Saturday, February 24, 2018

From Ian:

Father of Taylor Force, US Business Student and Military Vet Murdered in Palestinian Stabbing Attack: We Are Not Suckers
Stuart Force — the father of the late Taylor Force, the American business student and military veteran who was murdered in a stabbing attack in Israel in 2016 — spoke on Friday at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) near Washington, DC, and called on the Senate to approve a pending piece of legislation, named for his son, that would cut off US government funding of the Palestinian Authority if it continues to pay monetary rewards to terrorists and their families.

“The Palestinian Authority leadership tells the world that these payments are simply social welfare payments,” Stuart Force said. “But we aren’t suckers. We know that these are US taxpayer dollars being used to incentivize and fund terror.”

“It has been emotionally distressing to relive the loss of our son over the past two years,” Force told the crowd at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center. “But we have come to realize there are so many more good people in the world than there are evil ones. The evil ones seem to get all the attention, online and in the media. The good people of the world deserve better. Passing the Taylor Force Act and stopping the terror funding is a great place to start the process.”

“The House [of Representatives] has passed its version of the act,” Force explained. “The next step is to allocate floor time on the Senate, pass its version, reconcile the two, and send it to President Trump for his signature.”

“This is not a partisan issue, this is an anti-terrorism issue,” Force went on to say. “This is a right versus wrong issue. We look forward to being in the Senate gallery when the act passes with unanimous, bipartisan, support, and we can fist bump, hug, and cry, like we did in the House gallery.”
Bret Stephens: Don’t Count Bibi Out — Yet
If you follow the news from Israel, you might surmise that Benjamin Netanyahu’s days as prime minister are numbered. The police recommend that he be charged on multiple counts of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Fresh charges may yet be brought in additional investigations. A former top aide to Netanyahu agreed this week to serve as a witness against him. Press reports suggest a man clinging to power.

Don’t be so sure. If an election were held tomorrow, Bibi — as Netanyahu is universally known in Israel — and his Likud party would likely win, according to recent polls. Roughly half of Israelis think the prime minister should quit, but that’s down from 60 percent in December. Netanyahu has no intention of resigning, even if the attorney general chooses to indict him. The Likud rank-and-file remain loyal to their leader. His coalition partners may detest him, but for now they see greater political advantage in a wounded prime minister than in a fresh one.

Besides, Bibi has been, for Israelis, a pretty good prime minister. Some indicators:

Economy: Since Netanyahu returned to power in 2009, the economy has grown by nearly 30 percent in constant dollars — nearly twice the growth rate of Germany or the United States. Some 3.6 million tourists visited Israel in 2017, a record for the Jewish state. On Monday, Israel announced a $15 billion dollar deal to export natural gas to Egypt from its huge offshore fields.

Diplomacy: Netanyahu’s personal ties to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are exceptionally close, as they are with Japan’s Shinzo Abe. Israel’s relations with African countries and the Arab world are the best they’ve been in decades; reaction in Riyadh and Cairo to the Trump administration’s decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem amounted to a shrug. Netanyahu’s 2015 speech to Congress opposing the Iran deal, billed as an affront to the Obama administration, turned out to be an inspiration for Israel’s neighbors. And Netanyahu’s arguments against the deal now prevail in the current White House. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
Palestinian ex-terrorist deported from US invited to speak in Amsterdam
Right-wing Dutch lawmakers have protested a far-left group’s invitation of a Palestinian ex-terrorist who was deported from the United States to speak in the Dutch capital.

Machiel de Graaf and Gidi Markuszower of the Party for Freedom expressed opposition to Rasmea Odeh’s planned visit in a query they submitted Thursday to Justice and Security Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus.

“Do you agree that a convicted terrorist and immigration fraudster has nothing to look for in the Netherlands? If not, why not?” the lawmakers wrote, adding: “Are you prepared to deny her entrance? If not, why?”

In the Netherlands, lawmakers use parliamentary queries to draw the media’s attention to issues and direct scrutiny of the actions of the ministers queried, who have up to three weeks to reply.

Odeh was invited to the Netherlands by Anakbayan-Europe, a Filipino communist group, and another fringe left organization called Revolutionary Unity.



TV report: Poland freezes Holocaust law, is sending team to Israel to reword it
Poland will not implement its controversial new Holocaust law for the time being, and an official Polish government delegation will fly to Israel in the next few days to try to agree on a mutually acceptable amended version of the legislation, an Israeli television report said Saturday night.

Hadashot news said that, in the wake of pressure and protests from Israel over the legislation, Poland’s Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro had stated that the law will not be implemented “at this stage.”

It said a Polish delegation was due in Israel within days to instead try to hammer out an agreed text of the legislation, which has passed Poland’s parliament and been signed by its president but not implemented to date.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry director-general Yuval Rotem called the moves “an achievement” for Israel following considerable discussion of the law between Warsaw and Jerusalem in recent weeks.
Yuval Rotem, director-general of the Foreign Ministry, October 13, 2016. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Poland’s president on February 6 signed the controversial legislation, that outlaws blaming Poland as a nation for Holocaust crimes committed by Nazi Germany.

EU president: Poland’s conduct on Holocaust risks ruining its global standing
EU President Donald Tusk warned Poland on Friday against “anti-semitic excesses” and other behavior that risked ruining Warsaw’s global standing.

Tusk, a former Polish premier, said he had told Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on the sidelines of an EU summit in Brussels that negative opinions about Warsaw were turning into a “tsunami.”

“I told Mr. Morawiecki that the situation is very serious, it directly affects Polish interests, the reputation of Poland and Poland’s standing in the world,” Tusk said when a Polish journalist asked him about tensions with the EU.

Tusk said there was a “wave that must be stopped… of very unjudicious anti-semitic excesses in statements being made in Poland.”
Poland suspends senator for posting footage from Nazi propaganda
Poland’s ruling party suspended a senator who posted online footage from a Nazi propaganda movie depicting violence against Jews to the sounds of klezmer music.

The Law and Justice party suspended Waldemar Bonkowski Thursday over his posting of the video on Facebook earlier this week, amid an acrimonious argument between many Poles and Jews over the Polish government’s passing this month of a law criminalizing blaming Poland for Nazi crimes.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu protested the law and called “outrageous” a remark by his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki, who said in defending the law that there were also Jewish perpetrators of the Holocaust.

Morawiecki was addressing during an interview on Feb. 18 claims that the law whitewashes complicity by some Poles in the Holocaust.

The debate around the law, which is opposed also by the World Jewish Congress and the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Israel, has generated an increase in anti-Semitic rhetoric in Poland, Jonny Daniels, a commemoration activist from the From the Depths group with friendly ties to Morawiecki, said. Bonkowski’s post, which Daniels said was “hateful,” is part of that increase.

Daniels, who had slammed Morawiecki’s remark as a form of “Holocaust denial,” welcomed what he called the “swift action” by Law and Justice.
Time for a ‘Polocaust’ museum, says Polish minister

A Polish government minister supported calls for a “Polocaust” museum to tell the story of non-Jewish Poles killed by the Nazis.

Deputy Culture Minister Jaroslaw Sellin offered his support on Tuesday for such a museum in an interview with state media amid already strained relations between Poland and Israel, and world Jewry, over its recently passed Holocaust law criminalizing claims that the Polish nation or state is responsible for Nazi crimes.

The Nazis murdered nearly 2 million Poles during World War II and about 3 million Polish Jews.

“I think that the story of the fate of the Poles during World War II, in the first phase — the destruction of our country by the Nazis and Soviets — and the second phase, when our country was under total occupation — deserves to be told and that the world should see this horrific loss,” Sellin told Poland’s Radio One, CNN reported.
Poland 'won't prosecute' violators of new Holocaust law
The newly passed Polish Holocaust law will not lead to criminal charges, according to a government minister.

The law, which takes effect at the end of the month, criminalizes claims that the Polish nation or state are responsible for Nazi crimes.

Deputy Foreign Minister Bartosz Cichocki said late Tuesday in an interview on Polish television that no criminal charges will be brought against offenders, but Poland will require some remedy for untrue statements, The Associated Press reported.

The law states that ascribing "responsibility or co-responsibility to the Polish nation or state for crimes committed by the German Third Reich" is punishable by up to three years in prison.

However, speaking to TVN24, Cichocki said that Poland will "react, demand clarifications, argue against them, but no means of prosecution will be implemented."
Trump says countries begged him to nix Israeli embassy relocation: ‘Don’t do it’
US President Donald Trump said Friday that moving the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem is “the right thing to do.” He spoke as the US formally confirmed that it will open its embassy in Jerusalem in May, in temporary premises at the current US consulate in south Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israeli independence.

Trump was addressing his decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv at the Conservative Political Action Conference. He said foreign countries put pressure on him not to move the embassy and begged him, “Don’t do it, don’t do it.”

Trump said the campaign against moving the embassy was “incredible,” but that the campaign in favor was also incredible. He said that ultimately, his administration “did the right thing.”

Trump’s December declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announcing plans to relocate the embassy there was met with worldwide condemnation. That same month the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning the administration’s move and calling on countries not to move their diplomatic missions to the city.

His comments come as the State Department notified Congress on Friday that the Jerusalem embassy will open in May, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel declaring independence.
Half-shekel coin bears profile of Trump
Temple organizations have issued a half-shekel coin, the likes of which the Torah mandates every Jewish male must donate to the Temple, with a weight of 9.5 grams in real silver.

On the facade of the coin is a picture of the Temple with the inscription "Half Shekel." On the other side is the figure of US President Donald Trump, alongside Cyrus, King of Persia, who made the building of the Second Temple possible. Below them is the inscription, “Cyrus - Balfour - Trump - Declaration 2018.”

The producers of the coin say that it is in high demand abroad. Prof. Hillel Weiss, Chairman of the organization “Hamikdash Betzion” (The Temple in Zion), says that the motivation to embed the image of the President of the United States on the coin is gratitude for his support of Israel and especially for the recognition of our sovereignty over Jerusalem.. "This is a historic act for which the Jewish people is grateful," says Weiss, who believes that the declaration sets off a process at the height of which the Temple will be rebuilt.

On the other hand, warns Weiss, the coin is a reminder of what happened to those benevolent kingdoms when they turned back from their great declarations. Cyrus, in the language of the sages, "missed," was swayed by factions opposed to building the Temple and halted its construction - and only ruled for three years. And the British empire, which renounced and crushed the Balfour Declaration, was shattered as a superpower on the stage of history.

"The Trump Declaration must continue with a declaration of the role of the Jews in establishing the Temple in its place. Only then will President Trump's international ambitions come true in the Middle East.”

Israeli leaders embrace U.S. decision to open embassy in Jerusalem in May
The Trump administration revealed Friday that it intends to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 14, Israel's 70th anniversary.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the US announcement as "a great day for the people of Israel."

"President Trump's decision to move the United States Embassy to Jerusalem on the coming Independence Day follows his historic declaration in December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital," a statement issued by the Israeli Embassy in Washington on Friday said.

"This decision will turn Israel's 70th Independence Day into an even bigger celebration. Thank you President Trump for your leadership and friendship," it added.

Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon praised the Trump administration on Friday shortly after the announcement.

“President Trump’s bold decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem this May, in honor of our 70th Independence Day, is a testament to the unbreakable alliance and true friendship between the US and Israel,” said Danon.

“The time is now for all UN member-states to follow in the footsteps of the US and declare that they too recognize Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the State of Israel,” he added.

Using the traditional Jewish expression "Next year in Jerusalem," Danon pointedly said that the move will take place "this year."
Holding Out an Olive Branch? US Lawmakers Speak Out After Being Detained on the Temple Mount
US Representatives Scott Tipton (R-Colo.) and David B. McKinley (R-W.Va.) no doubt anticipated an eye-opening experience when they visited the Temple Mount on Thursday — as part of their current trip to Israel. So imagine their surprise when they were detained by Israeli police after an Islamic Waqf official (the Waqf administers the Temple Mount) lodged a complaint against them.

It appears that the congressmen violated some unknown rule — because Tipton bent down to pick up a broken olive branch off the ground. His movement seems to have agitated the Waqf official who, apparently believing that the congressman was bowing as if in prayer, set off the events that followed.

The congressmen, both in their 70s, were physically removed from the Temple Mount by police officers, and frisked and detained for more than a half-hour. They were released without incident. The US politicians are currently on a fact-finding mission to explore their Judeo-Christian roots.

Speaking about the experience with JNS, Tipton said: “You know it was a little surprising. … We were going around and trying to take it all in and being rushed through, and I happened to pick up an olive branch, ironically a symbol of peace. Apparently, that broke a rule — not one that was defined. We had no forewarning going in of what to do and not to do, no instructions. … We were trying to take in what is obviously a religious site, not only for Jews and Muslims, but for Christians as well. … Interestingly, apparently they viewed something as an infraction and then chose to detain us.”

McKinley said: “We should be able to pray and reflect on the history and culture, but you’re not allowed to do that as Jews and non-Muslims. You’re pushed, literally, and they have a time frame to get you through. That’s not right. That’s why the status quo has to change, to reflect the change in culture over the past 50 years.”
Mort Klein: Mahmoud Abbas's U.N. Speech Proves He Is No Partner for Peace
Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas addressed the United Nations Security Council this week, reiterating a farrago of falsehoods and distortions that underscore his lack of interest in a genuine peace with Israel.

From first to last, Abbas relied on inventing or revising history, tampering with facts and data, making misleading statements, and engaging in pure fantasy that can only be appreciated by examining his speech in some detail.

Among Abbas’ statements, the following, in particular, stand out:
Seventy years have passed since Palestine’s Naqba, from which 6 million Palestine refugees continue to suffer from the cruelty of exile and loss of human security. They continue to wander the world after the loss of their peaceful and stable lives in their homeland.

Except that the so-called naqba was brought about at Arab, not Jewish, instigation. Specifically, it was created by the Palestinian Arab and neighboring Arab states’ decision to resort to war in rejection of the U.N. General Assembly partition resolution of November 29, 1947, which sought to create Arab and Jewish states in Palestine — supposedly, exactly what Mahmoud Abbas and the PA want now. The Palestinian Arabs were not displaced by Israel’s emergence in May 1948; they were displaced by the war to which they resorted in an effort to abort Israel.
Government backs bill that says Jerusalem not for sale
Legislation limiting the sale of land in Jerusalem to foreign and private hands is expected to receive the Ministerial Committee for Legislation’s approval Sunday.

Kulanu MK Rachel Azaria proposed the bill, signed by 61 lawmakers, in response to the Greek Orthodox Church's recent sale of its control of 50 hectares (about 124 acres) of land in the capital, containing over 1,000 housing units, to an anonymous group of investors.

The Jewish National Fund leased the land to the church between 1950 and 1952 for 99 years, which then sub-leased the land for housing purposes. The church's sale of its rights to the land raised concerns that homeowners on that land may have to pay significant sums to remain.

Azaria's bill proposes that the rights to land leased by the JNF or anyone else to the Greek Orthodox Church and were then sold will go to the state. The government will compensate whomever bought the rights from the church.

The Kulanu MK and former Jerusalem deputy mayor said: “This proposal will give a response to the thousands of residents of Jerusalem and other cities who one day found out that the homes that they owned were on land that was sold to someone unknown.

“We will not let private or foreign factors by such broad swaths of the land in Israel’s capital,” Azaria added.

Azaria said a majority of Knesset members signed her bill in order to save Jerusalemites’ homes.
Palestinians say embassy move ‘provocative’ as US announces May date
The Palestinian Authority on Friday responded in anger to news that the US administration plans to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May, and said “unilateral” moves will not contribute to achieving peace between the Palestinians and Israel.

Hamas, for its part, warned that the decision would lead to an “explosion” in the region.

PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat dubbed the decision announced earlier Friday a “flagrant violation of international law and agreements” signed between the Palestinians and Israel. The decision will “destroy” the two-state solution, he cautioned.

The State Department confirmed Friday afternoon: “We are planning to open the new U.S. Embassy to Israel in Jerusalem in May. The Embassy opening will coincide with Israel’s 70th anniversary.” US President Donald Trump stressed Friday that foreign countries begged him, “Don’t do it, don’t do it,” but that it was “the right thing to do.”

Denouncing the move as “provocative to the feelings of all Arabs and Muslims,” Erekat pointed out that the US administration’s date for moving the embassy to Jerusalem coincided with the Nakba anniversary.

Nakba (“catastrophe” in Arabic) is the word used by Palestinians to describe the establishment of Israel in 1948. The US is set to redesignate its Arnona consular facility in southern Jerusalem as its embassy on May 14 — precisely 70 years after Israel declared independence. (Israel celebrates its anniversary of independence according to the Hebrew calendar; Independence Day — Yom Ha’Atzmaut — falls on April 19 this year.)

“We condemn this decision in the strongest possible terms,” Erekat added. “This decision affirms that the US administration has removed itself from playing any sponsorship role in the peace process. Because of such decisions, the US has become part of the problem and therefore can’t be part of any solution.”
Turkey: US embassy Jerusalem opening in May damages peace, tramples on law
Turkey on Saturday described as “extremely worrying” the US push to open its embassy in Jerusalem this May to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel.

Friday’s announcement by Washington to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem follows US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December.

“This decision shows the US administration’s insistence on damaging the grounds for peace by trampling over international law, resolutions of United Nations Security Council on Jerusalem,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

“Turkey will continue its effort to protect the legitimate rights of the Palestinian public… against this extremely worrying decision by the US,” the ministry added.

Ankara said the decision showed the US does not hear, “and worse still, does not care about the voice of the international community’s conscience”.

US officials said Congress was being notified of the impending move on Friday. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signed off on the security plan for the new embassy on Thursday.

The date of the move is seen as largely symbolic, as the logistics of a permanent relocation are expected to take much longer. Most of the embassy staff could continue to operate from Tel Aviv during the early stages.
Hamas tells Nikki Haley: Your peace plan is ‘worthless’
The Palestinians won’t accept the US administration’s yet-to-be-announced Middle East peace plan, the Hamas terror movement said on Friday.

“The American announcement about a plan that would be presented soon is worthless,” said Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri.

He was responding to US Ambassador Nikki Haley, who said on Thursday that the US administration was nearly finished drafting its Middle East peace plan, which some refer to as the “deal of the century.”

“I think they’re finishing it up,” Haley said during a question-and-answer session at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics.

US envoys Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt are “still going back and forth,” she added. “They’re coming up with a plan. It won’t be loved by either side, and it won’t be hated by either side.”

Abu Zuhri, the Hamas spokesperson, retorted: “The Palestinian people reject the plan and won’t allow it to pass.”

Hamas and several Palestinian factions have vowed to do their utmost to thwart the plan, dubbing it a “conspiracy designed to eliminate the Palestinian cause and national rights.”
How Trump has made Israel's leftist generals look like rank fools
They talk in their thick Israeli self-assured accents, and are introduced to American and Israeli Jewish audiences as “Israel Generals” who “know Israel security.” These leftist Israeli former IDF officers have propagated the Big Lie claiming that there is a Two-state solution to the Palestinian Arab problem, to millions of all-to-eager to be duped Jews:

They are the “Gatekeepers.” There was even a movie made about them and their military advice.

Enter US President Donald J. Trump, who makes a simple objective declaration that Jerusalem is the Capital of Israel. And what happens? PA President Abbas begins to say in English what he has been saying in Arabic- namely, that Tel Aviv is also “occupied territory.” But the Israeli generals always knew what Abbas was saying in Arabic, so they knew the Two-State solution was a fraud to begin with. This group of Israeli generals, on whose opinions Israeli and American Jews have relied for life-and-death decisions about Israel must know that what they are saying is delusionary.

No one needs to have an Israeli security clearance to monitor what the Palestinian leaders are saying about their obssessive desire to murder every Israeli in Tel Aviv. All one needs to do is subscribe to Palestinian Media Watch, or PMW. Itamar Marcus has single-handedly done with a shoe-string budget what the Israel government didn't do with millions of dollars: Just translate exactly what the Palestinian leaders/terrorists have been openly saying in Arabic. They don’t want Judea, Samaria and Gaza, they want Tel Aviv and Netanya and they want to murder every last Jew who dares to remain when, as they hope, they begin their Jihad murder spree.

All Abbas’ recent rantings at the UN about Israel as a “colony,” that Israel occupied Palestine in 1948, not 1967, about the UN Resolution 181 and the “right of return” into Tel Aviv for the 7 million claimed Palestinian "refugees" is merely a repetition of what Abbas has been saying for years. It’s just that the left-wing Generals thought of themselves as imbued with messianic visions that ordinary human beings didn’t possess.
Time.com Corrects: No "Surge" in Settlement Population Under Trump
After communication from CAMERA, Time.com corrected a headline that referred to a nonexistent "surge" in the number of Israeli settlers during Donald Trump's first year in office. The headline asserted, "Jewish settlers in the West Bank surged since President Trump took office, an Israeli settler leaders says."
Headline: Jewish settlers in the West Bank surged since President Trump took office, an Israeli settler leader says

CAMERA informed editors that, according to the numbers in the article itself, settlement growth mildly decreased during 2017.

The amended headline now reads, "Israeli settler leader says settlements continued to grow in 2017."
UN official: Palestinian Authority chairman abuses Palestinians
United Nations Special Coordinator for Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, spoke at the 44th Annual Leadership Mission of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations about terrorism and peace in the Middle East.

The five-day conference was held in Jerusalem and led by Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Chairman Stephen Greenberg and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein.

In his speech, Mladenov noted the importance of clarity on what constituted terror, and the ability to criticize both sides when there was concern. He reiterated strongly that, “We need to be very clear in the UN what is considered terrorism and what is not. We must speak up openly and say clearly, when you go into someone’s house and slaughter a family - that is terrorism. That is not resistance, that is not legitimate.”

Mladenov also said, “There is no Middle East peace process currently. That is the reality.” He also said the Trump Administration was forced to “take a long hard look at the situation, to see what conditions are needed to have a meaningful process between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” one which he hoped would lead to the peaceful separation.

However, he noted that “this is probably the longest period of peace and quiet in a long time, especially considering the situation in the wider region, and there is one thing that bonds together all the parties, the Palestinians, the Israelis, the US and the Europeans, and that is not to make the Israeli-Palestinian conflict part of the wider mess in the region.”

Regarding Gaza, the UN Special Envoy said there was great concern about a deterioration in the situation and noted three key concerns: Social meltdown, conflicts within the Hamas leadership, and the emergence of even more extreme elements.
Saudi Arabia increases financial aid to PA
Saudi Arabia's envoy to the Arab League, Ahmed Kattan, said on Thursday that Riyadh would increase the amount of aid it provides to the Al-Aqsa and Al-Quds funds by $500 million.

The addition to Saudi Arabia's share of the financial aid to these funds will therefore increase by $70 million and will be transferred in four installments of $17.5 million each.

A statement issued by the Saudi mission to the Arab League said Riyadh will also increase its support for the Palestinian Authority (PA) budget from $7.7 million a month to $20 million a month.

In December 2017 and January 2018, Saudi Arabia transferred $40 million to the PA’s Ministry of Finance, according to the official PA news agency Wafa.

The PA has repeatedly asked for foreign donations in recent years, claiming it is on the verge of collapse due to a worsening financial crisis.

But, while blaming Israel for the PA’s financial woes, its chairman Mahmoud Abbas continues to spend six percent of the PA’s annual budget to pay $4.5 million a month to jailed terrorists and another $6.5 million to their families.
Conservatives cheer Mike Pence when he mentions Trump’s Jerusalem move
US Vice President Mike Pence earned one of his biggest applause lines at an influential conservative conference Thursday when he cited US President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Pence, speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, outlined the promises that Trump has fulfilled his first year in office.

“America once again stands without apology as leader of the free world,” he said. “For decades after one president after another promised to move our embassy to the capital of our most cherished ally, on December 6, President Trump made history when the United States of America recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel.”

That got huge applause from the activists at the American Conservative Union’s annual conference, which has become a focal point of the conservative movement. Trump is scheduled to speak to the conference, being held in a Maryland suburb of Washington DC on Friday.

Pence also garnered big applause when he noted Trump’s retreat from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

“This country will no longer certify the disastrous Iran nuclear deal,” he said.
CPAC Panel Addresses Misconceptions About Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Panelists at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) attempted to disband some of the biggest misconceptions that many Americans have about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Thursday.

“What’s happening today is the result of the British and the French rewiring the Middle East history in the 20th century and about 100 years of Arab rejectionism,” Aylana Meisel of the Tikvah Fund said.

The panel was moderated by Genevieve Wood of the Heritage Foundation. Yehoshua Oz of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies was also on the panel.

“There has never been a state of Palestine or a country of Palestine,” Meisel said. “The terms Palestine comes from when the Romans were controlling the area and occupying the area.”

She continued, “There has never been a nationality called Palestine,” adding that the name was created as a larger tactic in the Arab world’s war on Israel.

She said the Palestinian issue started to rise in the 1960s, and it was in response to the Jewish presence.

“It’s just completely false,” Meisel said of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas claiming a 5,000-year history.

Oz focused on a few central ideas to provide the context in which Israel should be regarded, saying, “it’s all about context,” as he pointed to two maps on a projector screen.
CPAC Panel Debates Alternatives to 'Two State Solution' for Israelis, Palestinians
The Arab world must shoulder the responsibility of the Palestinian people, who they have for years used as pawns against Israel, and the world must stop using the phrase “two-state solution,” according to guests at a panel discussion at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Thursday.

The panel, titled, “The New Jerusalem: Alternatives to the Two State Solution,” was moderated by Erielle Davidson, a scholar at Stanford’s conservative Hoover Institution. Lisa Daftari, editor-in-chief of The Foreign Desk, and Jeff Ballabon, of the American Center for Law and Justice, joined them.

Ballabon argued that the world must refrain form using the phrases like two-state solution and said the question of what the alternatives to a two-state solution are “is really a question of what methods we are using.” He added, “If what you’re trying to achieve is suffrage, a Palestinian state, you are not going to achieve anything.” He noted that that responsibility should fall on the Arab world.

“Israel is the model of the solution; not the problem,” despite efforts to paint it otherwise, Ballabon said. He noted that other examples of the is are the Kurds and the Alawites and condemned Barack Obama for destabilizing the region.

“Until 2015 we called for a two-state solution. Why are we calling for any solution?” he asked. “America’s objectives should be to stabilize and protect Israel. If there’s any country in the world that looks like American exceptionalism, it’s Israel exceptionalism.”
Russia deploys advanced stealth jets in Syria with warning aimed at Israel
Russia has deployed two of its most advanced and sophisticated stealth jets in Syria, in a power move likely to draw US criticism, as the Pentagon expressed its alarm earlier this month over recent close calls with Russian planes in the war-torn country.

Satellite images published by Israeli company ImageSat International on Friday showed the fifth generation jets — two Su-57 fighter aircraft — at Russia’s airbase in the coastal Syrian city of Latakia. A source in the defense ministry confirmed to RBK news agency this week that the two planes were sent to the Hmeimim base “for a test in real conditions.” The jets are said to be a potential rival to the US’s Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, which American forces use in patrols over Syria.

The deployment came with a covert warning to Israel by a Russian official, who said that the presence of the Su-57s will doubtlessly send a political message, serving as a deterrent “for aircraft from neighboring states, which periodically fly into Syrian airspace uninvited.”

Speaking to the Russian news network Sputnik, Vladimir Gutenov, chairman of the Military Industry Committee in the Russian parliament, said on Friday that the jets “need to be tested in combat conditions, in conditions of [enemy] resistance.”
Russia tested ‘over 200 new weapons’ in Syria: MP
Russia has tested over 200 new types of arms in Syria during its campaign in support of President Bashar al-Assad, a senior lawmaker said Thursday, as Moscow was accused of taking part in airstrikes against rebel-held Eastern Ghouta.

“As we helped the brotherly Syrian people, we tested over 200 new types of weapons,” said Vladimir Shamanov, a former commander of Russia’s airborne troops who now serves as head of the Russian Duma’s defense committee.

“It’s not an accident that today they are coming to us from many directions to purchase our weapons, including countries that are not our allies,” he said.

“Today our military-industrial complex made our army look in a way we can be proud of,” he said.

Russia, a close ally of the Syrian government in the protracted multi-front war, has been accused of indiscriminate bombing throughout the conflict causing massive casualties.
Palestinian stone-thrower bitten by Israeli army dog sues Dutch breeder
A 19-year-old Palestinian man is suing a Dutch dog breeder who sold a dog to the Israeli army that the claimant said bit him during a riot in the West Bank.

Hamze Abu Hashem was bitten in 2014 while throwing stones at Israeli soldiers, according to the Telegraaf daily’s report Thursday on the unusual lawsuit. He sued the Four Winds K9 dog breeding company in the southern Netherlands for $13,500 in damages.

The company says it is not responsible for what Israel does with its army dogs.

Liesbeth Zegveld, Abu Hashem’s attorney in the Netherlands, told the Algemeen Dagblad daily that the money is for psychological damage sustained by her client. She is also seeking an injunction outlawing the sale of dogs to Israel.

“My client bears serious scars that will remain with him for the rest of his life,” Zegveld told the daily. “He is also deeply traumatized by the attack. He shakes when he hears dogs barking, he is too afraid to sleep and suffers from sleepwalking.”

Abu Hashem was imprisoned for three months for throwing stones at Israeli soldiers.
UC Berkeley Investigating Antisemitic Death Threat Targeting Jewish Professor
A message invoking an antisemitic epithet and calling for the killing of a Jewish professor was found this week at the University of California, Berkeley, the school’s student newspaper reported.

The anonymous threat — posted outside the office of a Jewish professor at Kroeber Hall — “mentioned Hitler and called for killing the professor, using an extremely racist epithet for ‘Jew,’” said Benjamin Brinner, faculty director at the Center for Jewish studies.

University leaders including chancellor Carol Christ, chair of the faculty-led academic senate Lisa Alvarez-Cohen, and student government president Zaynab AbdulQadir-Morris condemned the incident in an email to students on Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, hateful messages targeted at marginalized groups on our campus are more common than any of us would like to believe,” they stated. “And while not all incidents rise to the level of requiring a police investigation as this one does, they are nonetheless damaging and odious.”

UC Berkeley’s police department has opened an investigation into the incident.

Brinner indicated that the message is a “particularly ugly manifestation” of antisemitism, which he said typically impacts students more than faculty on campus.

“In instances such as this, the target is an individual; in other instances, a swastika or some other offensive statement is posted in a public place,” he added.
French Court Denies Rape-Accused Ramadan's Release
A French court on Thursday dismissed a bid by Tariq Ramadan, the prominent Islamic scholar detained on rape charges, to be released on health grounds, legal sources said. Ramadan's lawyers had pushed for his release since he was detained on February 2, arguing his multiple sclerosis and nerve damage could not be adequately treated behind bars. The Oxford University professor, a prominent TV pundit whose grandfather founded Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood movement, denies charges that he raped two Muslim women in France.

A court-ordered medical examination last Thursday found that the 55-year-old Swiss academic's condition was compatible with detention. The day after the test, he was hospitalised for four days due to what his entourage said was a worsening of his condition. Ramadan has complained that the medical tests were only cursory and that the doctor examining him did not have access to his medical records. He refused to appear at Thursday's hearing at the main Paris appeals court.

Ramadan's two accusers went to the police in late October, both alleging that he had raped them in French hotel rooms. Henda Ayari, 41, said she had decided to accuse him publicly after the "Me Too" campaign against sexual abuse and harassment encouraged her to speak out. Ayari, a feminist activist who previously practised a conservative strain of Islam, says Ramadan raped her in a Paris hotel room in 2012. The second accuser, an unnamed disabled woman, alleges that Ramadan raped her and beat her in a hotel in the southeastern city of Lyon in 2009.

French authorities ordered Ramadan to be placed in custody after he was charged, judging him a flight risk.
German court says BDS activist antisemite, called Israeli ministers Nazis
A leading proponent of the boycott campaign targeting Israel suffered a stinging defeat on Monday after he declined to appeal a January court decision in the German city of Munich that ruled in favor of Charlotte Knobloch, the president of the city's Jewish community and a Holocaust survivor, who said the activist spreads antisemitism.

An email to The Jerusalem Post from the anti-Israel activist Abraham Melzer was cited in the Munich court decision as evidence of the activist's modern antisemitism.

He termed Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked "Nazi broads." Knobloch is permitted to repeat her statement that the anti-Zionist activist Abraham Melzer is “notorious for his antisemitic remarks.”

The obscure activist promotes the BDS (Boycott, Divestement, Sanctions) campaign against the Jewish state, Knobloch’s attorney, Nathan Gelbart, told the Post in January that “it belongs to our free, democratic system to be allowed to call phenomena like Melzer what they are: antisemites.”

The Munich court wrote in a statement that Melzer’s talk at the Hamas-affiliated “Palestinians in Europe Conference” in Berlin in 2015 “justified the call to kill, or damage, Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist religious view, and expressed an extreme hostile conviction toward Jews and the Jewish people.”

The court said Melzer’s “behavior can and may, without question, be judged as antisemitic.” When asked on Wednesday about the implementation of the court decision and whether he is a Jewish antisemite, Melzer declined to comment.
Spanish city in Barcelona province nixes BDS motion against Israel
The City Council of Montcada i Reixac in metropolitan Barcelona has withdrawn its decision to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, ACOM, an organization that combats BDS in Spain, announced on Friday.

In December, the plenary session of the city council, a town with some 35,000 inhabitants, approved a resolution to join the boycott against Israel.

The boycott motion had the support of Catalan separatists groups, including the Republican Left of Catalonia, the Catalan European Democratic Party, the Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) and the local branches of the extreme-left parties Podemos and the United Left. Ciudadanos and the People’s Party, Spanish constitutional parties, all voted against the motion.

As with many previous such decisions in Spain, joining the BDS movement entails that a city council will refrain from any cooperation with Israel, its public bodies and officials in areas including agriculture, education, trade, culture and security. The city council also agrees to support BDS in every campaign for the trade, cultural, sports, academic or institutional boycotts.

In response to the resolution, ACOM presented an administrative appeal against the motion, accusing the town and its citizens of “discriminatory practice.”
Jewish grandmother sentenced to death in Iran; Holland won’t grant her asylum
To the dozens of revelers of this city’s main Purim party, a Jewish grandmother who cooks the event’s annual Persia-themed holiday feast is a rare communal asset.

Since she immigrated to the Netherlands in 2012 from her native Iran, the soft-spoken newcomer has been volunteering with the local Chabad House, preparing delicious traditional dishes with exotic spices, such as saffron-flavored yellow rice and chicken, for Utrecht’s celebration of the holiday.

Her contribution has added prestige to the event, which has been featured in regional and national media thanks to the authentic touch she adds. (After all, the story behind Purim is set in Persia, celebrating the rescue of that country’s Jews from a communal death sentence.)

But only a few of the locals who know Sipora (not her real name) are aware that she is both an illegal alien in the Netherlands and a refugee with a death sentence hanging over her own head in Iran for political offenses.

Sipora, 60, was sentenced in absentia to death by public execution in 2013 by a Tehran court that convicted her of “violating Islamic rules [of the] Islamic Revolution” and “anti-regime activity.” Her crime: running an underground organization that found housing solutions for women with abusive husbands who could not obtain a divorce.
ADL sounds alarm against neo-Nazi conspiracy theorists in wake of Florida shooting
The Anti-Defamation League is sounding the alarm against alt-right conspiracy theorists who are attacking survivors of last week’s deadly Florida school shooting.

The conspiracy theorists, some of whom self-identity as members of white supremacists groups, claim that the February 14 shooting incident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland was a “hoax” performed by “crisis actors.”

Others have accepted that the shooting occurred but survivors, they say, are being coached by “liberal” operatives who seek to enact more stringent gun-control laws.

“The ‘crisis actors’ theory’ often gains steam in the aftermath of mass shootings and related incidents in this country,” the ADL stated in its report published on Thursday. “A range of people on the far right contend that the US government stages mass shootings for the purpose of seizing guns and then features actors on TV to talk about the shootings to elicit sympathy for their cause.”

The ADL also noted that similar fringe theories began proliferating soon after the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, which left 20 children and six adults dead.

The online attacks have mostly focused on student activists and survivors of last week’s incident, including David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez, who have been especially outspoken critics of gun control policy in the US.
El Al venture arm, Boeing join forces to scope out new air travel tech
Cockpit Innovation, a venture fund arm of EL AL Israel Airlines Ltd, said Wednesday it has formed a strategic partnership with Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company. As part of the collaboration, Boeing will invest an undisclosed amount of money into the fund, the company said.

The partnership will allow Boeing and Cockpit to jointly identify, support, and grow new technologies for possible applications in the aviation and aerospace industries, in an effort to play a role in shaping the future of these fields, Cockpit said in a statement.

“The strategic partnership with Cockpit Innovation reinforces and furthers our longstanding relationship with EL AL Israel Airlines,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Kevin McAllister. “Cockpit will provide a bridge to the global ecosystem of startups in fields that align with our strategic vision for Boeing, furthering our access into these developing sectors of the aerospace industry.”

“Combining the wealth of industry knowledge and venturing expertise of both Boeing and Cockpit with new technologies will enable amazing new opportunities for startups in the fields of travel, aviation and aerospace,” said Gonen Usishkin, the CEO of El Al.
15 Israeli firms on Fast Company 2018 most innovative list
The 2018 edition of Fast Company’s World’s Most Innovative Companies includes 15 Israeli firms among more than 350 enterprises.

Waze, the Israeli company that has transformed how drivers navigate to destinations, was ranked No. 28 on the magazine’s list of the world’s 50 most innovative companies.

Fast Company also ranked its top 10 picks in 36 subcategories, which include specific business sectors as well as the geographic areas of Israel, Africa, India, China and Latin America.

The regional list for Israel cites the following companies:
1. Syte.ai, for detecting salable goods in photos and making them easy to buy
2. Zebra Medical Vision, for providing lifesaving AI scans at $1 apiece
3. OurCrowd, for combining equity crowdfunding with recruiting
4. Airobotics, for flying full autonomous drones without human guidance for industrial use
5. Fiverr, for helping freelancers get affordable healthcare
6. Insightec, for treating essential tremor with guided ultrasound
7. Utilis, for emitting microwaves to inspect underground water pipes for leaks, helping cities save billions of gallons
8. Gloat, for finding talent for WeWork, Oracle, and Dell using applicants’ social ties
9. Flytrex, for building an urban drone delivery network
10. Forter, for spotting e-commerce fraud in real time

The list of top 10 augmented reality/virtual reality companies includes Houzz, an Israeli-founded company headquartered in California with an R&D center in Tel Aviv.




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