Thursday, October 29, 2015

From Ian:

Pope says denying Israel’s right to exist is anti-Semitism
Pope Francis marked the 50th anniversary of the turning point in the Catholic Church’s relations with Jews on Wednesday with a sharp condemnation of anti-Semitism, saying attacks on Israel’s right to exist were a form of hatred.
“To attack Jews is anti-Semitism, but an outright attack on the State of Israel is also anti-Semitism,” Francis told a delegation from the World Jewish Congress (WJC). “There may be political disagreements between governments and on political issues, but the State of Israel has every right to exist in safety and prosperity.”
Francis called for greater interfaith collaboration in the face of religious extremism. He devoted his usual Wednesday general audience to explaining to the Catholic faithful in St. Peter’s Square the importance of the “Nostra Aetate,” or “In Our Time” declaration, which revolutionized the church’s relations in particular with Jews.
The statement was one of the most important documents to emerge from the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 meetings that brought the church into the modern world. It said Christ’s death could not be attributed to Jews as a whole, recognized the shared spiritual patrimony between Christians and Jews and decried all forms of anti-Semitism.
Netanyahu to Address Liberal Center for American Progress
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to speak next week at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank that has previously come under fire for its anti-Israel slant.
Netanyahu will address the group on Nov. 10, during his trip to the United States to meet with President Obama, the Huffington Post reported on Tuesday. News of the speech was first reported by Jewish Insider.
Several bloggers affiliated with CAP were accused of promoting anti-Semitic or anti-Israel tropes on social media in 2011 by using the term “Israel firster” and by suggesting that American supporters of Israel had dual loyalty to the Jewish state.
The Center for American Progress Action Fund’s ThinkProgress was also criticized for demonizing Israel.
The think tank initially defended the staffers, but quickly cut ties with one of the bloggers, Zaid Jilani. Others have since left.
Sources said Netanyahu was encouraged by Hillary Clinton donors to speak at a liberal think tank for “political balance,” since he is also keynoting the conservative American Enterprise Institute’s annual dinner next week. The prime minister’s office initially approached CAP, which was founded by Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta, to set up an event.
Netanyahu’s decision was met with mild surprise in pro-Israel circles. However, it was also seen as an example of his willingness to speak to a diverse array of audiences. (h/t Alexi)
Harry Potter on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
“It’s the story of the recent events in Israel told through the story of the Harry Potter movies,” explains Rachel Lester, who made a viral video clip featuring Harry Potter confronting the existential threats faced by the Jewish State.
“My goal is to make the following issues more relatable to an audience who might not know much about the Middle East conflict: (a) Hamas as a terrorist organization, (b) the biased reactions of world leaders and the media, and (c) the danger that the recently-passed Iran deal poses to Israel and the world.”
The video comes days after Harry Potter author JK Rowling — whose “Harry Potter” books sold 400 million copies and were adapted into the second-highest grossing film series of all time — used Albus Dumbledore, a headmaster of Hogwarts wizarding school in the series, to make a moral point about the need for dialogue and cultural engagement with Israel.




The War Against the Jewish Trees
You might think that the obstacles to peace are the rockets from Gaza and the brutal murders of Jews.
You might be foolish enough to think that the obstacles are the ordinary Muslims who taunted and beat Adelle Banita-Bennett, suddenly widowed at 22, trying to escape the Muslim terrorist who had just murdered her husband.
You might think that it’s the fact that a majority of Muslims in ’67 Israel spit on the Two-State Solution and that PLO boss Abbas rejected the Oslo Accords in a speech at the United Nations.
And you would be wrong.
None of those things are obstacles to peace. If they were, surely the media would have told us so.
The real threats are the fig, palm and carob trees around a hiking path near Jerusalem. The true threat to peace comes from the pine trees that shade the kids playing in the water in a Ma'ale Adumim park.
The pine tree, you see, is a Jewish tree.
As anti-Israel activist Michael Davis accuses, “This foreign tree displaced the olive trees of the indigenous population.” The “indigenous” population he mentions were the Muslim conquerors while the “foreigners” are the Jewish indigenous population who were planting the “foreign” Jerusalem pine trees that are mentioned in the Bible by that notorious foreigner, the Prophet Isaiah. (h/t NormanF)
Dennis Ross: US must move from distance to detente with Israel
Interview - 'If you want the Palestinians to have the responsibility of a state, you have to hold them responsible'
Veteran United States diplomat Dennis Ross claims there is one consistent argument within presidential administrations, from Harry Truman to Barack Obama.
“There is a remarkable continuity over the concern that too close a relationship with Israel will harm US ties with the Arabs, so there is always a constituency in each administration that feels the US needs to create distance with Israel to gain responsiveness from the Arab world,” said Ross, who most recently worked in the Obama administration as an adviser on the Middle East.
That historical perspective sits at the core of Ross’s new book, “Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama,” which provides a history of the relationship, deconstructing each administration’s policies on the Jewish state.
The most comprehensive and lively chapters are about the administrations in which Ross worked, most notably, that of President Barack Obama. Ross, a religious Jew, gives a personal account of the fissures within Obama’s inner circle and the debates over how to manage the US relationship with Israel.
Jennifer Rubin: Dennis Ross: Critics were right about Obama, Iran and Israel
Remember that the president says the deal blocks Iran’s pathway to the bomb. No, says Ross: “One of my main concerns is what happens after year 15, when they basically can have as large a program as they want, and the gap between threshold status and weapon status becomes very small.” Well, at least the deal staved off trouble for the time being. Er, not exactly: “The more you make it clear that for any misbehavior they pay a price, and it’s the kind of price that matters to them, the more likely they are to realize the firewall is real, and the less likely they are to ever test it.” But the deal does not do that; to the contrary, it prevents graduated sanctions since imposition of any sanctions frees Iran from the deal. Sure, but Iran’s behavior in the meantime shows that it won’t exploit the deal and pursue its own religious zealotry. Not at all: “We’re already seeing them ratchet it up in Syria. Everyone is focusing on what the Russians are doing, but Iran is adding significant numbers of Revolutionary Guard forces to the ground, it’s not just Hezbollah forces. I think this is a harbinger of things to come.”
Too bad then that Ross did not unequivocally oppose the deal and urge Democrats to do the same. Now he is willing to admit it virtually guarantees that Iran will get a bomb; it has not specified means for imposing penalties without overthrowing the deal; and Iran’s behavior is worse than ever. That seems to be exactly what critics of the deal have said all along.
Ross also confirms Obama critics’ accusation that Obama is reflexively partial to the Palestinians. “It tends to look at Israel through a lens that is more competitive, more combative, that sees Israel more in problematic terms,” he explains. He adds that since Obama “looks at the Palestinians as being weak, there is this reluctance to criticize them. ‘They’re too weak to criticize’ is what I say in the Obama chapter. And if they are too weak to criticize, they are too weak to be held accountable, too weak to be responsible. They’re too weak to have a state. Well, if you want the Palestinians to have the responsibility of a state, you have to hold them responsible.” In perhaps the most damning portion of his interview, Ross lets on that Obama’s contrarianism toward the George W. Bush administration represented a deliberate attempt to alienate Israel:
Elliott Abrams: If you love Israel, don’t boycott it
We love Israel. We love it more than we love other nations. That’s why we must do all we can to destroy its economy.
That is the message of the bizarre Oct. 25 Sunday Opinion column by professors Steven Levitsky and Glen Weyl. Their argument is simple: Israel’s “occupation” of the West Bank and Gaza is now “permanent,” unless sufficient economic damage is done to force Israel to change course.
What’s missing here? Two things: history and Palestinians.
History reveals two recent attempts by Israeli leaders to negotiate a comprehensive peace with the Palestinians — by prime ministers Ehud Barak in 2000 and Ehud Olmert in 2008 — which were rejected by Palestine Liberation Organization leaders Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas. Of this, Levitsky and Weyl say nothing. They also do not mention Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, seeming to regard it as “occupied” even though not a single Israeli soldier or civilian lives there.
Instead, they simply claim that “domestic movements” in Israel to avoid “making the occupation permanent” have “withered.” Now, it is obvious that the Israeli left, and the “peace movement” there, have been weakened. Why might that be? The professors, self-styled “progressives,” tell us it is “thanks to an economic boom and the temporary security provided by the West Bank barrier and the Iron Dome missile defense system.” This shows a deep lack of understanding of Israel and Israelis, for the “peace movement” has “withered,” all right — but for a very different reason.
This reason is the conduct of Palestinians, a factor that is almost entirely absent from the professors’ account. This is remarkable. The Palestinian refusal of negotiations is not mentioned. The waves of terror — from Arafat’s intifadas to today’s stabbings — are barely mentioned. The only mention of the Palestinians’ rationale is this: “the occupation itself . . . crucially, remains the principal motive behind Palestinian violence.”
‘Unify Syria, Divide Israel’ Says Kerry in Major Middle East Policy Address
SYRIA MUST BE UNITED; ISRAEL MUST BE DIVIDED
In contrast to Kerry’s insistence that Syria – a factionalized country with various warring ethnic groups none of which want to be controlled by the other – be united, Kerry’s diktat for Israel is the opposite.
Although Israel has gained territory repeatedly as the result of wars waged against it by belligerent outsiders, and which since the fall of the Ottoman Empire has never been ruled by any other nations, the U.S. demands that Israel must be divided.
STATUS QUO ON TEMPLE MOUNT GOOD; STATUS QUO IN ISRAEL BAD
And Kerry continued to insist that the status quo must be maintained on the Temple Mount – a status quo which prevents Jews from moving their lips lest they be deemed praying – but the status quo in which Israel does its best to defend its citizens must be terminated.
When not pointedly referring to Har Habayit, Kerry insisted that “the current situation is simply not sustainable. President Obama has said it publicly many times, I’ve said it publicly and it is absolutely vital for Israel to take steps that empower Palestinian leaders to improve economic opportunities and the quality of life for their people on a day to day basis.”
Really? Israel has to empower the leaders of the terrorists so that economic opportunities and their quality of life is improved? The PA, one of the single largest recipients of international aid ever?
Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Day Is Ultimate Proof of Israel’s Desire for Peace
The fact that the Israeli people view him as a hero illustrates the true intentions of the Israeli people — to strive towards peace. Even in this tense time in Israel, Rabin is praised with fervor. Because he is the embodiment of the peace process in Israel, the obvious inference is that the peace process itself is praised with fervor even during times of war.
There is no need to wonder what sort of events a future Palestinian state might memorialize, when the current Palestinian Authority president says, “Every drop of blood that has been spilled in Jerusalem is holy blood as long as it was for Allah.”
While the current attacks in Israel are indeed a threat to the Jewish people, as we commemorate Rabin’s assassination at the hands of a Jew, we are also reminded that our biggest challenge comes from within ourselves. All Israelis with whom I’ve talked, from the left to the right, regard Rabin as a hero. Even though they might not have agreed with his politics, they respect the peace process and acknowledge that getting there is just that — a process.
Why Netanyahu won’t approve a Palestinian state
An important element of his somber weltanschauung, or world view, is the conviction that peace has been elusive due to the Palestinian refusal to accept a Jewish state. The demand that follows — that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people — overrides all other concerns. No demographic threat, no international pressure, no boycott movement and no UN Security Council resolution, Netanyahu has made clear over the years, will get him to let go of what he deems a key precondition of any peace agreement.
At his speech earlier this month to the Zionist Congress, which made headlines due to his assertion of the mufti’s influence on Hitler, Netanyahu once again laid out what he sees as the main reason for the stalemate. The Palestinians “don’t want a state to end the conflict because they want a state to continue the conflict and eradicate the Jewish state,” he declared. “This is what this conflict has always been about.”
The Palestinians not only refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish nation-state, they are “unwilling to end once and for all the conflict,” he elaborated in the Knesset Monday. They are not prepared to abandon their dream of a “return” to Acre, Haifa, Jaffa and other cities within Israel, he added. “They are not willing to give up the dream of a Palestinian state — not alongside Israel, but in its place. They still teach their children to hate Jews, to see Israel as a colonialist, imperialist entity — the source of all evil.”
The creation of a Palestinian state, he argued, is thus nothing but another ploy to destroy Israel. Add to this Netanyahu’s security considerations, which rule out an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank as long as the Middle East remains a dangerous neighborhood, and you reach the conclusion that this prime minister will never sign off on an agreement establishing a Palestinian state.
Danon on UNHRC election: UN absurdity knows no limits
Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon criticized the election of Venezuela as a member of the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday.
“The absurdity at the UN knows no limits – Venezuela is the biggest ally of Iran and North Korea,” he said.
The UN General Assembly voted to elect 18 new members to the council. A hundred and thirty-one states voted in favor of electing Venezuela as a member.
“We must remember this day the next time the UN condemns Israel,” Danon said. “When a country like Venezuela, which suppresses its own people, forbids freedom of the press and detains members of the opposition, becomes a member of the Human Rights Council, it comes as no surprise that this council condemns Israel more than any other country in the world.”
The ambassador also said that “the only connection between these countries and human rights is how much they excel at violating them.”
Watchdog says new UNHRC members are human rights abusers
But UN Watch also singled out the United Arab Emirates, Burundi, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Kyrgyzstan and Togo as new members whose human rights records raises serious questions as to the council’s legitimacy.
According to a report compiled by UN Watch along with two other groups, the Human Rights Foundation and the Lantos Foundation, the seven countries have committed various rights violations including limitations on freedom of speech, religion, press and the right to due process. Some have been accused of government corruption, discrimination against women and enabling child labor.
“It’s a black day for human rights,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.
“The election of even more rights abusing regimes — on a body that already counts China, Russia, Cuba and Saudi Arabia as members — marks another severe blow to the credibility and efficacy of” the UNHRC, he said.
UN warns of looming Israel-Arab 'catastrophe'
The United Nations warned Wednesday that a deadly surge in violence between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs was headed toward "catastrophe," just as new Arab terror attacks took place in Judea and Samaria.
An Israeli woman was stabbed and moderately wounded in one such attack in Gush Etzion, while a terrorist attempted to stab an Israeli soldier before being shot dead in Hevron in another.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein [Jordan] said the latest flare-up in violence in the decades-old conflict was "dangerous in the extreme."
"The violence between Palestinians and the Israelis will draw us ever closer to a catastrophe if not stopped immediately," he said during a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
World leaders are calling to revive moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that last collapsed in April 2014 - when the Palestinian Authority (PA) signed a unity deal with Hamas - to avoid a deeper slide into violence that many fear marks a third intifada terror war.
Israel shoots down New Zealand resolution for peace talks
National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen reportedly clarified to New Zealand's envoy, Jonathan Curr, in blunt terms that any diplomatic effort to force negotiations with the Palestinian Authority would not be countenanced by Israel.
The thrashing, according to Channel 2, comes after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced he had never received an official request from New Zealand on the resolution, adding that Jerusalem was unwilling to accept it anyway.
The Foreign Ministry has in turn instructed its ambassador to New Zealand to relay the message to Wellington, wherewith Israel sees no point in even entertaining a discussion on the matter.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Iran's New Palestinian Terror Group: Al-Sabireen
The Iranians are also believed to have supplied their new terrorist group in the Gaza Strip with Grad and Fajr missiles that are capable of reaching Tel Aviv.
The leader of Al-Sabireen, Hisham Salem, is a former commander of Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. His activities and rhetoric have worried many in Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, who fear that his group is beginning to attract many of their followers.
Many Palestinians and Arabs in the region are already voicing concern. The last thing Abbas, Egypt's President Sisi and Jordan's King Abdullah need is another Iranian terror group such as Hezbollah in the Middle East.
It now remains to be seen whether the Obama Administration and other Western powers will wake up and realize that the Iranians are continuing to fool them, not only regarding Tehran's nuclear program, but also concerning its territorial ambitions in the Middle East.
Unless the U.S. and Western powers realize that Iran remains a major threat to world peace, Al-Sabireen and other terrorist groups will one day manage to establish a UN-recognized Palestinian state that would pose an existential threat to Israel and destabilize the entire Middle East.
U.N. Human Rights Report Highlights Executions, Floggings, Amputations in Iran
The latest report issued by Ahmed Shaheed, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, highlights a variety of harsh punishments meted out by the Iranian regime, including executions, floggings, amputations, and even blinding, Benjamin Weinthal, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, reported for Fox News on Tuesday.
More than 480 persons were flogged during the first 15 days of Ramadan for not fasting, and two people convicted of theft had limbs amputated just weeks before the U.S. and other world powers announced a nuclear agreement with Tehran, wrote Ahmed Shaheed, the UN’s special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, in a 26-page report. “The Government maintains that only three individuals were subject to this punishment for their non-observance of the fasting practice.”
In another case highlighted in the report, the left eye and right ear of man identified only as “Hamid S.” were removed surgically. He had been found guilty of attacking another man with acid, resulting in the loss of the man’s eye and ear. Iran forcibly blinded another man in March as part of its “retribution-in-kind” punishment. The man was with charged tossing acid on another man in 2009.
Iran Accuses US of Creating Major Terror Groups Including Taliban, ISIS and Al-Qaeda
Iran has accused the United States of sponsoring some of the world’s most barbaric terror groups, the country’s semi-official state news agency Fars reported on Tuesday.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham alleged that the US, “accompanied by different countries like Saudi Arabia and others, … created Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Jabhat al-Nusra, ISIS and other terrorist groups and have the record of the largest support for terrorism.”
Afkham called it “ironic” for the US and its allies to form anti-terror coalitions, yet “continue their financial and logistical support for the terrorist groups.”
Iran to be invited to next round of talks on Syria: U.S. official
Iran will be invited to participate in talks in Vienna on Friday to discuss ending the conflict in Syria, a dialogue aimed at finding a framework for political transition in Damascus, the U.S. State Department said on Tuesday.
An official in the region, however, told Reuters that Iran had already been invited by the United States and Russia, and Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian would attend the talks, while the presence of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was still under discussion.
Zarif and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held a phone call earlier on Tuesday to discuss ways to resolve the Syrian crisis, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Iran Violating UN Embargo By Shipping Weapons To Syria Via Russia
Fox News is reporting Wednesday that Russia is helping Iran ship weapons into Syria, a violation of the arms embargo established by two United Nations Security Council resolutions.
Twice a day for the past ten days, Russian cargo planes have transported weapons into the Russian air base at Latakia, Syria via unregistered civilian flights.
According to the Fox News report, Iranian General Qassem Soulimeini, head of the Al-Quds force, Vladimir Putin, and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu are coordinating the air lift. Iranian airline Mahan Air is also flying military personnel from Tehran into Syria multiple times a day.
Nearly 600 killed in Russian strikes in Syria, says monitor
Nearly 600 people have been killed in Russian airstrikes in Syria nearly a month into Moscow’s campaign, two-thirds of them opposition fighters, a Syrian monitor said on Thursday.
A total of 595 people have been killed in Russian strikes since September 30, two-thirds of them fighters with opposition forces, including the jihadist Islamic State group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The other third, some 185 people, were civilians, including 48 children, the Britain-based NGO said.
Hezbollah supporters, commanders questioning militia’s role in Syria, say analysts
A surge in casualties and a lack of a clear regional policy are driving Hezbollah supporters and senior members to raise questions about the Shi’ite Lebanese group’s role in Syria where it is fighting rebels trying to topple the government of President Bashar Al-Assad, according to analysts and experts familiar with the inner circle of the militia.
Ali Al-Amin, a Lebanese political analyst and researcher, spoke of “major objections within the group over its performance in Syria” after it recently suffered great losses in lives at the hands of Syrian rebel groups.
The latest such episode came Monday when the Iran-affiliated group announced the deaths of eight fighters who fell during battles in Syria.
The growing state of restlessness with the “absence of prospects for victory [in Syria]” has exceeded the Lebanese group’s support base to its leadership, according to Amin.
“The debate has moved to the inner circle of the group represented by its jihad council, with voices starting to question how after all the sacrifices they made in Syria, the Russians came and took all of their achievements,” Amin said.
Israeli envoy to Chile says local Palestinians threaten Jews with violence
Israel's top diplomat in Chile is accusing the local Palestinian community of trying to muzzle hasbara efforts by making threats of physical violence against Jews.
Tensions between the Jewish and Arab communities of Chile are on the rise Thursday after the organization representing Palestinian expats officially demanded that the government declare Israel's ambassador to Santiago persona non grata.
The Federacion Palestina de Chile submitted a request to the Chilean Foreign Ministry demanding that Rafi Eldad, Jerusalem's ambassador to Santiago, be officially shunned by the government.
Local Palestinians said that Eldad's accusations of incitement to violence were "slanderous" and that they hindered their ability "to defend the Palestinian people."
Chile is home to the largest community of transplanted Palestinians whose population is estimated at 300,000 people. In recent years, relations between local Palestinians and Jews have become fraught, particularly during times of crisis.
Student Report: A Professor's Passion for Palestine
Stephanie Plotkin is a senior at Grand Valley State University in Michigan,where a professor gave her an eye-opening education in student indoctrination. The following is Stephanie's account, which she shared exclusively with the Horowitz Freedom Center.
My eyes followed my professor up and down the aisles as he passed out the flyers, flashes of sunlight reflecting off them. I almost held my breath as he weaved his way toward me. I could feel my heart race in my throat.
“You are required to attend this lecture. You do not have to agree with what Ms. Barrows-Friedman is saying, but you need to write a paper and include a summary of the content of the lecture. Then please include what you knew about the conflict before you attended, and then how you feel once you have heard what she has to say.”
I couldn’t believe what Professor Alvarez was saying. We had to attend? Attendance was mandatory? Finally the flyer reached me. I skimmed the contents, trying to hide my disdain from the other students. “In Our Power,” the title read. “U.S. Students Organize For Justice In Palestine.” The flyer depicted a woman wearing a hijab, with one fist in the air and her other holding a microphone. Two students were facing her, one wearing a tiny pin with the initials BDS imprinted on it. Underneath the drawing, there was a photo of Nora Barrows-Friedman, with a bio, and then to the left was a column that ran the length of the flyer titled, “HCC, Healing Children of Conflict.” Something inside me made me take a picture. I had no idea why, but I wanted to show my mother what I was “required” to attend. I didn’t feel good about this at all, even though I didn’t understand what The Electronic Intifada was, or what this all really meant.
France Outlaws BDS Anti-Semitism
The highest court in France this week upheld the criminal conviction of 12 political activists for the crime of advocating sanctions and a boycott against Israel.
“BDS is illegal in France,” announced Pascal Markowicz, head attorney for CRIF, the umbrella organization for Jewish communities in France. Any actions to promote the movement, he added, “are completely illegal. If [BDS activists] say their freedom of expression has been violated, now the highest legal instance in France has ruled otherwise.”
The group was arrested for distributing anti-Israel material in a supermarket under the French law on Freedom of the Press.
Twelve activists wearing shirts that bore the words, “Long live Palestine, Boycott Israel” entered the store and began passing out flyers from the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement.
The flyers said: “buying Israeli products means legitimizing crimes in Gaza.”
The law imposes a prison term and/or fine of up to $50,000 for those who “provoke discrimination, hatred or violence toward a person or group of people on grounds of their origin, their belonging or their not belonging to an ethnic group, a nation, a race or a certain religion.”
The court ruled that BDS is inherently discriminatory and thus outlawed its promotion.
US Upholds Stance That Kuwait Airways Discriminates Against Israelis
The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has rejected arguments by Kuwait Airways that attempted to rationalize the Arab airline’s denial of tickets to Israeli passengers. Further, DOT said the American government now has “no choice but to pursue further administrative and/or judicial action” if the airline continues its discriminatory policy.
In a letter dated Oct. 22, DOT rebutted an Oct. 13 Kuwait Airways letter that defended the airline’s denial of a ticket to Israeli citizen Eldad Gatt from New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to London Heathrow Airport (LHR).
“You assert that the Department’s [Sept. 30] decision [that Kuwait Airways discriminates against Israelis] is inconsistent with legal precedent, and that KAC (Kuwait Airways Company) cannot comply with the mandate to sell tickets to and transport Israeli citizens between the U.S. and any third country where they are allowed to disembark….Your October 13 letter adds no new information or arguments that persuade us to change our determination. Accordingly, we see no reason to reconsider this matter,” DOT wrote.
Landing in Tel Aviv, Iberia pilot says ‘Welcome to Palestine’
Israeli passengers on an Israel-bound Iberia flight were astonished late Wednesday when the captain announced near the end of the flight that he was preparing to land the plane “in Palestine.”
During the flight from Madrid by Spain’s national carrier, the pilot announced in Spanish that he was preparing to land “in Tel Aviv, in Palestine.” In English, he subsequently said he was preparing to land “in Tel Aviv,” and did not repeat the “Palestine” comment; neither did he say “Israel.”
Lior, a passenger on the flight, told Channel 2 news that he was “a little bit shocked.”
“I don’t understand why he said this,” said Lior. “We live in the State of Israel and he should have said ‘Israel.’ There was a reason he didn’t say it in English. It was deliberate.”
American Anthropological Association facing self-destructive BDS resolution
Such a resolution by AAA would be deemed a violation of academic freedom by the American Association of University Professors.
If passed, the resolution would be highly symbolic, because until now the AAA has been a respected academic group. AAA would be the largest such professional organization to pass a boycott resolution.
It may be coincidence, but it certainly is relevant, that the boycott resolution comes in the midst of the “Knife Intifada,” in which Israelis are being stabbed in the neck and elsewhere on a daily basis, and there is widespread incitement to kill Jews for being Jews. A biased, one-sided resolution necessarily will be viewed as advancing this incitement.
It also will raise the stakes, and there likely will be even stronger academic community pushback than faced the American Studies Association — in whose case over 250 university presidents and multiple academic associations rejected the boycott. The NY Times called the ASA a “pariah” after its boycott resolution.
An AAA resolution also likely will trigger another round of political pushback, more intense than the ASA faced.
In conjunction with the release of the Resolution text, the anti-Israel “Jewish Voice for Peace” issued a statement backing the boycott resolution. JVP’s involvement shows that this is part of broader political agenda, far beyond that reflected in the Report text.
Jewish Human Rights Organization Calls on New Yorkers to Shun Roger Waters Concert; Theater Offers Refunds
The SWC statement stressed that BDS has “never helped a single Palestinian,” and only aims “to demonize and denigrate the lone democracy in the Middle East,” noting that Israelis across the political spectrum have condemned Waters’ support for the boycott movement.
SWC Government Affairs Director Mark Weitzman added that Waters’ commitment to freedom of expression is mired in hypocrisy, since he considers it a “crime” to perform in ethnically and religiously mixed crowds in the Jewish state and opposes “anyone who wants to share their talents with the people of Israel.”
The SWC, therefore, called on New Yorkers “to give Roger Waters the reception he deserves: an empty hall.”
According to the Southampton Patch On Wednesday, the Bay Street Theater announced that anyone who wishes to boycott his sold-out performance will be given a refund.
Bay Street Executive Director Tracy Mitchell told 27east, a site calling itself “Your connection to the Hamptions, that the theater is “committed to the right to free speech but also respects the rights of others who are offended by Mr. Waters’s scheduled show.”
Arab-Americans continue anti-IDF costume crusade
US retail giant Walmart already conceded to criticism of supporting the "occupation" by withdrawing an IDF soldier Halloween costume from its site, but Arab-American groups are continuing their offensive against the holiday outfit.
The costumes are still being advertised Wednesday by other retailers, including Amazon and eBay. In response, Arab and Muslim groups in America are now pressing to demand their immediate withdrawal from all outlets.
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) welcomed Walmart's decision to withdraw the costumes and joined other pressure groups in calling on other retailers to follow suit.
"The costumes are very problematic and offensive to many people," said ADC president Samer Khalaf. "Such a symbol of fear, violence and a long history of dispossession should not be used for entertainment purposes."
Vandals Spray Swastikas on Set of Israeli Film in Poland
An Israeli film crew that arrived in Lodz, Poland, to begin shooting director Avi Nesher’s movie The Sins found the set defaced by swastikas, Israel Hayom reported.
Nesher, whose films have won multiple awards in Israel and international acclaim, said that the day before his crew arrived, the crew of another movie had been involved in an incident with local residents.
“When the residents were informed that the next day an Israeli film would begin shooting, [their behavior] crossed over into violent antisemitism, what they called an ‘intifada,’” Nesher said.
In light of the antisemitic threats, Polish police decided to ramp up security on and around the set, and assign the actors bodyguards.
Vandals daub swastika on Berlin memorial to Nazis’ Roma victims
Authorities say that a large swastika and the word “vergasen,” or “to gas,” were found daubed at Germany’s memorial to the hundreds of thousands of Roma who were killed by the Nazis.
The foundation that oversees the memorial and others in Berlin commemorating Holocaust victims said Thursday that the vandalism was discovered at the entrance to the site on October 16 and removed. It said it has stepped up security at the memorial, which is located in the Tiergarten park close to the Reichstag parliament building, and that police are investigating.
The memorial, with a water-filled basin at its center, was inaugurated three years ago.
Germany opened the long-awaited memorial in 2012. Designed by Israeli artist Dani Karavan, it features a water-filled basin with a retractable, triangle-shaped column at its center that is topped by a fresh flower every day.
Tunisian Singer Causes Outcry After Offering to Perform, Possibly Live in Israel
A popular Tunisian singer sparked outrage in his home country after announcing his willingness to perform in Israel and expressing a preference for life in the Jewish state, the Arabic language newspaper al-Araby al-Jadeed reported on Tuesday.
Hedi Tounsi told a radio interviewer that he would now be willing to sing for Radio Tel Aviv, in spite of having turned down past opportunities to do so. He said he is motivated by his “financial future,” because, he claimed, Israel respects art more than Tunisia does. The singer then went a step further, according to the report, saying he would prefer to live in Israel, and is willing to forfeit his Tunisian citizenship.
Tunisians condemned Tounsi’s remarks on various social media networks and accused the singer of unacceptable and humiliating normalization with Israel, al-Araby reported. Some accused Tounsi of betraying Tunisia and the Palestinian cause, while others called on the authorities to prosecute him for his comments.
Israel sends medicine to Greece for Syrian, Afghan refugees
Israel has sent medical assistance to Greece to help deal with the flood of migrants and refugees who have been landing on the Greek Islands, most of them from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.
Israel sent 1.5 tons of medication by air shipment to the Greek Ministry of Health, which will disburse them at the various refugee aid centers, the Israeli Embassy in Athens said.
More than 50,000 refugees and migrants arrived in Greece last month. Greece, which is already suffering from a massive economic recession, has struggled to deal with the human influx.
Teams from the Israeli nongovernmental aid agency IsraAid also have been operating in Greece since September, providing medical and psychological assistance to the refugees.
Tel Aviv braces for takeover by foreign chefs
The chefs are arriving. They’re coming to Tel Aviv for the first set of Round Tables, a global culinary initiative of 26 chefs and restauranteurs from eight international restaurants and the same number of local eateries, preparing gastronomical delights for some 10,000 diners over the course of the month of November.
Hailing from New York, London, Barcelona, ​​Rome, Berlin, Amsterdam and Athens, some with a coveted Michelin star, each chef will take over one of Tel Aviv’s best restaurants for an entire week.
Tel Aviv is the first destination of this global program, founded by Israeli entrepreneur and restauranteur Yair Bakair, and sponsored by American Express.
Earlier this week, however, the BDS movement called on the chefs to cancel their participation in Round Tables, sending letters and messages through Twitter and Facebook.
Adelsons donate $5 million to Magen David Adom
Around $10 million was raised for Magen David Adom, Israel's national medical emergency service, at last week's third annual Red Star Ball held at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California.
The event, chaired by Dina and Fred Leeds, was organized by the American Friends of Magen David Adom.
The largest donation was made by Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, who contributed $5 million.
The event's aim was to raise funds to build Magen David Adom's new National Blood Services Center, described as a "secure, underground facility that will safeguard Israel's blood supply."
At the event, Gila and Adam Milstein were given the Humanitarian of the Year Award.
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld made a special guest performance, and Michael Richards, who played Kramer on "Seinfeld," was in attendance.
Why I’ve made my home at a kibbutz near Gaza, on the verge of hell
On a Friday evening four months ago, a friend from the US came to visit me at my home in Kibbutz Nahal Oz, the closest place in Israel to Gaza.
Only 875 yards (800 meters) of open fields, with an iron fence in the middle, separate Nahal Oz from the Gaza Strip. On the other side of that fence is Shejaiya, a neighborhood of Gaza City that was almost completely destroyed last year, when the IDF and Hamas were fighting door-to-door in its streets.
Nahal Oz is a green haven, with tall, leafy trees and long patches of grass, surrounding modest one-story houses. Shejaiya is a densely populated neighborhood with barely any green spaces, where tens of thousands of people live in ugly high-rises, amid piles of rubble. From the access road to Nahal Oz, you can easily see five huge stacks of dirt and dust in Shejaiya that were once multi-story buildings, but were taken down by the IDF after Hamas used them for shooting rockets. Their ruins have remained in place ever since the latest war.
My visiting friend wanted to go and have a look at Gaza, so we went to a point at the edge of the kibbutz that offers a good look across the border. On the way we passed by the kibbutz’s pool, with its crystal clear, cool water. It was 8 p.m. and the sun was making its way into the Mediterranean, but while on our side of the border, street lamps were beginning to light up, in Shejaiya everything remained dark. Not just the streets; also the visible homes and apartments, which house hundreds if not thousands of people. Had we returned to that spot two hours later, we would hardly see anything across the border. I’ve been living in Nahal Oz for almost a year and have gone to the observation point dozens of times, but only once at night. It’s too depressing to look at the complete darkness on the other side and realize that many people actually live in it.
After staring at the destruction across the border, we returned to my house for Shabbat dinner. We sat on the wooden porch with glasses of wine and enjoyed a cool breeze coming in from Gaza’s seashore, only 3.5 miles (5.6 kilometers) away. The setting was perfect, like a scene from a tourism advertisement. Then, without any warning, the shooting started.


This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 11 years and over 22,000 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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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 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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