Thursday, November 05, 2015

From Ian:

JPost Editorial: Palestinian views
Polisar examined more than 330 surveys carried out by four major independent Palestinian research institutes to determine what Palestinians think of Israel and Jews, Zionism and the value of carrying out terrorist attacks:
• With regard to the Gaza wars, a large majority of Palestinians are convinced that Israel deliberately targeted civilians and that Hamas was blameless for positioning its leadership, fighters and weapons in residential areas.
• With regard to Israel’s goals, an average of 59% think Israel wants to “extend its borders to cover all the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea and to expel its Arab citizens.”
A 51% majority of Palestinians believes Israel will destroy al-Aksa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock shrine and replace them with a synagogue.
• “Palestinians characterize Israelis as belligerent and untrustworthy but clever and strong, and finger Judaism as the most violent of all religions.”
• The Palestinian Center for Public Opinion asked residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip: “Do you think that Jews have some rights to the land along with Palestinians?” Only 12% agreed that “Both Jews and Palestinians have rights to the land,” while more than 80% asserted that “This is Palestinian land and Jews have no rights to it.”
• In a 2001 PSR poll 98% of Palestinians said the killing of 29 Palestinians in Hebron by Baruch Goldstein in 1994 was terrorism, but only 15% were willing to say the same for an attack by suicide bombers that killed 21 Israelis at the Dolphinarium discotheque in Tel Aviv in 2001. An average finding of six Pew polls over the past decade is that 59% of Palestinians see suicide bombings as justified.
• With regard to the efficacy of violence, a 2005 poll by the PSR found that “Sharon’s plan to evacuate the Israeli settlements from Gaza was a victory for the Palestinian armed resistance against Israel.”
Michael Lumish: The Departure of European Jewry
Just as significant percentages of the Arab nation are on the march into Europe - taking the Middle East with them - so a significant percentage of European Jews are packing it in for Israel. This past year is a record among French Jews for the making of aliyah, i.e., Jews returning to the Jewish national home.
In fact, French aliyah is up 118 percent.
Does anyone doubt that there is a direct correlation between Arab-Muslim immigration into Europe and Jewish emigration out of Europe? I would posit that the two are intimately connected due to the fact that the demographic moving into Europe has rates of anti-Semitism around the 80th percentile and is often not the least bit shy about demonstrating that tendency, sometimes violently and sometimes murderously.
French Jews understand very well that the slaughter of Jewish people in the kosher market in Paris, concurrent with the Charlie Hebdo murders, and the 2012 slaughter at the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse, means that the Jihad has arrived in Europe.
Many Europeans - those who were cognizant during the March 2004 Madrid train bombings that took 191 lives or the July 2005 suicide bombings in the London underground that took the lives of 52 commuters or the May 2013 murder and near-beheading of British soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich - have noticed, as well.
Jonathan Pollard’s lawyer still hopes to get his client to Israel
Just two weeks before the release of his pro bono client, Jonathan Pollard, New York lawyer Eliot Lauer is hopeful that US President Barack Obama will grant the convicted spy his biggest wish: to move to Israel.
The former civilian Navy analyst was given a life sentence in 1987 for espionage for Israel. He was granted citizenship by the Jewish state 20 years ago.
Following the 15 years of lobbying US government since they took on the Pollard case, Lauer and his partner Jacques Semmelman announced in July that the Parole Commission had decided to set Pollard free on November 20 — after some 30 years in prison.
One question that remains is where Pollard will go upon his release.
“President Obama … has the authority … to allow Mr. Pollard to leave the United States and move to Israel immediately. We respectfully urge the president to exercise his clemency power in this manner,” Lauer and Semmelman said in a written statement issued July 28.
That day, a White House spokesman announced that Obama had no intention of altering Pollard’s terms of parole, which state that he must not leave the US for five years. The White House said Pollard had committed “very serious crimes” and would serve his sentence under the law.

US Defense Secretary: Israel saved US soldiers' lives
Ashton Carter says Israeli innovations in the military domain saved many American lives; assures Israel will maintain its qualitative military edge over its neighbors.
Israeli innovations have saved many American lives
The US Defense Secretary praised Israeli innovations in the military domain which help, according to him, the US military. “It’s a two-way relationship. There’s no question that it’s not symmetric, but it is two-way - we really do get things from the Israelis in technology," he said.
"I hesitate to make invidious comparisons, but if you’re making comparisons to, say, the European legacy arms (industry), the guys who have made the tanks and planes and ships in Europe, they’ve been very slow to come out of the industrial age. The Israelis you will find to be more clever and more innovative."
Carter presented as an example the Israeli solution to improvised explosive devices (IEDs) which killed many US soldiers in Iraq. “The Israelis were really quite ingenious in this area and we got a lot from them. There’s no question that lives were saved as a consequence of their (help). They’re not good in everything across the board, but they’re as good as us in some areas. They’re in a league that has very few members."
Iran Responsible for Killing 14 Percent of U.S. Troops in Iraq
Nearly 200 U.S. troops have been killed and nearly 1,000 injured by Iranian-made explosives in Iraq, according to new disclosures from a partially declassified report conducted by U.S. Central Command and described by sources to the Washington Free Beacon.
The number of U.S. deaths resulting from Iranian terrorism were revealed for the first time on Wednesday by Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) during a hearing focusing on the Obama administration’s failure to prosecute terrorists directly responsible for the deaths of Americans.
At least 196 U.S. service members fighting in Iraq were killed directly as a result of Iranian-made explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, according to Cruz and congressional sources familiar with Centcom’s mostly classified report.
The deaths took place between 2003 and 2011. The Iranian explosive devices wounded another 861 U.S. soldiers, and a total of 1,534 attacks were carried out on U.S. military members over this period, according to sources familiar with the report, which was provided to Cruz’s office.
 Can Netanyahu Fix What’s Broken?
A lot has changed since the last time Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Washington. In March, Netanyahu was the focus of a bitter feud with the White House and Congressional Democrats because of his decision to accept an invitation from former House Speaker John Boehner to address a joint meeting of Congress on the Iranian nuclear threat. President Obama treated Israel’s opposition to his diplomatic outreach to Iran as a personal affront and convinced many Democrats to treat Netanyahu’s advocacy as taking sides with the Republicans against the administration. Netanyahu wound up giving a great speech, and few Democrats boycotted it. To the president’s great disappointment, Netanyahu was re-elected a couple of weeks later by a surprisingly large margin. But the president did get his way on Iran as the partisan divide he helped create remained in place. It’s a mistake to blame Netanyahu for the administration’s victory on Iran, but Obama was able to crack the whip and persuade the overwhelming majority of Democrats in the House and Senate to back the Iran deal when it came up for a vote in September.
Although both countries will feel the long-term impact of that catastrophic foreign policy mistake that granted Iran a clear path to a nuclear weapon in the future, that still leaves Israel’s government pondering how it can somehow patch a U.S. alliance that may be at its lowest point since the Eisenhower administration. So when Netanyahu returns to Washington next week for meetings with the president, he’s also going to be going out of his way to try and patch things up with the same Democrats that abandoned Israel on a key security issue at Obama’s behest. He will not only be meeting with Congressional Democrats but also addressing the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank that has been hostile to Israel as well as friendly venues such as the American Enterprise Institute.
Netanyahu is right to do so for a number of reasons.
Support for Israel has always been a matter of bipartisan consensus in this country. It’s true that polls have consistently shown that Democratic support for the Jewish state lags far behind that of Republicans in recent decades. But that is no excuse for giving up on them. There are still plenty of ardent Israel supporters with their ranks that need to be reminded that the relationship with Israel is bigger than Obama’s feud with Netanyahu. As Politico points out, the recent upsurge in Palestinian terrorism has increased sympathy for Israel even among Democrats.
Bygones: Israel and the U.S. Try to Move Beyond Iran
Carter went out of his way to suggest that it was not just the Pentagon, but the Israeli Ministry of Defense as well, that wanted to expand the parameters of the dialogue beyond the Iran deal. He told me that when he visited Israel in July, he was pleased to see that the defense establishment was interested in discussing cyberwarfare and the conventional rocket threat from Hezbollah, as well as the Iran nuclear deal. “Only the next day did I see the prime minister, with all that as the backdrop.”
Officials in Jerusalem and Washington tell me that Netanyahu gets along with Carter better than most anyone in the Obama administration, with the possible exception of Vice President Joe Biden. Carter described their relationship as relatively easy: “It turned out that he and I went to rival high schools outside of Philadelphia, and we went back and forth on sports teams and the like.” Netanyahu, he said, made his views on Iran “abundantly clear,” but he also “came to understand, if he didn’t understand it from the beginning, that I was a longtime friend of Israel and of Israelis and of the IDF [Israel Defense Force].”
Carter was generous in praising Israeli military innovation, and crediting Israel with aiding in America’s defense. “It’s a two-way relationship,” he said. “There’s no question that it’s not symmetric, but it is two-way—we really do get things from the Israelis in technology. I hesitate to make invidious comparisons, but if you’re making comparisons to, say, the European legacy arms [industry], the guys who have made the tanks and planes and ships in Europe, they’ve been very slow to come out of the industrial age. The Israelis you will find to be more clever and more innovative.” He cited as an example the work he did to counter the devastating impact of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). “The Israelis were really quite ingenious in this area and we got a lot from them. There’s no question that lives were saved as a consequence of their [help]. They’re not good in everything across the board, but they’re as good as us in some areas. They’re in a league that has very few members.”
“What really would have made the apocalyptic rhetoric of Iran fearsome to Israel would have been nuclear weapons. We’re pretty satisfied to have that danger taken off the table.”
A perennial topic of discussion between Israeli and U.S. defense officials is the maintenance and strengthening of Israel’s qualitative military edge (QME), the program—mandated by Congress—requiring the Pentagon to guarantee that Israel is sold more sophisticated weapons systems than those sold to what Carter refers to as “the sum of all Sunnis.” The main issue, Carter said, is not that Israel’s leaders believe that the Saudis and other Arab states will use sophisticated U.S.-made weapons against them—Israel and the Gulf states, in particular, share a common enemy in Iran. “They worry about a spectrum of things,” he said. “They worry about rogue officers taking off in a one-off thing, right up to regime change, or whatever you want to call it, in Saudi Arabia, and having an entirely new show there. They say we have to pay attention to capabilities, not just current intentions.”
One of his reassuring messages to the Israelis in advance of Netanyahu’s visit, Carter said, was that he believes there is “no question that we can or will maintain QME.”
Mideast Analyst: Israel Wants US to Take More Active Role in Region
Israelis would like to see the US take on a more assertive role in the Middle East to enhance their security, Michael Herzog, the Israel-based Milton Fine International Fellow of the Washington Institute think tank, told Politico on Wednesday.
“There is a feeling that the US role has weakened over … time,” said Herzog, a retired IDF brigadier general, ahead of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s upcoming Washington meeting with President Obama on November 9th.
Additionally, Herzog said, Israelis want their prime minister to raise the issues of the situation in Syria, including Iran’s growing military presence; Hezbollah’s building up of the southern Syrian front near Israel; Hamas’ rearming itself; and terrorist groups cropping up within Israel’s borders.
He also said Israelis hope for robust enforcement of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the nuclear deal with Iran championed by President Obama and rejected by most of the Knesset.
Canada’s New Government Reaching Out to Arabs to ‘Help Israel’
The new government in Canada headed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made it clear how much Israel lost a friend after last month’s elections that ousted Stephen Harper.
The new Liberal party Foreign Affairs Minister, Stéphane Dion, said Wednesday he will try to improve relations with Arab countries in the Middle East in order to play “honest broker.”
Harper was unabashedly pro-Israel and strongly backed the Netanyahu government throughout every crisis, whether it was the IDF response to Hamas missile attacks on Israel or Palestinian Authority incitement and terrorism.
In an interview with the Ontario-based iPolitics, Dion said of the policy towards Israel in the new government headed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:
The main difference is that we will stop making it a partisan issue
Israel is a friend, it is an ally, but for us to be an effective ally, we need also to strengthen our relationship with the other legitimate partners in the region.
Question for Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion: What Makes for a "Legitimate Partner" in the Middle East?
Dion's declaration follows on the heels of a conversation between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Canada's recently elected prime minister, Justin Trudeau, in which Trudeau informed Netanyahu that there would be a "shift in tone" involving the two countries' relationship.
Questions for Mr. Dion:
What makes for a "legitimate partner" in the Middle East?
Must such a legitimate partner embrace democracy?
Must such a legitimate partner ensure the rights of minorities, e.g., Kurds, Copts, Baha'is and Christians?
Must such a legitimate partner cease condoning "honor killings" perpetrated against women?
Must such a "legitimate partner" provide equal rights and protection to gay people?
Must such a country act to prevent funding from being sent to the Islamic State?
And must such a "legitimate partner" refuse to provide a warm home to terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah (yes, I am of course referring to Lebanon)?
House Passes Unanimous Resolution Urging Europe to Protect Jewish Communities
The US House of Representatives on Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution urging European nations to do more to protect Jewish communities amid an uptick in antisemitism.
“The number of violent antisemitic attacks has increased from 100 to 400 percent in some European countries since 2013,” said Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), who co-chairs the Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating Anti-Semitism and spearheaded the resolution. “The murders in Paris, Copenhagen, and elsewhere reminded us that there are those who are motivated by antisemitism and have the will to kill,” he said.
House Resolution 354, which includes 89 biparitsan co-sponsors, urges the US government to work with its European counterparts to “formally recognize and partner with Jewish community groups to strengthen crisis prevention, preparedness, mitigation, and responses related to antisemitic attacks.”
The resolution was supported by several leading Jewish organizations, including the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Jewish Federations of North America, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, the Orthodox Union, the Secure Community Network, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Netanyahu's new media adviser said Obama's Iran policy is 'modern anti-Semitism'
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's choice to serve as the next chief media adviser in the Prime Minister's Office posted controversial statuses on his Facebook page, including one in which he refers to US President Barack Obama's response to the premier's Iran speech in Congress as "modern anti-Semitism."
Ran Baratz, who was tapped by Netanyahu as Israel's next "media czar," once criticized Obama for the president's response to the prime minister's planned speech before Congress against the Iran nuclear deal.
"Allow me to be a bit blunt, which is a break from my usual moderation," Baratz wrote. "This is what modern anti-Semitism in a liberal Western country looks like. And, of course, it comes with a great deal of tolerance and understanding for Islamic anti-Semitism. The tolerance and understanding is so great that [Obama] is willing to give it a nuclear bomb."
'Kerry's mental age doesn't exceed that of a 12-year-old,' Netanyahu's new media czar wrote
Ran Baratz, the man who has been appointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as his top media adviser, once referred to US Secretary of State John Kerry as someone "whose mental age doesn't exceed 12."
In a column that he wrote for an online media magazine last year, Baratz offered a scathing critique of Kerry's suggestion that the emergence of Islamic radicalism in the Middle East could be traced to the lingering Israel-Palestine conflict.
During remarks at a White House ceremony for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha last year, Kerry implied that the strife resulting from the decades-long dispute between Israel and the Palestinians has harbored an environment prone to fostering extremism.
"I think that it is more critical than ever that we be fighting for peace, and I think it is more necessary than ever... As I went around and met with people in the course of our discussions about the ISIL (Islamic State) coalition, the truth is we – there wasn’t a leader I met with in the region who didn’t raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation that they felt," Kerry said.
New Report Details Iranian Commander’s Involvement in Terror, Regional Expansion
The commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) Quds Force — Qassem Soleimani — continues to remain actively involved in promoting the Islamic Republic’s regional expansion and terrorist networks, according to an extensive report compiled by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.
As the head of the Quds Force — the most powerful security organization in Iran –Soleimani is directly tasked with keeping the fundamentalist regime in power, and is responsible for exploiting Arab World turmoil to advance Iran’s regional hegemonic objectives. Beginning in September 2015, Iran increased its number of troops — mainly IRGC soldiers — in Syria from hundreds to thousands in order to support Hezbollah terrorists who are acting at Iran’s behest in propping up the Bashaar al-Assad regime.
In October 2015, Soleimani reportedly landed in northwestern Syria to brief Hezbollah operatives and command a Syrian military offensive, indicating that Iran is diverting more resources from its presence in Iraq to Syria.
In addition to Iran’s commitment to Syria, the Islamic Republic is also actively establishing terrorist networks in the Golan Heights — using Hezbollah, Druze, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) operatives — to target Israel.
Watch Weak DoS Express Only 'Concern' That More Americans are Being Imprisoned in Iran
Associated Press reporter Matt Lee has been on a hit streak lately, delivering hard-cutting foreign policy questions to the Obama administration. On Tuesday, he challenged State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau to share what consequences they have in mind for Iran as they continue capturing Americans. Her show of "concern" was less than satisfying.
Lee pointed out that since the Iran deal talks, which included non-nuclear issues like American detainees, more U.S. citizens have been imprisoned in Iran, meaning the situation is worse, not better. Currently, there are six Americans in Iranian custody.
"Is that a cause for concern?" Lee asked.
"You know, it's always a concern," Trudeau lobbed back, "when American citizens are detained overseas."
Not sounding overly confident, Trudeau limply ensured that the DoS will "work hard" and will continue in its "commitment" in bringing our men home.
Lee sternly interjected, "But the problem is getting worse, not better, correct?"
"We are seeing that Americans are detained in Iran, yeah," Trudeau said, avoiding the question.
As Lee pressed, she agreed there are in fact more hostages now than when the Iran talks started. He also reminded Trudeau that since the DoS has asked for the return of American citizens, the Iranian government has taken "zero steps" to comply and have actually taken more prisoners and even convicted one of them.
Her response is so weak it's almost not fit to print, but here goes anyway:
State Department Won't Say if Iran Will Face Consequences for Detaining Americans

J Street, Iran, and democracy Baruch Stein
Within the American Jewish community opposition is vast. After its review, including meetings with John Kerry, Wendy Sherman, members of Congress, diplomats, and other experts, The American Jewish Committee concluded that the agreement, “validated Iran’s future status as a nuclear threshold state, a point that President Obama himself acknowledged in a media interview.” They note that, “we were told by P5+1 negotiators: ‘The alternative to a bad deal is no deal.’ What happened to that formulation…?”
The Sunni states also seem to be among the many whose position is less enthusiastic than the President’s. Though a more engaged position would be expected given their stake, they seem to have resigned themselves to no more than muted abstention, sold to Obama in exchange for exorbitant amounts of, “aid.”
Obama said in a press conference that, “my hope is, is that everyone in Congress also evaluates this agreement based on the facts… not based on lobbying…”. After-all, his career has been a continuous diatribe against lobbyists (real and imagined).
J Street, though, is a very special interest lobby group. Neither Israelis’ collective will, nor Americans’, appears to bear on their “support for Israel.” By the day after it was announced, they had raised $2 Million for their campaign to support the final deal, seemingly needing no review period to consider it.
In a Haaretz Op-Ed published in June, J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami asserted that, “There is growing tension between the United States and Israel not because of Obama’s public disagreement with the policies of the Netanyahu government but because those policies are leading Israel down a path that runs counter to the interests and values of the United States, as well as to Israel's own long-term interests.…”
Report: Iranian military hackers take aim at Obama administration officials
Iran's Revolutionary Guards stepped up hacking of email and social media accounts of Obama administration officials in recent weeks in cyber attacks believed linked to the arrest of an Iranian-American businessman in Tehran, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
The newspaper, citing unnamed US officials, said people working on Iran policy appeared to be the focus of the cyber attacks, with personnel in the State Department's Office of Iranian Affairs and the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs among those hacked. Other targets included journalists and academics.
The latest reports of a surge in hacking attacks come after a landmark international agreement in July that eased severe economic sanctions on Iran in return for Tehran curbing its nuclear program to ensure it is not used for developing weapons.
The Revolutionary Guards, a powerful branch of the Iranian military, have regularly made hacking attacks on US government agencies in recent years, but a source told the Journal the hacking increased after the arrest of Siamak Namazi in mid-October.
Russia sent anti-aircraft missile systems to Syria
Russia sent anti-aircraft missile systems to Syria to back up its air campaign, the commander of the air force Viktor Bondarev said in an interview published Thursday.
"We sent there not just fighter planes, strike aircraft and helicopters but also anti-aircraft rocket systems," Bondarev told Komsomolskaya Pravda tabloid daily.
He said that Russia made the decision to bring missile systems to Syria because "we took into account every possible threat."
"There could be various force majeur situations. Let's imagine a military plane is hijacked and taken to a neighbouring country and air strikes are aimed at us. And we have to be ready for this."
Iranian commanders refuse orders to fight in Syria, report says
Iran’s increasing military involvement in Syria to sustain President Bashar Assad’s regime is costing more and more casualties and top commanders of the elite Revolutionary Guards force have been charged with mutiny and treason for refusing orders to fight there, a pan-Arab daily newspaper reported on Wednesday.
A source quoted by the London-based Asharq al-Awsat daily said several Revolutionary Guard generals from Ahvaz province which has a significant Arab population, have chosen to retire or go into business rather than fight in Syria.
An official investigation has been launched into the large numbers of generals from that region suddenly retiring from service, the source told the paper, which backs Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia, a rival of Iran’s Shiite regime.
The source said further that a rise in deaths among the Revolutionary Guards’ special Quds force has led its leadership to recruit higher-ranking officers to fight in Syria.
Delegation of European MPs, Politicians, Cultural Figures Meets with Hizbullah Deputy Sec.-Gen.
On November 2, 2015, Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV reported that a delegation of European MPs and former MPs, along with party leaders and cultural figures, recently met with Deputy Secretary-General Sheikh Naim Qassem in a "show of solidarity with the resistance in its fight against terrorism." One of the delegation members was former Belgium MP Laurent Louis, who said that "the Western leaders' collaboration with terrorism has been exposed."

Likud MK's 'label for label' bill would mark products from countries backing Israel boycott
A Likud lawmaker on Thursday submitted a bill that would require retailers to apply warning labels to products that are manufactured in countries that are calling for a boycott of Israel.
The "a label for a label" initiative is Likud MK Miki Zohar's response to a European campaign to mark Israeli products that are made in territories that Israel captured in the 1967 Six-Day War.
If passed, Zohar's bill would require importers and retail chains to place a special warning stamp on products made in countries that have declared a boycott on Israel.
Failure to do so would mandate a six-month prison sentence or a fine exceeding NIS 14,000.
MK Oren labels EU products at supermarket in protest over anticipated guidelines
Coming soon to a supermarket near you: a European Union label to warn Israeli consumers not to buy products make in European countries? Kulanu MK Michael Oren went to a supermarket on Emek Refaim Street in the capital’s German Colony neighborhood and placed blue EU stickers on crackers, cookies and beer from Spain, France and Germany to protest the pending publication of guidelines to enable EU member states to place consumer labels on exports from east Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights.
“The EU decision to label Israeli products is anti-Semitic,” Oren said. “There are dozens of border disputes and ‘occupations’ in the world but the EU decided to single out Israel. They are not labeling products from China, India or Turkey – only Israel.”
Oren complained that the decision completely ignored the fact that six Israeli prime ministers tried to negotiate a two-state solution but the PLO rejected their offers. He said the EU had not taken into account that the Palestinian Authority is refusing to negotiate with Israel and is actively inciting to commit terrorist attacks against Jews.
The former ambassador to the US questioned why the EU would take steps that could result in hundreds of Palestinians losing their jobs. But he said the oddest decision was to label products from the Golan Heights at a time when there is no functioning Syrian government with which Israel could negotiate a peace agreement.
“Do they want us to give the Golan to ISIS?” Oren asked. (h/t Yenta Press)
Europe reacts to its impotence by taking it out on the Jews
Europe is finding it impossible to control its borders against Muslim migrants. And how is Europe reacting to this existential and physical impotence? By taking it out on the Jews, or, by displacement, the Jewish State. This makes the Europeans feel good because they are making themselves look good to their Muslim populations by doing something they, the Muslim population, will approve of. They are thus appeasing their growing Muslim minorities of whom they are afraid by betraying, again, the Jewish people.
This is how to explain the fact that for the first time since Germany did so 70 years ago, the European Union has just imposed a special label on Jewish products.
This is how you explain the fact that Europe’s mainstream is condemning Israel’s security forces for defending herself in this new terror wave.
This is how you explain the fact that Europe is opening her trade to Iran’s anti-Semitic regime while imposing sanctions on the Jewish State.
This is how you explain the fact that, from Oxford to Bordeaux, hundreds of European academicians are undertaking a boycott of Israeli universities.
This is how you explain the fact that anti-Semitism has become the common currency on most of Europe’s streets.
Why is the EU stigmatizing Israel?
In turn, EU leaders made clear their strong willingness to help advance the Middle East peace process. This is important. We welcome Europe’s aspiration and help to achieve this objective.
To make progress, however, the closest form of cooperation is necessary, and this needs to be based on trust, openness and impartiality.
The labeling of Israeli products will not contribute to this end. We are being told the economic impact of such labeling should be small. And the step is supposedly not meant as a boycott. But seeing European shops label Jewish products brings back some very painful memories for many Israelis. And it stings that we are being singled out for special treatment. While we fully respect that the EU needs to apply its own acquis, this makes it very hard to escape the conclusion that this is a political step, with the distinctly political message that Israel is to be blamed and punished for the stagnation of the peace process.
In Israel it is hard to explain how this could conceivably help kick-start peace talks. Nor does it appear to be a timely message. The Middle East is ablaze, with wars raging in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen. These wars have become magnets for Daesh and Hezbollah Islamists, engaged in the random slaughter of civilians. We are facing an unprecedented refugee crisis. And in these times the EU sees fit, under the guise of consumer protection law, to slap quasi-sanctions on Israel, the only state in the region whose constitution embraces and defends Europe’s own values?
Three Arrested After Renowned Israeli Scholar Shouted Down at University of Minnesota
Halbertal, a professor at both New York University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, was scheduled to give a presentation on the ethics of war as part of the John Dewey Lecture in the Philosophy of Law, an annual law school event. Halbertal helped write the Israel Defense Forces’ code of ethics, though the prepared topic of his lecture, “Protecting Civilians: Moral Challenges of Asymmetric Warfare,” was not specifically on the subject of Israel.
The protests were endorsed by the campus branch of Students for Justice in Palestine and was organized by the Minnesota Anti-War Committee, who tweeted before the event asking followers to “help shut down” Halbertal’s lecture. An article by Anti-War Committee spokesperson Meredith Aby-Keirstead in FightBack!, a local radical paper that has previously expressed support for the convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh, indicated that their intention was to prevent Halbertal from being heard. “Before the moderator got three words out, the first interruption came,” Aby-Keirstead bragged, adding that “speakers rose from the audience, one after another, making it impossible for Halbertal’s talk to proceed.” The protesters systematically stood up one by one and yelled pro-Palestinian slogans, only for another to start up chanting again when someone was removed from the hall by university police. Protesters even interrupted law school staff explaining the rules of decorum for the event. The police were eventually forced to lock the doors to prevent more protesters. Three protesters were arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and trespassing before being released.
Protesters referred to Halbertal, who argued that soldiers should bear increased risks to decrease the risks to civilians in combat, as a “baby-killer.” One of the protesters’ chants was “from sea to sea, Palestine will be free”—a reference to the creation of a Palestinian state across the entire area (and thus the destruction of the Jewish state of Israel). Such chants “mean nothing less than the murder or expulsion of over six million Jews,” said Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, who attended the event.
PreOccupiedTerritory: BDS Demands Greece Change Blue-And-White Flag; ‘Israeli Colors’ (satire)
Activists in the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions movement against Israel staged a protest today outside the parliament building in the Greek capital today, calling on the government to alter the colors of the country’s flag so that they do not resemble that of Israel.
A group of about twenty protesters congregated in the plaza facing the building on Thursday morning, holding aloft placards and waving flags on which the blue and white had been replaced by black and green, respectively. The activists chanted slogans and listened to several speakers who led them in chants for approximately an hour and a half.
Both the Greek and Israeli flags use only blue and white, though in different configurations and with different symbolism. The activists, however, aim to prevent any sort of normalized relations with Israel as a way of applying political pressure. As part of that effort, explained the activists, they seek to delegitimize the use of blue and white on national flags in order to isolate Israel and wrest various concessions on behalf of Palestinians.
“There is nothing inherently wrong with the Greek flag or its colors,” clarified Éímai Nas Gáidaros, the protest leader. “But for the moment, the moral thing to do is avoid using the colors so closely associated with Zionism, since using blue and white will, however unintentionally, grant legitimacy to a usurper regime that oppresses Palestinians.”
Email suggests Times of London journo misrepresented museum exhibit he reviewed
We demonstrated that Aaronovitch misrepresented the reason why, in the 90s, Ethiopian blood was discarded. The blood wasn’t, as he claimed, discarded for “no other reason than the race of the donors”. Rather, it was based on a failure by the blood services to update an earlier (medically sound) directive from 1984 which related to the fear of spreading Hepatitis B, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
However, though it doesn’t appear as if Aaronovitch researched the issue before reaching his conclusions, we wondered if he was merely communicating what he saw at the Jewish Museum. Did the exhibit portray the Israeli row in the 90s as a case of racism against Ethiopian immigrants?
We subsequently obtained the following email correspondence between the curator of the Jewish Museum and a follower of our blog, which helps to answer this question.
So, it seems like the Times of London journalist’s claim that racism explains the decision to discard Ethiopian blood wasn’t based on his own research into the case or the museum exhibit he ostensibly reviewed.
At the very least, Mr. Aaronovitch clearly owes readers an explanation as to how exactly he reached his original erroneous conclusion.
Huffington Post Blog Slanders Israel as “Apartheid”
As violent attacks are perpetrated upon Israelis daily, the Huffington Post thought the timing was right for yet another “apartheid” slam on Israel, posting blogger Zack Sabella's piece, “The US Must Accept that Israeli Leadership Wants Apartheid Not Peace.”
Sabella makes inflammatory, broad and unsubstantiated statements, such as:
“Israeli politics and society have regressed to their lowest point in history, with racism flourishing at unprecedented levels.”
“The Israeli government of today is the most racist, most aggressive and most destructive government in Israel's history.”
“Israel has chosen occupation over peace and has normalized the brutal domination of the Palestinian people rather than liberate itself from becoming a modern-day apartheid state.”

Sabella ignores the fact that Israeli Arabs enjoy more rights in Israel than Arabs living anywhere else in the Middle East. Apartheid? Hardly. As South African member of parliament Kenneth Rasalabe Joseph Meshoe has said, “Those who know what real apartheid is, as I know, know that there is nothing in Israel that looks like apartheid.” Meshoe continued, “There is a widespread allegation, really a slander, that Israel is an apartheid state. That notion is simply wrong. It is inaccurate and it is malicious.”
BBC Appoints Director of Bias for Middle East to Ensure Imbalance Remains in Israel-Palestine Coverage (satire)
The BBC announced today its appointment of their World Affairs editor Mahmoud Shabbas as their new Director of Bias in Israel and Palestine, citing the questions emerging over recent signs of impartiality at the broadcasting company.
The appointment stems in part from a recent report filed by BBC Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen, which featured 2.5 minutes covering Palestinian issues and 2.4 minutes covering Israel issues.
Speaking on the growing fear amongst Israeli politicians that bias could be disappearing at the BBC, Zionist hunk Yair Lapid, chairman of one Israeli political party, commented: “What is going on at the BBC? It is outrageous for them to consider covering Israel in a balanced way. The highlight of my wife and I’s week is curling up on the sofa with a basket of pita, bowl of hummus, and shouting at the TV.”
Palestinian reactions to Shabbas’s appointment were far from positive. Discussing its implications, chief Palestinian Authority negotiator and now sexy super-thin Saeb Erekat said: “It is hard enough having to deal with the BBC’s pro-Israel bias everyday. We in the PA are eagerly anticipating the day it accepts the reality that it is Israel’s greatest propagandist and renames itself the IBC.”
Do you know the Mufti man?
During the brouhaha surrounding the “Mufti speech” of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, I tweeted a photograph. It purported to show the Mufti Amin al-Husseini seated alongside David and Paula Ben-Gurion. I’d first seen the photograph during a lecture (in Hebrew) on Ben-Gurion delivered by Anita Shapira, one of Israel’s most distinguished historians, at Shalem College in February 2014—a lecture I myself chaired. When the photograph flashed on the screen above the podium, a gasp of recognition went through the audience: The Mufti with Ben-Gurion! Yes, said Shapira, that’s who it is.
So when the “Mufti speech” made waves, I tweeted the photo, giving Shapira credit for discovering it.
Looking closer at the photograph, I could see the problem. Setting aside the improbability that the Mufti would place himself in this position, he didn’t look quite like himself. Yes, the iconic headgear was there, but that wasn’t at all exclusive to the Mufti. Yes, the facial hair looked approximately right, but that was also standard grooming. (Actually, the Mufti did have white tufts on the chin of his beard, but this could have been lost in a photograph, depending on the lighting.) It was the eyes, or more specifically, the bags around them, and the slightly sunken cheek, that seemed anomalous. The Mufti had a smooth and full face. Here he is after testifying to the Peel Commission in January 1937.
If this story is worth telling at such length, it’s to serve as a reminder to historians (especially me) that first instincts can mislead, and that in history, as in investing, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. But above all, it’s an encouraging story of how historians never go silent, even when they’re gone. You just have to ask them.
IAI’s GroundPoint advanced target location system ready for export
Israel Aerospace Industries is offering foreign buyers an advanced surface target location system. IAI said its geo-locating targeting system, GroundPoint, tracks enemy locations up to 20 kilometers away, and transmits their precise coordinates for GPS-guided precision strikes.
“GroundPoint has already gained field experience achieving geo-location of targets with an accuracy of 2-3 meters in a range of up to 20 km.,” IAI said.
The system went on display last month at the 2015 Annual Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Meeting & Exposition in Washington.
Boaz Levi, IAI corporate vice president and general manager of the Systems, Missiles and Space Group, said, “Accurate geo-location of targets can now be achieved in the field and allows armies to engage targets immediately.”
The IDF’s Combat Intelligence Collection units, which carry out reconnaissance and surveillance on the borders with Syria, Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula, have been operating target location system called “Matan," produced by Elbit. Matan acquires targets far beyond borders, and broadcasts their precise coordinates to other military units.
After taking Israel by storm, A Wa sisters set their sights on Europe: We don't hide our identity
Three Israeli sisters have recently returned to their Yemeni roots after releasing their Arabic song 'Habib Galbi', which topped the Israeli charts, making it the first Arabic-language song to reach the number one spot in the country's history.
Singing in the Yemeni dialect of their grandparents, the sisters from the A Wa band, (Arabic for Yes), have so far received over one million YouTube hits for their song.
The band, which consists of three sisters, Tair, Liron, and Tagel Haim, come from a small, isolated village called Shaharut, which lies near the Egyptian border in southern Israel, where the sisters say that the desert- like surroundings of their village helped them imagine and create things out of nothing.
The girls, along with three other siblings, grew up in a musically talented family.
Habib Galbi, which consists of 12 tracks, is A Wa's first album which was released in September 2015.
 11 Most Gay Friendly Cities In The World
1.  Tel Aviv, Israel – Right at the heart of the Middle East, lies a city called Tel Aviv. A bubble of sanity in an otherwise difficult and tense area. Tel Aviv, a city blessed with year-round sunshine and white sandy beaches, is one of the most liberal cities in the world. It is the most gay friendly city, not only in the Middle East but in the entire world. This vibrant city is an undisputed queer capital of the Middle East, It offers a 24/7 non-stop activities, all year round great weather, great food, gay beaches and infinite of gay bars and night clubs. Every June Tel Aviv is celebrating the Gay Pride week, week of celebrations and happenings throughout the city with Pride Expo (Gay Culture Fair), LGBT Theater festival, LGBT Film Festival and the famous Pride Parade which is one of the most colorful gay parades in the world.
IsraelDailyPicture: Hebron's Cave of the Patriarchs Will Be Packed This Weekend. Photographs from the Cave 100 Years Ago
In synagogues around the world this Sabbath, congregations will read the Torah portion describing Sarah's death and burial. Abraham purchased the Mearat HaMachpela [literally the "double cave" -- so named either because it had two chambers or it would eventually contain pairs of husbands and their wives].
Genesis 23: And these were the days of Sarah, 127 years. Sarah died in Kiryat-Arba which is Hebron....Abraham spoke to the Sons of Heth: grant me legal possession of land for a burial site... for its price in full ... 400 shekels of silver.... Thus it was established, the field and the cave that was in it, for Abraham as legally possessed for a burial site from the Sons of Heth."
In Israel, despite the recent terror knifings in Hebron, tens of thousands of Jews will converge on Hebron to pray in the Cave of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs during the Sabbath. Security will be tight.
The massive building surrounding the gravesite was built by King Herod two thousand years ago. The actual graves are located in subterranean caverns beneath. Their locations are marked above ground by cenotaphs -- empty tombs that serve as monuments.

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