Saturday, October 28, 2017

From Ian:

Evelyn Gordon: What Raqqa Says about Gaza’s Death Toll
ISIS and Hamas employ virtually identical tactics, which is why comparing Gaza to Raqqa or Mosul makes sense. Both dig extensive tunnel networks under civilian buildings, wire civilian buildings with explosives, stockpile arms in civilian buildings and fight from the midst of a civilian population. These tactics greatly increase both property damage and civilian casualties, whether in Gaza, Syria, or Iraq.

Yet despite the enemy’s similar tactics, Israel produced vastly lower casualties as a proportion of Gaza’s population and much less property damage as a proportion of Gaza’s property than the Western coalition against ISIS did in Syria and Iraq. In other words, the very Western countries that accused Israel of “disproportionate” and “excessive” harm in Gaza were guilty of far greater harm in Syria and Iraq.

So if they really believe the accusations they hurled at Israel, Western leaders—starting with former U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry—ought to turn themselves in as war criminals. And if they don’t like that option, it’s past time for them to finally admit that what they acknowledge in Syria and Iraq is equally true in Gaza. It’s simply not possible to fight terrorist organizations that employ the tactics used by ISIS and Hamas without harming civilians.

And it’s also time for them to admit what a group of high-ranking Western military experts concluded in a comprehensive report on the Gaza war: faced with these difficulties, Israel’s success in minimizing civilian harm equaled or exceeded that of any other Western country. If more proof were needed, that 100-to-one difference in casualty ratios between Raqqa and Gaza certainly provides it.
Fifth medal for flagless Israel at Abu Dhabi judo Grand Slam
Israeli judoka Or (Ori) Sasson defeated Belgium's Benjamin Harmegnies on Saturday to add a judo Grand Slam bronze medal to his growing trophy collection.

Sasson, who won a bronze medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics, becomes the fifth Israeli to win a medal at the Grand Slam event which has been overshadowed by a ban on Israeli judokas sporting their national flag.

With organizers claiming that the ban is justified due to security concerns, Israelis have competed under the flag of the International Judo Federation.

Earlier on Saturday, another Israeli athlete, Peter Paltchik, claimed bronze in the under 100kg category.

On Thursday, Israel’s Tal Flicker put all the distractions aside and claimed the under 66 kg gold medal at the Grand Slam. The 25-year-old defeated Nijat Shikhalizada of Azerbaijan in the final, registering an Ippon, judo’s version of a knockout, with 25 seconds remaining.

Israel also took part in the event in Abu Dhabi under similar conditions two years ago. This year’s delegation has surpassed the achievements of the team from 2015.





Columbia Professor Rashid Khalidi’s Cynical Use of Antisemitism
During the Q&A, moderator and NYU professor Zachary Lockman asked Khalidi to address “the silence of the Netanyahu government on Charlottesville.”

Khalidi responded: “What is Zionism doing here? … When there is actual … Jew-hatred; Jews are targeted as Jews.” Dramatically striking the podium, he continued: “They are overt antisemites, Jew haters. And that’s not the problem? No. It’s BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions). Palestinian activism, that’s the problem,” he concluded, his words dripping with sarcasm.

Notably, Khalidi, who has sponsored multiple BDS conferences as the co-director of Columbia’s Center for Palestine Studies, has a vested interest in dismissing the antisemitic heart of the BDS movement.

Khalidi continued his offensive, citing Netanyahu’s muted response to Charlottesville as proof that Zionism actually harms the Jewish people. “Is that good for the Jews?” he asked derisively. “Is that good for Israel?”

At the same time, Khalidi belittled Netanyahu’s “very dark worldview” that antisemitism poses a perennial threat to Jews. “They will kill us [the Jews] in every generation,” he said, mocking Netanyahu’s concerns. “We [the Jews] can only rely on ourselves. We will have to fight and fight and fight.”

Clearly, Khalidi’s feigned anxiety over antisemitism is nothing more than a cynical ploy. In the hands of such an experienced anti-Zionist propagandist, Charlottesville is an opportunity to drive a wedge between a generation of newly anxious American Jews and Israel.

Khalidi’s lecture epitomized the politicization of contemporary Middle East studies: by twisting a legitimate topic — the Balfour Declaration — into an anti-Zionist, anti-Israel propaganda point, Khalidi distorted the past in order to influence the present. His ahistorical claim that the Jewish people are not the indigenous population of Israel is a transparent effort to delegitimize Israel as a Jewish state. There should be no room in academe for such hucksterism masquerading as scholarship.
Trick or Treating for UNICEF: "Scary Good" or Just Plain Scary?
A current ad campaign is asking children to “be scary good” and “trick or treat for UNICEF.” The promotion claims it will “help kids affected by recent emergencies.” Before taking part, however, it's worth asking about protections of the rights of children in the countries that run UNICEF.

UNICEF is the children's relief agency of the United Nations (an organization well-known for its anti-Israel bias). Sitting on UNICEF's Executive Board are two countries that permit some of the worst abuses of children to go unchecked: Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has failed to enact meaningful reform measures to prevent what has been called the “well-entrenched” practice of child marriage. In one reported case from 2008, a court refused to annul the marriage of a girl of eight– that's younger than many of the trick-or-treaters that UNICEF is asking to help them raise money.

Iran recently executed a teenager, according to LGBTQ activists, because he was gay. Iranian children of the Baha'i faith, along with their parents and all other Baha'i, have been branded “deviants,” and “enemies of God.” Iran also continues to permit marriage of girls as young as 13.

In addition, both Iran and Saudi Arabia havebeen charged with responsibility for the deaths of hundreds of children in Yemen.

UNICEF claims that it “works in 190 countries and territories to protect the rights of every child. UNICEF has spent 70 years working to improve the lives of children and their families. Defending children's rights throughout their lives requires a global presence, aiming to produce results and understand their effects.” It also says that it believes that “all children have a right to survive, thrive and fulfill their potential – to the benefit of a better world.” These are lofty and, to be sure, very worthy goals. A look at who is responsible for implementing them, however, raises many questions.

Saudi Arabia sits on UNICEF's Executive Board. In 2016 Saudi Arabia gave UNICEF $19 million, making the Kingdom the 16th largest donor country. Yet, child marriage remains a major issue in Saudi Arabia.
'I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you' Israeli ambassador reunited with WWII hero
Mark Regev, the Israeli ambassador to Britain, maintains he and his three siblings are only alive because of selfless sacrifice made by Harry Irons and the brave airmen of Bomber Command.

Mr Irons, now 93, was just 21 and a mid-upper gunner on a Halifax bomber taking part in the daring Magdeburg Raid on January 16, 1945, to destroy large synthetic oil plants and factories supplying the Nazi war effort.

The central German city was where Mr Regev’s grandfather, Joachim Freiberg, was living as a slave labourer with his family under the brutal Reich regime.

With tears streaming down his face during an emotional meeting with the veteran airman Mr Regev said: “If it wasn’t for people like Harry my father and all the Jews in Europe would have been murdered. This man lied about his age so he could fight the Nazis and many of his comrades were killed. He deserves my appreciation and respect. By coming to say thank you I have done right by my father and my family.”

Most of the Jewish community in Magdeburg had been slain by 1945 and those who survived led an extremely precarious existence.

On the night of the raid the Freiberg family fled to a medieval church in the centre of the city. Huddled together they survived the vicious aerial assault and the devastation and ripped off the Hebrew Star of David emblems sown on to their tatty clothes and fled to the countryside.

There they slept rough, living off the land for four months until liberation by the Americans. After the war Mr Freiberg took his family, including his 14-year-old son Martin, to Australia. They emigrated to Israel in 1954.

Mr Freiberg died in 2015 aged 84 but is survived by his wife Freda.
Who Are You Going to Believe?
This week, the United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism became the fourth independent exploratory body to confirm that the Syrian regime was directly responsible for an April 4 attack on civilians using Sarin nerve gas. More than 80 people died in that attack, “the majority of whom were women and children,” according to the UN’s Syria inquiry. Another 500 were seriously wounded in what had become the disturbingly regular use of chemical weapons on Syrian battlefields by the Assad regime. “We’re not surprised,” said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert. “We will pursue justice for the Syrian people.” The State Department has a funny way of showing that.

When it comes to how it views Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s legitimacy and his role in Damascus, the State Department has been about as clear as saltwater taffy. According to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, “the United States wants a whole and unified Syria with no role for Bashar al-Assad in the government.” At least, that’s his assessment this week.

When Tillerson became America’s chief diplomat, he assumed that role in the administration of a president who campaigned on the idea that Bashar al-Assad was America’s natural ally in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria (he’s not). Given his conspicuous deference to the strongman in Moscow, it was only natural that Trump would see Vladimir Putin’s vassal in Syria as a potential friend. Perhaps Tillerson was trying to convey what he assumed was Trump’s ambivalence toward Assad when he said in March that “the Syrian people will decide” the “longer-term status of president Assad.”

Given that “the Syrian people” had spent the better part of the previous seven years engaged in a pitched civil war over that very question, this was interpreted as a practical endorsement of the Assad regime’s legitimacy. That didn’t sit well with America’s Sunni allies in the region one bit, and Tillerson was soon forced to insist that he was only making an objective assessment of the facts on the ground.
Prof. Phyllis Chesler: Sutton Place Synagogue: The bloody beast is back
Several days ago, the Sutton Place Synagogue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side was defaced by a swastika. My son and daughter-in-law are members of this congregation. My granddaughters attend Hebrew School there.

The bloody beast is back. I can smell it’s breath. But, for me, that’s been the case for a long time now.

In 2003, perhaps early in 2004, I delivered a lecture at this very shul about the rise in anti-Semitism, a subject that had consumed me since Arafat’s Intifada of 2000. Former rabbi Allen Schranz (z”l) was very supportive and I actually joined the synagogue for a while but could not stay because it was not near where I live. The current rabbi, Rachel Ain, has been very gracious and compassionate toward my children and grand-children.

This is getting more personal. But it always has been.

I published my first book on the subject of anti-Semitism in 2003 and took heat for what I wrote. My own editor quarreled with me about whether anti-Zionism was, indeed, anti-Semitism; I kept assuring him that it was. Many Jews pooh-poohed what I was saying, mocked me as a “Jewish Cassandra,” or as such a new-kid-on-the-block, that I had to trust those “in the business,” who understood more than I did. Perhaps so—but I am not talking about scholars in this area, only about the heads of Jewish organizations who knew how to keep themselves in business and who honestly believed that while Jew-hatred was once terrible, it had since all but disappeared.

Most media did not review this work. This was a first for me. Some reviewers said I had exaggerated the facts or that although I had a point, I had not documented my case carefully enough.
Haley condemns UN official who urged economic sanctions against Israel
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley excoriated a UN official on Friday who urged economic sanctions against Israel and who released a report calling on increased international pressure to end Israel’s “illegal occupation” of the Palestinian territories.

Canadian law professor Michael Lynk, who is the UN Human Rights Council’s special rapporteur on the situation in the West Bank and Gaza, cited in a press briefing on Thursday South Africa’s occupation of Namibia as a precedent for calling for the international community to step up pressure on Israel, including through boycott tactics. Those remarks coincided with a report he released the same day making the same argument.

“The United States is deeply disturbed by recent comments from UN Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk calling for academic and economic boycotts against Israel, and by his report to the ‎UN General Assembly,” Haley said in a statement released Friday afternoon. “Unsurprisingly, the mandate for this report comes from the Human Rights Council’s Agenda Item 7, the only Human Rights Council agenda item that targets a single country: Israel.”

Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, also criticized Lynk, who he said was exploiting his position to spread hateful ideas and energize activists of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction’s (BDS) campaign against Israel.
Trump's Iran shift is about more than nuclear weapons
They now believe this nuclear deal, brokered without their consultation, achieves for Iran precisely the strategic cover they were seeking when pursuing the bomb.

“The regime remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, and provides assistance to al-Qaida, the Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terrorist networks,” Trump said in his October speech, announcing new sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and his decision not to certify Iran’s actions as “proportional” to US sanctions relief under US law.

“It develops, deploys, and proliferates missiles that threaten American troops and our allies.

It harasses American ships and threatens freedom of navigation in the Arabian Gulf and in the Red Sea. It imprisons Americans on false charges. And it launches cyberattacks against our critical infrastructure, financial system, and military,” Trump enumerated.

“By its own terms, the Iran deal was supposed to contribute to ‘regional and international peace and security,’” he added. “And yet, while the United States adheres to our commitment under the deal, the Iranian regime continues to fuel conflict, terror, and turmoil throughout the Middle East and beyond.”

The worth of the Iran deal is measured not by whether it prevents Iran from obtaining a specific amount of fissile material in a set period of time, but whether it prevents Iran from using nuclear power as a strategic tool for its wider ambitions. This is the broad policy argument made on the Right.

Thought leaders on the Left cast this as a foolish, academic armchair exercise, arguing to the contrary that Iran has acquired all the technological knowledge and capacity to build nuclear weapons and that realpolitik demands we expect less than their total capitulation.

In making their arguments, both sides seem to agree that Iran’s nuclear program was and remains about more than national pride in technological advancement.

Iran sees this program as integral to the security of the Islamic Republic itself. The question before policy-makers now is whether the nuclear deal, as it stands, mitigates Iran’s regional activity or aggravates it – and what can be done about it without making matters worse.
Dutch government 'obsessed' with Israel, Simon Wiesenthal Center says
The Simon Wiesenthal Center said the Dutch government has an “obsession” with Israel following the publication of a foreign policy platform singling out the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

“The Dutch are fixated” on the conflict, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the center’s associate dean, wrote in an article published Tuesday by the Huffington Post website.

He co-authored the piece with Manfred Gerstenfeld, an antisemitism researcher with the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

The op-ed noted that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was the only international conflict mentioned in the coalition agreement of the new government of the Netherlands, which was announced this week.

The coalition agreement was reached following protracted negotiations between the ruling People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose center-right party was reelected in March, and three other partners, including the left-wing D66 party.

The 70-page coalition agreement states that “the Netherlands will contribute to peace and security in the Middle East, using its good relations with Israel and the Palestinian Authority to promote and achieve a two-state solution: an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian state alongside a secure, internationally recognized Israel. We will also strive to improve relations between Israelis and Palestinians.”
Head of Jewish Human Rights Group Nominated to Top Civil Rights Post at US Education Department
The head of a prominent Jewish human rights group has been chosen for the top civil rights post at the US Department of Education, the White House announced on Thursday.

Kenneth L. Marcus — the founding president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law — is being nominated to serve as assistant secretary at the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) under Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

Marcus previously took up the same role under President George W. Bush in 2003, before serving as staff director of the US Commission on Civil Rights between 2004 and 2008.

He continued his advocacy after leaving government and founding the Brandeis Center in 2012, whose mission “is to advance the civil and human rights of the Jewish people and to promote justice for all.”

Marcus — who authored the books Jewish Identity and Civil Rights in America in 2010 and The Definition of Anti-Semitism in 2015 — has frequently raised the alarm on what he described as rising antisemitism on American college campuses, which he said the OCR was failing to properly handle.

“[When] it comes to anti-Semitism on campus, the agency has been paralyzed,” Marcus wrote in January. “The reason for OCR’s powerlessness is that it is ill-equipped to recognize anti-Semitism when it sees it,” he argued, before recommending that the agency adopt the State Department’s definition of antisemitism.

Marcus has also identified the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel as one of the leading factors driving anti-Jewish attitudes on campus, arguing in September 2013 that some tactics used by BDS supporters — including harassment, vandalism, and even assault — represent “a violation of the civil rights of Jewish students.”
Israeli Lawmakers Demand Action After Terrorist’s Father Wins French Human Rights Award
Knesset member Shuli Mualem-Rafaeli (HaBayit HaYehudi) has called on Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely to deny entry to Israel to lawmakers who took part in an awards ceremony that honored the father of a terrorist for his work as a human rights lawyer.

“We cannot show restraint,” Mualem-Rafaeli wrote in a letter to Hotovely, after an Israel Hayom report revealed that Muhammad Alyan, whose son killed three Israelis in 2015, won the France-based International Institute of Human Rights’s award for best international human rights attorney for defending another terrorist’s wife. Many diplomats, including from Belgium and Canada, attended the event.

Alyan won the award for defending Nadia Abu Jamaal, the widow of terrorist Ghassan Abu Jamaal, who participated in the November 2014 terrorist attack on a synagogue in Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighborhood that killed five Jewish worshippers and a police officer. Alyan’s son, terrorist Baha Alyan, perpetrated the October 2015 attack in Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood that killed three Israelis.

Mualem-Rafaeli wrote, “The message to the world will be clear: The State of Israel will not allow subversive elements to pass through the entrance gates to Israel.”

Hotovely has asked the Israeli Embassy in Paris to relay her objection to the award to the French Foreign Ministry.
Ancient tomb of Jewish prophet 'in danger' amid Iraq-Kurdish tensions
The tomb of the Prophet Nahum that overlooks Nineveh plains in northern Iraq is now near the forefront of tensions between the Iraqi federal government and Kurdistan Regional Government.

Since last week Iraqi forces, including Iranian-backed Shia militias, have been fighting with Peshmerga in an attempt by Baghdad to push Kurdish forces out of disputed areas and take oil fields and strategic border areas from the Kurds. Although a cease-fire took effect on Friday, tensions remain high. Shelling in a Christian town near the Jewish tomb is the latest in years of turmoil that have affected the site.

The tomb is in the ancient Christian town of Al-Qosh, inside a complex that also served as a synagogue and has partly collapsed over the years. The Jewish community of this area of northern Iraq and Kurdistan left in the 1940s and 1950s.

The origin of the tomb is often said to date back 2,700 years. National Geographic, however, noted in 2015 that the synagogue’s walls date from 1173. The article said that locals in the area had “wild conspiracy theories [that] warn of Zionist plots to seize control of war-torn Iraq and, with jihadists on the doorstep, the town’s people are nervous about feeding into these fears.”

In 2014 when the Islamic State conquered part of Iraq, its fighters surged through Nineveh plains, expelling the Christian communities and arriving on the doorstep of Al-Qosh. Kurdish Peshmerga, with support from coalition air strikes pushed ISIS back and held a front line 14 km. in front of Al-Qosh in a village called Telskop for three years.
IDF seals off 10 tunnels under West Bank security fence
The IDF sealed off 10 tunnels under the security barrier in the West Bank near the city of Hebron, after dozens of Palestinians reportedly managed to illegally cross into Israeli territory through the passages over the past few weeks.

Each of the tunnels, which were built to serve as drain pipes, was about 1.5 meters (five feet) in diameter and about 20 meters (65 feet) in length, allowing for people to easily cross through them, Israel Radio reported on Friday.

Last week, at least 100 Palestinians who crossed into Israeli territory via the massive drainage pipes carried out a series of agricultural thefts near Moshav Shekaf, in the Lachish region, stealing dozens of tons of tomatoes and grapes, according to the radio report.

Seventy Palestinians who were suspected of taking part in the theft were eventually tracked down and caught by the IDF and taken in for questioning.
Israel, Palestinians said back to full West Bank security cooperation
Security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority has fully resumed some 3 months after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas suspended it to protest new security restrictions imposed at the Temple Mount, Channel 2 TV reported Friday.

Channel 2 said the Palestinian forces resumed full coordination this week, but provided no further details.

In July, Abbas suspended security coordination with Israel to protest the installation of metal detectors at entrances to the site, a move that sparked widespread protests and condemnation from the Muslim world.

The security cooperation between Israel and the PA, in place for years despite near-frozen diplomatic ties, is seen as critical for both Israel and Abbas’s Fatah faction to keep a lid on violence in the West Bank, particularly from the Hamas terror group.
IS said behind attempted assassination of Hamas security chief in Gaza
Hamas officials in Gaza believe the Islamic State jihadist group is behind the attempted assassination of their security chief on Friday, reports Saturday in Hebrew-language media said.

Tawfiq Abu Naim was moderately injured when his jeep exploded near the Nusseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip in what the Hamas interior ministry called “a failed assassination attempt.”

Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh had initially blamed Israel for the attack, but top Gaza officials say that a preliminary investigation of the incident points to Islamic State, according to Channel 2.

Egyptian authorities are helping Hamas with the investigation into the explosion.

The incident comes at a time of tension within Gaza as its Hamas rulers are to start handing over power to the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority of Fatah leader and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Hamas Blames Israel for Assassination Attempt on Gaza Commander
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh blamed Israel for the assassination attempt that took place earlier Friday against the commander of Hamas's internal security forces in Gaza, Tawfiq Abu Naim.

"Through these crimes, Israel is trying to dissuade Hamas from its ways and its adherence to the rights and struggle of the Palestinian people," Haniyeh said while visiting Abu Naim at the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza.

Meanwhile, sources in the Gaza Strip contradicted Haniyeh, saying the main assessment in the strip is that the Islamic State is responsible for the attack.

According to sources in Gaza, ISIS wanted revenge on Hamas, and on Abu Naim in particular, over a wave of arrests of ISIS affiliated militants directed by the Gaza terror group and led by the internal security commander.

However, at least on the declarative level, other Hamas officials also said that they view Israel as responsible for the assassination attempt, claiming that it sought to derail the reconciliation agreement reached between Hamas and Fatah.
ISIS Claims Responsibility for Killing JFK (satire)
Following the release of some of the juiciest files on the assassination of President John F Kennedy, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has appeared to incriminate his own organization by claiming that ISIS was behind the attack.

“Lee Harvey Oswald was a soldier of Islamic State. He assassinated JFK in a pre-emptive revenge attack, in anticipation of US military aggression in the region”, Baghdadi said. “We killed him nearly fifty years before the Caliphate was founded because that’s just how we roll sometimes.”

The statement has been welcomed by some conspiracy theorists. “This explains everything! Of course, ISIS was behind it”, exclaimed a 41-year-old man living in his parent’s basement. “We’ve known for years that Lee Harvey Oswald, Jack Ruby, Lyndon B Johnson and pro-Vietnam War Pentagon staff were all involved and somehow connected to the assassination, but we just couldn’t prove it. Now, we have the final piece of the puzzle – ISIS! And it all fits together seamlessly, don’t you think?”

In response to the Tinfoil Support Brigade, one ISIS spokesperson has expressed support for these fringe groups. “Frankly, we’re happy to help their causes in whatever way we can. Some of those Truthers, for example, have a lot going for them. Blaming the US government – or even better the Jews – for 9/11, that’s totally our jam!”
New BICOM poll reveals highest level of warmth towards Israel in 7 years, lowest support for boycotts
A new opinion poll shows warmth towards Israel is at its highest level since 2010, with 21 per cent saying that they feel warm towards the country. Populus surveyed a nationally representative sample of 2021 GB adults in October 2017 on behalf of BICOM.

The survey recorded the lowest level of support for boycotts since 2014, at 11 per cent. Forty-eight per cent of respondents “do not support boycotts of Israel and find it difficult to understand how others do given everything else that is going on in the world”.

Young people have significantly reduced their level of support for boycotts in the last three years. This year, 45 per cent of 18-24s said they opposed singling out Israel for boycotts, in 2015 just 28 per cent opposed boycotts.

Other key findings from the survey include:
Half (49 per cent) agreed Israel is an important British ally in the fight against terror, more than for every other Middle Eastern country in the survey.
Of all the Middle Eastern countries polled, Israel is considered to be the fourth most important trading partner after Brexit, with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey considered more important.
Forty-six percent of respondents believe that “hating Israel and questioning its right to exist” is antisemitic. Seventeen per cent of people disagree with this statement.
Finally in English! Industry of Lies: Media, Academia, and the Israeli-Arab Conflict - By Ben-Dror Yemini
The Industry of Lies is one of the greatest frauds of recent decades - a fraud of historic, even epic, proportions. When almost half of all Europeans believe that Israel treats the Palestinians just like the Nazis treated the Jews, when leading politicians assert that the Arab-Israeli conflict is the central cause of violence in the world, and when prominent intellectuals argue that Israel is an apartheid state, the unfortunate reality is that the lies are winning.

As a result, Israel has become the devil incarnate in the eyes of many otherwise good and reasonable people - people who genuinely want to see peace but inadvertently contribute to the continuation of the Israeli-Arab conflict. The tragedy is that they are neither helping the Palestinians nor promoting agreement or reconciliation. Instead, they lend legitimacy to the most fallacious claims of the most extreme activists, empowering not moderates but the worst of the radicals who have no interest in attaining peace.

Israel is not free from flaws. However, this book draws a clear distinction between legitimate criticism and the industry of lies that has emerged from two unlikely sources - the media and academia - undermining their reputation as bastions of truth and knowledge. Ben-Dror Yemini presents an in-depth analysis of the many inaccurate and malicious accusations leveled against Israel and refutes them one by one in this thought-provoking and well-researched volume that invites us to rethink the causes and consequences of the Israeli-Arab conflict.
Pro-Israel activists heckled, disrupted during NYC synagogue event
Pro-Israeli activists were heckled and one was accosted by pro-Palestinian activists during an event held at a New York synagogue on Thursday.

The even was held by Miluimnikim Bahazit (Reservists at the front), an Israeli NGO that sends Israeli reserve soldiers and other activists to speak on behalf of Israel around the world, Israel’s Channel 2 reported Friday. The TV report did not name the synagogue.

According to the report on Channel 2, several pro-Palestinian activists succeeded in hiding their purpose when they entered the premises, before disrupting the event soon after it began.

The Israelis came to the US to emphasize the contribution of non-Jewish Israelis — like Druze and Bedouins — to the IDF.

A clip from Channel 2 shows a pro-Palestinian activist asking an (unseen) Israeli speaker: “What makes you kill a little kid?”

“They started by asking questions. But when they didn’t like our answers, they started rioting, shouting, swearing in every conceivable language inside the synagogue,” Amit Deri, director general of the NGO, said.

One of the hecklers, Deri said, lunged at Bassem Eid, one of the founders of the human rights NGO B’Tselem and a Palestinian human rights activist who frequently speaks out about abuses carried out by the Palestinian Authority. “We literally pulled [the protester] off him,” Deri said.
Harvard Student Doubts Feminism has a Place for her Zionist Views
Not all female college students are convinced that feminism has all the answers. That’s the case for Jocelyn Tolpin who expressed her doubts in a recent op-ed for The Harvard Crimson entitled, “I Don’t Get Intersectionality in Feminism.”

Here’s Tolpin’s problem: she supports Black Lives Matter; she supports LGBT rights; she believes in equality; but she also supports a two-state solution with Israel and Palestine. And in the cult of feminism, that’s enough to get you kicked out.

Tolpin writes:
Although intersectionality is prevalent in each of these movements, feminism is the one that pertains most to me. It is where my largest grievances lie, and I’ve identified as a feminist since learning what it was because it made sense to me. I am a woman and I want equal opportunity and treatment, so of course I am a feminist. However, I’m starting to doubt my role in the movement because my Zionist beliefs are not supported in the community. I will always stand up against any gender-based discrimination, but can I really do that under the label of a feminist? I say this because I’m not sure that feminism has a place for me anymore.

It’s nice when they start waking up from the coma, isn’t it? She continues:
The politicization of the feminist movement has made it increasingly anti-Zionist. My support for a two-state solution is being challenged by a movement that I so heavily identified with. I used to think that the leaders of the feminist movement were women who were standing up on behalf of people like me. Yet, that’s where I was mistaken — they aren’t.
IsraellyCool: Linda Sarsour Once Again Flat-Out Lying
She truly is shameless: in a podcast interview with liberal political commentator Sally Kohn, faux feminist Linda Sarsour flat-out lied when confronted with a question about whether you can be a Zionist and a feminist. The relevant part is from 14:00.

Note how Sarsour does not directly answer the question. She should have said “no” – because that is her position as she has articulated in a now infamous interview with The Nation.

Can You Be a Zionist Feminist? Linda Sarsour Says No

In her op-ed, Emily Shire asks, “why should criticism of Israel be key to feminism in 2017?” I think she was being a bit flip there, but I’d love if you can answer her question in earnest.

I was quite surprised and disturbed by her piece. When you talk about feminism you’re talking about the rights of all women and their families to live in dignity, peace, and security. It’s about giving women access to health care and other basic rights. And Israel is a country that continues to occupy territories in Palestine, has people under siege at checkpoints—we have women who have babies on checkpoints because they’re not able to get to hospitals [in time]. It just doesn’t make any sense for someone to say, “Is there room for people who support the state of Israel and do not criticize it in the movement?” There can’t be in feminism. You either stand up for the rights of all women, including Palestinians, or none.There’s just no way around it.


She then suggests that she does not come to the movement and tell people to accept her as a palestinian, but rather has only brought that up after people ask. This is also false. She wastes no opportunity in shoving the fact that she is palestinian in everyone’s face at all movement rallies. For example, see here. Note not just what she says but what she is wearing.
Berkeley Student Newspaper Retracts Anti-Semitic Cartoon Targeting Alan Dershowitz, And Issues Apology ... Sort Of
Two things should be noted:
First, on Wednesday, Doumar half-defended the cartoon, writing in part:
The artist’s intent was to argue that the contents of civil liberties lawyer and professor emeritus at Harvard Law School Alan Dershowitz’s recent lecture at UC Berkeley were hypocritical. We regret that the artistic rendering distracted from the discussion the artist was trying to start.

The criticism we have received reaffirms for us a need for a more critical editing eye, and a stronger understanding of the violent history and contemporary manifestations of anti-Semitism. ...


Second, Doumar’s apology never explicitly states that the message of the cartoon was anti-Semitic, only that the way it was drawn "hearkened to clearly anti-Semitic tropes."

Intentional or not, Doumar did not apologize for the idea that the cartoon promoted — that the defense of Israel by Alan Dershowitz is disingenuous, driven primarily by his ethnic heritage — which is a deeply troubling perspective.
IsraellyCool: WATCH: Alan Parsons: “I Staunchly Reject [BDS]”
Following my post a few days ago about Alan Parsons promoting an anti-BDS event in which he will be participating, here he is here on video, explaining why we need to defend artistic expression and why he keeps on returning to Israel.

Here is more on the event, put on by Liberate Art, which seems to be the first of its kind in that it is an anti-BDS conference with an entire panel of artists and celebrities.
Legendary singer Aznavour given award for family efforts to save Jews in WWII
French Armenian singing legend Charles Aznavour was honored in Israel on Thursday for his family’s efforts to protect Jews and others persecuted by the Nazis during World War II.

The 93-year-old known as France’s Frank Sinatra still performs and is scheduled to give a concert in Tel Aviv on Saturday.

He received the honor from President Reuven Rivlin, who spoke of his love of Aznavour’s music, saying “La Boheme” was his favorite song.

Rivlin presented him with The Raoul Wallenberg Award, named for the Swedish diplomat who helped thousands of Jews flee Nazi-controlled Hungary during World War II.

Aznavour’s family “hid a number of people who were persecuted by the Nazis, while Charles and his sister Aida were involved in rescue activities,” Rivlin’s office said in a statement.

The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, based in New York, presents the award and Aznavour chose to receive it in Israel, it said.
Watch: Scarlett Johansson learns members of her family died in the Holocaust
Jewish actress Scarlett Johannson recently discovered that several of her ancestors perished in the Warsaw Ghetto during the Holocaust. The revelation came during the making of a episode of PBS’ genealogy show Finding Your Roots, in which she sat down with host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to explore her family tree.

PEOPLE Magazine published a short preview of the episode, which is set to be aired on Tuesday.

"Wow, that's sad," Johannson says, shaking her head in disbelief after reading out the names of her maternal great uncle Mosze Szlamberg, and two children Zlata, 15, and Mandlit, 17 who died in the ghetto.

"Sorry," she said, as she battled the tears which immediately sprang to her eyes. "And I promised myself that I wouldn't cry. But it's hard not to."

Her great-grandfather had moved to New York City, where he worked as a grocer.

"That is crazy," she said as she studies the document from Israel’s Holocaust memorial center, Yad Vashem. “I mean, you really couldn’t imagine the horror. It’s just so crazy to imagine… It’s crazy to imagine that Saul would be on the other side selling bananas on Ludlow Street. And how different it would be being in America at that time,” says Johansson, 32. “The fate of one brother versus the other.”

“It makes me feel more deeply connected to that side of myself, that side of my family,” she adds. “I didn’t expect that.”
PodCast: Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks receives AEI’s Irving Kristol Award
This AEI Events Podcast features the address by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks delivered during AEI’s 2017 Annual Dinner at which he was awarded AEI’s Irving Kristol Award.

To hear introductory remarks from Arthur Brooks, Robert P. George, or Bill Kristol, visit the event video here.

The Irving Kristol Award is the highest honor conferred by the American Enterprise Institute. AEI gives the award annually to an individual who has made exceptional intellectual and practical contributions to improve government policy, social welfare, or political understanding. Learn more about this award and previous recipients.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks is an international religious leader, philosopher, award-winning author, and respected moral voice. He was awarded the 2016 Templeton Prize in recognition of his “exceptional contributions to affirming life’s spiritual dimension.” A frequent and sought-after contributor to radio, television, and the press in Britain and around the world, Rabbi Sacks is the author of more than 30 books, including the recent bestseller “Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence” (Schocken, 2015).
Hulu Takes Israeli Drama 'False Flag' to the US
Israeli espionage thriller "False Flag" is headed to the US after Hulu acquired exclusive streaming rights.

Hulu already has "Prisoners of War," the Israeli series that was the inspiration for Showtime hit "Homeland." Both shows are distributed by Keshet International, which sealed the Hulu deal.

Hebrew-language series "False Flag" follows five ordinary-seeming Israelis who become embroiled in a high-profile international kidnapping. It launched internationally at the Berlinale in 2015 and went on to win the Grand Prize at France's Series Mania event in the same year.

In Israel it goes out on Keshet. The show was created by Amit Cohen and Maria Feldman, and produced by Tender Productions. Feldman and Leora Kamenetzky created the upcoming second season, with Masha TV currently producing. Hulu has picked up both seasons of the series, which is directed by Oded Ruskin.

Non-English-language drama is increasingly finding an international home on channels and streaming services, and Israel has become a drama and unscripted hub in recent years. Fox has previously acquired "False Flag" for its international channels, but not the US. It was also planning an English-language version of the series, which remains in development.

"Dramas with compelling storylines travel well regardless of the language, as Hulu has demonstrated once again with its acquisition of 'False Flag' in the U.S.," said Keren Shahar, COO & President of Distribution for Keshet International.
The Hebrew Hammer is back, and he’s taking on Hitler
Adam Goldberg might not be the exact salvation the Jewish people have been praying for the last couple of millennia, but in these days of rampant hurricanes, earthquakes and political upheaval, what, you’re gonna send him away?

Goldberg is, of course, the actor behind the Hebrew Hammer, a.k.a. Mordecai Jefferson Carver — that slightly offensive hero of the early aughts that had Members of the Tribe kvelling with nachas one moment (“Look, it’s a Jew on screen, and he has a gun!”) and scratching their heads the next, wondering, “Should we be saying this stuff out loud?”

The Hebrew Hammer, played by Adam Goldberg, will be putting down the matzah and coming out of retirement to take on Hitler in his upcoming film. (YouTube screen capture)

Along with the 2003 film’s writer and director, Jonathan Kesselman, Goldberg is doubling down on the over-the-top Jew humor to bring the Hammer out of retirement in (no, not Boca Raton, that would be dealing in cheap stereotypes) Albuquerque, New Mexico, to fight — well, Hitler.

It is something that the duo has been planning for a while, Goldberg said in an interview with Syfy Wire webzine, but was ultimately catalyzed by the latest presidential election. (Say what you will about President Donald Trump, he has motivated a lot of people to get the lead out creatively.)

“It’s like ‘Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ meets ‘Shoah,’” says Goldberg of the film’s general narrative arc, which may involve a time-traveling sukkah.
The Hebrew Hammer is Back: Make America Kosher Again! (#MAKA)





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