Wednesday, February 10, 2016

From Ian:

South Africa and the Israel Apartheid hoax
“The problem is that you are a filthy Zionist Jew, and we do not talk to Zionists!” Is what a pro BDS activist shouted at Natan Pollack at the Witwatersrand University in South Africa. It was 2014 and Natan called a meeting between the Jewish organization he headed and the pro BDS group on campus. He wanted to see if they could have a dialogue. Guess not. So what is a Jewish boy to do? -Research and think: How do you talk to people who will not talk to you?
This was the catalyst to the establishment of the South African-Jewish Forum. A non profit organization, who’s mission is to take young South African leaders on a one week, all expenses paid, trip to Israel.
The anti-Israel, pro Boycott-Divestment -Sanctions movement has skillfully managed to insert itself into campus life, by promoting a narrative linking Israel to Apartheid. This is a very powerful manipulation of facts in South Africa, since black South Africans are intimately familiar with the hardship and suffering Apartheid entails. They feel compelled to help those who are oppressed in such a manner. Indeed, they feel it is their duty to help those who suffer under this yoke. Therefore, if you are pro human rights, you are inevitably pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel and, by extension, anti-Jew. This sentiment is further intensified by image displays of death and carnage, supposedly perpetrated by the Israelis, during Israel Apartheid week on campus. Can anyone blame students for being hostile to the Jews on campus?
Nathan Pollack and Dan Brotman of the South African-Israel Forum worked tirelessly to get funding, and then convince these mostly reticent anti-Israel student leaders, to join them on a free fact finding trip to Israel.
Their first group consisted of 18 such students.
Open letter to the anti-Israel Left.
This letter is addressed to that small fraction of the political Left which not only criticises Israeli government policies or practices, but also demonises and denigrates Israel at every opportunity and thus denies its legitimacy.
We see you, we hear you, day after day, making your ignorant, bigoted and malicious accusations against Jews and Israel. You claim to be speaking for human rights and for justice, but your words and actions betray you. You are haters, liars and bullies.
You presume to define our Jewish identity to suit your own sensibilities and convenience. You assert that Zionism has nothing to do with Judaism. You say we are only a religious group and deny our 3,500 year old history as both a national and a faith community. In short, you presume to tell us who we are – a liberty you would not dare to take with any other group – and you are wrong.
You say you have nothing against Jews. You say you are only against Zionists. You categorise us into “good Jews” who oppose Israel and “bad Jews” who support Israel. This is your cynical, sinister way of offering acceptance only to those Jews who are so lacking in knowledge or moral fibre that they are willing to embrace your hollow caricature of what it means to be Jewish. You are against the millions of Jews, the overwhelming majority, who are proudly Jewish and support Israel’s right to exist as the State of the Jewish people.
You are guilty of ignoring, minimising and obfuscating the antisemitism within your ranks. You claim to be anti-racists but will not condemn the all too obvious anti-Jewish racism which is manifested every day by adherents of the anti-Israel movement – on websites, on social media, at demonstrations, in public lectures, talks and speeches. When this antisemitism is exposed, you go into hysterical denial, accusing those who expose the ugly anti-Jewish racism you have helped to spawn of trying to stifle public criticism of Israel. As if there is any shortage of public criticism of Israel.
Alan Dershowitz Brilliantly Strikes down Anti-Israel Question at Conference

Parole hearing set for Robert Kennedy killer Sirhan Sirhan
For nearly 50 years, Sirhan Sirhan has been consistent: He says he doesn’t remember fatally shooting Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in a crowded kitchen pantry of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.
The Palestinian, a Jerusalem native, now 71, has given no inkling that he will change his version of events at his 15th parole hearing on Wednesday in San Diego. He is serving a life sentence that was commuted from death when the California Supreme Court briefly outlawed capital punishment in 1972.
During his previous parole hearing in 2011, Sirhan told officials about his regret but again said he could not remember the events of June 5, 1968. The parole board ruled that Sirhan hadn’t shown sufficient remorse and didn’t understand the enormity of the crime less than five years after the killing of President John F. Kennedy — the senator’s older brother — and two months after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
His memory will be tested this time in front of Paul Schrade, 91, a Kennedy confidante who was one of five people injured in the shooting. Schrade will appear for the first time at a Sirhan parole hearing.

Jordan won't extradite Paris kosher restaurant attack suspects
Jordan has rejected an extradition request from France for two suspects accused of carrying out a 1982 deadly attack on a Jewish restaurant in Paris, a judicial source said Wednesday.
The alleged mastermind of the attack, which killed six people and wounded 22 others, Zuhair Mohamad al-Abassi, 62, was arrested in Jordan last year.
The request was rejected because at the time of his arrest an extradition deal between Jordan and France had not entered into force, the source said.
The deal was signed in 2011 but became effective only in July last year, after Abassi, also known as Amjad Atta, was released on bail.
Jordan has also refused to hand over a second suspect, Nizar Tawfiq Hamada, 54, because the statute of limitations concerning the criminal allegations against him expired, the source said.
The decision was taken in October, four months after French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius urged Jordan to "respect international procedure" by extraditing Abbasi and Hamada.
Zionism is “Threat to Democracy” according to Haaretz
In a recent article in Haaretz, contributor Revital Madar states that, “The threat to democracy in Israel, from 1948 to the present, is rooted in Zionism.” Madar claims that the there are insidious bodies at work at the core of Israel’s political and ideological character whose goal is to destroy human rights, “impose collective punishment,” and govern by stringent religious doctrine. These accusations ignore the obvious facts to the contrary, namely Israel’s democratic elections, judicial system, and non-discriminatory character.
Responding to the condemnation of Joint Arab List Members of Knesset (MKs) for visiting the families of Palestinian terrorists, the author takes the position that the Joint List is the “only” Knesset party in Israel that “truly understands what democracy is.” Madar writes that the condemnation the Joint List MKs have faced in the aftermath of their visiting the families of Palestinian terrorists is a desecration of free speech and a violation of democratic rights. The Joint List ministers who observed moments of silence together with the relatives of terrorists in memory of the dead attackers are lauded for having a sensitivity that Israel as a nation lacks and cannot understand; unlike the rest of Israel, these MKs can “care more for a person who committed a crime…and for the rights of his family.”
One of the MKs being celebrated by Haaretz for her humane, fair, and balanced views is Hanin Zoabi, who has voiced anti-Israel views on numerous occasions. She has stated that she is against a two-state solution, believes Israel should work with Hamas as a partner in peace, and has exited the Knesset during the recitation of the national anthem saying, “Hatikvah does not represent me.” After the 2014 kidnapping and murder of three Jewish boys, Zoabi refused to recognize the kidnappers as terrorists, and rationalized the attack as the desperate actions of oppressed teens.
Israel-Thrives: Western Islamophobia: Who Are We Kidding?
There is so much talk these days about Islamophobia and anti-Muslim discrimination, yet worldwide statistics demonstrate convincingly that, despite all the atrocities committed by Muslim extremists, anti-Semitism is actually growing much faster than anti-Muslim fervor, especially in Europe.
This is a rather fascinating observation, considering that Jews in Europe never threatened the lives of others, never proselytized their religion and never wanted to change their host countries’ governances. Radical Islam openly threatens innocent lives on a daily basis and openly proclaims its goal of upending Western society and democratic government structures in favor of Islamic Sharia law. This is no longer only a desire of radical Islam; the Muslim Brotherhood, considered by much of the European Union and the Obama administration to represent moderate Islam, is openly committed to governance under Sharia.
Threats no longer come from just the radical sectors of Muslim countries. The same ideology expressed by longtime radicals is now expressed by recently-radicalized Muslims living in Western societies, where they (or their parents) had settled to supposedly improve their lives over what they had left behind. Now, they paradoxically attempt to convert their host nations to the same 16th century-style governance that they (or their parents) fled before receiving sanctuary in the West.
Yet despite increasing fear of radical Islam, statistics in European countries and the U.S. persistently record significantly more anti-Semitic than Islamophobic hate crimes. The reasons are unclear but, at least in Europe, growing Muslim populations, characterized by overt societal anti-Semitism, are widely suspected as a principal cause of this.

Eight ISIS, Taliban recruits joined Galloway convoy to Gaza
A brutal ISIS torturer wasn't the only jihadist terrorist who traveled with former British MP George Galloway to Gaza, it has been revealed.
According to a recent report, Alexander Kotey left the UK on Galloway's "Viva Palestina" convoy to Gaza in 2009, and from there eventually made his way to Syria to join the Islamic State terror group. The 32-year-old Muslim convert was recently unmasked, along with 31-year-old Aine Davis, as among a group of four British ISIS "jailers" who held western hostages and tortured them brutally, before some were executed by fellow Briton Mohammed Emwazi, a.k.a "Jihadi John."But he was not alone. As many as eight Muslim extremists who would later be convicted of or involved in terrorist activities joined the convoy, according to The Times.
Among them were Amin Addala and Reza Afsharzadegan, both known associates of Emwazi from west London; and Stephen Gray, a former member of the Royal Air Force who attempted to join ISIS.
The list of extremists who traveled with Galloway also includes a member of the Taliban and former Guantanamo Bay detainee, Jamal al-Harith. Al-Harith was released from Guantanamo in 2004, and more recently joined ISIS in Syria.
UK Labor leader Corbyn holds first meeting with Jewish leaders
Opposition chief, who has referred to Hamas and Hezbollah as friends, said to back Israel’s right to secure, recognized boundaries
The leader of Britain’s main opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, met Tuesday with leaders of the UK Jewish community for the first time since winning the post in September.
“The meeting has resulted in significant clarifications of the views of the Leader of the Opposition on key issues for the Jewish community,” said the Board of Deputies of British Jews in statement Tuesday.
Frequently accused of an anti-Israel bias, Corbyn and two of his senior advisers met with BoD President Jonathan Arkush and Chief Executive Gillian Merron “on a range of matters of interest and concern to the UK Jewish community,” the Jewish umbrella group said.
“We had a positive and constructive meeting and were pleased that Mr. Corbyn gave a very solid commitment to the right of Israel to live within secure and recognized boundaries as part of a two state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict,” Arkush said, according to the statement.
Israel, EU 'in secret talks' over Judea-Samaria label dispute
Israel and the European Union are holding quiet talks in the hope of resolving the crisis that resulted from the EU's decision to label products made in Judea and Samaria. According to Haaretz, the EU’s deputy Secretary General for the External Action Service, Helga Schmid, came to Israel with her team on a secret visit last week to discuss a solution to the problem. Schmid, who is a senior adviser to EU Foreign Affairs Chief Federica Mogherini, met with Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold, representatives of the National Security Council and officials from other ministries.
The talks are also reportedly aimed at restarting talks with the EU on the Palestinian issue, which were halted by Israel three months ago.
Officials in Jerusalem said Israel and the EU are "working toward reaching understandings that would include mutual steps to bring the relationship back on track."
The report cited an unnamed official in Jerusalem who said Israel told Schmid that in order for the Jewish state to agree to renew talks on the Palestinian matter, the EU most adopt "a more respectful, balanced approach to Israel."
Blood Libeling at Vassar
Much of it was evidently incomprehensible. Here is a sample, a part of her description of her project “How Palestine Matters”: “How Palestine Matters situates the geopolitical that has been obliviated in the resurrection of the ecological and the geographical in emergent fields of new materialisms and anthropocene studies.”
Or: “I’m interested in forms of statecraft that are actively invested in the deliberate production of certain kinds of corporeal entities through the proliferation of prehensive technologies, especially when gendering and genreing is a function of precarity of permanent war and of occupation.”
Transcribing a recording can garble things, but this style is of a piece with Puar’s published writings.
In such a jargon-laden talk, one needs every now and again to jolt one’s audience awake. Complaining of a delay in returning the bodies of some of the Palestinians killed in the course of the recent uprisings which, Puar notes, “some are calling the third intifada,” she reports without comment that some “speculate that the bodies were mined for organs for scientific research.” Because when you merely report unfounded rumors of Israelis harvesting the organs of young people, it’s technically not blood libel, right? About this disgusting and irresponsible charge, the professors and activists said not a mumbling word. Did I mention that the Jewish Studies program co-sponsored Puar’s appearance?
Puar also renews a charge she has made elsewhere, that the Jews are hogging the privilege of being victims of genocidal violence. “The Jewish Israeli population cannot afford to hand over genocide to another population. They need the Palestinians alive in order to keep the kind of rationalization for their victimhood and their militarized economy.” This is a remarkable move. Evidently realizing that it is hard to sustain the charge of genocide against the Israelis in light of the increasing Palestinian population, Puar adds the failure to commit genocide to the list of Israel’s crimes.
Vassar Sponsors the Demonization of Israel…Again
How could Vassar American Studies, Africana Studies, International Studies and Women’s Studies programs and the English, Political Science and Religion departments sponsor such a lecture, especially since Puar spoke at Vassar in 2012? And how could they do so without also offering an opposing view? These academics’ sponsorship was an endorsement of hate speech against Jews, setting an example for students to follow.
But “the most unkindest cut of all” is the sponsorship by Vassar’s Jewish Studies program. Surely one would think that Jewish Studies faculty, familiar with the 2000-year history of Jewish persecution, would recognize blatant antisemitism. Is it too much to expect them to have the moral integrity and principles to refuse to sponsor this rank antisemitism and to debunk the demonizing lies? Have their brains been hopelessly addled by their ideological obsession with the postcolonialist view of Israel as a foreign Western colonial power victimizing “indigenous” Palestinians? Would the Africana Studies program endorse the views of a Klansman or the Women’s Studies program host a misogynist?
This is not the first time that Jewish Studies has supported antisemitic speech. They sponsored Judith Butler (2013) advocating the elimination of Israel via BDS, Max Blumenthal (banished from the German parliament for antisemitic rants), Ali Abunimah (2014) promoting ethnic cleansing of Jews from the Middle East, and Sa’ed Atshan (2015) demonizing Israel as “apartheid.”
George Orwell in his 1945 “Notes on Nationalism” observed, “One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool.”
Threats to Jewish Students and Double Standards at UC Berkeley
Chancellor Dirks’ silence in response to terrorist threats made against Jews on campus — and to the physical assault of a Jewish student that occurred minutes later — stands in stark contrast to how the chancellor responded when Muslim students were reportedly targeted.
Only weeks after refusing to issue a statement condemning the SJP’s public incitement of violence against Jews, the chancellor issued exactly such a statement condemning alleged threats against Muslim students. In a letter titled “Campus Statement on Muslim Community Safety,” the chancellor and other senior administrators “express[ed] our support and concern for members of our Muslim community,” and urged individuals with any information “to come forward so that we can begin a process of holding accountable those who are responsible.”
The disparity in the chancellor’s responses to anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim harassment is outrageous, reprehensible, and intolerable. Regent Reiss raised this very problem at November’s regents meeting. She implored all the UC chancellors to ponder this question: Why do they seem less concerned about acts of hate, threats, and intimidation directed against Jewish students than they seem to show when Muslim students and other groups are targeted? Chancellor Dirks will surely have a tough time answering this question — but students, alumni, donors, public officials, and the community should make sure he provides a satisfactory answer.
The forthcoming regents’ statement will hopefully be an important step toward improving the campus climate for Jewish UC students. But it’s time for Chancellor Dirks to start demonstrating moral leadership and respond to the harassment and intimidation of Jewish students with the same force and seriousness he has shown when other groups are targeted.
New Congressional Bill Supports States Fighting BDS
Lawmakers in both chambers of Congress are slated to introduce bipartisan legislation boosting efforts at the state and local levels to combat economic warfare against Israel, according to versions of the bills obtained exclusively by Tablet.
The bipartisan bills—sponsored by Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) in the Senate, and Juan Vargas (D-CA) and Bob Dold (R-IL) in the House—are slated to be introduced on Wednesday under the title “Combating BDS Act of 2016.” Among other things, they protect state and local governments’ right to disassociate pensions and contracts from entities that boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel.
This legislative move comes after a string of local victories against BDS. Last June, South Carolina passed a law prohibiting public entities in the state from signing contracts with business that boycott Israel. A little over a month later, Illinois passed a different law, requiring state pensions to terminate investment in companies that adhere to the BDS agenda.
An activist involved in state-by-state efforts to combat anti-Israel boycotts said he expects states pursuing measures modeled on the South Carolina and Illinois laws to reach double digits by summer. Similar bills have already been introduced in Ohio and California, with momentum in New York, Florida, and Pennsylvania, as well.
The new Congressional laws are aimed at signaling support and providing legal backing for such efforts. Proactively blocking any challenge that might arise to these state laws on the Federal level, the Combating BDS Act states that any effort by local government to divest its assets from, or prohibit investment in, any entity that “engages in a commerce or investment-related boycott, divestment, or sanctions activity targeting Israel” is “not preempted by any Federal law or regulation.”
J Street quietly lobbying Congress to reject anti-BDS bills. Publicly claims otherwise
However, there is disagreement within the pro-Israel umbrella about the value of such legislation. Some maintain that anti-BDS legislation violates the First Amendment and violates existing U.S. policy.
J Street, an organization that bills itself as pro-Israel but that has been criticized by some in the mainstream Jewish community, has lobbied lawmakers to oppose similar anti-BDS efforts, according to a copy of an email that group has been sending to lawmakers since last year.
J Street quietly came out against a House resolution last year that expressed disapproval of the EU’s boycott effort.
J Street and other who share its position accuse Congress of trying to legitimize “Israeli settlement activities.”
“There are many other ways for your boss to express concern over BDS against Israel without defending settlement activity or undermining a two-state solution,” J Street argued in its letter to lawmakers.
When asked about the potential opposition to the new bill, both Kirk and Dold were dismissive of J Street and its supporters.
“We know there is opposition,” Dold said. “Which is more reason why this had to be done. This isn’t partisan and I think it’s absolutely critical we make sure it’s not. This is about doing the right thing. It’s not left versus right. It’s right versus wrong.”
Students Supporting Israel: Bully Deceive Smear: 10 Reasons Why BDS is Bad for Everyone
Being a Pro Israel leader on campus isn't easy, fact to the matter is that today, many students do not see the large picture and speak out against Israel in the name of "justice". Since 2001 a national student movement called of Students for Justice in Palestine has been trying to bring BDS to campuses and universities across North America, facing no opposition in a shape of a Pro Israel student movement. Today, Students Supporting Israel has over 45 campuses across North America, and five Pro Israel resolutions were passed in student governments led by SSI members on their campuses. SJP and BDS activists need to know that they will be hold accountable for their actions. Here are ten reasons to why BDS is bad for everyone, and we will fight it on every SSI campuses.
1. BDS burns bridges instead of building them.
Instead of promoting coexistence, it creates rift by silencing Israelis across the political spectrum, even Israelis who oppose Israel's policies. By isolating Israel from the international arena, BDS prevents any efforts or momentum for coexistence by effectively demonizing one side, making negotiation and finding common ground impossible. Shutting down dialogue moves us further away from peace.
2. BDS incites and propagates a never-ending cycle of violence
In the most recent intifada in Israel almost every day Palestinian terrorists hunt for random Jews to stab, any Jew will do, killing more than 30 and injuring hundreds in just the past four months. This intifada of random murder in the streets is excused and supported by JVP and SJP who call it "resistance," and "justified." The murderers are often teenagers influenced by incitement propaganda taught in schools and in media directed at Palestinian youth. We believe BDS bolsters this intifada movement, teaching Palestinians that violence is an effective means to get the world on your side.
Israel trying to 'bribe' Hollywood stars with Oscar 'swag bag,' BDSers say
Pro-Palestinian supporters who advocate a boycott of Israel urged Hollywood A-listers nominated for Oscars to reject an all-expenses paid trip to the Holy Land funded by the Israeli government.
Advocates of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement reacted to news that Oscar nominees in the acting and directing categories at this month’s Academy Awards will be given a 10-day, first-class trip to Israel valued at $55,000, included among other goodies in their $200,000 gift bag.
The list of nominees features powerhouses and blockbuster draws, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jennifer Lawrence, Sylvester Stallone, Christian Bale and Kate Winslet.
"These are the most senior people in the film industry in Hollywood and leading opinion-formers who we are interested in hosting here in Israel so that they will experience the country first hand and not through the media,” Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said. “If they do indeed accept the invitation, their visit will have enormous resonance among millions of fans and followers, including social media. The very fact that they are considering visiting Israel places the option in the public discourse in the social and professional circles in which the stars move."
The gift raised the hackles of Israel critics who say that the initiative is aimed at promoting “Zionist propaganda” among celebrities.
Jennifer Lopez, Don’t Give In To BDS
Shortly after Ynet reported that Jennifer Lopez would be coming to Israel to perform in Tel Aviv in the summer, the inevitable BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) backlash began. Using the hashtag telling Lopez to #CancelTelAviv, Twitter-users have been flooding the site with anti-Israel messages, infographics replete with lies and omissions and graphic photos of dead and injured from other conflicts – or even of Israeli casualties falsely passed off as Palestinians. Emotive language and imagery with no context is employed in the BDS campaign’s quest to demonize Israel. The message, from these activists, is that Israel is a ruthless, genocidal country that kills Palestinian children for no reason, and Lopez would be complicit in this if she performs there.
How much of an impact will there be if she caves to the pressure and decides to cancel? Despite the BDS movement’s efforts and limited successes, it has not achieved any truly significant impact in its boycott of Israel. Sure, Lauryn Hill, Elvis Costello and others canceled their concerts in Israel. But Bon Jovi, One Republic, Lady Gaga and the Rolling Stones, to name but a few, all showed up and loved it, as did their fans. Meanwhile Jason Derulo is the next artist confirmed to perform in Israel, yet another hugely popular star in the music industry whom Israelis are already buying tickets to see in concert.
Of course, if Lopez cancels, BDS would consider that a huge achievement and would rightly represent another success for it. But what kind of success?

Foreign press chief to MKs: We’re not biased against Israel
The local head of the Foreign Press Association told a Knesset debate on Tuesday that he strongly rejected claims of inherent anti-Israel bias in the international media.
“We go through a very rigorous process whenever news happens, where you have who speak Hebrew in contact with police, the army and many spokespeople and people who are on the ground,” Luke Baker, Reuters’ Israel/Palestine bureau chief, told lawmakers. “This is a pretty rigorous process of reporting and checking facts,” Baker said.
Since the beginning of the current wave of violence, Reuters has published 700 headlines, only one of which turned out to be problematic and was subsequently corrected, he said.
“I clearly don’t think the foreign press is biased,” he added. “I don’t think anyone is denying there have been errors, problems from time to time. Sometimes it’s been harder to correct them than others.” The many news organizations operating in Israel put out a “huge amount of coverage with very few factual errors,” he insisted. “I fail to see the media has something to answer in terms of systemic bias.”
The Mottle Wolfe Show PodCast: Al Jazeera vs. Free Speech
Can you criticize Islam or Mohammad in Qatar? Apparently no… Brian John Thomas joins Mottle to discuss the latest censorship coming from the Al Jazeera, The Jihad News Network. This week, the Arabic news channel admitted to selectively editing an interview with Tommy Robinson, to remove critical references to Muhammed, the prophet of Islam, as well as to Israel and the death penalty in Qatar.
Israelly Cool: Brian With Mottle Wolf And More Tommy Robinson
In related news I uploaded a couple of new videos from the same interview. The first is the final part of Tommy on Al Jazeera where he launches into a pretty epic rant.
And here is the full interview with just Tommy. The other two guests made no noticeable impact on the show.
Intel Chief Breaks From Obama Narrative On Iran Deal
The head of U.S. intelligence believes that Iran’s recent actions speak loudly to its intentions, particularly given the country’s recent provocations since the Iran nuclear deal came into effect.
Testifying to the Senate Committee on Armed Services Tuesday, director of national intelligence James Clapper gave a very somber description of what he sees as Iran’s intentions toward the U.S. now that last summer’s nuclear deal has commenced. In particular, his statements offered little assurance that Iran is acting as an honest actor with the U.S. and the other states involved in last year’s negotiations, or that the nuclear deal will stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
“Iran probably views JCPOA [Iran deal] as a means to remove sanctions while preserving nuclear capabilities, as well as the option to eventually expand its nuclear infrastructure,” said Clapper, who also noted that, so far, he sees no evidence that Iran is violating the nuclear deal.
Clapper’s statements stand in stark contrast with those made by President Barack Obama, who lauded the nuclear accord last summer, claiming it would not only stop all of Iran’s possible pathways to a nuclear weapon, but that “under its terms, Iran is never allowed to build a nuclear weapon.”
Iran Reportedly Hacks Former IDF Chief’s Computer
Iranian hackers have reportedly managed to hack into a private computer used by a former Israel Defense Forces chief of staff as well as dozens of other computers belonging to Israelis.
According to a report by Israel’s Channel 10, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards launched a cyber-attack last year on dozens of Israeli computers that mostly belonged to current or former Israeli security officials. While the Iranians ceased the operation after their efforts were discovered, what remains unclear is the extent of the damage caused by the hackers and what specific information they took.
The report also said that Israeli cyber-security experts were able to identify one of the hackers, Yasser Balachi, who had mistakenly revealed his email address.
Iran Publishes Pictures of Captured U.S. Sailors Crying
Iran has released new photographs in which at least one of the recently captured U.S. sailors is crying, according to a series of the pictures posted on social media.
The pictures, as well as an accompanying video, were released by Iranian state-controlled news outlets and disseminated on Twitter by Iranian reporters early Wednesday.
The new photographs come on the heels of another set of pictures that showed Iranian military forces detaining the U.S. sailors at gun point and forcing them to place their hands upon their heads while kneeling on a ship.
In Tehran, Tsipras says he hopes Greece will be Iran-EU bridge
Greece aims to play the role of an economic force to strengthen ties between the European Union and Iran, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Sunday after he arrived in Tehran for an official visit.
“Greece will become an energy, economic and trade bridge between Iran and European Union,” Tsipras said, according to a translation by the Mega television channel. He further called Iran “a key player for stability and peace in the Middle East, and a significant economic partner.”
Tsipras’s comments come after Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers came into force, allowing the United States and the European Union to lift economic sanctions in exchange for Tehran curbing its nuclear activities.
Two SS men to stand trial for Auschwitz killings
Two former SS men will go on trial this month for their alleged complicity in the murder of thousands of people at Auschwitz, as Germany accelerates its bid to prosecute ageing Third Reich criminals.
Reinhold Hanning, 93, faces court in the western town of Detmold from Thursday, charged with at least 170,000 counts of accessory to murder in his role as a former guard at the camp in occupied Poland.
Hubert Zafke, 95, will have to answer at least 3,681 counts of complicity in killings in separate proceedings in the eastern town of Neubrandenburg from February 29.
Zafke was a medical orderly at the camp in a period when 14 trains carrying prisoners — including the teenage diarist Anne Frank — arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau where many would eventually be killed in the gas chambers.
Holocaust survivor Angela Orosz, who will take the witness stand in the Hanning trial, told AFP that all Auschwitz staff “were part of this killing machine.”
Dutch deputy PM: Anti-Semitic abuse keeps me off social media
The deputy prime minister of the Netherlands said that he had stopped interacting on social media because of anti-Semitic abuse against him.
Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher, who has Jewish ancestors, wrote this in a post on Facebook on Tuesday titled “Disrespectful Dog.”
In it, he lists the handles of several Twitter users who used anti-Semitic language against him.One such user wrote: “Asscher would rather crawl into a Muslim burrow than stand with his own nation! Just like his grandfather, who was happy to work for the occupier.”
Asscher, a politician for the left-leaning Labor party, wrote that this reference is actually to his great grandfather, Abraham Asscher, who was a member of the Jewish Council set up by the Nazis to control Dutch Jews ahead of their extermination in death camps. He sarcastically congratulated those who traced back his lineage for their “great interest in history.”
Another user wrote: “The Zionist dog Asscher skips U.N. meeting on racism, not anti-Semitism. The former doesn’t interest him.”
Israeli firm gamifies Real Madrid App
When the folks at Real Madrid CF decided to beef up the powerhouse soccer club’s official mobile app, they turned to Sportech Interactech, the Spanish subsidiary of the Israeli company Interacting Technology.
In a potentially lucrative collaboration, Sportech Interactech will use its tech smarts to consolidate Real Madrid App, acquire more users, develop its game catalog, enable communication and interactions among users, and implement monetizing gamification tools to keep more Real fans engaged with the app for longer.
“We are happy to take part in this activity and see it as a unique opportunity to help develop the next stages of the Real Madrid App,” said Interacting Technology CEO Liav Eliash in a statement.
Launched in May 2015, Real Madrid App already offers its international user community rich audiovisual content including detailed coverage of matches, summaries, interviews and game footage within 24 hours.
The new features are expected to go live later this year.
Israeli firm's new unmanned sea vehicle hits submarines with torpedoes
Elbit Systems unveiled on Monday a new, autonomous unmanned surface vehicle that can wage antisubmarine missions by firing small torpedoes, as well as detect and blow up submerged mines by sending robots and interceptors deep underwater.
The Seagull autonomous multi-mission USV is a two-vessel system that has been developed over the past three years, Elbit officials said at Haifa Port, where the platform carried out some maneuvers on the water.
Ofer Ben-Dov, vice president of the Naval Systems Business Line, Unmanned Aircraft Systems at Elbit’s ISTAR Division, described the platform as a “revolution.”
“We are witnessing the proliferation of submarines, both conventional and nuclear, and sea mines. The cost and risk of dealing with these threats is high,” he said.
“We consider the Israel Navy and Defense Ministry to be advanced potential milestone clients.”
Black Jews You Should Know, Part 2
Welcome back to Black History Month 5776, when I’ll be presenting you with seven black Jewish figures for each week of February. We’re looking at the racial axis here, not the denominational one, so Jews who are either matrilineal/patrilineal count, as do conversions, be they of the Orthodox variety or not—it’s all game.
Last week, we introduced seven important figures in Jewish history, including Muhammed Ali’s trainer Drew Bundini Brown, Alysa Stanton, the first African-American female rabbi, and Jackie Wilson, the original man behind the song that got the Statue of Liberty moving in Ghostbusters II.
Yaphet Kotto
Actor Kotto is best known for his seven-year stint as Lieutenant Al Giardello on Homicide: Life on the Street (1993-1999); for being the first African-American to portray a major Bond villain in Live and Let Die (1973); and perhaps for playing the role of Parker in Alien (1979). He was born in 1939 to Avraham Kotto (originally Njoki Manga Bell), a businessman and observant Jewish crown prince of Cameroon, and Gladys Marie, a nurse and U.S. Army officer of Panamanian descent who converted to Judaism before marrying Yaphet’s father. According to his autobiography Royalty, Kotto’s paternal family originated from Israel many centuries ago, migrating to Egypt and then to Cameroon.
UNESCO adds Aleppo Codex to registry of world treasures
The Aleppo Codex — believed to be the world’s oldest surviving copy of the Hebrew Bible — has been officially recognized as a treasured item by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization.
The codex, which is on permanent display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, will be listed in UNESCO’s International Memory of the World Register, Haaretz reported Tuesday.
UNESCO officially recognized the codex on Monday, according to Haaretz, deciding it belongs in its registry of 300 items and collections from all over the world. The registry already includes two other items from Israel: the Israel Museum’s Rothschild Miscellany, a collection of illustrated 15th-century manuscripts, and the Pages of Testimony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, which documents the names and stories of Holocaust victims.
Written in northern Israel around 930 CE, the codex has a storied and transient history. It was smuggled into Israel from Syria 60 years ago, and since then 200 of the original 500 pages have mysteriously disappeared.

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