violently antisemitic sermons over the last month is to be sent for “retraining,” the president of the Islamic center where he serves announced on Thursday.
Ahmed Shedeed said that Sheikh Aymen Elkasaby, imam of the Islamic Center of Jersey City, would be meeting with “interfaith scholars” who would “consult with and retrain him,” following sermons in which Elkasaby called for the murder of Jews and attacked the west for having made Muslims the “tail-end of all nations.”
“This is like sending someone to rehab,” Shedeed, the Islamic Center’s president, told The Algemeiner when asked whether Elkasaby would be dismissed from the imam’s position.
“The scholars will help him to learn to deal with these issues,” Shedeed said — adding that Elkasaby had spoken “in the heat of the moment” following US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6. Shedeed also emphasized that Elkasaby was a graduate of the renowned Al-Azhar University in Cairo, which he described as “one of the major universities in the Muslim world facing terrorism and violence.”
In a December 8 sermon made available by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which monitors extremist groups, Elkasaby declared, “So long as the Al-Aqsa Mosque remains a humiliated prisoner under the oppression of the Jews, this nation will never prevail.”
“Allah, wreak vengeance upon the plundering oppressors!” the imam continued. “Count them one by one, and kill them down to the very last one. Do not leave a single one on the face of the Earth.”
Director Samuel Maoz’s controversial and critically acclaimed feature film ‘Foxtrot’ has been named to the shortlist for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said Thursday.
The Israeli tale of parental grief, trauma and loss is one of nine films named by the academy to the shortlist, which will be whittled down to five finalists by January 23, when all nominees are announced. Ninety-two films had been considered, the Academy said.
“Foxtrot” won the Silver Lion at this year’s Venice Film Festival and swept the Ophir awards, Israel’s version of the Oscars, with eight wins, earning it a place as Israel’s entry for the Foreign Language award.
Yonatan Shiray, now an active combat soldier, in his foxtrotting scene in the award-winning film ‘Foxtrot’ (Courtesy ‘Foxtrot’)
Told in a distinctive three-act structure, Maoz built each section different in style and tone. In the first part, middle class couple Michael and Dafna Feldman are informed that their soldier son, Yonatan, has fallen in the line of duty. The second act is based at an unnamed, remote Israeli roadblock and the last section returns to the family’s Tel Aviv apartment.
The film provoked a storm of controversy earlier this year when Culture Minster Miri Regev, who boasted she had not seen the film, condemned it as a work of treachery, calling for the state to end funding for films that can be used as “a weapon of propaganda for our enemies.”
A planned cable car system linking key landmarks in Jerusalem “will be yet another boost to tourism” in the capital city, Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said this week.
The project is budgeted at some 200 million shekels ($56 million) and is expected to complement other efforts to streamline access to the Western Wall.
In an effort to avoid any legal setbacks and delays, Israeli officials on Tuesday announced that the cable car system will pass mostly over state-owned land.
Israel’s National Infrastructure Committee, headed by former Member of Knesset Avigdor Itzchaky, was expected to start reviewing the plan this week. The approval process is projected to take about a year, and the system is expected to be up and running by 2021.
This is the first time that a plan from the Israeli Tourism Ministry has been submitted to the National Infrastructure Committee rather than to a local zoning committee. The change is a result of a directive issued by Levin.
The cable car system is designed to take visitors from Jerusalem’s German Colony neighborhood to the Western Wall and then to the Mount of Olives. The initiative was officially unveiled in May, when the Israeli cabinet held a special session in the Western Wall tunnels to mark the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem.
Rabbi Nachman and Freida Holtzberg, who lost their son and daughter-in-law in the 2008 terror attack on the Indian city of Mumbai’s Chabad House, have been granted a government-owned apartment in Israel.
Israeli Housing Minister Yoav Galant announced the government’s decision to approve housing for the family during a Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony.
“Tonight, the state returns a moral debt to the family which lost their son, Rabbi Gavriel Noach, and their daughter-in-law, Rebbetzin Rivka, in a horrific terror attack,” said Galant. “I am happy to give them this evening a state-owned apartment in Beitar Illit, which will allow them to provide family support to their grandson.”
The move paves the way for the family to make aliyah and to assist with raising their grandson Moshe in Israel.
In the Mumbai attack, which was carried out by a Pakistani Islamic terrorist organization as part of a larger siege on the city, six people were killed, including Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka. Moshe, who was 2-years-old at the time, survived due to the heroics of his Indian nanny Sandra Samuel.
Moshe, now 11, was sent to live in Israel with his grandparents and nanny, who was given Israeli residency and earned the country’s “Righteous Among the Nations” honorific for non-Jews.
The traditional Western Wall Menorah lighting ceremony on Thursday night was dedicated to Holocaust survivors.
The ceremony ushering in the third night of the Hanukka holiday was attended by hundreds of Holocaust survivors and their families, as well as Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, Chief Rabbi of the Western Wall, and Migdal Haemek Chief Rabbi, Dovid Grossman.
“I stand here today…in the holiest place for our people, and in Jerusalem, celebrating the 50th anniversary [of its unification], and in our country, Israel,” said Pnina Katzir, 88, who represented the Holocaust survivors. “Israel [will] celebrate its 70th anniversary this [coming] year and we can’t find suitable words to describe the magnitude of the event and its significance for Holocaust survivors.”
“We survived because of our strong desire to live, because we expelled despair and because we believed that better times would come,” continued Katzir. “We went to Israel and established families, that is our pride and our victory,” she emphasized.
“The Holocaust survivors who are still with us are like a fire which illuminates the way,” added Greg Schneider, who is the Director General of the Claims Conference. “We must commemorate the stories of heroism and the tremendous contribution from those who have had everything taken from them.”
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