Friday, December 23, 2016

From Ian:

Choosing not to veto, Obama lets anti-settlement resolution pass at UN Security Council
In a stunning departure from its policy over the last eight years, the Obama administration abstained from voting on a United Nations Security Council resolution Friday that demands an immediate halt to all Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, enabling the measure to pass.
The resolution was approved with 14 member states voting in favor, none voting against, and one abstention — the United States.
The text calls on all states “to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967” — language that Israel fears will lead to a surge in boycott and sanctions efforts, and that an Israeli official warned would provide “a tailwind for terror.”
Speaking at the Security Council after the vote, US Ambassador Samantha Power said the vote underlined the Council’s long-standing position that “the settlements have no legality.” She claimed the US position was “fully in line with the bipartisan history” of how US presidents have approached the issue for decades.
Still, she said “this vote for us was not straightforward” because Israel “has been treated differently” by the United Nations.
Originally initiated by Egypt, the resolution was co-sponsored by New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal, who stepped in a day after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi withdrew the measure amid pressure from Israel and President-elect Donald Trump.
Full text of UNSC resolution, approved Dec. 23, demanding Israel stop all settlement activity

Alan M. Dershowitz: Trump was Right to Stop Obama from Tying his Hands on Israel
The reason for this is that a Security Council resolution declaring the 1967 border[sic] to be sacrosanct and any building behind those boarders to be illegal would make it impossible for Palestinian leaders to accept less in a negotiation. Moreover, the passage of such a resolution would disincentivize the Palestinians from accepting Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu's invitation to sit down and negotiate with no preconditions. Any such negotiations would require painful sacrifices on both sides if a resolution were to be reached. And a Security Council resolution siding with the Palestinians would give the Palestinians the false hope that they could get a state through the United Nations without having to make painful sacrifices.
President Obama's lame duck attempt to tie the hands of his successor is both counterproductive to peace and undemocratic in nature. The lame duck period of an outgoing president is a time when our system of checks and balances is effectively suspended. The outgoing president does not have to listen to Congress or the people. He can selfishly try to burnish his personal legacy at the expense of our national and international interests. He can try to even personal scores and act on pique. That is what seems to be happening here. Congress does not support this resolution; the American people do not support this resolution; no Israeli leader – from the left, to the center, to the right – supports this resolution. Even some members of Obama's own administration do not support this resolution. But Obama is determined – after 8 years of frustration and failure in bringing together the Israelis and Palestinians – to leave his mark on the mid-East peace process. But if he manages to push this resolution through, his mark may well be the end of any realistic prospect for a negotiated peace.
One would think that Obama would have learned from his past mistakes in the mid-East. He has alienated the Saudis, the Egyptians, the Jordanians, the Emirates and other allies by his actions and inactions with regard to Iran, Syria, Egypt and Iraq. Everything he has touched has turned to sand.
Now, in his waning days, he wants to make trouble for his successor. He should be stopped in the name of peace, democracy and basic decency.
But it now appears that Obama will not be stopped. Four temporary Security Council members have decided to push the resolution to a vote now. It is difficult to believe that they would have done so without the implicit support of the United States. Stay tuned.
Eugene Kontorovich and Penny Grunseid: At the U.N., Only Israel Is an ‘Occupying Power’
The United Nations began its annual session this week, and Israel will be prominent on the agenda. Many fear the Security Council may consider a resolution setting definite territorial parameters, and a deadline, for the creation of a Palestinian state.
President Obama has hinted that in the final months of his term, he may reverse the traditional U.S. policy of vetoing such resolutions. The General Assembly, meanwhile, is likely to act as the chorus in this drama, reciting its yearly litany of resolutions criticizing Israel.
If Mr. Obama is seeking to leave his mark on the Israeli-Arab conflict—and outside the negotiated peace process that began in Oslo—there is no worse place to do it than the U.N. New research we have conducted shows that the U.N.’s focus on Israel not only undermines the organization’s legitimacy regarding the Jewish state. It also has apparently made the U.N. blind to the world’s many situations of occupation and settlements.
Our research shows that the U.N. uses an entirely different rhetoric and set of legal concepts when dealing with Israel compared with situations of occupation or settlements world-wide. For example, Israel is referred to as the “Occupying Power” 530 times in General Assembly resolutions. Yet in seven major instances of past or present prolonged military occupation—Indonesia in East Timor, Turkey in northern Cyprus, Russia in areas of Georgia, Morocco in Western Sahara, Vietnam in Cambodia, Armenia in areas of Azerbaijan, and Russia in Ukraine’s Crimea—the number is zero. The U.N. has not called any of these countries an “Occupying Power.” Not even once.
It gets worse. Since 1967, General Assembly resolutions have referred to Israeli-held territories as “occupied” 2,342 times, while the territories mentioned above are referred to as “occupied” a mere 16 times combined. The term appears in 90% of resolutions dealing with Israel, and only in 14% of the much smaller number of resolutions dealing with the all the other situations, a difference that vastly surpasses the threshold of statistical significance. Similarly, Security Council resolutions refer to the disputed territories in the Israeli-Arab conflict as “occupied” 31 times, but only a total of five times in reference to all seven other conflicts combined.
6 Things You Need To Know About The UN's Israel-Hatred
A United Nations resolution drafted by Egypt and the Palestinians demanding that Israel end its development of settlements in "occupied territories" was postponed on Thursday after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanhahu joined by President-elect Donald Trump called on President Obama to veto the measure.
"Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told Egypt's U.N. mission to postpone the vote, which would have forced U.S. President Barack Obama to decide whether to shield Israel with a veto or, by abstaining, to register criticism of the building on occupied land that the Palestinians want for a state, diplomats said," reports Reuters.
The postponed resolution is yet another example from a long list of UN measures targeting Israel. In fact, the UN Human Rights Council has attacked Israel more than any other country — and in its first eight years of existence, more than every other country combined. Below are six facts about the UN's biased campaign against Israel.
1. The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) dedicated 56 of its first 103 resolutions to criticizing Israel. Just how disproportionately and unfairly focused is the UN on Israel? The UNHRC aimed more than half of its first 103 resolutions at Israel. The reason for the obsession and gross bias against Israel is in large part because of the heavy influence of Islamist countries on the council committed to Israel's destruction.
2. Between 2006 and 2014, the UNHRC’s devoted 33% of its special sessions to condemning Israel. In the first eight years of its existence, the UNHRC spent far more time criticizing Israel than any other country. From 2006 to 2014, an egregious 33% of its special sessions supposedly addressing emergency human rights situations were aimed at Israel. During that time only the human rights atrocities in Sudan, Libya, and the Ivory Coast only received 4.7% of the UN's attention each.
3. In that same period, the UN never held a single session on Saudi Arabia, China, or Russia. While it repeatedly condemned Israel, devoting a third of its time to doing so, in the first 8 years after its founding the UN did not hold a single special session about the overt human rights violations occurring regularly in Saudi Arabia, China, or Russia.
4. In 2016, the UN issued more resolutions against Israel than North Korea and Syria combined. Another egregious example of the UN's failure to recognize true human rights atrocities while targeting Israel: In 2016, while the UN issued five resolutions against Israel, it only issued one such rebuke of North Korea and one against Syria, despite the Syrian government’s genocide of its own people resulting in thousands dead.
5. The UN has created committees specifically designed to target Israel. In a 2014 article, Touro Institute on Human Rights director Anne Bayefsky provided a few examples of the committees created by the UN that were effectively designed to decry Israel, including, "the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People; the UN Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People; the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories; the UN Division for Palestinian Rights, and the UN Information System on the Question of Palestine."
6. Even the UN Secretary-General has admitted that the UN treats Israel with "bias" and "discrimination." During a meeting with students at a Model UN program in Jerusalem in 2013, Ban Ki-Moon, the current UN Secretary-General, admitted that Israel faces "bias" and "discrimination" at the UN.



President-Elect Trump “Gets” Israel
People have protested that we don’t know what Donald Trump’s policies are. Those policies are appearing, and we can also deduce a lot about his plans from the people he is choosing for his administration. One policy that is becoming clear is his view of the State of Israel.
As soon as President-Elect Trump announced that David Friedman would be nominated as our new Ambassador to Israel, the Left in this country and in Israel loudly protested. David Friedman has been a long-time supporter of Israel and has taken many conservative positions that Trump shares. Mr. Friedman issued a joint statement in November with his co-chairman of the Israel Advisory Committee to Donald J. Trump . I’d like to share a few of those positions, followed by my own comments; these positions could change the course of history in the Middle East:
The U.S. should cut off funds for the UN Human Rights Council, a body dominated by countries presently run by dictatorships that seems solely devoted to slandering the Jewish State. UNESCO’s attempt to disconnect the State of Israel from Jerusalem is a one-sided attempt to ignore Israel’s 3,000-year bond to its capital city, and is further evidence of the enormous anti-Israel bias of the United Nations.
The U.S has debated for a number of years whether we should even maintain our membership in the United Nations. Since our membership will likely not be dropped in the near future, a movement to de-fund the Human Rights Council would be a move in the right direction.
A two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians appears impossible as long as the Palestinians are unwilling to renounce violence against Israel or recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. Additionally, the Palestinians are divided between PA rule in the West Bank and Hamas rule in Gaza so there is not a united Palestinian people who could control a second state. Hamas is a US-designated terrorist organization that actively seeks Israel’s destruction. We will seek to assist the Israelis and the Palestinians in reaching a comprehensive and lasting peace, to be freely and fairly negotiated between those living in the region.
Top US Jewish Leader: ‘There’s Not an Antisemitic Bone in Trump’s Body’
President-elect Donald Trump “believes strongly in Jewish values and he’s a man who believes strongly in Israel,” a prominent American Jewish leader said during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show on Wednesday.
World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder — who has known Trump since they both studied at the University of Pennyslvania’s Wharton School of Business five decades ago – noted, “I was shocked during the time of the election, when people were talking about him [Trump] being antisemitic. There’s not an antisemitic bone in his body.”
Trump’s political opponents, Lauder stated, “wanted to make [him] something he wasn’t.”
Furthermore, Lauder said, Trump is “a man who, I must tell you, the people in Israel will appreciate…in the Middle East, he’s respected.”
Referring to Trump’s nomination of David Friedman to serve as the next US ambassador to Israel, Lauder — who was America’s envoy to Austria for a year and a half during the second Ronald Reagan administration — predicted the 57-year-old attorney from Long Island will be “very, very good for Israel.”
“But the fact is,” Lauder added, “the president makes the policy; the ambassador just carries it out.”
Turning to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Lauder pointed out that past US presidents who have tried to broker a peace agreement did not have the experience of “how to make a deal” that Trump does.
“If anyone has a chance, it’s him,” Lauder said.
Ellison in letter to Conservative rabbis ‘regrets’ past ties with Farrakhan
In a lengthy letter to the Conservative movement’s rabbinical arm, US Rep. Keith Ellison said he regretted past positions that have unsettled Jews as he seeks the chairmanship of the Democratic Party.
Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, meanwhile, spoke Wednesday with about 50 Jewish Democrats about his own bid to head the Democratic National Committee and reassured them of his bona fides in the area where the Minnesota lawmaker has come under fire – support for Israel.
Ellison, beginning his three-page letter to the Rabbinical Assembly with a quote from Pirkei Avot, Jewish ethical teachings – “The one who learns, learns from everyone” – expressed regrets, as he has several times since launching his bid to lead the DNC, for his association years ago with the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam.
“At the time, I did not grasp [Louis] Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism,” he wrote, referring to the movement’s leader.
“It was difficult for me to see that the struggle for equality for African-Americans could be subverted into hatred of others, specifically anti-Semitism,” Ellison wrote. “I focused on Farrakhan speaking to concerns of Black men. When I became aware that he made hateful statements about other groups, including the Jewish community with whom I was so close, I knew that I must reject his teachings. And I rejected them completely.”
Ellison’s letter was in response to queries from the Rabbinical Assembly.
France to hold peace conference on January 15
French officials announced on Thursday that around 70 countries will gather in France on January 15 for a conference to throw the international community's weight behind a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian Arab conflict.
Neither Israeli nor Palestinian Arab representatives will be present at the meeting, but France intends to invite Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to Paris some time afterwards to be briefed on the outcome of the talks, the foreign ministry said, according to AFP.
The move is part of France’s ongoing efforts to resume Israel-PA peace talks which have been at a standstill for more than two years.
France and held a preliminary conference in June, also not attended by Israeli or PA representatives, and was planning to hold a follow-up conference before the end of December with Netanyahu and Abbas involved.
However, Paris announced this week that the follow-up meeting was postponed until January.
Europe’s Jews prepare public Hanukkah events to ‘drive out darkness’
Before Monday’s attack on a Christmas market in Berlin, Rabbi Yehudah Teichtal had planned to invite hundreds of people to the traditional lighting of the first Hanukkah candle at a large menorah erected at the city’s Brandenburg Gate monument.
But he decided to change his original plan following the attack, whose suspected perpetrator remains at large. The attack killed 12 people, including one Israeli tourist. Her husband was among the dozens injured.
And so, “Instead of one public lighting this Hanukkah, we’re going to have one on each of the eight nights of Hanukkah,” Teichtal, a Chabad rabbi who is part of the Jewish community in Berlin, told JTA on Thursday. “It’s our way of driving out the darkness that is terrorism.”
Teichtal’s determination is shared by rabbis across Europe, including France and the Netherlands, who speak of upholding and celebrating the relatively new tradition of public lightings of menorahs. Some Jewish leaders say that celebrating Hanukkah at central locales in European capitals and cities is considered an appropriate, uplifting Jewish response to the wave of Islamist terrorism hitting the continent.
IsraellyCool: Know Your History: Jewish Revival Of ‘Palestine’ (National Geographic, Dec 1938)
A series where I use history to debunk common misconceptions about the Middle East conflict.
In December 1938, before WWII and the establishment of the modern state of Israel, National Geographic ran a photo essay entitled Change Comes To Bible Lands. Besides looking at places such as Egypt and Iran at the time, it also looked at the area then known as “Palestine.”
Once again, it is a fascinating read. Note the following:
  • How the Jews transformed Tel Aviv “in a few short years from empty sands”
  • The constant references to the Jewish history of the land
  • Mention of the land as the Jewish “national home”
  • The Arab violence at the time (pre-state)
Note: I cannot provide a link to the full article since it is only available to those who have purchased a National Geographic subscription. But I have provided the screenshots. As usual, click on the screenshots to enlarge.
Michael Lumish: Hatem Bazian and the erasure of Jewish history
In his recent book-launching lecture for Palestine... It Is Something Colonial, anti-Israel academic Hatem Bazian stood in the “sanctuary” of Berkeley’s Zaytuna College before an audience of around fifty students and faculty; and, in an amazing feat of historical prestidigitation, eliminated thousands of years of Jewish history in the Middle East.
Bazian, director of the Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project at the University of California, Berkeley and co-founder of Zaytuna, a self-described Muslim liberal arts college, maintained that “Zionism involved erasing existing Palestinian history and forging a new history as to claim the land and expel the population.” Such efforts at Jewish historical elimination are consistent with UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, which recently denied the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Meanwhile, Bazian bemoaned “the constant attempt for [sic] erasure of everything related to Palestine.”
Even worse, Bazian justified contemporary Arab-Muslim terrorism against Israel by relieving the perpetrators of personal responsibility: “Palestinian violence is a byproduct that was set and situated upon them.”
Accordingly, Bazian placed the sole burden for the Arab-Israeli conflict on European and Jewish “settler-colonialism.” “You created your colonial box, and you need to clean it yourself,” he declared.
Stigmatizing Israel as a European implant in the Middle East, Bazian admonished the Jewish people and their Western allies that “one cannot have a liberation movement that is in partnership with colonial powers and then seek to dispossess and supplant the population that historically had no role in any type of antagonism or anti-Semitic discourses relative to the Jewish population[emphasis added].”
The Algemeiner’s 1st Annual List of the US and Canada’s Worst Campuses for Jewish Students
Of all the great and varied challenges we face as editors of a Jewish publication, one that stands out in particular is the troubling experience — dare we say the plight? — of Jewish students on many North American college campuses.
Two recent studies, one by researchers at Brandeis University and the other by counterparts at Trinity College, found, respectively, that an astronomical 54% and 75% of Jewish students said they had witnessed or experienced antisemitism during the time period surveyed. Campus watchdog AMCHA Initiative released a report showing that the bulk of antisemitism occurs on campuses with significant Jewish populations, and that there is a strong correlation between hostility to Israel and antisemitism.
The Algemeiner’s extensive coverage of the issue, enhanced this year with the opening of our new Campus Bureau, effectively gave us a front-row seat in this arena, enabling us to witness and report on the breadth and extent of the phenomenon.
We wrote about the admiration for Adolf Hitler voiced by students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and we covered the violent anti-Israel protest at a movie screening at UC Irvine. We interviewed Hindu student leader Milan Chatterjee, who was hounded out of UCLA because he failed to support the boycott of Israel, simply aiming to keep his student government neutral. And we were the first to report on a course offered at UC Berkeley exploring how the Jewish state might be dismantled. (h/t Jewess)
The left is melting down over Trump’s pro-Israel ambassador
There’s something oddly comforting about the unhinged freakout greeting President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for US ambassador to Israel — but something discomfiting, too.
The reassuring part is the fact that David Friedman, a partner at a major law firm and adviser to Trump on Israel issues, is a genuine outsider who appears ready to shake up the State Department’s notorious suspicion toward Israel.
And it’s giving the left fits.
“Having no experience in a given field seems to be, in the Trumpian universe, the greatest of virtues,” the New Yorker’s David Remnick sniped. Friedman, grumbled former Ambassador to Israel Dan Kurtzer, “is unsuitable to represent America in one of the most high-pressure diplomatic positions in the world.” But for sheer chutzpah, the reaction from Martin Indyk, who was Bill Clinton’s ambassador to Israel, takes the cake: “Bankruptcy law and involvement with settlements are not normally seen as an appropriate qualifications (sic) for the job.”
Indyk has a history of bashing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the press, and he was also involved in the Clinton administration’s failed attempt to help Shimon Peres defeat Bibi in 1996. After that, Indyk wrote in his memoirs, “the mutual trust so critical to the ambassador’s role as a channel between the prime minister and the president was missing.”
Lesson: Don’t be Martin Indyk.
Jewish Student Leader in UK: Findings of Campus Racism Report Downplaying Antisemitism ‘Especially Disappointing’
A Jewish student leader in Britain expressed dismay over the findings of a racism inquiry that “trivializes antisemitism.”
Referring to the “Institutional Racism Review” (IRR) — commissioned by the umbrella group of students countrywide — Union of Jewish Students (UJS) Campaigns Director Josh Nagli called the near-total exclusion of Jew-hatred in the study “especially disappointing,” in light of assurances received that antisemitism would be one of the forms of campus racism surveyed.
Nagli said that despite National Union of Students (NUS) President Malia Bouattia’s claim, “[T]here seems to be a lack of any in-depth examination of the challenges facing Jewish students” — including when dealing with the NUS on this very issue.
The authors of the IRR, Nagli said, downplay antisemitism by using words like “controversy” to describe media coverage of the phenomenon — something that “only goes further to delegitimize the real experiences of Jewish students.”
Nagli’s comments come amid a worsening climate for Jewish students in Britain and souring of relations with the NUS, a deteriorating situation attributed largely to Bouattia.
Nassau County Police: New York Community College Student Arrested for Spray-Painting 110 Swastikas on Campus Motivated by Perceived Slights From Jewish Neighbors
A Nassau Community College (NCC) student responsible for spray-painting 110 swastikas and other antisemitic graffiti at different locations on campus acted out of the belief that Jews were out to get him, police said.
Jasskirat Saini, 20, was “motivated by perceived slights of the Jewish community in his neighborhood in Plainview,” Nassau County Acting Police Commissioner Thomas C. Krumpter told reporters.
Saini was arrested Tuesday for crimes committed over a two-month period, including vandalizing property with the swastikas and phrases like “Heil Hitler,” “KKK” and “Germany.” His antisemitic spree began on October 15, police said, when he drew three Nazi symbols in a men’s room.
Saini, who was has been charged with 12 counts of aggravated harassment and is being held on $60,000 bail, was apprehended when detectives investigating the graffiti caught him in the act of painting offensive images.
Irish University’s Decision to Host Conference Calling for Elimination of Jewish State Provides Cloak of Academic Legitimacy for Antisemitism, Say Israel Advocates
An Irish university’s decision to host a conference calling for the elimination of the Jewish state provides activists the opportunity to hide their antisemitism behind a cloak of academic legitimacy, members of Israel-advocacy groups told The Algemeiner.
Referring to the upcoming “International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Exceptionalism and Responsibility” conference at University College Cork, a spokesman from the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland (JRCI) called the event “no more than an anti-Israel hate-fest.”
“We note with considerable dismay and concern that this event now appears to have found a home in Cork. Experience has shown that where a narrative aimed at the destruction of the Jewish state is allowed to flourish, antisemitism follows,” he said.
A member of the Irish4Israel advocacy group concurred, expressing dismay that such “hatred” is still found in Ireland.
The group said that it is not pushing for the program to be cancelled, but “hope[s] that UCC will ensure balance and fairness and allow both sides to be heard, which could result in a far more successful conference, rather than creating an anti-Israel echo chamber.” However, by press time, Irish4Israel told The Algemeiner, “The university has not engaged with us, which is hugely disappointing.”
Some of Britain's top universities are becoming no-go zones for Jews, Baroness Deech claims
Some of Britain's leading universities are becoming no-go zones for Jewish students because anti-Semitism is so rife, the first ever higher education adjudicator has warned.
Baroness Ruth Deech, a cross-bench peer who formerly held the highest office dealing with student complaints, said that institutions may be failing to combat hatred against Jews as they are “afraid of offending” their potential benefactors from Gulf states.
Her comments come after a series of high profile incidents at top universities where Jewish students claim they were verbally abused or physically attacked. The academic community is at the forefront of calls to boycott Israel.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Baroness Deech said that the extreme levels of hostility towards Israel at universities across the country can at times go so far as to equate to anti-Semitism.
“Many universities are in receipt of or are chasing very large donations from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states and so on, and maybe they are frightened of offending them,” she said. “I don’t know why they aren’t doing anything about it, it really is a bad situation.”
"Amongst Jewish students, there is gradually a feeling that there are certain universities that you should avoid"Baroness Ruth Deech
Baroness Deech, a former senior proctor at Oxford University and Principal of St Anne's College, said that a handful of universities are now gaining reputations as institutions where Jews are unwelcome.
More Anti-Israel Propaganda in Mainline Churches: “Living Resistance Tour”
In a number of recent posts (see here, here, here, and here) we’ve highlighted how anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) is being promoted in America’s mainline churches.
As we discussed, a malicious strain of virulent anti-Israel sentiment is being inserted into U.S. Protestant denominations largely because of a deep-seated organizational dysfunction in these churches.
Basically, the churches are being hijacked from within by small groups of pro-BDS activists. They’ve led the charge, aided and abetted by a host of vehemently anti-Israel Palestinian groups, who they frequently promote and with whom they collaborate.
Together, these church subgroups and various Palestinian organizations (typically based in the West Bank or east Jerusalem, but with offices and chapters in the U.S. as well) have gained an institutional footing by exploiting the language of social justice and human rights.
In so doing, they’ve drowned out dissenting Christian voices, including those of pro-Israel Christian Israelis.
They’ve also monopolized the conversation to focus solely on Israel’s alleged malevolence—instead of on the real and horrific suffering of many Christian communities across the Middle East, or even on the many abuses heaped on Palestinian Christians by their own feckless governments and by their intolerant Muslim neighbors.
Israel Boycott vote at Modern Language Association on January 7
The Modern Language Association is at it again: at this year’s annual MLA meeting in Philadelphia, academic boycotts of Israel are on the agenda. Thus continues the Settler Colonial attempt by the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) to hijack American faculty organizations.
The 24,000 member organization, comprised of faculty in the fields English and other non-classical foreign languages, will be debating (again) whether to boycott their colleagues in Israel, and would extend to the Academy of the Hebrew Language.
The vote on January 7th involves the 297 members of the Delegate Assembly.
There are three resolutions being put before the Delegate Assembly: one in favor of a boycott of all Israeli universities; the second, opposing academic boycotts in general; the third, condemning the suppression of academic freedom at Palestinian universities by the Palestinians themselves (the Palestinian Authority and Hamas).
Should any resolutions pass at the Delegate Assembly, they will then go to the general MLA membership for ratification.
BBC News removes information on Hamas missile fire and terror designation
Earlier this week the BBC News website’s Middle East page published an article promoting Hamas’ unsubstantiated claims concerning the murder of one of its members in Tunisia which was previously discussed here.
That article included an incomplete portrayal of Hamas’ designation as a terrorist organisation and its record of terror activity while amplifying the group’s ‘resistance’ narrative.
“Hamas, which rules the Gaza strip, is seen as a legitimate resistance group by its supporters – but is classed as a terrorist outfit by the US and EU.
It refuses to recognise Israel as a country, and regularly fires rockets from Gaza into the Jewish state.
Israel has held Gaza under a blockade for the past decade, and conducted several offensives and air strikes against the territory – which it says are needed to curtail Hamas rocket fire.”

Subsequently, that section of the article was amended and the references to Hamas’ terror designation and firing of missiles at civilian communities in Israel were removed
IsraellyCool: Dear MEAA, Antony Loewenstein Breaks Your Code Of Ethics
It is unclear to me how they Antony Loewenstein even qualifies for MEAA membership, given he contravenes some of these standards, let alone MEAA defending him!
“Report and interpret honestly, striving for accuracy, fairness and disclosure of all essential facts. Do not suppress relevant available facts, or give distorting emphasis.”
Any fair examination of Loewenstein’s “work” shows an almost pathological hatred of Israel. There is no evidence of any striving for accuracy or fairness in his “reporting.” As I have shown in previous posts, he is firmly anti-Israel, even to the point of comparing us unfavorably to terrorist organization Hamas
As I posted earlier this year, Loewenstein attended the Ynet anti-BDS conference in Jerusalem, and then posted a hit job on anti-Israel site Mondoweiss. I suspect he may not have accurately represented who he was, although I do not have proof of this. At the very least, I am sure he did not disclose the fact he attended there solely to attack the conference.
I call on MEAA to conduct their own investigation into Loewenstein’s conduct and reevaluate his membership in your union and your defense of him.
HRC Prompts Journal Pioneer Correction: Antisemitic Quote Attributed to Einstein Fake
On December 21 in the Journal Pioneer, a P.E.I. based newspaper, a letter writer named Richard Deaton claimed that Albert Einstein made the following statement: “It would be my greatest sadness to see Zionists do to Palestinians …what the Nazis did to [the] Jews.”
In truth, there’s no evidence to confirm the veracity that Einstein ever made this statement that was wrongly attributed to him. As we told the Journal Pioneer, unless Mr. Deaton can substantiate with verifiable evidence/sourcing that Einstein made this statement, a retraction should be published. Additionally, Mr. Deaton’s bringing up this alleged quote is tantamount to antisemitism as according to the Ottawa Protocol and U.S. State Department, when you draw comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis, you are making an antisemitic statement.
HonestReporting Canada is pleased to inform its members that the Journal Pioneer promptly and professionally acted to remedy the situation by immediately amending the letter, thereby removing this reference and by publishing this correction notice.
We thank Brad Works, Managing Editor at the Journal Pioneer – a newspaper of Transcontinental Media – for his cooperation.
‘Toxic, Negative Culture’ of Antisemitism Prompts Two Massachusetts High Schools to Cancel Hockey Season
Two Massachusetts high school hockey teams had their seasons abruptly terminated this week, after administrators uncovered what they called a “toxic and negative culture” of antisemitism among the players, local news station CBS Boston reported.
According to the report, the youths in question and their parents — from Framingham’s Marian High School and Keefe Technical High School — were informed of the decision on Monday in a letter, which highlighted a pattern of racist and antisemitic behavior by team members — for which several had been disciplined, costing both teams 19 games.
According to Keefe Tech Superintendent Jon Evans, an investigation — launched after complaints were received last Friday — “revealed a pervasive climate of disrespect that involved multiple student athletes from both schools. This behavior is inconsistent with the values of our school and expectations for our student athletes.”
The schools, he said, will be “implementing an educational component for our students so that this will be a learning experience.” School officials have reached out to the local branch of the Jewish organization the Anti-Defamation League for assistance in this endeavor.
Vermont woman who wrote anti-Semitic fliers will not be arrested
A woman who wrote and distributed anti-Semitic fliers at a City Council meeting in Burlington, Vermont, will not be arrested and charged.
Burlington Police said that distributing the fliers, which assert that Jews have destroyed the city led by Jewish Mayor Miro Weinberger, is not illegal. An investigation was opened, however, since the department looks into all incidents of bias and hate.
The fliers, which were left on chairs anonymously before the start of Monday's City Council meeting, accuse the mayor of leading a "Jewish demolition team" against the city.
The woman who created the fliers reportedly has authored similar documents in the past, though not against the Jewish community and not quite as vitriolic, and is believed to have a history of mental health problems, according to Vermont Public Radio.
City Council President Jane Knodell called the fliers "overtly anti-Semitic." She told Vermont Public Radio that the flier was an attack on the American values of liberty and justice for all.
Israeli Tech Companies Raise Record $4.6 Billion in 2016
Israeli tech companies have raised over $4.6 billion in 2016, breaking last year’s record of $4.43 billion, the Israeli financial website Globes reported Tuesday.
According to the Israeli High-Tech and Venture Capital Database, tech firms attracted $4 billion in financing during the first three quarters of 2016, an increase of 27 percent over the same time period in 2015. Tech firms raised $1.19 billion in the third quarter alone, making it the second most successful quarter in the past 10 years.
While investing in December is usually somewhat slower, Israeli tech companies raised more than $200 million this month and over $600 million in the fourth quarter so far, Globes noted.
The companies contributing to December’s totals include Lumus, a maker of optical screens for augmented reality that raised $30 million; Dynamic Yield, which helps marketers to customize their pitches and closed a funding round of $22 million; Blue Vine, a financial tech startup that raised $49 million; Life on Air, a video chat company that raised $52 million; and Lemonade, an insurance technology company that raised $34 million.
Irreplaceable: Jewish News remembers those we lost in 2016


Seven Fascinating Discoveries Israeli Archaeologists Made in 2016
Palestinians, pushing their claims for statehood, have regularly denied the Jewish historical connections to Israel. In fact, the 20th article of the Palestinian National Charter states, “Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history.”
Following this counterfactual ideology, the United Nations’ cultural agency, UNESCO, passed two resolutions in October denying the historical Jewish connection to Jerusalem.
Writing in The Tower, Eylon Aslan-Levy described the aim of the resolutions as “a bid by dictatorships (with the acquiescence of democracies) to render Israeli sovereignty over the Old City utterly illegitimate, do[ing] the most damage by prejudging how the international community should approach the question of the holy sites in any future accord.”
As it so happens, this year saw several significant archaeological finds that established the facts of the historical Jewish connection to Israel and Jerusalem and contradicted campaigns to delegitimize Jewish history.
In Christmas Message, Netanyahu Notes Thriving Christian Community in Israel
In his annual Christmas message, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu noted the common bonds that Jews and Christians share, as well as the thriving Christian community in Israel.
“To all of our Christian friends around the world, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,” Netanyahu said in a video message on Thursday from the courtyard of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ), one of the world’s largest pro-Israel Christian ministries with branches in over 85 nations and supporters in 160 countries worldwide.
Netanyahu added that he is “proud” of Israel’s relationship with the Christian community and “the bond with you because we all know that this land of Israel is the land of our common heritage. It changed the story of humanity, it changed civilization.”
At the same time, Netanyahu noted that Christians and Jews are under threat from the “forces of intolerance” and “barbarism” and that he’s proud Israel is the only place in the Middle East where Christians are thriving.
“I’m proud of the fact that in Israel, this is the one place in the Middle East that the Christian community not only survives but thrives and it’s no accident. It’s because of our commitment to religious freedom; it’s because of our embrace of our heritage; it’s because of our embrace of our common future,” Netanyahu said.




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