Tuesday, January 12, 2016

From Ian:

So, I guess it wasn’t all Israel’s fault after all
A friend of mine recently lamented that the Western media was downplaying the brutal string of Palestinian stabbings that has claimed 25 Israeli lives since September.
I nodded in assent, but couldn’t help recalling the closing scene of the film Casablanca. With religious and ethno-sectarian violence rampant in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and across the Arab world claiming several tens of thousands of lives every year, fuelling an unprecedented wave of global Sunni Islamist terror, Israeli-Palestinian troubles “just don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.”
It wasn’t so very long ago that the vast majority of Western pundits thought otherwise. Since Israel stood alone as the most vilified antagonist in Arab public life for over six decades, outside observers assumed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be a singular affront to Arabs everywhere, a cause of their collective political dysfunction, and therefore a leading source of the Middle East’s problems. Arab anger toward Israel “weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes,” explained U.S. CENTCOM commander David H. Petraeus in 2010.
Take away the source of this anger, the reasoning went, and problems such as poverty, Islamism, and the like would be easier to solve. Israelis and Palestinians both played into the belief that a solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict would allow for a “new” Middle East (foreign aid supplicants rarely lead with, “Not that this matters much …”). A half-century of American diplomacy was built on this premise.
Caroline Glick: In Pakistan, they trust
It is a testament to the precarious state of the world today that in a week that saw North Korea carry out a possible test of a hydrogen bomb, the most frightening statement uttered did not come from Pyongyang.
It came from Pakistan.
Speaking in the military garrison town of Rawalpindi, Pakistani Army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif said that any Iranian threat to Saudi Arabia’s territorial integrity will “wipe Iran off the map.”
Sharif made the statement following his meeting with Saudi Arabia’s defense minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. According to media reports, Salman was the second senior Saudi official to visit Pakistan in the past week amid growing tensions between Iran and the kingdom.
Salman’s trip and Sharif’s nuclear threat make clear that following the US’s all-but-official abandonment of its role as protector of the world’s largest oil producer, the Saudis have cast their lots with nuclear-armed Pakistan.
When last October, the USS Harry Truman exited the Persian Gulf, the move marked the first time since 2007 that the US lacked an aircraft carrier in the region. Nine years ago, the US naval move was not viewed as a major statement of strategic withdrawal, given that back then the US had some one hundred thousand troops in Iraq.
Dennis Ross: How Obama Created a Mideast Vacuum
Few issues have confronted President Barack Obama with tougher dilemmas than Syria. Over the course of the nearly five years of the war within Syria, Obama has faced choices on how the United States should respond and he consistently decided to do the minimum. From the outset, when Bashar Assad’s response to calls for reform was draconian and turned peaceful demonstrations into an uprising, the president’s first instinct was avoidance. He looked at Syria and he saw entanglement in another ongoing Middle East conflict where our involvement would be costly, lead to nothing, and potentially make things worse. In nearly every meeting on Syria when presented possible options to affect the Syrian civil war, the president would ask “tell me where this ends.”
He was surely right to ask this question. But he failed to ask the corollary question: Tell me what happens if we don’t act? Had he known that not acting would produce a vacuum in which a humanitarian catastrophe, a terrible refugee crisis, a deepening proxy war and the rise of ISIL in Iraq and Syria would occur, his responses might have been different. However, it was hard for him to ask that question because when he looked at Syria, he saw Iraq.
But Syria has always been a different issue. This was not an American invasion of a country but an internal uprising against an authoritarian leader. Assad consciously made it a sectarian conflict, believing he could survive only if the Alawites, and other minorities, saw their survival depending on his. Soon, thereafter, it was transformed into a proxy war largely pitting Saudi Arabia and Turkey against Iran. A vacuum was created not by our replacing the Assad regime but by our hesitancy to do more than offer pronouncements—by overlearning the lessons of Iraq, in effect. And, that vacuum was filled by others: Iran, Hezbollah and Iran’s other Shia militia proxies; Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar; Russia; and ISIL. Unless the U.S. does more now to fill this vacuum, the situation will spin further out of control.
Former Russian TV anchor - Liz Wahl: Fight anti-Israel media bias
In March 2014, the crisis in Ukraine had reached a pivotal juncture. Thousands of people took to the streets to protest corrupt government leadership and violent crackdowns. Dozens were killed and hundreds wounded. During these times of deadly conflict and chaos, it was critical for the media to try to get the story right. However, working as a TV anchor for Russia Today (RT), I soon realized I was part of an organization actively dedicated to skewing the facts.
The Russian state-funded station was part of a larger propaganda campaign portraying protesters as bloodthirsty fascists in an effort to misrepresent the conflict and justify Russian action. As the death toll grew, I was horrified to be part of what was becoming a manipulation machine. After the Ukraine coverage ended, I resigned, live on air, referencing the bias as the reason for my decision.
That decision put me at the center of a viral news story. I received a flood of messages, mostly on social media. Many were encouraging and inspiring but plenty were also bizarre and vile. Beyond the profanities and sexist remarks, I found the wave of anti-Semitic hate particularly shocking and confusing. I am not Jewish and I do not have any ties to Israel. But the accusations of being a “Zionist neocon” were unrelenting.
The assertion was that I was part of a Jewish, Zionist plot. Some radical anti-Israel activists wrote an article portraying my resignation as part of a conspiracy with war-hungry neocons pulling my strings to provide a pretext for another Cold War. I had become used to the knee-jerk reaction of a paranoid population attributing any atrocity to a nefarious conspiracy by power-hungry evildoers intent on controlling the world. But here they accused the Jews specifically of being behind it.



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Honest Reporting: Mein Kampf Used to Assault Israel
The UK Channel 4’s Paul Mason has penned an opinion piece in The Guardian titled “As Mein Kampf returns to Germany, the world is again awash with hatred.” As Hitler’s Mein Kampf is republished in Germany following its copyright expiration (albeit annotated with critical context), it appears eminently reasonable on the part of Mason to look back in history how in a short period of time from penning his racist screed, Hitler went from a fringe extremist to the Nazi leader who unleashed war and genocide on the world.
It is also perfectly legitimate to relate this to current events. Mason writes:
Since 1945, every generation in the educated world has been taught “the lessons” of the rise of Nazism. But surveying the world at the start of 2016 it seems as if we have been learning the wrong lessons. The world is awash with hatred. And since around a quarter of its inhabitants have mobile social media accounts we are leaving a very detailed evidential trail about its spread.
But then comes the nasty surprise:
Israeli social media, for example, has been, since the 2014 Gaza conflict, gripped with narratives of race hate towards Arabs. This, in turn, has fuelled a growing attack on Israeli Jewish human rights organisations; the government is forcing them to declare their “foreign funding”. Now, amid the rising hate speech, the Jerusalem offices of prominent human rights group B’Tselem have gone up in flames – the result, says the group, of an arson attack.
Is it a coincidence that Mason has singled out Israel as the first example of what he believes to be rising hatred and racism? It is a commonly used rhetorical weapon employed by Israel-haters to single out the Jewish people as having failed to learn the lessons of the Holocaust by treating Palestinians in the same way or worse than the Nazis treated the Jews.
Whether consciously or subconsciously, Mason is expressing the view that Jewish Israelis have not learned the lessons of the rise of Nazism.
Germans’ huge interest in ‘Mein Kampf’ shows a will to ‘cope with the past’
The overwhelming success of a new, critically annotated version of Hitler’s Mein Kampf that was published in Germany last week stems from the German people’s desire, still strong 70 years after World War II, to come to terms with the country’s dark past, one of Israel’s leading Holocaust scholars said Tuesday.
The sale of thousands of copies of the new edition, turning Hitler’s manifesto into a German bestseller, Dan Michman said, should not raise concerns about it fueling a new wave of anti-Semitism. Those who sought inspiration from Hitler didn’t need a new, scholarly edition to read the Nazi leader’s screed, he noted, since it was already widely available elsewhere.
Published Friday amid great controversy, the two annotated volumes of Hitler’s anti-Semitic screed sold out instantly. The great interest in the work surprised even the Institute for Contemporary History, which published it. Having initially printed only 4,000 copies — but receiving more than three times as many orders by publication day — the institute quickly moved to print thousands of additional copies, and is vowing to maintain an uninterrupted distribution to all those who are interested.
IsraellyCool: The End Of The Green Line
If we have to do anything immediately (and I’m not sure we need to) we should annex our large population blocks and treat the Arabs in Area C as legal aliens with residency rights. The same as, say, voting rights for French or all other EU citizens living in London are treated. Last time I looked EU citizens couldn’t vote in UK General Elections and the UK was still a democracy. Local elections for local representation but the national stuff, defence, foreign policy etc., completely out of their control. I’d live with that.
We simply can’t have equality while they bring their kids up in hate and we very largely don’t. We were never equal. It was a myopic vision of founders who never fully understood the power of Islam’s utter rejection of Jews who shrugged off Dhimmitude or decided to believe in a fantasy Islam that hasn’t come into being yet.
I don’t have a fully figured out plan, but then it seems neither does anyone else.
But I know this: I live in a suburb of Tel Aviv. And most of the Israelis I meet around my kids’ school would be naturally counted as leaning left on “peace”. Twenty years ago, they tell me, they would have moved every Jew back behind the green line if it would have solved every problem. Most of them agreed with throwing Jews out of their homes in Gaza. Many of them would have signed over Jerusalem too. I don’t know any today who still think that way.
The Green Line Lie, the lie that we’re in a struggle over land, is over. It is Arabs who are the invaders and colonisers not Jews. Islam can’t ever accept the ending of the Dhimmitude of the Jews. Islam will drive Arabs to kill Jews forever. There is nothing we can do to stop their desire to kill us. Most of us have grasped this, moving back to a fake border established in one war won’t help.
A Saudi-to-Haifa, Israel oil pipeline can save the world
In World War II, British tanks in Egypt heroically battled Rommel’s tanks coming east from Libya. There have been many movies and TV shows made about these grand battles.
No one seems to have asked a simple question:
Where did the British get the raw unrefined oil, and then the refined oil to fuel their tanks and battleships of the Mediterranean Sea?
Answer: The 500,000 Jews of Mandate Palestine saved Palestine from the Nazi-lover Jerusalem Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini by refining the oil that was transited by a pipeline from the Mesopotamian oil fields to Haifa. Without the 500,000 Jews of 1930-1940 pre-Israel Israel, Great Britain would have been wiped out of the Eastern Mediterranean before the War began.
An Arab-Israel pipeline can save the world in what is shaping up into World War III just as the Arab-Pre-Israel pipeline saved the world in World War II.
In the unlikely, but possible, event that Russia and Iran succeed in decimating the Sunnis from Iraq through to Syria, win the contiguous land corridor from Iran to Syria and Lebanon and build an oil and gas pipeline to the Eastern Mediterranean, Saudi Arabia and the oil kingdoms have to have an answer or they will be wiped out by the Iran-Russian pipeline.
Death of an Anti-Israel Resolution
Historians this Saturday, at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association, resoundingly rejected an anti-Israel resolution. The final vote was 111-51 against the resolution which, among other things, would have committed the AHA to “monitoring Israeli actions restricting the right to education in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
The proposal that an association of American academics devoted to the study and promotion of history and historical thinking would monitor the actions of a sovereign state in the Middle East gives one an idea of the arrogance of the crafters of the resolution. What next? Shall they constitute themselves as a peacekeeping force? Another piece of the resolution, a call for the “reversal of Israeli policies that restrict the freedom of movement,” without any regard for Israeli security needs, gives one an idea of the moral and intellectual seriousness of the resolution. But I will not dwell on the resolution’s defects because they have been so well covered by the Alliance for Academic Freedom, by the historian Jeffrey Herf and by the blogger William Jacobson.
Instead, let me focus on what can be learned from this important win.
First, there is still an audience for the view that the integrity of scholarly organizations demands that they avoid becoming vehicles for political activism. As Herf put it last year, after a similar resolution failed a crucial procedural vote:
Accustomed as we are to spending hundreds of hours working on thousands of documents to ascertain what actually happened in the past, it was absurd for us to presume that as historians we could determine where a bomb fell in Gaza or what the details of a particular travel entry issue were. Presumably, members realized that they should not be railroaded into reaching decisions about important resolutions on the basis of political opinions rather than the norms of scholarship.
The Last Temptation of Barack Obama and John Kerry
It’s clearly a counterintuitive call. Any number of reasons would argue against “doing anything” — high odds of failure, tensions with Netanyahu, and plenty of other Middle Eastern business from stopping the Islamic State to putting Syria back together to ramping up a military operation to take back Mosul. But Obama’s desire to leave his fingerprints on the Palestinian issue represents the last temptation in his foreign-policy agenda. But that effort may not focus on a real negotiation or an actual breakthrough between the parties, though at a minimum it will revolve around an effort to leave an American or international framework or set of parameters that outlines the administration’s view of what a solution might be by year’s end.
And here’s why:
First, there’s unfinished business. Two days after his inauguration in 2009, the president, standing with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, appointed George Mitchell his special envoy to deal with the peace process. Later on in various comments and remarks, Obama went on to make some foolish promises about delivering an Israeli-Palestinian agreement within two years and made an equally unwise commitment to a comprehensive settlements freeze. None of this, of course, materialized, and in the years that followed, Obama was beaten by Netanyahu at almost every diplomatic turn, his credibility on those promises eventually in tatters.
And while the Iran nuclear agreement showed that the president was willing to fight and win with Bibi over something in which he believed, I believe he’d like to deliver something that shows he’s still got game on the peace process, too. And if Obama has demonstrated anything — sometimes to a fault — it is that he will act, if necessary, unilaterally.
Peres: We have to close our eyes a bit, and make peace
Last month, rumors flooded the Internet that former Israeli president Shimon Peres was dead. True to form, the man who tirelessly trumpets his country’s high-tech sector took to Facebook to clear the air.
“I wish to thank the citizens of Israel for the support, concern and interest, and wish to clarify that the rumors are false,” wrote Peres, a Nobel Prize winner. “I’m continuing with my daily schedule as usual to do whatever I can to assist the State of Israel and its citizens.”
Having fought for Israel before the state even existed, leading its military through its formative years and founding two of the nation’s first kibbutzim, Peres, now 92, is the last man standing from the generation that built Israel. Appointed director general of the Defense Ministry in 1953 at the age of 29, Peres’s political career has spanned seven decades, ending just over a year ago with the conclusion of his seven-year stint as president.
Yet when Peres announced he was still alive, he meant very much alive — and very much still in action. On a typical day, he is up at 4:30 a.m. to read and “do sport” (he walks on the treadmill). By 8:30 he is at his office, and he often works until 11 p.m.
Speaking to JTA from the Peres Center for Peace, the nonprofit he founded in 1996 to promote coexistence, Peres discussed why he’s busier than ever — and why he still hasn’t given up on peace.
Once staunch critic, Cyprus now sees Israel as fighting for its survival
Neophytou, also chairman of the Foreign and European Affairs Committee in the Cypriot House of Representatives, told The Jerusalem Post that over the last decade his country – once, alongside Greece, among the most critical of Israel in Europe – now has a “clearer picture” of the Jewish state.
“It is a country of eight million fighting a struggle for survival and having to face hundreds of millions of Muslims and Arabs, part of whom don’t even recognize the right of the existence of a Jewish state,” he said. “So which side is strong, and which side is weak? Which side is fighting for survival?” Neophytou, in the country for three days meeting senior officials including President Reuven Rivlin and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, said Cypriots now identify with Israel, since it too is a small country of 800,000 people struggling for its survival. Turkey, its massive neighbor to the north, has a population of about 75 million.
For years, he said, Cyprus had the “wrong perception of Israel,” partly because it was for so long an active member of the Non-Aligned Movement, before joining the EU in 2004.
“For decades Israel was blamed for creating the instability in the region, but can anyone credibly blame Israel for the instability in Syria, the threat of Islamic State, the Arab Spring that turned into an Arab winter, or the chaos in Libya and Iraq?” he said.
Shmuley Boteach: Hillary Clinton’s Troubling Relationship With an Israel-Hater Adviser
Who is Max Blumenthal, why is he a Hillary Clinton Israel Svengali and does he pose as big a headache for Hillary as Jeremiah Wright did for Barack Obama?
The well-known proverb declares that you can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep.
Last summer, in the wake of the impending Iran deal, which she helped create and vocally supported, Hillary reached out to calm the jitters of her wealthiest Democratic Jewish supporters in an attempt to convince them that she would always support Israel. She also emphasized that she utterly condemns the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement that Israel is currently facing.
But she has been a harsh critic of the Jewish state, often relishing her role. During a speech in 2012 she spoke of Israel’s “lack of generosity” and “lack of empathy” toward the Palestinians. She admitted that during her time as US Secretary of State she was often the “designated yeller” at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. She once yelled at him for 45 minutes when Israel granted permits to build houses in the Eastern neighborhoods of its capital, Jerusalem, during Joe Biden’s visit to Israel.
With the recent dumps of emails from Hillary’s private Internet server, the public has received an in-depth look at the very important role that Sidney Blumenthal played for Hillary during her time in the Obama administration.
House Democrats Turn to Radical Muslims as SOTU Guests
As many as 25 House Democrats are expected to have Muslim guests during Tuesday night’s State of the Union speech. They are doing so in response to a call from Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim voted into Congress, to counter an “alarming rise in hateful rhetoric against Muslim Americans and people of the Islamic faith worldwide.”
The gesture might not generate much more than a shrug, except that in at least two cases, Democrats invited officials from a group that the FBI formally avoids due to historic ties to a Hamas support network. Rep. Alcee Hastings invited Nezar Hamze, regional operations director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Florida. And Rep. Zoe Lofgren invited Sameena Usman, a 10-year veteran government relations official with CAIR’s San Francisco chapter, the Investigative Project on Terrorism has learned.
CAIR officials routinely accuse Federal law enforcement agencies of entrapping otherwise innocent and peaceful Muslims in order to gin up terrorism prosecutions. Hamze’s colleagues in CAIR-Florida are helping a family sue the FBI over the 2013 fatal shooting of a terror suspect who attacked agents after extensive questioning.
Usman’s office published a notorious poster urging Muslims to “Build a Wall of Resistance [and] Don’t Talk to the FBI.” In 2008, the FBI cut off contact with CAIR, except in investigations, based on evidence its agents uncovered that placed CAIR in a Hamas-support network in the United States. Until it can be shown that those connections no longer exist, an FBI official explained in 2009, CAIR is not “an appropriate liaison partner.”
In addition, several CAIR officials have compared Israel to ISIS.
Istanbul bomber identified as 28-year-old Syrian national
A Syrian suicide bomber detonated a bomb in a historic district of Istanbul popular with tourists Tuesday morning, killing at least 10 people and wounding 15 others, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
Erdogan said in televised remarks that both Turks and foreigners were among the dead in the explosion in the Sultanahmet district.
“I strongly condemn the terror incident that occurred in Istanbul, at the Sultanahmet Square, and which has been assessed as being an attack by a Syria-rooted suicide bomber,” Erdogan said.
Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said the bomber was a 28-year-old Syrian national. He said most of the people who died were foreigners. It was unclear whether the death toll of 10 included the alleged bomber.
'Security cooperation between Russia and Israel to continue'
Officials in the West and the Middle East have expressed doubt over a Daily Beast report on Monday that Russia is directly arming Hezbollah as part of its aid to President Bashar Assad in Syria.
According to the report, Moscow is providing the Lebanese terror organization with long-range tactical missiles, laser guided rockets, and anti-tank weapons, but the officials insist: "This report is baseless. This is an awkward attempt by Hezbollah to plant disinformation via a respected Western news site in order to muddy the waters between Israel and Russia."
Last September, when Moscow became involved in the civil war in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed on Russian-Israeli military cooperation to prevent "unnecessary accidents." The details of this agreement were ironed out in meetings between a Russian delegation led by the Russian deputy chief of staff and an Israeli team led by IDF deputy chief Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan.
The Russian team visited Israel about three weeks ago, when it stressed to the IDF that as long as Israel doesn't get in the way of Russia protecting its vital security interests in the region, Russia would not get in Israel's way when it seeks to protect its own security interests.
WSJ: White House Rebuffed Request to Assist Iran’s 2009 Pro-Democracy Protesters
The Obama administration ignored leaders of Iran’s pro-democracy Green Movement when they requested support from the United States in 2009, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. According to current and past U.S. officials, the decision was influenced by President Barack Obama’s reluctance to jeopardize future nuclear talks with the Iranian regime.
The Journal, which documented how hardliners backed by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have become stronger since Tehran reached a nuclear deal with world powers in July, wrote that the number of reformists in Iran has conversely diminished. “Many activists are angry at the Obama administration for failing to support them six years ago in a rebuff that hasn’t been previously reported,” it added.
According to the Journal, Iranian opposition leaders covertly reached out to the White House in 2009 to determine whether it would support the Green Movement, which saw millions of Iranians demonstrate against the allegedly fraudulent victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in that year’s presidential elections.
Current and former U.S. officials who worked with the Obama administration on Iranian issues said that the pro-democracy protests “caught the White House off guard.” While some tried to convince Obama to publicly support the uprising, calling it the “most important democratic opening since the 1979 Islamic revolution,” the president preferred to “give it a few days.” According to one senior American official, the message was, “We should monitor, but do nothing.”
In addition to maintaining silence about the Green Movement, the administration directed the CIA not to take any action that could help it.
WSJ: Repression Has Increased in Iran Since Nuclear Deal
The Iranian government has been cracking down on individual rights with increasing fervor since the nuclear deal was signed in July, defying the expectations of some deal supporters that the agreement would lead to a more moderate path for the Islamic Republic.
The Wall Street Journal reported more Friday:
Since completion of the agreement in July, Tehran security forces, led by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have stepped up arrests of political opponents in the arts, media and the business community, part of a crackdown aimed at ensuring Mr. Khamenei’s political allies dominate national elections scheduled for Feb. 26, according to Iranian politicians and analysts.
“Americans have set their eyes covetously on elections, but the great and vigilant nation of Iran will act contrary to the enemies’ will, whether it be in elections or on other issues, and as before will punch them in the mouth,” he told a meeting of prayer leaders this week.

The White House had hoped that the deal would empower Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and other perceived moderates, but the Journal reported that experts who are described as close to Rouhani “are increasingly concerned” that the expected $100 billion in sanctions relief due to Iran as part of the deal will be used by Khamenei “to entrench hard-line allies.”
Iraq faces take-over by Iran-backed militias if Islamic State is defeated, coalition commanders fear
Coalition commanders in Iraq fear that Iran-backed Shia militias may stage an armed takeover of the country if Isil is defeated, a new report has warned.
Senior figures in the US-led mission believe there is a high likelihood of a "war after the war" because of the Iraqi government's reliance on Shia militias in its fight against Isil.
The move has hugely boosted the strength of such militias, to the point where they are now in a position to challenge the elected government for control of the country.
The warnings are revealed in research compiled by one Britain's foremost experts on Iraq, Professor Toby Dodge, who served as an adviser to General David Petraeus, America's former top commander in Baghdad.
Israeli Justice Minister Slams US Intervention in ‘Internal Legislation’
Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked criticized the US Embassy in Tel Aviv’s statements voicing concern over Israel’s recently proposed NGO transparency bill, saying that the Obama administration is interfering with internal Israeli legislation.
The US Embassy released two statements on Monday outlining US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro’s meeting with Shaked on Sunday, noting that the two discussed the bill and that the US is concerned about a possible “chilling effect” it may have on Israeli society.
The bill, sponsored by Shaked, requires NGOs that receive more than 50 percent of their funding from foreign governmental entities to detail the funding sources in all their official publications and communications with elected officials. Activists from the NGOs would also be required to wear identifying name tags when working in the Knesset, as lobbyists do.
Critics call the legislation discriminatory because it is mainly left-wing groups that receive money from foreign governments and the European Union. Private funds from overseas are not addressed in the bill.
“Every Israeli organization has the right to oppose any legislation. But it is very surprising to me that foreign governments are sending their long arms into an internal legislation process,” Shaked said.
EU sponsors illegal Palestinian road to help PA annex Area C
The Regavim movement has spotted an illegal road being built by the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the middle of the Judean Desert with money transferred from the European Union.
Regavim has filed a court case against the illegal construction with Israel's High Court of Justice.
The PA completed several weeks ago preparations for the construction of a road which extends beyond its territory of control and into Gush Etzion, heading towards the Dead Sea.
Regavim had notified Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) of the illegal building more than six months ago. However, Israeli authorities chose not to take action at that time. Since then heavy machinery has prepared the road for paving.
While previous promises from then ministers Avigdor Liberman and Yisrael Katz regarding Israel’s desire to pave a highway connecting Gush Etzion to the Dead Sea have remained as good intentions only, the PA has taken up the work and is building the road instead.
The new road illegally cuts through the Judean Desert, and passes through areas that are under full Israeli control. It has received no permits from the Israeli government.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Man Hoping To Get EU Funding For Mooning IDF (satire)
A local resident has applied for a grant from the European Commission to help him fund hid efforts to expose his backside at IDF soldiers, the man announced today (Monday).
Seymour Butz, 38, told reporters he aimed to leverage his penchant for sophomoric antics by appealing to a body with a growing desire and apparent desperation to stymie Israeli military and security activities by whatever means. “I established my own NGO, so I could be eligible for funding – they don’t give directly to individuals,” he explained. “And given the way their funding and its demands have been a total publicity disaster of late, I’m betting they’ll just start throwing money at me.”
The father of three, who is currently unemployed, said he had been watching the recent fiasco over foreign government funding for Israeli NGOs, and realized just how much money was in play. “The EU gives millions of Euros to organizations here, trying to sandbag the Israeli political right and make the IDF look bad,” he observed. “It’s been blowing up in their face this week, with the exposé over the weekend about that Btselem activist condemning Palestinian land-sellers to certain torture and death by ratting on them, and his links to Breaking the Silence,” another organization that opposes Israel’s control of the areas it captured in 1967. The EU similarly considers those areas illegally occupied by Israel, and has been fighting efforts to make its funding of like-minded Israeli NGOs more transparent.
Palestinians, leftists riled up over Airbnb listing of settler homes
Airbnb, the popular online accommodation, rent, and lodging service is under fire from Israeli peaceniks and Palestinian officials for listing residences in Jewish towns and settlements beyond the 1967 Green Line without noting the disputed political status of these areas.
According to Al Jazeera, dozens of Israeli settlers in the West Bank are offering their homes to tourists.
One Airbnb user lists his home in the West Bank settlement of Tekoa under the headline "15 minutes from Jerusalem, inspiring." For just over NIS 800 per night, guests could enjoy "three rooms, a balcony, a grape arbor, an orchard and a sitting area overlooking the spectacular Judea desert landscape."
A Palestinian official was quoted by Al Jazeera as saying that Airbnb "is promoting stolen property on stolen land."
"It's not only controversial, it's illegal and criminal," Husam Zomlot, a Palestinian diplomat, told Al Jazeera.
PreOccupiedTerritory: BDS Sorry Didn’t Get Chance To Hound David Bowie About Israel (satire)
While some BDS advocates insist they merely oppose Israel’s policies toward Palestinians, the movement as a whole is dominated by parties and ideologies that seek the outright destruction of the Jewish State. Efforts to convince various academic and cultural bodies to support a boycott or divestment of Israeli interests have met limited, and only symbolic, success, while top-flight artists, businessmen, and academic institutions have not only refused to consider such measures, they have actively increased their investment in Israel and its institutions.
Former Pink Floyd front man Roger Waters said he had been hoping to give Bowie a self-righteous piece of his mind if the latter ever announced plans to visit Israel again, but was frustrated. “He’d been sick for a year and a half already, but like so many others I was praying he would pull through and make another comeback, so he could set up a concert or two in Israel and I’d get to seize on that and make some news with my politics,” he lamented. “But he and cancer decided that was not to be. David, if you’re listening to me now, I just want you to know I had big plans to exploit your fame to keep myself in the news long after I stopped being relevant to society. I envy your ability to reinvent yourself and push the boundaries of what it means to be an artist with a following and something meaningful and new to bring to the culture, something for which my limited talent forces me to substitute thinly-veiled antisemitism.”
Waters then embarked on a lengthy rant mansplaining how he could not possibly be antisemitic, because the Phoenecians were a Semitic-speaking people, and the “Pink” in Pink Floyd sounds something like the original pronunciation of Phoenecia, so he must love Semites – the actual Semites, not those Jews who are probably descended from somebody else no matter what actual genetic studies say.
British police probe 13-minute anti-Semitic rant on BBC
Police in Britain have begun an investigation into an on-air phone call to a BBC radio program, in which a caller ranted for 13 minutes against “Zionist Jews” and their “rule” over British society.
During BBC London’s Simon Lederman program on December 22, the man, introduced as “Andy from St. Margaret’s," said the world was controlled by "Zionist Jews," including "the Rothschilds, the people who own the Bank of England, the people who own the Federal Reserve."
He then continued with a long tirade in which he complained of an obsession with the Holocaust and said, “we are dominated by the Jews’ system, the financial Jewish system.”
In response to the anti-Semitic rant, the BBC was urged by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA) to hand over the caller’s details to police for an investigation.
“Even for the BBC this is shocking," said Jonathan Sacerdoti, director of communication at the CAA. "The radio presenter simply allowed an ignorant racist to speak for nearly a quarter of an hour while offering no counter-argument, correction or condemnation of his views."
Israelis attacked, called 'dirty Arabs,' in Dresden
Two Israeli students have been attacked in the German city of Dresden, after apparently being mistaken for Arab refugees, Israel’s Channel 10 News reports.
A group of six attackers called the two “dirty Arabs,” according to the report. The pair managed to escape and the extent of their injuries was not immediately known.
Dresden has been at the center of simmering anti-migrant anger in Germany.
On Saturday, thousands of far-right protesters from the xenophobic German PEGIDA group took to the city’s streets chanting “Merkel out” and waving placards with slogans like “Rapefugees not welcome,” venting their fury Saturday against migrants after mass sexual assaults on New Year’s Eve.
Amid clashes with police, the far-right protesters took aim at Chancellor Angela Merkel, accusing her of allowing migrants to run amok through her liberal stance towards those fleeing war. (h/t J_April)
Israeli on Russian Train Mistaken for ISIS Terrorist by Passenger Confusing Hebrew With Arabic
An Israeli riding a train in Russia was detained by police after a fellow passenger mistook the Hebrew book he was reading for Arabic and feared he was an ISIS terrorist, Russia Today reported on Sunday.
When a woman commuter grew suspicious of the Israeli man, identified by the Russian-language Israeli website IzRus as “Mark G.”, she reported him to police, who then searched his luggage and questioned him at length.
The man, an IDF reservist traveling from Moscow to see his wife and children who were staying with relatives in Cheboksary, was eventually cleared and allowed to continue on his journey, according to the report. The female passenger who reported him claimed to be embarrassed by the mistake and authorities apologized for the mishap.
Marseilles Jewish leader urges community to avoid wearing kippa after attack
Jews in Marseille should avoid wearing the kippa in the streets, the head of the Jewish community in the southern French city said on Tuesday, a day after a teenager attacked and slightly injured a teacher there who wore the traditional brimless cap.
The teenager, a Turkish citizen of Kurdish origin who was armed with a machete and a knife, said he had acted in the name of the militant Islamic State group, French prosecutors said.
"Not wearing the kippa can save lives and nothing is more important," Zvi Ammar told La Provence daily. "It really hurts to reach that point but I don't want anyone to die in Marseille because they have a kippa on their head."
Report: Germany to purchase Israeli-made UAV
The German Defense Ministry has plans to purchase an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developed by the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), a series of local reports revealed.
According to the German media reports, the Defense Ministry favored the Israeli-made model over its American competitor.
The deal is estimated to be worth millions of dollars.
The Germans claimed the reason they preferred the Israeli-made UAV was that it is more technology advanced than the US designed one.
Channel 10 reports Germany has been developing its own UAV with France and Italy and the acquisition from Israel is meant to be used by the Germany army until 2025. (h/t J_April)
Author whose book inspired Spielberg’s ‘Munich’ dies at 80
A journalist, novelist and poet, Hungarian-born Canadian writer George Jonas was best known for his non-fiction book “Vengeance,” about five Israeli agents sent to hunt down and assassinate those responsible for the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. The book served as the basis for two films, “Sword of Gideon” (1986), and Steven Spielberg’s “Munich” (2005).
Jonas, who died Sunday at the age of 80, escaped his native Budapest in 1956 following the Hungarian Revolution. He made his way to Canada where he worked as a producer for three decades for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Interestingly, the biography on his official website makes no mention of his WWII experiences as a young boy. He did, however, work of them in his memoir, “Beethoven’s Mask,” in which he told of how he and his parents, Christian converts who were born to Jewish families, survived the Holocaust.
US philanthropist who preserved German-Jewish history dies at 84
Arthur Obermayer, a Boston-based Jewish philanthropist who honored Germans for preserving local Jewish history, has died.
Obermayer died Sunday in Dedham, Massachusetts, at 84. The cause of death was cancer, the family confirmed.
A longtime activist in political and Jewish genealogical causes, Obermayer was a cofounder of Meretz USA (now Partners for Progressive Israel) and a leader in the Germany section of the JewishGen research platform. Professionally, he was an entrepreneur in the fields of chemistry and biotechnology.
In 2000, he co-founded the Obermayer German-Jewish History Awards with JewishGen and the New York-based Leo Baeck Institute. The award recognizes non-Jewish Germans who have often struggled against bureaucratic or societal impediments in order to document their town’s Jewish past.
Must-See Images From the New York Public Library’s Digital Collections
Last week, the New York Public Library released more than 180,000 images to the public, available for hi-res download, with no strings attached. (These images from the NYPL digital collections, have fallen out of copyright.) The entire digital collection includes more than simply photographs; it also includes historical maps, botanical illustrations, ancient religious texts, menus and pamplets, along with manuscripts and papers from Charles Dickens, Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathaniel Hawthorne, and the correspondences of Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison. It really does go on and on.
Here are some highlights, for the Tablet crowd: A 65-image collection of Palestine and Egypt in 1894.
Siri goes sabra: Apple voice system now in Hebrew
Siri, Apple's voice-activated personal assistant, now supports Hebrew, tech blogs reported on Monday.
The Hebrew Siri is part of a preliminary version of Apple's new iOS 9.3 operating system, which was released to developers in a beta version on Monday and will be released to the general public in about a month.
According to the Israeli tech site Gadgety, Siri's Hebrew version does not support queries on Apple's navigation app, Maps, but will be able to answer general questions. As this is a beta version, the one ultimately released to the general public could have more features. Apple is expected to release iOS 9.3 to the general public in about a month. Malay and Finnish will also be supported in the new version.
WATCH: Starlings embrace the southern Israel sky
Breathtaking "murmurations" -- dark, shifting shapes that look like vast dancing clouds -- fill the skies of southern Israel and surrounding areas in winter.
Starlings from Russia and eastern Europe winter in the Holy Land, swooping, pivoting and soaring, putting on a display to shame any aerobatics team anywhere.
A Reuters photo montage shows a remarkable display of shapes. Now they are a falling leaf, now a rising dove, now a giant whale swimming across the sky.
The birds embark on their spectacular aerobatics in the evenings.



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