Tuesday, October 13, 2015

From Ian:

Eugene Kontorovich: Notable Israel boycott activist also leads pro-settler, pro-occupation group
Code Pink is a prominent far-left group that is heavily focused on anti-Israel activities, and promoting boycotts in particular. One of its major campaigns calls for boycotts of Ahava beauty products on the grounds that they support “illegal Israel settlement” in the West Bank (a contention rejected by the United Kingdom Supreme Court last year).
But the mastermind of the boycott campaign, Code Pink member Nancy Kricorian, is also a leader of a pro-settler charity, as the Kohelet Policy Forum, a think thank with which I am associated, has discovered. Will Code Pink, the Electronic Intifada and other self-righteous “anti-occupation” groups sever their ties with Kricorian as a result? Someone should ask them, but I would not hold my breath.
The Armenia Tree Project, on whose executive committee Kricorian sits, promotes Armenian control of Nagorno-Karabakh, an area taken from Azerbaijan in a war in the early 1990s, which resulted in the flight of tens of thousands (or more) of Azeri refugees. Armenia has actively encouraged Armenians to move to the area, actions bitterly condemned by Baku. Indeed, the territory remains the site of occasional shootouts between the two sides.
The Armenia Tree Project supports various projects in the occupied territory (which they called Artsakh, the traditional Armenian name for the area, akin to Judea and Samaria).
Leading Anti-Israel Activist Supports Illegal Occupation Of Nagorno-Karabakh
A national staff member of the activist group Code Pink, which protests Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, is active in a group that promotes Armenia’s occupation of a region of Azerbaijan.
Nancy Kricorian is a leading proponent of boycotting Israel, especially products made by Ahava Cosmetics, calling them products of “illegal Israeli settlement.” Her husband, Oscar-nominated screenwriter and producer James Schamus, is on the board of directors of the organization Jewish Voices for Peace, which also promotes boycotts of Israel due to its settlement policy. But Kricorian is also on the executive committee of the Armenian Tree Project (ATP), a group that promotes the settlement of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, which was illegally seized by Armenia from Azerbaijan in a war in the early 1990s.
According to ATP’s website, its work “throughout Armenia and Karabagh is incredibly important. Armenia faces environmental and demographic threats.” To combat these threats, ATP has provided agricultural training to Syrian-Armenians seeking to settle in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh.
In 2008, the United Nations General Assembly passed resolution 62/243, which reaffirmed “that no State shall recognize as lawful the situation resulting from the occupation of the territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan, nor render aid or assistance in maintaining this situation.”
Douglas Murray: The "Islamic Inquisition" and the Blasphemy Police
It took only ten years for most people across the West to learn about Islamic blasphemy -- and in the end to abide by it. Today there might be thousands of people willing to publish cartoons of Mohammed on their Twitter accounts, but most of them hide behind aliases and complain about the cowardice of others.
A few days before the Mohammed cartoons' anniversary, Mark Steyn, Henryk Broder and the Norwegian editor Vebjoern Selbekk addressed a conference in Denmark to commemorate the anniversary of the cartoons. It was held in the Danish Parliament, the only building there now deemed safe enough to withstand the now-traditional attack from the Islamic Blasphemy Police. Anticipating a terrorist attack, the UK Foreign Office and U.S. State Departments both warned their citizens to stay away from the area of the Parliament building that day. The restaurant in which we were meant to be having dinner cancelled the booking; they realized, when police and security officers scouted out the building in advance, who the guests might be.
Ten years ago, you could publish depictions of Mohammed in a Danish newspaper. Ten years later, it is hard for anyone who has been connected with such an act to find a restaurant in Copenhagen that will serve them dinner.
It is not just artists and writers who have learned the lesson; it is everyone -- from newspaper conglomerates to the people who serve food in restaurants. Our societies like to think that terrorism and intimidation do not work. They do -- or can -- but only if we let them. Over the last ten years, a couple of brief eruptions of sanctimonious point-missing aside, it turned out to be fear -- not Mohammed cartoons -- that went viral.
Freedom, however, was never defended by more than a handful of people. Most prefer their comforts and a quiet life to anything that looks like a fight. But there are still more than a few good people across the world, and more than a handful of them in Scandinavia. If, in previous conflicts, one looked to pilots or statesman to lead the way, in this war against the new "Islamic Inquisition," it is journalists, cartoonists, writers and artists who find themselves on the front lines and who need to lead. Some of them might be surprised to be in this position. They should not be. Freedom of expression and thought have always had vicious enemies. But the truth has always seen them off, and shall do again.
Jeremiah Wright Made a 30-Pieces-Of-Silver Sale
As a Black African advocate for Zionism, I often come face to face with the childish ad hominem “you are a coon/uncle tom/sell-out” or “how much is Mossad paying you”? Before, I used to get the former mostly from other Black people and the latter from mostly Asian Muslims. Now, recently, even White anti-Zionists are quite comfortable throwing such racist pejoratives at me. Anti-Zionism married itself with “the Black Struggle”, but few of us actually got the memo. We just woke up one day and found that if you are Black and you support the State of Israel as the Jewish homeland and believe in fostering greater ties between it and Black people all over the world, then that is tantamount to betraying the Black Struggle.
I thought about this as I watched a video clip from the recent Million Man March, in which Jeremiah Wright, retired Pastor Emeritus of the Trinity United Church of Christ, told his audience that “Please remember, Jesus was a Palestinian“. I could not help noticing that as Rev. Wright spoke these words, a Muslim woman took position behind him. I was to learn that she is called Linda Sarsour. Now, I am not suggesting that she was handling him as the term would be understood by a conspiracy-theory buff. However, it is what the retired pastor was saying that got me thinking: Who is the puppet now? Who is speaking for another?
Well, how else would you rationalise an instance where a pastor of 36 years departs from the accepted teachings of his faith, and repeats with a straight face the preposterous declaration that Jesus was a Palestinian while a non-Christian activist nods approvingly behind him?
I am hoping no one would ever want to rationalise this display. I am hoping, however, that other Black Christian leaders, especially in the United States, realise that they cannot continue to be part of a Silent Majority while such fundamental teachings of their faith are sold to causes that have no respect for Christianity or issues affecting Black people. I can accept that some Black Christians will support the Palestinian cause, for whatever reason. But to distort their own beliefs in order to do so, and appear in public as if at the behest of a Muslim woman, grabs any hold of any straws they may be clutching in order to back this position, and dips them in something nasty.

NGO Monitor: NGO "Experts" Demonize Israel in Brussels
On September 7-8, 2015, the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, in cooperation with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the League of Arab States, held a meeting in Brussels, “International Meeting on the Question of Palestine: Israeli Settlements as an Obstacle to Peace – Possible Ways Forward.”
The meeting focused on the alleged “De-Palestinization” of Jerusalem and legal attacks against Israel (“lawfare”) in the form of universal jurisdiction and referrals to the International Criminal Court.
The various sessions featured statements by a number of officials from highly biased and politicized NGOs: Shawan Jabarin, General Director of Palestinian NGO Al Haq; Daniel Seidemann, Founder of Terrestrial Jerusalem; and Hugh Lovatt, Coordinator for “Israel/Palestine” of the European Council on Foreign Relations. All three of these groups receive major funding from European governments. Other “experts” included Walid Assaf, Minister of Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission in Birzeit, and Christine Chanet, head of the 2012 UN Human Rights Council commission of inquiry on Israeli settlements aimed at promoting anti-Israel BDS.
Obama Has Given Up
The president continued to steal from Americans their peace of mind when he revealed that his administration was aware that something like Russian intervention in Syria was imminent even as he was meeting with Vladimir Putin in New York City in September. “We knew that he was planning to provide the military assistance that Assad was needing because they were nervous about a potential imminent collapse of the regime,” Obama averred incautiously.
The president did not seem to note how his contention contradicted an earlier pronouncement. When diagnosing the fatal flaw that led to the implosion of his rebel training program, the president noted that it was Assad’s persistent clinging to power that prevented the program’s success. Questions remain: Was the Russian assessment of the viability of Assad’s regime accurate? If not, why did the Syrian president himself admit that manpower shortages were hindering the regime’s military operations in August? Does the president’s belief that Assad must be removed if there is to be an effective anti-ISIS ground force mean that American and Russian objectives in the region are fundamentally at odds?
Unfortunately, the answer to these questions was revealed in a cryptic response the president gave to a question about the efficacy of the multi-nation campaign targeting ISIS. “Over time, the community of nations will all get rid of them, and we will be leading getting rid of them,” the president said. “But we are not going to be able to get rid of them unless there is an environment inside of Syria and in portions of Iraq in which local populations, local Sunni populations, are working in a concerted way with us to get rid of them.” And there will be no second Anbar Awakening unless the United States once again serves, to borrow Bing West’s invaluable analysis, as “the strongest tribe” in Western Iraq. In other words, don’t hold your breath.
The inescapable impression that the president gave viewers last night was that his highest priority is not the advancement of American national security priorities but political damage control and face-saving. The Anbar Awakening was an outgrowth of the success of the Iraq surge, and there would have been no surge if George W. Bush had not been possessed of the ability to accept that his original approach to the war in Iraq was a failure. America is again in need of a strategic about-face, but the current president seems unable or unwilling to admit his mistake.
The limits of Iranian power
While regional news remains dominated by the dramatic events under way in Syria, further south and east important developments are taking place in one of the more neglected arenas of the regional struggle – Yemen.
Events in Yemen are noteworthy because they counter the notion that as a result of the Obama administration’s exit from the region and in the wake of the nuclear agreement, an unstoppable Iranian advance across the Middle East is inevitable.
In Yemen, what is taking place is the halting of an Iranian client by forces supported by the Arab Gulf states, most importantly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The Iran-supported Ansar Allah movement, more popularly known as the Houthis, seized control of the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, in March. The government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi was forced into exile in Saudi Arabia. The Houthis and their allies then began a march to the south, intending to seize the Gulf of Aden and unite the country under their control.
Preventing this was a matter of strategic importance for the opponents of the Houthis and of their Iranian backers. Control of southwest Yemen would have given the Houthis (and hence the Iranians) the ability to choke off energy supplies making their way from the Persian Gulf to the Suez Canal via the narrow Bab el-Mandeb Strait.
Obama Will Be the Only Person Sticking to Iran Deal
Sometime this week, President Obama is scheduled to sign an executive order to meet the Oct. 15 "adoption day" he has set for the nuclear deal he says he has made with Iran. According to the president's timetable the next step would be "the start day of implementation," fixed for Dec. 15.
But as things now stand, Obama may end up being the only person in the world to sign his much-wanted deal, in effect making a treaty with himself.
The Iranians have signed nothing and have no plans for doing so. The so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has not even been discussed at the Islamic Republic's Council of Ministers. Nor has the Tehran government bothered to even provide an official Persian translation of the 159-page text.
The Islamic Majlis, the ersatz parliament, is examining an unofficial text and is due to express its views at an unspecified date in a document "running into more than 1,000 pages," according to Mohsen Zakani, who heads the "examining committee."
"The changes we seek would require substantial rewriting of the text," he adds enigmatically.
Nor have Britain, China, Germany, France and Russia, who were involved in the so-called P5+1 talks that produced the JCPOA, deemed it necessary to provide the Obama "deal" with any legal basis of their own. Obama's partners have simply decided that the deal he is promoting is really about lifting sanctions against Iran and nothing else.
MEMRI: The Iranian Majlis Has Not Approved The JCPOA But Iran's Amended Version Of It
On October 13, 2015 the Iranian Majlis approved, by a majority of 161-59 with 13 abstentions, not the JCPOA but rather an Iranian amended version it.
Paragraph 3 of the Majlis decision states that "the government will monitor any non-performance by the other party [to the agreement] in the matter of failing to lift the sanctions, or restoring the canceled sanctions, or imposing sanctions for any another reason, and will take steps to actualize the rights of the Iranian nation and to terminate the voluntary cooperation [this apparently refers to the Additional Protocol, which, according to the JCPOA, Iran will implement voluntarily] and to handle the rapid expansion of the Iranian nuclear program for peaceful purposes, so that within two years the enrichment potential in Iran will reach 190,000 SWU. The Supreme National Security Council will handle this matter, and the government will to submit to the Council a plan in the matter within four months."
Considering that the non-cancellation of the sanctions is part of the JCPOA (according to the JCPOA, U.S. sanctions will be merely "suspended," rather than canceled, so as to allow their "snapback" in the case of an Iranian violation); and considering that the re-imposition of sanctions, and the imposition of new sanctions, in case of an Iranian violation are likewise part of the JCPOA – the Majlis decision constitutes ratification of a nonexistent document. It was not a ratification of the JCPOA as it stands, but rather of additional demands made by Iran after the JCPOA was agreed upon on July 14, 2015 in Vienna.
Furthermore, the inclusion of these new Iranian demands in a Majlis decision constitutes the first written demand by an Iranian authority to amend the agreement, a demand that was mentioned verbally on September 3, 2015 by Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
The Majlis decision defines clauses in the JCPOA as "non-performance of the agreement by the other party" and therefore the Majlis' approval is meaningless.
Pay attention to Iran deal, former CIA head warns
The former head of the CIA warns that the nuclear deal with Iran will make Canada and the world less safe.
“This [deal] is likely not to slow down but to enhance Iran’s ability to get a nuclear weapon,” said Ambassador James Woolsey during a visit to Toronto last week. He was director of the CIA during the Clinton administration in the early 1990s.
“They may have one already ... Once that happens, life changes for all of us. Canadians, Americans, Europeans.”
Things could spiral out of control: “Because you’re likely to have a situation where the next time there’s a major crisis in the Middle East you have not one, but say half a dozen countries that have nuclear weapons.
“You’ll end up having a world in which instead of there being nuclear stability, there’s a lot of risk that some of these centuries and even millennia old hatreds will take over the next time there’s a Middle East crisis and somebody will use a nuclear weapon,” explained Woolsey, who’s currently chair of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
Shmuley Boteach: Comment: Samantha Power snubs Netanyahu, stays silent on Syria
For many years Samantha Power was my hero. She emerged as one of the world’s foremost voices against genocide. She championed and defended the human rights of oppressed groups everywhere.
She was one of the most outspoken critics of the US government’s historically abysmal failure at confronting and stopping genocide, which she wrote about it in her Pulitzer Prize-winning book, A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide.
She inspired me and deepened my own commitment to fighting genocide.
I publicly fought in her corner tooth and nail when she was ferociously criticized by many in the Jewish community for being anti-Israel. Anyone who agitated that hard against genocide had to have Jewish support.
But with the slaughter in Syria continuing unabated, and Power being an integral part of an administration that has chosen not to respond to even the gassing of Arab children, we have to ask whether Power will one day end up as a chapter in her own book.
Quartet envoys cancel visit at Netanyahu’s request
A delegation of Mideast Quartet diplomats who were set to arrive this week canceled their visit per a request by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The envoys were to meet with Israeli and Palestinian officials in Jerusalem and Ramallah in order to try to help calm the unrest that has plagued Israel and the West Bank in recent weeks.
Netanyahu’s request that the Quartet cancel the visit was attributed to its timing. Quartet diplomats were supposed to meet with national security adviser Yossi Cohen, Netanyahu’s adviser Yitzhak Molcho, and senior Foreign Ministry officials, as well as senior officials in the Palestinian Authority.
“The Israelis told us that this is not a good time to talk about diplomatic matters,” a Western diplomat told the Haaretz daily. “Apparently they were also concerned that the visit of Quartet envoys would increase international pressure on Israel.”
Can Israel benefit from sheriff Putin policing the Middle East?
But Putin’s challenge to the West, observers say, lies not so much in its protection of the Assad regime but in his creeping influence with Iran and some American allies in the region, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and even Israel. In recent months, Russia has been wooing Cairo, Riyadh and Tehran — resulting in economic agreements on sharing nuclear energy and know-how with Saudi Arabia, and selling advanced weapons to Iran. Putin also invited Egypt to join the Eurasian Economic Union, Russia’s free-trade zone that now comprises only ex-members of the former Soviet Union.
“What is happening between Russia and Egypt, as well as Saudi Arabia, is indeed a new development that is meant to occupy the vacuum left by US non-intervention, or the perception of it,” said Svetlova, the Israeli lawmaker and a former journalist specializing in the Arab-speaking world.
Netanyahu’s meeting with Putin coincided with Russia’s increased influence in some Arab countries with rulers who disapprove of Obama’s support for the Arab Spring revolutions and the nuclear agreement with Iran. Supporters both of Syria’s Assad regime and Egypt’s government led by Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in recent months have been displaying posters of Putin in Damascus and Cairo, where many now see him as a hero.
Meanwhile, the Saudi government criticized the US-led nuclear agreement with Iran before ultimately giving its lukewarm consent to the deal.
And el-Sisi has had harsh words for Obama, who supported the revolution that in 2011 toppled the regime of Hosni Mubarak, a predecessor of el-Sisi.
“You left the Egyptians, you turned your back on the Egyptians,” el-Sisi said in 2013 of the Obama administration, “and they won’t forget that.”
JPost Editorial: Israel and India
Many parallels can be drawn between BJP and our Likud-led government. Both seek to strengthen what they see as a more authentic national identity – Hindutva in India, Jewish in Israel – while maintaining a robust democracy.
Both countries face threats from Islamist terrorists who are motivated to violent acts not by anything India or Israel has done, but by what the countries represent. And ultimately, caving in to Muslim dictates is bad for India. Muslim countries have little of consequence to offer India.
In contrast, Israel’s innovative, dynamic, and free economy has so much to contribute and share with India. Indian farmers of all faiths can benefit from Israeli expertise in drip irrigation. Startups in Bangalore and Hyderabad see Israeli firms as role models. And Indians rightly have high regard for the society that has fostered such impressive innovation.
President Mukherjee believes he is acting prudently when he makes pro-Palestinian declarations in Amman and Ramallah.
Perhaps the time has come for India’s leaders to publicly and unequivocally articulate their support for Israel. Doing so would be a reaffirmation of the values and goals which most Indians hold dearly.
Indian President: ‘Palestine Belongs to Arabs Like England to English’
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, who is scheduled to arrive in Israel on Tuesday for the first-ever visit to the Jewish state by an Indian head of state, said at the University of Jordan in Amman that “Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English and France to the French.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also expected to visit Israel in the coming months, and India has abstained from three United Nations votes on pro-Palestinian resolutions in recent months. But Mukherjee, who was at the Jordanian university to receive an honorary doctorate, said that “India’s traditional support to the Palestinian cause remains steadfast and unwavering while we pursue strong relations with Israel. Our bilateral relations [with Israel] are independent of our relations with Palestine,” according to the Press Trust of India.
“India supports a negotiated solution resulting in a sovereign, independent, viable and united State of Palestine, with east Jerusalem as its capital, living within secure and recognized borders,” Mukherjee said.
Report: Indian, Israeli Elite Units to Hold Joint Military Drill
Israel and India will take their strategic alliance to the next level with a joint military exercise in the near future, Indian English-language newspaper The Pioneer reported last week.
The drill is being organized through a joint working group including officials from the Defense and Foreign ministries and armies of both countries, according to the report, which did not give a date for the scheduled exercise. According to unnamed “sources,” the exercises will involve elite Indian and Israeli special forces.
Though Israel is the third largest weapons-supplier to India, according to the report, the two countries have yet to publicly hold joint military exercises in large part due to domestic Indian political opposition to closer ties with Israel.
The New Israel Fund Supports Groups that Endanger Israel, So Jews Should Stop Giving It Money
Rabbi Arik Ascherman, the head of “Rabbis For Human Rights” (RHR), is mobilizing people to participate in Palestinian provocations against the IDF and Israel. He says he is looking for “volunteers willing to put themselves in dangerous situations.”
Ascherman – who has previously been accused of raising funds for the PLO – is an anti-Israel leader. Yet between 2008 and 2014, the New Israel Fund authorized grants worth $1,206,361 to RHR.
RHR also produced a film in 2013, “Fiddler with no Roof,” comparing Israel’s plan to resettle unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev to the expulsion of Jews by czarist Russia. In 2010, the group accused Israel of “foul and discriminatory policies against Palestinians,” and of “forcing Palestinians to live in a completely separate universe where time has stood still, and prevents them from properly planning their most basic needs and infrastructure.”
The New Israel Fund backs other groups that try to inhibit Israel’s right to self-defense.
On U.S. campuses, students call for intifada
The Israeli people are today confronting a new wave of horrific terrorist attacks. It is a violent campaign against innocent civilians that Times of Israel Editor David Horovitz calls “a stabbing war born of hysterical intolerance.” It is a brand of intolerance that we must not tolerate on American college campuses.
Over the past few days, I have called and messaged many of my Israeli friends to offer support and comfort during this frightening period for the only free and open society in the Middle East. The question on everyone’s mind is: will the current campaign of terror become a third intifada?
For the genocidal terrorists of Hamas, the answer is clear. With a surging number of Israeli men, women, and children bleeding from stab wounds, Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh said “We call for escalating and deepening the intifada…We are proud of you, the heroes of knives.”
To date, two campus chapters of the anti-Israel group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which featured a convicted terrorist at its national conference last weekend, have responded in kind by calling for a violent intifada against Israelis.
“I Love Adolf Hitler”: BDS at South African Universities
The claim that Israel is an apartheid state is especially salient in South Africa. And students who don’t toe the party line often find themselves ostracized—or worse.
Speaking up for Israel is an act of supreme bravery in South Africa these days, particularly if you are a member of the ruling African National Congress. After more than two decades in power, the ANC is becoming discernibly more hostile to Israel with each passing year. The small number of activists inside the movement who have questioned this policy have rapidly become political outcasts.
The deep roots of the ANC’s anti-Israel campaign have made it a natural bedfellow of the cacophonous Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement in South Africa. On December 20, 2012, the ANC adopted the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel as its official policy. A resolution passed by the ANC’s International Solidarity Conference stated, “The ANC is unequivocal in its support for the Palestinian people in their struggle for self-determination, and unapologetic in its view that the Palestinians are the victims and the oppressed in the conflict with Israel.”
Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, national spokesperson for the Economic Freedom Fighters party and one of the leaders of the organization BDS South Africa, hailed the decision as “by far the most authoritative endorsement of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign.”
South Africa Plans To Leave International Criminal Court Says ANC Minister
South Africa plans to leave the International Criminal Court, a deputy minister said on Sunday, as the government faces criticism for ignoring a court order to arrest Sudan’s president earlier this year.
The International Criminal Court has “lost its direction” and the ruling African National Congress (ANC) wants to withdraw South Africa after following certain processes, Obed Bapela, deputy minister in the Presidency, told reporters after a ruling party policy meeting.
Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (pictured above), accused of genocide and war crimes, visited the country in June, but was allowed to leave despite a court order to detain him. The government last week asked the International Criminal Court for more time to explain why it allowed this.
But the ruling party this weekend resolved to leave the International Criminal Court, with Bapela saying powerful nations “trample” human rights and pursue “selfish interests”.
Western Europe's Most Powerful Anti-Zionist
Neither can I shake the thought that the nature of his victory and his new status as leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition will give legitimacy to his brand of anti-Israel and anti-Western politics. The notion that Israel, NATO, or the United States are the root of all evil in the world has always existed in British politics, but it lived where Corbyn lived—on the fringe. Now, supporters of Corbyn, half of whom think the United States is the single greatest threat to world peace, and over a quarter of whom believe a secret elite controls the world, are in control and feel empowered by the ascension of their hero to the pinnacle of the Labour Party.
They are a dogmatic bunch, like Corbyn himself, unbending and unwilling to acknowledge, as Jacobson wrote, that “truth isn’t a carpet not a single thread of which dare be removed without the entire tapestry unraveling.” Their anti-Western ideology “is predicated on the presence of a divine unsmiling artificer at the loom, weaving his single truth over and over again. The oppressor’s wrong, weave weave, the wickedness of the West, weave weave, imperialism, weave weave, and our own responsibility, weave weave, for every act of violence directed against us. The Great Banality Carpet woven on the Great Loom of the Single Thought.”
Jeremy Corbyn hasn’t had an original thought since 1983, and I worry that his Single Thought, which is an unreconstructed hatred of Israel and the West left over from the Cold War and barely warmed through for the age of international terrorism, is about to be imposed on a great institution, the Labour Party, destroying it in the process. Those who, like me, care deeply about British liberal and social democratic values, liberal internationalism and universal human rights, and the place of Zionism on the political Left should start worrying, too.
NY Times Source Slams Article on Temple Mount
Professor Jodi Magness, one of the scholars quoted -- actually misrepresented and exploited -- in The New York Times article last week which outrageously called into question the presence of the biblical temples, an allegation that was subsequently retracted -- slams the article in a letter to the editor yesterday.
Professor Magness writes:
I am one of the specialists interviewed for “Historical Certainty Proves Elusive at Jerusalem’s Holiest Place” (news article, Oct. 9).
The question of the existence and location of two successive temples on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is not nearly as contested as the article suggests.
Literary sources leave little doubt that there were two successive ancient temples in Jerusalem dedicated to the God of Israel (the first destroyed in 586 B.C., and the second in 70 A.D.). These sources and archaeological remains indicate that both temples stood somewhere on the Temple Mount.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Paper Fires Caricaturists; ‘Muslims Doing It Fine By Themselves’ (satire)
A Scandinavian publication known for its irreverent depictions of the prophet Muhammad dismissed its staff of cartoonists today, noting that the behavior of Muslims, especially in the Middle East, provided enough caricature to make their work irrelevant.
The Copenhagen-based Tajkinder Pissposten trafficked in images many Muslims found offensive, both because depictions of the prophet are taboo in Islam and because the images often mocked and stereotyped adherents of Islam. However, publisher Lars Leeder told reporters this afternoon that over the last year and a half, there has been nothing to add to the news, and he has been forced to lay off three of the publication’s caricaturists.
“I regret having to make this move, but given the cartoonish behavior of so many Muslims, there appears to be no function left for a caricaturist to serve, and, with a heavy heart, we are forced to terminate the contracts of three otherwise outstanding artists,” he said.
Peer Ovbals, Sofa Kitall, and Leif Sabicz’s work had graced page two of Tajkinder Pissposten’s Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday editions for nearly ten years, each one devoted to lampooning a different aspect of political Islam and its adherents. The local nature of the paper kept the cartoons mostly under the radar, and none of the three were among those whose work sparked riots and violence in the Muslim world when various cartoon images of Muhammad were published by European papers in 2007. But the increasingly absurd pronouncements and actions of, for example, Palestinians, drove home to Leeder the redundancy of keeping people on staff who would simply have to reproduce some of the day’s straight news to get the same effect.
Jewish Austrian Historian Stephan Templ Says Prison Authorities Denying Him Kosher Food
Austrian historian and writer Stephan Templ said his prison guards denied him kosher food and demanded that he prove his Jewishness during the first week of his one-year prison sentence.
Templ told the Austrian Kurier newspaper that on top of being denied the foods appropriate to a kosher diet, he had to contact his girlfriend to provide proof from the organized Jewish Community in Vienna as to his Jewish identity.
According to the English-language Local press, Austrian prison law dictates that the Jewish Community in Vienna must officially recognize all Jewish prisoners as members in order for their religious identity to be accepted by the authorities. Templ, whose main residence is Prague, had not provided that official recognition.
The Austrian writer began a one-year sentence on Monday over charges that he defrauded the state in a property restitution application, in which he failed to include an estranged relative. Not ironically, Templ has written extensively about the Austrian appropriation of Jewish property during and after Nazi occupation in World War II; he has called his punishment “completely absurd.”
Muslim vendor was target of NYC attack, not yeshiva students
A firebomb believed to have been thrown at two Israeli yeshiva students in New York City was actually aimed at a Muslim food truck vendor, police said.
The students, both 19, were walking in Midtown Manhattan on Friday when a still-unidentified assailant threw a bottle filled with combustible liquid that landed in front of them.
New York Police Department spokesman Lee Jones told the Gothamist blog on Monday that the Israeli students were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that the real target was the vendor, Saleh Hegazy, who had argued with someone who came back to attack him.
“It looks like an individual got into some sort of dispute with a manager at a food cart storage facility, came back and threw a bottle containing a combustible substance,” Jones said.
Ben Carson, Jews and Guns, and a Media Firestorm
The explosive controversy over Ben Carson’s remarks about Jews, guns, and the Holocaust illustrates a new low in media spin. Carson is a Republican presidential nomination frontrunner, and the legacy press needs to undermine his credibility. Therefore, the controversy is not remotely about what Carson actually said, but about what the media says he said.
Contrary to the way Carson’s remarks are being reconstructed, he never said that if Jews owned guns, there would not have been a Holocaust. He said that if Jews owned guns, the Holocaust would have been different. Is there any doubt it would have been?
Predictably, the most vicious attack on Carson comes from The Forward, where Carson is depicted as some sort of dangerous crazy whose remarks are offensive beyond measure to Jews.
The Forward goes so far as to reinterpret the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, one of the most courageous of the Jewish struggles against the Nazis, as an act of futility: “In the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, for example, armed Jews killed roughly two dozen Nazis. The Nazis, during the same uprising, killed 13,000 Jews.”
Seldom has an act of courage been so viciously corrupted as insignificant and meaningless. Worse, it is a false and incomplete characterization. The Warsaw Ghetto uprising had only about 750 active fighters. They were poorly armed. They held out for nearly a month against one of the world’s best-trained and best-equipped fighting forces. It is utterly irrelevant to argue that the Nazis killed 13,000 Jews during this period. They would have killed them anyway and at a faster rate.
In Germany, a Turkish Muslim educates immigrants not to hate Jews
Dervis Hizarci is a practicing Muslim, a German citizen of Turkish origin, and a guide in Berlin’s Jewish Museum. His services aren’t available to just anyone: Hizarci’s job is to guide teenagers from the surrounding Kreuzberg neighborhood, one of Berlin’s main migrant districts. Today, his visitors are a class of mostly Muslim students from a nearby high school.
Hizarci begins the tour with a question: How long does German-Jewish history span? For reference, he adds that Turkish-German history is about 50 years old. A student volunteers: 350 years? Hizarci tells them the answer: 2,000 years.
Next, he talks about another number: six million Jews killed in the Holocaust. To give the students a sense of scale, he adds that today there are around three million people of Turkish origin living in Germany. The teens seem surprised and moved.
Fostering these kinds of conversations is the mission of the Kreuzberg Initiative Against Anti-Semitism, whose German acronym is “Kiga.” The nonprofit fights prejudice among migrant teens, many of them Muslim. It has been awarded prizes by Germany’s Jewish Community and the Anti-Defamation League, but despite the plaudits, it remains virtually the only organization doing this type of work in Germany.
WATEC gets underway
The bi-annual Water Technology and Environment Control (WATEC) exhibition and conference gets underway in Tel Aviv today, with global participants looking to Israeli water experts for new solutions and technologies.
The October 13-15 convention is a gathering of Israeli and international business executives, water utility engineers, political decision-makers and leading researchers all intent on overcoming the world`s water and ecological concerns.
The WATEC exhibition, taking place at the Tel Aviv Convention Center, is a showcase of state-of-the-art Israeli technological innovations in the fields of water and environmental control.
Israel’s space industry get a boost from Ilan Ramon’s memory
Israel has in recent years become a substantial space power – manufacturing and launching communication and defense satellites, researching deep space phenomena, and even developing technology to help the UN keep track of abandoned spacecraft and space debris.
And while Israeli universities, as well as the IDF and the tech industry, have developed many technologies that are at the forefront of space research today, it took a little push from an organization dedicated to the memory of Israel’s first astronaut to develop the talent that has given Israel the skills and tools it needs to reach for the heavens, according to space entrepreneur pioneer Michael Potter.
In Israel for this week’s 66th Annual International Astronautical Congress (IAC), Potter said that the Ilan Ramon Scholarship Project, a nonprofit organization he heads, is an unsung hero of the Israeli space effort.
“SpaceIL, the Israeli group that hopes to reach the moon with an unmanned lunar lander in the Google LunarX contest, was started by, among others Jonathan Weintraub, who was a fellow at Space University, on a scholarship provided by the Project,” said Potter. “That year, the University was held in California, and Weintraub got to know Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which is seeking to commercialize space travel and got a $900 million investment from Google earlier this year. Inspired, Weintraub started SpaceIL.”
Report: No Dent in Israeli Tourism in September Despite Beginnings of Violence
Leaders and key business people in Israeli tourism optimistically reported few cancellations resulting from the pervasive terrorist attacks across Israel over the past several weeks.
According to Israeli financial newspaper Globes, key leaders in tourism reported September figures in line with the 2012-2013 period, adding that the current situation did not reflect the media perception of a precipitous violent Palestinian uprising.
In fact, according to Israel’s Central Bureau for Statistics, some 225,000 tourists entered Israel in September, 25% more than last year and 6% more than in 2013. Of course, figures last year were likely skewed by the intense 50-day conflict last summer between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, which saw tourism to the Jewish state plummet.
Still, the Tourism Ministry decided to take some concrete measures to ensure business as usual, such as incentivizing tour guides to provide free tours of popular Israeli sites, boosting overseas advertising and promoting hosting decision-makers to come to Israel from abroad.
The Christian choir that didn’t cancel
The show must always go on, according to the Singing Men from Georgia, despite an ongoing wave of terror events in Jerusalem and other Israeli cities.
On Sunday night, 150 choral singers from the American group gathered onstage at the Tower of David Museum, dressed in black tuxedos for a concert titled “Bringing Hope to the Peoples of the Holy Land.”
The 80-minute choral and orchestral program was conducted by Dr. Jon Duncan, a minister and music worship specialist among the Georgia Baptists who helps strengthen churches in music and worship, and directs the Sons of Jubal choir, which formed the core of the performance group.
The choir is currently in Israel for a nine-day tour.
The audience at the concert included more than 100 guests from the southern state, as well as guests from local churches in Israel, according to Caroline Shapiro, head of international relations at the museum.
The Singing Men from Georgia “managed to cover the Tower of David in a special layer of magic,” said Shapiro, “making it feel, despite the situation outside, as if Christmas had come early in Jerusalem.”

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