Thursday, December 15, 2016

From Ian:

Chris Matthews Claims Moving U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem Will 'Desecrate' Capital and Future 'Palestinian State'
Chris Matthews is deeply concerned that moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem will "desecrate" the holy city and "hopeful capital of the Palestinian state."
Speaking to Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, Matthews fretted over President-elect Donald Trump's vow to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem as a symbol of America's recognition that an undivided Jerusalem is and will remain the eternal capital of the Jewish State. Matthews couldn't possibly understand Trump's motivation here, and expresses as much in the following segment, via Newsbusters:
Why are we moving the embassy to — to Jerusalem at a time that the whole place over there could blow up? Why do something that's right in the face of the Palestinians, right in the face of the Jordanians, the Saudis, the Egyptians. The one thing they say is leave you know, the Dome of the Rock alone, leave our — the hopeful capital of a Palestinian state alone. Don't desecrate it by saying it's the capital of Israel at this point?
Murphy attempted to explain that Trump could go the way of George W. Bush and decide not move the embassy upon taking office. However, Matthews wasn’t buying it: “But you don't do it. You say you're going to do it to pander a little bit. Fine, that's politics. But you don't actually do it. Doesn't Trump know this?”

At another point in the program, Matthews spoke with talk radio host Hugh Hewitt about Trump's choice for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, whom Matthews fears will be too pro-Israel and work too well with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (God forbid, right?):
Michael Lumish and Cinnamon Stillwell: Trump terror within Middle East studies
Nowhere was the hysteria, panic, and fear-mongering attending Donald Trump’s win in the 2016 presidential election felt more strongly than on college campuses – and Middle East studies academics were no exception. Rather than acknowledging that justified concern over increasing terrorism in the U.S. was a strong factor, they dismissed Trump voters as angry, fearful, ignorant, “Islamophobic” white supremacists.
This despite Trump’s receiving more minority votes than did Mitt Romney in 2012, and the support of the same white working-class population that twice voted for biracial President Barack Obama.
It was not millions of American voters, but the professors themselves who exhibited bigotry, fear, and anger.
Admitting that the “segment of society” who voted for Trump “frightens me,” Muqtedar Khan, director of the University of Delaware’s Islamic Studies Program, ascribed his win to “myopia” and “cultural insecurity.” Accordingly, he announced that he was “frightened for the future of minorities in this country.” No word on whether Khan is frightened of his own shadow.
Honest Reporting: EXCLUSIVE: HR Exposes Accredited Journalist as BDS Activist
Did Loewenstein gain his official press card by claiming to be a Guardian writer? If so, then it looks like this may be one avenue that could be cut off. HonestReporting contacted The Guardian directly, pointing out that hiring Loewenstein was the equivalent of hiring a corporate lobbyist to be the newspaper’s business correspondent.
Did Loewenstein misrepresent himself at the FPA event to Yair Lapid as working directly for The Guardian? Given the reactions of both Peter Beaumont and Harriet Sherwood, has Loewenstein just been caught dishonestly burnishing press credentials in an effort to present himself as a credible journalist?
This could well be the case. The Guardian’s Head of International News Jamie Wilson responded to HonestReporting by stating that Loewenstein was contracted to write comment pieces for Guardian Australia and remains an occasional comment contributor but he “is not a news correspondent for the Guardian in Israel.” It was also relayed to us that Loewenstein has now been told to in future make sure he does not reference The Guardian at press conferences unless he is working on a direct commission.
HonestReporting Managing Editor Simon Plosker said:
The Guardian’s distancing itself from Loewenstein is a welcome development. We now call on the Foreign Press Association to revoke his membership of the organization as his BDS activism is incompatible with reporting on Israel in a professional manner. Having been exposed as a BDS activist, Loewenstein’s Government Press Office accreditation should be immediately revoked and questions asked as to how a BDS activist was able to acquire a press card in the first instance.
Ultimately, the exposure of Loewenstein is a wakeup call for the mainstream media when it comes to journalistic ethics and the use of freelance reporters. All too often the grey area between journalist and activist is ignored and professional and objective reporting on Israel is the victim. This time, there is a clear line and Antony Loewenstein has crossed it.

We await responses from those involved as well as further developments concerning Loewenstein’s status. We will, of course, keep our readers updated.



Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer Slams Southern Poverty Law Center As ‘Defamers and Blacklisters’
Israel’s ambassador to the US launched a scathing attack on the Southern Poverty Law Center in a speech Tuesday, calling the American civil rights organization “defamers and the blacklisters.”
Ron Dermer was speaking at an award ceremony held Tuesday by the Center for Security Policy, a think tank which openly espouses anti-Islamic views and conspiracy theories.
The SPLC had urged Dermer to reject the invitation to be guest of honor, along with president of the Zionist Organization of America Morton Klein, at the Center for Security Policy’s annual Freedom Flame award.
The civil rights organization described the Center for Security Policy as a promoter of conspiracy theories. “In recent years the CSP has gone from a hawkish think tank on foreign affairs to a promoter of baseless conspiracy theories and groundless accusations,” it wrote in its Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists, which included CSP head Frank Gaffney.
But Dermer instead blasted the SPLC for even having the field guide, noting that it included people like Daniel Pipes, who he called “one of the great scholars of the Middle East,” and former Dutch parliamentarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
Ryan Bellerose: On Canada, Israel And Indigenous Peoples
On Monday, Nov. 28, 2016, the Toronto Star published an editorial written by Dr. Yousef Jabareen, a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset, with the headline “What Israel Can Learn From Canada.” The following is a response to Dr. Jabareen from Ryan Bellerose, B’nai Brith Canada’s Advocacy Coordinator of Western Canada.
Dear Dr. Jabareen,
I recently read your op-ed in the Toronto Star, and while I appreciate your admiration for our country, I feel like there were several inaccuracies that can be pointed out.
Firstly, I find it paradoxical that you start by admitting you’re an “Arab-Palestinian citizen of Israel,” a state that pays your bills as a paid member of Parliament, before essentially denouncing its democratic nature as it pertains to Palestinian rights.
You can’t have it both ways.
You say Canada’s record of recognizing and overcoming discrimination and inequality is commendable, but I’m having a tough time believing that you, as a descendent of actual colonialists, even understand Canada’s history.
For starters, you’re a participating member of a government that allows you to supposedly represent the Arab population of Israel, but you instead use that position to spread libel about it. Rather than trying to make the lives of Arab Israelis better, you waste your time attacking the only state in the Middle East that actually treats its non-majority population like human beings.
Richard Silverstein on Theresa May’s move on antisemitism
He goes on to assert that Israel has replaced other aspects of Jewish culture, including Judaism, as a key marker of Jewish identity. This immediately put me in mind of the Tricycle Theatre’s threatened withdrawal from the Jewish Film Festival in 2014 because of the presence of Israeli embassy funding. The 2016 programme advertises films from twenty countries – perhaps it’s less the Jewish community than Israel’s indefatigable opponents who obsess about the country. Although of course Israel is of importance to many Jews, not surprisingly given that about half the world’s Jewish population is based there. This brings me to another of Silverstein’s points – that there is a dangerous conflation between Israel and Jewishness.
How do you embrace the claim by the Likudist far-right that Iran aims to destroy not just Israel, but the entire Jewish people? Especially when the Iranians have never made such a sweeping claim?
I’ve never come across the Likudist claim cited, but it’s certainly not too much of a stretch to see any threat to annihilate Israel as motivated by genocidal antisemitism.
There’s an annoying slippage here:
That is why the Israel Lobby has worked so diligently to insinuate criticism of Israel as a primary tenet of anti-Semitism. That is why the current far-right Israeli government repeats the smear that BDS is not just anti-Israel, but anti-Semitic.
For BDS is not simply ‘criticism of Israel’, and the IHRA definition of course explicitly states that criticism of Israel is not, unless accompanied by some aggravating circumstance, antisemitic.
Finally – although there’s more that could be said – this is a particularly perverse question.
How do you stand against acts of terror by Islamists aimed at Jews, when the terrorists believe that in attacking Jews they are also attacking Israel?
If Jews have to disavow Israel to be defended against terrorist attacks – where does this leave Israeli victims of terrorism?
Breaking the Silence has no place in education system
Breaking the Silence, with all my criticism against them, have a right to express themselves in the State of Israel. There has not been a single event in which I was invited to present my stance against theirs and refused. I don’t boycott them, although their actions encourage boycotts against me, but argue with what I see as losing one’s way. There is room for them in the Israeli discourse, but not in the educational system.
Whoever is interested in Breaking the Silence-style political activity will find room for it in higher education. Post-modernism in which one can philosophize about how good the evil is and how evil the good is; to what extent have irregularities in the IDF’s combat values become a norm, as Breaking the Silence claims – and recently the extreme right too, and to what extent is it politically-directed slander.
Everything is possible in a democratic state with full freedom of speech, but why in the educational system? Are high school students deeply familiar with the Zionist story? Do they understand what the pioneers sought to create here? Do they know the meaning of an exemplary society, of the orchards planted by the pioneers, which created thousands of jobs for the Arabs in the area? Do they know about the Zionist effort at co-existence and about the bloody response on the Arab side?
There is no reason to be afraid of getting to know claims against Israel and its policy. Everyone here will know and meet and cope, and some of the Israelis – like the Americans – will find it difficult to perceive the complexity. In the meantime, let them grow up in peace; let them be right. This is a right which is as important as the freedom of political organizations like Breaking the Silence to criticize us all over the place.
Why Jeremy Corbyn isn’t upset about Jayne Fisher’s call to expel an Israeli ambassador
The Guardian, The Sun, The Telegraph, The Spectator, the Evening Standard and the Daily Mail all reported on Jeremy Corbyn’s controversial appointment of Jayne Fisher, a former Sinn Fein staffer who worked for Gerry Adams, as head of ‘stakeholder engagement’ for the Labour leader. Whilst most papers focused on Fisher’s IRA ties, only the Daily Mail noted another problematic element of her resume:
The appointment also risks further antagonising the Jewish community due to her anti-Israel history. In a rally in Hyde Park in 2014 she helped spread Mr Adams’ call for the ‘expulsion’ of Israel’s ambassador in Dublin.
One Labour MP who confronted Mr Corbyn over the appointment last night told PoliticsHome: ‘It’s fair to say that the general response was one of shock and anger.
‘Obviously, we really need to annoy more people in the run-up to Christmas.

However, the Daily Mail neglected to point out one relevant detail which would help explain why Corbyn wouldn’t have been terribly troubled by Fisher’s willingness to spread a call to expel the Israeli embassador. At a demo in London in 2010 to protest the Mavi Marmara incident, he gave a speech criticising Israel, which included the following:
“Isn’t it time our ambassador was brought back from Tel Aviv? Isn’t it time the Israeli ambassador was on his way from this country?“
Here’s a clip of the entire hate-filled diatribe, so you can hear the words about expelling the Israeli ambassador in context.
Gaza Flotilla Massacre: London Demo - Jeremy Corbyn (Needs a bell sound for every lie)


Norwegian city resolves to boycott Israeli goods from ‘occupied territories’
The city council of Tromso in Norway adopted a resolution calling on its residents to boycott products made in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
The resolution was adopted Wednesday by a majority of 25 council members who supported it, according to the municipality’s website. Seventeen members voted against the resolution, which stated that “the municipal council encourages Tromso Municipality’s residents to boycott goods and services produced in the Occupied Territories.”
The resolution, introduced by left-wing local politicians and opposed by centrists who argued foreign policy was beyond the municipality’s expertise, also stated that “Tromso municipality will therefore refrain from buying Israeli goods and services produced in occupied Palestinian territory.”
Whereas the resolution explicitly called for boycotting goods from what the international community regards as land occupied by Israel, it called only for checking the provenance of goods from other disputed territories.
“The city council asks the chief executive to ensure that Tromso Municipality requires documentation on goods to make sure they are not from occupied areas, such as occupied territories in Palestine, Western Sahara, and the like, in cases where this is a relevant issue,” the text reads.
Texas legislators learn from Knesset members how to combat BDS
A group of state legislators from Texas came to the Knesset Wednesday to learn from MKs and other officials about the dangers of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.
The legislators have proposed legislation that would make it illegal for the state to do business with entities that back the BDS movement. If it passes, Texas would follow a resolution that passed in Ohio last week to become the 16th US state that has outlawed BDS.
“They wanted to see Israel for themselves in order to prepare to make the case for Israel if their legislation is challenged,” said Josh Reinstein, executive director of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus.
The head of the caucus, MK Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beytenu) told them that the BDS movement’s objective is to eliminate the existence of the State of Israel.
“The BDS movement, and others like it, use propaganda to demonize Israel, spreading lies and falsifications – presenting Israel as an apartheid, racist country, when in reality, we are the only beacon of legitimate democracy in the region,” Ilatov said.
Jewish students ‘beg for their safety’ as Manchester University union passes Israel boycott motion
The University of Manchester’s student union (UMSU) has passed an Israel boycott motion, in what has been described as a “great injustice".
Lawrence Rosenberg, a former Manchester JSoc president and director of campus operations for the Pinsker Centre, an Israel advocacy group, was present at the meeting last Thursday at which the motion was proposed and passed.
He described it as "one of the greatest injustices I have ever witnessed".
"I watched masses of Jewish students plead for positive dialogue on the Israel-Palestine conflict”, the modern history and politics student later wrote in a public Facebook post.
“I watched them plead for representation from a union which claims to have their interests at its core and, most disgracefully, I watched them beg for their safety on campus, something no student regardless of their background should ever have to do. I then watched their pleas turned down.”
Mr Rosenberg told the JC pro-Israel students “found out that that this motion was going to be proposed to the [union] senate about a week to 10 days before.
British Government Endorses Parliamentary Report Slamming Student Umbrella Group for Failing Jews, Downplaying Antisemitism on Campus
The British government on Monday officially endorsed a recent report on antisemitism in the UK, slamming the country’s largest student union for “failing to take [the phenomenon across university campuses] sufficiently seriously”
In a document presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the Crown responded positively to the findings of the report, conducted by the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) and released in October. Among its conclusions is that the National Union of Students (NUS) is being remiss in its attitude towards and treatment of Jewish students.
Left-leaning student groups, the government concurred with the report, “have allowed antisemitism to emerge” on campus, and must “ensure there is a safe environment for both academic inquiry and freedom of speech within the law.”
The report and the government’s response came amid a worsening climate for Jewish students in Britain and their souring of relations with the NUS — a deteriorating situation attributed largely to its president, Malia Bouattia.
British Watchdog Calls on Government Regulator to Investigate London U’s Palestine Society for ‘Falsely’ Testifying Lecture Equating Zionism, Nazism Contained No Antisemitism
A spokesman for a British watchdog group told The Algemeiner on Tuesday that it is calling on a governmental body to re-open an investigation into a London University student group for falsely testifying that a lecture with blatantly inflammatory rhetoric against Jews and Israel did not contain antisemitic content.
According to the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) representative, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) Students’ Union lied when it told investigators that a talk delivered last month by author Thomas Suarez did not include anti-Jewish statements. This is despite the fact, as The Algemeiner reported, that Suarez accused “Zionists” of “conspir[ing] to try and increase antisemitism in order to force Jews to Palestine.”
The initial investigation was carried out by the Charity Commission — the body charged with monitoring and regulating charities in Britain, among them the SOAS Students’ Union — following complaints it received about the content of Suarez’s lecture, which the CAA said is in direct violation of the law governing charities.
To defend itself during the investigation, the SOAS Students’ Union responded in writing to the Charity Commission, that the lecture in question was “an appropriate meeting for the [sponsor and host, SOAS’s] Palestine Society to run in the way it was run,” and does “not believe that there was any antisemitism.”
Boycotted Israeli Goods Distributed in Florida to Defy BDS
Israeli goods from Judea and Samaria — also known as the West Bank — will be featured and handed out as gifts during the 2016 Kosher Food and Wine Festival in Miami on Wednesday evening, in an act of defiance against the “boycott, divestment and sanctions” (BDS) movement.
“It is important for each individual to become an active participant in our efforts to thwart the rise of anti-Semitism around the country,” Gabriel Groisman, Mayor of Bal Harbour, Florida, said in a press release. “The infamous BDS movements, which calls for the boycott, divestment, and sanction of Israel and Israeli products, academics, musicians, and even Jews, in many cases, is leading this most recent uptick in anti-Semitic activity.”
On Tuesday, Joseph Waks, also known as the “Designer Rabbi” of Florida, received $148,000 worth of boycotted items from Israeli companies in Judea and Samaria. These are the gifts that will be distributed Wednesday evening. A video documenting their arrival was posted on YouTube:
Florida Defies BDS!


Anti-Israel Third Grade event a “microcosm of what’s happening to our educational system”
I appeared on the Mark Levin radio show on Wednesday night, December 14, 2016, to talk about my post, VIDEO: Activists manipulate third-graders into hating Israel.
Video of the event is at the link above, which also has extensive background. The short version is that Ariel Gold from Code Pink and Jewish Voice for Peace arranged for Bassem Tamimi to appear before the third grade classes at an elementary school in Ithaca, NY. Tamimi is best known for using children, including his own, to confront Israeli soldiers in the hope of creating viral photos and videos. Tamimi urged the children to become activists and “freedom fighters for Palestine.”
The event turned into a total anti-Israel propaganda event, and caused the 8-9 year old students to react very negatively towards Israel, with some suggesting ways to attack and retaliate against Israel. One student was so affected that his parent complained to the school afterwards that the child was having nightmares.
I’m always appreciative when Mark has me on the show to talk about the anti-Israel movement, but particularly this time given how outrageous the Tamimi Event and cover-up were.
I made the point, as I have before, that it’s not just about Israel, Israel is the canary in the coal mine. It’s about how the education system is being systematically undermined by anti-American, anti-capitalist leftists and Islamists who also hate Israel. It’s a single fight, Israel just happens to be the easy object of their hate.


Rasmea Odeh prosecutors: At new trial, we’ll prove Rasmea was a terrorist
The prosecution of Rasmea Odeh started out quite simply.
Rasmea signed a naturalization form that denies she “EVER” (bold and CAPS in original) was convicted or imprisoned. That was a lie. Rasmea was convicted in 1970 in Israel of the 1969 bombing of a supermarket in Jerusalem in which two students were killed, and attempted bombing of the British Consulate.
In the first trial, the judge did not allow Rasmea to relitigate the Israeli conviction with good reason — whether the conviction was correct or not, the conviction and subsequent imprisonment were facts that had to be disclosed in response to the questions. The questions did not ask whether Rasmea “justly” or “rightly” or “fairly” was convicted or imprisoned, so the propriety of the conviction was not legally relevant.
Everything began to change when the appeals court remanded the case to the trial court to determine whether Rasmea should have been permitted to call an expert witness.
In a decision which was a legal mistake in my view, the judge granted Rasmea the right to call an expert witness at a new trial to testify that Rasmea did not “knowingly” answer questions falsely on immigration forms because she suffered PTSD as a result of alleged Israeli torture in 1969. That PTSD, Rasmea’s expert will claim, caused her to “filter” questions about whether she “EVER” had been convicted or imprisoned, such that “EVER” was interpreted by her subconsciously as covering only the time since Rasmea arrived in the U.S. in the mid-1990s.
The “Occasional Anxiety” Of Terror in Israel
Mahmoud Abbas is an Israeli collaborator and the Canadian Prime Minister is too pro-Israel as well, according to the commentator and academic, Gerald Caplan.
Writing in Canada’s Globe and Mail, Caplan criticized Canadian PM Justin Trudeau for being just as pro-Israel as the last PM, Stephen Harper. Caplan refers to Harper’s “Pavlovian” support for Israel, disregarding the notion that Harper supported Israel because he recognized where Israel is morally right.
For Caplan however, Israel can only ever be wrong.
He holds Israel solely responsible for the unlikelihood of a two-state solution, because of — what else — settlements. He claims that Netanyahu has said he will never accept an independent Palestinian state and “will never agree to force those settlers off Palestinian lands.” Netanyahu may have said in 2014 that he won’t forcibly evacuate settlements, yet the residents of the outpost Amona are due to be evicted by December 25th, and their homes razed, under an order by Israel’s High Court. Netanyahu supports a two-state solution, under the right conditions — where a Palestinian state wouldn’t be able to threaten the Jewish state, and issues of settlers and borders would have to be negotiated — not imposed.
As for “Palestinian lands,” presumably Caplan means the land that Jordan occupied after the Jewish state was established, before Israel won it in self-defense in the 1967 war.
Google Won't Alter the Holocaust-Denying Results For ‘Did the Holocaust Happen’
If you Google “did the Holocaust happen” the first result is a link from Stormfront.org, a neo-Nazi and white supremacist forum that’s widely regarded as the internet’s “first major hate site.”
That’s troubling for sure, but Google’s response was far more concerning. Google told Fortune that the company is “saddened to see that hate organizations still exist,” but it does “not remove content from [its] search results, except in very limited cases such as illegal content, malware and violations of our webmaster guidelines.” The Google spokesperson made sure to add, “The fact that hate sites appear in Search results does not mean that Google endorses these views.”
Titled “Top 10 reasons why the holocaust didn’t happen,” the first post on the forum asks other Stormfront members to help the original poster come up with reasons the Holocaust did not happen so he can “give a good argument.” People on the message board claim things like “no tons of human remains were ever found” and “Auswitcz [sic] was a place where synthentic rubber was being produced and U.S. intelligence was focused on Auswitcz for that reason. No U.S. intelligence reports ever gave any indication of gassing or mass extermination.” For the record, this is all bullshit. The Holocaust happened.
In an era where misinformation runs rampant online, Google’s refusal to alter these search results is distressing, though not unexpected. (Facebook has been experiencing similar issues!) In Steven Levy’s history of Google, In the Plex, he recounts when Sergey Brin’s struggle with a similar issue in 2004. He called altering the results “bad technology practice.” But what happens when an uneducated person tries to look up facts and Google sucks them into an online forum spouting conspiracy theories?
Anti-Jewish violence in US less frequent but more intense, report finds
White supremacists and Islamic terrorists carried out the majority of violent attacks against American Jews and Jewish institutions, according to a new report chronicling more than 100 major attacks on US soil since 1969, put out by the Jewish security organization, Community Security Service (CSS).
“We as Jews need to be vigilant from threats — whether they come from the left or the right or anywhere in between,” said Yehudit Barsky, author of “Terrorist Incidents and Attacks Against Jews and Israelis in the United States, 1969-2016.”
Covering attacks including arson, shootings and explosive devices, the report paints a sobering picture. While the number of attacks targeting American Jews and their institutions declined over the past few years, the lethality and intensity of the attacks have increased. Compared to earlier attacks, those of today claim more victims and are more brazen in their execution.
Additionally, the report supports FBI hate crime statistics that show Jews are still targeted more than any other religious group in the US. Of the 1,354 anti-religious hate crimes recorded by the FBI for 2015, 51.3%, or 695, targeted Jews.
“Each group has its own pattern of behavior, but where it was usually some kind of attack against a Jewish institution done in the dead of night, now you have people walking right into a place, in daylight, and shooting people or trying to blow something up,” Barsky said.
According to the report, synagogues remain the most targeted institution; 51% of the attacks listed in the report were against synagogues, 14% against Jewish communal institutions, 13% against Jewish individuals, and 10% against educational institutions.
A Brief History of Anti-Jewish Attacks in America
Attack on Israeli targets are a relatively small percentage of the total. This isn’t to underplay the significance of plots that specifically target Israeli diplomats, individuals, companies, or facilities: Fatah-affiliated terrorists assassinated the Israeli embassy’s military attache outside of his home in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and set large explosive devices at two Israeli bank offices in New York and underneath El Al’s terminal at Kennedy Airport in 1973 alone (the bomb’s trigger failed, but it was programmed and positioned before intelligence or law enforcement could discover it). Even so, these attacks make up 7 percent of the incidents reviewed in the CSS study, far below the prevalence of attacks on synagogues (51 percent) and Jewish communal institutions (14). This cuts against any assumption that Israel is somehow at the core of violent anti-Semitism in the United States. Some 93 percent of attacks weren’t aimed at the Jewish state and its institutions or symbols, but at places where Jews of any nationality could be expected to gather or participate in communal life.
The attacks are sometimes a sign of things to come. In 1990, El-Sayid Nossair assassinated militant right-wing rabbi Meir Kehana in New York; three years later, associates of Nossiar carried out a deadly bombing at the World Trade Center. In 2009, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad killed two people at a military recruiting center in Little Rock, Arkansas—just days after shooting at the homes of two rabbis who lived nearby. Although the report doesn’t make this exact observation, there’s a certain continuity between decades’ worth of white nationalist attacks on synagogues and the June 2015 shooting spree that left 13 people dead at a historic African American church in Charleston, South Carolina.
The history of attacks is longer than you probably think. Much of the report consists of summaries of every known attack on a Jewish target in the United States. It makes for engrossing if sobering reading, and even comparatively minor incidents tell a story of Jewish communities dealing with the specter of violent harassment: Temple Emmanu-El of Reno, Nevada, was the target of two arson attempts between 1999 and 2001; Aryan Nation members set fire to three synagogues in Sacramento, California, in a single night in 1999, and there were five firebomb attacks on Bay Area synagogues just in November of 1990. None of these incidents were lethal, but each one represents an instance of violent extremists attempting to destroy Jewish institutions and to drive some portion of American Jewish life out of existence.
Austria lawmakers vote to seize Hitler birth house
Austrian MPs voted late Wednesday to expropriate the home where Adolf Hitler was born, ending years of bitter legal wrangling with the current owner over the infamous building’s future.
A large majority approved the new law, which was submitted by the government earlier this year in a bid to stop the dilapidated house in the northern town of Braunau am Inn from becoming a neo-Nazi shrine.
Local resident Gerlinde Pommer — who has been renting the premises to the Austrian state since 1972 — will receive compensation under the legislation.
It is not yet clear what will happen with the yellow corner house at Number 15 Salzburger Vorstadt Street, located right in Braunau’s historic center.
In October, Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka announced it would be “torn down” to make place for a new building to be used by a charity.
Court okays Swiss museum to inherit Nazi-era art hoard
A German court Thursday threw out a challenge to the will of collector Cornelius Gurlitt, clearing the way for a spectacular Nazi-era art hoard found in his home to go to a Swiss museum.
The superior regional court in the southern city of Munich ruled that collection, including pieces by Cezanne, Beckmann, Holbein, Delacroix and Munch, could be inherited by the Museum of Fine Arts in Bern.
Gurlitt died in May 2014 aged 81 and named the museum as the sole heir of the hundreds of works, found in his cluttered Munich apartment and valued at millions of euros.
But a cousin, Uta Werner, challenged the will and staked a claim to the collection, arguing that Gurlitt was not mentally fit to stipulate what would happen with the art.
The Munich tribunal rejected her argument.
“An incapacity to make a will on the part of the deceased person at the time it was written has not been proved in the opinion of the court,” it said in a statement.
Rickie Lee Jones charms Jerusalem jazz fans
It was a blissful Rickie Lee Jones who appeared on the intimate stage of the Israel Museum auditorium Wednesday night, for a short but satisfying performance at the second annual Jerusalem Jazz Festival.
Dressed in black pants and jacket with a ruffled white blouse and wine-colored velvet shoes, Jones was reserved at first with the standing-room only crowd, sitting self-effacedly on a stool when she wasn’t at the microphone singing.
But she gradually warmed up and began joking around with the audience. “I want to tell you that the people playing up here are children,” said Jones, who is 62. “In about 20 years, the collective age of everyone will be my age.”
Jones had only two rehearsals with the band of four local musicians, said Jazz Festival artistic director and trumpeter Avishai Cohen afterwards. The pianist, cellist, bassist and drummer are all musicians from Jerusalem’s Yellow Submarine club, and they offered steady, smooth backup to Jones, with some solos of their own.
“They were great, right?” said Cohen.
Warsaw university honors Jewish co-creator of the atomic bomb, Nobel winner
A marble plaque commemorating the late Joseph Rotblat, a co-creator of the atomic bomb and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was unveiled at the University of Warsaw.
Rotblat, a Warsaw native, graduated from the university, where the plaque was unveiled Tuesday.
“Joseph Rotblat, who in 1938 defended at our university a doctorate in physics, many years later has become a world symbol of the struggle for peace,” Marcin Palys, the university rector, said at the ceremony.
This reportedly is the first commemoration of Rotblat in Poland. He won the Nobel Prize in 1995 for his opposition to nuclear weapons. Rotblat died in 2005 at 96.
Israel Set to Double Annual Water Supply to Parched Kingdom of Jordan
Israel’s national water carrier will lay the groundwork next month for a pipeline that will double its annual supply to Jordan, whose limited water resources have been under increased strain in recent years due to an influx of Syrian refugees, the Israeli financial website Globes reported on Wednesday.
Mekorot’s new pipeline will extend from Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) and provide Jordan with 100 million cubic meters of water annually, roughly doubling the kingdom’s current allocation. The 5.5 km pipeline, which was approved by Israel’s Supreme Court, will mainly pass through agricultural lands in the Jordan Valley.
The arrival of over 650,000 Syrian refugees has exacerbated a severe water crisis in the Hashemite Kingdom, one of the world’s most arid countries, making the arrangement between Israel and Jordan more critical than ever. The deal is part of a broader water-sharing agreement that the neighboring countries signed in February 2015, which also commits Jordan to building a desalination plant in Aqaba and selling Israel a portion of the potable water it generates there.
In Jordan’s Economy Was Always Shaky. The Refugee Crisis Has Only Made Things Worse, which was published in the December 2016 issue, David Schenker explored the variety of challenges facing Israel’s eastern neighbor as it contends with the presence of Syrian refugees.
Amazon CEO Visits Israel as Online Giant Looks to Expand Presence
Amazon’s founder and chief executive secretly visited Israel as the online retailer moved forward with plans to expand its presence there, Haaretz reported Tuesday, citing Israeli media.
While in Israel, Jeff Bezos was said to have met with management and employees of Annapurna Labs, based in Yokneam in northern Israel, which Amazon acquired for $360 million in 2015.
While neither Amazon nor Annpurna confirmed the plans, the online retailer is reportedly seeking to headquarter its Israeli R&D operation in Haifa and expects to employ some 800 people there within two years. That workforce would include 200 employees from Annapurna, who would be relocated from Yokneam.
Engineers from Annapurna have developed specialized chips that Amazon uses in its servers to more efficiently provide retail and cloud computing services.
Reuters Picture of the Year nominee dispels the notion of Israeli Apartheid
One of Reuters Pictures of the year was taken on the beach in Tel Aviv, by photographer Baz Ratner.
It provides yet another example of the abysmal failure of Israeli apartheid.




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