Thursday, October 27, 2016

From Ian:

Abraham Bell & Eugene Kontorovich: Palestine, Uti Possidetis Juris, and the Borders of Israel
Israel’s borders and territorial scope are a source of seemingly endless debate. Remarkably, despite the intensity of the debates, little attention has been paid to the relevance of the doctrine of uti possidetis juris to resolving legal aspects of the border dispute. Uti possidetis juris is widely acknowledged as the doctrine of customary international law that is central to determining territorial sovereignty in the era of decolonization. The doctrine provides that emerging states presumptively inherit their pre-independence administrative boundaries.
Applied to the case of Israel, uti possidetis juris would dictate that Israel inherit the boundaries of the Mandate of Palestine as they existed in May, 1948. The doctrine would thus support Israeli claims to any or all of the currently hotly disputed areas of Jerusalem (including East Jerusalem), the West Bank, and even potentially the Gaza Strip (though not the Golan Heights). View PDF
100 years later
Next week will mark the beginning of the 100th year since the Balfour Declaration. On Friday, Nov. 2, 1917, British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour announced in a short letter to Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild that "His Majesty's Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."
Five years later, the Balfour Declaration was included in the League of Nations resolution to mandate Palestine to the British government, and another sentence was added to it: "Whereas recognition has been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country." Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann, who, with the assistance of his colleague Nahum Sokolow, worked persistently and wisely on behalf of the World Zionist Organization to obtain the documents, aspired to a clearer commitment, but the modest version was still an important tier in building the State of Israel.
Arab leaders in Palestine opposed the Balfour Declaration as soon as it was made public. They protested the use of the terms "the Jewish people" and "national home" as well as the reference to the Arabs as one of the "communities" with civil and religious -- but not national -- rights. It is for these reasons that the Palestine Liberation Organization determined in article 18 of its 1964 charter, three years prior to "the occupation," that "the Balfour Declaration, the Mandate system and all that has been based upon them are considered fraud." In keeping with his organization's charter, PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas recently stated at the United Nations General Assembly (Sept. 21, 2016): "One hundred years have passed since the notorious Balfour Declaration, by which Britain gave, without any right, authority or consent from anyone, the land of Palestine to another people. This paved the road for the Nakba of Palestinian people and their dispossession and displacement from their land." (h/t Elder of Lobby)
Bedouin family: We will continue to serve Israel
President Reuven Rivlin visited the home of Nimer Abu Amar, the 15-year-old youth from the Negev Bedouin town of Lakiya who was killed by fire from an Egyptian soldier at Israel's southern border Tuesday, to express his condolences to the boy's family.
"We are all citizens of the same country." Rivlin told the boy's father. "We have come to share in your profound grief."
"We are all equal in this country, and there is no difference between a child in Lakiya and a child in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, or Haifa." he added. The Defense Ministry treats a child from Lakiya exactly the same way as it treats every other child, and we will do our utmost to investigate the circumstances which led to this tragedy."
The boy's father, Bassam Abu-Amar, said "I expect the Defense Ministry to act justly in investigating the matter. Our pain is immeasurable. He was our first born son."
The boy's uncle said "We will continue to work with the Defense Ministry. Generation after generation will work for the nation and at the border. We know that the Defense Ministry will investigate and learn the appropriate lessons. He is our child, he is your child and he is my child, and there is no argument about that."
Rivlin the family members present and promised that the relevant officials at the president's office would continue to follow up on the investigation into this tragic incident.



David Collier: The Jew, the Zionist and antisemitism at the House of Lords
Yesterday there was an event at the House of Lords, put together by the Palestine Return Council (PRC). The evening was hosted by Jenny Tonge.
There were no tickets remaining, but I had to go. The PRC and I have history. It was at one of their events that Gerald Kaufman told tales of Jewish money and Israeli conspiracies. Jenny Tonge needs little introduction. I wanted in. A little back story, a tale or two spun along the way, and I had successfully gate-crashed a party at the Houses of Parliament. Soon I was sitting in the front row of committee room 2A.
As it turned out Tonge was tame, but there was still much to shake me. I go to so many of these events and I am still trying to formulate a complete picture of what it is I am seeing. For example, there is more antisemitism in the air than there was 18 months ago. Much more. I see it on campus, I saw buckets of it at a recent event at Lichfield. I saw it last night at Westminster. A definite increase. But why?
There is no point being directed by anger, nor to lose yourself in the creation of an irrational inhuman enemy. These methods merely provide a lazy way out, a system of avoiding uncomfortable moments of self-reflection. Theirs is a line that can be drawn. Drawn between the civil war in 1948 and those who sit in the House of Lords today demanding an apology from the British government. We can draw the line further back, even beyond the 1917 letter they created this event to discuss.
I look around and feel sorry for the Arabs in the room. They have tied their flag to yet another pole that will only bring additional wasted years, more bloodshed. I cast my mind back to the Arab families I knew so well. Families, friends, in Ramallah, Nablus, Jericho and Bethlehem. In Qalqilya and Tulkarm. These are the choices of the people representing them? It is 16 years since the outbreak of the second ‘intifada’. Since all those bridges were burnt. Another generation wasted. How can you not have sympathy for a desperate people who depend so totally on this, the hopeless cast of a thousand who lead them?
Jews blamed for the Holocaust at British Parliament event hosted by Jenny Tonge
As first reported by blogger David Collier last night, and picked up by Times of London and The Jewish Chronicle today, a Palestine Return Centre meeting at the House of Lords hosted by Baroness Jenny Tonge included the accusation that world Jewry was responsible for inciting Adolf Hitler to launch the Holocaust.
The charge was made from an attendee reportedly affiliated with the extremist ultra-orthodox anti-Zionist sect, Neturei Karta.
Here’s the clip:

Note that not one participant or audience member at the event raised objections to this morally grotesque charge.
Please read Collier’s full account of the event, here.
Israel slams House of Lords event where audience applauded blaming Jews for Holocaust
Israel condemned a “shameful” meeting held at the House of Lords in London this week at which a member of the audience won applause for claiming that Jews were to blame for the Holocaust.
The meeting on Tuesday kicked off a campaign by vehemently anti-Israel Baroness Jenny Tonge to demand that the UK government apologize for the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which affirmed the right of the Jewish people to a homeland in then-Palestine.
The meeting, which reportedly began with comments from the organizers, soon opened the debate up to the floor. According to blogger David Collier who was present at the event, a member of the militantly anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox Neturei Karta movement launched a diatribe against an American Zionist rabbi he said drove Hitler to carry out a mass extermination of Europe’s Jews.
The Neturei Karta member began by comparing Israel to the Islamic State group, saying that, “ISIS is a perversion of Islam, just as Zionism is a perversion of Judaism.” He then went on to accuse Stephen Wise, an American Reform rabbi and Zionist leader who died in 1949, of both foreseeing the number of dead in the Holocaust three decades before its inception and of driving Hitler to commit the genocide.
Party suspends UK baroness after meeting where Jews were blamed for Holocaust
Britain’s Liberal Democrat party on Thursday suspended its anti-Israel member of the House of Lords, Baroness Jenny Tonge, two days after she held a meeting in Parliament in which a member of the audience won applause for claiming that Jews were to blame for the Holocaust and comparing Israel to the Islamic State group.
Tonge, who sits as an independent peer in the Lords after resigning from the party parliamentary group over anti-Israel comments in 2012, chaired the meeting organized by the Palestinian Return Centre. The meeting marked the start of a campaign calling for the British government to apologize for the 1917 Balfour Declaration affirming the right of the Jewish people to a homeland in then-Palestine.
The Zionist Federation of Great Britain welcomed the suspension, saying in a statement issued to the media Thursday evening that the measure against Tonge “highlights the sheer nastiness of the ‘human rights’ meeting” she attended.
“For years these events have been going on, existing as echo chambers where speakers seem to compete with each other as to who can say the most ignorant, grotesque and offensive statements about Israel,” the statement said.
The Israeli embassy in London said in response to the suspension only that “Anti-Semitism should never be tolerated.”
The comments at the meeting, which was live streamed on Facebook by the Palestinian Return Centre, were raised in the House of Commons on Thursday.
The Jews will lose in November
What is true is that some Trump backers will blame Jewish media elites for poisoning the waters for Trump -- whether the elites are writers or media executives. It is reasonable to ask if some of the Jewish Trump critics could at times have found something else to write about this year, such as supporting down-ballot Republicans or even criticizing Trumps' opponent, Clinton.
On the other hand, the ascendance of the radical Left, evidenced by the success of the Sanders campaign, has proven that harsh criticism of Israel is now acceptable among elected officials in the Democratic Party. One WikiLeaks email revealed that Clinton campaign staffers decided it "was safe" to bring up Israel only among donors, never in public events. So much for courageous leadership in a new direction on Israel from a Clinton White House. Clinton's most important staffer, Huma Abedin, wondered why Bill Clinton "would want to talk to that crowd" (meaning AIPAC) back in 2009. Given her rumored family ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, there is hardly any reason to think she will be whispering sweet nothings about Israel in Clinton's ear after January 20.
The post-January 20 reality, assuming things go as now seems likely, is that some on the Right will be bitter losers and blame Jews disproportionately for Trump's defeat. Jewish over-representation in the media will make for a big target.
On the Left, there is increasing momentum every year to challenge American and Democratic Party support for Israel, and transfer it to their "victims," the Palestinians. Obama set this process in motion and directed the shift -- making sure groups like J Street gained legitimacy. Obama took on the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on the Iran deal and dealt it a nasty blow. While Obama has had a strange fascination with helping revive and build a more powerful Iranian empire, the Iran deal also offered a chance to take on and beat AIPAC, something he did with relish.
This is the pickle for Jews who support Israel and/or were critical of Trump. They have made no new friends and ticked off others. The group that has always been an easy scapegoat may become one again.
Why the Middle East knows not to trust the United States
When the United States fights its wars in the Middle East, it has a nasty habit of recruiting local forces as proxies and then jettisoning them when the going gets tough or regional politics intervene.
This pattern of “seduction and abandonment” is one of our least endearing characteristics. It’s one reason the United States is mistrusted in the Middle East. We don’t stick by the people who take risks on our behalf in Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon and elsewhere. And now, I fear, this syndrome is happening again in Syria, as a Kurdish militia group known as the YPG, which has been the United States’ best ally against the Islamic State, gets pounded by the Turkish military.
The YPG is a special case for me because I had a chance to meet some of their fighters in May at a secret U.S. Special Operations forces training camp in northern Syria. They described battling to the last man — and sometimes woman — as they drove the Islamic State from its strongholds. Special Ops officers embedded with the YPG recounted their battlefield exploits with deep respect, expressing what one called “the brotherhood of the close fight.”
Unfortunately, allying with the United States can be a dangerous proposition in the Middle East. Last Thursday, Turkey said its warplanes shot 18 targets in YPG-controlled areas of northern Syria. The Turks want to block the YPG from linking up with its fighters in a pocket known as Afrin, northwest of Aleppo. The Turks also want to prevent the YPG from playing a leading role in the liberation of Raqqa, the Islamic State’s capital, as the United States had planned.
Trump tells Jerusalem rally he’ll ‘make Israel, US safe again’
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told a Republican event in Jerusalem on Wednesday that he will work to make “America and Israel safe again.”
“I love Israel and honor and respect the Jewish tradition and it’s important we have a president who feels the same way,” Trump said in a pre-recorded video message to hundreds of Israeli and American supporters.
“My administration will stand side-by-side with the Jewish people and Israel’s leaders to continue strengthening the bridges that connect, not only Jewish Americans and Israelis, but also all Americans and Israelis,” Trump said in the one-minute clip.
“Together we will stand up to enemies, like Iran, bent on destroying Israel and her people, together we will make America and Israel safe again,” he added.
Several hundred Israeli supporters were gathered in Jerusalem for the event, which took place at the rooftop of a Jerusalem restaurant overlooking the Old City. The event, headlined “Jerusalem Forever,” was held by Republicans Overseas Israel and intended to affirm the Jewish people’s ties to Jerusalem in light of recent UNESCO resolutions that have ignored them, the group said.
Ben Shapiro: Alex Jones: 'Jewish Mafia' Responsible For Obamacare, Uber
On Wednesday, wildly popular nutcase Alex Jones (he of the infamous “they’re turning the frogs gay” rant) blew the cover off the latest conspiracy threatening the fabric of the republic: an evil “Jewish mafia” controlling everything from Uber to Obamacare.
He explained in his typically thought-provoking, nuanced fashion:
[Y]ou know I was thinking, they’re always trying to claim that if I talk about world government and corruption I’m anti-Semitic, there’s mafias of all different stripes and groups but since you want to talk about it, the Emanuels are Jewish mafia. So there you go. But, I mean it’s not that Jews are bad, it’s just they are the head of the Jewish mafia in the United States. They run Uber, they run the health care, they’re going to scam you, they’re going to hurt you.
And then they got weirdos that they’re allied with like George Soros who’s a literal Nazi collaborator, and then you’ve got Madeleine Albright who’s a Nazi collaborator, her dad was, rounding up Jews, I mean it’s like, if being against Jews that are weirdo Nazi collaborators and gangsters makes me anti-Semitic then fine. I’m not against Jews, but at a certain point, when you people call you out, I’ve been called out in hundreds of newspapers in the last month, as being anti-Semitic, because I talk about a global, corporate, combine.
Well why are you labeling the TPP Jewish, I mean it’s got Jews involved in it just like it’s got everybody else. It’s communist Chinese, global government, Japan, I mean all these groups -- but again, I’m gonna skip this break, it’s injected into it that you must be anti-Semitic. So, I was just sitting back and -- let me then, I guess I better do some exposes on the Jewish mafia. And a guy foaming at the mouth with knives at cabinet meetings, basically threatening the president. Totally crazed. Who’s got his fingers in everything, screwing us over. I mean, how do you come up with this stuff? Where does this come from? Why? It’s disgusting.

This sort of talk is, in fact, anti-Semitic. Judaism has nothing to do with Obamacare. Secular Jews are prominent in many areas of life, and that does not mean there is a “Jewish mafia” out to control industry. But when you believe that life is replete with victims at the hands of a cruel, unjust universe, it’s your obligation to find the source of that victimization: a global conspiracy with your victimization at its center.
This sort of conspiracism used to be more foreign to the right. The “Bush lied, people died” conspiracy nonsense belonged to the left; the “stolen election” garbage belonged to the left. Vaccine truthers were largely leftists; the “neocon conspiracy” routine sprang from the left. The Wall Street bankers stuff came from the left, too.
Wikileaks Documents Reveal David Duke Had Affair With Jewish Man (satire)
The latest Wikileaks release of communiques among political officials includes mention of a homosexual affair involving white supremacist and former Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Imperial Wizard David Duke and a Jewish man, PreOccupied Territory has learned.
Newsroom researchers sifting through the trove of e-mails and other documents obtained by Russian intelligence and released via Wikileaks contain at least two brief discussions of the affair, which apparently took place during the early 1970’s, when Duke held the position of Imperial Wizard, and later, with the same partner, in the early 1980’s, when his marriage was on the rocks. Duke and Chloê Hardin divorced in 1984.
Among the messages in the release are two from Louisiana Democrats discussing campaign strategies, in which the writers float the idea of linking Duke – who served one term in the Louisiana State House of Representatives from 1989-1992 – to Republican rivals in local races, and of finding the unnamed Jew with whom Duke had repeated romantic liaisons while still leading KKK activities, and again while pursuing political office. The same pair of Democrats invoke the subject again in a later exchange, but the scheme never materialized because the campaign strategists deemed it too risky, as Duke was a registered Democrat at the time of the apparent affair; he changed party affiliation in 1988.
The tantalizing references set off a scramble among the handful of political journalists not covering the presidential election. “This is huge,” gushed Baton Rouge Observer beat reporter Kyle LaRue. “Duke always billed himself as a Christian-values candidate, and apparently he was boning some Jewish guy – or being boned by him – between outbursts of antisemitic and anti-gay rhetoric. I would love to be the person who tracks this guy down and gets him to sit for an interview.”
Bringing Scholarship Back to Middle East Studies
The War on Error: Israel, Islam, and the Middle East contains 25 essays by the historian Martin Kramer on a variety of topics. Jonathan Marks notes that underlying these pieces, some of which were first published in Mosaic, is Kramer’s commitment to pursuing the truth through rigorous scholarship, even when he himself admits he is far from dispassionate about the subject matter. In one essay, Kramer dismantles an unfounded claim made repeatedly by the Columbia historian and Edward Said protégé Rashid Khalidi—and, in doing so, makes the contrast between himself and so many in his field especially stark:
In 2010, Khalidi spread in more than one lecture the claim that the influential novel Exodus, though written by Leon Uris, was “carefully crafted propaganda” guided by “seasoned professionals.” Foremost among them was Edward Gottlieb, regarded by some as “one of the founders of the modern public-relations industry.” . . . There is only one problem: not one thing Khalidi says, in his role as distinguished historian, appears to be true. . . . [T]he story is a fabrication, one anti-Israel authors are so desperate to believe that they rely on an ancient public-relations how-to [manual] without checking the story. . . .
[In other words, Khalidi] showed himself [to be] “someone eager to repeat and embellish a story simply because of its political utility, without even a cursory check of its historical veracity.”

Khalidi’s canard is an example of, in Kramer’s words, “fantasies of Jewish power and control” finding their way into respectable realms of academia.
Amnesty International to receive limited tax benefits
Smotrich stated that the amendment would "restore sanity to the State of Israel. The state will not fund organizations which work against it. Today we not only limited the (tax) benefit Amnesty will receive for its work against the State of Israel around the world. We also agreed to put an end to this absurd situation in which anti-Zionist NGOs working against the state impudently demand tax benefits."
"Israeli democracy can tolerate organizations of all kinds, but that does not mean that it should encourage and support organizations which work against it." Smotrich added.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said "The State of Israel will not turn the other cheek. We must put an end to this phenomenon of organizations receiving tax benefits for donations from the civilians they are working against. We see a perfect example in the activities B'Tselem, which stood hand in hand with the enemies of the State at the UN Security Council."
The amendment receive opposition from the left. MK Elad Wolf (Meretz) said that the push to reduce the benefits to Amnesty was "delusional" and would only harm Israel's image in the rest of the world.
"Israel's government has lost it completely." he said. "They are allowing themselves to trample the future of the State of Israel. Human rights organizations such as B'Tselem and Amnesty International are here to stay, and we will act to protect them, human rights, and democracy."
Pro-Israel Groups at UC Berkeley Band Together to Counter-Protest 'Day of Action' Against Jewish State
Two groups at UC Berkeley are gearing up to counter-protest an annual rally whose purpose is to demonize Israel, the head of one of the organizations told The Algemeiner on Wednesday.
Josh Woznica, president of Bears for Israel, said that his group and fellow pro-Israel organization Tikvah are “coming together for the first time to present a strong, united front” against Thursday’s “International Day of Action for Palestine” demonstration. In previous years, he said, students at these rallies have gone so far as to openly call for terrorism against the Jewish state.
Woznica said that the counter-protest, which he expects will be attended by over 100 people, is not aimed at anti-Israel students, but rather at the “70 percent who pass by and don’t know anything about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Our intent is to have a silent protest opposing the anti-Israel messaging of the ‘Day of Action,’ highlighting the importance of academic freedom and ending the double standard applied to Israel. We are not trying to convince the other side. We want the students to see there is another perspective. Anti-Israel groups scream and chant really catchy slogans, such as, ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,’ and present a false picture of what is happening in Israel. Our goal is to expose this.”
According to the demands outlined on the “Day of Action” Facebook page, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists are calling, among other things, for the end of “academic complicity with Israeli occupation.”
Calling this “counter-productive dialogue,” Woznica said, “You can’t support academic freedom for everyone other than Israel.”
Pro-Israel and Jewish students at UC Berkeley, he said, “feel like they are in a place where their ideas are not valued and they are targeted for their religion or views.”
Jewish U of Virginia Students ‘Horrified’ by Nazi-Style Graffiti Sprayed on Wall of Popular Housing Complex
Jewish students at the University of Virginia (UVA) expressed shock over the appearance of Nazi-style graffiti on the wall of a popular apartment complex over the weekend, the college newspaper the Cavalier Daily reported.
According to the report, among the Holocaust imagery spray-painted on the wall was a Star of David over the word “Juden,” German for “Jews,” and a pentagram with the word “Satan” scrawled next to it.
Jordan Fingerhut, a UVA junior, told the newspaper she was “horrified” by the defacement, which has since been cleaned up. “I’m a Jewish student here…and I can’t believe that members of our community or members of the area would vandalize and write something so hurtful and so antisemitic,” she said.
In a joint statement, UVA’s Jewish Leadership Council and Student Council condemned the graffiti, which they labeled a form of hate speech, calling the incident part of a “disturbing pattern of prejudice that affects Jewish members of our community.”
Pro-BDS resolution passes at Portland State University
Portland State University’s student senate passed a resolution urging divestment from companies that “profit from human rights violations” by Israel against Palestinians.
The resolution passed Monday with 22 votes in favor, two against and one abstention, according to the meeting notes, the conservative news and opinion site The College Fix reported. The measure draws links between black and indigenous civil rights activism and pro-Palestinian efforts.
The resolution, authored by student senator Phoenix Singer and Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights, calls on the university to divest from companies harming Palestinians by working with the Israeli military. It also alleges that Israel has been occupying Palestinian land since its establishment in 1948.
The text mentions several companies by name, including Caterpillar, GS4, Hewlett Packard and Motorola, all of which it says “profit from human rights violations against Palestinian civilians by the Israeli government.”
It also calls on the university “to put in place an internal investment screen which prohibits investment in any company that provides weapons or equipment used” to harm Israeli or Palestinian civilians, conduct Palestinian home demolitions, build or maintain settlements or the Israeli West Bank security fence.
Professor Wants Safe Space To Bash Israel
The LA Times published an op-ed by Saree Makdisi, an anti-Israel professor at UCLA, in which he warns about activists on campuses being the victims of a campaign of intimidation. The “victims” he is referring to are not Jewish students targeted by BDS, but anti-Israel activists, himself included.
He complains that he was listed on Canary Mission, a website that exposes those who hate Israel and Jews, just because he has criticized Israel – “there being no distinction, apparently, between criticism of the policies of a foreign power and “hatred” of an entire ethnic group.”
Join the Fighting BDS Facebook page and follow @FightingBDS on Twitter and stand up against the delegitimization of Israel.
There obviously is a distinction between the two, although Makdisi can’t see it.
While HonestReporting has no connection with Canary Mission and doesn’t necessarily endorse its methods, Makdisi’s singling out the Jewish state in many statements and writings cannot be classified as mere criticism. Many of his comments, unfortunately, are hatred by any definition of the word.
Makdisi, a professor of English and Comparative Literature, falsely accuses Israel of apartheid, maliciously claims that Israel deliberately kills Palestinian children, urges an academic boycott of Israel, and calls for Israel to be dismantled as the Jewish state – effectively for its destruction. We have previously called him out for questioning why anyone should recognize Israel’s right to exist, and accusing Israel of collective punishment in Gaza.
Man sought for stealing Torah scrolls valued at $200K from synagogue
The NYPD is looking for a man accused of stealing four Torah scrolls from a Brooklyn synagogue Tuesday.
The sacred texts valued at $200,000 were taken from Avenue O Synagogue around 1 a.m., police said. Surveillance video obtained by PIX11 shows the culprit, who is described to be in his 20s, entering the place of worship while apparently wearing a yarmulke, but it is unknown if the individual is Jewish.
City councilman David G. Greenfield says the burglary is "especially upsetting" because it occurred during the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah – a time where observant Jews around the world celebrate the annual completion of the weekly reading of the Torah portion.
He is offering $1,000 reward for an imminent arrest of the "despicable criminal" and return of the Torahs.
"I will award $1,000 to anyone who provides information that leads to the capture and conviction of the despicable criminal who committed this crime," Greenfield said. "We will not tolerate this outrageous criminal activity in our community."
EU strips Le Pen of immunity over anti-Semitic 'ovens' comment
The European Parliament lifted the immunity of French far-right politician Jean-Marie Le Pen over charges of inciting racial hatred against Jews.
The legal affairs committee of the European Parliament stressed that parliamentary immunity “does not allow for slandering, libeling, inciting hatred or pronouncing statements attacking a person’s honor” before voting on Tuesday in favor of lifting Le Pen’s immunity.
French prosecutors want to put the founder and former leader of the National Front party on trial for comments he made in 2014 about the French Jewish singer Patrick Bruel. Le Pen said Bruel should “go in the oven.” His comment, which he made during a filmed interview that he had posted on the National Front website, led to his exclusion from the party. It is now run by his daughter, Marine Le Pen, who plans to run next year for French president.
Tuesday’s vote is the fourth time the 88 year-old has had his immunity lifted. In 1998, Germany made the request after Le Pen famously called Nazi gas chambers “a detail of history.”
Citing Israel’s ‘Tremendous Potential for Business, Leisure Travel,’ Top Asian Airline Announces Upcoming Launch of Direct Hong Kong-Tel Aviv Flights
As part of the growing business and tourism ties between Israel and the Far East, one of Asia’s top airlines announced on Wednesday that it will begin operating a new non-stop service next spring between Tel Aviv and Hong Kong.
“We are excited to be launching a direct link to Tel Aviv, which has established itself as a culturally rich and technologically advanced business capital,” Cathay Pacific CEO Ivan Chu said in a statement. “As an important market in the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative, Israel offers tremendous potential for business and leisure travel.”
Starting March 26, Cathay Pacific will offer four flights per week between Ben-Gurion International Airport and Hong Kong International Airport (a route currently served only by El Al as many as six times per week, depending on the time of year).
For the Tel Aviv flights, Cathay Pacific — Hong Kong’s flag carrier — will use its brand-new Airbus 350-900 planes.
Nine Israeli fintech cos make KPMG top 100
KPMG regards Israel as a significant fintech incubator, with 450 companies active in the field.
Nine Israeli companies were among KPMG's 100 most promising fintech companies for 2016, compared with eight in 2015. Two Israeli companies Payoneer and Ourcrowd were rated among the 50 leading established companies, while seven were listed among the emerging fintech stars of tomorrow.
Payoneer, which deals in the transfer of payments between businesses from different countries, recently completed a $180 million financing round (half in an offer for sale by existing shareholders). Founded 11 years ago, the company's annual revenue exceeds $100 million. Ourcrowd is actually a crowdfunding platform used mainly by startups in Israel and elsewhere.
The seven Israeli companies listed as emerging fintech stars include Tipranks, an aggregator for capital market analysis used to devise investment strategies and in analyst ratings. This platform is also included in the systems of Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI) and Bank Leumi (TASE: LUMI).
Other companies on the list include Lemonade, which is active in P2P - not in loans, but in insurance - and Innovative Assessments, which offers underwriting tools (mainly for loans) through the use of a psycho-technical questionnaire.
Spain's Jewish 'ghost towns' seek a boost from living Jews
Overlooking the confluence of two rivers near the Spanish-Portuguese border, this small and picturesque town has more Jewish institutions than some European capitals.
In the historic Jewish quarter of Ribadavia, the sounds of nearby waterfalls echo among cobblestone streets featuring attractions that are found nowhere else in the northern region of Galicia, including a Jewish museum, a medieval synagogue, a kosher wine shop and even two Jewish bakeries.
Despite the municipality’s significant investment in its Jewish heritage sites, however, this scenic town is missing one crucial element that could make the effort financially viable: Jews, and Jewish tourists especially.
Located 43 miles from an international airport, Ribadavia, whose once-significant Jewish population disappeared centuries ago, is pulling in only about 20,000 tourists a year, most of them Spanish non-Jews. Even on sunny weekends its streets are often empty and its inexpensive street markets see few foreigners.
Part of Spain’s struggling Red de Juderias, a network of some 20 cities with Jewish quarters or major heritage sites, Ribadavia typifies both the potential for opening such culturally rich locales to wider audiences and the challenges that have obstructed plans to do so since the Red’s creation two decades ago.
A case in point is the synagogue, which was built in the 16th century by Jews who continued to practice their faith secretly after being converted to Christianity under duress during the Spanish Inquisition. Hidden inside the stone frame of the building’s only eastward-facing window is a cylindrical compartment where worshippers used to conceal their Torah scroll.
WATCH: Gal Gadot Speaks at UN About Women’s Empowerment
The fictional superhero Wonder Woman was named an Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls. Two actors who played her, Gal Gadot and Lynda Carter, spoke at the world body’s headquarters on October 21 at an event that also celebrated the 75th anniversary of the crime-fighting demigoddess.
“Wonder Woman seeks to promote strength, wisdom, leadership, justice and love. Qualities that combined make us the very best that we can be,” Gadot told the UN. “Sometimes we need something or someone to inspire us . . . a character like Wonder Woman or a real live superhero in your own world.”
Championing women’s rights is something Gadot, a former Miss Israel, has been doing since she was chosen to play Wonder Woman in 2013. The actress-model-mom participated in a video clip celebrating accomplished young Israeli women, and has spoken publicly about shifting the princess role model into a strong, kindhearted role model who can stick up for herself.
Carter, who played the DC Comics heroine in a 1970s television series, said she “couldn’t think of a more perfect role for [Wonder Woman],” noting that the character can be “smart and beautiful and strong and wise and kind and brave.”
UN officials hope their new campaign for women’s empowerment will draw in a younger audience.
Wonder Woman Day at the UN 10-21-2016 - Lynda Carter, Gal Gadot, Diane Nelson


US Naval Academy Honors Holocaust Survivor for Decades of Teaching About Nazi Genocide
A Holocaust survivor was honored by the US Naval Academy in Annapolis on Wednesday for her 20 years of teaching cadets about the Nazi genocide, the US Armed Forces newspaper Stars and Stripes reported.
At a ceremony at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, Nesse Godin, 88, was presented the Meritorious Public Service Award for her lectures to midshipmen about their “professional and individual responsibility to make ethical decisions and help prevent genocide and mass atrocities in the future.”
Godin, a Silver Spring, Maryland resident originally from Siauliai, Lithuania, was imprisoned in several concentration camps, and her father lost his life in the gas chambers of Auschwitz. Her mother and two brothers survived.
After the war, Godin married a Polish Holocaust survivor, and they immigrated to the United States the 1950s.
Archaeologists present first Solomon’s Temple-era artifacts ever found on Temple Mount
Israeli archaeologists on Thursday presented new details of what they said were the first tiny artifacts, unearthed in situ on the Temple Mount, ever conclusively dated to the time of the First Temple over 2,600 years ago. The discoveries were made during limited scientific excavations carried out atop the flashpoint Temple Mount in the past decade, the first of their kind since the British Mandate.
The highly sensitive Israeli excavations were conducted with minimum publicity in cooperation with the Islamic Waqf which manages the incendiary holy site. The artifacts excavated from the mount, detailed in a paper and presentations at a conference at Hebrew University, are said to include olive pits, animal bones and pottery fragments dating to the time of the First Temple, between the 8th and 6th Centuries BCE.
Archaeologists have previously found a limited number of artifacts from First-Temple-period Jerusalem, but none of those finds were uncovered atop the mount itself. Rather, they were recovered from the Ophel excavations to the south of the Mount, and from the Temple Mount Sifting Project, which examines rubble credibly believed to have been removed from the holy site and dumped in the nearby Kidron Valley.
“It’s the first time that we’ve found artifacts from this period in situ on the Temple Mount,” Yuval Baruch, the head of the Israel Antiquities Authority Jerusalem region, said Thursday of the discoveries. “As far as the biblical period is concerned, the Temple Mount is a tabula rasa, nobody knows anything,” said Baruch, who headed the archaeological work. It’s still “very limited,” but the tiny fragments of clay and bone are at least something: “It exists.” (h/t Elder of Lobby)



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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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