Saturday, November 28, 2020

  • Saturday, November 28, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
The last three paragraphs of a Reuters article on the assassination of  Iranian nuclear engineer Mohsen Fakhrizadeh:

The NCRI said in the report that Fakhrizadeh was born in 1958 in the Shi’ite Muslim holy city of Qom, was a deputy defence minister and a Revolutionary Guards brigadier-general, held a nuclear engineering doctorate and taught at Iran’s University of Imam Hussein.

A high-ranking Iranian source described Fakhrizadeh to Reuters in 2014 as “an asset and an expert” dedicated to Iran’s technological progress and enjoying the full support of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The source added that Fakhrizadeh had three passports and travelled a lot, including in Asia, to obtain “the latest information” from abroad, but would not elaborate. Western security sources say Iran was long adept in obtaining nuclear materials and know-how from the international black market.
Even though most articles stress his nuclear scientist credentials, there is very little talk about how he was both a nuclear science expert and a key member of Iran's defense department.

This was only admitted after his assassination by Ayatollah Khamenei himself:



This is a tacit admission that Iran has - today - an active nuclear weapons program. The army wouldn't be involved in peaceful nuclear power research. 

Those who are upset over this assassination are those who want to see Israel destroyed by an Iranian nuclear bomb.

(h/t Nevet)



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Friday, November 27, 2020

From Ian:

Natan Sharansky and the Meaning of Freedom
Natan Sharansky has been a computer scientist, a chess player, a refusenik, a dissident, a political prisoner, a party leader, a government minister, a nonprofit executive, and a bestselling author. He never expected to be a school counselor.

But the coronavirus dashes expectations. In early March, when the virus began to appear in Jewish communities outside New York City, Sharansky found himself online, in an unaccustomed position. He began to share with students and parents whose schools were closed how he had coped during years in confinement.

"At first, it seemed absurd, even obscene," Sharansky writes in his latest book, Never Alone, coauthored with the historian Gil Troy. "How could my experience of playing chess in my head in my punishment cell compare to being cooped up in gadget-filled homes wired to the internet—with computer chess—especially because this isolation is imposed to protect people, not break them?"

What Sharansky realized is that the costs of lockdowns do not depend on the reasons behind them. The sudden and seemingly arbitrary interruption of individual plans, movements, and relationships causes psychological harm. Sharansky recorded a brief YouTube video for the Jewish Agency—you can watch it here—offering his five tips for quarantine. Recognize the importance of your choices and behavior, Sharansky advised. Understand that some things are beyond your control. Keep laughing. Enjoy your hobbies. Consider yourself part of a larger cause.

"Surprisingly," Sharansky writes, "this short clip went viral, reaching so many people all over the world within a few days that it made me wonder why even bother writing this book." His reaction was another example of his droll and often self-deprecating wit. The video, however helpful it may be, does not match the power and wisdom of Never Alone. Part autobiography, part meditation on Jewish community, the book ties together the themes of Sharansky’s earlier work, from his prison memoir, Fear No Evil (1988), to his defense of cultural particularity, Defending Identity (2008). It is a moving story of emancipation and connection, of freedom and meaning.

Sharansky was born in 1948 in the Ukrainian city of Stalino. His given name was Anatoly. His parents were educated professionals who downplayed their Jewish identity. They did not want to risk political and social reprisal. "The only real Jewish experience I had was facing anti-Semitism," he writes. The precocious youth spent his early years playing chess. He learned to navigate a Soviet system that maintained its rule through fear. He became captive to doublethink. He repeated official lies and myths not because it was the right thing to do, but because it was the safe thing to do.


Caroline Glick: Justice (and anti-Semitism) you shall pursue
Over the past week or so we have been witnessing the emergence of a new sort of anti-Semitism in the Democratic Party. The new form of Jew-hatred is a combination of anti-Zionism and identity politics. It is convoluted and hard to follow. But contradictions and all, it has arrived. And Jewish Americans, sensing the partisan disposition, are adapting themselves accordingly.

The first place to look for the new Jew-hatred is in Joe Biden's appointments. Most of the attention this week has been focused on Biden's senior appointments. Biden appointed Tony Blinken, who is Jewish, to serve as his secretary of state. As John Kerry's deputy, Blinken played a major role in crafting the nuclear deal with Iran which, while billed as a non-proliferation agreement, gave the world's greatest state sponsor of terrorism an open path to a nuclear arsenal. Like his former boss, Blinken is faithful to the view that the Palestinians are the strategic nerve center of the Middle East. Without their agreement, it is impossible – or if possible, wrong – for Arab states to make peace with Israel.

Blinken is considered an establishment figure rather than an ideologue. But since he is a Jew, party ideologues view him as suspect. For instance, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib responded to the news of his appointment with an anti-Semitic tweet. Responding to socialist Senator Bernie Sanders' praise for Blinken's appointment, Tlaib averred, "So long as he doesn't suppress my First Amendment right to speak out against Netanyahu's racist and inhumane policies."

Two other appointments announced this week certainly were more to Tlaib's liking.

Biden appointed Reema Dodin, a Palestinian American to serve as the deputy director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. As the pro-Israel website Elder of Zion reported, in 2002, as a student at the University of California Berkeley, Dodin was the head of the Muslim Brotherhood-aligned Muslim Students Association. In that capacity, she gave a speech at a church in Lodi, California where she justified suicide bombers. In her words at the time, "The suicide bombers were the last resort of a desperate people."

After her remarks were reported by Fox News, the Biden campaign issued a defensive response. Notably, the campaign made no effort to either deny or distance itself from Dodin's justification for the mass murder of Israelis by Palestinian terrorists. Instead, the campaign response read, "Reema is the first to tell you she has grown from her youth in her approach to pushing for change."

In other words, Dodin continues to justify the mass murder of Jews. But now that she's a grown-up, she presents it differently.
  • Friday, November 27, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
Business Insider wrote an article about  Israel's assassination of an Al Qaeda official in Tehran. Originally it said:



EoZ contributor Tomer Ilan noticed the highlighted statement - it is incorrect.

He wrote to BI informing them that Al Qaeda did attack Israelis with a 2008 attack on the Israeli embassy in Mauritania and 2002 Mombasa attacks against Israeli targets. (Since then he also found a third attack, the 2009 murder of Yafim Weinstein.)

Commendably, Business Insider corrected the article:



Tomer wonders if the initial claim that AQ never attacked Israel came from some common Arab memes, like these:








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From Ian:

Iran's nuclear program chief Mohsen Fakhrizadeh assassinated
Head of Iran's nuclear program Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, 59, was assassinated in Damavand, east of Tehran, local Iranian news reported on Friday.

Iran later confirmed the reports. "The nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated today by terrorists," the Iranian Defense Ministry wrote in a statement, while not blaming any specific entity for the incident.

However, Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif later stated on Twitter that "serious indication" pointed to Israeli involvement and urged the international community to condemn the attack.

Pictures from the scene show two vehicles, one blown up and one shot at from the front. Several local reports in Iran indicated that a suicide bomber was involved in the attack, but that has not yet been confirmed.

The Prime Minister's Office and the Pentagon have yet to comment on the reports.

A military adviser to Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei accused Israel for trying to provoke "a full-blown" war by killing Fakhrizadeh.


Warning from the past comes back to haunt Iran’s top nuclear scientist
“Remember that name” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned in 2018 of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who many referred to as the “father” of Iran’s nuclear weapons project.

But over the course of two years, no one remembered that name. Save for a few, including those who assassinated him on a busy street in Damavand, east of the capital of Tehran, on Friday.

Netanyahu made the comment when he divulged that Israel had obtained 100,000 files from Iran’s secret nuclear archives. He said that Fakhrizadeh, a brigadier general in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and a professor of physics at the Guard’s Imam Hussein University, played a central role in the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

Though he had been sidelined for several years, Fakhirzadeh returned to drive Iran’s nuclear program, Project Amad, specifically to develop nuclear warheads for the multitudes of ballistic missiles the Islamic republic already possesses.

While Iran was forced to shelve Project Amad in 2003, it continued with its nuclear ambitions and Western intelligence sources even revealed that in 2013 Fakhrizadeh had attended a North Korean nuclear weapons test.
By Daled Amos

Dov Lipman, who served as a member of Israel's 19th Knesset, writes about Obama’s revisionist ‘Promised Land’ -- a scathing review of the errors and outright misleading claims in Obama's new book.

After recounting -- and debunking -- numerous falsehoods, Lipman concludes:
I have no problem with criticism of Israel. We can debate the issues in intellectually honest discussions, and in the end, we may have to agree to disagree about Israel’s policies. But no one should accept a book that is filled with historical inaccuracies that invariably lead innocent and unknowing readers to reach false conclusions. Such a devastating book has real-life ramifications and consequences.

It is terribly disappointing. I surely would have expected truth, accuracy and fairness from Barack Obama, America’s 44th president. But the falsehoods and inaccuracies in this memoir only feed the theory that Obama was, in fact, anti-Israel. Now, through A Promised Land, he seeks to convince others to join him. [emphasis added]
Rather than review the list of falsehoods and inaccuracies, I just want to note why we should not be surprised by Obama's attack on Israel in his book.

On the one hand, we should recall Obama's attempt to recast the narrative of Israel's history as just a response to the Holocaust. 

In May 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama told The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg how the Holocaust is the justification for the Jewish State of Israel:
I know that that there are those who would argue that in some ways America has become a safe refuge for the Jewish people, but if you’ve gone through the Holocaust, then that does not offer the same sense of confidence and security as the idea that the Jewish people can take care of themselves no matter what happens. That makes it a fundamentally just idea.
Never mind the 3,000-year-old Jewish ties to the land.

America's strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied. [emphasis added]
Sure, the Holocaust cannot be denied (if only!), but the Jewish historical, cultural and indigenous ties -- well, that is another matter.

This pales in comparison to Obama' rewriting of Israel's history in his new book.

But I want to concentrate on something else -- on why we should have known about Obama's disregard for Israel before he became president.

In June 2008, while at a Florida synagogue to reassure Jewish voters of his commitment to Israel, Obama was asked about his association with Rashid Khalidi.

Obama responded:
You mentioned Rashid Khalidi, who is a professor at Columbia. I do know him because he talked at the University of Chicago and he is Palestinian, and I do know him and I have had conversations with him.

He is not one of my advisers, he is not one of my foreign policy people, his kids went to the lab school where my kids go as well.

He is a respected scholar although he vehemently disagrees a lot of Israel policy."

Obama, with his wife and Khalidi
Obama, with his wife and Khalidi



Two evasions are worth noting.

First of all, Obama claims he knows Khalidi from the University of Chicago and through the school where their children go.

The truth, however, is that Obama and Khalidi were very good friends -- not casual acquaintances.

An article in The LA Times, 2 months before Obama's appearance at that synagogue, reports about a party Obama attended in honor of Rashid Khalidi upon his moving to New York to teach at Columbia University:
A special tribute came from Khalidi's friend and frequent dinner companion, the young state Sen. Barack Obama. Speaking to the crowd, Obama reminisced about meals prepared by Khalidi's wife, Mona, and conversations that had challenged his thinking.

His many talks with the Khalidis, Obama said, had been "consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases. . . . It's for that reason that I'm hoping that, for many years to come, we continue that conversation -- a conversation that is necessary not just around Mona and Rashid's dinner table," but around "this entire world."

...And yet the warm embrace Obama gave to Khalidi, and words like those at the professor's going-away party, have left some Palestinian American leaders believing that Obama is more receptive to their viewpoint than he is willing to say.

Their belief is not drawn from Obama's speeches or campaign literature, but from comments that some say Obama made in private and from his association with the Palestinian American community in his hometown of Chicago, including his presence at events where anger at Israeli and U.S. Middle East policy was freely expressed. [emphasis added]
Obama could have answered honestly that Khalidi was a friend with whom he had little contact after his move to New York and that Khalidi was an Arab friend just as he had Jewish friends.

Instead, Obama was dishonest and misleading.

This article by Mona Charen which appeared in The National Review in June 2008 might explain why:
For a true friend, Obama also chose peculiar associates. He was quite friendly with Rashid Khalidi, a former director of the official press agency for the Palestine Liberation Organization (and now a professor at Columbia). Khalidi, who has called Israel an "apartheid" state and who defends the right of Palestinians to use violence against Israel, founded a group called the Arab American Action Network. When Obama served as a director of the Woods Fund in 2001 and 2002, the foundation donated $75,000 to the AAAN, for projects like an "oral history" project on the "Nakbah," which translates as "catastrophe," and is the name Palestinians use for the birth of Israel. Khalidi held a fundraiser for Obama when the latter ran for Congress in 2000 [emphasis added]
We should note in passing who else Obama worked with at the Woods Fund. Aaron Klein wrote in February 2008: Obama Worked With Terrorist
Obama served on the Wood's Fund board alongside William C. Ayers, a member of the Weathermen terrorist group which sought to overthrow of [sic] the U.S. government and took responsibility for bombing the U.S. Capitol in 1971.

Ayers, who still serves on the Woods Fund board, contributed $200 to Obama's senatorial campaign fund and has served on panels with Obama at numerous public speaking engagements. Ayers admitted to involvement in the bombings of U.S. governmental buildings in the 1970s. He is a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. [emphasis added]
Speaking of associating with terrorists, note that Mona Charen refers to Khalidi as "a former director of the official press agency for the Palestine Liberation Organization."

Khalidi has denied this.


“If the Israelis had any brains they could neutralize Palestinian irredentism just by giving back the West Bank,” asserted Rashid Khalidy, an American-educated Palestinian who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut and also works for the P.L.O. “It would split us.”
There is proof of Khalidi working for the PLO in The Washington Post too. Here is a letter by Thomas W. Lippman -- a former diplomatic, national security, and Middle East correspondent for the Washington Post
The Post's defense of Rashid Khalidi ["An 'Idiot Wind,' " editorial, Oct. 31] was generally commendable, but in fairness to Sen. John McCain, it should be noted that Mr. Khalidi was indeed "a PLO spokesman."

In the early years of the Lebanese civil war, Mr. Khalidi was the Beirut-based spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization, and his office was a stop on the daily rounds of journalists covering that conflict. As we used to say in the pre-electronic newspaper business: Check the clips.

THOMAS W. LIPPMAN

The Middle East Institute

Washington

All of this was ignored back then.

The LA Times, which had video of what was actually said at that party for Khalidi, never released the tape. They claimed it would reveal the identity of the person who gave them the tape.
But neither would they release a transcript.

Did Khalidi really provide Obama "consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases," as he claimed -- or merely reinforce them?

Even in his book, Obama still glosses over Khalidi's past and his connection with him, according to this quote from the book by Middle East Eye:
"They [Jewish supporters] attributed these whisper campaigns not to any particular position I’d taken (my backing of a two-state solution and opposition to Israeli settlements were identical to the positions of the other candidates) but rather to my expressions of concern for ordinary Palestinians; my friendships with certain critics of Israeli policy, including an activist and Middle East scholar named Rashid Khalidi; and the fact that, as Ben [Rhodes] bluntly put it, 'You’re a Black man with a Muslim name who lived in the same neighborhood as Louis Farrakhan and went to Jeremiah Wright's church.'”
With the publication of this book, we see that Obama's anti-Israel work did not end with pushing for UN Resolution 2334.
Now, Obama will spread his hate and ignorance directly to his readers.



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  • Friday, November 27, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon


For years, we've discussed how Mahmoud Abbas is the de facto dictator of the Palestinian areas in the West Bank. He is the head of the PLO, the president of the Palestinian Authority and the leader of Fatah (which he purged of any opposition.

Oh, and he handpicked all members of the Palestinian Constitutional Court so he has effective control over the judiciary as well, he used them to dissolve the Palestinian Legislative Council which was the only institution he didn't control!

As long as he was making decisions that the rest of the PLO supported, no one complained about this system. But last week Abbas decided to resume security and financial ties with Israel, and the rest of the Palestinian leadership is upset. '

As The Media Line reports:

A deep schism threatens the unity of the Palestinian Authority, its ruling Fatah movement and the Palestine Liberation Organization amid turmoil among senior officials. 

Many of these officials were flabbergasted by Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh’s announcement last week that the PA would restore its relations with Israel, which were cut off five months ago amid Israeli talk of West Bank annexations. They say they were not consulted.

A top PLO official who asked to remain anonymous says recent decision-making was unprecedentedly centralized, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and a tight circle making crucial and pressing choices without referring to official institutions.

“We were not consulted and we did not participate in drafting the decision…. There is a handful of people, including the president, who make decisions, and no one is informed about them,” the official tells The Media Line.

The PA is governed by one individual. We are ruled by a dictatorial regime,” the official says, adding: “The fear now [is that] the president will continue to make important decisions without consulting the rest of the leadership.”

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a member of the Fatah Central Committee says that “tempers are at the boiling point” inside the largest Palestinian faction.
This seems to have especially hurt Jibril Rajoub, who had been trying to reconcile with Hamas for the past five months. Abbas' decision torpedoed any chances of both reconciliation and of elections (which would never have happened anyway.)








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  • Friday, November 27, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
Al Aqsa imam and preacher  Sheikh Ikrima Sabri was interviewed by Turkey's Anadolu Agency during a visit he is making to Turkey.

He praised the "wise Turkish policy towards the occupied city of Jerusalem," calling on "everyone" to follow it.

Sabri said, "Turkey's relationship with Palestine is not new, but it is centuries old, and it has been strengthened even more through its wise policy of extending bridges of brotherhood with the Arab world," stressing that "this is a policy that we always demand." 

The implication is that the centuries of Ottoman rule of Jerusalem and Palestine was not an occupation of Palestinian land, barring Palestinians from having their own independent nation. It was rather a wonderful time period when non-Arab Muslims ruled Arabs.

Only when Jews control the land is it an "occupation" and a prevention of Palestinian national aspirations. 

Speaking of Jews, Sabri stressed that there is no relationship whatsoever between Judaism and the Temple Mount.

"It is our duty to clarify our strategic position, which is that Al-Aqsa is for Muslims alone, and the Jews have nothing to do with it. It is linked to a decision from God Almighty, not from a security council or a body of nations."

Remember, one of the names of Jerusalem in Arabic is Bayt al-Muqaddas, a direct Arabic translation of the Hebrew Beit HaMikdash, or Holy Temple.

The imam added that when Jews visit their holiest site, "the intruders come with an (Israeli) escort, while the foreign visitor comes without it, and this confirms that the intruder is an aggressor who wants to prove his existence."

The idea that armed guards are needed to protect Jews from the antisemitic incitement  from people like Sheikh Sabri whipping up Muslims to attack them is not considered.





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Thursday, November 26, 2020

  • Thursday, November 26, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
I don't even know how to wrap my head around this.

Earlier this week it was revealed that, in blatant disregard for COVID guidelines and of people's lives, a Satmar Chassidic group in Brooklyn had held a massive wedding with 7,000 maskless participants.


Mayor DeBlasio decided to give a hefty $15,000 fine to the synagogue that hosts the social hall, Yetev Lev D’Satmar.



Last year we reported about the blatantly antisemitic TruNews network, whose leader, Rick Wiles, said on his show that "Jews ...are deceivers, they plot, they lie, they do whatever they have to do to accomplish their political agenda....People are going to be forced, possibly by this Christmas, to take a stand because of this Jew coup in the United States. ...You have been taken over by a Jewish cabal. The church of Jesus Christ, you’re next. Get it through your head! They’re coming for you. There will be a purge. That’s the next thing that happens when Jews take over a country, they kill millions of Christians."

Earlier this year, Wiles said that COVID was a punishment from God to Jews who don't accept Jesus.

That same Rick Wiles offered to pay the  fine for the Satmar shul - and the Satmars are happy to accept  the cash from the antisemite who wants to incite a religious war in American between Jews and Christians.
Another Satmar account claimed that HQSatmar was fake:
But HQSatmar seems legit to my untrained eye, with far more followers and a feed that seems more in sync with the Satmar community's public political positions. (UPDATE: I'm told that this account does not speak for any segment of Satmar.)

Naturally, people started tweeting to TruNews about their blatant antisemitism, wondering how they can donate money to a synagogue. TruNews' response is mind-blowing:
Suddenly, the Jew-haters at TruNews are claiming that they love Jews - and only hate Zionism! 

The far-Right antisemites are now issuing talking points that are identical to far-Left antisemites! 

And how does the far-Left respond to this?

JewishWorker, a socialist account and website, followed the TruNews/Satmar story with the proper level of astonishment. But then, in response to the far-Right using a far-Left talking point, the anti-Zionist Leftists used a Zionist talking point!


His account name is "Zionism is Goyish" - which sounds exactly like Satmar. But when TruNews befriends Satmar, suddenly the openly anti-Zionist Jewish Worker turns his back on his fellow socialist Left anti-Zionists - who indeed hate 90% of Jews - and effectively calls them antisemites. 




My head is spinning.






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From Ian:

Obama’s revisionist ‘Promised Land’
I have never criticized former U.S. President Barack Obama publicly—neither during my time in the Knesset nor anywhere else—despite my having disagreed with many of his policies. I am of the strong opinion that Israelis should not engage in or interfere with American politics, and I regularly offer a blanket thank you to all American presidents, including Obama, for their economic and military support for Israel.

However, his memoir, A Promised Land, is filled with historical inaccuracies that I feel the need to address. His telling of Israel’s story (at the beginning of Chapter 25) not only exhibits a flawed understanding of the region—which clearly impacted his policies as president—but misleads readers in a way that will forever shape their negative perspective of the Jewish state.

Obama relates, for example, how the British were “occupying Palestine” when they issued the Balfour Declaration calling for a Jewish state. But labeling Great Britain as an “occupier” clearly casts doubt on its legitimacy to determine anything about the future of the Holy Land—and that wasn’t the situation.

While it is true that England had no legal rights in Palestine when the Balfour Declaration was issued in 1917, that changed just five years later. The League of Nations, precursor to the United Nations, gave the British legal rights over Palestine in its 1922 “Mandate for Palestine,” which specifically mentions “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

The League also said that “recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.”

The former president’s noted omission of the internationally agreed-upon mandate for the British to establish a home for the Jews in Palestine misinforms the reader, who will conclude that the movement for a Jewish state in Palestine had no legitimacy or international consent.

“Over the next 20 years, Zionist leaders mobilized a surge of Jewish migration to Palestine,” Obama writes, creating the image that once the British illegally began the process of forming a Jewish state in Palestine, Jews suddenly started flocking there.


Supreme Court Blocks Cuomo’s Limits On Synagogues, Churches in Thanksgiving Ruling
The Supreme Court sided with a coalition of Orthodox Jewish groups and the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn Thursday in an emergency appeal that alleged New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D.) COVID-related worship restrictions discriminate against Jews and violate the First Amendment.

The vote in the early Thanksgiving morning ruling was five to four, with Chief Justice John Roberts and the liberal trio in dissent. "Statements made in connection with the challenged rules can be viewed as targeting the ‘ultra-Orthodox Jewish' community. But even if we put those comments aside, the regulations cannot be viewed as neutral because they single out houses of worship for especially harsh treatment," the majority wrote in an unsigned opinion.

Cuomo's contested regulations establish three kinds of hotspot zones with corresponding restrictions. In red zones, where transmission is highest, church attendance is capped at 10. In less severe orange zones, that number is 25, while houses of worship in yellow zones may open at 50 percent attendance. A portion of Brooklyn and about half of Queens are currently in yellow zones.

"It is time—past time—to make plain that, while the pandemic poses many grave challenges, there is no world in which the Constitution tolerates color-coded executive edicts that reopen liquor stores and bike shops but shutter churches, synagogues, and mosques," Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in defense of the ruling.

Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory.

Check out their Facebook page.

brownies2Bat-Yam, November 26 - Sources close to the father of a local family reported today that he has yet to receive an explanation from the social media giant Twitter as to its failure to date to indicate his wife's mother's post last week asserting that her baked chocolate snack food has proved superior to all others, even as the company rushes to append such disclaimers to other, less manifestly-false tweets, notably those surrounding the recent US presidential election results.

Boris Gurevich, 34, voiced exasperation and confusion Thursday upon discovering that despite his reporting it on the day she posted, Twitter has yet to append a 'This claim is disputed' alert to his mother-in-law Iris Mandel's tweet last weekend to the effect that her brownie recipe remains far and away the best on the planet. Mr. Gurevich noted that Twitter's alacrity in combating misinformation in some contexts makes this omission all the more glaring and damaging.

"Twitter can't take half measures here," insisted the father of three. "Once the company started down the road of plying arbiter of what's reliable and what's not reliable among its users' content, anything it doesn't label a 'disputed' or 'official sources called the results of this differently' by default enjoys the imprimatur of credibility. I know for sure that's just not the case. My own mother's brownies are far superior to Iris's in every possible way. I even offered to send [Twitter CEO] Jack Dorsey samples to prove it, but nothing. Zero. It's almost as if Twitter only cares about certain perspectives."

"In terms of flaky top, chewiness, richness, sweetness, salt, and of course chocolatiness, there's objectively, demonstrably, manifestly no question whose product is better," he continued, his voice rising. "I know it. My whole side of the family knows it. Even some folks on my wife's side of the family acknowledge it. My wife and kids claim not to notice or care, but I know they don't want to be seen as taking sides, and I respect that. Even though I know they agree with me. And you know what? It's fine for Iris to make that claim. People make all sorts of exaggerations in everyday communication. But for Twitter to assume the mantle of fact-checker and then fail to do its due diligence when faced with such a flagrant flouting of objective, measurable fact, well, that calls into question the whole enterprise of that fact-checking. Next you're going to tell me they also haven't labeled any propaganda tweets by Palestinian leaders, either."




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By Daled Amos

Following the news of Israel's peace agreement with the UAE and Bahrain, we had a laugh at John Kerry's expense when we watched the 2016 video of Kerry assuring his audience that peace between Israel and the Arab world without first resolving the Palestinian question just wasn't possible.

And Kerry knew this because he had, even a week earlier, spoken to "leaders of the Arab community."




It would be interesting to know just what Kerry said to those Arab leaders -- and what exactly they said to him in response.

Did he misinterpret what they said to him?
Did those leaders intentionally mislead Kerry?

It certainly wouldn't be the first incident of an apparent 'miscommunication" between Arab leaders and a member of the US government.

In a recent post, Judean Rose asks: Joe Biden’s First Meeting with Golda Meir: Did it Lead to the Yom Kippur War? The basis for the question is a Twitter thread by Nadav Eyal, Chief International Correspondent for Reshet News.


Once again, Arab officials apparently misled a US politician as to what they were thinking about Israel.

image
Joe Biden (YouTube screencap)



But apparently, this is not limited to US politicians.
As a matter of fact, Arab leaders have been known to mislead other Arab leaders as well.

In his book The Arab Mind, Raphael Patai tells a story from the eve of the 1948 Israeli War of Independence:
Musa Alami, the well-known Palestinian Arab leader, made a tour of the Arab capitals to sound out the leaders with whom he was well acquainted. In Damascus, the President of Syria told him:
I am happy to tell you that our Army and its equipment are of the highest order and well able to deal with a few Jews; and I can tell you in confidence that we even have an atomic bomb...Yes, it was made locally; we fortunately found a very clever fellow, a tinsmith...(p. 53-54) [emphasis added]
Patai gives another example, this one from the Six Day War, when on the first day (June 5, 1967) the commander of the Egyptian forces in Cairo sent a message to the Jordanian front:
that the Israeli air offensive was continuing. But at the same time, he insisted that the Egyptians had put 75 per cent of the Israeli air force out of action. The same message said that U.A.R. bombers had destroyed the Israeli bases in a counter-attack, and that the ground forces of the Egyptian army had penetrated into Israel by way of the Negev! (p. 109)
If Egypt had been honest with Jordan from day 1, Hussein might not have entered the war, and Jordan would have retained control of Judea and Samaria -- and the Kotel.

But behind these examples of miscommunication, there are issues of Arab culture. 

For example, the story about the tinsmith is pure exaggeration, what Patai refers to as the "spell of (Arabic) language," namely the "prediliction for exaggeration and overemphasis  [which] is anchored in the Arabic language itself" (p. 55)

As for Egypt's deception of Jordan, Patai describes it as wajh, or an attempt to avoid loss of face. In fact, Patai blames King Hussein's years in England for his failure to see this for what it was:
Had Hussein not lost, during his formative years spent in England, the ear for catching the meaning behind the words which is an indispensable prerequisite of true communication among Arabs, he would have understood that a real victory over Israel would have been announced by Amer and Nasser in a long tirade of repetitious and emphatic assertions, and that the brief and for Arabs, totally unusual factual form of the statement betrayed it for what it actually was: a face-saving device, a reference not to a real, but to an entirely imaginary victory. [emphasis in original] (p. 112-3)
But what about Biden and Kerry?

Again, without knowing what each side actually said, it is impossible to know what went on.
But their misunderstanding of their Arab hosts might be due to the Arab concept of shame.

Patai distinguishes between shame, which is "a matter between a person and his society," and guilt which is "a matter between a person and his conscience" -- or as he puts it: "A hermit in a desert can feel guilt; he cannot feel shame."
One of the important differences between the Arab and the Western personality is that in the Arab culture, shame is more pronounced than guilt...What pressures the Arab to behave in an honorable manner is not guilt but shame, or, more precisely, the psychological drive to escape or prevent negative judgement by others. [p. 113]
We tend to associate the Arab concept of shame/honor with of 'honor killings,' but there are implications on a national level too.

In his preface to the 1976 edition of his book, Patai writes that although Egypt lost the Yom Kippur War, the fact that they caught Israel by surprise and were able to initially gain the upper hand, allowed the Egyptians to perceive the war as a victory, and cleared the way for peace negotiations:
A manifestation of this new Arab self-confidence is the willingness to enter into disengagement agreements with Israel. It is, in this connection, characteristic that it is precisely Egypt, the country that won what it considers a victory over Israel, which has embarked on the road of negotiation with her....It is quite clear that the feeling of having demonstrated strengh is for an Arab state a psychological prerequisite of discussing adjustments and reaching understanding with an enemy. [emphasis added] (xxiii - xxv)
How would shame/honor manifest itself in discussions between Arabs and Westerners?

In his 1989 book, The Closed Circle: An Interpretation of the Arabs, David Pryce-Jones writes about
Kenneth Pendar, an American intelligence officer whose task it was to persuade Moroccans to side with the Allies during the last war, expressed the difficulties of conducting a negotiation in which he expected a yes or a no from people unable to commit themselves to either, because they could not tell who would win the war and acquire honor or who would lose and be shamed. [emphasis added] (p. 45)

 Pryce-Jones goes on to quote Henry Kissinger, who complained of the difficulty of negotiating with the Saudis because of their style that was "at once oblique and persistent, reticent and assertive" based on the allocation of honor or shame.

Based on this, one can imagine that Kerry and Biden could each have easily misinterpreted what they heard in accordance with what they wanted to pass on to their respective audiences.

Interestingly, when Patai writes about the confidence the Yom Kippur Was instilled into the Arab world in 1973, he contrasts Egypt -- which considers the Yom Kippur War a victory -- with other Arab countries that either cannot make such a claim or have never fought Israel, and are therefore opposed to negotiation.

That would seem to rule out Jordan and Sudan, on the one hand, and the UAE and Bahrain on the other.

But King Hussein making peace with Israel is not surprising, considering his tenuous control over his country, the majority of whom are Palestinian Arabs. There was leverage the US could apply, even if the peace treaty itself could cause trouble for Hussein at home.

Considering the leverage that the US applied to Sudan, that country also had a lot to gain. But both Egypt and Jordan have a cold peace with Israel and the Arabs in both countries have expressed their hatred of Jews and Israel. It's not clear that the situation in Sudan is any better.

What about UAE and Bahrain?

Some have belittled the Abraham Accords because those 2 countries have never actually been involved in a war with Israel.

But maybe that is the point.

Egypt and Jordan fought against Israel, and whatever the considerations on the government level -- on a national level, Israel remains an enemy in the eyes of the Egyptian and Jordanian people, regardless of the benefits Israel has to offer and are nowhere near normalizing relations. There is an absence of a state of war, but the mood of belligerence persists.

Not so with UAE and Bahrain, which has never fought Israel. 

The intent of the Abraham Accords is not to bring peace in order to end a state of war -- instead the point is to normalize relations, a goal that is conceivable for UAE and Bahrain, but not for Egypt and Jordan, which still cannot go beyond a 'cold peace,' let alone a full, real peace.

In November 2017, Mordechai Kedar wrote The Ten Commandments for Israeli negotiations with Saudi Arabia, which he described as "immutable principles" for negotiating with Saudi Arabia "and any other Arab nations who wish to live in peace with the Jewish State."

One of those principles is the need for normalizing relations as opposed to just making peace:
10. Peace with the Saudis must entail more than just a ceasefire with an attached document ("Salaam" in Arabic) . Israel agreed to that in the case of Egypt and Jordan as a result of the ignorance of those running the negotiations on Israel's side.

Israel must insist on complete normalization ("sulh" in Arabic), which includes cultural, tourist, business, industrial, art, aeronautical, scientific, technological, athletic and academic ties and exchanges, etc. If Israel participates in international events taking place in Saudi Arabia, the Israeli flag will wave along with those of other countries, and if Israel is the victor in any sports competition in Saudi Arabia, the Hatikva anthem will be played, as it is when other countries win medals. Israeli books will be shown at book fairs, and Israeli products officially displayed at international exhibitions taking place in Saudi Arabia.

An economic document, whose details I am not in a position to elaborate, but which must be an addendum to the agreement, is to be based on mutual investments and acquisitions as well as a commitment to non- participation in boycotts. [emphasis added]
This is what we are seeing now.

A foreshadowing for what is possible is in another comment by Patai, where he addresses the "Arab street" that today we are told is supposedly ready at any moment to rise up in protest, yet whose anger Trump has somehow been able to avoid these past 4 years:
The volatility of Arab reaction to the October War was paralleled four years later by the rapid evaporation of Arab wrath over President Satat's initiative in establishing direct contact with Israel. This was observed by Fuad Moughrabi, professor of political science and co-editor of the Arab Studies Quarterly, in 1980:
The Arab world reacted strongly and passionately to Sadat's visit to Jerusalem. But contrary to what many had expected, the intensity of the reaction was not followed by any concrete, effective steps to neutralize the conseqauences of the visit. Sadat did the unthinkable and got away with it. (p. 339)
Moughrabi wrote this in 1980.
Sadat was assassinated in 1981 -- by the extremist Muslim Brotherhood.

Back then, Arab opposition to Sadat was not directed against the idea of peace, but against the Camp David Accords themselves, which removed Egypt as a participant in the war against Israel -- a war which was supposed to benefit the cause of the Palestinian Arabs.

Today, with the Arab support for the Palestinian Arab cause at its lowest ebb, there are genuine prospects for continuing what the Trump administration started.

That is, assuming that this time around Biden actually listens to what the Arab leaders are saying.


We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
From Ian:

Al Arabiy: Fight against Islamist terror must begin with opposing extremist ideas
Look at who were the top figures in the Muslim world from different countries that came out and issued provocative and reprehensible statements subtly or overtly justifying the terrorists in the recent weeks. All of them belonged to one ideological spectrum, albeit minor differences between them – political Islam. While religion as faith always elevated human beings to heights of nobility and grace, religion as ideology unleashed mindless violence on a genocidal scale.

We stand with the victims of all terror attacks. We disagree with the controversial cartoons, and, as a Muslim, I am offended by them but I can realize the underlying politics, ongoing exploitation and manipulation that are pursued behind this issue for political purposes. Linking the Prophet Muhammad, who represents a great sanctity amongst Muslims and is far too great to have his name and status exploited in cheap politicized campaigns, to violence and politicization is unacceptable.

Terrorist attacks are not Islam, they are the Islamist interpretation of Islam, and will always deserve our unqualified condemnation, and whole-hearted support in uprooting its terror.

That is precisely the spirit with which our Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan participated at the unity rally where hundreds of thousands of the French people and tens of world leaders gathered in Paris in 2015 to condemn terror attacks on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo killing of hostages in a restaurant and a Jewish supermarket.

The sad truth, however, is that we are exactly where we were five years ago because nothing was done to curb the murderous Islamist propaganda in Europe. It is high time European authorities paid closer and urgent attention to the tumor spreading far and wide in their midst. As for the UAE, we are clear-headed in our opposition to extremism and terrorism in all forms and speak out against them without the ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ customary in some circles. We believe that opposition to extremist ideas, alongside promotion of cultural and religious tolerance and harmonious coexistence, is the only way to root out the scourge of terrorism.


Khaled Abu Toameh: Why Palestinians Owe Arabs an Apology
The Palestinian decision to renew ties with Israel comes at a time when the Palestinian media is continuing to condemn other Arabs for engaging in normalization with Israel.

"They [the Palestinians] were trampling on the pictures of our leaders. But we have not seen them trampling on the pictures of Abbas." — Emirati social media user BintUAE1900, Twitter, November 18, 2020.

Several Palestinians and Arabs took to social media to demand sarcastically that the PA withdraw its ambassador from Ramallah to protest its own decision to "normalize" relations with Israel.

The PA leadership's decision to restore ties with Israel and return the Palestinian ambassadors to the UAE and Bahrain is viewed by some Palestinians as an apparent attempt to cozy up to a possible new US administration under the presumptive new President-elect Joe Biden. Abbas is also likely hoping that in return, the US and some Gulf states will resume pouring money into the PA coffers -- for a start.
Alan Baker: Belgium Supports Illegal Construction in the West Bank and Then Demands Compensation
Belgium is providing financial and political support and sponsorship to illegal Palestinian construction projects in Area C of the West Bank and is demanding compensation for Israel’s dismantling of these illegally constructed buildings.

The Oslo Accords between the PLO and Israel provide that Area C is under the sole administration and control of Israel, pending negotiation of a permanent status agreement between them.

In supporting and financing such illegal construction, Belgium openly admits to undermining the internationally accepted Oslo Accords, to which, as a member of the European Union, Belgium is a signatory as a witness. As such, Belgium is openly supporting endeavors by the Palestinian leadership and hostile organizations aimed at undermining and obstructing Israel’s legal and security control in Area C with a view to influencing the outcome of any future negotiation between the parties.

Belgium’s own national legislation prohibits illegal building in violation of its Belgian planning and zoning regulations and enables the destruction of structures built without the requisite permits.

In openly supporting and encouraging illegal building in Area C, in condemning Israel’s actions to prevent such illegal building, and in its demand for compensation, Belgium is acting with audacity and hypocrisy.

Belgium has a sad history of political and legal activity aimed at undermining the legitimacy of Israel’s security policies, including active support for organizations acting against the legitimacy of Israel and a failed attempt in its courts to accuse a former Israeli defense minister and senior military officials of involvement in war crimes.

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