Tuesday, January 02, 2018

From Ian:

Time for the US to Send a Message by Cutting UN Funding
The obvious purpose of the GA vote was to give certain members of the international community an opportunity not only to reject Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but to effectively reprimand the United States. The fact that Egypt, which receives $1.3 billion annually in US foreign aid, first authored the resolution makes this blatant display of anti-Americanism all the more egregious. The US must act to disincentivize UN members states from future attempts to neutralize its Security Council veto, and to try to humiliate it in the General Assembly.

The US provides 22% ($4 billion) of the UN’s mandatory contributions — far exceeding the contributions from other major countries — for administrative and programs costs, as well as for peacekeeping operations. The remaining $6 billion in US support are voluntary contributions that fund organizations such as UNICEF, the World Food Program and UNRWA (whose existence likely perpetuates the Palestinian conflict).

On December 24, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley offered an initial response to the resolution: that the US will cut the UN’s 2018-19 fiscal year operating budget by $285 million. Admittedly, this reduction is intended to “increase the UN’s efficiencies while protecting [American] interests.” Though a step in the right direction, more needs to be done to discourage the UN’s recent behavior.

The US, in the world of international relations, cannot always expect an unambiguously causal relationship between financial support and policies it wants. However, when illiberal actors hijack the UN, and pursue extraordinary measures to actively interfere with internal US policies, it is time to impose a consequence: reduced funding to the United Nations.
'The Palestinians have lost the support of the Arab world'
Middle East expert and senior lecturer at Bar Ilan University, Arutz Sheva weekly columnist Dr. Mordechai Kedar says that the Palestinian Authority is losing support in the Arab world, claiming that former allies are growing “sick of the Palestinians,” as they find support for PA efforts against Israel contrary to their national self-interest.

Interviewed by Channel 20, Kedar says that the Arab world is increasingly impressed by “Israel’s internal stability, its democracy - which even allows all sorts of thugs to say they don’t want to enlist - and the fact that Israel is comprised 20% of Arabs, and not one of them is fleeing. They even know that the Palestinians, who live under Israeli ‘occupation,’ live much better than all the other Arabs in the Middle East. They understand that Israel is something that doesn’t mesh with what they were taught about it - it is something different.”

Kedar explained that the Arab world was growing annoyed with PA efforts against Israel in light of US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

“What happened was that Trump warned that he would stop funding countries that voted against the US - in Egypt, nobody wants to lose their food just because the Palestinians want Jerusalem. Therefore, in this matter the Palestinians have succeeded in annoying many Arabs in the Middle East, to the extent that people say, ‘Why do we have to be held captive by the Palestinians in the peace process with Israel? If it’s in our interest to have peace with Israel, let’s get on with it, and let the Palestinians break their backs with Israel.’”

“In my opinion, the Palestinians have lost the Arab world to a large extent, and the whole Palestinian national project stands on brink of collapse, because Trump pulled the PA ‘Jerusalem card’ - which has no substance - from their tower of cards.”
JPost Editorial: Wanted: Palestinian pragmatism
Washington has largely remained silent in the face of extreme Palestinian reactions to US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Hardly a peep was heard from the Trump administration when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared that the US, by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, had disqualified itself as a fair broker in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is despite the fact that the US transfers hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the PA every year.

Nor was there a reaction when Fatah officials such as Jibril Rajoub announced that American Vice President Mike Pence, who was supposed to visit the region in December, had become a persona non grata in areas controlled by the PA. Rajoub asked other Arab leaders to follow suit. Yet this snub was largely ignored by the US. Pence’s office said that his visit was canceled due to an important vote on US tax reforms.

While the US has remained restrained, the barrage of attacks from the PA has not let up. The official Fatah Twitter account continues to share outrageous posts since Trump’s decision, as reported by Palestinian Media Watch.

On December 14, for instance, a tweet was sent out that juxtaposed a picture of Trump with one of Hitler and added, “I don’t see any different [sic], do you?” Then, during a sermon on December 20, Mahmoud Habbash, Abbas’s adviser on religious and Islamic affairs, condemned the US by saying Trump’s recognition was “rubbish” and worth less than “the urine of one Jerusalem child.”

There was no sign that – as US officials originally hoped – the extreme initial reactions from the PA to Trump’s decision were quieting down.

Despite pressure from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and perhaps other Arab countries such as Jordan and Egypt, Abbas and other Palestinian leaders refuse to tone down their attacks on the US and take seriously a peace deal now being hammered out by the Trump administration.

Alan Baker: ‘The Middle East and World War III – Why No Peace?’
In what is a very ambitious and aspiring work, dramatically titled The Middle East and World War III – Why No Peace?, Dr. Michael Calvo, Sorbonne educated and a graduate of New York University, an expert in international law and comparative jurisprudence, takes on the complex, unique and evidently intractable Middle East conflict.

In an intricately detailed and masterful manner, replete with multimedia links as well as a full list of annexes containing all relevant instruments, international and national documentation and correspondence, he analyzes the various components of the Middle East conflict from its historic, biblical, Koranic, legal and political aspects.

Calvo opens the book with a detailed chronology listing the systematic use of terrorism by the Palestinian leadership, timed and synchronized to cater to Western gullibility, to utilize the Western tendency to “political correctness” and pro-Arab, anti-Israel sentiment. When seen in the concentrated manner set out by Calvo, one cannot but conclude that there was, and continues to be, a distinct, systematic pattern and well organized policy, regulating and controlling the timing and intensity of acts of terrorism in tandem with international and regional developments and the mindset of the international community.

Such an infrastructure of terrorism is not really surprising in light of the psychological and religious brainwashing and incitement generated and conducted by the Palestinian leadership in mosques, schools, universities, media and cultural instruments as well as in the social media. Dismissed and overlooked by an often patronizing worldview of Western countries as an accepted pattern of cultural behavior in the Arab world, the West, including those countries with a distinct commonality of cultural, social, political and security interests with Israel, nevertheless simply look on with cynical and patronizing paternalism, disregarding the issue’s monumental proportions and the damage caused to Palestinian society, and, for whatever reason, ignoring the tragic danger to Israel and its society.
In late-night vote, Knesset passes law to hinder East Jerusalem withdrawal
Lawmakers approved a bill in the early hours Tuesday that requires a special two-thirds majority vote in the Knesset to relinquish any part of Jerusalem to the Palestinians under a future peace accord.

The bill passed its second and third readings by a majority of 64 in favor, 51 against, and one abstention.

The law, which was proposed by Jewish Home MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli and had the coalition’s backing, is designed to make it much harder to divide the city, which Israel claims as its undivided capital. The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.

The legislation, an amendment to the Basic Law on Jerusalem, requires 80 of the 120 MKs to support relinquishing any part of the city.

Before, the Jerusalem Law, passed in 1980 and amended in 2000, stated: “No authority that is stipulated in the law of the State of Israel or of the Jerusalem Municipality may be transferred either permanently or for an allotted period of time to a foreign body, whether political, governmental or to any other similar type of foreign body.”

With no provision in the Basic Law specifying how it can be amended, it was possible to overturn it with a simple majority.

The bill was originally proposed in the summer but did not make it through the procedural before the fall recess.

“The goal of the bill is to prevent concessions as part of diplomatic deals,” said Moalem-Refaeli at the time. “Jerusalem will never be on the negotiating table.

“The State of Israel will not allow for the establishment of a Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem. Get it into your heads that Jerusalem was the capital of the Jewish people and will remain the capital of the Jewish people for all eternity,” she said.
Palestinians: Law making Jerusalem division harder is a ‘declaration of war’
The Palestinian Authority accused Israel of “declaring war” on the Palestinian people Tuesday, hours after Knesset lawmakers passed a bill making it harder to relinquish parts of East Jerusalem.

Early Tuesday morning, the Knesset voted 64-51 to pass the law, which requires a special two-thirds majority majority of lawmakers — 80 of the Knesset’s 120 — to give up any part of Jerusalem, potentially complicating peace efforts with Palestinians who see the eastern part of the city as their future capital.

“This vote clearly indicates that Israel has officially declared the end of the so-called political process and has already begun to impose dictating and de facto policies,” said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, in comments carried by the official Wafa news agency.

The agency said he had called the legislation “a declaration of war.”
An Indian Embassy in Jerusalem, Please
New Delhi should now appreciate this American logic and refrain from opposing the current US administration's decision on relocating its own embassy wherever it likes. New Delhi would have done better to vote against the resolution and support Washington on the capital transfer also to improve its ties with its two important natural democratic allies -- the United States and Israel. In the post-Cold War landscape, relations between Washington and New Delhi have attained new heights. India today needs American support for defence platforms and membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. US President Donald Trump has already described India as a leading global power and expressed his readiness to support it in reaching this status.

After the establishment of full diplomatic ties between New Delhi and Jerusalem in January 1992, economic, technological, military and diplomatic relations between the two capitals have moved from strength to strength. During Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Israel (July 4-6, 2017), India and Israel signed agreements in the fields of water, agriculture, and space. Netanyahu and Modi upgraded the current bilateral relationship to a "strategic partnership" and agreed to take "strong measures... against terrorists, terror organisations, their networks and all those who encourage, support and finance terrorism, or provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups."

Now, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to visit India this month. He and Modi are expected to focus on taking cooperation on "the double T's" -- Technology, including agriculture and water conservation, and counter-terrorism to the "next level."

In the interest of growing Indo-Israeli ties, New Delhi would do well to join Guatemala and other nations, declare Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move its embassy to Jerusalem. The standard practice is to establish embassies only in a given state's capital. There should be no exception to this practice.

When, in 1948 Israel declared itself an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital, India was among the first nations to recognize the Jewish state.
India shoots down $500m missile deal with Israel ahead of Netanyahu visit
A $500 million anti-tank missiles deal between India and Israel’s Rafael weapons manufacturer has been officially canceled, ahead of an official visit to New Delhi by by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. At the same time, Delhi said it would buy over 100 surface-to-air missiles.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Rafael Advanced Defense Systems confirmed an Israel Radio report that the company had received official notice from the Indian government that the deal for Spike missiles was nixed last week.

“Rafael was disappointed to receive the decision,” the company said in a statement.

“It should be stressed that the cancellation was done before the contract was signed, and despite the fact that the company fulfilled all its requirements,” Rafael said.

In November, Indian media reported that the cancellation of the deal for Spike missiles was forthcoming.

At the time, David Keynan, vice chairman of the Federation of Indo-Israeli Chambers of Commerce, warned that it could have negative repercussions not only on defense contracts between the two countries, but throughout the market.

“It is a very noteworthy deal. It will have an impact not only on defense trade, but on all trade,” Keynan said at the time, speaking over the phone from Bangalore, India.

The initial deal for the Spike anti-tank guided missile was signed in 2014. While the final agreement had yet to be approved by both parties, Rafael had started preparations for delivering the missile, opening a production facility in India in August with its local partner, the Indian industrial giant Kalyani Group.
U.S. Vice President Pence visit to Israel in January ‘on,’ his office says
A planned trip to Israel by US Vice President Mike Pence is on for January, his office said, despite reports to the contrary.

Pence did not appear on an Israeli Foreign Ministry list of foreign officials scheduled to arrive in the country this month that was released on Monday, Israeli media reported.

Israeli news websites confirmed with the ministry that “due to various scheduling difficulties,” no new date had yet been set for the vice president’s visit, that had been delayed from last month to mid-January. The ministry later told the website that it “never said he isn’t coming.”

In response to a query, Pence’s office told JTA the January visit is “on.”

“As we’ve said, Vice President Pence is traveling to Israel later this month,” spokesman Jarrod Agen told JTA in an email. “Reports of a postponement are just plain wrong.”
Al-Aqsa Mosque Rally: Trump, We will Dig Your Grave
During a rally at the Al-Aqsa Mosque following Trump's Jerusalem declaration, Palestinian cleric Sheikh Nidhal Siam issued a call to arms to the Muslim armies to arise in order to "liberate Jerusalem from the filth of the plundering Jews." The crowds followed Sheikh Siam in his chants: "Oh Trump, you coward, you just wait. We will dig your grave by means of the Caliphate." Footage from the rally was posted on the Internet on December 12.

Syrian minister said fired over visit by Israeli journalist, who met him twice
Syrian President Bashar Assad ousted his information minister Mohammed Ramez Tourjman for failing to prevent the entry into the country of a Jewish Israeli journalist, the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya news agency reported (Arabic) Tuesday.

The journalist, Jonathan Spyer, told The Times of Israel on Tuesday that he actually met twice with Tourjman, as part of a group, during a recent trip to Syria.

“I met Mohammad Tourjman as part of a group on two occasions during the trip,” he said. “The visit was organized with the cooperation of his ministry, making the minister, I suppose, officially responsible for its management.”

Added Spyer: “It would seem to me that organizations other than the ministry of information might more properly be held responsible for incidents of this kind. Still, I don’t suppose my opinion would be especially relevant here. The Syrian regime, as is well known, operates according to its own logic.”
Jonathan Spyer, wearing a black leather jacket, meets with Kurdish YPG fighters in northern Syria in 2013. (Courtesy)

According to Al Arabiya, Tourjman had claimed that Spyer had entered Syria on a British passport, and insisted he did not know that he was Israeli. However, officials from his ministry responded that a quick internet search would have easily revealed Spyer’s background, the report said.
Trump’s gift to Abbas
It’s hard to believe that only about a month and a half ago, Abbas had hit rock bottom. On November 6, he received a surprise invitation to meet with Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in Riyadh. During the meeting, they revealed to him parts of Trump’s “major plan” for an agreement in the Middle East, under which the capital of the Palestinian state would not be in east Jerusalem but in Abu Dis.

Abbas left the meeting low-spirited. While declaring in public that he and the Saudis were coordinated, deep inside he didn’t know how to deal with the disgrace: How could he market the loss of the capital in east Jerusalem to the Palestinians? Would he go down in history as the leader who had given up a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem?

When he returned to Ramallah, Abbas convened Fatah’s executive committee for a secret meeting, in which he presented the American plan. Later on, his people leaked the rest of the details of the Riyadh conversation to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who exposed additional parts of the plan last week, claiming it includes a cession of the right of return, a recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and a recognition of parts of the settlements.

The Palestinian Authority leaders were pushed into a corner by the Americans and the Saudis. On December 4, they suffered another blow: The New York Times published leaks from Trump’s plan, which indeed suggested that Abu Dis would be the capital and that the majority of settlements would remain intact.

The Saudis, the Americans and the Palestinians issued sweeping denials that same day. Had the report been confirmed by any official element, Abbas would have lost the little credit he had left on the Palestinian street. And then the miracle happened: On December 6, Trump gave Abbas a “golden ladder” he could never have dreamed of.

The PA leadership, to its credit, quickly regained its composure and understood the advantages hidden in Trump’s declaration, which in actual fact didn’t change the situation and didn’t even imply that east Jerusalem won’t be the Palestinian capital. From this moment, a clear Palestinian strategy was adopted: To market to the world, particularly the Muslim world, the narrative of selling Jerusalem to the Jews. And it worked.
Sheikh in Canada - What Was Taken by Force Will Be Restored by Force Alone
Canada Friday Sermon about Jerusalem by Jamal Taleb: We Will Not Achieve Dignity through Negotiations; What Was Taken by Force Will Be Restored by Force Alone Sheikh Jamal Taleb, Imam of the Islamic Centre of SW Ontario in London, Ontario (ICSWO), said that Arab dignity would not be achieved through negotiations or by running to the "Black House" or to Moscow. Citing Gamal Abdel Nasser, he said: "Whatever was taken by force will be restored by force alone." In a Friday sermon at the ICSWO on December 15, a week after Trump's Jerusalem declaration, Taleb complained that instead of saying "Palestine and noble Jerusalem as its capital," we now say "Palestine and East Jerusalem as its capital... because this is what our masters told us." The Lebanese-born Imam Taleb has been serving the London Muslim community since 2001 and is a member of the Canadian Council of Imams.

Israel indicts teen Palestinian girl filmed slapping IDF soldiers
An Israeli military court on Monday indicted a teenage Palestinian girl who was filmed last month in the West Bank slapping and kicking Israeli troops who refused to respond.

Palestinians have since hailed Ahed Tamimi, 17, as an icon in their fight against Israel. In Israel, the footage sparked debate about the soldiers' refusal to react, with many in Israel criticizing the soldiers' restraint.

The court indicted Tamimi on several counts including assaulting soldiers as well as charges relating to previous altercations with Israeli forces. The charges against her included aggravated assault against a soldier, obstructing a soldier in the performance of his duty and throwing stones at troops. The court extended her remand for eight days.

"Tamimi threw stones at [the soldiers], threatened them, obstructed their ability to fulfill their duty, took part in riots and incited others to take part in them," the military tweeted.
Wanna Play “Who’s Indigenous?”
One of the favorite arguments of the antisemites is to cast aspersions as to the indigenous status of the Jewish people. And they sure as hell love finding photos of pale, European-looking Jews to help make this point.

Of course this does not prove anything – the Jewish people can be traced back to the ancient Israelites, even if the appearance of many of us looks less Middle Eastern from centuries in the Diaspora.

Be that as it may, this photo of Ahed “Shirley Temper” Tamimiin court gives me some satisfaction – not just because she has been indicted for assault, but because if you had to pick the one person in the photo who looks the least Middle Eastern..

In case you are wondering, Shirley looks the way she does because she is likely a “Bushnak”, a descendant of Bosnian Muslims who emigrated to Palestine in the times of the Ottoman empire.

Guardian quote from Palestinian ‘heroine’ Ahed Tamimi omits bit where she supports suicide bombing
Ahed Tamimi (dubbed Shirley Temper by Israellycool) is a 16-year-old Palestinian ‘activist’ from the West Bank town of Nabi Saleh who’s been exploited by her parents for propaganda purposes – which has included encouraging her to attend violent protests and provoke Israeli soldiers – since she was a young girl.

The Guardian reported today on charges against Tamimi for assaulting security forces, incitement and throwing stones based on an encounter filmed last month which shows her hitting and provoking an Israeli soldier.

The article, (Palestinian girl filmed slapping Israeli soldier is charged with assault, Jan. 1) by Guardian Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont, included the following:
Ahed and her mother [Nariman] were charged in relation to the incident and to remarks broadcast in the immediate aftermath, in which Nariman asked her daughter to give a message to the world. According to the prosecution, Ahed said she hoped “everyone will participate in the protests”, in comments that the prosecution claims also endorsed violence.

However, Beaumont fails to include the rest of the quote by Ahed which helps explain why the prosecution “claims” she endorsed violence.

Here’s the full quote, from Times of Israel:
“I hope that everyone will take part in the demonstrations as this is the only means to achieve the result,” [Tamimi] said. “Our strength is in our stones, and I hope that the world will unite to liberate Palestine, because [Donald] Trump made his declaration and [the Americans] need to take responsibility for any response that comes from us,” Ahed added, apparently referring to the US president’s decision last month to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“Whether it is stabbings or suicide bombings or throwing stones, everyone must do his part and we must unite in order for our message to be heard that we want to liberate Palestine,” she concluded.
Ahed Tamimi Message to the World

David Collier: Boycott – BDS – maximalist Arab rejectionism and failures of logic
The Maximalist Arab position
The original Arab position was that there should be no Jewish self-rule, and Jewish refugees should not be accepted into Palestine. A boycott of Jewish businesses began in the early 1920’s. By 1930 Arabs had committed massacres against ancient Jewish communities. Much of the Arab effort of the 1930’s was spent violently protesting the arrival of Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany. By 1939, they had forced the British to shut the gates. The two-state solution was born as a response to Arab violence.

From 1948, Arab State violence was also based on no acceptance of Israel behind any borders. This stance most famously displayed in the Khartoum Resolution of 1967 and the ‘three no’s’ – no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, and no negotiations with it. This position existed even when EVERY INCH of the West Bank and Gaza was under Arab control.

This unaccommodating position was rejected by everyone who sought a just and peaceful resolution to the conflict. It rejects Israel’s right to exist. It sees Jews as European invaders, and will use any methods to oppose peaceful co-existence.

The BDS Movement
As the 1990’s peace process began, the maximalist position continued to surface. Groups like Hamas sought to derail the process with campaigns designed to slaughter as many civilians as possible. The end of the Oslo peace process was another example of deliberate violence to derail negotiations. However, open calls for the destruction of Israel still fell on deaf ears in western politics. To counter this weakness, maximalist Arabs coded their message in humanitarian doublespeak, and in 2005 they wrapped it all up in a package called BDS.

Even anti-Israel activists such as Norman Finkelstein have publicly criticised the idea that BDS was ever a ‘call from within’ Palestinian civil society – calling it a ‘myth’. There is video footage of Ilan Pappe, publicly stating deception was involved. A search of boycott initiatives from 2001 to 2004, show that the problems of an externally driven boycott, were an evolving theme. Global anti-Israel strategists realised that to sell the idea of destroying Israel to the west, they needed to mimic the South African call against Apartheid. BDS was devised as a strategy to make extremist Arab demands suit the western palate.
C-SPAN Teams Up With Muslim Council To Defame America and Israel
MPAC’s history of vilifying America and Israel

MPAC under the leadership of Al-Marayati, has a lengthy record of propagandizing against Israel and the United States. For example, a few hours after the horrific Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on America, without offering any evidence, Al-Marayati asserted that Israel should be suspected as having committed the attacks that were actually committed by Islamist terrorists mainly from Saudi Arabia:

If we're going to look at suspects, we should look to the groups that benefit the most from these kinds of incidents, and I think we should put the state of Israel on the suspect list because I think this diverts attention from what's happening in the Palestinian territories so that they can go on with their aggression and occupation and apartheid policies. (New York Times, October 22, 2001).

Al-Marayati excused Hezbollah's terrorism while responding to the question, “You mentioned Hezbollah, do you consider it to be more of a national liberation movement or a terrorist group?” Al-Marayati replied, “I don't think any group should be judged 100 percent on this or that. I think every group is going to have its claim of liberation and resistance …” (at the University of Pennsylvania, November 1997).

He falsely justified Hezbollah's 1983 bombing of the American Marine barracks in Beirut as a “military operation” rather than a terrorist attack: “Hezbollah organized the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut in October 1983 killing 241 marines, the largest number of American troops killed in a single operation since the end of the Vietnam war. Yet this attack, for all the pain it caused, was not in a strict sense, a terrorist operation. It was a military operation, producing no civilian casualties — exactly the kind of attack that Americans might have lauded had it been directed against Washington's enemies” (MPAC, “A Position Paper on U.S. Counterterrorism Policy,” June 1999).
MPAC issued an alert in 1997 advocating renewal of the pernicious Arab economic boycott of Israel. A Sept. 1999 CAMERA report showed that Al-Marayati has “repeatedly falsely compared Jihad, or holy war, to the American struggle for independence and has likened today's terrorists to Americans fighting in the Revolutionary War. He has written that, ‘When Patrick Henry said, ‘Give me liberty or give me death,' that statement epitomized Jihad.' And he has argued that, ‘American freedom fighters hundreds of years ago were also regarded as terrorists by the British.' Unlike modern terrorists, of course, American colonists fighting the British did not kidnap, hijack and blow up English civilians. Warfare was directed at military targets. But such bogus comparisons are aimed at deflecting attention from the true nature of terrorism today.”
Newsweek Errs on Legality of Occupation
In a Dec. 28 article ("Israeli teens refuse to serve in military, take part in occupation"), Newsweek's Jack Moore errs, stating:
The majority of the international community considers Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem to be illegal under international law.

Occupations are legal under international law and the majority of the international community has not dubbed the occupation itself illegal. Other that other leading media outlets have corrected this very error, including The New York Times (twice). A March 21, 2016 New York Times correction stated:
An article on Jan. 13 about a divestment action against Israeli banks by the United Methodist Church pension board referred incorrectly to the Palestinian territories, where, the board said, the banks help finance Israeli settlement construction. While most of the world officially considers the territories to be occupied, and the settlements illegal, there is no consensus that the occupation itself is illegal. The error was brought to the attention of editors only this week.

Previously, The New York Times had corrected on Oct. 14, 2015:
An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to the Golan Heights. While most of the world officially considers it to be occupied, and the settlements there illegal, there is no consensus that the occupation itself is illegal. The same error appeared in an earlier version of a caption with the accompanying slide show.
Tunisian activists damage Holocaust display, calling it Zionist ‘propaganda’
A Holocaust exhibition at the National Library in Tunis met with fierce opposition, with demonstrators tearing down posters and condemning what they called “propaganda” for the “decades-old myth about a genocide of the Jewish people.”

In a video published by Meem Magazine on December 15, shortly after US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, activists could be seen slamming the attempt to educate their “little children to get to know the history of the Jews,” according to a translation of the video published Monday by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

The exhibition, which was supported by the Holocaust Museum in Washington, UNESCO, the United Nations and the German Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, was the initiative of Tunisian historian Habib Kazdaghli.

“This is a historical documentary exhibition which exposes and denounces Nazi propaganda,” he said. “The purpose of this exhibition is to make our children love [history]. I’m a historian, but my children don’t like history.”

The video showed dozens of people chanting, “Free, free Palestine. Out with the Zionists.” They then went on to remove posters about the exhibition.

Hamida Bessaad, a researcher at the National Library, explained that the protesters opposed the exhibition because Kazdaghli “Wants our little children to get to know the history of the Jews, and learn about the Holocaust.”

She claimed that the Holocaust was Jewish propaganda, and it was the Palestinians who were truly suffering a Holocaust.

ADL report: 67% increase in U.S. antisemitic incidents in 2017
Presenting the Anti Defamation League’s annual report on antisemitism to a Knesset committee on Monday, the group’s CEO in Israel stressed that the recorded surge in antisemitism does not present the whole picture, since many incidents are not reported.

Presenting the findings to the Knesset’s Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee, ADL’s Israel director Carol Nuriel emphasized that many antisemitic incidents go unreported because the victims are afraid to report them, or because of the problematic nature of identifying the attack as antisemitic.

The data, released in November, showed that there was a 67% increase in antisemitic incidents across the US from January 1 to September 30, 2017, in comparison with the same period in 2016. 1,299 antisemitic incidents were reported in that period, including physical assaults, vandalism and attacks on Jewish institutions.

Nuriel noted that of the incidents reported, there has been a disturbingly high number of antisemitic bullying and vandalism incidents in schools and college campuses across the US. Incidents in K-12 grade schools in 2017 more than doubled over the same period in 2016 (269, up from 130). On college campuses, a total of 118 antisemitic incidents were reported in the first three quarters of 2017, compared to 74 in the same period of 2016 – an increase of 59%.
Sweden convicts neo-Nazi leader of inciting hatred at rally
A Swedish court on Tuesday convicted the head of a neo-Nazi movement of “incitement to racial hatred” more than a year after he held a speech at a Stockholm rally that turned violent.

The Nordic Resistance Movement’s leader Simon Lindberg, 34, held a speech which “spread and expressed contempt for groups based on their race, skin color, national or ethnic origin by shouting ‘Sieg Heil’ while raising his right arm upwards,” the Stockholm district court said in its verdict, seen by AFP.

Five people were arrested and two were injured in clashes between police and anti-fascists at the November 2016 rally, organized by the group.

The court said Lindberg had never been convicted before and that his crime merited a punishment of one month in prison.

But because he had been speaking at a rally which had a permit the sentence was suspended and combined with an 800 krona ($98) fine instead.

The Nordic Resistance Movement, founded in 1997, is described as the most violent Nazi organization in Sweden by Swedish anti-racism magazine Expo.

The group, which promotes an openly racist and anti-Semitic doctrine, has nearly 200 active members, according to the magazine.
France Denies Targeting Jews for Tax Evasion With Secretive Investigative Department
The French government has denied a controversial report regarding a secretive department within the French Finance Ministry that allegedly targets Jews for tax evasion.

France’s General Directorate of Public Finance (DGFiP) stated that it “categorically denies the completely unfounded assertions released today in the Globes newspaper, about the creation of a French tax department specializing in French Jews.”

“There is no such structure within the French tax administration. The French tax law forbids any distinction between people based on their origin, place of residence, nationality or religion,” DGFiP added.

The denial came after the Israeli financial news outlet Globes reported last week that a “one of a kind” investigative department in France’s Finance Ministry had 20 Hebrew-speaking employees and was in the process of hiring additional workers. The employees in the department were purportedly experts in Israeli law and able to discern whether or not French Jews were using Israel as a tax haven.
Florida cop resigns amid investigation over his anti-Semitic Facebook posts
A Florida police officer who was suspended with pay after complaints that he posted anti-Semitic comments on his Facebook page resigned from his post.

Officer Michael Hamill gained fame in September after a selfie of him and two other Gainesville, Florida, police officers was posted on the department’s Facebook page, showing them helping the community in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

The photo received at least 181,000 comments, one calling the officers “hunkapotumuses,” and some 517,000 likes and 276,000 shares, the Gainesville Sun reported. Many online began referring to the officers as “hot cops.”

After the photo became popular on social media, several people posted screen shots of anti-Semitic posts by Hamill from 2011 and 2013, years before he joined the police force in 2016.

The Gainesville Sun newspaper reported on Thursday that Hamill resigned earlier this month before a scheduled interview with the agency’s Internal Affairs department, which was investigating the anti-Semitic social media posts as well as allegations that he had sexual relations while on duty. Findings in both investigations could have led to Hamill’s termination.
Israeli Study of Proteins Suggests Key for Reversing Alzheimer’s
Can neurodegenerative diseases such Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s actually be reversed? New research from Tel Aviv University suggests so. It all has to do with how proteins clump together in a cell.

Let’s use the example of an omelet to explain what’s going on.

To cook an omelet, you have to scramble an egg. Once scrambled, it can never go back to the original egg form. Physiological and chemical changes cause its chemical bonds to break and its proteins to aggregate, restructuring the egg entirely.

However, Tel Aviv University Prof. Martin Kupiec and Kobi Simpson-Lavy at the School of Molecular Cell Biology and Biotechnology recently published a paper in Molecular Cell about a novel form of protein aggregation that seems to be reversible. Coauthors include Tianchang Xu of Tsinghua University, Beijing, and Mark Johnston of the University of Colorado.

“Most of the functions within our cells are carried out by proteins,” Kupiec explains. “When these proteins aggregate, they produce a ‘blob’ that renders them inactive.”

Protein aggregation tends to increase with age and can lead to neurodegeneration because proteins “can adopt an erroneous configuration, where they’re misfolded,” Kupiec says. The cells attempt to “pile up” the misfolded proteins at particular locations to minimize their toxic effect, but that piling up has been linked to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and even “mad cow” disease.
Beatles drummer Ringo Starr to hit Tel Aviv in June
Legendary Beatles musician Ringo Starr on Tuesday formally announced he is to perform in Israel on June 23 at Tel Aviv’s Menora Mivtachim arena.

Starr will perform with his All Starr band, as part of a 21-date European tour in support of his latest album “Give More Love,” which was released in September.

“The dream is still unfolding,” the 77-year-old rock star said in October. “I love to play, and I love to play with this band. I can’t say that enough, and we’re on the road again,” People Magazine reported.

Each show features a performance of the classic “With A Little Help From My Friends,” his signature song from the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts club Band” album, and “Give Peace A Chance.”
Seinfeld takes a break from tour to visit the Israeli Air Force
Television legend Jerry Seinfeld took a break from his Israeli comedy tour to visit an Israeli Air force base on Tuesday.

The Jewish comedian toured Ramon Air Force Base with Squadron 119, according to the IDF Spokesperson's Unit, where he heard about the personal story of a combat navigator serving in the squadron.

Seinfeld documented his visit with a photo op, which the Israeli Air Force posted on Twitter.

Seinfeld returned to Israel on December 30th to perform two shows at the Menorah Mivtachim Arena.

Seventeen years since the last original episode of the Seinfeld sitcom aired, the Jewish funnyman has reached mythic stature in Israel.

Earlier in the week, Seinfeld was spotted at one of Tel Aviv's top falafel joints.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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