Tuesday, January 03, 2017

From Ian:

NGO Monitor: Gaming the Hebron Soldier Trial: Human Rights Watch Tries to Score Cheap Points
Today, January 2, 2017, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a press statement promoting the false claim that senior Israeli security officials support a policy of illegal killings of Palestinian terror suspects. This campaign is another example of HRW’s long-established biased, disproportionate obsession with Israel and systematic prejudice, stated Jerusalem-based research institute NGO Monitor.
As NGO Monitor research has shown, HRW has a consistent history of hiring supporters of a one-state framework that advocate for BDS (boycotts, divestment, sanctions) for key positions relating to Israel, including their hiring of an anti-Israel activist as “Israel and Palestine Country Director.”
Publications such as today’s media statement reveal a pattern that patronizingly minimizes Palestinian crimes, while artificially inflating alleged “violations” committed by Israeli government and security personnel in response to such crimes.
According to Prof. Gerald Steinberg, President of NGO Monitor: “The fact that an IDF soldier is currently on trial for allegedly shooting a Palestinian terrorist who had already been neutralized gives the lie to this latest HRW campaign. Indeed, the trial of Elor Azaria has not been stopped despite public criticism and claims that the trial undermines IDF morale.
As reflected in this latest publication, HRW continues to demonize Israelis and to single out Israel for attack by cherry picking a few outdated and emotional statements made by Israelis in the turmoil of Palestinian murder and incitement. In contrast to the distorted headline, buried in the middle of the text is the fact that senior officials including the Defense Minister, the IDF Chief of Staff, and Prime Minister Netanyahu all condemned illegal uses of force.
Hilarion Capucci, Catholic bishop turned PLO gun runner, dies
Hilarion Capucci, the Catholic bishop once imprisoned by Israel for his support of the Palestinian Liberation Army, died Sunday at the age of 94, the Times of Israel reports.
Capucci was born in Aleppo, Syria in 1922. Ordained at the age of 25, he was made a bishop less than 20 years later, in 1965. He didn’t made international headlines until 1974, when he was arrested by Israeli forces for smuggling weapons into the West Bank. The weapons were intended for the Palestinian Liberation Army.
Although Capucci was sentenced to 12 years in prison, the Vatican ultimately arranged his release after just four years. Before than, in 1975 and 1976, Capucci’s release was demanded by terrorists in two separate hostage crises. He later played a roll in another hostage crisis, the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, attempting to obtain the bodies of American soldiers who died during a botched rescue mission.
Capucci remained an activist for Palestinians causes all his life. In 2010, he was a passenger on the MV Mavi Marmara, the flotilla that attempted to break the Gaza blockade, resulting in the death of 10 by Israeli forces and a major diplomatic crisis between Israel and Turkey.

Dershowitz: I'll leave Democratic Party if Ellison becomes DNC chair
Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz said Friday he'll leave the Democratic Party if Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) is appointed the next chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
“I’m going to tell you right here on this show, and this is news – if they appoint Keith Ellison to be chairman of the Democratic Party, I will resign my membership to the Democratic Party after 50 years of being a loyal Democrat,” Dershowitz told the Fox Business Network.
Dershowitz criticized Secretary of State John Kerry for his tough position on Israel and predicted that the appointment of Ellison will make others leave the Democratic Party.
"If they now appoint Keith Ellison, who worked with [Nation of Islam leader Louis] Farrakhan, to be chairman of the DNC, you’re going to see a lot of people leave,” he said.
Ellison has been vocal about his support for Israel after CNN reported recently on comments he made several years ago defending the Nation of Islam leader.

Pakistani man indicted for spying on German-Israeli group for Iran
German prosecutors have indicted a Pakistani man accused of spying on a group that promotes German-Israeli relations for an Iranian intelligence agency.
Federal prosecutors said Monday that the 31-year-old, identified only as Syed Mustufa H. due to German privacy rules, was in contact with the unnamed spy agency since 2011.
In a statement, prosecutors said the man began spying on the former head of the German-Israeli Society, and handed over information to Iran in October.
He is alleged to have received money in return for passing on information obtained about the society
The ex-head of the Society, former lawmaker Reinhold Robbe, told the Bild newspaper in 2016 that he wasn’t surprised by the alleged espionage and vowed he “will not be intimidated.”
The suspect faces up to five years imprisonment if convicted of espionage.
Israel's New Delhi Envoy: Jewish State Appreciates Shift in India's Voting Pattern at UN Institutions
Israel appreciates the “changes” in India’s recent voting pattern at UN institutions, the Jewish state’s New Delhi envoy told The Hindu in an interview published this past weekend.
“In the last couple of years, we have seen a shift in various votes (by India) which reflects the present improvement in relations,” Israeli Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon said. “I would not over exaggerate this as a trend, each side has their declared positions and it is not a zero-sum game. India says they are committed to the Palestinian cause, to the Arab cause, and they have good relations with Israel that they intend to pursue. We appreciate this stand, and at the UN, we can see it too.”
As reported by The Algemeiner, Israel and India currently enjoy a burgeoning relationship, particularly in the defense field.
India, The Hindu noted, abstained from a vote on an anti-Israel UN Human Rights Council resolution in the summer of 2015. This past June, India voted in favor of putting Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon in charge of the UN Legal Committee. And in October, India abstained from a vote on a UNESCO resolution that ignored the Jewish people’s ties with Jerusalem holy sites.
An Indian government official told The Hindu that India had a “very balanced” approach to Israel-Palestinian conflict-related votes in international forums.
Renaud’s amazing song to slain Jews
January 9, 2017 marks the two-year anniversary of the anti-Semitic attack at the Hyper Cacher supermarket in Paris during which four hostages were killed by a terrorist: Yoav Hattab (age 21), Yohan Cohen (age 22), Philippe Braham (age 45), and Francois-Michel Saada (age 64). It occurred two days after the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo. On April 8, 2016, a little over a year after the attack, French artist Renaud released an album in which he sang “Hyper Cacher”, a tribute to the victims of the attack.
The power of the song “Hyper Cacher”
The song is powerful not only because of what it commemorates and who wrote it, but also because of what it says.
Unlike much of the reporting on the terrorist attacks, Renaud did not mention the name of the attacker nor his cause. He only referred to him as “Un individu cagoulé suintant la haine de tous les pores” (A hooded individual oozing hate from all his pores). In doing so, Renaud gave no publicity to the terrorist.
Renaud wrote that the attacker targeted those who wore a kipa (“Sur tout ce qui portait kipa”). This contrasts with denunciations of terrorism that are written generically as if no particular group was targeted. Renaud made it clear that Jews were targeted and that the attack was anti-Semitic.
Renaud described the horror of terrorism, “Certains pleuraient les bras en l’air, d’autres se cachaient où ils pouvaient, le sang glacé, c’était la guerre” (some cried with their arms in the air, others were hiding where they could, their blood curdled, it was war).
Most remarkably, Renaud referred to the fact that the families of the four victims chose to bury them in Jerusalem which he called “la terre de leurs pères” (the land of their fathers), and he recognized that Jerusalem is part of Israel when he added “au soleil d’Israël” (under the sun of Israel).
Thousands attend funeral of Israeli girl slain in Istanbul shooting
Thousands of people attended the funeral of an Israeli teenager Tuesday morning who was killed in a shooting attack at an Istanbul club during New Year’s festivities.
Lian Zaher Nasser, 19 was buried in her hometown of Tira in central Israel as mourners lamented the teen’s life having been cut short in the terror attack that claimed 39 people, most of them foreigners.
Among the mourners were MKs from a delegation of the Joint (Arab) List headed by Ayman Odeh and representatives of the Palestinian Authority sent by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, according to Israel Radio.
The Islamic State terror group on Monday claimed the shooting rampage at the exclusive Reina nightclub in Istanbul, where Nasser was celebrating the New Year along with three friends from Tira, one of whom was injured in the attack.
On Monday, the Tira City Hall declared Tuesday a day of mourning and asked residents of the city to attend the funeral, while the Joint List party also called for as many people as possible to show up.
As mourners carried Nasser’s coffin from her home to Tira’s cemetery, her mother cried out, “Why did you take my daughter?” the Hebrew-language daily Haaretz reported.
Mother of Israeli Arab woman killed in Istanbul attack: She is a martyr
Nasser's mother, Lucy, called her daughter a "martyr," asking the mourners at the funeral, "Did you come to share in our sorrow, or to share in our happiness that Layan fell as a saint? Layan, wake for a moment so that I can give you a final hug and to tell you again that I love you. Make your voice heard, my sweet, if only for a few seconds. I miss you."
The funeral procession set out at 11:30 a.m. from the family home toward the cemetery. Family members said that they had not yet come to terms with the tragedy. "Layan was the flower of the family, our happiness," one family member said, adding that "her mother is spiritually crushed, and cannot fathom that [Layan] is no longer here."
Speaking at the funeral, Tibi called the Istanbul attack a loathsome act of terror and he referred to Islamic State as a fascistic cancer. "ISIS is not Islam and most of the victims of its crimes are Muslims."
Tibi added that "the entire Arab public is shocked and feels great sadness and anger."
Report: Palestinian Arabs sell land near Tulkarem to Israelis
The Hamas-affiliated Palestine newspaper reported on Monday, citing sources in Tulkarem, that 100 dunams of land in the area were recently sold in transactions carried out through Israeli lawyers.
The land in question is located in the village of Deir Al-Rosson, located north of Tulkarem.
The mayor of Deir Al-Rosson, Abdel Karim Ghanem, told the Palestine newspaper that there is information indicating that lands in the area are being sold to Israeli citizens. Ghanem called on the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its government to investigate this matter.
Under Palestinian Arab law, selling of land to Jews is illegal and punishable by death. However, such sentences must be approved by the PA chairman, and current chairman Mahmoud Abbas has preferred to authorize life sentences for such offenses, possibly wary of an international backlash.
EXCLUSIVE - Source: Hamas Leader Haniyeh Delays Return to Gaza Over Islamic State Threat
Ismail Haniyeh (pictured), former Prime Minister of the Hamas government, is “in no hurry” to return to the Gaza Strip for fear that the Islamic State’s Sinai offshoot will try to assassinate him, a senior Hamas operative told Breitbart Jerusalem.
According to the Hamas official, Haniyeh’s return to Gaza has been postponed for the second time in the last several weeks as tensions between Hamas and IS in the coastal enclave reached a boiling point following a major Hamas crackdown on IS-affiliated jihadists.
The source told Breitbart Jerusalem that Hamas received a concrete threat from Sinai-based Islamic State jihadists, who said they would assassinate Haniyeh should Hamas not accede to their demand to release their operatives and supporters arrested in recent months.
Haniyeh, who has been residing in Qatar for the last few months while preparing to succeed Khaled Meshaal at the helm of the Islamist movement, was supposed to return to Gaza in late November, but his arrival was pushed back for fear of assassination.
Palestinian group said to film West Bank settlement with drone
A Palestinian organization flew a drone in recent days over fields belonging to a West Bank settlement, gathering unauthorized footage in sensitive locations according to a right-wing, pro-settlement group which tracked the incident.
The footage of the area around Havat Ma’on in the southern Hebron Hills gathered by the drone was made available to Israeli media by the Regavim organization, which said that the “documentation of settlements and locations of a sensitive nature in the West Bank crosses a dangerous red line.
The drone is said to have taken off in a Palestinian village near the settlement, flying over the people who were involved in operating the device, then over agricultural fields near Havat Ma’on before crashing in a wooded area.
The Palestinian group accused of flying the drone was identified by Channel 2 as the Ramallah-based Union of Agricultural Work Committees, which works with Palestinian farmers and agricultural professionals on a host of programs and activities in the West Bank. The group receives some funding from the European Union, Regavim alleged.
Regavim, which says it fights the “silent conquest of Israel’s national lands,” called on the Israeli Foreign Ministry to file a protest with the European Union over the incident.
Egypt destroys 12 Gaza smuggling tunnels
Egypt discovered and destroyed 12 smuggling tunnels linking the Gaza Strip to the Sinai Peninsula, the Egyptian army said Monday.
Egyptian army spokesman Tamer al-Rifae said that the tunnels, in the north of the Sinai, had been destroyed, though he did not specify when the demolitions were carried out.
Earlier Monday, Hamas published a report in which it said that it had lost 21 members of its armed forces while digging tunnels under the Gaza Strip in 2016, some of them to Egypt and some into Israel.
Last month, four men, aged 22 to 45, were killed when the Egyptian army flooded a tunnel with seawater. The men were found dead 9 days after the tunnel they had been working in was flooded by the Egyptian army, according to a statement by local authorities in the Gazan city of Rafah near Egypt’s border.
Gazans use such tunnels to smuggle goods and weapons into the Palestinian enclave that has been under Israeli and Egyptian blockade for a decade, following Hamas’s violent takeover of the Gaza Strip and its use of the area as a launchpad for attacks on Israel.
It is also a conduit for Islamic terrorists who are operating in the Sinai, against Egyptian forces.
UN Security Council Won’t Endorse The New Cease-Fire In Syria
On Saturday, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) endorsed a resolution encouraging a new cease-fire agreement in Syria brokered by Turkey and Russia. The international body refused to pass a resolution explicitly endorsing a ceasefire, however.
The language of Saturday's UNSC resolution is as tepid as it is unenforceable. “Language referring to an endorsement was removed from the text before the final vote because Western powers wanted to clarify the role of the United Nations in the agreement,” reports The New York Times. “It was unclear how the vote at the United Nations would affect the cease-fire, as the Council has previously passed resolutions calling for the unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid. Two other cease-fires brokered by the United States and Russia in 2016, one in February and one in September, fell apart in a matter of weeks.”
Calling for a “rapid, safe and unhindered” pathways for humanitarian aid drop-offs, the resolution fails to outline how vital resources to the most vulnerable Syrians can be successfully delivered if the ceasefire agreement breaks down.
Fortunately, the ceasefire agreement, finalized roughly two days ago, is largely holding. As patron saint to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, Russia has agreed to ensure that the regime complies with the ceasefire in exchange for Turkey’s guarantee to do the same with rebel forces.
Kuwaiti MP Waleed Tabtabaie: Israel Runs the World
Kuwaiti MP Waleed Tabtabaie recently said that the problem of the Syrian revolution was "the Zionist entity, which runs the world" and "does not want the Al-Assad regime to fall."
Tabtabaie further said that "Israel – or rather, the Zionist entity – is one of the causes of the crisis of the Syrian people.
It protects the Bashar regime, and is coordinated with the U.S., Russia, and Iran, in order to destroy [Syria]."
The interview aired on the Kuwaiti Al-Majlis TV channel on December 24

Prominent Scholars Slam Modern Language Association for Entertaining ‘Shameful’ BDS Resolution, Politicizing Academia
Two American scholars called an anti-Israel motion being brought before the upcoming conference of the Modern Language Association (MLA) a “shameful maneuver” that highlights the worrisome politicization of academia.
Referring to a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resolution that is being put to a vote at this week’s MLA 2017 Convention, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Jubilee Professor Cary Nelson — one of many academics opposing the bill — told The Algemeiner that it reveals “deep and increasing corruption” in the humanities and social sciences.
“The [hard] sciences and professional schools remain strong supporters of Israel,” he said. “Faculty members in those fields collaborate with their Israeli counterparts and are not about to boycott them. But some departments are becoming anti-Israel propaganda machines.”
Echoing Nelson’s sentiments, Kenneth Waltzer, executive director of the Academic Engagement Network — a group of anti-BDS professors — told The Algemeiner that the MLA campaign is “designed to take hold of institutions of scholarly reputation to increase the megaphone effect in the broad-scale delegitimization war on Israel.”
Both Nelson and Waltzer said that what is most dangerous about the phenomenon is that a prominent academic body is providing a veil of credibility to lies about Israel.
Top Belgian rabbi on BDS: When our home is attacked, we must defend it
Jews around the world must unite to “fight the lies of the BDS movement with Israel’s truths,” a top Belgian rabbi said on Monday at a conference of international rabbis at the Ramada Hotel in Jerusalem.
Brussels Chief Rabbi Avraham Gigi was speaking to dozens of rabbis as a member of a panel addressing the issues of antisemitism and BDS as part of a threeday conference organized by the World Zionist Organization to mark the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem.
Gigi said there are many people who believe the BDS movement does not merit any response, but made clear that he fiercely objects to this approach.
Accusing the movement of disseminating numerous lies about Israel, he said silence would only give strength to those lies.
“This fight is very important and we need to repeat again and again and explain that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East,” he said. “Not all non-Jews are against us or antisemitic, we just need to explain our side.”
Gigi called on every rabbi and Jewish leader around the world to join the fight.
SUCCESS: Daily Mail Corrects Tel Aviv Capital Offense
Following correspondence with editors, we are pleased to say that amendments have been made to all of the above.
Tel Aviv has been replaced with “Jerusalem” in the first two instances while “Israel” is used in the latter two.
CNN: Istanbul Terror Victim “Palestinian Citizen of Israel”
Thanks to our many readers who took action and complained to CNN, the story has been updated. Leanne Nasser is now accurately and appropriately described as a “citizen of Israel” in the sub-header and photo caption.
The story text, however, still refers to Nasser as a “Palestinian from the town of Tira.” We will continue to request that CNN also changes this.
Hitler's manifesto 'Mein Kampf' becomes bestseller in Germany
A new edition of Adolf Hitler's antisemitic manifesto Mein Kampf has once again become a bestseller in German bookstores, the BBC reported Tuesday.
Over 85,000 copies have been sold since its re-release last year, with publisher Andreas Wirsching telling the the British broadcaster that "the figures have overwhelmed us."
The new copies, set for a sixth print run, include critical notes by scholars. The book also features a plain white cover due to German laws banning Nazi-era symbols such as the swastika.
Meanwhile, Jewish groups in Germany have denounced the inflammatory book, which sold 4,000 copies during its first print run at the beginning of 2016.
Mein Kampf [My Struggle in German] was first published in 1925, eight years before Hitler rose to power. At the time, the infamous text became wildly successful, selling 12 million copies in Germany before the end of World War II, according to Reuters.
A record 2 million people visited Auschwitz Museum in 2016
More than 2 million people from all over the world visited the Auschwitz Museum in 2016.
The 2,053,000 visitors is a record number in the history of the museum, which this year will mark the 70th anniversary of its creation, the museum said in a statement on its website.
The top 10 countries visitors came from were Poland, with 424,000; the United Kingdom, with 271,000; the United States, with 215,000; Italy, with 146,000; Spain, with 115,000; Israel, with 97,000; Germany, with 92,000; France, with 82,000; the Czech Republic, with 60,000; and Sweden, with 41,000.
The numbers include 61,000 organized tour groups, and individually conducted tours by museum guides for 310,736 people, according to the museum. In addition, some 150 movie crews produced documentaries at the museum and memorial last year.
65% drop in anti-Semitic incidents in France
There is a significant drop in anti-Semitic incidents in France over the last year, according to claims made by leaders of major Jewish organizations in France.
The organizations say that despite the fact that 2015 saw a rise in anti-Semitic incidents, the past year shows a 65% decrease in the number of anti-Semitic incidents perpetrated.
Previously anti-Semitism, both in the form of hate language as well as violent attacks, had been on the rise in France in recent years.
The organizations based their conclusions on widespread surveys conducted over the period of the 2016 calendar year. According to official government data presented by the newspaper 'Le Figaro', if in the course of 2015 there were 808 anti-Semitic acts and threats, in 2016 their number had decreased to 294.
Francis Kalifat, the president of the Council of Jewish organizations, the Conseil Representatif des Institutions Juives de France (CRIF), was bouyed by the news but said that the numbers are not yet final and should be taken with caution. He also added that this was not necessarily significant news since "curses and anti-Semitic threats have become so commonplace that people do not file complaints anymore about them."
Israeli smart clothing startup HealthWatch raises $20 million
Israeli startup HealthWatch Technologies, which develops cardiac monitoring garments, announced Monday a $20 million investment by Chinese company Yiling, which specializes in Chinese medicine and is now in the process of branching out into conventional medicine.
According to the financial daily Globes, the investment puts HealthWatch's value at $65 million.
HealthWatch describes itself as "a pioneer in harnessing textile technology to produce fashionable, smart-digital garments with interwoven sensors unobtrusively measuring vital signs of hospital-grade quality."
According to the agreement, $15 million of the investment will give Yiling a 23% stake in HealthWatch. The additional $5 million are licensing fees, allowing Yiling to market HealthWatch's product in China. The financial daily Calcalist reported that Yiling also plans to invest several million dollars in setting up a subsidiary in China to market the product.
Kfar Saba-based HealthWatch was founded in 2012 by CEO Yoram Romem and CFO Amos Shattner.
"The product is designed to provide peace of mind for people at risk, but we're all at some risk all the time, of course. We're all somewhere on the risk continuum," Romen said Monday.
Sweet Photos From Meagan Good and DeVon Franklin's Spiritual New Year's Trip to Israel
The couple welcomed 2017 in the Holy Land and shared photos from their once in a lieftime adventures.
The Franklins pose for a photo after "soaking and floating" in the Dead Sea to wash away the old and bring in the new.
When they arrived in Tel Aviv, Good shared this shot to show her fans where they were visiting for the holiday.
While visiting the Jordan River, Franklin wrote that there was no minister on duty as they expected so he answered a call from God to step in. "I wasn't anticipating that God had me in mind to be the minister on duty. LOL! At first, I said "no way" then I said 'whatever God's will is, I will do' so we rented a robe, I threw on my shorts and did as I had been trained to do (been a long time since I did a baptism). I baptized 3 beautiful souls in the Jordan River! And the peace that fell on all of us was amazing!"

Israeli firm creates autonomous aircraft that goes where no helicopter dares
After 15 years of development, an Israeli tech firm are optimistic of finally get their one-and-a-half tonne people-carrying drone off the ground and into the market.
The Cormorant aircraft, billed as a flying car capable of transporting 500kg of weight and traveling at 115 mph, completed its first automated solo flight in November, taking off, flying and landing by itself.
Developers Urban Aeronautics believe the vehicle, which uses internal rotors to fly rather than helicopter propellers, will be sold to militaries to work in hostile environments from 2020 and cost $14 million.
"Just imagine a dirty bomb in a city and a chemical substance or something else and this vehicle can come in robotically, remotely piloted, come in to the street and decontaminate an area," Urban Aeronautics founder and CEO Rafi Yoeli told Reuters.
Hikers find Second Temple period engravings of menorah in Judean Shephelah cistern
Hikers had a close encounter with history last weekend, while exploring a water cistern in a Judean Shephelah cave, they came across the engraving of an ancient seven-branched menorah from the Second Temple period on its bedrock walls.
Three members of the Israel Caving Club – Mickey Barkal, Sefi Givoni and Ido Meroz – said they decided to explore caves in the lowland region of South-Central Israel after hearing about their beauty off the beaten path.
“We heard there are interesting caves in the region,” said Meroz on Tuesday. “We began to peer into them, and that’s how we came to this cave, which is extremely impressive with rock-carved niches and engravings on the wall.”
They serendipitously saw the engraving just before deciding to leave for the day, he said.
“When we realized this is an ancient depiction of a menorah, we became very excited,” Meroz added. “Its appearance was quite distinct. We left the cave and reported the discovery to the Israel Antiquities Authority.”

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