May 25, 2020

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12/15 Links: When Jewish WWII vets pulverized postwar UK fascists to tamp down rising racism; Living La Vida Orwell: Calling Trump an antisemite; Mossad helps Denmark bust 20 terrorists

From Ian:

When Jewish WWII vets pulverized postwar UK fascists to tamp down rising racism
Daniel Sonabend’s book ‘We Fight Fascists’ charts the rise of the 43 Group, which fought Oswald Mosley and others with fisticuffs, showing Jews would not accept post-WWII bigotry – Hairdresser Vidal Sassoon was known to fight with scissors

Six months after the end of World War II, Britain’s fascist leader, Sir Oswald Mosley, attended a Christmas party. He was given a rapturous reception by 1,000 stalwart supporters — complete with raised-arm salutes. Despite the defeat of the Third Reich which he had so admired, Mosley remained convinced that Britain’s fascist moment was still to come.

But the former head of the British Union of Fascists would also face a group of equally committed opponents — mainly Jewish ex-servicemen who fought, spied upon and, ultimately, helped to defeat, Mosley’s much hoped-for return to the political stage.

As Daniel Sonabend brilliantly captures in his new book, “We Fight Fascists: The 43 Group and Their Forgotten Battle for Post-war Britain,” this was a tale of often bloody, and occasionally terrifying “organized chaos.”

In the aftermath of the Allied victory, Mosley initially ordered most of his supporters to keep their heads down. In a bid for respectability, and to help maintain and grow fascist networks, he urged them to form local book clubs and cultural societies. On no account were they to mention the Jews.

Many, though, were unable to contain their enthusiasm for their lost cause. With the lifting of various wartime regulations, a plethora of fascist organizations — deeply antagonistic towards one another but united in their hatred of Jews — began to spring up.

A Cable Street Moment

When the exit poll figures were released at exactly 22:00 Jews across the United Kingdom were jumping for joy & relief that the threat posed to them by the prospect of a hard left, antisemitic Prime Minister had been averted.

There is no anti-British, anti-Western cause Corbyn hasn’t adopted. Throughout his career he has expressed support for the IRA, Colonel Gaddafi, Yassir Arafat, Hamas, Hizbollah, the USSR, a plethora of antisemitic individuals ranging from the self hating Paul Eisen to blood libel invoking Raed Salah. There is no podium too extreme for him to stand on, there is no person too odious for him to call his friend.

The rise of Corbyn heralded a rise in Jew hatred in Labour. Jewish members, regardless of their seniority, were hounded out.

That didn’t mean they sat in silence impotent to control their own fate. On the contrary.

From at least three submissions to the European Human Rights Commission on the institutional nature of Labour’s antisemitism to an unprecedented expression of concern by the Chief Rabbi & a demonstration in Parliament Sq the Jewish people fought the injustices perpetrated against them on the streets, in social media, in the corridors of power.

The Jews of Britain fought antisemites wherever they found them.

On the last night of the election campaign Jews went to East London, to the site of the Labour Party’s final campaign event, to make sure their most hardcore activists were confronted by the people who refused to become victims of a Labour government.

David Collier: The BBC can only find Christmas trees in ‘Palestine’

On 5th December, BBC Newsround published a page titled ‘Christmas trees from around the world.’ If the BBC take it down, the page is archived. It was published on their Newsround pages and is explicitly targeted at children. The item is intended to raise the Christmas spirit and brings images of impressive Christmas trees across the world. So far, so good.

Until you look at the page. I have a radar for anti-Israel activism and propaganda. To analyse articles and work out which ones are subtly twisted by a journalist who wants to weave their personal dislike of the Jewish state into the words on the page. On many occasions that bias is subtle and can even be expertly hidden. Rarely are these people caught with their trousers so firmly down around their ankles as with this particular BBC page. Outside of the world of a petty anti-Israel activist deliberately writing a piece of Palestinian propaganda fit for a Hamas PR unit – this BBC article makes absolutely no sense.

How many impressive Christmas trees are there in the world? The BBC webpage published 10 days ago managed to find seven. Just seven. The page hasn’t been updated since and there are still seven trees. The BBC found impressive trees in Vilnius, New York, Gaza, Prague, California, Ramallah, and Bethlehem.

BBC Christmas treesThree trees in PA/Hamas areas. Three. This is not education – this is blatant propaganda. Even the Arab outlet ‘Gulf News’ wouldn’t publish such a piece. They found other images from Dortmund, Strasbourg and the Vatican – cities with Christmas trees that for whatever reason – the BBC just couldn’t find.

BBC’s ‘Newsround’ breaches BBC Academy style guide

On December 5th the BBC’s ‘Newsround’ website – which is aimed at children aged 6 to 12 – published a photo feature titled “Christmas trees from around the world”:
“It’s December so that means it’s almost Christmas! And of course it also means festive firs are being put up all over the world. Here are some of the best ones from 2019 so far.”

The item features seven captioned photographs taken in various locations: Lithuania, New York, Gaza, Prague, Ramallah, California and Bethlehem. In other words, three out of the seven images (42.8%) portray Christmas trees in areas ruled by either the Palestinian Authority or Hamas.

Moreover, the caption to the fifth image reads:
“Another great display in Palestine! Fireworks lit up the sky as Ramallah switched on the lights for their giant Christmas tree.”

That wording obviously suggests to readers that both Gaza (referring to a previous photo) and Ramallah are located in a country called Palestine.

JCPA: President Trump’s Executive Order on Anti-Semitism

President Donald Trump’s signing of an Executive Order on December 11, 2019, applying Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to Jewish Americans, is arguably the most significant single presidential action protecting their civil rights since President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the landmark Civil Rights Act into law 55 years ago. Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act defines the anti-discrimination requirements for educational institutions to receive federal U.S. funding.

Trump’s Executive Order calls upon federal agencies to enforce Title VI and protect the civil rights of Jews as an ethnically distinct religious minority. The Executive Order references the path-breaking International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism, which in the American Title VI context would protect Jews on campus from discrimination, including their right to support Jewish self-determination (Zionism) in the Land of Israel. The presidential order is a setback for anti-Semites on U.S. campuses who have masked their hatred and discrimination against Jews supporting Israel, claiming their speech and actions are “legitimate criticism” protected as free speech.

In historical terms, Trump’s presidential action comes at a time of intensifying and deadly anti-Semitic violence against Jews across the United States. The moment is reminiscent of the deadly racial violence of the early 1960s against African Americans when President John F. Kennedy proposed civil rights legislation, and Lyndon B. Johnson pushed it through Congress and signed it into law.

Trump has also furthered the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, who championed the civil rights of African Americans more than 60 years ago and mobilized millions against racism and discrimination. In 1967, in an act of moral solidarity with Jews and the Jewish state, just months before his assassination, King stood firmly against the efforts of those who attempted to differentiate anti-Zionism from anti-Semitism.

Living La Vida Orwell: Calling Trump an antisemite

For those of you who have always regretted not reading the classic “1984,” fear not: you are living it.

In George Orwell’s classic of life under an all-encompassing totalitarian regime, the concept of Doublespeak was an integral aspect of communication.

With Doublespeak, what was conveyed was the opposite of what was. It was the ability to create a reality that was not only fashioned out of whole cloth, but at complete variance with actual reality.

Or, as Groucho Marx famously said, “Who are you going to believe? Me, or what’s right in front of your eyes?” Indeed.

It was hard not to conjure up the specter of both Orwell and Groucho in reading the reactions to President Trump’s speech before the IAC (Israeli American Council) convention just recently. For close to an hour Trump extolled the US Israel relationship and touted his own very deserved credentials as a great friend of Israel.

The reaction has been universally breathtaking. Those who appreciate Trump’s unprecedented steps to show support for Israel, find him to be a Heaven-sent ally and friend. His solicitude for the Jewish community was further demonstrated this week as Trump signed an Executive Order extending Title VI Civil Rights protection to Jews on university and college campuses that receive federal funding.

Student who sued NYU over antisemitism praises Trump’s executive order

New York University alumna Adela Cojab Moadeb praised US President Donald Trump’s executive order, which recognized Jewish students as a protected group under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

“When I sued NYU for campus antisemitism, college leaders shrugged. It took the US president to do something about it,” Moadeb, a New York University graduate who sued the school over allegations of allowing antisemitism on campus, wrote in a New York Post op-ed. She said that Trump’s executive order “corrects a longtime gross injustice against Jewish students.”

Moadeb was a speaker at the Israeli-American Council’s 2019 summit in Florida, where she had the chance to stand on stage as “Trump affirmed the rights of Jewish students to a harassment-free environment on college campuses.”

Before finishing her undergraduate degree at NYU, Moadeb filed a Title VI complaint against the school, claiming that the university allowed antisemitism to take place on campus. The US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights eventually launched an investigation to determine whether NYU created a hostile environment for Jewish students and to evaluate its reactions to allegedly antisemitic incidences.

New York Times Tilt on Trump Antisemitism Story Hints at Influence of ‘Repeated … Poor Judgment’ Editor

“Unease at Trump’s Order To Tackle Anti-Semitism” is the print headline over a New York Times news article focused on the American Jewish reaction to Trump’s executive order combating antisemitism.

The word “unease” in the headline accurately reflects the gist of the story. It includes quotes from four rabbis — Daniel Zemel, Jill Jacobs, Hara Person, and Seth Limmer — who opposed Trump’s action and one, Rick Jacobs, who is on the fence about it. One rabbi who favored Trump’s action, Arnie Gluck, is named and paraphrased but not quoted. Another rabbi, Eytan Hammerman, is quoted faulting Trump for threatening support for Israel.

The “unease” story sharply contradicts earlier Times coverage of the same issue. A different Times article published the previous day by a different Times reporter stated, far more accurately, “Jewish groups were largely supportive, with some liberal organizations opposing it.”

One communications and government relations executive, Jeff Ballabon, called the “unease” Times article “a mendacious pack of distortions, half-truths, and lies.”

The Times article concludes with an anecdote that sympathetically portrays Students for Justice in Palestine, a group that is part of the BDS movement that favors a boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign against Israel and the “return” of Palestinian refugees in a way that would mean an end to the Jewish state.

Guardian op-ed: presidential order on antisemitism only supported by right-wing Jews

Kenneth Stern, who helped write what’s now known as the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism, naturally has every right to oppose President Trump’s executive order (EO) last week requiring universities to consider IHRA when assessing if, per title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Jewish students’ rights have been violated.

However, Stern, who was the antisemitism expert for American Jewish Committee for 25 years, does not have the right to dishonestly frame support for the EO as exclusively coming from the Jewish “right”, as he did in a Guardian op-ed (“I drafted the definition of antisemitism. Rightwing Jews are weaponizing it”, Dec.).

So, Guardian readers would have you believe that the only ones supporting applying IHRA to college campuses – thus “weaponising antisemitism” – are right wing Jews (like Jared Kushner) and right wing Jewish groups (like ZOA).

However, Stern fails to mention that the EO was enthusiastically embraced by Amercian Jewish Committee (AJC), one of the oldest Jewish advocacy groups in the country, and an organisation that nobody with any knowledge of the US Jewish communal landscape would describe as “right wing” – and where, as we noted, Stern himself worked from 1989 to 2014.

Flags to Fly Half-Mast for Week in Jersey City for Victims

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy ordered flags across the state to be flown at half-mast for a full week beginning on Friday, Dec. 13, in “recognition and mourning of the passing of the victims in Jersey City.”

Jersey City Police Det. Joseph Seals was killed in the line of duty on Dec. 10 at the start of an afternoon of terror in the city.

His two attackers then drove to the JC Kosher Supermarket in the Greenville section of the city. There, they killed two Chassidic Jews—store owner Leah Mindel Ferencz, 33, and customer Moshe Deutsch, 24—and Miguel Rodriguez, 49, a store employee who is being remembered as a hero for helping a customer escape out the back when the attack began.

Ferencz’s husband, Moshe Dovid Ferencz, had left the store just moments before the attack began to attend services at a synagogue next door. They are the parents of three young children.

UK chief rabbi: Despite election, anti-Semitism and bigotry remain challenges

Despite the results of Thursday’s British Parliament elections, challenges in combating bigotry and hatred in the United Kingdom continue, British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said Friday.

“The elections may be over, but concerns about the resurgence of anti-Semitism remain,” Mirvis said in a statement.

“Islamophobia, racism, and other forms of prejudice continue to afflict our communities and, as has been well-publicized, even our political parties,” he said.

“It is vital that we now bring the country together, ensuring that the voices of people from across our society are heard and respected. We must focus on our shared values and leave all hatred and prejudice far behind us,” Mirvis added.

Outgoing Labor party leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose party was soundly defeated in Thursday’s vote, has been criticized for years for having allowed anti-Semitism to flourish in the party ranks under his stewardship.

Jewish candidate’s raised eyebrow at Corbyn comment goes viral

Never before has the merest physical gesture created such mirth as the raised eyebrow of Brexit Party candidate Yosef David in response to UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s comment that his party’s election campaign “did not descend into the gutter.”

In an uproariously comic moment, David’s effervescent left eyebrow threatened to jump clean off the top of his head as Corbyn, whose party has become infested with antisemitism, declared that although Labour had lost the election, it had conducted itself with honor.

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post on Sunday, David, a visibly Orthodox Jew who was running in Corbyn’s Islington North constituency, said that his response – caught on TV as he stood next to the defeated Labour leader – was completely instinctive.

“I was absolutely determined not to do some kind of stunt,” he said. “I wanted to be respectful. The eyebrow raise was my honest reaction. It was 2:30 a.m., I’d had lots of coffee, no sleep, and it just seemed a ridiculous thing to say.”

Evelyn Gordon: Israel needs a bottom-up approach to diplomacy

The problem with traditional diplomacy is that it generally focuses on high-level officials, both elected politicians and civil servants. These are people with zero incentive to rock the boat on Israel’s behalf because they would rather spend their political capital on issues that most of their countrymen (and they themselves) actually care about, which rarely include Israel and the Palestinians. And in Europe, not rocking the boat means adhering to the anti-Israel consensus that has long dominated the EU. Thus while this kind of diplomacy remains essential for numerous issues, it often isn’t effective at generating change.

Yet precisely because senior officialdom often doesn’t care much about Israel, committed activists can move the needle by lobbying members of parliament, joining the boards of organizations, and so forth, thereby generating noise that makes it seem like people care about this issue. That won’t immediately produce change at the governmental level; in Holland, for instance, the government said it would ignore parliament’s position on product labeling. But it’s a necessary first step.

Pro-Palestinian activists have long understood this, but pro-Israel activists are only now belatedly playing catch-up. And while much of the work obviously has to be done by local activists, Israel could facilitate the effort by identifying and actively engaging with groups that are potentially persuadable to pro-Israel activism.

Sometimes these will be groups more identified with the right, like religious Christians and European nationalists. Other times they will be groups identified with the left: In both Germany and Austria, the Green Party’s youth wings have played active roles in fighting BDS. But either way, the goal should be to find potentially sympathetic organizations that could be spurred to pro-Israel activism through engagement.

When a government open to pro-Israel positions gets elected, Israel should obviously try to leverage the opportunity through traditional diplomacy. But by engaging with parliamentarians and grassroots groups in an effort to foster pro-Israel activism, it can increase the likelihood of naturally sympathetic governments adopting pro-Israel policies and reduce the likelihood of naturally unsympathetic governments adopting anti-Israel ones.

For too long, Israel’s attitude towards European diplomacy has been top-down. It’s long past time for it to start investing more in bottom-up efforts.

The New EU Push for Palestinian Statehood Is Dangerous for Israel

Following the US recognition in November of the legality of Israel’s West Bank settlements, Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn is advancing an initiative calling for the European Union to recognize a Palestinian state.

Last week, Asselborn sent a letter to the EU’s new foreign-affairs representative, Josep Borrell, and to the 27 EU foreign ministers. In the letter, he argued that the way to rescue the two-state solution was to create a “more equitable situation” policy-wise between Israel and the Palestinians, to which end he urged the European states to hold a discussion as soon as possible regarding the possibility of recognizing a Palestinian state.

Such a move, he said, would not be anti-Israel.

“In no way would [such steps] be directed against Israel. Indeed, if we want to contribute to solving the conflict between Israel and Palestine, we must never lose sight of Israel’s security conditions, as well as of justice and dignity for the Palestinian people,” Asselborn wrote in the letter.

According to officials in Jerusalem, Israel’s Foreign Ministry is preparing to thwart Luxembourg’s new initiative. A debate on the issue is scheduled to be held at a meeting of European foreign ministers in January. Regardless of the ultimate outcome, however, the Palestinians are encouraged by this new European direction.

Austrian MP declares BDS movement to be antisemitic

An Austrian MP who has been one of the principal advocates of a parliamentary resolution to combat antisemitism and ban government support for BDS groups has insisted that denying Israel’s right to exist is antisemitic, and that his motion seeks to counter such invective.

Reinhold Lopatka, a member of the Austria’s lower house of its parliament, the National Council, for the Austria People’s Party, told The Jerusalem Post that antisemitism in the country needs to be decisively refuted, and that the BDS campaign was itself antisemitic.

As reported by The Jerusalem Post on Thursday, Lopatka and other members of parliament have submitted a motion to the National Council to combat antisemitism in the country, and to ban federal funds from going to organizations that back the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Remarkably, the motion has been backed by all five parties currently represented in the National Council from right to left, including the Austrian People’s Party, the far-right Freedom Party of Austria, the Social Democratic Party, the New Austria and Liberal Forum, and the Green Party.

The motion calls on the Austria federal government “to develop a holistic strategy” to combat antisemitism, and to “strongly condemn the BDS movement and its goals, in particular the call for a boycott of Israeli products, companies, artists, scientists or athletes.”

German commissioner says Merkel’s envoy boosting antisemitism at UN

A German state commissioner to combat antisemitism told The Jerusalem Post that his country’s UN ambassador promotes antisemitism at the United Nations when he compared the Jewish state with Hamas.

“The comparison made by [Christoph] Heusgen between Israel’s actions and the terrorism of Hamas damages solidarity with Israel and is unfortunately apt to promote Israeli-related antisemitism,” Uwe Becker, the commissioner tasked to fight antisemitism in the state of Hesse, told the Post.

Becker added that “Germany must also not be a provider for Israel-related antisemitism.” He said that the “political farce” at the UN “can only be answered with no” with respect to Germany’s voting pattern.

Becker was responding to the Post exclusive report on Thursday that the human rights organization Simon Wiesenthal Center ranked Heusgen seventh on its 2019 list of worst outbreaks of antisemitic and anti-Israel incidents.

Canada has abandoned Israel at the United Nations. Why?

Canada recently voted against Israel at the United Nations for the first time in nearly 15 years.

This occurred during the UN resolution related to 20 non-binding anti-Israel measures that are adopted annually, including reaffirming the right of Palestinians to self-determination. This year’s co-sponsors included North Korea, Zimbabwe and the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

Many people were furious over Canada ’ s decision. Nimrod Barkan, Israel’s ambassador to Canada, expressed “regret” and noted the resolution “is not a substantive resolution, but an attempt to delegitimize Israel and is part of the whole package that should be rejected out of hand.”

Nikki Haley, the former U S ambassador to the UN, went even further and said that Canada “ surprised Israel ’ s friends by voting for a North Korean resolution that challenges the legitimacy of Israel.” Haley, a likely US presidential candidate in 2024, called it a “deal with the Devil”.

Indeed, this was a stunning reversal of course in the Great White North.

Mossad helps Denmark bust 20 terrorists – report

The Mossad was behind successful efforts by Denmark to nab a cell of 20 terrorists planning a wave of attacks, Channel 12 reported Saturday night.

According to the report, Danish security officials arrested the terrorists and seized a variety of weapons.

While Israel previously disclosed that it had provided the intelligence to obstruct an ISIS plot to bomb a United Arab Emirates Etihad Airways flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi, Netanyahu revealed that the intelligence that broke the case was obtained through cyber tools.

He said that while he could not give specifics, the audience could “multiply by about 50” the Sydney airline terrorist plot, and that would be the number of terrorist plots worldwide (mostly by ISIS) that Israel has helped to prevent thanks to its cyber intelligence powers.

“The plane from Sydney to Abu Dhabi was not going to be hijacked, but exploded in midair,” he said. “We used our cyber tools to discover that ISIS was going to do this, and so we alerted the Australian police, and they stopped it before it could happen.

“This particular incident I can talk about because it was leaked to the media,” Netanyahu said. “If you multiply that by 50, it will give you an idea of the contribution that Israel has made to prevent major terrorist operations, especially from ISIS, in dozens of countries. Most of those cases were foiled because of our cybersecurity operations.”

Brazil opens trade office in Jerusalem, hailed as harbinger of embassy move

Brazil on Sunday officially opened a trade office in Jerusalem, a move that senior officials said was a harbinger of the South American country moving its embassy to the Israeli capital next year.

At the event, Eduardo Bolsonaro, a senior lawmaker and the son of Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, reiterated his government’s pledge to relocate the embassy to Jerusalem soon.

“You have political arguments, you have historical arguments. You have a bunch of arguments to recognize that Jerusalem is your capital. So we’re not going to do something extraordinary. We’re doing a normal thing — to recognize your capital,” he said.

Just like the Brazilian government can determine what its country’s capital is, so Israel’s government can decide what city it wants as its capital, he added. “Because we do believe that whoever blesses Israel will be blessed, and whoever curses Israel will be cursed,” he added, paraphrasing a Biblical verse.

Bolsonaro, who chairs the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee of the Brazilian National Congress’ Chamber of Deputies, said he had spoken to his father about moving the embassy.

The Sbarro bomber trashes the ruler who protects her from the FBI

She has confessed repeatedly to killing Israelis and Jews and makes a point of explaining that she has no regrets at all. In front of the cameras, she has said she would “do it again today”.

Well and good. But the reason she doesn’t have to cover her tracks or watch her back is because the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan explicitly protects her.

She’s a resistance hero in their lethally dishonest lexicon. She managed to kill an extraordinary number of innocent Israelis and Jews, half of them children. Watch her make that clear in this video interview (starting about 1m30s into the clip). Among Jordanians at every level of their society, she enjoys incredible popularity.

The presenter of a popular TV show said it clearly a year ago on Jordan’s most watched channel: “You, the people of the struggle, elevate the name of Jordan!” To be clear, “the people of the struggle” she’s referring to are Ahlam Tamimi and her cousin Nizar Tamimi who is also her husband. Both are committed, unrepentant terrorists and convicted killers. The husband is aligned with Fatah, the wife with Hamas. Both walked free in the catastrophic Shalit Deal.

The life of our daughter Malki, just 15, was one of the many snuffed out by this hideous woman. That’s the reason we are so sharply focused on her undeserved freedom and the almost entirely unreported details of how she stays free.

The process has been hugely frustrating. But there has been significant progress. Since March 14, 2017, there have serious US criminal charges against her that if proven will likely mean she is locked away for the rest of her life.

The US has for decades had an extradition treaty with Jordan, and has called on Jordan to respect it in the Tamimi case as it has on every previous occasion when the US has invoked the treaty. Jordan refuses.

Hamas delegation tells Erdogan of Gaza’s dire situation, Temple Mount ‘danger’

A Hamas delegation led by its chief, Ismail Haniyeh, met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul on Saturday and spoke to him about the dire humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, the terror group said in a report posted on its official website.

Haniyeh had been in Turkey since the previous Sunday following talks with the Egyptian General Intelligence Services. The trip marked the first time he has traveled beyond Gaza and Egypt since he became Hamas’s top leader in May 2017.

“The Hamas delegation spoke about the difficult humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip in light of the ongoing siege and the necessary measures to end [it],” the report stated, adding that it praised Turkey for its “positions vis-a-vis the Palestinian people and its just cause.”

Israel maintains many restrictions on the movement of people and goods into and out of Gaza. Israel officials argue that the limitations seek to prevent terror groups in the coastal enclave from importing weapons or the means to build them.

For the most of the last decade, Egypt also imposed heavy restrictions on the movement of people and goods. More recently, however, Egyptian authorities have permitted many Palestinians in Gaza to travel through the Rafah crossing and import some goods by way of its borders.

Turkey Moves to Stop Israel from Building Undersea Gas Line to Europe

Turkey is attempting to stop Israel from laying a natural gas pipeline to Europe, Israeli public broadcaster Kan reported on Thursday.

According to the report, Turkey is claiming that the planned Israeli undersea pipeline infringes on an area claimed by Turkey under an economic agreement reached with Libya.

Turkey has officially asked the UN to recognize the agreement with Libya as a first step toward preventing Israel from building its own pipeline.

Kan reported that Turkey’s foreign minister commented that his country was prepared to respond powerfully against anyone who attempted to infringe Turkish sovereignty.

If successful, Turkey’s move would most seriously affect Greece and Cyprus, both allies of Israel, who, along with Italy, have signed a memorandum of understanding with the Jewish state on construction of the gas pipeline.

Turkish ships said to force Israeli research vessel out of Cypriot waters

Turkish navy ships intercepted an Israeli research ship in Cypriot waters two weeks ago and drove it away, Channel 13 news reported Saturday, quoting senior Israeli officials.

The ship Bat Galim, of the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research institution, was approached by Turkish vessels while conducting research in coordination with Cypriot officials and the Cypriot government, the report said.

The unnamed senior officials said the vessels radioed the Israeli ship, demanded to know its business in the area — despite not having jurisdiction there — and then ordered it leave. The Israeli ship had no choice but to comply and depart.

Turkey has recently taken steps to increase its influence in the eastern Mediterranean. It signed a maritime border agreement with Libya in November that has fueled regional tensions with Greece, Cyprus and Egypt over oil and gas drilling rights in the region.

The three countries, which lie between Turkey and Libya, blasted the maritime border accord, saying it was inconsistent with international law. Greece has expelled the Libyan ambassador over the pact.

Iran’s IRGC: The Persian Gulf belongs to us

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps naval commander Admiral Alireza Tangsiri said the Persian Gulf belongs to Iran. “We have the right to question any vessels entering the Straits of Hormuz and Iranian territorial waters.” The statement is the latest in a series of Iranian threats to neighboring countries of the Persian Gulf after six months of tensions in which Iran downed a US drone and attacked six ships and seized one UK-flagged ship in the sensitive waterway.

Tangsiri’s statement is part of the IRGC’s increasing attempts to harass or provoke the US and allies. “The IRGC navy controls and monitors the foreign vessels which enter the Persian Gulf and questions them about their nationality, type of vessel and their destination,” said the Iranian commander. He claimed the US has always responded to these requests. Iran has hosted Oman’s foreign minister recently and sought to reduce tensions with the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Iran wants to push its own initiative called Hormuz Peace Endeavor (HOPE) in the Gulf. It also says that it wants a joint naval drill with Russia and China.

Iran’s mixed statements about peace and also “control” are a way to send a message to the US and Western navies. For instance the US has sought to lead a maritime security initiative in the Gulf and France has pushed its own European role. Denmark and Holland appear ready to work with France, which has a naval base in the UAE. The US has a naval base in Bahrain. Since August the UK and US have also worked increasingly closely in the Gulf. The UK seized an Iranian tanker in July and Iran seized a British tanker. Iran wants to claim that its navy ca do what it wants, even escort US ships, in the Gulf.

Disgust, outrage and anger over Newsweek’s Iran cover

Newsweek ran a cover that most people initially felt was photoshopped. “If Iran falls, ISIS rises again,” was printed across a photo of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It wasn’t photoshopped, however, but is the cover of the magazine’s upcoming December 27 issue.

“Shame,” “abhorrent,” “disgusting,” “ignorant,” were some of the kinder ways the cover was greeted. Writer and academic Idrees Ahmad tweeted that he spent all day thinking the cover was a joke. “The graphic design is so crude. But turns out the cover is real and the story behind it is even worse.”

Alireza Nader, senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, wrote that it was unfortunate Newsweek did not realize how the cover spread propaganda. “It’s basically arguing for the preservation of the Islamic Republic.”

Ghanem Nuseibeh, chairman of Muslims Against Antisemitism, slammed it because of its simplistic view that the Islamic world is either with Iran’s theocratic regime or ISIS. “Most Muslims are victims of those two groups.”

“A once great magazine is reduced to spreading propaganda for the Islamic Republic,” wrote Mike Doran of the Hudson Institute. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, was succinct in his response: “Go to hell.”

Vandalism strikes Iranian synagogue in Beverly Hills, police investigating

The Beverly Hills Police Department is “actively investigating” a synagogue that was vandalized in the city on Friday night, the department said in a media release on Saturday.

Police said they are investigating the incident as a hate crime but found “no overt signs of antisemitism.”

They responded to the call at the Nessah Synagogue shortly after 7 a.m. local time on Saturday, after an employee notified security when he “found an open door and items ransacked inside the synagogue,” the police said in the release.

Nessah Synagogue was established in 1980 by Persian Jews who immigrated to Los Angeles from Tehran after the Islamic Revolution.

US-based Islamic scholar defends antisemitic comments, slams Western media

“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews, when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdullah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, [the Boxthorn tree] would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.”

So says an infamous Muslim hadith that is often quoted by radical Islamists, and is in some schools in the Middle East. It is also often used as an example of how ingrained antisemitism and Jew-hatred is in the Muslim faith.

However, this is not the case, Texas-based Islamic scholar Sheikh Yasir Qadhi has argued. Rather, it is an attempt by Western media to paint Islam in an inherently bad light, as reported by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

Speaking at the East Plano Islamic Center (EPIC Masjid) in Plano, Texas, Qhadi described what he perceived as a grave misconception.

DOJ attorney tells Auschwitz Museum: ‘I will come after you’

A US Department of Justice attorney got into a bizarre dispute with the Auschwitz Museum this week, going so far as to publicly and privately threaten them on Twitter.

DOJ attorney McKay Smith accused the museum of blocking accounts belonging to Jewish women and harassing several of his followers.

“@AuschwitzMuseum if you ever intimidate my followers via DM again, or you try to intimidate strong Jewish women who lost family members at Auschwitz, I will confront you. Personally. That’s a promise,” Smith said in a tweet Wednesday.

“Don’t ever test me again, @pawel_sawicki Ever again,” he added, tagging the museum’s press officer who runs the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum’s Twitter account. Smith also sent Sawicki a number of private messages where he additionally threatened to “come after” him.

“He deleted one of his tweets where he accused me of siding with Holocaust deniers,” Sawicki told The Post. “I have been working at the memorial for over 12 years and I think I was never disrespected with such a personal false accusation.”

The spat began after the museum moved to block the account of @WoMenFightAS, which posted a sarcastic tweet accusing the museum of being a front for Polish revisionism, which downplays the country’s role in operating the infamous death camp.

Man arrested for anti-Semitic abuse on London bus

A man was arrested for a hate crime after subjecting a Jewish man to anti-Semitic abuse on a London bus, the Guardian reported Sunday morning.

The incident occurred on December 6 when the suspect boarded a bus in Hackney, near the heavily Jewish neighborhood of Stamford Hill.

The victim was reading a prayer book when the suspect began shouting an anti-Semiitc tirade at him. The suspect then verbally abused a pair of teenage girls, prompting the first first victim to intervene.

At that point the suspect assaulted him and struck him in the arm.

The suspect, who was identified by CCTV surveillance, was arrested on Friday.

Jerusalem ranked world’s fastest growing tourist destination

The latest survey of the world’s most popular tourist cities by UK business intelligence company Euromonitor International shows Jerusalem as the world’s fastest growing destination.

Jerusalem rose six places in the rankings of the Top 100 City Destinations report in 2018 to 61st place with 3.93 overseas tourists, up 12% from 2017 and is expected to enjoy 38% growth in 2019 to 4.8 million, according to Euromonitor International. With Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics projecting 4.9 million overseas visitors to Israel in 2019, this figure might be an overestimation.

Tel Aviv was ranked 79th in 2018 with 2.8 million visitors, up 8% from 2017 and is expected to attract almost 3 million visitors in 2019

Tarantino screens documentary about life’s work in Jerusalem

Quentin Tarantino greeted a full house at the Jerusalem Cinematheque with an enthusiastic “Shalom” and “Ma Nishma” (how are you?) at the Saturday night screening of “QT8: The First Eight,” a documentary about the first 21 years of the legendary film director’s career.

Tarantino, along with his Israeli wife, Daniella Pik, were present for the screening, which he said was his first time seeing it in “a theater situation” with an audience.

Cinematheque director Noa Regev presented Tarantino with a Hebrew poster for “Reservoir Dogs,” his 1992 film, which he said he would hang in their Tel Aviv home.

The 2019 documentary by Tara Woods examines the first eight of Tarantino’s vastly differing films; Tarantino, now 56, has said that he will make ten films in total over the course of his career.

Jewish Disney princess lights up holiday season

The Festival of Lights will shine brightly for Disney fans as the company’s first Jewish princess makes her appearance on Disney Junior’s series, Elena of Avalor, during a Hanukkah-themed episode.

The Hanukkah episode is available on the Disney Channel and the DisneyNow app. It features Princess Rebecca, a princess from a Latino kingdom, who is voiced by Jamie-Lynn Sigler. Sigler is a Jewish actress who starred as Meadow Soprano in the HBO series The Sopranos and played herself on Entourage.

When Walt Disney Television Animation News announced the news on Twitter, Sigler tweeted, “I am so excited to voice Disney’s first Jewish princess.”

Elena of Avalor tells the story of a teen princess who saved her kingdom, Avalor, from an evil sorceress and now must rule. Elena of Avalor’s third series began airing in October.

Thousands in Nigeria celebrate Hanukkah – WATCH

Thousands of Nigerians gathered in the city of Abakiliki last week to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah – even though the actual holiday starts next week on Sunday, December 22.

In a three-day festival organized by Ohio-based Messianic Jewish shaliach (emissary) Rabbi Kirt Schneider, a massive crowd gathered together to light the candles of the traditional Hanukkah menorah (also known as a hanukkiah) and say the appropriate blessings.

Messianic Jews are Jews whose faith combines Jewish rituals with Christianity, including that Jesus is the Jewish messiah.

“It is really heartwarming to see thousands of Nigerians embracing the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah!” said Schneider, who added, “We have witnessed in the last years a growing trend among the people of Nigeria to learn more about Jewish tradition, and we are here to accommodate that.”

Australian PM Scott Morrison: ‘Light is more powerful than darkness’

But always there is a rededication and always there are the same values that sustain it.

That freedom conquers oppression.

That light is more powerful than darkness.

That faith endures even as we face the trials and tribulations of this world.

During a time of increasing hatred and division, these messages are more important than ever.

For this is the story of a people who were told they could not practise their faith but who rose again – and it is symbolised by the miracle of a single vial of olive oil burning for eight nights.

So while one generation may grow old and the next one breathe new life, the traditions carry on – playing the game of dreidel, eating jam-filled donuts, lighting the candles of a chanukiah.

It is these moments – spent with loved ones or in quiet contemplation – that truly matter.

I wish the Jewish people of Australia a joyous and light-filled Chanukah.

Chanukah sameach!

A Star Wars Chanukah

According to, Baby Yoda’s cousin delivered this sage advice to Luke Skywalker, which he took from the Maccabees. Like the Jedi years later, against all odds, they fought off a great empire who sought their destruction. The Jedi won and chased the empire away from their holy land. But then they discovered that the evil Darth Vader had desecrated all their olive oil, save for one jug of oil which was kept hidden by C-3PO and R2-D2. It turned out the oil in that little jug was connected to an alternate universe, where it held additional oil that sufficed for 8 days. Pass the latkas.

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