Wednesday, November 18, 2015

From Ian:

US terror victims hold banks liable for Iranian terror funds
Legal rights organization Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center has sent warning letters to eleven banks believed to maintain frozen accounts for Iran, they announced Wednesday, advising them that the funds are still restrained for the benefit of terror victims who hold unsatisfied judgments against the Islamic Republic.
The letters caution the American branches of the foreign banks that the funds in the accounts may not be transferred despite the anticipated lifting of financial sanctions by the Obama Administration.
The accounts are believed to hold up to $100-150 billion in frozen oil revenues currently restrained under the sanction regulations in overseas banks.
“You are hereby warned that all accounts maintained by your financial institution at any of its branches in the name of Iran, the Central Bank of Iran, the Naftiran Intertrade Company, the National Iranian Oil Company, the National Iranian Tanker Company or any other agency or instrumentality of Iran are restrained and subject to a lien in favor of my clients under United States law," the letter states.
Although Iran negotiated to have sanctions lifted and funds returned, the accounts in fact have now been blocked by virtue of a “Citation to Discover Assets” (“Citation”) which was issued against Iran on October 26, 2015 in the Rubin v. The Islamic Republic of Iran case in the federal district court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Glick: EU is waging a trade war against Israel
Senior contributing editor to The Jerusalem Post Caroline B. Glick accused the European Union on Wednesday of waging a secret trade war against Israel.
Glick, speaking at The Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Jerusalem, outlined a series of steps she recommends Israel take to counter the "discrimination" of the recent EU decision to label products produced in West Bank settlements.
"Today we are in the middle of Europe's trade war against Israel," she said. "It's never acknowledged, it's hidden by lies about international law, lies about consumer protection and lies about human rights."
But, Glick added, "the war itself is a breach of international law, it doesn't protect consumers and it harms human rights." The EU's recent decision in regard to settlement products is "illegal under international law. Under the WTO [World Trade Organization] treaties it is illegal to introduce technical barriers to trade among trading nations."
The EU, she said, should either leave the WTO or apply this policy equally to other places in "the same legal situation" as Israel. For example, she said, it should insist that products produced in Western Sahara are labeled as "Moroccan settlement products made in Western Sahara."
Israel cheapens memory of Holocaust by likening settlement labels to Nazi boycott, EU envoy says
EU ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen hit back against comparisons of the EU's labeling of settlement products to the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses, saying that even when disagreeing, it was necessary not to “confuse fact with fiction.”
“Talk of a European boycott just does not stand up to a reality check,” he said at the Jerusalem Post's Diplomatic Conference. “Let me say loud and clear: Europe is not boycotting Israel, and Europe is not boycotting settlements.”
His comments came after a number of speakers, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, blasted the EU for its directive to label products from the settlements.
=said that the EU opposes boycotts and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and that products from the settlements will continue to enter the EU markets.
Faaborg-Andersen said that the EU has been “accused of a variety of sins” in recent days from the highest echelons of the Israeli government, including anti-Semitism, hypocrisy, rewarding terrorism and destroying Palestinian jobs.
“I've been shocked to hear claims of anti-Semitism and historical comparisons or analogies to the persecution of Jews in Germany in the 30s and 40s,” he said. “In my mind this is a distortion of history and belittlement of the crimes of the Nazis, and the memory of their victims.”

1943: BBC Chief Orders Workers to Soft-pedal Nazi Persecution of Jews
On November 18, 1943, the head of the BBC warned employees not to broadcast anything that might be designed “to correct the undoubted anti-Semitic feeling which is held very largely throughout the country.”
He was concerned, explained Robert Foot, the director-general of the British Broadcasting Corporation, that such efforts might have the opposite effect of the one intended.
Though certainly the BBC, a most trusted source of information, had a responsibility to include “the facts as they are reported from time to time of Jewish persecutions, as well as any notable achievements by Jews,” Foot reasoned that any undue focus on the suffering of Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe might actually “increase rather than decrease the anti-Jewish feeling in this country.”
Twisted attitudes
Foot’s instructions may sound convoluted, or worse, today. But at the time, they reflected a range of institutional attitudes in the United Kingdom toward Jews that ranged from the ambivalent to the downright anti-Semitic, as well as an unusually patronizing opinion of the general public.
Having openly dedicated itself to playing an active role in the war effort, the BBC regularly consulted with government agencies about how to keep public morale high. Together with the Foreign Office, the BBC fretted at great length about the degree of sympathy British subjects would have for the subjects of reports about the persecution and murder of Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe.
Media lies are rewriting the present
April 30, 1945: Press Release:
"German boy commits suicide in occupied Berlin"
A German boy committed suicide in occupied Berlin while occupation forces continued the encirclement of the blockaded city.
The boy, aged 56, a vegetarian who loved dogs, was involved in the alleged murder of Jewish settlers.
His suicide prevented the occupation forces from taking the activist a political prisoner or even killing him, which is a common method to break down the resistance and self-determination of the German people.
This brings the total civilian death toll to over 4 million on the German side, including women and children.
Occupation forces also suffered casualties in the most recent conflict.
The boy, named Adolf Hitler was the Chancellor of Germany. He is succeeded by Joseph Goebbels, a politician and a father of six.
This is how Hitler's suicide could have been written and reported had it occurred today and not in 1945. And it would be believed. In fact, one may find the style and language of the news statement above familiar because the propaganda war against Israel has entered a new stage and that is what it is doing.
Douglas Murray: A Society Ripe for Submission
His imagining of an Islamic France is no simple provocation. Rather, this deep, gripping and haunting novel is a recent high-point for European fiction. No current writer gets anywhere near Houellebecq’s achievement in finding a fictional way into the darkest and most necessary corners of our time
Michel Houellebecq is a genius. He is also a nihilist. And not the fashionable type of American nihilist (“nihilism with a happy ending”, as Allan Bloom once called it), but a connoisseur and practitioner of the fullest-blown fin de millénaire French nihilism. For Houellebecq and his main characters life is a solitary and pointless labour, devoid of interest, joy or comfort aside from the occasional—generally paid-for—blow-job.
The fact that the poet of such an existence can have been celebrated by his peers (Houellebecq has been awarded the Prix Goncourt, among other prizes) is perhaps less surprising than the fact that such a writer has proved so popular. For almost two decades his books have been best-sellers in their original French and in translation. When books sell this well—especially when they are also quality, rather than pap, literature—it is because they must speak to something of our times. It may be an extreme version of our present existence, but even the unarguably bracing nature of the nihilism would not be sufficient as an attraction without at least a disgusted flicker of self-recognition from his readers.
JPost Editorial: Swedish priorities
Once upon a time, Sweden was a model welfare state with ridiculously low levels of poverty.
Crimes rates were well below European averages.
Swedes barely bothered to lock their doors at night.
Today’s Sweden, in contrast, is in a state of crisis, in large part due to its inability to deal with a huge influx of immigrants, most of whom come from poor, Muslim countries in the Middle East and Africa or are the children of these immigrants.
Since 1975, when Sweden began to undergo a major societal shift, crime rates have exploded. Violent crime incidents are up 300 percent. Rapes have increased by an unbelievable 1,472%. Grossly overrepresented in these acts of violence against women are Sweden’s rapidly growing immigrant Muslim population.
Yet, Margot Wallstrom, Sweden’s Social Democrat foreign minister, who has rightly been praised for pursuing a “feminist” foreign policy (most famously by very publicly criticizing Saudi Arabia’s repression of women), ignored the enormous challenges facing her own small country and instead chose to focus her attention on what she apparently believes is the real problem plaguing the world – the Jewish state.
A Less Awful Kind of Terrorism?
Terrorism is terrorism no matter where it occurs or the identity of its victims. The notion that Israeli terror victims such as the latest ones, a rabbi and his son who were shot dead on the same day as the Parris attacks, are not worthy of the same sympathy that the French victims receive is abhorrent. Palestinian terrorists have no more right to gun down, stab or blow up Israeli Jews than ISIS has to kill people in Paris. Nor should the constant drumbeat of terror against Israel reduce our sense of outrage about these crimes. Whatever one’s view about Israeli policies or those of Western governments fighting ISIS, Jews who are killed by Palestinians don’t have it coming any more than concertgoers in Paris or office workers in New York.
The goal of Palestinian terrorists is fundamentally similar to that of ISIS. Those who believe that Israel’s unwillingness to compromise or its settlement policies are the reason why the conflict persists are wrong. As the Palestinians have proven time and again over the course of the last century, this dispute isn’t about territory. Or at least not about where the border between a Jewish state and a Palestinian one might be placed. The Palestinians have refused every offer of compromise over the last century including multiple offers of a state including almost all of the West Bank, a share of Jerusalem, and Gaza in just the last 15 years. To this day, even Abbas, the supposed moderate, refuses to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders might be drawn. Their goal is an existential one: the destruction of Israel and end of Jewish sovereignty over any portion of the country.
Nor is terrorism caused by a sense of despair over the lack of progress toward peace as many of Israel’s critics assert. Indeed, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom even went so far as to say the desperate state of the Palestinians is fueling terror against Europeans. Palestinians may well feel despair, but the reason for their plight is their own unwillingness to countenance a compromise that would end the conflict even on terms that were favorable to their cause.
Just as important is the fact that the current wave of terror against Israel, the so-called “stabbing intifada” (though it has also involved shootings and the use of gasoline bombs and lethal rocks) has been primarily incited by the same kind of religious extremism that we associate with ISIS. The canards about Israelis seeking to destroy the mosques on the Temple Mount that Abbas has used are specifically designed to promote a religious war, not a mere political protest. Just as ISIS wants to destroy Western infidels, Palestinian killers similarly see all Jews as targets using much the same reasoning.
Finally, we must confront the most important reason why anti-Israel terrorism is treated differently by much of the world.
The driving force behind the double standard is anti-Semitism. Only one country in the world is marked for elimination by a broad movement of critics. That one country also happens to be the one Jewish state on the planet. The willingness of much of the world to accept or even to view with complacency, terror attacks on Israel is rooted in attitudes toward Jews. A rising tide of anti-Semitism around the globe is not a reaction to Israelis policies or actions. Nor are the grievances of the Palestinians a natural reaction to anything Israeli has done. Israel is singled out because traditional prejudice against Jews has morphed in this generation into a slightly more acceptable version of the old hate. Those who wish to destroy the one Jewish state are merely acting out the same old sad story of Jew hatred. That others think murderous terror carried out in the name of that cause is somehow different from Islamist attacks on Westerners is a product of that same disease.
Police arrest 16-year-old in attempted stabbing attack near Hebron
Border police forces arrested a 16-year-old boy near the Cave of the Patriarchs on Wednesday morning in an attempted stabbing attack, according to the Police spokespersons unit.
The suspect suspiciously approached the security forces who noticed a knife in his hand. The officers called to the suspect to stop. Security forced subdued the suspect without incident.
The suspect, a resident of Hebron, has been taken in for questioning. There were no injuries reported in the incident.
The Hebron area has been a repeated scene of attempted attacks against Israeli security forces and civilians over the last few weeks.
IDF troops come under fire near Ramallah
Three Palestinian gunmen shot at IDF troops who were partaking in routine route security next to the town of Turmus Ayya in the Binyamin area of the West Bank on Tuesday.
The IDF soldiers from the Haredi "Netzah Yehuda" battalion returned fire, killing one terrorist and wounding and two others. The two additional assailants were arrested and treated at the scene by MDA medics. No injuries were reported among the IDF forces.
According to the IDF, the soldiers were in a military vehicle and were stationed as part of an effort to boost security at certain high-risk road junctions. The three terrorists arrived in a car, exited near the troops and opened fire.
Gaza rocket fire prompts IDF retaliatory strike
The IDF says it destroyed two “terror infrastructures” in the Gaza Strip early Wednesday in response to the firing of a rocket at Israel by a Palestinian terror group from the territory.
Israel Air Force planes bombed two targets in central and northern Gaza, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said.
“The IDF sees in the terror group Hamas the sole responsible party for what is happening in Gaza, and will continue to act aggressively to ensure the safety of [Israel’s] southern towns,” the army said.
There was no immediate report of damage or casualties from the IDF strike.
Palestinian terrorists fired a rocket from the Gaza Strip at Israel on Tuesday evening. The rocket landed next to the border fence separating the Palestinian territory from the Jewish state, although it remains unclear whether it landed inside Gaza or Israel.
Shin Bet arrests would-be ISIS recruits from Israeli Arab town
The Shin Bet and the Israel Police have arrested six Israeli Arabs from the small town of Jaljulya they say conspired to travel to Syria by land and by paraglider in order to join the Islamic State.
The case was cleared for publication on Wednesday when the members of the cell were indicted on charges including contact with a foreign agent, conspiracy and attempted illegal crossing to an enemy state.
The investigation was launched following a highly-publicized incident last month in which an Israeli Arab man – 23-year-old Jaljulya native Nadal Salah - paraglided into Syria from the Golan Heights to join the jihadi group on October 24th. Reports that an Israeli had drifted over the border into Syria sent security forces scrambling across the Golan Heights in a race against time to find the man, before they determined later in the day that the man had crossed over intentionally in order to join rebel groups in Syria.
The Shin Bet on Wednesday said that already the same night that Salah crossed into Syria they along with police arrested two brothers from Jaljulya who they say helped Salah. Under questioning, Jihad Hagla, 26, and Ahab Hagla, 22, began giving up the names of their accomplices, and investigators realized they were dealing with a cell of ISIS supporters looking to make their way to Syria to join the jihadi group.
57% of Arab Israelis say Islamic Movement represents them
Results of research showing the 2015 index for relations between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel, published partially for the first time on Tuesday, show just how far the Arab population supports and identifies with openly pro-terror organizations.
The research, conducted by Professor Sami Samucha, reveals that no less than 57% of Arab citizens of Israel say they feel the radical Islamic Movement in Israel faithfully represents them.
Significantly, the movement was outlawed on Tuesday for its long history of inciting terrorism, organizing and funding violent riots on the Temple Mount, and its close connections with Hamas.
The research also revealed that 42.2% of the Arab population including all its ethnic and religious groups define themselves as fans, members or activists of the Islamic Movement.
No less than 18.2% of Arab Muslim citizens of Israel, and 28.1% of all supporters of the Islamic Movement, said they do not consider Islamic State (ISIS) to be a radical terrorist organization, and that they are not ashamed of the brutal jihadist group.
Russia: Hamas and Hezbollah Are Democratic, Not Terrorists
In contrast to the United States, the Russian regime of Vladimir Putin does not see Hamas and Hezbollah as genocidal terrorist organizations bent on a second holocaust, but as democratic and “legitimate societal-political forces” that they can get along with.
On Monday, the Moscow Times reported the following:
Russia does not consider Hezbollah a terrorist organization, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told a press conference Sunday, the Interfax news agency reported.
“We maintain contacts and relations with [Hezbollah] because we do not consider them a terrorist organization. They have never committed any terrorist attacks on Russian territory,” Bogdanov was cited as saying.
Bogdanov said Hezbollah and Hamas — the main Palestinian armed resistance group — had both been democratically elected and were “legitimate societal-political forces.”
However, both groups have been blacklisted by the United States as terrorist organizations.
“The Americans consider Hamas a terrorist organization. But we don’t agree, because they [represent] an integral part of Palestinian society,” Bogdanov was cited as saying in the report.
ICRC rejects claim that Red Crescent ambulance ignored terror victims
The International Committee of the Red Cross on Tuesday said it is satisfied that the Palestinian Red Crescent Society acts with impartiality, in response to Israeli accusations that a Palestinian ambulance crew ignored Israeli victims of a deadly West Bank terror attack last Friday.
“The ICRC assessment is that the PRCS operates with professionalism and in full respect of the principles of the RCRC [Red Cross Red Crescent] movement, including impartiality,” the Geneva-based humanitarian aid group said in a statement.
“A lot of attention, however, has focused on the alleged failure by the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) to provide due care to the victims,” the ICRC said, referring to the claims that the dead and wounded members of the Litman family were ignored by the ambulance crew. “Impartiality is the cornerstone of any true humanitarian action, and the ICRC takes very seriously any reports to the contrary.
“The PRCS has immediately provided factual accounts, firmly rejected these allegations, and unequivocally reaffirmed its commitment to impartial response,” the statement continued.
Jordan: Only we can access Temple Mount cameras
Jordan's King Abdullah II has announced that he intends to personally monitor the footage from cameras Israel controversially agreed to have placed on the Temple Mount, and that the footage will not be broadcast to Israel - except for segments Jordan decides can be seen by the world.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu agreed to let the Jordanian Waqf place the cameras on the Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, in a "gesture" to reduce tensions during the ongoing Arab terror wave. The Waqf remains in de facto control of the site and has banned Jewish prayer despite Israeli law stipulating freedom of worship, and the cameras are a tool in enforcing that ban.
In response to Abdullah's announcement, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) has called on Netanyahu to cancel the camera initiative, even though Ariel's own party head Naftali Bennett supported placing the cameras, and further voiced his support for banning Jewish prayer at the Mount.
Ariel called to cancel the initiative until it is decided to place cameras in all corners of the Mount, including the mosques, and Israel is promised full access to the footage.
Haaretz Corrects: Bill Doesn't Call For Jailing 12-Year-Olds
Following communication from CAMERA's Israel office, Haaretz's English edition has corrected an editorial which falsely stated that an Israeli bill calls for jailing children as young as 12. Editors have yet to correct, though, a news headline and an Op-Ed by Gideon Levy which make the same false assertion.
Thursday's editorial ("Eroding our democracy," Nov. 12), had incorrectly stated:
After two children stabbed a security guard in Jerusalem, a new response emerged that conforms to the philosophy of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked: reducing the age of criminal accountability and jailing children from age 12 – just as in Eritrea and Morocco.
But, as has been reported in Haaretz's news pages, Shaked's proposal does not call for imprisoning children as young as 12. Nir Hasson reported Nov. 11:
Israel's Justice Ministry has almost finished drafting a bill that would allow children under 14 to be sentenced to jail.
Under the bill, which is the brainchild of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, jail sentences could be handed down to children as young as 12, though the offender would start serving the sentence only when he turned 14. Prison sentences could be imposed on children younger than 14 only if they are convicted of murder, attempted murder or manslaughter, the draft bill states.
Islamic State releases photo of improvised Russian plane bomb
Islamic State's official magazine carried a photo on Wednesday of a Schweppes drink it said was used to make an improvised bomb that brought down a Russian airliner over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula last month, killing all 224 people on board.
The photo showed a can of Schweppes Gold soft drink and what appeared to be a detonator and switch on a blue background, three simple components that if genuine are likely to cause concern for airline safety officials worldwide.
"The divided Crusaders of the East and West thought themselves safe in their jets as they cowardly bombarded the Muslims of the Caliphate," the English language Dabiq magazine said in reference to Russia and the West. "And so revenge was exacted upon those who felt safe in the cockpits."
Western governments have said the plane was likely brought down by a bomb and Moscow confirmed on Tuesday it had reached the same conclusion, but the Egyptian government says it has still not found evidence of criminal action.
Abbas Admits For the First Time That He Turned Down Peace Offer in 2008
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has publicly confirmed for the first time that he turned down a peace offer in 2008 that would have provided for an independent Palestinian state containing all of the Gaza Strip, much of the West Bank (with land swaps), and a tunnel connecting the two areas.
Abbas made his comments in an interview on Israel’s Channel 10, which has been broadcasting a three-part series on the peace talks of 2000 and 2008. According to both Abbas and Ehud Olmert, Israel’s Prime Minister in 2008, Olmert presented Abbas in September of that year with a map that delineated the borders of the future State of Palestine. Abbas said that he “rejected it out of hand” because he claimed not to be an expert on maps, and because Olmert’s domestic scandals meant that he would shortly leave office (Olmert was later convicted of corruption). While both Olmert and other Palestinian leaders have previously said that Abbas turned down a peace proposal, this is the first time that the Palestinian Authority president has admitted as such.
At 24:05 of the video, Channel 10 reporter Raviv Drucker asked Abbas: “In the map that Olmert presented you, Israel would annex 6.3 percent [of the West Bank] and compensate the Palestinians with 5.8 percent [taken from pre-1967 Israel]. What did you propose in return?”
“I did not agree,” Abbas replied. “I rejected it out of hand.”
Netanyahu hints at possible annexations in West Bank
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday hinted at the possibility of an Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank.
“There’s all sorts of unilateral moves and sorts of directions. Wait and see. And they’re not necessarily in the direction that people think,” he said, refusing to elaborate.
Netanyahu first raised the notion of unilateral steps last week, when asked about his plans to prevent Israel from becoming a binational state should a two-state agreement with the Palestinians continue to prove elusive. “Unilateralism… I supposed that’s possible too, but it would have to meet Israeli security criteria and that would also require broader international understanding than exists,” he said at an event in Washington. Later, his aides clarified that he was referring to unilateral steps to improve Israel’s position on the ground — not, as initially reported, possible unilateral withdrawals in the West Bank.
Addressing the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference Wednesday, Netanyahu said that there are three aspects to peacemaking: political agreements, security and prosperity. Asked by the paper’s diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon whether he envisioned any unilateral steps if a peace deal remains elusive, the prime minister replied that Israel is already implementing unilateral steps in the security and economic realms.
Fact-Checking a Fact Check: ThinkProgress Fails on Netanyahu "Falsehoods"
Finally, it is also disingenuous of ThinkProgress to refer to the "one-state solution" supported by Palestinians as a utopian country in which equal rights are shared by all. In fact, according to the very June 2014 poll cited by ThinkProgress, the one-state solution preferred by Palestinian is explicitly not one in which Jews and Arabs share equal rights. Only 10 percent of respondents said they preferred that, while 60 percent selected an answer referring to an irredentist, "reclaimed" Palestinian state that made no mention of equal rights.
This fact check, which reaffirms more than it refutes, can be many things. But it is certainly not a list of falsehoods, and it is dishonest for ThinkProgress (and J Street, which shared the article on Twitter) to pretended it was.
Whatever one thinks of this or that policy by Netanyahu, and whatever one thinks of the views he promoted during the Center for American Progress discussion, his facts last week generally withstand scrutiny. ThinkProgress, though purporting to be the fact checker, doesn't come off quite as well.
Time to Defund the International Criminal Court
Established in 2002, the ICC is an impotent billion euro white elephant. 2015 has been a particularly bad year for the court. It has botched the Kenyan cases it has undertaken and its continuing alienation from Africa was centre stage internationally when South Africa, previously a keen member, publicly ignored ICC arrest warrants and appears on the verge of withdrawal from the organisation – something seen by observers as a death knell for the court.
The International Criminal Court has self-evidently failed across the board. In 2010 the ICC-friendly Economist had already found it necessary to publish an article about the ICC entitled “International justice: Courting disaster?” Things have worsened considerably since then. The ICC has consumed more than a billion euros in its 13-year existence and has only secured two deeply questionable convictions. The ICC’s claims to international jurisdiction and judicial independence are institutionally flawed and the court’s reputation has been irretrievably damaged by its racism, blatant double standards, hypocrisy, corruption and serious judicial irregularities. The Assembly of State Parties should also accept that it has grotesquely neglected its responsibility to manage the court. The ASP has turned a blind eye to systemic failure on the part of the ICC.
While the ICC pretends to be the world’s court this is simply not the case. Its members, however, represent under one-third of the world’s population: China, Russia, the United States, Pakistan and Indonesia are just some of the many countries that have remained outside the court’s jurisdiction. India, the world’s largest democracy, has chosen not to join the ICC because the court is subordinate to the United Nations Security Council and because it does not criminalise terrorism and the use of nuclear weapons. The United States has forcefully pointed out that the ICC is a kangaroo court, a travesty of justice open to political influence, and has said that no American citizen will ever come before it. That said, Washington is perfectly happy when it suits American foreign policy objectives to demand that black Africans appear before a deeply flawed court peddling sub-prime justice.
Can ICC recognize ‘Palestine’ even if move violates international law?
Headlining the conference was Charles Allen, a top US Department of Defense official on the laws of war, and the architect of the department’s manual on those laws.
On Tuesday, the conference’s attention turned to the debate over whether Palestine is a state for the purposes of pursuing war crimes allegations against Israel at the International Criminal Court.
Ronen, who after seven years in the foreign ministry legal department has spent more than a decade in academia, said even though the process leading to ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda recognizing Palestine was problematic, statehood is a self-evident fact.
Noam disagreed, presenting the case that Israel has continued to make – that Bensouda should reverse her decision.
The two international law experts agreed there was no State of Palestine the first time the issue came before the ICC prosecutor’s office during the 2009 to April 2012 period – which even the ICC Prosecutor agreed with at that time.
They also both seemed to consider Bensouda’s decision to recognize Palestine as a state in January 2015 on the basis of a November 29, 2012 vote by the UN General Assembly, endorsed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, as at the very least questionable.
But there the two parted ways – and with crucial implications.
Israel said mulling downgrading ties with Europeans over labels
Israel has reportedly decided upon punitive measures against 16 European countries that pushed the European Union’s foreign policy chief to promote an initiative to label products made in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
The measures against the countries are expected to include reprimanding ambassadors of all 16 countries and limiting their contact with Israeli officials to meetings with low-level staffers, according to a Wednesday report in Hebrew-language daily Yedioth Ahronoth.
Jerusalem may also minimize the amount of expertise it shares with Europe on issues like fighting terror and dealing with migrants.
The countries are Britain, France, Denmark, Spain, Ireland, Croatia, Malta, Holland, Sweden, Portugal, Slovenia, Italy, Luxembourg, Austria, Belgium and Finland.
European Parliament Delegation Calls Israeli Product Labeling ‘a Mistake’
Israel received a boost of support on Tuesday as it continued to voice its objection to the European Union’s decision to label Israeli products made in Judea and Samaria, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Israel chairman Fulvio Martusciello, visiting the Knesset with his delegation on Tuesday, called the decision to label Israeli products “a mistake.”
“Europe is loud about Israel, but quiet about 200 other conflicts around the world,” Martusciello told his Israeli hosts.
European Parliament Member Marijana Petir of Croatia reiterated Martusciello’s sentiments, saying, “We will not boycott Israeli goods.”
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein warned the visiting European parliamentarians that marking products manufactured across the Green Line would actually “hurt the Palestinians workers, employed in the Israeli factories.”
Massachusetts Approves Anti-Israel Ads, But Still Rejects Pro-Israel Ads
The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) has approved a new viciously anti-Israel ad that the state body had previously rejected.
The poster, which showcases a picture of a child with the word “Violence” in bold print and large, capitalized letters, reads: “Since September, 2000 ISRAEL’S MILITARY has killed one Palestinian child every 4 days*, using U.S. tax dollars.”
When the poster was rejected, the left-wing American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) intervened on behalf of the Palestine Advocacy Project, a group formerly known as Ads Against Apartheid. The ACLU argued that the group should have protected speech under the First Amendment to the Constitution.
While first stating that the propaganda display violated the MBTA policy regarding incessant language towards individuals or groups of people, the transit authority overturned its previous ruling. The ACLU has taken credit for the pro-Palestinian group’s success, according to Sarah Wunch, the deputy legal director of the ACLU in Massachusetts.
The MBTA told JTA that the ads now comply as “viewpoint neutral standards for all advertising displayed on MBTA property.”
However, the MBTA still refuses to run pro-Israel ads submitted by Breitbart contributor and free-speech activist Pamela Geller.
Stop taxpayer subsidies for anti-Israel boycott groups
I was a guest last night on the Mark Levin Show, the 4th highest rated talk show in the country with over 7 million weekly listeners, regarding our post, ALERT: Faculty Association anti-Israel Boycott season has started.
WAJ: “If there’s any congressmen listening now, there’s a very easy way to address this. Nobody has a right to be a tax-exempt organization, and there are rules in the IRS Code that prohibit certain conduct by tax-exempt organizations, such as lobbying. Even though lobbying is constitutionally protected right, it’s right in the First Amendment. Nonetheless, you don’t have a right to get a tax exemption and be a lobbyist.
Congress could very easily amend the IRS Code and Regulations to indicate that you can’t be a tax-exempt organization and enage in this sort of distructive”
Levin: “What you’re saying is right, I know that for a fact. Individual citizens can file complaints with the IRS against these organizations.”
WAJ: That’s right, and I did, and I filed one against the American Studies Association, a whistleblower complaint, almost two years ago, have heard nothing from the IRS. I don’t know if I ever will hear anything from the IRS. We submitted … a very lengthy brief on why the American Studies Association has violated the existing rules. But IRS has done nothing.
I think it’s going to take Congressional action. And I think they can do it. Because these people have the right to boycott whoever they want to boycott. They have a right to espouse whatever views they want. But they don’t have a right to a taxpayer subsidy to do it, and that’s what they’re getting now. And I don’t think they would be doing this if their tax-exempt status was on the line.”

New Video supports UT-Austin Israeli Studies Prof. after confrontation by protesters
Yesterday morning we posted about an incident at UT-Austin, in which protesters from the Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC), led by law student Mohammed Nabulsi, disrupted an event hosted by Professor Ami Pedahzur of UT’s Institute for Israeli Studies. The invited guest speaker was Dr. Gil-Li Vardi from Stanford University.
For full details, see Anti-Israel students target UT-Austin Israeli Studies prof after disrupting his speech.
Since then, the dispute has gone national with attempts by PSC and its supporters to get Prof. Pedahzur fired based on an edited video released by PSC.
UT-Austin disruption speech Ami Pedhazur 2
The edited video, however, shows the protesters refusing to leave or to participate, and instead shouting down others and chanting “Long Live the Intifada.” The Intifadas have been the bloody series of uprisings which included suicide bombings (the Second Intifada which led to construction of the security barrier) and the current Knife Intifada which is ongoing. They also chanted “We want ’48, we don’t want two states” (a reference to the desire to undo the creation of Israel in 1948).
The edited PSC video does not show, contrary to PSC claims, an assault by Prof. Pedahzur; rather, it shows him trying to get the protesters to stop the disruption and to participate in the event.
Legal Insurrection has obtained exclusive video of the end of the event from the hallway outside which backs up Prof. Pedahzur’s account.
CODEPINK’s ‘Boycott Israel’ Hypocrisy Is Hilarious
Round trip airfare to Israel – $1500. Two nights in a Jerusalem hotel – $500. Spending thousands of dollars to travel to the Jewish state to endorse the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement –need-to-change-my-shorts hysterical.
What sounds like a Saturday Night Live sketch or possibly an article written by the satirical news website The Onion, is a real-life comedy of errors. The perpetrators of this asinine performance are the cast and characters of the virulently anti-Israel, progressive comedy troupe NGO, CODEPINK.
Billing themselves as supporting “peace and human rights initiatives” and “against racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, ageism, and other forms of oppression and prejudice,” you’d think they’d be Israel’s biggest fans.
Where else in the Middle East can you go to find equal rights for women, religious freedom for all, LGBTQ equality and full rights for Arabs, Africans or any minority group that holds citizenship? From Gaza to Tehran, gay men and women are tortured and executed, Christians are routinely massacred and women can find themselves beheaded for allowing themselves to be raped. But this is the existence CODEPINK promotes when it preaches the annihilation of Israel, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
Last week, CODEPINK decided to reaffirm its commitment to boycott Israel, by pulling out the corporate American Express card and visiting the Jewish state. In a publicity stunt that undermines its own message, two CODEPINK activists came to Israel in order to protest at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. While at the Jewish holy site, they posed with anti-Zionist banners and signs supporting a boycott against Israel.
I couldn’t help but wonder where they were staying and where they dined for lunch. I’m fat; I think about food a lot.
2 women arrested over German synagogue attack
Two women have been arrested after attacking a synagogue in the east German city of Cottbus.
Police say the 21 and 36-year-old women smashed several windows of Brandenburg state’s only synagogue early Wednesday morning.
Spokesman Torsten Wendt said the women had previously been spotted by police in the vicinity of the synagogue on Tuesday morning.
He said high levels of alcohol were measured on the women’s breath. Officers are still waiting to interview them and determine whether they had a far-right motive.
Israeli Neuroscience Startup Raises $28 Million In Financing
ElMindA, the Israeli pioneer in neuroscience-based technology for analyzing brain network functionality, has announced an oversubscribed $28 million round of Series C financing.
The proceeds will be used to continue advancement of ElMindA’s proprietary BNA (Brain Network Activation) system, which uses multi-channel EEG-ERP electrophysiology technology to provide a more accurate, objective assessment of brain functionality over time. BNA is a non-invasive technology for measuring and analyzing brain function.
Investors in this new round of funding include the Chinese investment firm Shanda Group, the Swiss company Healthcrest AG, and The Kraft Group, a grouping of companies held by the family of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
“We are thrilled to have attracted such a strong group of new and existing investors,” said Ronen Gadot, chief executive officer of ElMindA. “This support is a testament to the vast potential of BNA technology to advance our understanding of how the brain works, and to positively impact people’s lives. We plan to bring BNA to the forefront as a significant resource to monitor and manage the health of your brain throughout the course of your life.”
Gadot says ElMindA will also use the funds for commercial and clinical adoption following BNA’s 2014 FDA clearance in the U.S.
‘I Hope This Film Can Bring Some Light and Hope’
Marina Willer, a filmmaker and graphic designer, wants to tell the story of her family, one of 12 to survive the Nazi occupation of Prague, Czechoslovakia and escape to Brazil in her new project, Red Trees. Their incredible journey will be formulated and told through the stories of Willer’s father, Alfred, an architect who was just a boy during World War II, and his father. And even though the film will focus on the Holocaust, it remains a story of strength and survival. Said Willer: “It was incredibly tough to go to the concentration camps where my great grandmother died. It was very tough to go to the synagogue where all those names are written on the wall of the victims of the Nazi[s]. It was devastating. But I want to make this film a really positive uplifting film.”
Anne Frank gets co-author to extend copyright
Copyright reform advocates and Holocaust historians are up in arms after the foundation that owns the rights to the Diary of Anne Frank last week attempted to extend its hold on the work by several decades.
On Friday, less than two months before the book’s copyright is set to expire and a year after it first announced its intention to do so, the Switzerland-based Anne Frank Foundation sent publishers a warning asserting that its ownership will not expire on the 70th anniversary of the young Frank’s death as expected, as her father, who never claimed authorship during his lifetime, was a co-author.
Claiming Otto Frank, who founded the foundation and died in 1980, as one of the creators of the work would allow for an extension of 35 years, leaving the widely read diaries as its current owners’ property until 2050.
In his introduction to his daughter’s diary, which she wrote in hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam during the World War II, Frank explicitly stated that the complete book was the work of his daughter.
Anne died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp shortly before its liberation.
Why Sean Penn is coming to Israel
During the years since I founded Tevel b’Tzedek, an Israeli-based organization that works in poor villages in places like Nepal, Haiti and Burundi, I have often been asked whether Tevel’s purpose is to help create a positive image of Israel abroad. And I have always answered no. We do what we do, I say, because it gives us joy, because the villagers have a lot to teach us about life, and because of our belief, rooted in Jewish tradition, that we are all part of a single, unified world. If anything, our Jewish agenda is internal: by stretching the horizons of Judaism towards global poverty and the environment, we teach a younger generation to see their Judaism as a powerful platform for creating a more just, beautiful and sustainable world. I believe that if our help for others was meant to create publicity for Israel, Tevel would lose the depth and power that comes from our “leshma,” from doing what we do for its own sake.
And yet, over the years, it has become clear to me doing good in the far flung (for us) corners of the globe does change people’s hearts and minds about Israel. In Nepal and in Haiti, celebrities such as Chelsea Clinton and Jimmy Carter, as well as more than one Prime Minister of Nepal and President of Haiti, have been struck by the ability of our young Israeli volunteers and staff to understand a situation, to connect with local people, to create community and help locals catalyze real change. Outside of the usually highly mediated and guarded channels of power and celebrity, in what is for them a “temporary autonomous zone”, it’s often easier for trend-makers and celebrities to drop their preconceptions and see things with new eyes.
It was in Haiti that we got to know Sean Penn — and Sean got to know us. Tevel doesn’t “do” disasters — usually. We believe that extreme poverty itself is a disaster, and that long term work on the grass roots level, building community leadership and capacity in areas like agriculture and education, are key parts of addressing destitution. But when the earthquake struck Port au Prince in 2009, several Tevel alumni, who had worked in villages in Nepal, were adamant that they wanted to go to Haiti. I called Shachar Zahavi at IsraAID, because I thought IsraAID, at that time an umbrella organization that did not work directly in the field themselves, could connect our volunteers with an organization with boots on the ground. “If you go as an organization, we’ll fund it,” Shachar said. “I know your reputation. I want you to go.”
Stand With Us: How Azerbaijan restored my hope in Israel
We arrived in Azerbaijan knowing nothing about this ancient people and new nation-state. We left a week later in love with this proud country, its generous government, and its beautiful people. We left filled with a renewed hope that coexistence between Muslims and Jews can be genuine, deep-rooted and all-encompassing.
Upon arrival, we learned some basic facts about Azerbaijan that seemingly do not exist in this combination anywhere else. First, it is a Muslim, democratic nation. Second, there has never been a pogrom in Azerbaijan. There is simply no anti-Semitism. This is not just a function of no incitement to violence by clerics. The people are proud of their pluralism and ethnic communities. Third, the government and people openly support the State of Israel. People on the street greeted us warmly when we told them we were visiting from Israel. In one of the high ranking government official’s offices, an Israeli flag stood alongside the Azerbaijan flag.
In addition, both Azerbaijan and Israel face existential threats from Islamic fundamentalism. Both are ancient, small countries surrounded by threatening nations. Both have diverse religious and ethnic populations—just as an Israeli-Arab sits on Israel’s Supreme Court, a Jewish woman sits on Azerbaijan’s Supreme Court.
While these are the facts that make Azerbaijan unique, the remarkable aspects of this nation are not in the facts but in the details.

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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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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