Saturday, March 12, 2016

From Ian:

Gerry Downing’s ‘Jewish Question’
Gerry Downing is an aging Trotskyist from the Socialist Fight organisation who has been expelled, re-admitted to, and now re-expelled from, the Labour Party. Amongst his many statements and ideas that have caused outrage is his belief that there is a ‘Jewish Question’ that needs to be solved.
The Labour Party isn’t the only organisation with housekeeping to do. Both Downing and his Socialist Fight comrade Ian Donovan were at the AGM of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in January, and Donovan spoke in one of its policy debates. If antisemitism truly has no place in PSC, as it regularly states, then Downing and Donovan should not be involved with that organisation either.
One of the curiosities of the Labour Party under its current leadership is that pundits need to familiarise themselves with Marxist theory that many assumed had become obsolete a long time ago. In that spirit, this blog post will provide a (very) brief guide to what Trotskyists mean by the ‘Jewish Question’.
This isn’t the same as the Nazi’s Jewish Question which led to the Final Solution. Trotskyists do want Jews to disappear, but not via genocide. Instead, they have theorised Jews out of history, and get upset that Jews refuse to go along with this theory and perform their historical function by disappearing.
The key Trotskyist text is The Jewish Question: A Marxist Interpretation, written by a wartime Jewish Trotskyist called Abram Leon. Leon wrote The Jewish Question while in hiding in Belgium during the Nazi occupation, before being caught and deported to Auschwitz where he was killed. The book built on Karl Marx’s original On The Jewish Question (written a century earlier) by coming up with the concept of the “people-class”: a distinct ethnic, religious or racial group, such as Jews, whose characteristics become effectively synonymous with their economic function in society. Using this theory, Leon explained that Jews survived in European history because they were traders and moneylenders and therefore had value in medieval society.
According to Leon’s theory, Jews should have disappeared under capitalism as they became a “declassed element” with no place in modern society. However, antisemitism had prevented them from fully assimilating. Zionism, Leon predicted, would fail because it was an attempt to “resolve the Jewish question independently of the world revolution.” Only socialism could provide a solution, by offering Jews “The end of Judaism” – something that Leon welcomed.
Nawi-Gate: the self-immolation of the Israeli far-left
The exposé shows Ezra Nawi of Ta’ayush being contacted by ‘Musa’, a Palestinian who wishes to sell land to Israelis. Nawi and B’Tselem activist Nasser Nawaja conspire to lure ‘Musa’ into the custody of Palestinian forces. For his part, Nawaja later claimed that ‘Musa’ had been trying to fraudulently hawk land belonging to the Nawaja family. But Nawi appeared to boast, on hidden camera, that this was not his first rendition: ‘I hand over their photos and phone numbers to the Palestinian security forces … [The PA] catches and kills them,’ he says. ’Before it kills them, it beats them a lot, tortures them,’ he adds with a smile.
As the programme concluded, it was possible to believe that in question were the actions of two rogues. However, as the dust cleared, parts of the Israeli left begun digging themselves into a deeper hole.
Immediately after the screening, anchor Ilana Dayan interviewed Haaretz journalist Gideon Levy in the studio. ‘A few things here disturbed me very much,’ Levy said, ‘but more than that … I was deeply disturbed that you broadcast this feature.’ Perfunctorily condemning Nawi’s actions, Levy stressed that they were the deeds of ‘one man’ who ‘got carried away.’ He simultaneously downplayed the problem as ‘Ezra Nawi’s big mouth,’ quipping: ‘that’s just how he talks.’
B’Tselem’s response was no less galling: ‘Informing the relevant authority,’ it said, ‘cannot be considered “rendition” in any sense.’ This, despite knowing that the ‘relevant authority’ considers such deeds a capital offense and despite the stern disagreement of one of its key funders, the New Israel Fund, who told the press: ‘handing over people to places where they are liable to be exposed to torture and physical harm is grave and forbidden, and cannot be defended.’
In a further statement, B’Tselem stressed its blanket opposition to ‘torture and execution, extrajudicial or after a trial, in all circumstances,’ but defended actions liable to facilitate precisely such crimes. Moreover, in failing to even mention Nawi and Nawaja, B’Tselem ignored the elephant in the room: that human-rights activists stood accused of complicity with such crimes. Instead, it accused the show’s producers of sloppy journalism, under the slogan ‘Uvda[Fact] for Hire.’
The reaction from some other figures on the Israeli far-left was no less depressing.
IsraellyCool: Know Your History: The Jewish And Arab Reactions To The Partition Plan, 1947
A series where I bring to you news from the newspaper archives and historical documents to debunk common misconceptions about the Middle East conflict.
This post is for dedicated to Roger Waters, who just lamented the fact a palestinian state did not arise from the 1947 UN Partition Plan, without explaining what happened.
We can see what happened by looking at some old New York Times reports from after the UN voted in favor of the plan. The Jewish reaction is one of acceptance of the plan (even though it encompassed way less than our ancestral lands) and unbridled joy, with Chief Rabbi Herzog proclaiming it as “an outstanding epoch of Jewish history” “after a darkness of 2,000 years.”
The Arab reaction? Anger, rejection of the plan…and terrorism in Palestine and overseas, as well as threatening a Holy War. Note also the Arab threat to crusade against the “Jews” – not the “Zionists.”
Know Your History: The German Nazi Templers Of Palestine
A series where I bring to you news from the newspaper archives and historical documents to debunk common misconceptions about the Middle East conflict.
Did you know there were German Nazis living openly in “Palestine”, even after the war?
Via JTA, 1946:
March 24, 1946
Jerusalem (Mar. 22)
Gotthilf Wagner, former mayor of the German colony of Sarona, near Tel Aviv, and one of the leading Palestine Nazis, was today shot to death as he journeyed from Sarona to Wilhelma, another German community. Before the war he was a S.S. group leader.
The attack took place on the outskirts of Tel Aviv. One man alighted from a taxi and approached the car in which Wagner and a police escort were sitting, and opened fire. No one else in the car was hurt. The attacker immediately re-entered the taxi and fled. Although Wagner was carrying over $3,000, no money was taken.

Note how no money was taken from him. The Haganah wanted the Nazi dead, plain and simple.
But the elephant in the room is how on earth were Nazis living there, openly, while owning land and paying taxes?
Apparently, there was a messianic Templer community in Palestine, and they owned much property

IDF strikes Gaza after rocket fire; 10-year-old said killed
Israeli jets struck the northern Gaza Strip early Saturday morning in response to rocket fire at the southern city of Sderot hours earlier. Officials in the Hamas-run enclave said a 10-year-old boy was killed.
The IDF confirmed that it struck four Hamas targets in northern Gaza, with Palestinian sources saying the bombings occurred near the town of Beit Lahiya.
“In response to the aggression, the Israel Air Force targeted four Hamas sites in the northern Gaza Strip,” a military statement said.
“There have been seven rockets fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the year.”
Hamas hacks into Israeli TV and threatens: ‘Terror will never end’
Some satellite viewers of Israel’s Channel 2 reality show “Big Brother” found their broadcast interrupted on Friday night, to be replaced by a message of hatred from Palestinian terror group Hamas.
The adventures of house-bound reality stars were suddenly interrupted, and TV screens filled instead with images and messages of incitement from Hamas, which warned of fresh terror attacks. Soon afterwards, a volley of rockets was launched at southern Israel from Hamas-ruled Gaza. Four rockets fell in open areas.
Viewers were quick to bring attention to the interruption, which Channel 2 said only affected homes with private dishes, not those using Israel’s main satellite and cable companies. The disruption apparently lasted a little over three and a half minutes.
“Learn from history,” said the Hamas message in Hebrew and Arabic. “Flee for your lives and get out of our country.”
The text, which was displayed against a backdrop of images of past terror attacks and of security forces bringing down terrorists, continued: “You murder women and schoolgirls in cold blood.”
Hamas warns its ‘patience is limited’ over Gaza deaths
Hamas warned Saturday that its patience was wearing thin after two children were reported killed in an Israeli strike in the Gaza Strip Friday night.
“The blood of the two children was not spilt in vain,” a statement from the terrorist group said Saturday evening. “Hamas on Gaza children’s deaths: ‘Our patience is limited’ in the face of the occupation’s crimes.”
The IDF said it struck four Hamas targets in northern Gaza in retaliation to rocket-fire on Israel — four rockets from Gaza hit southern Israel earlier on Friday night — with Palestinian sources saying the bombings occurred near the town of Beit Lahiya.
BBC News continues to ignore missile attacks on Israelis – in English
At around 10:30 pm on March 11th sirens warning of incoming missiles from the Gaza Strip sounded in the Sha’ar HaNegev district, sending residents of Sderot and additional communities in the area scrambling for cover. Four missiles landed in Israeli territory but fortunately caused no injuries or damage. Several hours later the IDF responded with strikes on Hamas installations in the northern Gaza Strip.
Despite BBC staff in the region being aware of the events, there was no coverage of those missile attacks on the Middle East page of the BBC’s English language website. The Israeli response, however, did receive coverage on the BBC Arabic website in an article illustrated with a photograph bearing a caption which tells readers that Palestinians suffer from a lack of materials with which to rebuild houses but fails to inform them of Hamas’ appropriation of construction materials for the purposes of terrorism.
The pattern of refraining from reporting missile attacks on Israeli civilians in English whilst covering Israeli responses to those attacks in Arabic is by no means new. The same format was evident on two separate occasions in January of this year and was also employed throughout much of last year and the later part of 2014.
More Pallywood style lies from Gaza's Dr. Basem Naim
After 4 rockets were launched against Israel today, hitting the town of Sderot the Israel Air Force struck 4 Hamas military targets in Gaza. Palestinian sources claimed a 10 year old boy was killed, and his sister seriously wounded.
Someone who ought to know better- Dr. Basem Naim, Head of Council on International Relations, Former Minister of Health of Gaza has tweeted out this photo,.retweeted 45 times in just an hour claiming this child was killed in the strikes earlier today.
Does that even look like a 10 year old? Its not. Its a photo from at least 2011, resurrected by an official in the Hamas government for the express purpose of demonizing Israel
GOP Candidates Unite in Support for Israel, Differ on Details
The four remaining Republican candidates for President laid out their support for Israel during a debate Thursday night.
The discussion moved towards Israel when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) criticized Donald Trump for saying that he would be “neutral” between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and for not promising to scrap the nuclear deal with Iran.
Trump defended himself by saying that his pro-Israel bona fides were proven by his selection to be grand marshal of New York City’s Israel Day parade in 2004, and by the fact that his daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren are Jewish. He added that in order to broker a peace agreement, which even the “toughest and the sharpest” Israelis want, he had to publicly be neutral, or else the Palestinians wouldn’t trust him. He added that the nuclear deal was “the worst deal I’ve ever seen negotiated,” and said that unless Iran abides by its terms, which he deemed unlikely, “that deal will be broken.”
Cruz rebutted that the president must “understands the national security interests of this country,” and that that meant appreciating that Israel is a liberal democracy and “our strongest ally in the region.” Cruz also noted that neutrality implied not holding the Palestinian Authority responsible for its financial support for families of terrorists and its unity deal with the Iran-backed terror organization Hamas.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) called the Palestinian Authority’s incitement of terror “undeniable.” He also added, echoing a theme that has become more prevalent across the political spectrum in Israel, that because of Abbas’ continued rejectionism, “there is no peace deal possible with the Palestinians at this moment.” He stated that the Palestinian Authority “is not interested in a serious deal,” and noted that past Israeli territorial concessions have led to more terror. “Maybe in 30 years the conditions will exist [for peace], but they do not exist now,” he concluded.
Roger Waters urges Bernie Sanders not to speak at AIPAC conference
Pink Floyd co-founder and bassist Roger Waters urged US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Friday not to speak at an upcoming event hosted by the American Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC) by signing a petition that states the organization protects the racist and "anti-democratic policies" of Israel.
Created by pro-Palestinian journalist Max Blumenthal, son of former Hillary Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal, the petition has already garnered over 1,200 signatures since it was posted to the website Thursday.
Less than 24 hours later, Waters added his name to the petition which claims the lobbying group defends "racism" and promotes "Islamophobes, anti-immigrant activists, and religious extremists."
"AIPAC has invited Bernie Sanders to participate in its 2016 Policy Conference in Washington DC.," the petition begins. "Voice your support for justice and equality in Israel-Palestine and urge Bernie to reject this invitation. As the main arm of the pro-Israel lobby in the United States, AIPAC has sworn to promote the racist, militaristic, and anti-democratic policies of the most right-wing government in Israel’s history."
The petition continues, adding: "Its conference this year will feature Islamophobes, anti-immigrant activists, and religious extremists. With his promise to seek a “level playing field” on Israel-Palestine, Bernie does not belong on the same stage as these figures. Urge him to reject AIPAC’s invitation and support justice in the Holy Land."
Spinal Tap’s Summer ’16 Israel Tour Forces BDS to Boycott a Fake Band (satire)
Spinal Tap’s much-anticipated bookings in Israel for their 2016 Summer Tour have placed the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions gang in a bit of a conundrum: how to boycott and shame a band that doesn’t really, like “exist”. Yet this has not stopped BDS, with the level-headed pragmatists at Electronic Intifada leading the way. “We’ve stalked all the real bands, so we were like, why not harass a fake band on a fake tour? I mean, isn’t that the point of BDS? To get worked up about something that never really existed?”
BDS’ efforts have recently received a boost, with Roger Waters chastising his fellow veterans of the British scene for their plans to rock their Israeli fans. Asked to describe how annoying Mr. Waters’ pestering has become on a scale from 1 to 10, Spinal Tap guitarist Nigel Tufnel described the Ex Pink Floyd frontman as “going to 11“
For their part, the members of Spinal Tap had specific questions about Israel. Bassist Derek Smalls appeared to have specific concerns about Ben Gurion Airport’s famed security.
Not to be outdone, new BDS powerhouse Vassar College joined the scrum, declaring that if Spinal Tap played Israel, they would not be welcome at Vassar, before admitting that nobody really wants to play in Poughkeepsie anyway.
IsraellyCool: The Two State Solution: Dead Or Alive?
On May 5th, in London, I’ll be talking on a great panel. Melanie Phillips is giving a keynote address and then there’ll be panel discussion with these august participants and me!
Melanie Phillips is a British journalist, broadcaster and author.
David Hirsh is a lecturer in sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London.
David Collier has been writing on the Israeli/Arab conflicts for 16 years.
Ahmed Meligy is an Egyptian peace activist and vlogger.
Brian of London (Brian Thomas) is not the messiah, he’s a very naughty boy.
James Sorene is CEO of BICOM, the Britain-Israel communications and Research Centre.
The Facebook page for the event is here and you can reserve tickets here. I’d love to see and meet as many of our Israellycool readers as I can in London in May!
Is Israel on collision course with world's largest Muslim country?
Israel must decide whether to grant entry permits to the foreign minister of Indonesia, who is planning a trip to meet Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah within the coming weeks, according to Channel 2.
The world’s largest Muslim country is intent on bringing the Palestine question to the forefront of global diplomacy. To that end, Jakarta wants to inaugurate an honorary consulate office in the Palestinians’ provisional capital, Ramallah, next week.
Last week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo in Jakarta as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation held a summit meeting to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The summit was aimed at strengthening the OIC's support for the Palestinians, Indonesia's foreign ministry said, according to local media.
US-led efforts to broker a "two-state solution" between Israel and Palestine collapsed in 2014, and there has been no serious attempt to revive them.
The OIC meeting comes as a wave of Palestinian-Israeli heightened violence, now in its sixth month, has shown no sign of abating and has raised concern of further escalation.
 Jordanian army rescues injured Israeli stranded near Aqaba
A Jordanian army helicopter on Saturday morning rescued an injured Israeli tour guide who was trapped in a narrow wadi, or valley, after a receiving a head injury the day before.
The guide was injured Friday as he led a group of 18 Israelis in Wadi Rum, a popular tourist destination in south Jordan, east of Aqaba, that is famed for its red sandstone.
According to the Ynet news website, the guide received a blow to the head and was unable to move. The company that provided insurance for the guide was notified of the incident and immediately contacted the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.
Given the sensitivity of the situation, the report said, the Foreign Ministry took charge. Israel signed a peace agreement with Jordan in 1994, although ties have often been tense.
 Foreign Policy: Israel Is Building a Secret Tunnel-Destroying Weapon
Although they are still waiting for their homes to be rebuilt and are living with just a few hours of electricity a day and barely any potable tap water, Najar and other Palestinians are not angry with Hamas for rebuilding the tunnels, which could lead Israel to wage another war to destroy them.
“What angers me is that the occupation is still imposing a siege on Gaza, which prevents the building process,” he says.
In fact, since the cease-fire between Israel and the militant Islamist group Hamas, more than 3 million tons of construction material have entered Gaza through Israel’s Kerem Shalom border crossing, according to Israeli figures. The first major tunnel attack occurred near that same crossing in 2006, when 19-year-old Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was captured by Hamas militants. Hamas held Shalit in Gaza until 2011, when Israel exchanged him for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners. The prospect of capturing another Israeli soldier, and concluding another prisoner exchange, is one reason the tunnels are so valuable to Hamas.
According to experts in Palestinian politics, there is actually a surplus of cement and other construction materials in Gaza, leading to a black market that has enabled Hamas to easily repair the tunnels that Israel destroyed in 2014 and build new ones.
“It’s no secret that Hamas has its ways of getting these construction materials,” says Mkhaimar Abusada, a professor of political science at Al-Azhar University in Gaza. “There are some Palestinians who buy cement to rehabilitate their homes at the fixed price of 560 NIS (new Israeli shekels) per ton [roughly $143] but sell it on the black market for 800 NIS [roughly $205]. This is part of the problem. Some of the Palestinians aren’t using the cement to rebuild their homes.”
While Israel struggles to prevent the construction material it is allowing into Gaza from ending up in Hamas tunnels, it is developing a secret military weapon designed to eradicate the problem.
In destitute Gaza, Hamas rides world’s goodwill all the way to the bank
In actuality, the homes, donated by Qatar, are being practically given away to Hamas cronies while others have to pay off the terror group to put a roof over their heads — one of myriad ways Hamas is exploiting the humanitarian crisis in the Strip to pad its own coffers.
Muhammad Al-Amadi, a Qatari envoy charged with overseeing the emirate’s funding of Gaza’s rebuilding, recently inaugurated a new neighborhood near Khan Younis in the southern Strip, completely paid for by his country. “Hamad City,” named in honor of the father of the current ruler of Qatar, who took the throne two years ago, constitutes some 1,040 new housing units for Gaza’s homeless.
The Hamas government, the de facto rulers of Gaza, instituted a lottery in which those who had no home could register to win apartments for free.
But that was not what was really going on.
The winners discovered to their amazement that they were required to pay Hamas $40,000 for each apartment. One claim was that a significant sum was needed to connect the homes to infrastructure such as water and electricity. Others were told that they needed to make a donation for those who were still left homeless.
The sum of $40,000 is cheap for a new apartment, but it’s still a princely sum in Gaza, where unemployment is rampant and the average person makes $174 a month, according to a 2014 UNRWA report. At the end of the day, Hamas will be $36 million richer on Qatar’s dime.
Why not $41 million? According to Palestinian sources, some 150 of the lottery winners had the $40,000 fee waived because they are considered “close to Hamas.”
France shuts down Hamas TV station, only to see it pop up again
Attempts to shut down Hamas from operating its main television propaganda outlet in France appear to have failed - at least for now.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his gratitude on Saturday to French President Francois Hollande after the latter’s government shut down a Hamas television station that aired content which constituted anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incitement.
The prime minister had earlier urged Hollande to move against the transmission of Al Aksa television, the Hamas-run channel that was being broadcast on the French satellite service EUTELSAT.
After Netanyahu’s request, the Israeli embassy in Paris reported that Al Aksa’s transmission had been cut off from service.
Hamas, however, appears to have found a way to circumvent the ban. After the channel was removed from the European satellite carrier, the Islamist group managed to connect the frequency to the Egyptian satellite, Nilesat. Al Aksa TV is now operating as per usual.
JCPA: Hamas’ Terrorism in Egypt
Egypt has officially accused Hamas of training the terror operatives who assassinated Egyptian Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat last year. Hamas now fears that Egypt will declare the movement a terror organization and torpedo Turkey’s efforts to ease the blockade of Gaza.
In recent weeks, senior Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip claimed that the movement’s relations with Egypt have improved somewhat thanks to contacts initiated by Hamas leaders. However, an announcement by the Egyptian Interior Ministry on March 6, 2016, sharply rebuffed such claims.
In a press conference, the Egyptian interior minister, General Magdy Abdel Ghaffar, declared that Egyptian security forces had arrested a network of 48 Muslim Brotherhood terror operatives responsible for the assassination of Egyptian Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat and that Hamas had played a “major role” in training the operatives.
Gaza Hamas leaders seek 'new era' with Egypt after accusations
Three senior leaders of Palestinian Islamist group Hamas traveled to Cairo on Saturday to try to repair relations with Egypt after years of tension.
The visit comes a week after Egypt accused Hamas of involvement in last year's assassination of Public Prosecutor Hisham Barakat. Hamas rejected the claim as "politically motivated."
Egypt, historically the Palestinians' major backer, has brokered several truces between Israel and Gaza factions and tried to heal past rifts between rival Palestinian factions.
But it has intensified a blockade of Gaza by largely sealing the border since 2013, citing precarious security conditions in neighboring Sinai where Islamist militants have launched many deadly strikes on Egyptian soldiers.
The 12-member Hamas delegation headed for Cairo included three top figures, Mahmoud Al-Zahar, Khalil Al-Hayya and Imad Al-Alami. An Egyptian border official told Reuters they were escorted under heavy security.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the officials were hoping to turn a new page in relations with Egypt.
German governor criticizes city award to anti-Semitic group Code Pink
The governor of the German state of Bavaria, Horst Seehofer, weighed in on the heated dispute over awarding a tolerance prize to the Israel boycott group Code Pink, saying Thursday: “For me the Bavarian-Israel friendship is--in equal measure-- a mission and an obligation. That also belongs to my advocacy against anti-Semitism and intolerant statements, wherever they surface.”
In response to a Jerusalem Post media query about the Bayreuth city council voting to award a prize to the allegedly anti-Semitic organization, Seehofer’s spokeswoman Daniela Philippi sent The Post his comment. Bayreuth is located in Bavaria.
When asked about Seehofer’s statement, the Israeli Embassy in Berlin and the General Consulate in Munich wrote The Post in a joint statement that they “acted to prevent the awarding of the ‘Wilhelmine-von Bayreuth’ prize to the organization "Code Pink.”’ The diplomats added “It is shocking that in Germany, of all places, a decision was taken to award, in the name of tolerance and humanitarianism, an organization which openly denies the right of the state of Israel to exist.
It seems that in Bayreuth the definition of tolerance and humanitarianism means: "cooperating with Holocaust deniers in Iran, boycotting Jews and rejecting the right of Israel to exist (as it can be clearly seen in this organization's website).”
Seehofer’s party the Christian Social Union is a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition. It is first time that a national member of Merkel's governing coalition has criticized the prize to Code Pink. Seehofer has the power to make or break Merkel's coalition.
Oberlin Jewish Voice for Peace: “We Greatly Admire” Joy Karega
Students at Oberlin College affiliated with the anti-Israel organization Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) wrote in an open letter Thursday that they “greatly admire” Prof. Joy Karega, who has become the subject of controversy after The Tower uncovered Facebook posts that led many, including Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin and the chair of Oberlin’s Board of Trustees, to accuse her of anti-Semitism.
In the letter, which was published on the website Jewschool, the students took issue with the fact that the original Tower article also mentioned a January letter written by Oberlin students and alumni alleging that anti-Israel student activists promote tactics that “intimidate, threaten, and coerce Jewish students” and contribute to a culture of anti-Semitism.
JVP dismissed these charges as “false,” and claimed that “pro-Israel organizations and voices, intent on discrediting the [Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions] movement, are loudly and falsely insisting that college campuses are hotbeds of anti-Semitism and are unsafe spaces for Jewish students because of pro-Palestine activism.” Despite this, the letter admitted that at least one of her Facebook posts were objectionable.
Controversial Play Just the Latest Antisemitic Episode at UK’s York University, Say Jewish Students
Jewish students at Britain’s University of York this week refused to sign a joint statement with the university after meeting with officials to discuss antisemitism on campus, The Algemeiner has learned. At issue was the statement’s failure to address the recent campus performance of a controversial play as part of “Israeli Apartheid Week,” as well as to acknowledge the difficulties Jewish students have been experiencing in recent years.
Zachary Confino, a third-year law student and a member of York’s Jewish Society who participated in the university meeting, told The Algemeiner that he has personally experienced or witnessed “a fair amount” of antisemitism in the last few years.
His list of 17 examples, dating back to October 2013, included the removal of his mezuzah from his dorm room door, being told that Jews control the world, being called a “stupid Israeli t**t” (he is not Israeli), being told that if he doesn’t want to receive antisemitic abuse, he should support the boycott movement against Israel, and witnessing numerous social media postings comparing Israelis to Nazis, accusing a Jewish student running for a campus position of “dual loyalty,” and comments supporting Hitler.
Given these experiences, and that his past reports of such incidents to the university resulted in no action, he found the proposed university statement unacceptable. As he explained this week to the UK’s Jewish Chronicle:
What they are trying to do is whitewash everything and smooth over their media image. We accepted [that the statement] would be looking forward [to dealing with future antisemitic incidents] but we also thought it would touch on the past because that is what led to this. We cannot co-sign it at the moment.
Were the names of 22,000 ISIS fighters DELIBERATELY leaked to stop them deserting? Theory emerges that data was released so everyone on it must 'fight to the death'
ISIS may have deliberately released personal information about 22,000 of its fighters in a desperate attempt to stop them from leaving, a respected counter-terrorism expert has said.
A cache of documents containing the names, nationalities, addresses, telephone numbers, family contacts of tens of thousands of jihadis was seized today in the 'biggest counter-terrorism breakthrough in years'.
Recruits from at least 51 countries, including the UK, were ordered to give up their most sensitive information when they joined the terror group.
Elijah Magnier, a security analyst with more than 32 years' experience covering the Middle East, claimed they were tricked by ISIS and will now be forced to fight until 'the last breath'.
Israel’s UN envoy: Iran missile tests ‘gross violation’ of nuclear deal
The recent Iranian tests of ballistic missiles are a “gross violation” of a United Nations resolution that supported last year’s nuclear agreement with Tehran, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told the Security Council in a letter Friday.
Iran fired two long-range ballistic missiles on Wednesday and similar tests were carried out on Tuesday, less than two months after the Iran nuclear deal was implemented. It bragged that the missiles could reach Israel.
Danon called on the Council to issue a strong condemnation of Iran for what he said was a violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement, arguing that the tests are in breach of Security Council Resolution 2231, which bans Iran from firing any missiles that could carry a nuclear warhead.
“The test firing of ballistic missiles constitutes a gross violation of UNSC Resolution 2231, which endorsed the nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1,” Danon wrote. “Iran continues to disregard its obligations to UN resolutions. This latest provocation makes it clear that the ‘smile campaign’ of the current regime is nothing more than a smokescreen to disguise the real intentions of the ayatollah regime.”
Iran executions at highest level since ’89
Executions in Iran surged to nearly 1,000 in 2015, a United Nations investigator said on Thursday, the highest level in more than a quarter-century.
The investigator, Ahmed Shaheed, the special rapporteur for human rights in Iran, said in a report to the organization’s Human Rights Council that at least 966 people were put to death in the country last year, roughly double the number executed in 2010 and 10 times as many as were executed in 2005.
Iran has been one of the world’s leading users of the death penalty, along with China and Saudi Arabia.
According to annual figures on capital punishment compiled by Amnesty International, the 2015 figure for Iran is the highest since 1989, when more than 1,500 people were executed. Most executions in Iran are by hanging, with a majority of the condemned having been convicted of drug-related offenses.
Continue reading the main story
Mr. Shaheed’s report, presented at the Human Rights Council’s meeting in Geneva, came less than two months after Amnesty International said Iran was a leading executioner of juvenile offenders, despite improved legal protections for children in the country and Tehran’s longstanding pledge to abolish the death penalty for convicts younger than 18. Amnesty said more than 160 condemned Iranian juveniles were on death row.
Whitewashing Iran
Rather than judge the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) openly and honestly on the facts and its results, President Obama, Kerry, and their Iran team seeks to bury reporting, verification, and any intelligence which threatens to contravene talking points about the deal’s supposed success. Take yesterday’s exchange at the State Department with regard to revelations that the JCPOA and secret side deals with the IAEA relax rather than enhance IAEA reporting, which The Israel Project’s Omri Ceren pointed out:
MR KIRBY: So we now know more than we’ve ever known, thanks to this deal, about Iran’s program.
LEE, AP: How much near-20-percent highly enriched uranium does Iran now have?
MR KIRBY: I don’t know.
LEE, AP: You don’t know because it’s not in the IAEA report.
That’s worth pondering: Just months into the activation of the nuclear deal, the State Department has no idea about whether Iran has 20-percent highly enriched uranium, despite all the claims that the JCPOA included the most rigorous inspection and verification mechanisms ever. It’s quite possible the IAEA simply doesn’t know itself: Iran continues to refuse to allow inspectors onto any site it deems military.
Senator Cory Booker and colleagues who embraced the JCPOA and accepted Kerry’s assurance have some explaining to do: Either they knew what they were voting for or they did not. If the former, they implicitly endorsed an agreement which made the post-deal IAEA reporting less transparent than that required pre-deal. If the latter, however, they were essentially asleep at the switch, betraying their responsibilities in the senate and to national security for the sake of short-term political prerogatives. Either way, the White House and State Department are twisting intelligence. Reality has taken a back seat, and national and regional security is now based more on trust than verification.
MEMRI: MPs In Gulf Countries Urge Recognition Of Ahwaz Province In Iran As Occupied Arab Country
In recent months, some Bahraini and Kuwaiti MPs have called on their governments and the international community to recognize the Iranian province of Ahwaz as an "occupied Arab country," and to provide aid to the Ahwaz Arab minority in its struggle for independence. Some even said that the Gulf countries were remiss in tackling this issue.
Ahwaz (Khuzestan), in southwest Iran near the Iraqi border, is geopolitically important because it is situated between Iran and the Arab world, and because its abundant energy resources are a key part of Iran's exports. The Ahwaz Arab minority groups are taking measures to secede from the central regime in Tehran or at least gain autonomy. These groups argue that the Iranian regime seeks to thwart the national ambitions of the Ahwaz Arab minority by ethnically cleansing the region of Arab residents and settling Persian Shi'ites in their place, arbitrarily arresting and executing Ahwazi activists (dozens have been executed to date); and working to eradicate all traces of Sunni Arab characteristics from the region.
France Awarded Top Honour To Saudi Prince ‘At His Request’
The awarding of France’s top honour to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, which sparked a storm of criticism, was done at the royal’s request, a French magazine reported this week.
Causette, a monthly women’s magazine, published an exchange of emails between French diplomats ahead of the awarding of the Legion d’Honneur on March 7.
President Francois Hollande awarded the honour to Prince Mohammed, who is also Saudi interior minister, during a visit to the Gulf nation.
Saudi Arabia is regularly criticised by international watchdogs for human rights violations and there was harsh criticism of Nayef’s award on social media, particularly over its use of the death penalty, with people using the hashtag “#honte” (#shame) on Twitter.
According to one of the emails published by the magazine, Prince Mohammed requested the award “at a time in which he seeks to boost his international stature”.
“I know some are raising questions about honouring the prince… certainly the kingdom does not have a good reputation,” reads the email attributed to France’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, addressed to advisors in the presidency and foreign ministry.
“No reason not to do it: It must be discreet concerning the media, without covering it up,” said the foreign ministry’s North Africa/Middle East director.
The Lynching of Leo Frank
The story of Leo Frank is a tale of murder, titillation, anti-Semitism, racism, tensions between the North and South, secrets and lies. If it were fiction, you’d be forgiven for thinking it over the top. How crammed with Big Issues can one narrative be?
But the Leo Frank story is true. In 1913, a 13-year-old girl named Mary Phagan, an employee of the National Pencil Company in Marietta, Georgia, was murdered. Her body was found in the basement. Leo Frank, the factory’s superintendent, was soon charged with the crime. He was a Yankee Jew transplanted to the Deep South, “a bookish, Strauss-waltz-loving Ivy Leaguer in the land of the Georgia Bulldogs,” in the words of journalist Steve Oney, who spent 17 years writing And the Dead Shall Rise, the definitive book on the case. Frank was awkward, pale, nerdy—a Brooklyn Jew with a funny accent and a nervous demeanor. Despite an absence of physical evidence (and a plethora of evidence pointing toward the guilt of the factory’s janitor, Jim Conley), Frank was convicted. The governor of Georgia, who had doubts about the verdict, commuted Frank’s sentence from death to life imprisonment. But a group of men broke Frank out of prison, drove him into the countryside, and lynched him.
You’d be excused for not being familiar with this sad snippet of American history. Even folks from Georgia, where the tragedy happened, don’t all know the story. A newly opened exhibit at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York, on view through Aug. 26, aims to correct that. It consists mostly of contemporary newspaper accounts mounted on the museum walls, along with objects like Frank’s factory desk, National Pencil Company pencils, the scrawled deathbed apology from a lawyer who worked to prove Frank’s guilt (in wavering block letters, it reads “I BELIEVE IN THE INNOCENCE AND GOOD CHARACTER OF LEO M FRANK”), a player-piano reel of an anti-Frank folk song, photos and souvenir post cards showing the lynching, and a grainy 20-second video of the crowd at the lynching site and at the funeral home.
In new documentary film, son explores father’s Holocaust ordeal and their community’s struggle against neo-Nazis and culture of hate
In 1945, while freezing in a German forest, 16-year-old Jack Adler watched countless fellow Dachau camp inmates collapse and die on the infamous “Death March.” As US troops approached, bringing an end to World War II, the Nazis forced their striped pajama-clad prisoners to walk for days on end, without food, water or shelter, and shot any who fell out of line.
Adler, 87, who lost his parents, three siblings and most of his extended family during the Holocaust, remains determined to help put an end to intolerance and bigotry by retelling both his ordeal and his miraculous survival for as long as he is able.
The moral of his story is, Adler says simply, “Live by the Golden Rule.”
“No matter what religion, ethnicity or race you are, we are all part of the same race — the human race,” Adler tells The Times of Israel. “Everyone’s life is precious. No matter what religion, ethnicity or color. Let’s respect those lives. Let’s help each other, not hate each other.”
Pope Francis to visit Auschwitz
Pope Francis will visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp as part of his visit to Poland in July when he will chair World Youth Day, organizers announced Saturday.
He will visit the former Nazi death camp in southern Poland on July 29, on the third day of his visit to the country, according to the head of the KAI Catholic news agency, Marcin Przeciszewski.
Two of the pope’s predecessors also visited the camp, John Paul II — himself Polish — in 1979 and Benedict XVI in 2006.
Some 1.1 million people, including a million Jews from across Europe, were killed by Nazi Germany at the camp from 1940 to 1945. The other victims were mostly non-Jewish Poles, gypsies and Soviet prisoners.
Pope Francis will spend a total of five days in Poland, arriving on July 27 and concluding his visit on July 31.
Nanotechnology Innovation of the Year award for Melodea
Nanotech company Melodea of Rehovot, Israel, won the Nanotechnology Innovation of the Year Award at the recent NanoIsrael 2016 conference in Tel Aviv.
Featured last year by ISRAEL21c, Melodea developed a cost-effective proprietary technology to extract nano-crystalline cellulose (NCC) from side streams of the paper industry and wood pulp.
Considered a green and safe alternative to fossil oil-based materials, NCC is an abundant, renewable product made from paper industry waste. In Europe alone, 11 million tons of such waste is produced annually.
Melodea develops unique technologies for producing NCC-based materials such as high oxygen barrier films for packaging, additives for packaging materials, water-based adhesives, paints and eco-friendly foams for composites, transportation and construction.
Future uses of NCC are expected to include high-performance reinforcing materials, biodegradable plastic bags and textiles; electrically conductive paper; new drug-delivery technologies; and transparent flexible displays.
UK city of Manchester to hold pro-Israel rally Sunday
The United Kingdom city of Manchester will hold a pro-Israel rally Sunday with over 2,000 supporters expected to attend, The Jewish Chronicle reported Saturday.
Organized by North West Friends of Israel (NWFOI), the group will hold the "Say No to Terror: Say Yes to Peace" rally at 2:00 pm at the Palace Theater in south Manchester.
Leader of the NWFOI, Anthony Dennison, said in a press statement released Friday that the rally “came through thick and fast” and added that political figures such as Conservative Friends of Israel chairman Sir Eric Pickles, Enfield North MP Joan Ryan, Board of Deputies Senior Vice-President Richard Verber, and Zionist Federation Chairman Paul Charney are expected to speak.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also expressed his support for the rally, along with British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Israeli embassy in London, The Chronicle added.
Originally called the “Say No To Terror: Stand With Israel,” the event was slated to take place on January 31 at the Sheridan Suite in north Manchester, but the venue pulled out at the last minute after “gross intimidation” from “the anti-Semitic boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement” pressured for its cancellation, according to NWFOI.

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