Wednesday, August 05, 2015

From Ian:

Stand With Us: A One-Sided Shame
One might look at the above as an opportunity to "re-ignite" the peace process and to try, once more, to bridge the gap between Israelis and Palestinians. To unite in pain, against more pain.
However, I myself remain doubtful. Such events do a lot to dispirit me about the possibility of peace between our neighbors and us. It is on such occasions that the moral gap between the two societies is most evident, and the level of political maturity (or lack of) is painfully visible.
On December 2014, 11-year-old Ayala Shapira was sitting by her father as they were driving the family car on their way home. A Molotov cocktail was thrown at them by Palestinian terrorists, seriously injuring Ayala (it fell right unto her lap), who is still struggling with tremendous difficulties and will unfortunately continue to struggle for the rest of her life. At least she made it alive.
On March 11, 2011, 2 young Palestinian murderers penetrated the home of the Fogel family in the Israeli town of Itamar. They massacred all 5 family members in their beds: the father Ehud Fogel, the mother Ruth Fogel, and three of their six children -- Yoav, 11, Elad, 4, and Hadas, the youngest, a three-month-old infant (who according to some sources was decapitated).
On those 2 occasions, and on many others, NO major protests were seen on the streets of Ramallah, Hebron or Jenin in the West Bank, crying out against violence and for justice. No Palestinian leader came to visit and condole the bereaved families of the victims. And could you even imagine -- in your remotest of dreams -- a possibility of an Israeli standing in the Mughrabi Square in Ramallah, crying for their murdered loved ones?! And just in case you were wondering, the name "Mughrabi" belongs to a Palestinian terrorist, Dalal Mughrabi, a leader of a group of Palestinian murderers who butchered 37 Israelis on a bus in 1978, 12 of whom children. This is who Palestinians chose to dedicate the square after.
Today I am reminded by the famous words of Israel's late Prime Minister, Golda Meir, who said: "We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us."
May we love all children, whomever they are.
Haaretz's Gideon Levy Chooses a Classical Antisemitic Trope
"Historically it has been antisemites, not Jews, who have read 'chosen' as code for Jewish supremacism," wrote the readers' editor of the Guardian in response to a writer's 2011 charge that Israelis regard their lives as more valuable than others'.
But it's not only card-carrying antisemites like David Duke who have invoked the notion of “chosen” as code for Jewish supremacism. Gideon Levy, a Jewish veteran journalist at the Israeli daily Haaretz, invoked the centuries-old antisemitic trope in his Aug. 2 Op-Ed ("All Israelis Are Guilty of Setting a Palestinian Family on Fire"):
At the end of a terrible day, it is this that leads to the burning of families whom God did not choose. No principle in Israeli society is more destructive, or more dangerous, than this principle. Nor, unfortunately, more common. If you were to examine closely what is concealed beneath the skin of most Israelis, you would find: the chosen people. When that is a fundamental principle, the next torching is only a matter of time.
Oprah Winfrey Rejects Israel Boycott of diamond producer Lev Leviev
Executives at O, the Oprah Winfrey magazine, refused on Monday to receive a small group of activists accusing Israeli diamantaire Lev Leviev of involvement in human rights abuses in the Middle East and Africa.
Representative and activists affiliated with Adalah-NY, an advocacy group focused on boycotting Israel and Israeli products, sought to meet O executives at the magazine's headquarters at the Hearst Corporation in Manhattan.
The non-profit group said that they chose to focus on Winfrey after she wore Leviev's diamonds on the cover of the May 2015, 15-year anniversary issue of O, The Oprah Magazine. (h/t Bob Knot)

What Society Says When Children Are Murdered
It is almost ghoulish to compare the deaths of children in war. They were not responsible for the situation in which they found themselves, and they did not deserve their fate. In a healthy society, such deaths are mourned without regard for the children's nationality, or the politics and misdeeds of their parents.
Is there a difference between the infant Ali Saad Dawabshe, murdered in his house in the West Bank village of Duma, and Shalhevet Pass, murdered in her stroller by a sniper? Or between Mohammed Abu Khdeir (16), murdered in revenge for the killings of three Israeli teens, and the Fogel children, Yoav (11), Elad (4) and Hadas (3 months), murdered in their beds, along with their parents? Or Einat Haran (4), forced to watch her father killed before having her head smashed against a rock? Or the Schijveschurrder children, Ra'aya (14), Avraham Yitzhak (4) and Hemda (2), murdered in the Sbarro Pizza bombing along with their parents and ten other people, including two more children? Or Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar, Naftali Fraenkel, murdered on their way home from school for Shabbat?
To the perpetrators, no.
To the societies from which the murderers came, the difference is a chasm. Not every Israeli or every Palestinian had the same reaction, but the differences in their leadership was striking.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) arrested trained sniper Mahmud Amru, a member of the Palestinian Tanzim -- an armed offshoot of Fatah, founded by Yasser Arafat -- for the murder of 10-month-old Shalhevet Pass, but released him. Arrested then by the Israelis, Amru was sentenced to three life terms. Voice of Palestine Radio later claimed the baby was killed by her mother.
PLO Still Lying About Arafat’s Legacy
The PLO recently marked what would’ve been Yasser Arafat’s 86th birthday with a tweet that must have left the late Palestinian leader spinning in his grave.
It’s not just about framing Arafat’s legacy as a heroic freedom fighter instead of as an murderous terrorist (I’ll come back to that).
As the founding father of Palestinian nationalism, the PLO has a lot riding on the Arafat narrative.
To set the record straight, Arafat was born in Cairo. But even the ardent Obama birther conspiracy theorists will drop their jaws at this:
On August 4 was born President Yasser Arafat (Jerusalem 1929 – Paris 2004) “I am a rebel and freedom is my cause
So how did he come to be associated with Jerusalem?
The answer starts with a Communist-era Romanian intelligence official, Ion Mihai Pacepa. He explained in a Wall St. Journal mea culpa that the Arafat-Jerusalem tie was a product of deliberate Soviet misinformation.
Arab MK: I Miss Arafat So Much!
MK Ahmed Tibi of the Arab Joint List published a post to Facebook Wednesday in which he expressed his feelings of longing for longtime PLO chairman Yasser Arafat.
"Today, August 4, the 86th birthday of the great symbol, Yasser Arafat,” he wrote. “The leader of a nation, the story of a revolution. How I miss you!”
After Israel signed the Oslo Accords with the PLO in 1993, Arafat and his terrorist establishment were allowed to emerge from their exile in Tunisia and enter Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Tibi, a medical doctor and activist, was named as Arafat's advisor on Israeli matters.
In November of 1996, Tibi said about Arafat: “All of my moves are made in according to his directions. I believe he places trust in me, and I hope that I justify that.”
Arafat is considered to be the father of modern terrorism and the pioneer of such terror techniques as airplane hijackings. In 2000, he launched the massive terror war that is referred to as "the Second Intifada" or "the Oslo War," which featured hundreds of suicide bombings that killed over 1,200 Jews, most of them civilians, many of them children. The degree to which Tibi's advice about Israel figured into Arafat's decision to launch the war will probably never be known.
Outrage as DOJ May Intervene in Terror Judgment Against Palestinian Authority
The lawsuit, Sokolow v. PLO, was brought by 10 American families whose loved ones were killed or who suffered injuries themselves in those attacks between 2001 and 2004. The evidence included internal PA and PLO records detailing a program to pay surviving relatives of Palestinians who died in suicide terror attacks or who were in Israeli jails after being convicted of terrorist acts. While the PA says it no longer provides support for terror attacks, payments to the families of dead terrorists and to prisoners in Israeli jails continues.
Some documents even contained handwritten notes from longtime PLO and PA leader Yasser Arafat approving payments to the terrorists and their families. One 2002 report sent to the PA’s General Intelligence Service chief, praised a West Bank squad for its “high quality successful attacks.”
Government intervention to block terror victims from collecting on their judgments against foreign sponsors is not new. In one of the earliest cases of its kind, the departments of State, Justice and Treasury all tried to block Stephen Flatow from collecting a $247 million judgment against Iran for sponsoring a Palestinian Islamic Jihad suicide bombing that killed his daughter Alisa.
“It’s disappointing that our government is now considering opposing the victims of the PLO’s terror operations,” Flatow said Tuesday in an email to the IPT. “Even if the decision is made not to intervene, the government’s actions weaken victims’ rights.”
The PA filed a motion in May to suspend attempts to collect on that judgment pending an appeal of the jury award. In it, attorneys suggested that Judge Daniels seek the government’s opinion about the potential impact on the PA if collections began. “The United States has significant foreign policy interests in ensuring regional stability,” the PA motion said.
It also claimed that the PA is “a government in deep economic distress” and any immediate enforcement threatens the PA’s viability, something which “will jeopardize regional security and stability.”
That, attorneys for the victims say, simply is not true.
US moves closer to intervening in NY terror trial against PA
In a letter this week to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the victims urged the government to stay out of the dispute and not “undermine the judgment in our case without taking into account the very real ability of the PLO and the PA to pay the judgment over time and stand accountable for their crimes.”
“It causes us great pain to know that our Government might attempt to undermine the judgment in our case without taking into account the very real ability of the PLO and the PA to pay the judgment over time and stand accountable for their crimes,” the letter states.
The plaintiffs said they were seeking small monthly installments rather than a lump sum, which they say makes the penalty more reasonable.
“This is a very practical solution that will allow us to ensure that over time the funds will be available to satisfy our judgment without destroying their ability to function,” they said.
The case was brought in New York by a group of American families and concerns a series of bombings and shootings between 2002 and 2004. Jurors heard dramatic testimony from relatives of people killed and survivors who never fully recovered.
The plaintiffs also relied on internal records showing the Palestinian Authority continued to pay the salaries of employees who were put behind bars in terror cases and paid benefits to families of suicide bombers and gunmen who died committing the attacks. But a defense lawyer argued that there was no evidence that the Palestinian authorities had sanctioned the attacks, as alleged in the lawsuit.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinian 'special committees' to defend villages against 'settler gangs'
Palestinian activists said Tuesday they were planning to establish committees to defend Palestinians in the West Bank against settler violence.
The activists said the committees would deploy guards in various villages during the night to foil attacks by settlers.
It is not clear at this stage whether the decision to deploy the guards was made in coordination with the Palestinian Authority leadership.
Meanwhile, the PA government in the West Bank launched a scathing attack on Israel Tuesday and accused it of committing crimes against Palestinians.
During its weekly meeting in Ramallah, the government, headed by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, called on the international community to declare “settler gangs” terrorist groups.
It also called for condemning settlements as a “war crime.”
Prosor: Time for the International Community to Wake Up
Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, on Tuesday asked the UN Security Council to condemn the Palestinian incitement to terrorism, following Monday’s firebomb attack in Jerusalem.
"While Israel is strongly opposed to any terrorist incident and condemns any terrorist attack, how surprising it is to see that after an Israeli citizen was wounded, the Palestinian leadership and the international community continue to maintain silence,” he said, noting that attacks against Israel have continued on other fronts as well.
“We are marking this summer a year since the end of Operation Protective Edge, but Hamas continues to fire rockets at Israeli civilians,” continued Prosor.
“Israel holds Hamas responsible for the rocket attacks, and since the end of the operation, rather than Hamas investing in the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip, it invests in rebuilding its military capabilities. It is time for the international community to wake up, because silence is a prize for terror.”
"In light of the fact that it is perfectly clear that only one side is to blame for this dangerous provocation, I expect that the UN will not publish its default standard announcement that calls for both sides to show restraint, but for once, denounce unequivocally the one responsible for this - Hamas," said Prosor.
Most Trusted Institution? IDF - 51%, Knesset - 3%
Ahead of a vote on the state budget, a recent poll found that Israelis generally support cutting the defense budget in favor of social services - but found that the IDF is the most trusted government institution in Israel by far.
The Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) on Wednesday published its July Peace Index survey, conducted with Tel Aviv University. The survey included 600 respondents who were contacted in phone interviews.
When asked to select the most trusted national institution, 51% chose the IDF, as opposed to 22.7% who selected the Supreme Court and just 3.1% who picked the Knesset. Among Jewish respondents only, the IDF was backed by a full 61%.
No less than 80% said the IDF can still be classified as the "people's army," and a similar percentage said they are proud of the army.
There has been talk of ending compulsory IDF service and making the military a professional career army. Queried about the issue, 73.6% said they want to continue the compulsory draft, while 21% wanted to shift to a professional army.
IDF Enlistment of Christian Israelis Set to Break Records
Israel's Arab and Aramean Christian population has long been an untapped resource in recruitment for the IDF, largely because of threats and incitement against young Christians thinking to join the army, but that appears to be changing as an unprecedented number of over 200 Christians are predicted to enlist next year.
There are over 130,000 Christians citzens in Israel, most of whom identify as Arab, with a potential annual enlistment of 1,400 new recruits. However, only several dozen signed up each year until three years ago, when the numbers started to rise to over 100 amid efforts to promote enlistment in the community.
Col. (res.) Pini Gonen, an initiator and leader of the Gadna youth battalion project for Arab Christian youth at the Defense Ministry, told Walla! on Tuesday that a seminar has recently been opened for 48 Arab Christian youths, including two women.
The four-week seminar includes military preparation and a leadership course as well as visits to Jerusalem, churches, trips to the north and more.
"They arrive with very high motivation for military service," said Gonen. "Just last week Jennifer, an Arab Christian soldier, was selected for exceptional performance in a course operating Iron Dome. She also finished basic training with exceptional ratings."
"I believe that the number of recruits will rise. Already today you can see (Arab Christian) officers at the rank of major in the teleprocessing branch, navy and other units. Even more senior rankings are just a matter of time."
39 Palestinians released in Schalit exchange to be re-jailed
A committee charged with reviewing the terms of release for the Palestinian terrorists freed in the 2011 Gilad Schalit prisoner swap deal has decided that 39 of the prisoners released committed additional crimes that warrant their return to jail to complete their sentences.
The committee has been examining the cases of prisoners released in the deal since last summer's Operation Brother's Keeper, when some 50 such prisoners were rearrested in the efforts to locate the perpetrators of the June 12 triple kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teens in Judea.
The defense establishment filed 48 cases with the committee following the arrests. One of the remaining two prisoners was released and the other was sentenced to return to jail by a military court in Lod.
PMW: PA promoting religious war
One of the most dangerous libels promoted by the Palestinian Authority and Fatah is that Israel is planning to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque. As documented by Palestinian Media Watch, this libel has been disseminated by the PA for many years and increases occasionally, often appearing alongside calls by the PA to increase "popular resistance." According the the PA, this includes rioting, stone throwing and other attacks against Israelis.
The above cartoon posted by Fatah shows a Jew trying to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and warns of religious war. The Jew in the cartoon has the word "excavations" written on his suit. The PA adamantly opposes excavations near the Temple Mount and in the City of David because the many archaeological finds in those areas related to Jewish history expose the falsehood of PA claims that Jews never lived in Jerusalem and that there never was a Jewish Temple. The PA therefore charges that the excavations are intended to cause the Mosque to collapse.
Two other recent cartoons, one posted by Fatah and the other in the PA official daily, likewise depict Israel destroying the Al-Aqsa Mosque. In one cartoon, an Israeli soldier is cutting the dome off the Dome of the Rock. In the other, Israeli PM Netanyahu is digging up the foundation of Al-Aqsa Mosque with a bulldozer:
Last month, in the period leading up to the recent riots by Palestinians at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the PA had increased the frequency of this libel. PA Minister of Religious Affairs, Sheikh Yusuf Ida'is, who is appointed by PA Chairman Abbas, claimed that Israel is carrying out an "evil plan to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and establish the alleged Temple":
UN Chief Appeals for Urgent Funding for UNRWA
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday raised alarm over a $100 million shortfall in funding for the UN aid agency for “Palestinian refugees”, UNRWA, and called for urgent donations, AFP reported.
Ban said in a statement quoted by the news agency that UNRWA was "a pillar of stability" for five million Palestinian “refugees” at a time when the Middle East is in the throes of crises and suffering.
He called "on all donors to urgently ensure that the $100 million required be contributed to UNRWA at the earliest possible date so that the children of Palestine can begin their 2015-2016 school year without delay."
Ban has personally spoken to several world leaders in the past weeks about the unprecedented funding crisis at UNRWA, his spokesman said, according to AFP.
UNRWA has previously warned that it may have to close its schools due to its large debts and fear of going bankrupt.
Ahead of summer fests, Scotland’s pro-Israel network stands guard
Goodrich, softly-spoken and humorous, said the appetite for the Friends’ of Israel groups is extraordinary.
“We’ve brought people together who care for Israel for a variety of different reasons.” said Goodrich. Many of them, he believes, are Christians who are frustrated by the attitudes of their church leadership. “For example, the Church of Scotland does not support Israel.”
That is putting it mildly. The Church of Scotland issued a controversial report in 2013 which questioned the divine right of Jews to the Land of Israel, and last year resolutions were again tabled asking for the Church to impose Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions measures against Israel.
Now formed into a Confederation of Friends of Israel in Scotland, Goodrich’s troops are out on the streets week after week, challenging perceptions. And they are already getting some interesting feedback.
“There are usually people telling us that they are sick of hearing about the Palestinians all the time,” said chair of the Edinburgh Friends, Dorothé Kaufmann. Whenever her group sets up a stall or hands out leaflets, she said people “can’t believe that Israel is an apartheid state, but they say they are not getting any other message — so they are quite pleased to read our material.”
Crucially, said Goodrich, the Friends do not set out to run specific counter-protests to demonstrations held by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Instead, the line is to put out pro-Israel material whenever they can — whether or not the PSC is around.
Christian group plans Golders Green rally to support Jewish community against extremists
A Christian preacher and his wife are organising an anti-fascist demonstration in Golders Green next month as a “show of support for the Jewish community and Israel”.
Tim and Louise Gutman, 35 and 36, who work as pastors at Junction 28 Church in Derbyshire, said they wanted to raise support for the community following “all the antisemitism that has recently been going around, especially in Golders Green”.
Under the name Mordecai Voice, they have been working with other pro-Israel groups – such as the Christian Friends of Israel and Dovetail Shalom Ministries – to gather people together on September 12.
According to the couple, a similar demonstration that they organised three years ago in Westminster alongside pro-Israel lobby group StandWithUs brought 800 people together from across the UK; they are hoping to attract similar numbers for next month’s rally.
“There has been some nasty stuff taking place in recent months,” said Ms Gutman. “We just wanted to show our support and gather a crowd to sing and pray.
We wanted to do this so that the Jewish community doesn’t feel alone or isolated. We want them to know that we stand with them.”
Air France ‘deeply regrets’ map snafu omitting Israel
Air France said it “deeply regrets” the technical problems that omitted Tel Aviv and Jerusalem from in-flight map displays that showed Gaza and the West Bank.
On Monday, Air France wrote on its official Twitter account that it “deeply regrets this incident. It is due to a map scale and display problem which is currently being resolved.” The message was a reply to Twitter users who demanded an explanation for Israel’s absence from the map.
The airliner’s tweet followed a query sent earlier in the day by the Simon Wiesenthal Center regarding photos of English- and French-language flight path displays that were taken last week between New York and Paris.
The English-language map named Cyprus, Lebanon, the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan and three Egyptian cities. The French-language one listed additionally the Black Sea, Turkey and the Turkish city of Mersin, as well as Syria and its cities of Aleppo and Homs. In addition to Israel, the maps displayed parts of Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Ukraine without listing them.
Jewish Group Rejects Air France Apology for Excluding Israel From Flight Maps
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Jewish rights group that sent a letter to Air France Chairman and CEO Frédéric Gagey demanding to know whether the company had joined the spreading boycott of Israel, said it was unmoved by the apology.
The group on Tuesday rejected Air France’s response, though the company said it was working to resolve issues with “map scale” and a “display problem,” and called its gesture “feeble and totally inadequate.”
Dr. Shimon Samuels, the director of international relations at SWC, called in his letter to the Air France CEO for the company to “identify those response and take appropriate legal measures against them.”
“Major airline flights, on landing, customarily thank the passengers for choosing to fly them. If Air France does not immediately remedy this protest, our constituency will certainly make their choice accordingly,” Samuels said.
Pro-Israel group StandWithUs first brought the issue to attention through a post on their Facebook page.
Op-ed at UK site edited by former Guardian editor claims Israel intentionally murders children
Mid-East Eye is an on-line news portal covering events in Middle East. It’s edited by David Hearst, the former chief foreign leader writer for the Guardian. Though Mid-East Eye has not until today been on our radar, since it is UK-based we thought we’d briefly highlight a recent example of antisemitism in an op-ed published at the site by a woman named Susan Abulhawa. (Abulhawa is a pro-Palestinian activist recently highlighted in a fawning Guardian profile.)
Here are highlights from the op-ed by Abulhawa titled ‘Brand Israel pretends the burning of a Palestinian baby is the act of extremists‘:
First, here’s the strapline:
Israel wants us to believe the burning of a Palestinian toddler was done by fringe elements but the reality is that targeting children is woven into the fabric of Israeli society.
To those even vaguely familiar with the history of antisemitism and its modern manifestations, the mendacity of th op-ed – which advances a narrative characterized by the late historian Robert S. Wistrich as “a kind of modern secular blood libel” – really speaks for itself. It’s one thing for antisemitic terror movements to claim that citizens of the Jewish state intentionally murder Palestinian babies, but it rises to an entirely different level when such racist tropes are legitimized by putatively serious news sites.
One final note. In the Guardian profile of Abulhawa last June, she briefly addressed the topic of antisemitism.
“Those children are living like this because of brutal military occupation. Our work is just a plaster. Part of our mission is to put eyes on what is happening to Palestinian children. Unfortunately, though, criticising Israel has been conflated with antisemitism.”
Though this clearly wasn’t her intention, Abulhawa actually did us a favor in her Mid-East Eye op-ed by providing such a clear example of the ways in which antisemitism is disguised as mere criticism of Israel.
BBC News misleads audiences on administrative detention
Whilst it is correct to say that an administrative detention order was issued for Mordechai Meyer (also spelt Meir) on August 4th, the BBC does not inform audiences that Meyer – from Ma’ale Adumim – was among five suspects arrested in July on suspicion of involvement in the arson at the church in Tabgha in June or that at the time that his arrest was publicized on July 29th, the security services already announced that “administrative steps” would be taken against him and others.
“Indictments have been filed against two of the group (Yinon Reuveni and Yehuda Asraf); administrative steps will be taken against the other three.”
Although BBC News covered the story of the June 18th arson at the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes on the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee in written and filmed reports (“Jesus miracle church in Israel damaged ‘by arson’” and “Fire destroys Jesus miracle church in Israel“), it did not report on the related arrests when they were announced. Had it done so, it would perhaps have avoided misleading readers of this report by implying a connection between the administrative detention of Meyer and the attack in Duma.
Both versions of this report inform BBC audiences that:
“Israel has used administrative detention against Palestinians but not against Jewish suspects.”
That claim is inaccurate, as shown by examples such as Tali Fahima (2004), Ephraim Khantsis (2010), Noam Federman (1996, 2003 etc) and Baruch Ben Yosef (1980), Neria Ofen (2005) and others.
Clearly that inaccuracy needs urgent and prominent correction.
BBC News erases context in mention of Gaza fence incident
Inserted into the latter part of the BBC News website’s July 31st article concerning the terror attack in Duma are the following unrelated sentences:
“In another incident on Friday, officials in Gaza said Israeli troops shot dead one man and wounded another near the security fence that marks Israel’s border.
Israel confirmed soldiers had fired on the men but did not know their condition.”

The incident took place near Beit Lahiya and – contrary to the impression given in the BBC’s account – something happened before the soldiers opened fire.
“An Israeli military spokeswoman said several suspects approached the fence at two different points and did not heed calls by soldiers to stop. She said one group threw stones at the security fence and that soldiers fired warning shots in the air before firing at the “suspects’ lower extremities.””
Clearly that missing context is vital to proper audience understanding of the information provided.
The Duma terror attack and BBC consistency
Five days on from the shocking terror attack in Duma in which toddler Ali Dawabsha was murdered and members of his family injured, there has to date been no official publication of information relating to the arrest of suspected perpetrators of the arson attack.
The BBC News website’s coverage of that story as it broke prompts several observations on the topics of consistency and contradiction.
On the morning of July 31st an initial written report – titled “Palestinian fury as ‘Jewish settler’ arson attack kills child” – was the main story posted on the BBC News website’s homepage, its ‘World’ page and its Middle East page. A report also appeared on the BBC Arabic website.
We have been unable to find documented support for the claim in the subheadings appearing on those webpages according to which the term “suspected Jewish settlers” was used by the Israeli police. The Guardian and Ynet were among many media outlets reporting different terminology: “Police described it as a “suspected attack with nationalist motives””.
In contrast to the extensive promotion of this story on three web pages, the three separate fatal terror attacks on Israelis which took place in April and June 2015 did not receive any English language BBC coverage whatsoever.
Why Panorama went off the rails
A large chunk of the program is devoted to the sensitive religious sites in Jerusalem's Old City. Again we meet 'Jewish zealots' eager to pray where they are not allowed, next to peaceful Arabs concerned only with their religious rights. No mention of recent incitement to violence by preachers from within al-Aqsa mosque itself, nor of the very real violence perpetrated against Jews in the Old City; nor of the simple historical fact that it is only under Israeli control that Jerusalem has experienced complete freedom of worship for all religions, for the first time in its long history.
The narrative is completed with coverage of the Jerusalem Day parade, the day in which Israelis celebrate the unification of the city and the first time Jews gained the freedom to pray at their holy sites in the city's historic Jewish quarter. Here, the Western Wall is referred to in an almost predatory manner, as the place that "borders the Muslim holy site, where [Israelis] want to build their temple". We are now told that the idea of erecting the third temple in Jerusalem "is gathering support from within the [Israeli] mainstream", a baseless assertion. And a final, ominous warning: "I can't help but think that if Jews push much further, this surely would be the last stand by the Palestinians".
The metaphor is now complete, we are in "World War Z" starring Brad Pitt, and the Jews are the zombies climbing the Western Wall to devour the Palestinians at the top of the al-Aqsa compound.
The program ends with Wishart telling his audience that he can't believe this is the place his grandparents dreamt of all those years ago. I can't believe it either, and nor should anyone else, because his skewed narrative resembles a fictional good guys / bad guys film rather than the reality of one of the most complex cities on earth. Within that reality, the light rail enables 140,000 people a day to traverse the city, step-free, at an affordable price for all; Christians, Jews and Muslims, riding the same train together from Jewish to Arab neighbourhoods, and vice versa, increasing commercial, cultural and societal interaction. Surely the train is part of the solution, not the problem.
Saudi king blamed Mossad for 9/11
The former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia said in an interview this week that following 9/11, Saudi King Salman had insisted to him that the Mossad was responsible for the attacks.
“One of my first calls was with then-governor of Riyadh... Prince Salman, who is now the king. His response was very emphatic [that] this could not have been Saudis, we couldn’t possibly have done this,” former envoy Robert Jordan said on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS.
“This had to have been an Israeli plot. The Mossad must have done this,” he cited Salman as saying at the time.
“I got the same thing from the minister of interior, Prince [Mohammed bin] Nayef,” Jordan continued. “I finally had to bring a CIA briefer out and show some of these princes some compelling evidence that it, indeed, was Saudis who were the hijackers.”
Jordan went on to say that he saw the Saudis as being in denial about the fact that 15 of the 19 hijackers were from their country.
The Saudis eventually altered their position, he said, after al-Qaida bombed three Western housing compounds in May 2003.
Survey suggests strong popular support for ‘Jew-free’ Romania
Eleven percent described Jews as “a problem for Romania” whereas 22 percent said they would like them only as tourists. Media reports about the poll did not specify its margin of error.
Romania used to have a Jewish population of over 750,000 before its pro-Nazi regime, led by Ion Antonescu, collaborated in the murder of about half of Romanian Jewry in the Holocaust. His troops also massacred 120,000 Jews in present-day Ukraine.
Nearly three quarters of respondents indicated they had heard of the Holocaust — a 12 percent increase over a similar poll conducted in 2007 — but only a third of those respondents who know about the Holocaust believe it happened in their country. Only 19 percent of respondents who knew about the Holocaust and said it occurred in Romania said Antonescu’s government was responsible.
Those Romanians who survived the Holocaust mostly left for Israel and now Romania has only a few thousand Jews, mostly living in Bucharest.
Slightly more than half, or 54 percent, of respondents in the poll said Antonescu was “a patriot.”
Amazon drama imagines Nazi-conquered America
The 10-part series, based on Philip K. Dick’s novel, is available Nov. 20. Other cast members include Alexa Davalos and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa.
Frank Spotnitz (“The X-Files”), who developed and produces “The Man in the High Castle,” said he hopes it makes viewers take stock.
“What are your values? What do you stand for? How do you differ from the people you see in this show?” he said. The novel, he recalled, compelled him to re-examine the expectation that “the good guys are going to win.”
“I think we as Americans, because we are used to winning and because all of our movies and TV shows have us winning, we just have this, ‘Of course we are going to win,'” he said. “Well, no, not of course. It’s up to us if we are going to win. … I hope this show makes people think about that.”
Shabbat meal in Berlin breaks Guinness record
A Shabbat meal at the European Maccabi Games has broken a Guinness World Record.
Some 2,322 Jewish men and women gathered Friday night for a meal held by Chabad-Lubavitch at the games in Berlin, reported, making it the largest Shabbat meal ever. Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal, the head of Chabad in that German city, presided over the festivities.
The gathering broke the mark of 2,226 set in June 2014 at an event hosted by White City Shabbat, a Tel Aviv organization that hosts and coordinates Shabbat meals. That meal also was co-sponsored by Chabad-Lubavitch.
The record-breaking meal was the project of Alon Meyer, the president of Maccabi in Germany, and Robby Rjber, vice president of Makkabi Deutschland.
Scanner identifyng food’s calorie, ingredient count honored by world body
The Israeli company that developed the world’s first device that can scan products and provide a list of ingredients, components, materials, calories, nutrition data and other important information about food, pharmaceuticals, plants, and more, is one of the top 49 tech companies in the world, according to the World Economic Forum. Consumer Physics, makers of the SCiO pocket molecular sensor, is one of the WEF’s “technology pioneers,” a group of early-stage tech firms around the world that are “poised to have a significant impact on business and society,” according to the group.
“We’re glad to see an Israeli company make it to the selection,” said Fulvia Montresor, Head of Technology Pioneers at the World Economic Forum. “Consumer Physics is part of a group of entrepreneurs who are more aware of the crucial challenges of the world around them, and who are determined to do their part to solve those challenges with their company.”
According to many who have seen it in action, the SCIO device reminds them of the “tricorder” – the device from the Star Trek TV show that the crew of the USS Enterprise used to figure out what the fascinating things they found on alien worlds consisted of. Heralded by scientists, researchers, journalists and now the WEF – the SCIO device is seen as a major tech development, a boon for anyone interested in gauging whether the food they are eating or the medications they are taking are effective
The device uses near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy to scan physical materials for their molecular fingerprint, discovering the specific components of a piece of fruit, a hamburger, a pill, and, eventually, anything else, depending on what apps are developed on the platform. Once the molecular components are detected, the data is uploaded to a user’s smartphone, from where it is transmitted to the SCIO database. The database then provides information about the materials, and the product – vitamins, calories, product recalls, active ingredients in over-the-counter pills, and more.
Israel Daily Picture: The "American Colony" in the Holy Land in 1866, "Shamefully Humbugged by their Prophet"
The second half of the 19th century saw many missionaries, adventurers and tourists from the United States visiting the Holy Land. They were aided by the invention of steam engine ships and the new invention of photography that provided pictures of the Holy Land that spurred their interests.
One eccentric missionary was George Jones Adams of Maine who attempted to establish an "American Colony" in Jaffa. He failed miserably, even at one point appealing to American government officials and the Governor of Maine for assistance.
Two contemporary writers described Adams and his colony. One was an extraordinary writer and actress from Jerusalem named Lydia Mamreoff von Finkelstein Mountford (1855-1917) whose clippings we discovered in a New Zealand archives.
The other writer was an American humorist named Mark Twain. He met some of the colony's survivors on his return from his "Innocents Abroad" voyage in 1867 and described their travails.
2,000-year-old ritual bath unearthed at Jerusalem kindergarten construction site
Excavation work for a new kindergarten in Jerusalem unearthed an almost-intact, 2,000-year-old Jewish ritual bath bearing extraordinary inscriptions, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Wednesday.
The ritual bath, or mikveh, was discovered two months ago by IAA officials during a routine archaeological inspection of the construction site in the capital’s southern neighborhood of Arnona. Jerusalem IAA manager Amit Reem said his workers discovered the underground cave leading to the mikveh at the very end of the final day of inspections.
The IAA is tasked with the examination of construction and development plans to ensure that building projects do not destroy any antiquity sites.
The well-preserved find was hailed by archaeologists.
“There is no doubt that this is a very significant discovery. Such a concentration of inscriptions and symbols from the Second Temple period at one archaeological site, and in such a state of preservation, is rare and unique and most intriguing,” excavation directors Royee Greenwald and Alexander Wiegmann said in a joint statement.
The Second Temple-period mikveh was exposed inside an underground cave, along with an anteroom, flanked by benches on either side. A nearby wine press was also excavated.

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