Saturday, December 02, 2017

From Ian:

White House Notifies US Embassies Around the World of Plan to Recognize Jerusalem as Capital of Israel
The Trump administration has notified U.S. embassies around the world that it plans to formally recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel, according to a report published Thursday by The Wall Street Journal. The plan includes the future relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

According to the report, the plan has not been finalized, but envoys were being notified so that they can inform their host governments and prepare for possible protests.
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Officials said a formal announcement may come as early as next week.

President Donald Trump faces a December 4 deadline to decide whether to sign another six-month waiver of the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act of 1995, passed by Congress which requires the relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The waiver, included in the legislation, allows the president to delay the transfer for a six-month period on the condition there is a risk to “national security.”

“The president has always said it is a matter of when, not if, [the embassy will relocate to Jerusalem],” a White House spokesperson said. “The president is still considering options and we have nothing to announce.”
Next Week in Jerusalem?
Reports that Trump will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but delay moving the Embassy from Tel Aviv.

During the campaign and transition, Donald Trump was clear in his promise to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, Israel’s capital.

As with prior administrations, there was walk-back in reality, and the Embassy still is in Tel Aviv.

In the past week there has been much speculation that an announcement about moving the Embassy was near, but that speculation was denied by the administration.

Today, there is widespread reporting that next Wednesday Trump will announce — well, it’s not really clear what. It could be a move of the Embassy, or it could be a recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital without moving the Embassy.

Reuters reports:
U.S. President Donald Trump is likely to deliver a speech on Wednesday recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a senior U.S. official said on Friday, a move that could upend decades of American policy and further inflame tensions in the Middle East.

Two administration officials said on Thursday that even as Trump was considering the controversial declaration, he was expected to again delay his campaign promise to move the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv….

A U.S. stance deviating from that of previous presidents, who have insisted that the matter must be decided in peace negotiations, would anger Palestinians, who want the city’s eastern sector as the capital of their future state, and the broader Arab world.


If that report is true, it represents half a loaf. Particularly if the boundaries of “Jerusalem” are left uncertain and Jerusalem is not recognized as the undivided capital of Israel. It would be mostly an empty word statement, but one which doubtlessly will be met with fury from the Palestinians.
Edgar Davidson: If Theresa May was really interested in fighting Islamist terrorism ......
Today Theresa May is in Jordan discussing strategies to combat terrorism. Instead of trying to stop people (including Donald Trump) from highlighting Islamic threats online, she could ask the King of Jordan to comply with their extradition treaty with the USA.......

Ahlam Tamimi is the female Hamas terrorist who planned and engineered the 2001 massacre of 16 people, including 8 children, in Jerusalem’s Sbarro restaurant. One of her victims was 15-year-old Malki Roth (an American citizen) and her parents maintain an incredible blog about the case here.

As a mass murderer of Jewish kids she was the most 'honoured' of all the terrorists released in the ludicrous exchange for Gilad Shalit. She became a major celebrity in the Arab world, presenting a weekly TV programme where she encouraged millions of viewers to emulate her crimes. By inciting terrorism Tamimi was subject to re-arrest under the terms of the release, but by living in Jordan the Israelis were unable to re-arrest her. However, because two of her victims were American citizens the FBI has recently put Tamimi on their most wanted terrorist list and requested her extradition from Jordan. The Jordanians, who also recently honoured child murderer Ahmad Dakamseh, have refused.

Here is Tamimi smiling when she is told in prison for the first time how many children she killed:



David Hirsh: this new definition of antisemitism is only a threat to antisemites
Antisemitism lurks under the surface; we are reluctant to see it in our allies and we are eager to see it in those we fear or hate. The left sniffs the antisemitism on the right and the right sniffs the antisemitism on the left.

The working definition does not seek to see a person’s essence to find out whether they are antisemitic. What it does instead is to help in the recognition of antisemitic actions and ways of thinking. It is concerned with what people do, what they say and what they tolerate; not what they are.

Many in the movement to boycott and to de-legitimize Israel are afraid of the working definition. They say that it defines criticism of Israel as antisemitic. It actually does the opposite. It helps us to make the distinction between what kinds of criticism may be legitimate and what kinds of hostility or demonization may either lead towards, or result from, antisemitism.

Some on the left will continue to say that the working definition is part of a Zionist and Tory conspiracy to smear left wing politics. This itself is an antisemitic claim.

The left needs to understand antisemitism and to come to terms with the history of antisemitism within its own movement. It needs to educate young people to recognize and oppose antisemitism, not to accuse those who do recognize it of being the problem. The working definition can help us to mobilize against antisemitism. It is not a threat to the left or to those who are for Palestinian freedom, it is a threat to antisemitism.
Germany Slammed for Denying Israel’s Ownership of Dead Sea Scrolls
A German politician criticized his government for denying’s Israel’s ownership of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which led to the cancellation of a planned exhibit of the ancient text next year, Benjamin Weinthal reported Friday for The Jerusalem Post.

“If Germany is unwilling to clearly express the legal status of the fragments of Qumran as Israeli world cultural heritage goods, it would dramatically change the coordinates in our German-Israeli relations,” Uwe Becker, the deputy mayor of Frankfort told Weinthal. “And it would mean the construction of a wall toward the places of the birth of Christianity in the holy country, because it would be the same for Bethlehem, Jericho, east Jerusalem and many other places of Jesus’ work.”

Becker sent a letter of protest to both Monika Grütters, Germany’s minister of culture and media, and German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel. Gabriel is currently lobbying in the United States to support the nuclear deal with Iran.

Germany’s refusal to acknowledge Israel’s ownership over the valuable historical texts prevented the Bible House Museum in Frankfurt, which was to have displayed the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit from issuing an “Immunity from Seizure” document, ensuring that the scrolls would be returned to their home in Israel.

Becker pointed out that museums in other European nations, including Austria and the Netherlands, have issued “Immunity from Seizure” documents allowing the Dead Sea Scrolls to be displayed there.
Trump has until Monday to decide on moving embassy to Jerusalem
As Israelis and Palestinians watched the hours tick by on Friday, waiting to see whether US President Donald Trump would once again sign a waiver delaying a move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a State Department official clarified that Trump actually has until Monday to make up his mind.

The formal deadline for the waiver is December 1, but since that date fell on a Friday this year, the deadline was extended to December 4, after the weekend, the official confirmed to The Times of Israel.

Speculation about what the president will do has intensified since multiple reports surfaced this week that he would either order his team to prepare to relocate the embassy, or delay the relocation again but formally declare that he recognizes the holy city as Israel’s capital. Axios reported on Friday that Trump will give a speech Wednesday in which he makes that latter declaration — a claim the administration did not confirm.
US Vice President Mike Pence speaks as he attends a Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations event celebrating the 70th anniversary of the UN vote calling for ‘the establishment of a Jewish State in the Land of Israel’, at Queens Museum on November 28, 2017 in New York. (AFP/ Timothy A. Clary)

On Tuesday, US Vice President Mike Pence said Trump “is actively considering when and how to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.” He spoke at a UN event in New York commemorating the 70th anniversary of the UN vote for partition of Palestine, which led to the creation of the State of Israel.

Other reports, including one on Israel’s Channel 10 News, said that there was internal squabbling in the White House about what course of action to ultimately take.

Aaron David Miller, a veteran Middle East peace negotiator in multiple US administrations, said that if Trump is going to make so dramatic a move as declaring Jerusalem Israel’s capital, he wouldn’t want to do so quietly on a weekend.
Palestinians to Kushner: Peace process ends if Trump backs Israel on Jerusalem
A delegation from the Palestinian Authority met on Friday with presidential adviser Jared Kushner to warn the Trump Administration that if it announces the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, or if President Donald Trump makes remarks acknowledging Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, this would mark the end of the peace process, Israeli TV reports said.

As of Saturday night, Trump had not signed a waiver delaying the move of the embassy by another six months, and he has only until Monday to do so. A stream of media reports in recent days have indicated that the president intends to declare in a speech within days that he considers Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital, and that he may say he is instructing his team to prepare to move the embassy.

The Israeli government has long sought for the US to relocate the embassy and for the international community to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Any such steps “will kill the negotiations,” the PA delegation — which included Majed Faraj and Saeb Erekat, senior officials close to PA President Mahmoud Abbas — told Kushner on Friday, Hadashot news reported on Saturday night.

Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and/or announcing that the embassy will be moved would mark the end of the peace process, they reportedly said.

The warning was backed up by a letter from Erekat, reflecting Abbas’s anger at the anticipated US moves.
In DC, Barak says moving the embassy won’t be ‘a consequential event’
Former prime minister Ehud Barak insisted on Friday night that neither moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem nor recognizing the holy city as Israel’s capital would be that big of a deal.

“I don’t think that this is a consequential event,” he said at the Brookings Institution’s annual Saban Forum in Washington, D.C., “especially if the Arabs will be let known in advance and [it is] explained to them that it doesn’t close the door on any future American effort.”

Speaking to members of Congress, diplomats, foreign dignitaries, Israeli officials and one US Supreme Court justice, Barak, who some believe is mulling a re-entry into politics, said that more important than what the Trump White House does on Jerusalem is the nature of the plan it unveils on forging a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians.

“It’s much more consequential what kind of plan will be proposed by the Trump administration,” he said. “If it will be just a kind of illustration of a possible way out that both sides will be invited to deal with, we will see something that we have seen daily for 10 years: The blame game starts before they even enter the talks.”
Hamas vows renewed ‘intifada’ if US recognizes Jerusalem as Israeli capital
In a warning to Washington, Hamas on Saturday said US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel would lead to an “escalation” of the “Jerusalem intifada.”

The terror group said that if the Trump administration officially recognizes the Jewish state’s capital next week it would constitute “flagrant aggression” against the city and “a barefaced violation of international law.”

It said such a move would serve as a cover for a Jewish takeover of the city, amid the expulsion of Palestinians, and called on the Palestinian people to resist any such action through renewed intifada.

The “Jerusalem intifada” is a name given by some Palestinians to a wave of unrest and Palestinian terrorism that broke out in the West Bank and Jerusalem in late 2015.

Since that time some 43 Israelis, two visiting Americans, an Eritrean national, a Palestinian man, and a British student have been killed in stabbing, shooting and vehicular attacks by Palestinian assailants, and more than 270 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire, a majority of them attackers.

The violence has greatly subsided in recent months.
Inside The Prospective Israel-Saudi Arabia Rapprochement
Imagine an Israeli taking a direct flight on El Al airlines to Riyadh, or the House of Saud establishing an embassy in Jerusalem. Previously unthinkable, rumors abound of a desire by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) to normalize ties between the two countries.

Saudi Arabia currently does not have official diplomatic relations with Israel and abides by an Arab League boycott on trade with the Jewish state.

Now, after years of animosity, Israel’s relationship with the Saudis appears to be warming, with the countries allied in the struggle against a common enemy, Iran. Israel and Saudi Arabia have also reportedly been holding talks to establish economic ties. And in September, MBS was reported to have made a secret visit to Israel. According to several Israeli sources, the prince’s two-day trip was geared towards strengthening the growing partnership between Riyadh and Jerusalem.

Signs of rapprochement In a first-ever interview with the Saudi Elaph newspaper published last week, Israel’s IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot said that Israel and Saudi Arabia share a common interest in thwarting Iran’s regional ambitions. He asserted that Israel is “ready to exchange experiences with Saudi Arabia and other moderate Arab countries [as well as] intelligence information to confront Iran.” In other significant comments, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz this week admitted to having discreet contacts with the kingdom. “We have ties that are indeed partly covert with many Muslim and Arab countries, and usually [we are] the party that is not ashamed. It’s the other side that is interested in keeping the ties quiet.”
Israel bans Swiss diplomats from visiting Gaza over Hamas meetings
Israeli authorities announced on Thursday that Swiss diplomats will not be allowed to access the Gaza Strip because of their ongoing contacts with the EU and US-classified terrorist group Hamas.

Switzerland, a non-EU country, does not recognize Hamas or Hezbollah as terrorist organizations. Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday that Israel declines to comment on the ban.

A photograph of Hamas leader Yayha Sinwar and Swiss diplomat and representative for the Palestinian Authority, Julien Thöni, at a joint Tuesday meeting sparked irritation from Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, according to a report in the Swiss daily Basler Zeitung.

The paper wrote that Switzerland's foreign affairs department is in contact with Israeli authorities and is seeking to clarify the matter and find a solution.

Hamas circulated the picture of of Sinwar and Thöni. The Basler paper noted that the photograph presented a statesman-like atmosphere for someone considered to be a terrorist.

The Swiss government and a Finnish NGO spent almost $85,000 in 2016 to host a workshop in Geneva to unify Hamas and Fatah.
Flynn charged with lying about bid to stop anti-Israel UN resolution
Michael Flynn, US President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, has been charged with lying to the FBI, including about his efforts to stave off a UN Security Council resolution opposed by Israel.

Flynn, who is expected to plead guilty when he appears in a federal court Friday morning in Washington, DC, is accused of lying twice about conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December 2016, when Trump was president-elect and Barack Obama was still in office.

According to the charge sheet, Flynn in a January 24 interview with FBI agents denied that on December 29, he asked Kislyak for reassurances that Russia would not retaliate for sanctions that Obama had just imposed for Russian interference in the US elections. Also, on December 22, he allegedly asked Kislyak to use Russia’s Security Council status to delay a vote on a resolution that would condemn Israel for its settlement activity.

Russia did not retaliate for the sanctions. However, the Security Council vote went ahead because for the first time in his two terms, Obama did not exercise the US veto to stop a resolution in that body opposed by Israel. The United States abstained, while Russia was among the 14 Security Council members who voted in favor.
Then-Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak, center, arrives before US President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of the US Congress in Washington, DC, February 28, 2017 (AFP/Brendan Smialowski)

It’s not clear yet why Flynn would have lied. There are statutes, rarely if ever used, criminalizing the conduct of foreign policy without the knowledge of the government of the day. However, previous governments-elect have flouted them during transition periods, sometimes openly.
Explosive Device Defused At German Christmas Market
German police defused an explosive device Friday after a Christmas market in Potsdam was evacuated.

A packet containing an improvised explosive device was discovered outside a pharmacy. The market and several businesses were evacuated as police defused the object.

“Suspicions of an unconventional explosive device have been confirmed,” state police said on Twitter.

Authorities have boosted security at Christmas markets around the country after a Tunisian migrant killed 12 people in a truck attack in Berlin last year. Six Syrian men were detained Nov. 21 for allegedly planning an attack against a market in Essen. They were later released due to a lack of evidence.

The number of terrorism-related cases investigated by German authorities have quadrupled over the past year, according to newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

Prosecutors have opened more than 900 cases so far this year, compared to 240 throughout 2016. Just 80 cases related to terrorism reached the courts in 2013.
‘You Will Always Be in My Heart’: Friends Remember IDF Soldier Killed in Stabbing Attack
Friends of IDF soldier Ron Kokia, 19, who was killed on Thursday night in an apparent terrorist attack, expressed their pain and mourning in a series of emotional statements, remembering Kokia as a special and loving person who they will miss forever.

Kokia was stabbed to death while waiting for a ride in the southern city of Arad. The terrorists have still not been found and a massive manhunt is underway.

Kokia’s girlfriend Yael Sapir took to Facebook with a heartfelt statement of love.

According to the Hebrew website Walla, she wrote, “I don’t believe and don’t want to believe that you are no longer with us. It is impossible to believe that I’m speaking of you in the past tense, that you are no longer here. I don’t know where to begin.”

“It isn’t fair that this happened to you, to the boy with big blue eyes that I would look at and melt all over again,” she continued. “The endless zest for life that you had, the conquering smile that never fell from your face, and of course a heart of gold. You always helped us all and gave us a hand even when you didn’t have to. You are simply a treasure.”

“I don’t believe that I can’t call you ‘Ronchuk’ again,” she concluded. “We won’t laugh together again, our deep heartfelt conversions until the small hours of the night that we loved. Ronchuck, I already miss you. … You will always be in my heart. You were a hero and a hero you will stay. Protect us from above.”
With reported airstrike, Israel puts Syria, and Iran, on notice
With Syrian and Lebanese media reporting Israel carried out a missile strike overnight on a military base near al-Qiswa, some 13 kilometers (8 miles) southwest of Damascus and 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the Israeli border, and in light of reports Iran is constructing a base in the area, Israel appears to have dramatically upped the ante regarding the Islamic republic’s military presence in Syria, turning its threats into action.

Top Israeli officials have in recent months repeatedly warned Israel will not tolerate an Iranian military presence in Syria. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is said to have conveyed a warning to President Bashar Assad just days ago, via a third party, that Assad’s regime will itself be targeted by Israel if he allows Iran a permanent presence.

While until now it was not clear to what extent Israel was willing to enforce this red line, the latest reported airstrikes signal the line is brighter than ever and Israel is prepared to back up its warnings.

According to some of the foreign reports, widely quoted in Hebrew media, the base in al-Qiswa attacked overnight was indeed the installation photographed in satellite images published by the BBC three weeks ago. Those reports indicate the base was not operational and had yet to be manned by any Iranian soldiers, advisers or personnel from its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Expansion work was recently carried out at the site and it appears Israel was aware of the base’s purpose.

The airstrike sent a message to Assad, Tehran and Hezbollah, as well, of course, as Russian President Vladimir Putin, that Israel will not stand idly by if Iran’s military entrenchment in Syria continues.
Satellite image of alleged Iranian base in Syria (Airbus, Digital Globe and McKenzie Intelligence Services/BBC)

Messages to this effect have been relayed in recent months through diplomatic channels and appear to have made it to their intended audience to some extent, as Assad remains wary of allowing Iran to build a naval base on Syrian territory or permitting additional Iranian investment in the country.
Netanyahu slams Iran in statement after reported airstrike on base in Syria
A day after a reported Israeli air strike on an Iranian military base outside Damascus, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement in English condemning the Islamic Republic's presence in Syria.

"Let me reiterate Israel's policy: We will not allow a regime hell-bent on the annihilation of the Jewish state to acquire nuclear weapons. We will not allow that regime to entrench itself militarily in Syria as it seeks to do for the express purpose of eradicating our state,'' Netanyahu said in a televised address that will be aired in full at the Saban Forum in Washington, which is taking place this week.

The statement, which was pre-recorded before Shabbat began but was only released on Saturday, took on new meaning as reports about the strike surfaced on Friday evening.

The strike, which according to foreign media outlets, was made from Lebanese air space, follows a recent pattern of similar moves by Israel.

In the last several months, Israel has carried out several air strikes, including on a weapons depot, a chemical weapons facility, an airport outside of the capital, and artillery positions, including at least one on a regime jet.

Israel claims the strikes have been in self-defense. A recent report in a Kuwaiti newspaper included a statement from Israeli officials who said that the government had vowed to destroy any Iranian positions within 40 km of the northern border with Syria.
Airstrike on Iranian base in Syria raises questions
In the early hours of December 2 reports claimed that a base or ammunition warehouse south of Damascus had been hit by missiles from an airstrike. Foreign media has alleged that Israel was behind that strike.

However, unlike previous airstrikes on Syria, some of which Israel has taken credit for, this one was conducted against a site that was well known. It raises questions as to the timing of the attack and what it was meant to achieve. Why did it take so long to target the facility and in whose interest was it to reveal the facility to the public? First, let’s look at the timeline of events in November that led to the attack.

For more than a year there have been warnings that Iran was intent on constructing permanent bases in Syria, laying the groundwork for the era after ISIS was defeated. On November 10 the BBC released a report that Iran was “building permanent military base in Syria.” The report had three satellite images with it, from January, May and October, showing a site near El-Kiswah south of Damascus. It was about 50km from Israeli forces on the Golan. The changes at the site showed new buildings and the BBC ascribed the information to a “western intelligence source.”

The report came out the day that Russian President Vladimir Putin met US President Donald Trump in Danang, Vietnam. It also came out two days after a Memorandum of Principles had been concluded in Amman between the US, Russia and Jordan regarding a ceasefire in southern Syria. This ceasefire had originally been inked in July, despite Israeli objections to the presence of Iranian-backed forces in southern Syria. Fred Hof, a former State Department special advisor for transition in Syria, told Foreign Policy that the agreement was supposed to remove foreign fighters from the area. “This could be designed mainly to reassure the Israelis that these elements would not be operating in proximity to the Golan Heights.”
Why Israel ignores Iraq
Over the recent months, Israeli politicians, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as leading national media commentators and security officials, muse about a possible rapprochement to Sunni Arab countries. In his speech to the Knesset commemorating forty years to Egyptian president Anwar al-Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem, Netanyahu claimed that cooperation with the leadership of Sunni Arab countries has reached unprecedented levels and added that the problem is not with the leaders but with the public opinion in the Arab world, which remains ant-Israeli. Media commentators oftentimes praise the advantages of relations with Saudi Arabia and call on the Israeli government to accept the Saudi-backed Arab Initiative to make that happen. Yet, politicians, officials, and commentators alike omit from their analyses the biggest Arab state east of Israel, namely Iraq.

Why does Israel ignore Iraq? Until 2003, Israel considered Iraq a major security threat. With the fall of Saddam Hussein, Iraq was discarded as a major threat and naturally, Israeli interest in it, on both security and political levels, was somehow lost. The security-minded Israeli thinking still persists with the focus on Iraq as a cradle of regional terrorism. Add to that the fact that Israel sees Iraq as part and parcel of the Iranian space of influence in the Arab Middle East, allegedly stretching from Tehran to Beirut and often referred to as the “Shiite Crescent” or the Iranian “land bridge.”

Israeli decision-makers’ as well as commentators’ lack of interest in the political developments in Iraq, leads them to exaggerate in Iranian influence in Iraq and lose track of alternative trends.

Another prevailing view among many Israelis, emanating from top down, is that Iraq is not much of a “viable state.” Iraq is often described as either a “failed state,” an “artificial state,” a “collapsed state” or a combination of all three. The amazingly quick rise of ISIS in 2014, which culminated in the occupation of a third of Iraq's territory, reassured many Israelis of the veracity of that image. Even the rapid and impressive military recovery of the Iraqi state and military since 2015 failed to convince Israelis that Iraq is indeed a viable state. Most of the Israelis prefer to believe that the American Coalition defeated ISIS and not the Iraqi armed forces, or at least supplied the military backing and assistance that made the whole thing possible.
Hamas accuses Palestinian Authority of holding up unity pact
Hamas on Saturday accused the Palestinian Authority of blocking a landmark unity deal and called for a lifting of its sanctions on the Gaza Strip.

“We demand that the government of (prime minister) Rami Hamdallah assume its responsibilities in full and lift the unjust sanctions imposed on our people in Gaza,” said the terror group, which controls the coastal enclave.

The Gaza Strip has been blockaded by Israel for a decade, while its only other land border — with Egypt — has also been largely sealed in recent years. Israel maintains the blockade is necessary to prevent the smuggling of weapons that could be used in attacks on the Jewish state. Hamas, which seized control of the Strip in 2007, seeks to destroy Israel.

In addition, PA President Mahmoud Abbas has imposed a string of punitive measures against Gaza, where basic infrastructure for its two million residents is severely lacking.

Residents receive only a few hours of electricity per day, and UN officials have said the densely-populated and impoverished territory is becoming rapidly unliveable.
Saudi FM assails Tehran: ‘They’ve gotten away with murder’ around the world
Saudi Arabia and Iran have exported their bitter regional tussle to Rome, accusing each other of villainous meddling in the Middle East during diplomacy talks in the Italian capital.

“They have literally got away with murder in our region and the world,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir told a three-day conference on creating “a positive agenda” in the Mediterranean on Friday.

The gathering, called “Beyond Turmoil,” became the stage for a bitter slanging match between the two countries, with Al-Jubeir saying Iran’s “negative influence throughout the region” was clear to see.

Iran and Saudi Arabia are engaged in a regional battle for dominance being fought by proxies in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and other countries — a tussle which has drawn in the West.

“Since 1979 Iran has been the world’s chief sponsor of terrorism,” Al-Jubeir said.

Tehran “harbors and facilitates the movement of terrorists” and “established Hezbollah in Lebanon, using it to launder money and smuggle drugs,” he added.
Lebanon will only survive if Hezbollah disarms, Saudi minister says
Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said on Friday that Lebanon had been “hijacked” by Hezbollah and could only flourish if the Iranian-backed group disarmed.

The Shi‘ite Muslim militia was set up by the powerful Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) in the 1980s and has grown steadily in influence, sharing power in the Beirut government and giving crucial support to President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s civil war.

Its growing strength has alarmed Saudi Arabia, a Sunni Muslim monarchy that is Shi‘ite Iran’s arch-rival for regional influence.

“Lebanon will only survive or prosper if you disarm Hezbollah,” Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told a conference in Italy. “As long as you have an armed militia, you will not have peace in Lebanon.”

Jubeir said the situation in Lebanon was “tragic” and accused Iran of fomenting unrest across the Middle East.

“Since 1979, the Iranians have literally got away with murder in our region, and this has to stop,” he said.
Lebanon bans ‘Justice League’ due to Gal Gadot’s nationality
Grand Cinemas Lebanon took to Twitter on Wednesday to state the Lebanese censorship banned the film Justice League because it features Israeli actress Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.

This is not the first time Gadot's Israeli background limited a film starring her from showing in an Arab nation.The film Wonder Woman was banned by Qatar, Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon and other Arab nations specifically because Gadot is Israeli.

According to Lebanese English news website The961.com, The Office of the Boycott of Israel has Gadot’s name on a blacklist but has been historically inconsistent when limiting films featuring the Israeli actress. Considering that Gadot performed in Fast & Furious, Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6 but the Fast & Furious franchise was not boycotted in Lebanese cinema.

Wonder Woman and Justice League belong to a franchise called the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). Other films in the franchise include Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad but no other film in the franchise besides Wonder Woman and Justice League were targeted for boycott in Lebanon.

Wonder Woman succeeded in the domestic box and was the highest grossing film of the summer and the second highest grossing film of 2017 despite the boycotts. The film is also a critical success winning numerous awards and launching Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins and Gadot into the pantheons of Hollywood history.
Why Did The Forward Give a Platform to an Anti-Zionist, Terror Sympathizer?
Let’s play a game for a moment. Write down individuals least qualified to share their views on Zionism, the belief that Jews have the right to self-determination on their ancestral land; and feminism, the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. Chances are high that anti-semites, terrorists and their supporters feature prominently on your list.

Yet The Forward, which prides itself as the “fastest-growing Jewish media brand based in the US,” published a piece by a woman, who encapsulates all of those characteristics, to tell us: “No, You Can’t Be A Feminist And A Zionist.”

Mariam Barghouti is a prominent supporter of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment (BDS) movement and was detained by Israeli forces in 2014 for stone-throwing and entering a closed military area.

In April of this year, The New York Times was forced to apologize, after it published an op-ed by another Barghouti without mentioning the abhorrent crimes that he had committed and described him in the by-line simply as a “Palestinian leader and parliamentarian,” as if he was just an average commentator.

Unfortunately, The Forward has failed to learn lessons from that absurd spectacle and has now given Mariam, innocently introduced as “a writer based in Ramallah,” a platform to spread her poisonous views without a mention of her shadowy activism. No one disputes Barghouti’s right to free speech, but there is no rule that say an anti-Semitic terrorist sympathizer has a right to publish her propaganda in a legacy Jewish publication, when there are more than enough Jew-hating outlets around the corner.

“I…feel betrayed as a woman,” Barghouti writes in her piece. I can relate to that. I remember the chills running down my spine when Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, and Carmen Perez were elevated to the nation’s favorite feminist sweethearts, after organizing the Women’s March on Washington, D.C. to protest the election of President Donald Trump.

These women are many things; feminists they are not.
Jewish Groups at UC Berkeley Call for Removal of Professor Who Shared Antisemitic Images
Jewish students at the University of California, Berkeley called on administrators to take action against a professor with a “history of anti-Semitism” on Thursday.

The coalition — comprised of the Chabad Jewish Student Group, Bears for Israel, Berkeley Hillel, and Tikvah: Students for Israel — expressed “outrage” over the “promotion of hatred and intolerance” by Hatem Bazian, a lecturer in the department of ethnic studies who shared a tweet in July accusing a “Zionist” of “apartheid, occupation, ethnic cleansing, genocide, theft Palestinian land+resources+body-organs.”

The tweet also included an image of a stereotype of a religious Jew, saying, “Mom, look! I is chosen! I can now kill, rape, smuggle organs & steal the land of Palestinians *yay* #Ashke-Nazi.” A second image featured North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un wearing a kippah and telling President Donald Trump that he needs to start receiving “welfare” because he “converted all of North Korea to Judaism.”

Bazian has since apologized for sharing the “wrong and offensive” images, which UC Berkeley said in a statement “cross the line” into antisemitism.

“As a Palestinian, my issue is with Zionism, a settler colonial movement and Israel’s policies directed at Palestinians under occupation and … not with Judaism or Jews, as diverse communities,” he wrote last month.

Bazian is a co-founder of the anti-Zionist campus group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and a chairman of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), one of SJP’s leading backers. AMP recently launched a campaign urging supporters to email UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ in support of Bazian, who they claim has been targeted by a “vicious campaign” by “zealous pro-Israel groups,” despite renouncing the antisemitic image.

However, according to the coalition of Jewish students at UC Berkeley, Bazian’s apology was “lacking at best.”
Linda Sarsour loves me; she loves me not
It’s like a scene from a Mel Brooks film. An anti-Semitism panel led by anti-Semites. Pinch me — I must be dreaming!

But it’s not a dream. It’s another scene from a nightmare — the one about certain far-left liberal Jews so far removed from reality that they believe embracing Israel bashers will help them live happily ever after in non-Jewish lands. It’s the nightmare that says some Jews are so far removed from Jewish values, so distanced from Jewish identity that they “identify” as progressive and embrace any overtures to progressive values. Even when those values are being touted by wolves in sheep’s clothing.

But that was the old nightmare. I used to wake up in the middle, get a glass of water and go back to bed. I never saw the remake until last night. Now they’ve brought in Felini to direct.

Avowed hate-peddler Linda Sarsour is lecturing us on anti-Semitism. Linda Sarsour, the unabashed apologist for terrorists whose glorification of Palestinian children throwing rocks became a tweet heard ‘round the world. This is the individual the New School roped in to share pearls of wisdom.

Granted, Sarsour has some small measure of expertise on the subject. After all, she’s been spreading anti-Semitism her entire public career.
Dutch Jews say former prime minister peddles antisemitism
The umbrella group representing Dutch Jewry accused a pro-Palestinian former prime minister of antisemitism.

The Central Jewish Board of the Netherlands, or CJO, in a statement Wednesday made the explicit allegation for the first time against Dries van Agt and the Palestinian advocacy group he founded called The Rights Forum.

Van Agt, who served as prime minister from 1977 to 1982, has fought accusations of anti-Semitism since the 1970s.

CJO’s claim was over statements it said van Agt made last week at a Utrecht event organized by the Young Socialists in Dutch Labour that the party “is good for the Palestinians despite the strong Jewish lobby” in its ranks.

The assertion was part of a CJO statement calling out van Agt for his advocacy group’s rejection of a letter sent last month to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte by the leaders of the Reform and Conservative Jewish communities in the Netherlands in which they complained of antisemitism within the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

In the letter warning of the mainstreaming of antisemitism in the Netherlands, the seven communal leaders from the Dutch Union for Progressive Judaism wrote that “BDS activists with clear anti-Jewish messaging in the Netherlands are allowed to operate freely in churches and universities.”

In response, The Rights Forum said there was no evidence of such messaging — a claim CJO said was “almost laughable.”
TOP CORBYNISTA’S SPARE ROOM AD: “NO COPS, NO ZIONISTS”
Earlier we met Mika Minio-Paluello, the top Corbynista activist who claimed to be advising Jeremy Corbyn and his inner circle. Mika advocates throwing open Britain’s borders, abolishing prisons, telling cops to “f**k off” and thinks the hard left can “seize most of London”. Wanna live with Mika?

This 2016 advert for a spare room in Mika’s house invites all-comers, except: “no cops… no Zionists”. Don’t all rush at once…

Israeli Peace Offers Go Missing in Politico
A Politico report about the Trump administration possibly moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, omitted the numerous instances of Palestinian leadership rejecting a Palestinian state if it meant peacefully co-existing with a Jewish one (“Trump inches toward moving U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem,” Nov. 20, 2017).

The article, by reporters Andrew Rusticcia and Eliana Johnson, claimed that moving the U.S. Embassy “could derail Trump’s attempts to restart peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians.” Politico reported that Jordan’s King Adbullah II has told administration officials that such a move “could derail efforts to reach a peace agreement in the region,” and some administration officials have claimed it could “heighten tensions in the region.”

However, Politico failed to inform readers that Palestinians have refused opportunities for statehood on numerous occasions, including 2000 at Camp David, 2001 at Taba and 2008 after the Annapolis Conference.

As CAMERA has detailed, the 2008 offer included 93% of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and a Palestinian state with its capital in eastern Jerusalem. Not only did Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas reject this proposal, he failed to either make a counteroffer or to call Israeli and American negotiators back.
Nazi hunting video game will not be sold in Israel
Game Publisher Bethesda Software won’t release the game Wolfenstien 2: The New Colossus in Israel stated on their website on Sunday.

Bethesda has stated no reasoning for avoiding the Israeli market and has only stated on their website, “We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”

According to Vice News, The decision was made after the game developers were heavily censored in the German gaming market. The programmers had to remove images of Swastikas and Hitler’s mustache.

Bethesda did not even submit the game to be reviewed by the Israeli censorship.

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossuses features an American-Jewish protagonist killing Nazis in a Nazi occupied United States. The game in the original programming made a number of references to Nazism, the Klu Klux Klan and used Nazi symbolism in the game environment.

Israeli developers Shalov Moran, Alon Karmi and Nadav Hekselman created a parody of Wolfenstein 2 on the website Dancingengie.itch.io. The game is titled Wolfenstache: The New Censorship and features all of the imagery banned in the German gaming media.

The Israeli developers say the censorship is disrespectful to both Germans and Israelis. Karmi believes that Bethesda decisions to avoid selling in Israel is based on a fear of offending the Jewish state but disagrees that Israelis would be offended.
History behind WWII’s great unsung female codebreaker is finally unravelled
Even as the United States fought the Axis Powers in Europe, Africa and Asia during World War II, a new threat emerged at home — this time from a Nazi spy ring operating out of South America.

The cell sought to conduct both political and military operations as they worked to sway the politically-neutral continent towards the Germans, while reporting on Allied ship movements, putting vessels at risk of destruction by German U-boats.

J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI had no answer for the ring. But Elizebeth Smith Friedman did.

Working for the Coast Guard under the Treasury Department, the veteran codebreaker (whose Jewish-American husband, William Friedman, was himself a legendary name in intelligence history) had honed her skills battling Prohibition-era smugglers — who, it turned out, had used codes similar to those employed by the Nazi spies.

Friedman not only cracked the Nazi codes, she helped bring down the spy ring. In January 1944, Nazi isolation from South America was complete when Argentina broke off relations with the Axis.

Yet for decades, this story — and the woman behind it — were lost to history.
Top 8 reasons Israeli TV shows are smash hits abroad
What makes Israeli television formats like In Treatment, Homeland and Fauda so enthusiastically embraced in translation by global viewers? Why are Israeli-originated series such as Greenhouse Academy, Hostages and The A Word instant hits in countries from Finland to Thailand?

According to the Israeli Export Institute, global TV and film sales from Israel tallied $268 million in 2016. Netflix online video service offers a dozen Hebrew-language shows to subscribers. Last September, buyers and producers from a whopping 28 countries came to Tel Aviv for the second international TV Formats Conference.

Israeli TV formats are varied, from nail-biting dramas like Prisoners of War to fun quiz shows like Still Standing. And the reasons for their popularity are just as varied.

5 They feature compelling storylines
Walter Iuzzolino, head of British streaming service Walter Presents, recently told Bloomberg Business Week that Israeli TV formats are “emotionally poignant, three-dimensional, and never boring.” That could be thanks to the next two reasons.
“Fauda” promo photo courtesy of Netflix

6 They depict the melting pot of Israeli society
In an age when global viewers are eager to drill deeper into the psychology of foreign cultures, Israeli shows are just what the doctor ordered. Concentrated into a very small space, Israelis comprise Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Druze natives and immigrants from across the world, many of them from North African/Middle Eastern nations and the former Soviet Union. How everyone gets along (or doesn’t) is endlessly entertaining.

7 They reflect the daily drama of Israeli life
The underlying themes of war, terror, religious and political conflicts — and the everyday challenge of getting along with neighbors of different cultures (see No. 6) — provide rich fodder for Israeli producers.

The sometimes chaotic reality of Israeli life is reflected in the title of one of the biggest hits overseas, Fauda, which means “chaos” in Arabic. Action, humor, suspense, melodrama – our TV shows have it all.



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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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