Wednesday, February 21, 2018

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Antisemitism in Poland a Symptom of a Larger European Problem
The crisis in relations between Israel and Poland over Warsaw’s desire to ban honest discussion of Poland’s role in the Holocaust has eclipsed every other issue relevant to Israeli-European ties. No air is left in the room to consider, for instance, the physical peril in which the Jews of France now live. No one is talking about Europe’s role in protecting Iran from U.S. sanctions. All anyone can find time to talk about is Poland and its law banning discussion of the truth about the Holocaust.

Due to the extensiveness of Polish antisemitism, it would be foolhardy for Israel or Poland to aspire to a long-term resolution of the problem. But in the interest of maintaining mutually beneficial bilateral relations, both sides are going to have to make some difficult accommodations to one another.

Israel is going to have to acknowledge that living with officially supported antisemitism is the price of relations with European states, just as it is the price of doing business with Arab states. Part of this accommodation will involve backing off its efforts to change or abrogate the Polish law.

For its part, the Polish government is going to have to restrain its anti-Jewish reflexes at least publically. To this end, the Polish government should avoid additional antisemitic and fraudulent remarks about the Holocaust and about Jews more generally.

The world is often an unpleasant place. Europe in particular has never kicked its antisemitic habit. It isn’t Israel’s job to transform Europe. It is Israel’s job to secure its interests, and when necessary, to do so in cooperation with governments it doesn’t like that have values it abhors.
When Angela Merkel started to fail the Jews and Israel
With her summer 2015 announcement of the welcoming policy for refugees, German Chancellor Angela Merkel damaged Germany, her party, her image and probably her place in history.

She has also caused damage to German Jews and Israel. Until summer 2015 Merkel had a very good record on both these issues.

In November 2005, Merkel became chancellor. In January 2006, she visited Israel and the Palestinian Authority. In 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2014 she also came to Israel. In the latter year Merkel was accompanied by 16 German ministers to discuss collaboration between the two countries. She had no problem in admitting German guilt toward the Jews. In January 2018 on the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Merkel called for a new culture of remembrance in view of the shrinking number of Holocaust survivors.

Merkel’s attitude greatly differed from that of several senior leaders of the Christian Democratic Union’s junior coalition partners, the Social Democrats (SPD). Their previous leader, Sigmar Gabriel, currently German foreign minister, is a consistent anti-Israel inciter.

Recently he again accused Israel of apartheid.
Melanie Phillips - “No Liberty, No Equality, No Fraternity: Dealing with the Failure of the West”
Melanie Phillips has never shied away from the battle of ideas. As someone who has lived as both a hero and villain of the social and political Left, her career as a journalist has been marked by controversy over the expression of some relatively uncontroversial ideas. Her fierce independence, and tenacious defense of civil liberties has lead her to becoming one of Britain’s leading voices on a variety of topics like Brexit, the increased threat of radicalization, and how the mainstream media treats Israel. Don't miss it!




Why Doesn’t The Media Care That Rep. Keith Ellison Still Has a Relationship With Louis Farrakhan?
It’s been now over a week since this story broke and the media’s silence is inexcusable.

Just think how the media would react if the deputy chair at the RNC had dinner with David Duke. Or how they’d react if a prominent Republican on Capitol Hill like Trey Gowdy, Jim Jordan, Kevin McCarthy, or even Speaker Paul Ryan had frequent contact with the former Grand Wizard. It would cause a media firestorm that would surely end with a resignation.

However, Keith Ellison has so far been immune to such criticism by the mainstream media.

This is the same congressman that recently took a selfie while holding up an Antifa handbook with pride in an attempt to troll the president. He literally aligned himself with a group that has been classified by the Department of Homeland Security as a “domestic terrorist organization.” And even for that, he faced no blowback whatsoever.

And when asked by the Minneapolis Star Tribune about his 2013 meeting, Ellison’s spokesman said the following:

“Rep. Ellison knows Minnesotans understand that standing in a room doesn’t mean you endorse every view of everyone else in that room, and wishes the space being used to print this story was instead spent calling more attention to the scourge of white nationalist gun violence, or the deportation threat facing hundreds of thousands of young immigrants across our country.”

If Paul Ryan used that excuse about a meeting with David Duke, there’d be wall-to-wall coverage on CNN.

Is it simply the fact that Ellison’s a Democrat that the media is treating him with kid gloves? Perhaps. Maybe they fear retaliation of him or his supporters using the race card or even the anti-Muslim card against them. Whatever the case may be, Ellison deserves to be chastised and the lack of coverage only reflects on the out-of-touch media that’s been tainted with bias and double standards.
This Ongoing War: News industry activism, its tendentious outcomes and the Tamimis
Yesterday, we saw that Sophie McNeill [background], whom we have never met and with whom we never had any conversation or email, had filed her own report on the Ahed phenomenon for Australia's ABC News. The ABC's site calls Sophie McNeill "a video-journalist based in the Middle East for the ABC". It doesn't mention that she's based in Jerusalem (or so we have been told) which is where we live.

Given the loaded nature of the issues in the ongoing Tamimi saga, it's a shabby and tendentious job of reporting and analyzing news.

Honest Reporting yesterday highlighted an outrageous problem with it - unprofessional recklessness or perhaps something much worse - that ought to have generated a fire-storm of controversy in the Australian media. But hasn't.

We're not totally unrealistic. Few people have the intensity of concern that we do about Malki's life and murder. There might be close to zero interest among the Australian news-consuming public. The pursuit of justice, never a quick process, continues to keep us focused and active, but has always gotten less media attention than we would have wanted.

But the Sophie McNeill phenomenon goes well beyond our private feelings. The ABC is one of Australia's most influential and significant national institutions. You don't have to be, to use Ms McNeill's inappropriate term, an Israeli activist to be outraged at the soft-pedaling she does on those who see value and even redemption in Palestinian Arab terrorism as the Tamimi clan do.

She's entitled to her private ideological agenda - that goes without saying. But ABC management ought to be open enough and genuinely committed enough to the values of world-class journalism to know when to step in and object to crusading and distortion and manipulation of the news record.

In this latest case, they weren't and they aren't and there are many losers as a result. And yes of course we would have been glad to put these views to their Jerusalem correspondent if she had ever made contact.
The case of Ahed Tamimi is deeply disturbing, but not for the reasons you think
Ahed Tamimi is a 17-year old Palestinian girl currently on trial in an Israeli military court in the West Bank for 12 violent offences dating back to 2016. She achieved global notoriety for the video, filmed by her mother in December last year, in which she kicked and punched two Israeli soldiers. The video was viewed thousands of times on Facebook and broadcast in news bulletins around the world. The media narrative was simple – this plucky teenager symbolised the Palestinian resistance struggle against Israel.

The reality is far more disturbing. Ahed’s family has a long history of involvement in terrorism. Her aunt was part of the terrorist cell that carried out a suicide bombing in a pizza restaurant in Jerusalem in August 2001 that killed 15 people, including 7 children, and wounded 130. Most of her direct and extended family have been convicted of terrorism offences.

Ahed grew up in an environment that normalised, glorified and celebrated brutal violence against Israelis. Her parents decided long ago to deploy their young children in the service of their dangerous games. From a very young age Ahed was sent out to take part in violent attacks on Israeli soldiers as her parents encouraged her and filmed her. As a young child, she was in no position to consent to being used in this way and the constant filming and grooming to perform violent attacks, is nothing short of abusive.
Instead of shunning and condemning this abhorrent behaviour, a procession of journalists and activists has visited the Tamimi household to pay tribute. Before her arrest, a media circus followed her exploits with glee because she gave them the pictures they wanted.

In the UK our NGOs and human rights groups have long campaigned against the use of children in conflict and condemn placing children in harms way for political purposes. But when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict their thinking becomes confused. Amnesty International said the Tamimi case typifies Israel’s treatment of Palestinian child activists and Jeremy Corbyn called for her release saying ‘if people are standing up for their rights, they should be allowed to do that.’
Sarah Silverman wades into Israeli-Palestinian conflict, tiptoes out
On Sunday, Silverman admitted to not knowing enough about the conflict and announced that she would retweet pieces from people who are on the ground in Israel and Palestine.

She then retweeted responses on both sides of the conflict.

Early on Monday she capitulated, tweeting: “Dear palestinians/jews/israelis/and everyone w an opinion: I can only speak for me & all I care about is what is true, & what is just. Unfortunately, from what I see, those things seem to be wildly subjective. Only God/Allah/Hashem/Mr. Rogers knows….”

Her followers tweeted their continuing support. “Just please never stop doing what you do,” tweeted one. Others indicated their approval of including Mr. Rogers in her list of deities.
Campaign urges US to suspend ties with Poland over Holocaust law
The Ruderman Family Foundation, an American Jewish philanthropic organization, launched a campaign urging the United States to suspend its ties with Poland over that country’s law on rhetoric about the Holocaust.

The campaign includes a petition for suspension hosted on the NeverDeny.org website and a professionally produced video message. It shows men, women and children saying “Polish Holocaust,” which is supposed to be in defiance of the law passed by Poland earlier this month.

The law criminalizes blaming the Polish nation or state for Nazi crimes. Israel and several Jewish organizations, as well as the US Department of State and the French foreign ministry, protested the law. Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Israel, also opposed it while noting that blaming Poles for the Holocaust and use of the phrase “Polish death camps” is unfair.

Ridiculing the law, one of the people in the film produced by the Ruderman Family Foundation – an organization focused on facilitating greater inclusion for people with disabilities and strengthening ties between American Jews and Israel – is seen standing in a bar holding a beverage while saying “I wonder if they have been in Polish prison.”
Polish Minister Sees ‘Catharsis’ in New Holocaust Law
Patryk Jaki, the politician behind Poland’s new Holocaust law, wants to end what he calls a misleading culture of shame surrounding his country’s treatment of Jews in World War Two.

The 32-year-old deputy justice minister is a polarizing figure in Polish politics. He opposes what he sees as the Islamization of Europe and once said immigrants from Africa and the Middle East will only enter the country “over his dead body.”

He also loves football, dotes on his young son who has Down’s syndrome and prides himself on his lowly origins in the Soviet-era tower blocks that still house millions of his compatriots.

Many Poles like his anti-elitist posture, which chimes with a strain of populist right-wing thinking in parts of Eastern Europe that has alarmed some Western capitals.

But the law making it a crime to suggest Poland was complicit in the Holocaust has proved even more controversial, sparking a crisis in Warsaw’s relations with Israel and the United States. For Jaki it marks a moment of national catharsis.

Jaki, who steered the legislation through parliament, says young Poles like him have been taught to feel ashamed, not proud, of their nation’s wartime behavior by successive liberal governments.

It was their decision, he says, to “establish the politics of shame … to ensure that future generations were formed without the foundation of a strong national identity.”

“There comes a time when our country needs catharsis and the current debate about Polish-Israeli relations provides it,” he told Reuters in his office at the Justice Ministry.
Polish opposition wants to amend disputed Holocaust bill
Poland’s main opposition party Tuesday issued an amendment to the government’s controversial Holocaust bill, which was meant to defend Warsaw’s image abroad but instead stoked tensions with Israel, Ukraine, and the US.

However, the liberal Civic Platform (PO) party’s proposal has no chance of being adopted since the governing right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party controls both houses of parliament.

“The political crisis triggered by clumsy and disastrous diplomacy, by thoughtless remarks, has brought us to a point where we politicians are forced to react,” Platform leader Grzegorz Schetyna told reporters.

“We are proposing a draft amendment that should correct the mistakes.”

The Holocaust legislation, which takes effect next week, penalizes statements attributing Nazi German crimes to the Polish state with a jail sentence of up to three years.

But Israel sees it as a bid to deny the participation of individual Poles in the extermination of Jews, an accusation rejected by Warsaw.
BJØRNAR MOXNES [Norwegian Communist MP]: Why we nominated the BDS campaign for the Nobel Peace Prize
As an elected member of the Norwegian Parliament, representing the left-wing Red Party, I have nominated the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for the Nobel Peace Prize. This has generated a rather polarized debate across the world, including in the pages of The Jerusalem Post. We appreciate that this important newspaper has chosen to cover our nomination, although from an Israeli perspective. We welcome free debate, and all opinions expressed in good faith, including those highly critical of our views and actions.

However, many of the opinions expressed in the Post are based on misunderstandings of the BDS campaign and our motives for supporting it. I would like to clarify some of these misunderstandings, so that further debate about the nomination can be based on the facts.

In a recent article titled: “‘Arafat got a Nobel so BDS nomination no surprise’ say Israel activists” an activist consulted by the Post claims that “The BDS movement is an anti-peace movement, they made this very clear over and over again.”

I would like to point out that the BDS movement is not an “anti-peace movement.” On the contrary, BDS is crystal clear in its support for strictly peaceful methods. Its objective, that the Palestinians enjoy the same rights everyone else is entitled to according to international law and universal human rights, is also clearly in line with international law and basic universal human rights.

However controversial the BDS movement might appear to supporters of Israel’s military and political approach toward Palestine, the indisputable fact remains that the BDS movement sticks to non-violence to achieve a peaceful solution.
Gil Troy: Why BDS deserves a Nobel Peace Prize
I nominate BDS for the Nobel Peace Prize to expose this (dis)honor for what it has become.

A radical Norwegian MP has nominated the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement for a Nobel Peace Prize. Bjornar Moxnes says BDS uses “strictly legal and non-violent means to advance a legitimate agenda that is perfectly in line with international law and universal human rights.” Moxnes is onto something. As an academic who, like legislators and judges, can nominate candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize – I second the nomination.

Indeed, BDS – more accurately called Blacklist, Demonization and Slander – is “perfectly in line” with what “international law and universal human rights” have become: travesties, Orwellian betrayals of their actual meaning and founding mission, and battering rams against Israel. Last year, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed five times more resolutions condemning democratic Israel than any other country.

I nominate BDS for the Nobel Peace Prize to expose this (dis)honor for what it has become. It’s the prize of Yasser Arafat, the grandfather of modern terrorism. He showed how to boost your cause by killing Olympic athletes, slaughtering school kids, blowing up buses, wiping out three generations of one family sitting at a café – and getting away with it as long as you target Jews.

It’s the prize of Aung San Suu Kyi, the Human Rights Hypocrite. After years of celebrating democracy when she lacked power, now that she has power her silence as soldiers rape, massacre and exile Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, her country, teaches that if your people perpetuate crimes like ethnic cleansing, keep quiet or, if pressed, blame violence on “both sides.”

It’s the prize of Jimmy Carter, the Dupe of Despots. The ex-president is the oppressor’s enabler, soft on Arafat, on Hamas, on Hafez Assad, Syria’s old autocrat, soft on tyrants in North Korea and Haiti too. Carter demonstrates a great way to earn a Nobel Peace Prize: suck up to dictators.
Michael Lumish: Dershowitz on Nothing Left
This week Michael Burd and Alan Freedman feature eminent US lawyer and Israel advocate, Alan Dershowitz who is shortly visiting Australia as a guest of the UIA, and then hear from a senior journalist with Ha'aretz, Judy Maltz on why young American Jews are deserting Israel.

The guys also caught up with Israeli social innovator Gidi Grinstein who has a novel way of taking Israeli know-how to the world, and hear Isi Leibler's take on PM Netanyahu's legal issues.

3 min Editorial: NIF and illegal African immigrants in Israel
9 min Alan Dershowitz, high profile US lawyer and Israel advocate
33 min Judy Maltz, senior journalist with Ha’aretz
52 min Gidi Grinstein, Reut group, social innovator
1 hr 30 Isi Leibler in Jerusalem, on PM Netanyahu’s issue
Campus Unmasked: Pro-Palestine Student Says He’ll Throw Rocks At Jews
University of Houston student Tarek Abdoh is really excited to throw rocks at Jews, according to Canary Mission. University of Memphis student Nadeen Elayan is also really keen on committing assault, saying “I wanna throw rocks and shoes at the Jews.” And this isn’t some hollow, figurative reference like “go jump off a cliff.” Palestinians throwing stones at Israelis is extremely common and often results in injuries or even deaths. A situation like the one you just saw resulted in the smashing of a 5-month-old baby’s skull. And these aren’t just tiny pebbles, either. A Palestinian activist murdered an Israeli soldier by chucking a cement block at him.

Now, some pro-Palestine students are less specific in how they plan to hurt Jews. Milwaukee Area Technical College student Belal Abuasi simply tweets “Ima kill a Jew in a month.” He’s also a fan of the terrorist group Hamas, answering the question “do you support Hamas?” with “I support resistance so yes.” He also falsely claimed “Hamas refused to kill Israeli civilians.” In fact, Hamas has launched numerous suicide attacks and rocket strikes on Israeli civilians.

Next up we have Dima Jubara, a Valencia College Muslim student who has an uncanny passion for saying “God will kill the Jews.” July 2015, she informs the public “God will kill the Jews.” October 2016, she says “if I had a dollar for every time I’ve said God will kill the Jews.” November 2016, she opened up a bit about her personal life, saying “in this house we pray that God will kill the Jews.” And don’t think this hatred is confined to Jews. Pro-Palestinian students also seem to loathe whites, as evidenced by Jubara’s tweet right here. Students for Justice in Palestine activist Sabrina Ghaus of Tufts University tweeted “today i purposely tripped a white lady who literally could not see me because as a brown woman i don’t exist and am not human.”
Pro-Palestine Student Says He'll Throw Rocks At Jews


IsraellyCool: Manchester BDS-Holes Boycott BBC Documentary…For Being Too Pro-Israel!
Sounds to me like they are actually afraid, not of tokenism, but accuracy – that the documentary will depict them as the nasty, lying racists they truly are.

But you needn’t go past the above statement to see this. Take this part, for example.
“The Nakba”, which is on record as being pre-meditated by all of the main architects of the Israeli state, was Israel’s violent expulsion of 800,000 Palestinians from their homes – to where the vast majority were never allowed to return.

This is a despicable lie, propagated in order to demonize the world’s only Jewish state. For a start, there were roughly 700,000 refugees, not 800,000 (they seem to be adopting Mahmoud Abbas’ strategy to ’round up’). And of those, many fled in fear or were ordered or advised by their fellow Arabs to abandon their homes.

Their viciousness is no laughing matter, but I did manage a chuckle over this:
So far since the filming has begun, we have learned that the producers have filmed Pro-Israel events across the country which culturally appropriate Palestinian culture, and use it as a weapon to normalise Israel’s war crimes against them…..On February 7th, the BBC were seen filming a similar stall with an Israeli flag, where Pro-Israel students were giving out Moroccan falafel and claiming it as Israeli.

And the name they have given to the image accompanying their statement hissy-fit
NGO Monitor: Protecting Reputation and Abusers, Not Victims: Analysis of Oxfam’s “Investigation Report” on Sexual Misconduct in Haiti
On February 9, 2018, The Times of London revealed that employees of global NGO giant, Oxfam International, had procured prostitutes while doing relief work in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Roland Van Hauwemeiren, who was then the Haiti Country Director for Oxfam, was chiefly implicated in the scandal. Unconfirmed allegations of sex parties on Oxfam premises and underage sex workers also emerged.

Since then, other news reports have detailed how Oxfam knew about the events for years, but did not warn other aid agencies about why certain staff left the organization (Van Hauwemeiren went on to work for another NGO in Bangladesh). Oxfam even rehired one of the dismissed employees.

News articles have also expose that the Swedish government was aware of allegations of Van Hauwemeiren’s involvement in sexual exploitation as far back as 2004 (while working in Liberia for an NGO named “Merlin”), but did not report him and continued to fund projects that he was managing. His behavior was so systematic, egregious, and normalized, that a female colleague expressed surprise upon discovering that not all NGO workers frequented prostitutes.

In the aftermath of the revelations, Oxfam released an internal memo from 2011 on the investigation into the allegations. Although most of the names have been redacted, the Oxfam investigation report describes a concerted effort at the highest levels to deal quietly with the abuse, as well as incompetence and mismanagement in human resource policies.
New York Times Reader Comments Call Israel ‘Barbaric,’ Blame Jews for Antisemitism
The New York Times’ persistent problem with antisemitic or virulently anti-Israel reader comments is flaring yet again.

The latest platform is a Times news article from Washington that appeared under the online headline, “In Pursuit of Peace, Trump Generates Rare Friction With Netanyahu.” It drew the Times’ hordes of anti-Israel commenters out of the woodwork.

Typical was the “Readers’ Pick” comment by Jayme Vasconcellos of Eugene, Oregon. He wrote, “I do wish the NYT would quit overblowing each fainthearted American attempt to appear fair on this issue. Fact: no US president can buck the financial or media empires in his own country that have no interest in peace.” The idea that bloodthirsty financial and media empires are more powerful than the elected president and are blocking peace is the sort of far-fetched conspiracy that has animated American antisemites for years. It’s the stuff of Henry Ford’s Dearborn Independent. It attracted thumbs-up “recommend” votes from 12 Times readers.

A commenter using the name “Westsider” wrote, “All Netanyahu and his supporters want is $5 Billion plus from American taxpayers and stealing more land from Israel’s neighbors. According to Netanyahu and his Israel, no neighboring country has the right to defend itself from the barbaric country that attacks its neighbors with fabricated excuses at every opportunity.” That description of Israel as “barbaric” attracted thumbs-up “recommend” votes from 10 Times readers.

Another comment, with 31 upvotes, likened Israel to Apartheid-era South Africa. Yet another, addressed to a rare pro-Israel commenter, declared, “you moved into their homes, you treated them like dirt, you proclaimed your own goodness and holiness as you bulldozed their homes, and you gave your government to the most insufferably arrogant and cruel people imaginable.”
AFP Corrects: Entebbe Hijackers Singled Out Jews
CAMERA's Israel office yesterday prompted correction of an Agence France Presse article which incorrectly stated that the 1976 Entebbe hijackers singled out Israelis, keeping them hostage. In fact, the Palestinian and German hijackers singled out Jews, Israeli and non-Israeli alike. The Feb. 20 article ("New take on real-life hijack drama in '7 Days in Entebbe,'" 2:37 am GMT) had originally erred:
The divergent motivations of the kidnappers became evident when they separate out the Israeli passengers in scenes that chillingly evoke the Holocaust.

CAMERA contacted editors, pointing out the error, and noting that AFP's French and Portuguese articles had accurately reported that the terrorists singled out the Jews. Moreover, AFP had previously corrected this very same error in April 2016.

In response to CAMERA's communication, AFP commendably updated the story (2:28 pm GMT) and corrected the error. The accurate language states:
The divergent motivations of the kidnappers become evident in the film when they separate out Jewish passengers, Israelis as well as non-Israelis, in scenes that chillingly evoke the Holocaust.
IBT Misses Facts to Make a Point
In the IBT (International Business Times), journalist Vasudevan Sridharan wrote about a widely publicized statement from Israeli PM Netanyahu, at the security conference in Munich earlier this week, in which the PM clarified that Israel would respond to attacks by Iran’s proxies not only against the proxy, but also against Iran itself.

Not content to merely report the news, Sridharan began by misstating the PM’s words:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that his country would not hesitate to launch an attack on Iran and not just stop with its offensive against Tehran’s allies.

But Netanyahu did not say that.

The New York Times reported accurately, writing:

[Netanyahu] said that if pushed, Israel would act “not only against Iranian proxies that are attacking us, but against Iran itself.”

The difference?

Sridharan described an aggressive Israel, ready to attack, whereas the PM actually spoke of acting in self-defense and if necessary.
BBC WS ‘Newshour’ framing of Iranian activity in Syria – part one
Without questioning or qualifying Khalili’s allegations or even reminding listeners of, for example, the relevant topic of Iranian military activities along Israel’s border with Syria, Coomarasamy closed the item there.

The BBC’s public purposes oblige it to “provide accurate and impartial news, current affairs and factual programming of the highest editorial standards so that all audiences can engage fully with issues across the UK and the world”. The unchallenged efforts of activist academic Laleh Khalili to frame the story as being about “theatrics”, “fear-mongering” and Israeli domestic politics – while completely erasing Iran’s activities from the picture – are of course not in the least surprising. However, such blatant propaganda obviously contributed nothing to BBC audience understanding of the serious topic of Iranian expansion and belligerency in Syria and the Middle East in general or of Israel’s position on that issue.

However, Newshour’s partisan framing of that story was not over yet – as we will see in part two of this post.
BBC WS ‘Newshour’ framing of Iranian activity in Syria – part two
Coomarasamy then introduced his contributing guest: a conspiracy theorist who has in the past suggested that chemical weapons used against civilians in Syria may have been an Israeli “false flag” operation aimed at implicating Bashar Assad’s regime.

Coomarasamy: “Now we’re joined now by Lawrence Wilkerson: retired US army colonel who was Chief of Staff to the US Secretary of State Colin Powell from 2002 to 2005. And you see echoes in what Colin Powell said and did in the run-up to the Iraq war and what you’re seeing and hearing now.”

Wilkerson: “Yes I do and I kind of chuckled to myself when H.R. said what he said because – let’s face it – he was describing Saudi Arabia far more precisely than he was describing Iran. And I had to chuckle when Netanyahu said what he said to Zarif about the drone because as the Lebanese foreign minister said recently – I’m sorry: the Lebanese defence minister said recently – he has an Israeli drone over his head almost 24/7.”

Coomarasamy: “So when you see what the Israeli prime minister did in Munich and hear what he said, what sort of intent do you think is behind it?”

Wilkerson: “This is all propaganda. It’s all bombast, it’s all bellicosity on Netanyahu’s…Netanyahu’s part at least aimed at deflecting some indictments that might remove him from office at any time, reminding me of a mantra that’s going around in the rumour channel inside the Beltway right now here in Washington: will Trump start a war to save his presidency? I think there’s some of that; that’s the political aspect of it. But I understand Prime Minister Netanyahu – just like Israeli prime ministers from the past – has to seem as if he is ten feet tall in order to dissuade those who are arrayed around him from testing him.”


Coomarasamy made no effort to clarify to listeners that no indictments have been issued against the Israeli prime minister to date or that even if they had, the notion that they would be ‘deflected’ by a speech made at a conference is just plain ridiculous. Neither did the BBC’s presenter bother to point out the relevant fact that the source of ‘rumours’ concerning the US administration’s supposed intention of starting a war with Iran is Wilkerson himself and that he published an op-ed promoting such claims (which has been called out for its antisemitic undertones) in the New York Times less than two weeks before this ‘Newshour’ appearance took place.
Swedish racist ‘laser man’ gets life for murdering Holocaust survivor
A German court Wednesday jailed for life a Swedish convicted killer — dubbed “the laser man” for using a laser-scoped rifle to target immigrants — murder a Jewish woman.

John Ausonius, 64, has already received a life prison term in Sweden for a six-month shooting spree in 1991-92 in which he killed or wounded 11 immigrants.

The convict, who was extradited to Germany in late 2016, was also found guilty of the murder of 68-year-old Jewish Holocaust survivor Blanka Zmigrod in Frankfurt in 1992.

German prosecutors sought a life sentence, pointing to the severity of the crime to justify exceeding the usual maximum term of 15 years on the grounds of protecting society.

Born as Wolfgang Alexander Zaugg in Sweden to a German mother and a Swiss father, he was reportedly bullied at school, rejected his foreign origins and later developed a strong hatred for immigrants.
France’s Jean-Marie Le Pen defends Vichy leader’s deal with Nazis in memoirs
France’s wartime leader Philippe Petain did not dishonor himself by signing the 1940 armistice that allowed Nazi forces to occupy the north of the country, former far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen says in his memoirs.

Petain “was legal and legitimate,” the co-founder of the National Front (FN) party says in “Fils de la Nation” (Son of the Nation), the first volume of his memoirs set to be published on February 28.

For four years after Marshal Petain — a World War I hero then aged 80 — announced France’s capitulation to Nazi Germany on June 17, 1940, he led so-called Vichy France in the center and the south of the country, with its headquarters in the spa town of the same name.

Meanwhile the Nazis occupied the north of France including Paris, and the Vichy regime collaborated with their relentless campaign against Jews.

Petain passed legislation that saw Jews — around 150,000 of whom had fled to the south believing it to be safer — subjected to severe discrimination similar to that in the Nazi-occupied north.

Under Petain, the Vichy regime put to death up to 15,000 people and helped deport nearly 80,000.
Canadian JCC gets anti-Semitic mail calling to expel Jews
A Jewish community center in Windsor, Ontario, received anti-Semitic hate mail that was similar to messages sent to several Canadian synagogues two months ago.

The flier, which calls to “expel the Jews to the lake of fire” and declares this is “Expulsion History Month,” was delivered to the center by regular mail on Friday.

“How many times have you been expelled?” it asks. “When it gets to dozens there have to be reasons, good reasons.”

The flier sent to the JCC includes a cartoon of children throwing stones and garbage at a stereotypical ultra-Orthodox-looking man and also says, “Judaism = Hate Speech” and “Jews = Synagogue of Satan.”

Police launched an investigation.
Parts of Warsaw Ghetto wall to become historic monuments
Two sections of the wall that isolated the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II should be added to a list of historical monuments, a regional conservation official in Poland said Tuesday.

A proposal to list the red brick wall still standing at 53 Sienna Street says the barrier should be protected as a witness to history and preserved for future generations.

It says monument status would give legal protection to a “unique historical memento, priceless to the Jewish and the Polish nation.”

Local residents have two weeks to appeal the regional official’s decision. The wall can’t be added to the regional list until the appeal period elapses.

The wall was built in 1940, when the Nazi Germans occupying Poland closed the area of Warsaw they called the “Jewish district.” It was four meters (13 feet) high, including one meter of barbed wire on top.

Most of the ghetto’s 450,000 residents died of hunger and disease there or in the gas chambers of the Treblinka death camp.
Einstein letter surfaces thanking New Yorker for helping Jews flee Nazi Germany
A Chicago woman has revealed a letter Albert Einstein sent her father, thanking him for his efforts to rescue Jews from Nazi Germany.

Enid Bronstein told Chicago’s WGN TV that Einstein sent the missive to her father David Finck in June 1939, before the start of World War II, as many Jews tried to flee Hitler’s regime.

Finck, a New York financier, helped fund the emmigration of several such refugees.

“May I offer my sincere congratulations to you on the splendid work you have undertaken on behalf of the refugees,” Einstein said in the letter.

“The power of resistance which has enabled the Jewish people to survive for thousands of years has been based to a large extent on traditions of mutual helpfulness,” he wrote. “We have no other means of self-defense than our solidarity and our knowledge that the cause for which we are suffering is a momentous and sacred cause.”

He added: “It must be a source of deep gratification to you to be making so important a contribution toward rescuing our persecuted fellow Jews from their calamitous peril and leading them toward a better future.”
After 30 Years of Limbo, Traditional Ethiopian-Jewish Religious Leaders Recognized by Israel
Israel has officially recognized the traditional Ethiopian religious leaders referred to as kesim, ending a 30-year controversy over their official status.

Kesim have constituted the leadership of the Ethiopian-Jewish community known as the Beta Israel for centuries. Their role is similar though not identical to that of the rabbi in other Jewish communities.

They are sometimes called kahens, from the same Semitic root as the Hebrew kohen, or “priest.”

Over the decades since the mass aliyah from Ethiopia in the 1980s, however, the kesim have not been able to perform official religious functions, as their governmental status was left in limbo.

Efforts to achieve recognition have been ongoing for three decades, and activists recently threatened to go on a hunger strike if the kesim were not recognized.

In the end, this proved unnecessary. Kesim will now be able to exercise formal religious authority and their practices and halachic rulings will be accepted as legitimate by Israel’s religious establishment.
Intel leads $50 million investment in public transit app Moovit
Israel-based public transit app developer Moovit App Global Ltd. raised $50 million in an investment round led by Intel's venture arm Intel Capital, the company announced Wednesday.

Moovit’s free app offers real-time public transit information to a global user base of over 120 million people in 2,000 cities and 80 countries.

Founded in 2012 and based in Ness Ziona, a town in central Israel, Moovit currently employs around 100 people. The company raised $133 million to date.

Moovit uses data collected from users to track the location of buses and trains. The company offers the information to cities and transit agencies under the brand Smart Transit Suite. According to Moovit co-founder CEO Nir Erez, the information helps city planners adapt existing infrastructure to public needs. Moovit expects to reach 1 billion users by 2021 and expand the number of cities using its data to optimize inner-city mobility, Mr. Erez said in a statement.
JPost Editorial: It’s a gas!
Celebration is in order after Delek, Noble Energy and a number of other operators of the Tamar and Leviathan natural-gas fields off Israel’s coast signed a $15 billion deal with an Egyptian consortium called Dolphinus.

Dolphinus will buy 64 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Delek Drilling and its US partner Noble during a 10-year period. It is Israel’s biggest export gas deal to date.

Skeptics warned that the Israeli and foreign business concerns that invested billions of dollars to get the gas out of the fields deep under the Mediterranean off Israel’s shore and into the pipes that generate electricity, would never succeed in exporting in big quantities.

The claim was that no Arab neighbor would be willing to enter into an agreement with Israel.

The Egyptian deal is proof the naysayers were wrong.

As soon as a proper pipeline is set up (a number of options are being weighed) the Israeli gas will be transferred to Egypt where it will be liquefied and exported to Europe and other destinations.

The deal is good for Israel on a number of levels.
Netanyahu asks visiting NFL players to be ‘gladiators’ for Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on a group of NFL players visiting Israel to use their influence to garner additional support for the Jewish state, during a meeting with them at his office in Jerusalem on Monday.

“All of you are gladiators and you have an enormous following. Israel is fighting in the arena, in the battle for truth. I think the most important part of your visit is that, having seen the truth, you can now fight for it,” Netanyahu told the players.

“I appreciate the goodwill and support and, I’m sure, determination to spread the word,” he added.

The seven NFL players’ tour was organized by a group called American Voices in Israel, which has been bringing influencers and minor celebrities — including actors, clerics and journalists — to the Jewish state since the early 2000s, with the belief that by seeing the country up close “they will understand the complexities of the situation,” the head of the organization, Irwin Katsof, told The Times of Israel last week.
Gal Gadot to present Oscar at 2018 Academy Awards
Israeli “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot is to present an Oscar at the 2018 Academy Awards, it was announced Wednesday.

She was part of a second round of celebrities invited to take the stage at the prestigious event. Others announced Wednesday include Mark Hamill, Armie Hammer, Oscar Isaac, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Gina Rodriguez, Eva Marie Saint, Wes Studi, Kelly Marie Tran and Zendaya.

“Together, these artists represent some of the most beloved movies of our generation,” producers Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd told People magazine. “It’s an honor to welcome them to the 90th Oscars stage.”

The 2018 Oscars ceremony will be held on March 4.

Jimmy Kimmel will again host the event after presiding over last year’s ceremony, which became infamous when the Best Picture award was mistakenly given to “La La Land” and only after producer Jordan Horowitz was in the midst of his acceptance speech did organizers correct the error and announce “Moonlight” as the real winner.

In June Gadot was admitted to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in what was seen as an effort to diversify its predominately white male membership.



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