Tuesday, March 27, 2018

From Ian:

Bibi to Europe: You have to pick America or Iran
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told French and German foreign ministers who visited Jerusalem today that he predicts "with high probability" that President Trump is going to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal on May 12th and urged the Europeans to agree to significant changes in the deal, Senior Israeli officials who attended the meetings told me.

Why it matters: The European powers — Germany, France and the U.K. — have been engaged in intense negotiations with the U.S. in an attempt to reach a formula that would save the Iran deal. The Europeans believe the chances of finding a formula which will satisfy Trump are very slim.

Netanyahu said changes will be needed to three parts of the deal to keep the U.S. from killing it:
1. Sanctions on the Iranian ballistic missile program
2. Inspections of suspicious sites in Iran
3. A removal of the the "Sunset clause" which would start to lift limitations on the Iranian nuclear program in nine years

According to the Israeli officials Netanyahu told the European foreign ministers:
"We can debate whether it (U.S. withdrawal from the deal) is a good thing or a bad thing, but it is just the reality. Then you Europeans will have to choose between the small economy of Iran and the huge economy of the U.S."

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told Netanyahu that the current deal is better than no deal. The Israeli officials said Netanyahu replied: "The Munich agreement from 1938 was also a deal. I also want to remind you what happened to the nuclear deal with North Korea."

French foreign minister Jean Yves Le Drian briefed Netanyahu on his recent visit to Tehran, saying he came back deeply disappointed and frustrated with the difficult position the Iranians presented regarding the European demands on the Iranian missile program and the Iranian activity in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, the Israeli officials said.

Everyone Loves Israel Now
The muted Arab government reaction to President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is indeed a marker of what has changed — and what hasn’t. In absorbing that step, Arab governments have likewise had to reaffirm their Arab and Muslim solidarity with the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian claim to Jerusalem. Israel achieved a symbolic victory, but it may face a more united Arab front if it follows up with new unilateral steps that impede Palestinian aspirations. If Israel’s government wants to cultivate Arab state goodwill, it will have to be sensitive to the concerns of Arab governments who face contrary public opinion.

The new regional environment also presents Israel with new dilemmas it did not face when Sunni Arab states were uniformly hostile. The most vexing concerns whether Israel can tolerate the transfer of sophisticated Western arms and technology transfers to Arab governments. Traditionally, Israel has used its considerable political influence to prevent the United States, Europe, and even Russia from selling Arab militaries advanced technology that might erode the country’s vaunted “qualitative military edge.” It has also expressed unequivocal opposition to any possible transfer of sensitive nuclear technology to Arab states.

But what to do now that the eager seekers of such weapons and technology are Israel’s newfound “friends”? Can Israel afford the risk that in the future these states — which would then be much better equipped — might return to open confrontation? Israel already faced this dilemma regarding a pending sale of advanced German submarines to Egypt — and the disagreements among Israeli military and civilian leaders over this question have now resurfaced amid allegations of corruption and a criminal investigation surrounding Israeli relationships with the German submarine producer. Saudi Arabia’s recent quest for nuclear technology presents an even more vexing issue, since both states oppose Iranian nuclear capability — but to say the least, Israel is not comfortable with the idea of the Saudis acquiring such capabilities either.

It’s clear that today’s chaotic Middle East has created some strange bedfellows. For Israelis who have been isolated in their region for some 70 years, the possibilities are exhilarating. But the new horizons must not blind Israeli leaders or the Israeli public to tough choices they will have to make in dealing with their Arab frenemies in the months and years to come. Sometimes, it’s easier to have an implacable foe.
'Will UNESCO demand Western Wall be given to the Muslims?'
Several Arab states submitted a new draft resolution to the UNESCO organization on Jerusalem prior to the meeting of the organization's Executive Committee to take place immediately after the Passover holiday.

The proposal is very short, and at first glance appears to be devoid of offensive language against Israel. The title of the proposal deals with 'occupied Palestine', and states that the Old City of Jerusalem is an international heritage site with a Jordanian connection.

The proposal also includes a direct reference to UN General Assembly resolutions on the legal status of 'Palestine' and Jerusalem, and in particular UN Security Council Resolution 2334 which declares all Jewish presence over the so-called 'Green Line' illegal and the recent UN General Assembly resolution condemning US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The Arab states included a reference to the importance of the sanctity of Jerusalem to all religions in order to avoid the appearance that the resolution is biased against Israel and the Jewish people.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Carmel Shama Hacohen said that "Israel cannot agree to the proposal because it is a package of all the elements we fought against in a miniature package, wrapped in a misleading cover. This is an attempt to persuade us to swallow a small poisonous pill in the shape of a well-wrapped candy, instead of a bucket of poison from previous times that was different in size and that smells very bad due to false, offensive and inflammatory expressions."

"The wording does not include false and offensive details as in the past, but in fact it contains references to all the decisions of the past, including those that the Arabs have already withdrawn from, such as the Islamization of the Western Wall and the Temple Mount through the back door. It is trying to drag countries that voted against this in the past to change the way they vote," added Shama Hacohen.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry began working to ensure that the proposal is not brought for a vote as soon as it was published.
UN Watch: Why is the UN defining Judaism as a war crime?




Planning body waives building permit for US embassy Jerusalem construction work
Israel’s top zoning and planning body on Tuesday approved new construction work at the US Consulate in Jerusalem ahead of its planned transformation into the American embassy in time for Israel’s 70th independence day, on May 14.

The National Council for Planning and Construction backed Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s bid to allow State Department officials to build new security infrastructure at the site without having to go through the time-consuming process of applying for rezoning and construction permits.

In a statement, the Finance Ministry said Kahlon, the country’s top planning official, would sign an official zoning and permit waiver for the new embassy within days.

“As we promised, we won’t let unnecessary bureaucracy delay the move of the American embassy to Jerusalem, Israel’s eternal capital,” he said in a statement.

“This is a strategic diplomatic move for the State of Israel,” Kahlon added. “The planning bodies under my purview will do everything required to meet the necessary deadlines. As finance minister of the State of Israel, I want to again express my gratitude for the privilege of taking part in this historic move.”
When It Comes to North Korea, Stopping Its Supply of Weapons to the Middle East Should Be a Priority
In 2007, Israeli planes destroyed a nuclear reactor in Syria that was a near-exact replica of a North Korean one and was manned by North Korean technicians; Iran’s most sophisticated missiles are variants of North Korean models; some of Syria’s chemical weapons were most likely developed with North Korean help as well. With Washington-Pyongyang talks expected to take place in the near future, writes Jay Solomon, the U.S. must pressure the Communist regime to cease providing such deadly weapons to rogue regimes:

On March 21, the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security released a report calling for UN inspectors to visit a site near the western Syrian town of al-Qusayr, noting that the Assad regime may have built a uranium-enrichment facility there with Pyongyang’s assistance. . . . In a [separate], confidential report, UN inspectors describe how North Korean trade companies smuggled tons of industrial equipment into Syria in recent years for what appeared to be the construction of a new chemical-weapons production facility. . . .

U.S. defense officials are also worried that the North Koreans are learning from the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons, perhaps in case they need to resort to chemical attacks if conflict breaks out on the Korean peninsula. Washington believes that Pyongyang is more than willing to use such weapons, claiming that VX nerve agent was the instrument of choice when Kim Jong Un ordered the assassination of his half-brother last year in Malaysia. . . .

North Korea and Iran have been cooperating on missile development since the 1980s, according to U.S. and Israeli officials. . . . To date, however, U.S., European, and UN officials say there is no smoking-gun evidence of nuclear cooperation between the two countries. . . .
Israel Should Join a Strategic Alliance in the Mediterranean
In recent years, the governments of Greece and Cyprus have not only grown closer with each other but have also jointly cultivated better relations with Israel, Italy, Egypt, and Jordan. Eran Lerman sees the potential for the formation of a six-way alliance among these countries, or at least several interlocking three-member alliances, based on strategic and economic cooperation, including the joint exploitation of national-gas reserves. He writes:

The circumstances under which this format of strategic cooperation is developing in the eastern Mediterranean are directly related to a combination of three factors that have re-shaped the regional balance of power. . . . Of critical importance was the rise to power in 2002 of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the gradual but significant changes that have occurred in Turkey’s [ideological] and strategic orientation. Although Turkey has always been perceived as an enemy in Athens and Nicosia, the threat is now being felt even more in view of the justified concern that Turkey is seeking regional hegemony under the banner of an ideology with a distinctly Islamist character. Erdogan’s policies . . . are turning out to be a major challenge to the stability of the regimes in Egypt and Jordan, as well as to the essential interests of Israel, whether these have to do with Gaza or with Jerusalem. He is also participating in the struggle for power in Syria. . . .

The upheaval being experienced in the Arab world . . . is also having an important and [durable] effect. . . . Added to this is the effect of the Iranian and Russian presence in Syria, along the shores of the Mediterranean, and of their ambitions for further consolidation there. All this is part of an evolving reality in which the U.S. is reducing its strategic presence in the region and in which China, Russia, and to no less an extent Iran are each seeking in their own way to benefit from the situation and to solidify their positions. Israel, for its own reasons, is expanding its diplomatic efforts at the highest levels. . . .

The goal [of the alliance] should not be defined in terms of “containment” (with respect to the regime in Ankara) but rather as the opening up of possibilities. Thus, Turkey would be invited to join, although it is reasonable to assume that it will choose to do so only after it has adopted a different political and ideological trajectory. . . .
Shmuley Boteach: Saudi Crown Prince Should Electrify World by Recognizing Israel
President Donald Trump, and was lauded for many of the reforms he is undertaking in Saudi Arabia. Many of these steps, such as improving the rights of women, are commendable — but the country still has a long way to go in the area of human rights.

One decision that would win MBS significant goodwill in the West — and improve conditions for peacemaking — is to normalize relations with Israel. He has taken some encouraging incremental positive steps, but he needs to make the final, courageous leap.

Press reports have indicated the Saudis and Israelis have been quietly working together to confront the threat posed by Iran. For the Saudis, Iran truly poses an existential threat,even if it does not possess nuclear weapons. Iran is actively trying to undermine Saudi stability by provoking Shiites in the kingdom to oppose the government, by arming and funding rebels in Yemen — who have directly attacked Saudi Arabia and its allies in that country, and by trying to create a Shiite crescent across the Middle East to challenge Sunni-led countries, such as Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis have also been the most outspoken advocates of taking tougher measures to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. While antisemites and other detractors of Israel continue to falsely claim that Israel is trying to provoke the United States to go to war with Iran, the only country that called for military action to stop Iran’s genocidal intentions is Saudi Arabia.

While MBS was in the United States, he said that if Iran does get the bomb, Riyadh will develop its own nuclear weapons. This is a reminder of what many critics of Obama’s disastrous nuclear agreement said from the beginning; namely, that allowing Iran to continue its nuclear ambitions would encourage nuclear proliferation in the region. Like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, MBS believes that the nuclear deal is fatally flawed and requires major changes. With the excellent John Bolton now joining the Trump administration as national security adviser, we can expect to see greater pressure to finally repudiate the catastrophic Iran nuclear deal and stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power.
German FM Urges Palestinians ‘Not to Tear Down Bridges’
Germany’s new foreign minister on Monday urged the Palestinians “not to tear down bridges,” an apparent reference to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s contentious relationship with the US.

Heiko Mass also acknowledged differences with Israel about the international community’s nuclear deal with Iran, but gave no commitment to altering the deal ahead of a mid-May deadline set by US President Donald Trump.

Mass was on his first trip to the Middle East since becoming foreign minister earlier this month.

Meeting Palestinian leaders in Ramallah, he said the new German government remains committed to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Trump administration has refused to make such a commitment. In December, Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, prompting Abbas to rule out the US as a future Mideast broker.

Maas said Monday that peace efforts without the US “would be difficult.”

Later, in Jerusalem, Maas professed his country’s friendship with Israel, despite differences over the two-state solution, which Netanyahu no longer endorses, and the Iranian nuclear issue.

“Our views differ, but first and foremost we are friends,” he said. “We want to hear from our friends their concerns and fears, and therefore I have come here.”
Senior minister indicates Israel unlikely to expel Russian diplomats
With Russia in Israel's “backyard,” Jerusalem must do what is in its interest – not what is in the interests of others – regarding whether it should join other western countries in expelling Russian diplomats over the recent poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain, Construction Minister Yoav Gallant said Tuesday.

Asked by The Jerusalem Post at a briefing sponsored by The Israel Project whether he thought Israel should join a long list of other western countries and expel Russian diplomats, Gallant said that Israel is not seen by the Russians as an enemy for a number of reasons.

“First of all because we share some ideas and interests,” said Gallant, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet who will speak at The Jerusalem Post’s conference in New York on April 29.

“Secondly, because there are more than a million immigrants who have come from Russia to Israel, and the Russian administration views them as citizens, or old citizens, or veterans of of Russia. And thirdly, we have to remember what are the proportions and what are the distances.”

For Israel, Gallant said, Russia is now in its backyard. And while Israel should “behave as part of the Western world,” it should also be proud “that we can negotiate, talk and live side-by-side with the Russians."
Israeli intelligence firm denies ties to Cambridge Analytica
Private intelligence agency Black Cube denied any connection to political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, accused of mining Facebook data to help US President Donald Trump’s campaign, and plans to sue whistle-blower Christopher Wylie who said the two worked together in comments to a UK parliamentary committee on Tuesday.

Wylie said Cambridge Analytica’s parent company SCL worked with Black Cube to hack Nigerian presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari.

“The company utilized the services of an Israeli private intelligence firm, Black Cube,” Wylie told the British Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. “Black Cube on the Nigeria campaign was engaged to hack the now-president Buhari to get access to his medical records and private emails.”

Black Cube, based in Tel Aviv, vehemently rejected Wylie’s statement, and said it plans to investigate his claims to “reveal the truth and the motive” behind them.

“Whilst we are flattered that we are seemingly being connected with every international incident that occurs, we will state that Chris Wylie’s testimony is a flagrant lie,” the agency said.

The firm said it will “launch a massive defamation suit against any entity that we will find involved, including Christopher Wylie, SCL or Cambridge Analytical, for any pound they still have or don’t have.”
3 Gazans with grenades and knives captured near army base 20 kms. inside Israel
The Israel Defense Forces captured three armed Palestinians on Tuesday morning after they crossed the Gaza security fence and traveled approximately 20 kilometers (12 miles) into Israeli territory, the army said.

The suspects were found in possession of knives and grenades, the military said. The tools that were apparently used to cut through the fence were also recovered.

A bomb disposal robot was brought to the area to disarm the grenades, police said.

“This was an incident that shouldn’t have happened. We are investigating it and will learn lessons from it,” IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis said in a statement, adding that the infiltration could have had dangerous consequences.

The suspects were arrested outside the Tzeelim army base at 10:35 a.m., approximately an hour and a half after IDF soldiers first spotted signs of infiltration.

An IDF official said the army was unsure when the three men crossed the fence. The army was looking into reports of a suspicious incident that was spotted by military surveillance cameras in the middle of the night, though the official said it may be unrelated.
Israel said to join forces with PA, Egypt, Jordan to foil Gaza violence
Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian and Egyptian security officials have been secretly cooperating with the aim of preventing a Hamas-orchestrated march planned for Friday from the Gaza Strip from becoming violent.

Hamas, the terrorist group that rules Gaza, has called for a series of "peaceful protests" beginning March 30, when the Palestinians mark Land Day in commemoration of a 1976 incident in which Israeli forces killed six unarmed Arab citizens and wounded about a hundred amid violent riots.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians are expected to take part on Friday in a march on the Gaza-Israel border, dubbed the "March of Return." Hamas urged Palestinians in the West Bank to clash with Israeli security forces and settlers in solidarity.

Palestinian protests are expected to gain momentum ahead of Israel's 70th Independence Day in April and are likely to be fueled further by the U.S. Embassy's move to Jerusalem, slated for May.

According to a report on Monday in the Arabic-language London-based Saudi website Elaph, Israel, Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority share concerns that Friday's protest will turn violent and spark riots across the entire region.
UN urges IDF ‘don’t target’ Palestinian children at Friday’s Gaza march
The IDF should be careful not to target Palestinian children in the planned march at the border fence in Gaza, UN special coordinator to the Middle East peace process Nickolay Mladenov said on Monday.

“I note the developing Palestinian plans for a march on the Gaza fence on the 30th of March,” he said as he spoke before the UN Security Council in New York.

“I call on all sides to exercise restraint and to take the necessary steps to avoid a violent escalation. It is imperative that civilians, in particular children, not be targeted and that all actors refrain from putting children at risk at any time,” Mladneov said.

“The use of force by Israel must also be calibrated. Israel must uphold its responsibilities under international human rights law and humanitarian law. Lethal force should only be used as a last resort, with any resulting fatalities properly investigated by the authorities. I once again urge the security forces to exercise maximum restraint to avoid casualties,” he said.

Mladenov spoke as part of the quarterly report he delivered to the UNSC on the implementation of Resolution 2334 during the period of December 18 to March 25.
Hamas’s ‘defensive’ drill seen as a warning to Israel, Abbas, and Trump
Hamas mounted a large-scale military exercise in the Gaza Strip on Sunday and Monday, the terror group’s largest show of force in recent years.

Hamas says some 30,000 members of its armed wing, Izaddin al Qassam, participated in the drill, using live ammunition and various types of weapons, including rockets and missiles.

The timing of the maneuvers seemed to be more significant than the weapons on display, none of which came as a surprise to military experts. It was a message to several parties, including Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Palestinians living under Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip.

The exercise came days before mass protests that Hamas and several Palestinian factions are planning near the border with Israel. The protests, which are being held under the banner of “March of Return,” are expected to attract thousands of Palestinians.

The large-scale drill is seen as a warning to Israel not to “interfere” with the protests, especially in light of preparations by the IDF to prevent any Palestinian attempt to cross the border.

Hamas leaders insist that the protests will be “peaceful” and that any attempt by Israel to thwart the “March of Return” will be met with an “appropriate response.”
Hamas police violently suppress Gaza student protest
Hamas security forces on Monday wounded at least five Palestinian students during a demonstration over tuition fees at the Al-Azhar University in the Gaza Strip, sources said.

University officials summoned police to the campus after the students staged a sit-in strike. The students were protesting a decision by the university administration to prevent them from taking examinations because of their failure to pay tuition. The sources said that the administration last week rejected the students’ request to pay their debts in installments.

At least five of the students said that they were beaten by the Hamas policemen.

The Palestinian Students’ Union in the Gaza Strip condemned the use of “excessive force” by the Hamas security forces during Monday’s incident. The union accused the Hamas policemen of preventing ambulances from entering the university campus to evacuate the wounded students.

Sources close to Hamas claimed that the protest was initiated by students affiliated with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction.

Tensions are running high between Hamas and Fatah following the continued failure to implement a reconciliation agreement that was meant to see the PA take over control of Gaza and the apparent assassination attempt that targeted the convoy of PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in the northern Gaza Strip earlier this month. Since then Abbas has imposed fresh sanctions on Gaza.
White House: If it’s not changed, Trump prepared to ‘potentially’ exit Iran deal
If Congress and America’s European allies are unable to amend the Iran nuclear deal, US President Donald Trump is prepared to “potentially” walk away from it, the White House said on Monday.

That language was softer than Trump’s own speech in January, when he waived sanctions against Tehran, as required under the accord, but stated explicitly that if an agreement to fix what he deems the pact’s flaws was not reached, he would “withdraw from the deal immediately.”

Asked whether he could confirm reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told French and German diplomats on Monday that Trump will leave the deal if three parts of the deal are not modified, Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told reporters, “If changes aren’t made, the president is prepared to potentially withdraw from the agreement.”

Shah said he could not confirm or deny reports of what the Israeli premier might have said in a meeting.

Earlier Monday, Axios reported that Netanyahu told those two countries’ foreign ministers, who had been visiting Jerusalem, that he predicts with “very high probability” that the American president is, in fact, going to follow through on his threat to exit the accord on May 12, the next deadline to waive sanctions under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

According to Axios, Netanyahu said that three critical parts of the deal needed to be altered for the US to stay in it: adding a ban on Iran testing ballistic missiles, increasing inspection access to Iran’s military facilities, and removing the sunset clauses that allow certain restrains on Iran’s nuclear program to expire in nine years.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Obama Gifts Iran With Echo Chamber Used In Pushing Nuke Deal (satire)
The president who engineered the nuclear pact with Iran concerning the Islamic Republic’s weapons program has decided to present the regime with the original echo chamber he ran in support of the agreement, and which proved instrumental in getting journalists and commentators to parrot his talking points.

A spokesman for former President Barack Obama told reporters about the gift this morning, and added that the chamber will be filled with leftover pallets of cash that did not fit in the original shipment he had sent to Iran in advance of the deal.

“Mr. Obama continues to appreciate how easy the Islamic republic of Iran made it for him to weaken American deterrence and effectively surrender the Middle Eat to Iran and Russia,” explained Ben Rhodes, who also served as an architect and manager of the echo chamber when Obama was in the White House. “What more fitting gesture could there be to demonstrate that appreciation than the very item that served us so well in selling the deal to the American public? Ayatollah Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani, but especially Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, will surely be moved by this gift.”

Rhodes noted that while the echo chamber is used, it still functions well. “Sentiment is one thing, but this device is still perfectly serviceable,” he asserted. “If, in the context of the unwarranted hostility to Iran coming from the White House at present, they wish to avail themselves of the chamber’s functionality, I’m certain they will find it still performs as before. It’s kind of a workhorse, and propagates a pro-Iran narrative at the touch of an on-screen button.”
Kansas legislators try to save law against boycotting Israel
Kansas legislators are trying to salvage a law prohibiting state contractors from boycotting Israel after a federal judge blocked its enforcement, advancing a bill Monday to narrow the ban so it will no longer apply to individuals or small contracts.

The state House of Representatives approved the measure 93-30, sending it to the Senate. Enacting the changes would resolve the federal lawsuit that led to the bill being put on hold, according to an attorney involved.

But lawmakers from both parties said they believe the narrower law still would violate free-speech rights.

Two dozen states, from liberal California to conservative strongholds such as Alabama and Texas, have introduced anti-boycott policies as the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement that protests Israel's policies toward the Palestinians has grown increasingly visible.

The Kansas law, which had bipartisan support and took effect last July, says Israel has a "dynamic" business culture and is a "prominent" trade partner for Kansas.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit in October on behalf of Esther Koontz, a math and science curriculum coordinator in Wichita public schools who was denied a state teacher-training contract after refusing to sign a statement that she was not participating in a boycott of Israel or Israeli products.

In January, U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree blocked the state from enforcing the ban while the lawsuit proceeds and ruled it "highly likely" that the Kansas law was invalid.
‘May Allah Curse the Jews’: Wayne State University Students Accused of Praising Palestinian Terrorists, Promoting ‘Hatred’
Students leading an anti-Zionist group at Wayne State University in Michigan have expressed hostile sentiments toward Jews and praised convicted Palestinian terrorists, raising concerns among community advocates.

Thirteen officers and members of WSU’s Students for Justice in Palestine were featured in a new report by the anonymous watchdog Canary Mission, which profiles individuals accused of promoting “hatred” on American college campuses.

The group — recognized by the WSU administration — claims to seek “justice, liberation, self-determination, and human rights for the Palestinian people.”

Yet Summer Baraka, who co-founded the SJP branch in 2014 and formerly served as its president, was found to have made multiple incendiary tweets about Jews. “Allah yin3an al yahood ou bas [May Allah curse the Jews, and that’s all],” she wrote in 2013.

Earlier that year, Baraka tweeted in support of Palestinian prisoner Samer Issawi, calling him “the inspiration that Palestinians need.” Issawi was convicted by an Israeli court in 2002 of attempted murder, membership in a terrorist organization, and possession of firearms and explosive materials.

The group’s current co-president, Mayssa Masri, has also made inflammatory comments related to Jews, Israel, and Zionism — the movement to re-establish a Jewish homeland. “What Israelis are doing to Palis is just as bad as the holocaust,” she tweeted in 2015. “Except it’s lasted for decades against Palis and who knows when it’ll end.”
US Taylor Force Act not newsworthy for the BBC
Visitors to the BBC News website have to date not seen any reporting on that topic either on the US or Middle East pages. Even the predictable reaction from BBC regular Husam Zomlot did not receive any coverage.

“The PLO excoriated Congress on Friday for passing the Taylor Force Act, a law that threatens to freeze State Department funds to the Palestinian Authority unless it ends its longstanding practice of compensating terrorists and the families of terrorists convicted in Israeli courts.

The PLO envoy to Washington, Husam Zomlot, dismissed the effort as politically motivated. The pressure “does not work, and severely damages the prospects for peace in the Middle East,” he said. […]

The bill, Zomlot said, “punishes” the PA, “which is the only agency committed to peace and nonviolence, and undermines the American-Palestinian bilateral relationship and decades of US investments in the two-state solution.

“The Taylor Force Act represents the most recent effort in this 30-year-old trend of legislations that deliberately targets the Palestinian people,” Zomlot continued, accusing the US Congress of “flagrant bias.””


As regular readers know, the subject of the PA’s payment of salaries to terrorists is one that the BBC more often than not chooses to avoid, despite its relevance to members of the public in the many countries which donate aid to the Palestinian Authority – including of course Britain. Although familiarity with this issue is also key to BBC audience understanding of both the eternal PA budget deficit and the background to Palestinian terrorism, as we see the corporation continues to under-report the topic.
Parliament of Australia says 'sorry' to the Jewish people for indifference during the Holocaust;
The Australian House of Representatives debated the following resolution on 26 March 2018, and continued the debate later in the day:
Hon Stuart Robert MP, Member for Fadden, Queensland
That this House:
(1) notes that 14 May 2018 is the 70th anniversary of the creation of the modern state of Israel, a seminal event that occurred in 1948, and congratulates Israel on an amazing seventy years of democracy, growth and prosperity;
(2) recognises that 15 July 2018 marks the 80th anniversary of the end of the fateful Évian Conference, convened by President Roosevelt in 1938 in Évian-les-Bains, France, with 31 countries, to discuss the issue of the plight of Jewish refugees fleeing the horror of Nazi persecution;
(3) further notes that:
(a) the Australian Minister for Trade and Customs in 1938, Lieutenant Colonel T.W. White, declined to further assist the Jewish people, stating 'Australia has her own particular difficulties...migration has naturally been predominantly British, and it (is not) desired that this be largely departed from while British settlers are forthcoming. Under the circumstances Australia cannot do more, for it will be appreciated that in a young country manpower from the source from which most of its citizens have sprung is preferred, while undue privileges cannot be given to one particular class of non-British subjects without injustices to others. It will no doubt be appreciated also that as we have no real racial problem, we are not desirous of importing one by encouraging any scheme of large-scale foreign migration...I hope that the conference will find a solution of this tragic world problem';
(b) post Kristallnacht, when the Nazis burned Jewish synagogues, businesses and books, Australia did reassess its policy to admit 15,000 refugees over three years, compared to the previous quota of 1,800 per year;
(c) an estimated 6 million Jews and millions of others died during the Holocaust, exacerbated by the failure of Australia and other nations of the world to more fully protect the Jewish people; and
(d) Lieutenant-Colonel White's statement on behalf of the Government of Australia is still visible at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, as a representative response for all other nations' responses of indifference at the Évian Conference;
(4) states that this Parliament, as representative of all political parties and the people of Australia, issues a profound apology and says 'sorry' to the Jewish people for the indifference shown by the Parliament in 1938 that worsened the impact of the Holocaust; and
Holocaust memorial again defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti
A New Jersey synagogue's Holocaust memorial has been vandalized for the second time in less than a year.

Lakewood police say someone spray-painted several anti-Semitic words and phrases, some of them misspelled, on the memorial at Congregation Sons of Israel. Similar graffiti was also found on the synagogue itself, while a swastika was spray-painted on a pickup truck parked outside the building.

The vandalism was reported around 11:45 a.m. Saturday.

No one has claimed responsibility for the vandalism and no arrests have been made.

The Anti-Defamation League's New Jersey chapter condemned the vandalism via Twitter.

"It is imperative that this brazen act of anti-Jewish animus be condemned by Lakewood's elected officials, community leaders, religious and faith communities. An attack on the Jewish community is an attack on all communities," it wrote.
U.S. senators urge Polish PM to reform Holocaust restitution legislation
On Monday, 59 United States senators sent a bipartisan letter to Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki urging his government to quickly pass fair legislation regarding restitution, which in its current form, would “discriminate against virtually all American survivors and heirs.”

Authored by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) and Marco Rubio (R-Florida), the letter says that draft legislation regarding restitution of property confiscated during and after the Holocaust would “adversely affect Holocaust victims and their heirs and is therefore of urgent importance to many of our constituents, millions of Americans and Holocaust survivors around the world.”

The Polish Justice Ministry said last month that it was reviewing the draft legislation after the Standing Committee of the Council of Ministers returned it to the ministry for reconsideration.
The limits of the legislation have also drawn criticism from the Israeli government and the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO), which said it would exclude the vast majority of Holocaust survivors and their families.

Polish Deputy Justice Minister Patryk Jaki announced in October that the legislative proposals would grant cash compensation to those stripped of their property by the pro-Soviet communist regime that governed Poland following World War II. In many cases, property was initially looted by the Nazis and subsequently seized by the Communists.
Christian-Jewish group raises $1.67 million for Israel
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews raised $1.67 million for Israel at a festive gala in Palm Beach, Florida, on Sunday in honor of the state's upcoming 70th Independence Day.

Some 500 donors from across the United States, as well as from Canada, Brazil, the Netherlands, Jamaica and other countries, paid thousands of dollars a plate to attend the event at U.S. President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort.

Event organizers hoped Trump, who spent the weekend there with First Lady Melania and their son Baron, might make a surprise visit to the dinner. But they were disappointed to learn that the president had departed for Washington two hours before the start of the event.

Among those who delivered speeches at the gala were Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon and former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

"We in Israel are always talking about everyone who is against us. This is a show of support for the State of Israel and the Jewish people. We have a lot of friends in the world," Danon told the gala.
Israeli hospitals provide care to thousands of Syrians
200,000 Syrians near the border look to Israel for help. Children get top priority, and not only the wounded. "Globes" visits the Golan and travels with patients to Galilee hospitals.

Azzam is in the Ziv Medical Center in Safed. When he was three years old and walked out of a mosque in his home village near Quneitra, a rocket exploded and blinded him in both eyes. It was just after the Syrian civil war began, and he has been blind ever since. "There are a lot of airplanes and explosions, and I'm in darkness all the time," he says. "I'm always scared." Azzam is 10 years old now, and this is the sixth time that he has come to Israel for treatment. Seven year-old Ruba, who was born in the village of Shams, suffers from a chronic disease. It is her first visit to Israel. "I'm not scared of the airplanes," she says, "but I am scared of the explosions. It's the scariest thing in the world. And I'm scared of the dark."

12 year-old Islam arrived in Israel today for the first time for medical treatment. "The scenery here is beautiful," she says. I ask what children do in the war, whether there is school, and where they play in the afternoon. They say that sometimes there is school, but most of the time not. There are no air-conditioners, computers, gymnasiums, or laboratories in the schools. It's frightening to play outside in the afternoon - some children go outside and never come back - so they stay home. None of them has ever been to a movie theater, play, or amusement park. They have almost never been out of their village. "We have nothing," says Azzam, "We're Syrians."
Israeli doctors perform lifesaving spinal surgeries in Ethiopia
Israeli doctors performed surgeries to fix severe spinal deformities as part of a weeklong medical mission to Ethiopia.

Eight doctors, two nurses and one physical therapist from the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem traveled on the mission last week to the city of Mekelle, in the African country’s north.

The Israeli medical team performed five surgeries at the Ayder Comprehensive Specialized Hospital, which serves some 8 million patients but does not have a spine surgeon, according to Dr. Josh Schroeder, a spine surgeon at Hadassah who led the mission with Dr. Allon Moses, the chairman of Hadassah’s Department of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease.

The patients, all aged 18 and under, had spine deformities so severe that they were causing potentially lethal complications, including pressure on internal organs and lung infections, Schroeder told JTA on Monday. The surgeries were complex, with some taking eight hours.

“The problem with pediatric cases is if you don’t treat them in time, they progress,” he said, “and these cases were so bad that if we wouldn’t have operated on these children, at least half of them would be dead by next year.”
WATCH: Israeli Eurovision Entry “Toy,” That Has Gone Viral
With less than two months until the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest kicks off in Lisbon, Israel’s entry to the competition has already captured the attention of music-lovers around the world.

“Toy,” sung by Netta Barzilai and co-written by Doron Medalie, is quickly rising to the top of the Eurovision betting charts. If chosen as the winner in May, it will be the first time Israel has won the competition in 20 years.

“I knew we were making something unique and different, but never in a million years did I think the song and the video clip would get such a strong positive response,” Barzilai said in an interview with Wiwibloggs, an independent site dedicated to Eurovision news.

Since its release last week, the quirky, catchy song has received praise from countries across the globe, even some unlikely ones. When Israel’s Foreign Ministry shared a video of Barzilai performing “Toy” on its Arabic-language Facebook page, it got surprisingly positive responses.

Fans from Morocco, Iraq, Egypt and Saudi Arabia posted comments expressing their support for the song and praising its message. One user called the song “wonderful,” saying it mixes Arabic, Western and European music.

Earlier this week, the Ugandan dance group Spoon Youth posted a choreographed dance to “Toy” on its Facebook page. The video quickly went viral and spread across Barzilai’s fan base in Israel as well as fans of Eurovision. “For us the song already won!” the group wrote on its video. (h/t dabney)




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