Saturday, May 16, 2015

From Ian:

Ben-Dror Yemini: The folly of the international community on the Palestinians
Pushing both sides into a forced settlement will lead to disaster, and a Hamas takeover in the West Bank; meanhile, the outrage over Shaked is entirely misplaced.
The formula is a familiar one: The more right-wing the government of Israel appears to the world, the easier it is for the anti-Israel campaigners to do their work. An increase in Israel in statements and incidents of an anti-Arab nature leads to a fall-off in support for Israel among Jewish students on US campuses, and the more organizations like Breaking the Silence and B'Tselem create the distorted impression that Israel is committing crimes on an ongoing basis, the easier it is for the BDS activists to tout their case.
The starting positions are problematic – not only due to the composition of the new Israeli government, but primarily in light of the geopolitical situation. The absurd thing is that under current circumstances, Israel's control over the territories is the lesser evil.
A hasty political settlement – to which the US administration and EU are leading, with the encouragement of a bunch of Israelis who support the Palestinian demand for unilateral recognition of statehood – would be a disaster for the Palestinians. A Hamas takeover would only be a matter of time.
This has nothing at all to do with the composition of the government. Isaac Herzog would encounter the same geopolitical situation; and Tzipi Livni, too, would encounter Palestinian opposition to any peace deal. After all, the Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert governments made very generous offers to Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas respectively – to no avail.
‘Nakba Day’ Footage Shows Riots in Jerusalem, Arabs Chanting ‘We Don’t Want Jews’
Arab residents of Jerusalem marched through the Israeli capital’s streets on Friday to mark “Nakba Day” — the Arabic name for the perceived catastrophe (nakba) of the creation of the Jewish state. Video footage of one demonstration showed the rioters chanting “We don’t want the Jews.”
In the video clip, a large group of Palestinian demonstrators is seen congregated across from the Ateret Cohanim Yeshiva in Jerusalem. The rioters begin throwing glass bottles at yeshiva students, simultaneously calling out, “We don’t want Jews,” “by our souls and by our blood, we will redeem Al-Aqsa,” and “Allahu Akbar.”
Many yeshiva students hid inside the school fearing the protesters outside, according to Israeli news portal 0404. One student told the website that Jerusalem’s Arab residents “do whatever they want here.”
“They do not fear anyone,” he said, expressing hope that “one day someone will wake up in our country and make it clear to them who is boss in this country, and to whom Jerusalem and the Temple Mount belong.”
Pope calls Abbas ‘angel of peace’ during Vatican visit
Pope Francis praised Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as an “angel of peace” during a meeting at the Vatican.
Francis made the compliment Saturday during the traditional exchange of gifts at the end of an official audience in the Apostolic Palace. He presented Abbas with a medallion and explained that it represented the angel of peace “destroying the bad spirit of war.”
Francis said he thought the gift was appropriate since “you are an angel of peace.”
Abbas is in town for the canonization Sunday of two new saints from what was then Ottoman-ruled Palestine. It also comes days after the Vatican finalized a bilateral treaty with the “state of Palestine,” making explicit its recognition of Palestinian statehood.
Abbas, for his part, offered Francis relics of the two new saints. (h/t Bob Knot)



The Vatican Will Not Protect Christians By Recognizing ‘Palestine’
In Taibe, on the other side of Jerusalem, a Muslim mob set off on a matter of honor, yelling, “Burn the Crusaders,” and burned a statue of the Virgin Mary because a Muslim woman wanted to marry a Christian. She was beaten to death in an honor killing. He was jailed. The mob was not punished. The lesson was not lost.
As Christmas 2005 approached, taking note of the desperate situation of Christians living under Palestinian rule, the Vatican did a rare diplomatic about face and asked Israel to intervene to protect Christians. Father Artemio Vitores echoed these sentiments when he asked Israeli President Moshe Katsav to “help us keep Bethlehem.” But it was too late. The Oslo Accords put Bethlehem under the rule of Arafat and his thugs that had returned from Tunsia.
No doubt the Vatican feels that appeasing the Palestinian Authority will in some ways protect the remnant of the Christian community there in a time of grave peril. It will not. Christians, like Jews, are dhimmi, second class citizens under Sharia. The move will only emboldened the Palestinians to do what their culture instructs them to do, to reign triumphal over the infidel.
Bethlehem was once 90% Christian and 10% Muslim. Today it is precisely the reverse. If Jesus and his parents were to enter Bethlehem today, as a Jewish family seeking refuge, they would be lynched.
The Vatican, in an act of desperate diplomacy, has unwittingly put a down payment on the rope.
Obama: Deal with Palestinians not possible in coming year
In a lengthy interview with news outlet Al-Arabiya on a number of challenges facing the Middle East, US President Barack Obama was asked about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and he did not express a great deal of optimism on the prospect of reaching a peace deal in the near future.
"This is a very difficult challenge. On the one hand I am a strong supporter of Israel and the connection between the United States and Israel. Israel has legitimate security concerns. There is no doubt about it. And what is also true is that I am deeply committed to a Palestinian state," Obama said.
The president recalled hearing of "the heartbreaking stories from Gaza" and the sense he hears when speaking to Palestinian students in the West Bank "that their world is shut off because of their circumstances."
"The only solution is a two state solution," Obama said.
"What I think at this point realistically we can do, is to try to rebuild trust, not through a big overarching deal, which I don't think is probably possible in the next year given the make up of the Netanyahu government and the challenges of Abbas [PA President Mahmoud Abbas].
Obama called for relieving humanitarian suffering in Gaza and promoting job opportunities in the territories as ways to slowly build trust between the parties.
Through this trust building "the logic of a two-state solution will reassert itself," Obama said.
Turkish Paper: Palestinian Cause Now ‘Much Less a Priority’ for Arab World
The Palestinian cause is now “much less a priority” for the international community and Arab world, Turkish state media contended on Friday.
The reason: “Observers argue that ongoing political upheaval in several Arab countries has largely shifted the focus away from the Arab-Israeli conflict.”
The article, published by Andalou Agency on the date Israel declared independence in 1948, which is also the day Palestinian commemorate what they view as the mass expulsion of Arabs from lands absorbed into the newly declared Jewish state, discusses how Arab calls for the “liberation of Palestine” have diminished greatly in the four years since the beginning of widespread political unrest in Arab countries.
“The Nakba’s 67th anniversary, however, comes as most ‘Arab Spring’ states remain embroiled in deadly political infighting and derailed democratic transition,” referring to the Arabic name for that perceived catastrophe (nakba) as well as the common moniker for the Arab uprisings that began in 2010 (the Arab Spring).
 Turkish Islamists exploit Palestine
Just like Iran has been doing for years, political Islamists -- who finally seized power in the Turkish government significantly eroding constitutional checks and balances, causing the disintegration of the rule of law and curbing parliamentary democracy -- have done a great disservice to the Palestinian people by exploiting their plight for domestic and regional ambitions.
The chief architect of Turkey's policy in the last decade in regards to Palestine has been Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who had served as foreign minister and chief foreign policy advisor to then prime minister and now President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Davutoğlu is a committed ideologue and a die-hard Islamist whose utopian perspective orbits around the supremacy of a Muslim Brotherhood-style international network of Islamists. With the blessings of his boss, Davutoğlu has worked hard in the case of Palestine to reclaim ground among radical voices that exploit public sensitivities to long-running injustices and the occupation Palestinian people have been suffering at the hands of Israeli oppression.
In the end, the Turkish role that was long-cherished as a positive one and that came to be appreciated and recognized by Turkey's partners and allies including the transatlantic alliance, was eventually transformed into a negative one under the Davutoğlu-Erdoğan stewardship. Turkish Islamists' latent hostility towards President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah Movement and keen interest in exploiting public frustration over the lack of political progress and lingering humiliation of the Palestinian people, has now stirred a backlash against Turkey. Gaza-ruler Hamas is obviously favored by the Islamist leaders as Hamas' political leader Khaled Meshaal frequently attends private dinners at Erdoğan's house, often shows up in Ankara unannounced and has been an enthusiastic campaigner at Davutoğlu's public rallies in Turkey to garner support for the Islamists.
Obama to mark Jewish heritage month at DC synagogue
US President Barack Obama will address a Washington congregation to mark Jewish American Heritage Month.
White House spokesman Eric Schultz, announcing the president’s schedule for next week, said that next Friday, May 22, Obama would speak at Adas Israel, a Conservative movement synagogue in the city’s northwest quadrant.
“On Friday, The president will travel to the congregation of Adas Israel, one of the largest congregations here in Washington, to deliver remarks in celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month, which recognizes contributions of Jewish Americans to American society and culture,” Schultz said Friday.
Obama’s visit would be during the daytime, and would not coincide with Sabbath eve services, an Adas congregant said.
Iranian Ayatollah: We ‘Will Never Allow’ Inspections of Nuke Sites
Iran will never allow Western powers or the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect Tehran’s military sites as part of a final agreement with the P5+1 world powers, Iran’s Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani said Friday in an address to Tehran University students.
Kermani has enormous influence in the country as Tehran’s Friday Prayers imam, and is appointed directly by the country’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
He said that the West, and particularly the United States, “are hallucinating” if they think that Iran would allow inspection of its military apparatus, according to Iran’s state-controlled Fars News agency.
Those who wish for Iran to recognize the State of Israel as part of a final agreement should “bury their dreams,” the Ayatollah added.
He told the crowd, “We tell Mr. Amano (IAEA director general), the westerners, and the U.S. that they should bury their dreams of recognition of Israel and also the inclusion to visit Iran’s military sites within the framework of nuclear agreement.”
Military Option Prevents War
The assertion that there are only two options in dealing with the rogue ayatollah regime — negotiation or a military option, which supposedly amounts to war — defies reality. Such an assertion is either mistaken or misleading.
The threat of a limited surgical naval or air force bombing of critical nuclear installations, with no ground troops, would not amount to a war but it would deter the ayatollahs, possibly moderating their nature. If activated, it could permanently cripple their pursuit of nuclear capabilities. If necessary, strikes could be repeated from U.S. military bases in Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman and the Indian Ocean or from U.S. aircraft carriers.
Recent precedents demonstrate that there are many military options, dramatically short of war, that are critical to moderating the nature of rogue regimes and preventing war. On the other hand, the removal of a military option from the table while negotiating with rogue regimes whets their appetite and fuels war.
Iran will protect Palestinians, other 'oppressed' people in Middle East, Khamenei says
Iran will help oppressed people in the region, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Saturday, days after Gulf Arab leaders met US President Barack Obama and expressed concern about Iranian expansionism.
Khamenei also denounced Saudi Arabia for its role leading a coalition of Sunni-ruled Arab states against Yemen's Houthi rebels, comparing it to the pagans who ruled the Arabian Peninsula before the advent of Islam in the seventh century.
His speech to a meeting of Iranian leaders and diplomats from the Muslim world, reported by the state news agency IRNA, brought the issues of political and religious legitimacy squarely into the struggle between the two regional powers.
"Yemen, Bahrain and Palestine are oppressed, and we protect oppressed people as much as we can," IRNA quoted him as saying.
"Those people who bring suffering to Yemeni families during sacred months are even worse than the ancient pagans of Mecca," he said at the event for the holiday of Lailat al-Miraj, when Islam says the Prophet Mohammad visited heaven and met Jesus, Abraham, Moses and other prophets.
Fabricating the silence: Anonymous, selective, partial testimony and its deadly impact
Despite the severe shortcomings of the content, the shoddy methodology, the unabashed absence of independence or objectivity, and the egregious partisan-political agenda of the BtS people and their Gaza 2014 report, their allegations - chiefly about a "broad ethical failure" by the IDF resulting in many dead Palestinian Arabs - have been and continue to be taken seriously. They are currently echoing through some of the most impactful parts of the news media. They have been granted credibility in a way that - were the context, the setting, the geographical location different - simply could never have happened. Neither foreign aid nor the thoughtful media do such things... except when they do.
Next month, to illustrate the point, an exhibition showcasing the BtS/Gaza "revelations" is due to take place at Zurich's Kulturhaus Helferei. The sponsors include the government of Switzerland the Zurich municipal authority. We find that astonishing. We are as much in favour of free and open discussion of ideas as the next blogger. But you can only apply that view to the Breaking the Silence people and their work-product once you manage to close your eyes and ears (and frankly your nose as well), ignore the show-stopping problems with the report itself, and pretend that there is a silence and that these brave souls are somehow breaking it. In reality, they are inventing it.
We wish those Swiss officials and those directors of the Rockefeller fund and those leaders of that Danish church were honest enough with themselves to understand this. A small cell of political activists, hiding behind context-free "testimony" by nameless people, pretending to be oppressed and reviled and deprived of a spotlight and a microphone by cruel, monolithic Israeli society are in reality free to publicize documented and verifiable allegations all day long without the smallest danger of paying a legal or moral or any other price (other than perhaps the danger of seeing their lavish funding from foreign sources dry up). Pick up any edition of the daily newspaper Haaretz to confirm that.
To paraphrase what the editors of the Italian newspaper Il Foglio wrote (in Italian) back in 2010, in reality the largest risk taken by the Breaking the Silence heroes is of arriving late at their Tel Aviv café.
FIFA head fears Israel vote could set dangerous precedent
FIFA president Sepp Blatter is worried that a dangerous precedent will be set if Palestine goes ahead and asks for a vote to suspend Israel at the annual Congress of soccer's governing body on May 29.
Blatter, who is standing for re-election at the Congress, said the dispute was "the biggest challenge" facing him as he comes to the end of his current mandate, and added that Israel had not broken any FIFA statutes.
The Palestine Football Association (PFA) has accused Israel of hampering its activities and restricting the movement of players between the Gaza Strip and the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Israel cites security concerns for the restrictions it imposes and the Israeli FA has argued that it has no control over security forces.
FIFA has been trying to broker a settlement for two years and Blatter confirmed that he would travel to the region again next week and meet Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Blatter said that if the Palestine proposal was approved, other nations could use football to air political grievances.
Evidence Suggests Egyptian Prez Said Some Really Embarrassing Things
Analysis supports allegations the Egyptian president and his inner circle engaged in a series of embarrassing conversations, as revealed by leaked audio recordings.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi and his top generals mocked Gulf allies, corrupted the judiciary and kept billion in private military accounts, if the leaks prove accurate, reports The New York Times.
No signs indicate the recordings were fabricated, according to reports submitted to British police. Sisi’s voice is recorded twice and his top general, Mamdouh Shaheen, is on another recording, writes The NYTimes.
Lawyers for ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi ordered the analysis by audio forensics firm J.P. French Associates. Morsi was ousted by the military in 2013. Sisi, formerly the minister of defense, ran for office and won in 2014. Recordings were purportedly taped during the year preceding Sisi’s election.
Leaks expose Sisi’s ambitions for a Hollywood-style image, saying he wants to be perceived as the man “on a nearly impossible mission,” while Egypt looms on the brink of disaster.
Egyptian court sentences former leader Morsi to death
An Egyptian court sentenced ousted President Mohammed Morsi and over 100 others to death Saturday over a mass prison break during the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak and later brought Islamists to power for the first time in Egypt.
As is customary in passing capital punishment, Judge Shaaban el-Shami referred his death sentence on Morsi and others to the nation’s top Muslim theologian, or mufti, for his non-binding opinion. El-Shami set June 2 for the next hearing.
Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected leader, was ousted by the military in July 2013 following days of mass street protests by Egyptians demanding that he be removed because of his divisive policies. Morsi’s successor, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, was the military chief at the time and led the ouster. El-Sissi ran for president last year and won the vote in a landslide.
Also sentenced to death with Morsi in the prison break case were 105 defendants, most of them were tried and convicted in absentia. They include some 70 Palestinians. Those tried in absentia in Egypt receive automatic retrials once detained.
Report: Gunmen shoot dead three Egyptian judges in Sinai
Gunmen shot and killed three Egyptian judges in Sinai on Saturday, AFP reported.
Earlier in the day an Egyptian court sought the death penalty for former president Mohamed Morsi and more than 100 other members of the Muslim Brotherhood in connection with a mass jail break in 2011.
It was unclear whether the events were linked and who was responsible for the Sinai attack.
Report: Egypt to buy S-300 air defense system from Russia
Egypt is set to buy the S-300 missile defense system from Russia, a senior Israeli intelligence official told Reuters Wednesday, following an announcement from Moscow last month that it would deliver the advanced weapons system to Iran after lifting a ban on weapons sales to the Islamic Republic.
“If you speak about the S-300, they [Egypt] are buying this system,” the Israeli official said.
“I don’t know what kind of threat Egypt looks at when they decide to buy it, but we don’t see Egypt as the enemy,” the official said, adding that he hoped relations with Cairo would continue to improve.
The alleged arms deal was not officially confirmed by Egypt or by Russia, but an official in Cairo nevertheless stated that Israel had nothing to fear in light of the reports.
“If we are getting such a thing, it’s because we’re looking east, not north,” the official told Reuters, apparently referring to Iran.
Report: Hezbollah Rakes in Up to $100 Million Annually from Latin America
A new blockbuster report in Argentine news outlet Infobae claims that Hezbollah generates between $60 to $100 million dollars a year in illegal activities in Latin America, particularly in the Tri-Border area uniting Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil. The piece echoes years of reporting warning that the Lebanese Shiite terrorist group has expanded its influence in the region.
Infobae reports that the astronomical sum was revealed to them by “sources within French intelligence,” who calculated this based on the numerous businesses that Hezbollah members are involved in throughout the region, particularly drug and arms trafficking and money laundering. The report describes the Tri-Border region as Hezbollah’s “capital,” from which $10 million annually flow into Lebanon alone. If the capital had a “municipal building,” it would be the Galeria Page mall, which the outlet claims is “under the control of the Shiite militia” and used to launder illicit money through its sales.
In 2006, the United States Department of Treasury identified the Galeria Page’s owner, Muhammad Yusif Abdallah, as “a senior Hizballah leader in the TBA [Tri-Border Area] and an important contributor of funds to Hizballah, notably hosting a fundraiser for the terrorist group in the TBA in 2004.” The same press release described the mall as “serv[ing] as a source of fundraising for Hizballah in the TBA and is locally considered the central headquarters for Hizballah members in the TBA.”
The Infobae report claims this situation has not changed since 2006 but, rather, expanded. “Mosques, Islamic cultural centers, businesses and other organizations without apparent political ties unite hundreds of members, which in many cases are ‘used’ by the terrorist group” to generate funding, Infobae notes.
US House Unanimously Passes Tougher Sanctions Against Hezbollah
The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday unanimously passed the Hezbollah International Financial Prevention Act, which would enact tougher sanctions against the Lebanon-based and Iranian-funded Hezbollah terrorist organization.
The bill, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and cosponsored by nine other members of Congress, would sanction foreign financial institutions that facilitate Hezbollah’s activities through actions such as providing significant financial services or money laundering for the terror group.
“Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed terrorist group, poses a direct threat to American and Israeli security, dominates the Lebanese government, fights for the Syrian Assad regime, and possesses an arsenal of more than 100,000 rockets,” said the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which urged the Senate to also adopt the legislation.
Khamenei Fights to the Last Drop Of Shiite Alawite Blood
So, while Khamenei preaches sobriety, piety, and planting trees, the ruling class of Iran are raking in billions of dollars in profits based on sowing bedlam and mayhem and instigating the murders of hundreds of thousands of Muslims Arabs and thousands of Jews throughout the world. There are two reasons the Iranian ruling class loves the sanctions: first they are developing a nuclear arsenal to create even more chaos, and second, they love the Iranian black-market they created which allows them to exploit their own people.
In an Islamic analog to George Orwell’s satire Animal Farm the ruling Iranians play the role of the pigs. First, the Iranian Revolutionaries say “All animals are equal”, or its equivalent, “All Muslims are equal.” Then, they proceed to the Orwellian “but some animals are more equal than others” by saying that “Some Muslims (i.e Shiites) are more equal than other Muslims.” Then they proceed to “Four legs good, two legs better!” by saying “Iranians good, Iranian Revolutionary Guard better!” In short, Khamenei’s Revolution is a fraud.
And where is President Obama, the erstwhile leader of the Free World? Obama is enabling this genocidal corrupt-to-the-core regime to acquire a nuclear weapons’ arsenal. Obama has to now baby-sit American-flagged ships through the Straits of Hormuz with US destroyers, so Iran won’t hijack them. But, Obama who can’t trust Iran not to hijack US-flagged ships in the Persian Gulf, is the very same Obama who is trusting Iran with a nuclear-weapons industrial infrastructure buried deep inside Iranian mountains.
Which bring us back to the question: Would Iran arm Assad with a nuclear bomb if Iran could? Assad has already murdered 300,000 Syrians. What’s another 300,000, or 1,000,000 Shiite or Sunni Syrians to Assad or Khamenei? Just a bunch of Animal Farm “4-legged animals.”
US commandos kill senior IS commander in Syria raid
US commandos mounted a rare raid into eastern Syria overnight, killing a senior Islamic State commander in a firefight, capturing his wife and rescuing a Yazidi woman held as a slave, the Pentagon said Saturday.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the raid, identifying the militant as Abu Sayyaf. He said no US forces were killed or injured in the operation.
A US-led coalition has been striking Islamic State militants in Syria since last year, but this is only the second time troops have carried out a ground raid. A previous operation was aimed at rescuing Americans held hostage by the group.
Syrian state media earlier reported that Syrian government forces killed at least 40 IS fighters, including a senior commander in charge of oil fields, in an attack Saturday on the country’s largest oil field — held by IS.
It identified the commander as Abu al-Teem al-Saudi. The name indicates he was a Saudi citizen.
Turkey fighter jet shoots downs Syrian aircraft
The Turkish air force on Saturday shot down a Syrian military aircraft that violated the country’s airspace Saturday, Turkish media reported.
Turkey scrambled F-16 fighter jets after the plane entered Turkish airspace twice, Hurriyet Daily News reported. The fighter aircraft fired two missiles at the Syrian aircraft, a Turkish military source told the news site.
It remained unclear what kind of Syrian aircraft entered Turkish airspace, but Syrian state TV reported that Turkey downed one of its surveillance drones.
Turkey’s NTV news station quoted eyewitnesses saying that the aircraft crashed on the Syrian side of the border.
“The area is currently being searched for the crashed aircraft,” a Turkish source told Hurriyet. “It would soon be seen if it was a plane or a helicopter.”
According to local witnesses, the Syrian craft crossed over the Dursunlu-Emek area in the country’s southern border province of Hatay.
ISIS Leader Pronounces: “Islam Religion of War, Islam is Not Religion of Peace”
ISIS released an audio message which it claims is from its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The message was posted on jihadist websites. The message urges all Muslims to carry guns and fight on behalf of the “caliphate.”
The ISIS leader also had a veiled message for the last several U.S. presidents.
“O Muslims, Islam was never for a day the religion of peace. Islam is the religion of war,” the voice purporting to be Baghdadi said. He called upon Muslims around the world to either make their way to the Islamic State or “fight in his land, wherever that may be,” according to the news site Vocative.
Greek town wants Star of David off Holocaust memorial
Jewish groups were infuriated by a Greek town’s demand that the Star of David to be removed from a new Holocaust memorial or they will not permit its display.
The American Jewish Committee said Friday that its partner body in Greece, the Central Board of Jewish Communities, reported that municipal authorities in the Greek port of Kavala had canceled a May 17 ceremony unveiling the memorial.
A Star of David is engraved into the monument. The authorities want the ancient Jewish symbol, which also features on the Israeli flag, removed before they allow the memorial’s display.
“How can it be that the eternal symbol of the Jewish people — the very symbol that the Nazis required Jews to wear in the death camps and ghettos of Europe during the Second World War — is deemed unfit for public display in Kavala?” AJC’s executive director, David Harris, said in a statement.
The memorial commemorates the 1,484 Jews in the northern city murdered by the Nazis.
Jewish Groups Deplore Greek Demand to Remove Star of David From Holocaust Memorial
Anti-Defamation League Executive Director Abraham H. Foxman, who is a Holocaust survivor, called the move “morally reprehensible.”
“Kavala’s Jews were killed because they were Jews, and the value of a monument is to make that fact demonstrably clear. The mayor and the City Council have insulted the memory of victims, the Greek Jewish community, and Jews around the world, and we join with the Greek Jewish community in voicing our outrage,” he said.
The monument in question memorializes the 1,484 Jews of Kavala who were exterminated during the Nazi occupation of Greece in World War II.
The monument was set to be unveiled when, just two days before, the mayor and a majority at the city council insisted on the removal of the image of a Star of David from the memorial.
Meanwhile, Greek Secretary General of the Ministry of Culture, Education, and Religious Affairs, Giorgos Kalantzis, said “‘As an Orthodox Christian, I feel deeply insulted by this issue, because it would be as if someone asked us to erase or modify for ‘aesthetic reasons’ the symbol of the cross on the tombs of our grandfathers executed by the Germans,” according to a statement released by the AJC.
The AJC called on Kavala’s city officials to “reconsider and reverse their appalling decision.”
Eighty-one percent of Greece’s Jewish population was murdered following Nazi occupation during WWII.
French Jewish Woman Assaulted in Paris Suburb by 3 Men Shouting ‘Hitler Didn’t Finish His Work’
A French Jewish woman was assaulted by three men in an apparent antisemitic attack in the Paris suburb Sarcelles last Wednesday, the Algemeiner has learned.
The three assailants were of African origin and shouted “Hitler did not finish his work” and “dirty race” while assaulting the woman, according to a French antisemitism watchdog.
The victim said she was attacked after the son of one of the assailants threw a ball in her direction. The three men approached the woman to retrieve the ball when they began attacking her, according to the report.
The victim filed a complaint with local police shortly after the assault.
Escaping the Nazis, Rexingen’s Jews built new lives near the beach at Shavei Zion
In 1937, just over 200 Jews resided in the German town of Rexingen. Some of them relocated as a group to Moshav Shavei Zion in the late 1930s — every other Jew there who couldn’t bring himself to leave his home, or had been too old or too ill to do so, perished in the Holocaust.
Jews had lived in Rexingen for over 400 years, first arriving in 1516 when the Knights of St. John – a Christian Order dating back to the 11th century – offered them protection. Most of the Jewish inhabitants were farmers or owned small businesses and the town boasted a variety of Jewish institutions.
For centuries, Rexingen’s Jews and Christians lived in peace and harmony. But in the 1930s, a swastika appeared on the four-meter tower that overlooked the village; Nazis paraded through the village, and the Nuremburg laws reared their ugly head.
We learned all this and more on a fascinating tour of Shavei Zion with moshav member and Archives Director, Judith Temime. She explained that almost half the Jews of Rexingen read the writing on the wall, and understood that they would have to leave their native country. But when they contacted organizations in England and Germany for assistance, it was suggested that they head for Uganda, or Costa Rica.
No way, they said – if we have to leave, it will be to settle in the land of our forefathers. And in 1937, with the help of a former German lawyer who had already immigrated to British-mandated Palestine, a small group was sent to check out the possibilities offered by the Jewish National Fund. In the end, they chose land near the beach in northern Palestine for what would become Moshav Shavei Zion.
US Electronic Payment Company Buys Israel’s Seergate
The American electronic payment company MyECheck has bought Israeli company Seergate Ltd, which provides electronic payment solutions, for $3 million. The California-based company announced its acquisition of Seergate last week.
The U.S. company, a leader in electronic check solutions for online and mobile payments, bought 100% of Seergate stock, in exchange for 150,000,000 shares of MyECheck common stock or approximately $3 million.
Seergate was founded by Eldad Aharoni and Alicia Roisman Ismach in 2007 to make payments simple, secure, and convenient for financial institution customers. The Israeli company’s specialization in electronic payment services for banks will be integrated into MyECheck’s electronic payment systems, adding global electronic banking and payment capabilities to the U.S. company.
The Israeli corporation, whose headquarters are in Ra’anana, also has offices in Roswell, Georgia, and has provided its services to four U.S. banks.
Jerusalem then and now: A journey in photos
Jerusalem Day commemorates the unification of the city in 1967 under Israeli sovereignty, when IDF soldiers liberated the Old City from Jordanian occupation.
Only then were Israelis able to return to the holiest place on earth for the Jewish people, the Western Wall, after 20 years during which they had been denied access to the site.
I decided to celebrate 48 years of the unification in a special way, by inviting you to join me on a journey through time in Jerusalem — a journey in photos.
Recently, a rare collection of photographs was unveiled by the U.S. Library of Congress, uncovering some stunning scenes from Jerusalem during the 19th and early 20th centuries.


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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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