Friday, January 05, 2018

From Ian:

Douglas Murray: The Iranian rebellion the world wants to ignore
Elsewhere the silence indicates the dream-puncturing of an entire political class. In 2015 the UN security council agreed a deal with Iran to limit elements of its nuclear programme for a period. Iran’s incentives included a freeing up of trade and a delivery of billions of dollars in cash. For their part, companies and governments across Europe hoped to get their own cash bonanzas in the wake of that deal. Such deals always compromise the people who make them. One of the chief defenders of the 2015 deal, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, has spent recent days being studiously silent on the uprisings in Iran. When President Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital she couldn’t tweet enough condemnations of his action. Yet five days into the protests in Iran, she hadn’t even said that she is watching events closely. Europe’s leading foreign affairs ideologue needs Iran’s governing status quo to stay in place so that nothing about her own deal, future cash prize or putative Nobel award is in any way disturbed.

Even if the regime is one day toppled — far-off though that day looks at the moment — there are enough rival factions within Iran to make the result as unpredictable as it was for many people in 1979. Back then the New York Times published a memorable piece by Richard Falk (formerly of the UN, now professor emeritus at Princeton University) assuring readers that the depiction of Ayatollah Khomeini ‘as fanatical… and the bearer of crude prejudices seems certainly and happily false.’ He later added that ‘Khomeini’s Islamic republic can be expected to have a doctrine of social justice at its core; from all indications it will be flexible in interpreting the Koran.’ Charitably we might say that Iranian politics has long been hard to read. The classified advice of the CIA in August 1978 was that ‘Iran is not in a revolutionary or even a pre-revolutionary situation.’

Many people will dream their own dreams about the latest events in Iran, as experts and amateurs did in 1979. But for some people in the West — notably the Iranian regime’s paid and unpaid defenders — the mission right now will be to defend and otherwise cover for the regime. They will point out that the House of Saud isn’t at all nice: as though that is contested, or presently relevant.

If the Iranian people want freedom from the mullahs and can seize it for themselves, then we should wish them solidarity and luck. They will need it — for every succeeding stage, as well as this one. They are facing a regime that is not just the region’s chief destabiliser and terror sponsor, but a brutal theocracy. And that regime will certainly remain in power so long as the rest of the world remains as confused, compromised, sympathetic and supine as it has been in recent days and years.

PodCast: Iran's Uprising: Is this a rebellion the world wants to ignore?
With Douglas Murray, Nazenin Ansari, Nigel Jones, Sam Leith, Mark Mason and Freddy Gray.

Melanie Phillips: The Iranian uprising and Europe’s shameful silence
Obama believed the only reason Muslims attacked the West was that it had oppressed them. If the West offered Iran the hand of friendship, he suggested, it would turn into a model global citizen.

So he was determined to empower Iran, and Britain and the EU – driven as ever by a combination of greed and funk – fell into line behind him.

Obama thus bent over backward to give Iran a free pass. According to Politico, his administration stymied an FBI-led operation to shut down Hezbollah’s drug-running, terrorism- financing racket.

In the 2016 prisoner swap deal with Iran, he released several men who his own law enforcement agencies believed posed a danger to national security.

And in the 2009 Green Revolution, Obama abandoned the Iranian people by refusing to give the protesters support.

All of this was to secure the nuclear deal – which has merely empowered Iran to use the money released by sanctions relief to strengthen its terrorist infrastructure and step up its malign and aggressive meddling in the rest of the region.

The Iranian protesters offer the one hope that a catastrophic conflagration can be averted by regime change from within.

But the Western Left doesn’t want them to succeed – because that would shine the harshest possible light on the moral bankruptcy of the Obama administration that the Left supported to the hilt.

More unthinkable still, it would mean giving some credit to Donald Trump. But the Left’s unhinged hatred of the US president will allow nothing – not even the liberation of an oppressed people and the safety of the world – to challenge their unshakable conviction that he can never do a single thing that is good.

If the Iranian uprising is stamped out, it will be because of the absence of support from Britain and Europe. Their silence makes them complicit with a genocidal regime at war with the West and has caused them shamefully to betray a brave people fighting for its freedom.
Hillel Neuer on Radio Sweden - "Margot Wallström's position on Iran is troubling"
Jan. 4, 2018 - UN Watch, an NGO which scrutinizes the United Nations, has criticized Sweden's foreign minister Margot Wallström for not condemning Iran strongly enough over its violent response to protests in the country. UN Watch has also criticised Sweden's lack of commitment to an emergency UN Security Council meeting on the situation in Iran. Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, told Radio Sweden: The position of the Swedish foreign minister is troubling. There are hundreds of thousands of people affected by what's happening in Iran and Iran is involved in conflicts across the region. Neuer claims Sweden is neglecting its duty to advocate for human rights, but in a statement to Radio Sweden, Margot Wallström's press secretary said that she was among the first foreign ministers to comment on the situation in Iran. He added: Discussions are currently underway regarding whether the situation in Iran should be brought up in the UN Security Council and, if so, in what format. Wallström’s office insisted that Sweden's position on the matter is as yet undetermined and that a vote on whether to call a Security Council meeting is expected later today. On Thursday afternoon, Wallström took to Twitter again to express concern over the deaths, mass arrests and restrictions on the internet in Iran.

UN Security Council to meet on Iran protests, at US request
The U.N. Security Council scheduled an emergency meeting about Iran on Friday afternoon, after the United States asked the world body to show support for Iran's anti-government protesters.

Alma Konurbayeva, a spokeswoman for current Security Council president Kazakhstan, confirmed that the council would meet to discuss Iran. But with council members divided in their views of the demonstrations that have roiled the Islamic republic, neither the shape of the discussion nor what might come out of it were clear.

"This is a matter of fundamental human rights for the Iranian people, but it is also a matter of international peace and security," U.S. envoy Nikki Haley said in a statement Thursday night. She added that it would be "telling if any country tries to deny the Security Council from even having this discussion."

However, not all council members see a need to weigh in.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkovhas called the U.S. move "harmful and destructive," RIA news agency reported on Thursday.

"We see no role for the United Nations Security Council in this issue," he said, according to the agency.

Commenting on the possibility of new U.S. sanctions on Iran, Ryabkov said such methods were "illegitimate."
Iranian Nobel laureate urges US to back protests with sanctions
Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi urged the United States and the international community to support the nationwide protests in Iran with political sanctions, and not economic measures that could hit the general population.

The protests, which began over economic hardships suffered by the young and working class, pose one of the most sustained challenges to the clerical rulers in almost a decade.

Ebadi, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, has lived in exile in the U.K. since 2009 because of her criticism of Iran's leadership. In an interview with Reuters on Thursday, she said she supports the protests "100%," and urged the people of Iran to continue protesting peacefully in the streets and to engage in civil disobedience.

"People should stop paying electricity, water and gas bills. They should not pay their tax. They should withdraw their money from banks," she said.

At least 21 people have been killed so far in clashes with security forces during the protests. Iran's army chief declared on Thursday that police had already quelled the anti-government unrest but his troops were ready to intervene if needed.

"I call on my dear children in the police forces and the Revolutionary Guards to put down their guns and do not kill their own brothers and sisters. If the country's situation improves, you would also benefit from it," Ebadi said.
Iran protests could evolve into ethnic/sectarian strife
The popular movement of protest which erupted on December 28 in Iran is different from the 2009 Green Revolution. The 2009 protests had the goal to cancel the results of the fraud in the reelection of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and gathered millions of people in Tehran mainly from the young and educated middle class, under the leadership of Islamist reformist presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.

This time, the spontaneous protests started in the northwestern city of Mashad, traditionally a religiously conservative place, against rising prices, unemployment and economic inequality, and spread to the major cities of Tehran, Tabriz, Isfahan and Shiraz, as well as dozens of towns across the country. Many of the demonstrators are poor workers and young Iranians fed up with the lack of economic opportunity. No reformist group has made any statements in support of the ongoing protests.

Quite quickly and in response to the brutal repression by the police, the demonstrations turned against the regime, challenging the rule of the supreme leader with people chanting slogans such as “Death to the Dictator” and tearing down posters of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran’s foreign policy is also seen by the people as responsible for its economic hardships: “Forget Palestine,” “Not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life for Iran” chant the demonstrators while burning pictures of Maj.- Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Al-Quds force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, only days ago presented as the victorious commander against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Activists have circulated on social media a video featuring Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah admitting that Tehran pays the expenses of Hezbollah, including food, drinks and arms’ bills.

Besides the economic and political reasons behind the latest upheaval there are also basic demographic realities which could, under certain conditions, as in the Syrian crisis, transform the popular protests into a bloody ethnic and sectarian civil war. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
Erdogan accuses US, Israel of ‘meddling’ in Iran, Pakistan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the United States and Israel on Friday of meddling in Iran after Turkey’s neighbor was gripped by several days of deadly unrest.

A total of 21 people died and hundreds were arrested in the week-long protests which were the biggest challenge to the Islamic regime since the 2009 mass demonstrations.

“We cannot accept that some countries — foremost the US, Israel — to interfere in the internal affairs of Iran and Pakistan,” Erdogan told reporters before heading on a trip to France.

“It is turning the people against each other in these countries. It’s a shame that we have seen this done in many nations… We saw this in Iraq.”

Erdogan did not expand on the nature of the alleged meddling in Pakistan but on Thursday the US announced a freeze in deliveries of military equipment and security funding until Pakistan cracks down on jihadists.

The Turkish president then referred to problems in “Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Libya and Tunisia” and in African countries including Sudan and Chad.

He claimed a “game was being played” in certain countries, which he noted were all Muslim-majority nations.
New York Times Coverage of Iran Protests Faulted as ‘Shameful,’ ‘Propaganda’
The Times has, at this writing, yet to publish a staff editorial expressing an institutional position about the protests or the American response. Maybe Sunday’s editorial, “Capital Punishment Deserves a Quick Death,” was a veiled reference to the Iranian government, which used the death penalty more than 400 times in 2017, according to one watchdog group that says, “The actual number of executions is likely to be higher, given the government’s underreporting of executions and the holding of secret executions.” Alas, the editorial was about capital punishment in the United States, not in Iran.

Roger Cohen, the Times columnist last seen announcing his “shame” about Israel, did waddle in with an article on the Times op-ed page urging President Trump to “stop berating the nuclear deal” and to “not, whatever happens, impose new sanctions.” That is laughable. Cohen is basically telling the Iranian regime that no matter how violently or cruelly they crush the protests, they should have no fear of consequences. As for the nuclear deal, a good column would be one imagining what might have happened if instead of shipping hundreds of millions of dollars in cash stacked on wooden pallets in unmarked cargo planes to the Iranian government, the Obama administration had instead designated that money for the Iranian opposition. Don’t expect to read that one in The New York Times.

What one can expect is that if the Iranian regime falls — as I hope it does — its foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, will fetch up as a Times foreign policy columnist. Mr. Zarif has had at least eight New York Times op-ed pieces since 2003, five of them since April 2015. The Times news columns describe him as “urbane,” a description worth keeping in mind and testing against reality as the death toll rises in his regime’s effort to retain its tenuous hold on power. If Zarif can’t make it as a Times columnist, maybe as a fallback the newspaper can put him to work as a tour guide — or at least a luggage shlepper — on its “Times Journeys” tours.
The meaningless protests of American Jewish leftists
‘Go with god…..but go!’
(!גיין מיט גאָט ... אָבער גיין)

In Yiddish it was not a curse, but the final expression, often whispered, when confronted by the endless parade of ungrounded arguers and protesters who have forever plagued Jewish life.

Of course, these Jewish odd-men-out never leave us. And they clearly thrive on hurting us with their off-balanced spouting.

For instance, here is what Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, said about the Trump administration recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel: “We’re very concerned that the announcement will either delay or undermine the very, very important resuming of a serious peace process.”

And here is what hundreds of American Conservative Jews and rabbis said, in a letter opposing their Conservative movement’s support of the Trump decision on Jerusalem: “We believe that support for President Trump’s announcement is both politically shortsighted and morally unsound.”

These statements by leftist Jewish leaders and their rabbis opposing the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem are declarations that clearly define who they are as leftists, people whose progressive ideology is more important to them than is being one with the people and nation of Israel.

Of course, the rest of us know that these too-educated glib leaders are the eternal Jewish ‘luftmenschen’ who have always plagued our communities; ungrounded, heads in the air, they believe their own words are a substitute for the hard work people perform to earn a living.

We have known them forever. They are our family members and friends who were socialists, communists, union organizers, deacons in the church of black civil rights, anti-war protesters, and now members of the army of Jews working in our communal organizations.
RIDICULOUS: YouTube Demonetizes Shapiro's Interview With Dave Rubin
On Wednesday, Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro sat down with Dave Rubin of The Rubin Report for a thoughtful conversation on the issues of the day. YouTube apparently decided that Rubin should be punished for having the chutzpah to interview Shapiro, and thus decided to demonetize it, according to Rubin, who was justifiably angry about the decision.

Rubin pointed out that even if YouTube decided to reverse their discussion, the damage had already been done.
Egyptian academic under fire for lecture at Israeli university
One of Egypt’s most distinguished academics is facing a torrent of condemnation for traveling to Israel and giving a lecture at Tel Aviv University in violation of a taboo on “normalization” of relations.

Sociologist Saad Eddin Ibrahim, 79, attended an international conference about Egyptian society at the university on Tuesday and lectured to a packed auditorium on “Lessons from 100 Years of Changes in Egypt.

About 20 Arab students disrupted the lecture with shouts of “Long live the Palestinian struggle,” branded Ibrahim a “traitor” and a “paid agent,” and then left.

Ibrahim’s visit was a major setback to supporters of the academic boycott of Israel and to opponents in the Arab world of normalization with Israel. This is because of both his academic and human rights credentials and the credibility he commands for having been imprisoned as a critic of then-president Hosni Mubarak’s regime.

He spent most of his career teaching at the American University in Cairo and also achieved renown as founder of the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies and the Arab Organization for Human Rights.

In 2000, Ibrahim was imprisoned for, among other things, “defaming” Egypt’s image abroad. In his lecture on Tuesday, he seemed physically frail and said his years in prison had ruined his health, leaving him unable to walk even after five operations.

“If I am a paid agent, it would be nice if they at least would pay me,” he quipped after the disruption, according to The New Arab website.
Jewish Students Around the World Report Shared Challenges on BDS, Antisemitism and Apathy
They may live thousands of miles apart, but student activists from around the world identify various shared challenges living as Jews in their respective countries and campuses.

At the 44th World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS) congress in Jerusalem — which took place from December 28-January 1 — 157 delegates from 36 countries gathered to connect with other passionate student leaders, and explore various facets of what it means to be a Jewish student leader today.

According to Yos Tarshish, the outgoing chairperson of WUJS, the major issues facing Jewish college students are anti-normalization efforts against students who “have any sort of connection to Israel,” as well as the rise of far-right, neo-Nazi political parties.

Yanir Grindler, the WUJS chair at the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) in Johannesburg, South Africa, said that racial identity plays a “big part in the discussion on campus.” Due to South Africa’s previous history of apartheid, he said, students there “often speak of white privilege because of white guilt” — the guilt that South Africans feel for the institutionalized racial segregation and discrimination committed against black South Africans from 1948-1991.

“South African Jews are seen as white before they are seen as Jewish. … [they] assume that we represent Israel,” and as a result, “student societies, movements, and NGOs that represent South African civil society won’t engage with us because of our whiteness,” Grindler told JNS.

Grindler said that during “Israeli Apartheid Week” on the Wits campus, BDS activists have aimed to persuade students by framing their agenda as a class-based and race-based struggle, erecting a mock demonstration “where one side is soldiers, representing white, middle class South African Jews and Israel.”

“There’s the belief that if you’re not engaging in race conversation, you need to wake up,” he said. “In liberal arts universities, you have to be engaged in race politics, and it changes how people approach conflict.”
NUS President Shakira Martin issues heartfelt apology to Jewish students after Judaism is again omitted from an NUS survey
The President of the National Union of Students (NUS), Shakira Martin, has apologised to Jewish students for the release of an NUS survey which asked respondents to select their religion from a long list of religions that omitted Judaism. This is not the first time that NUS has missed out its Jewish members and that Ms Martin has apologies: in July 2017, in a different survey of students, Judaism was also notably absent.

However, Ms Martin acknowledged the omission immediately, directly communicating with aggrieved students on Twitter before tweeting a heartfelt apology video, accepting that she was “accountable” and recognising “Jewish students should be pissed”. She assured students that this “would not be happening again”, “actions speak louder than words, when I said I was gonna stamp out all forms of antisemitism I’m not giving no lip service.” She acknowledged that this was a repeated issue, stating that “The first time it happened, I could tweet and say sorry,But the second time, it’s unacceptable, and I just want to reassure the whole Jewish community that I will be dealing with this.”

Ms Martin went on to discuss the context of these incidents, which came following an extremely difficult time for Jewish students under Ms Martin’s predecessor, the widely-scorned Malia Bouattia. Ms Martin was direct, saying: “I totally understand after the years – but especially last year, before my presidency, that Jewish students had – that this type of thing is not acceptable.”You will not not see Judaism on an NUS form again. I will be making sure that we will be reviewing all our forms, and that this is on everyone’s form, and that this [situation] will not happen again.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism thanks Ms Martin for her continued efforts to support Jewish students and rebuild relationships between NUS and the Jewish community. We recognise that Ms Martin has immediately responded to this latest incident with a strong and sincere apology, and we believe her when she says that this will be the last time that she has to apologise for this regrettable omission.
Hundreds unfollow Dutch actress for vacationing in Israel
One of the Netherlands’ best-known actresses said hundreds of people unfollowed her on social media because she posted pictures from her visit to Israel.

Victoria Koblenko, an award-winning movie, television and theater actress and journalist with 151,000 followers on Instagram, invited others to unfollow her as well on the social network, saying in a January 3 post from the Old City of Jerusalem that she has no interest in the attention of people who “assume something about my political inclination based on my holiday destination.”

Koblenko, 37, noted in the same post that the Middle East is her favorite vacation destination, and that she has visited all its countries with the exception of Iraq and Afghanistan. “#unfollowme if you disagree,” she wrote at the ended of her post. Those who unfollowed her did so after she posted pictures from her trip to Israel.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Activists Implode After Palestinian Baker Refuses To Sell To Gay Couple (satire)
Five social justice campaigners met grisly deaths today and fourteen others suffered injuries today when they got caught between powerful opposing political and virtue-signaling pressures as they encountered a bakery proprietor of Palestinian Muslim extraction who rejected a homosexual couple’s request to decorate a wedding cake for them.

Emergency Services, hospital officials, and a police spokeswoman told reporters that the gory incident took place just outside Raheem Masri’s confectionery. Through fragmentary witness reports, police were able to reconstruct the timeline of this morning’s tragedy, which began when local lesbian couple Sarah MacArthur and Alisha Washington entered Masri’s establishment and ordered a wedding cake.

“Both Ms. MacArthur and Ms. Washington remain hospitalized and under sedation,” stated a grim Denver Police Lieutenant Dan Pagliarulo. “We have yet to collect a statement from either of them. However, several other witnesses have helped us piece together this morning’s development. It appears that when the couple was denied the order they wished, they alerted several friends in the area who are active in progressive causes, and within fifteen minutes group of approximately twenty activists had assembled in front of the bakery, the majority of them college students.”

“It appears that when the crowd formed and began chanting outside his business, the baker went out to speak to them,” continued the lieutenant. “In the course of a verbal exchange between him and the activists that reportedly involved heated rhetoric, a number of slurs, and unconfirmed threats of violence, the proprietor revealed his Palestinian heritage and accused those assembled of racism and Islamophobia. Five of the protesters imploded on the spot, two others suffered aneurysms, and numerous others people, including passers by, were injured by flying glass that broke from the force of the nearby implosions, while others are being treated for shock.”
BBC WS listeners get a homogeneous view of US aid to Palestinians – part one
The December 6th US proclamation recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city made it very clear that nothing in that announcement was intended to define the boundaries of the city.

“Today’s actions—recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announcing the relocation of our embassy—do not reflect a departure from the strong commitment of the United States to facilitating a lasting peace agreement. The United States continues to take no position on any final status issues. The specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem are subject to final status negotiations between the parties. The United States is not taking a position on boundaries or borders. Above all, our greatest hope is for peace, including through a two-state solution, if agreed to by both sides.”

That key part of the announcement has not been featured widely in BBC coverage of the story’s various chapters and indeed audiences have been led to believe that the US announcement somehow compromises or negates final status talks on Jerusalem.

Despite the US statement having specifically clarified that it does not define boundaries or borders, presenter Julian Marshall introduced an item (from 30:05 here and billed as examining the question of “who would lose out the most if President Trump followed through on his threat to cut funding to the Palestinians?”) aired in the January 3rd edition of the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Newshour‘ as follows:
BBC WS listeners get a homogeneous view of US aid to Palestinians – part two
As we see, listeners to this item heard three views in all – two from Palestinians and one from a think-tank fellow with a record of being less than neutral. No American or Israeli views were sought by the programme’s producers. Audiences were told that any cut in US aid to Palestinians would cause the Palestinian Authority to collapse with detrimental results for Israel, European and American interests and the Middle East peace process. They were twice told that the US president is ‘blackmailing’ the Palestinians.

Listeners did not however hear anything at all about Palestinian Authority corruption and misuse of donor funding – including for salaries for people who do not work and for the purpose of providing financial rewards for terrorists and their families. Neither did they hear even a word about the problematic aspects of UNRWA or the arguments (which have been discussed long before the US remarks concerning aid were made) for and against cutting its funding.

Clearly this item’s framing of the issue was narrow, superficial and monochrome and failed to provide audiences any views and information that would contradict the homogeneous chosen narrative on the story.
Sweden has failed its Jews, ambassador to Israel says
Swedish authorities have failed to protect the country’s Jewish community, the Scandinavian country’s ambassador to Israel said following recent anti-Semitic incidents in Malmo and Gothenburg.

Magnus Hellgren said this in an interview for the Israeli daily Makor Rishon following the attempted torching of the Gothenburg synagogue and cries about killing Jews in Malmo. Both events happened amid protests over President Donald Trump’s December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Commenting on the fear of some Swedish Jews to be seen wearing a kippah on the street due to security concerns, Hellgren told Makor Rishon: “This is the reality of the Jewish community and it’s a failure, it’s not something that should be allowed to happen.” He also said: “If a single Jew feels this way, we have failed.”

Police officers who heard the cries to shoot Jews during the Malmo rally would have intervened, but the cries were in Arabic and the “officers simply didn’t understand,” Hellgren said.

He also said the Swedish state has not given local Jewish communities the resources they asked for to provide security, and said this problem is being addressed.

Critics of Sweden’s policy toward Israel have charged that it was legitimizing attacks on Jews, including in Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom’s claim in 2015 that Israel’s actions are behind terrorist attacks by Jihadists in France.
Swastika Daubings on Kosher Food Stores in Paris Suburb Leave Residents Anxious
Residents of the Paris suburb of Créteil expressed shock this week after five huge swastikas were daubed on the metal shutters of two kosher food stores in a popular shopping mall.

The vandalism was discovered on Wednesday morning as the owners arrived to open their stores. One of the targeted establishments was the Créteil branch of the HyperCacher supermarket chain — which became a household name in January 2015 when its Porte de Vincennes store was attacked by Islamist terrorists in the same week as the assault on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Four Jewish visitors to the store were murdered during the 2015 attack.

The National Bureau of Vigilance Against Antisemitism (BNCVA), a Jewish communal organization, declared in a statement that the approaching third anniversary of the HyperCacher atrocity on January 9 was the motive behind the vandalism in Créteil. The area is home to 20,000 Jews, and is the largest Jewish community in the Paris suburbs.

The vandals “wished to mark in their own way the anniversary of the anti-Jewish attack,” the BNCVA said in a statement.
German neo-Nazi sentenced to prison for making fun of Holocaust
A 32-year-old German neo-Nazi has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for incitement after posting a picture of a miniature of the Auschwitz death camp on Facebook with an offensive caption.

Judge Manfred Weber at the district court in Hohenstein-Ernstthal in eastern Germany told the man Thursday “you made fun of Auschwitz survivors — that’s very bad.”

The German news agency dpa reported that the sentence of the previously convicted neo-Nazi also took into consideration his earlier charge for criminal assault and the posting of a photomontage of Adolf Hitler in combination with a swastika and firecrackers. The display of Nazi emblems is illegal in Germany.
Latvian lawmaker slammed for saying Russian is the language of Zionism
A senior politician in Latvia labeled Russian “the language of international Zionism,” drawing accusations of anti-Semitism.

Alexander Kirshtejns, Deputy Speaker of the Latvian parliament, or Saeima, from the bloc of the National Association, made the statement on Thursday, the BaltNews service reported. He said Russian in this regard was the same as Yiddish and Hebrew.

Kirshtejns, a nationalist who has lobbied for the removal of street signs and monuments for Russian-speakers, said this during a debate on opposition to a government plan to switch all schools and educational institutions in Latvia to Latvian. Approximately a quarter of Latvia’s population of 2 million people are ethnic Russian, according to estimates.

To prove his point about Zionism, he cited Jewish-sounding last names of people he said were involved in protests against the plan to phase out the instruction in Russian in the country’s schools: Zhdanok, Gilman and Pliner.
How his novel led an author into the intriguing world of WWII art restitution
Decades after an Impressionist masterpiece by Camille Pissarro was looted from the troves of a Jewish art collector by the Vichy government, a Paris court ruled that an American couple must return the painting to the man’s descendants.

Sotheby’s, who initially sold the painting “La Cueillette des Pois,” or “Picking Peas,” said that “At the time the painting was sold through Sotheby’s in London in 1966, the art world was not as sensitized to the issues of art displaced in World War II as it is today and there were few, if any, resources available to researchers in the field.”

It took another 30 years until the world was “sensitized” to effectively reuniting Jewish collections with its owners.

A year before the 1998 Washington Principles — which called upon governments and museums to ensure a just and fair solution to looted art — Sotheby’s became the first international auction house to establish a restitution department dedicated to researching the provenance of works that may have been confiscated or had gone missing between 1933 and 1945.

Despite the many decades that have elapsed since the Holocaust, thanks to the advent of the internet and huge search engines and databases, returning art to its rightful owners has become more achievable now than ever before.
Forbes to hold Under 30 global summit in Israel in May
Forbes magazine said Wednesday it will hold the first-ever Under 30 global summit in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in May this year.

After holding the flagship Under 30 Summit in the US, as well as regional Under 30 summits based in Asia and EMEA, the Under 30 Global Summit will convene some 800 of “the best young entrepreneurs” from all of these areas in Israel, Forbes said in a statement.

The US, Europe and Asia will each send about 200 young entrepreneurs and another 200 total will come from the Middle East and Africa. The attendees will be selected from Forbes’ 30 Under 30 lists around the globe, the statement said.

“We’re thrilled to pull the best of the best young entrepreneurs and gamechangers from Asia, Europe, the US, Africa and the Middle East,” said Randall Lane, editor of Forbes. “This summit represents a true crossroads, a meeting of people who will help run every field in every country for the next half-century.”

The Under 30 Summit Global will bring the international cohort together for four days of panels, performances, product demos and keynotes, all of which will be integrated with local cultural events, including a Tel Aviv beach food festival and a music festival in Jerusalem.
British family seeks to bring daughter, 6, to Israel for surgery to save her leg
A British family has set up a crowdfunding campaign in an effort to bring their 6-year-old daughter to Israel for special surgery that will allow her to keep her leg.

Kyra Warrell of Brighton, located on the south coast of England, is afflicted with proximal focal femoral deficiency, which will leave her left leg about 8 inches shorter than her right if left untreated.

Doctors at Britain’s National Health Service decided that an above-the-knee amputation, to allow for a prosthetic limb, is the best option. But Kyra’s parents, Rima and Neil Warrell, want their daughter, who loves dancing and gymnastics, to be able to keep her leg.

They have discovered a special leg-lengthening surgery performed by an Israeli-born physician, Dror Paley, who is internationally recognized for his expertise in limb lengthening and reconstruction. Paley, the director of the Paley Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida, has performed more than 20,000 limb lengthening and reconstruction-related procedures, according to the institute’s website.

While Paley, who trained in orthopedic surgery at the University of Toronto Medical School, practices in the United States, he will be in Israel at the beginning of February and is willing to perform the first surgery at Rambam Hospital in Haifa.
IsraellyCool: When Sammy Davis Jr Visited Israel
I knew Sammy Davis Jr converted to Judaism; what I never knew was he was a huge fan of Israel.

Thanks to the Humans of Judaism Facebook page, this great photo of Sammy visiting IDF soldiers in 1969 has come to my attenton:

Here he is visiting wounded IDF troops:

And there’s more. From JTA, 1969:
Sammy Davis, Jr., the Negro American entertainer who is a convert to Judaism, arrived here Saturday for a one-day trip. He told hundreds of fans at Lydda Airport, as tears poured down his cheeks, that he could not “find words to express my satisfactions at being in Israel, the mother country of my spirit and my religion.” He visited the Western Wall, met with male and female soldiers, and returned to London where he is shooting a film. He told his admirers that he might return in September.

He said that he had been looking forward to visiting the Wall since his conversion in 1955. He placed a note containing a wish in a Wall crevice and told newsmen: “Like every Jew, my feelings at the Wall were deep and personal. This is my religious home. It’s great here. A great thrill. It is a kind of oneness I have with Israel and the Jewish people.”

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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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