Saturday, January 26, 2019

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: EXCLUSIVE - Former Israeli War Colleges Commander: ‘Without Judea and Samaria, Israel Cannot Defend Tel Aviv’
President Donald Trump’s negotiating team may unveil its “deal of the century” peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians soon after Israel’s April 9 elections.

Gershon Hacohen, a recently retired Israeli major general and former commander of Israel’s war colleges, now serves as a senior researcher at Bar Ilan University’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Affairs, where he writes prolifically on the military significance of Israel’s relations with the Palestinians.

Hacohen is considered one of Israel’s most brilliant strategists. He is also something of a voice in the wilderness among his fellow generals, who almost unanimously identify with the left side of the political and ideological spectrum.

In light of the various media reports that have surfaced over the past year about the contours of the Trump plan, Hacohen has deep reservations about the plausibility of the American efforts.

This week, Hacohen published a major study in Hebrew, which received frontpage coverage in the Hebrew media in Israel. In it, Hacohen analyzed the military implications for Israel of a possible Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria – otherwise known as the West Bank – in any deal with the Palestinians.

In his report, titled, “A Withdrawal from Area C of Judea and Samaria is an Existential Threat,” Hacohen argued that Israel cannot afford to withdraw from any territory in Judea and Samaria.

Breitbart News spoke with Hacohen to discuss his paper and what its implications are for the Trump administration as it prepares to unveil its peace plan.

Cotton Praises Judge in Israel Boycott Case: He ‘Acknowledged the Obvious’
Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) praised a federal district judge's ruling Friday, after the judge upheld an anti-discrimination law as consistent with the First Amendment.

The Arkansas Times, a weekly paper based in Little Rock, argued that it could sell advertising space to public entities without certifying the Times was not boycotting Israel. It claimed mandating a certification abrogated its First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

Arkansas' general assembly passed Act 710 in 2017, which allows the state government to contract only with companies that do not boycott Israel. It prohibits the government to work with companies "engaging in refusals to deal, terminating business activities, or other actions that are intended to limit commercial relations with Israel, or persons or entities doing business in Israel or in Israeli-controlled territories, in a discriminatory manner."

The bill follows several years of increasing pressure from anti-Israel activists for companies to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Political efforts, including BDS, target Israeli organizations and companies doing business in Israel in an effort to erode support for the state of Israel and pressure the Israeli government to change its policies.

Cotton described Act 710 as a bulwark against efforts by "Israel's foes." He explained that, pursuant to the law, "Government contractors in Arkansas are required to certify they will not participate in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement designed by Israel’s foes, or else face consequences." More than half of American states have passed laws opposing anti-Israel boycotts.
Democrats Ducking Vote on Rejecting Anti-Semitism
Democratic leaders are remaining quiet about a new congressional measure that rejects anti-Semitism and chides a new class of Democratic congressional members for the open embrace of notorious anti-Semites and anti-Israel causes, according to the leading Republican author of that new measure.

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R., N.Y.), one of just two Jewish Republicans in Congress, has introduced a new congressional resolution in the House that categorically rejects anti-Semitism in all its forms and calls out some newly elected Democratic members who have ridden a popular wave into Congress on the backs of anti-Semitic leaders and causes, Zeldin told the Washington Free Beacon in a wide-ranging interview.

While a similar House resolution condemning white supremacy sailed to a nearly unanimous vote several weeks ago, Zeldin's amendment, focused directly on anti-Semitism, has put Democratic leaders in a precarious position as they are forced to reject the views of popular new freshman colleagues.

"It's up to the Democrats to decide whether or not they are actually going to confront this head on," Zeldin told the Free Beacon. "I'm wiling to work with any Democratic colleague on any idea he or she has to crush anti-Semitism in any form. But I can't do that for them."

To that end, Zeldin's measure—which is expected to be brought for a vote in the coming weeks—is shaping up to be a sort of litmus test for the Democratic leadership as it figures out how to deal with a class of freshmen who are open about their distaste for Israel and support causes like the Boycott, Sanction, and Divestment movement, or BDS, which wages economic warfare on the Jewish state.



Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria denounces anti-Israel sentiment in party, urges bipartisanship
Editor’s Note: A number of new members of Congress, including those in the Democratic House majority, bring new faces to the Jewish and pro-Israel community. JNS will introduce some of these legislators as part of its “Meet the Newbie” series.

Democrat Elaine Luria, 43, defeated incumbent Republican Rep. Scott Taylor in Virginia’s 2nd congressional district in the 2018 midterm elections.

The U.S. Navy veteran, who is Jewish, was recently part of a bipartisan delegation of incoming members of Congress visiting Israel for almost a week.

Q: What is your reaction to fellow incoming Democrats such as Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, who all have made anti-Israel statements?

A: I think it’s unfortunate that they have made those statements, and that we need to come together as a country and as a Congress, and re-emphasize the relationships we have with countries around the world, where it’s important to have mutual defense agreements. I hope that when legislation on these topics comes up that they’ll look at those openly and consider them fairly in what’s in the best interest for the U.S.

Q: What is your stance on BDS?

A: I think that we need to counter the BDS movement, and now that there’s anti-BDS legislation being considered, I would support that.

Q: Regarding that legislation, the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, what is your reaction to groups, such as the ACLU, that say it would infringe on the First Amendment?

A: I don’t believe that it is infringing on the First Amendment. There’s been a legal precedent for that. It would be in the form of an amendment to the [Export Administration Act of 1979] from the anti-Arab boycott.
Pompeo Appoints Elliott Abrams as Special Envoy for Venezuela
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday appointed Elliott Abrams, who served in senior foreign policy positions under former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, to oversee the Trump administration's policy toward the escalating crisis in Venezuela.

"Elliott's passion for the rights and liberties of all peoples makes him a perfect fit and a valuable and timely addition," Pompeo said at a press briefing, noting that Abrams' duties will begin immediately.

Pompeo said that he and Abrams will travel to the United Nations Security Council on Saturday. The United States has called a meeting of the Security Council, where they hope to persuade other countries to recognize Juan Guaidó, the leader of the Venezuelan legislature, as the country's president. Guaidó declared himself president, while dictator Nicolás Maduro, who the U.S. now recognizes as an illegitimate leader, is fighting to stay in power.

"Elliott will be a true asset to our mission to help the Venezuelan people fully restore democracy and prosperity to their country," Pompeo said. "On this issue, and all others, he is eager to advance President Trump's agenda and to promote the ideals and interests of the American people."

Abrams served in several senior roles in the State Department during the Reagan administration and as a deputy national security adviser to George W. Bush, among other high-level jobs. Before taking on his new role as special envoy for Venezuela, he worked as a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

"This crisis in Venezuela is deep and difficult and dangerous, and I can't wait to get to work on it," Abrams said Friday.
Israel to send rescue equipment to Brazil after devastating dam collapse
Israel will send rescue equipment to Brazil to help in the search for some 300 people feared dead following the collapse of a dam on Friday at a mine near the town of Brumadinho, some 500 km. north of Rio de Janeiro.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on Saturday with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and offered to send immediate aid and rescue workers to search for the missing people. Bolsonaro, according to the Prime Minister’s Office, accepted the aid offer.

Netanyahu earlier this month attended the inauguration of Bolsonaro, who has pledged to significantly improve ties with Israel and move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem.

Brazilian rescue workers on Saturday searched for the missing people after a tailings dam used to store byproducts of mining operations burst at an iron ore mine owned by Vale SA, amid faint hopes of finding many alive, three years after a similar disaster involving the same mine.

Nine people have been found dead after the dam burst on Friday, while nearly 200 people have been rescued, according to firemen running the rescue effort in Brumadinho.

“Unfortunately, at this point, the chances of finding survivors are minimal. We’re likely to just be rescuing bodies,” Romeu Zema, governor of the mining-intensive state of Minas Gerais where the disaster struck, told local press.
Did Panama Ever Reopen Its Investigation Into the Flight 901 Bombing?
Several alert, uniformed sentries stood behind defensive barriers in front of the Ahavat Sion synagogue in a tony neighborhood of extreme high-rise hotels and residential buildings, ubiquitous in this prosperous Central American city. The sentries required identification and a stated purpose for the visit, studied my face, and disappeared inside after warning that no exterior photos were allowed for security reasons.

I showed up seven months after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu provided intelligence information to Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela that he said solved a long-unattributed terror attack on this small country of 4 million that includes 15,000 Jews. The mid-air bombing took down Alas Chiricanas Flight 901 in 1994, killing all 22 commuters and crew aboard, including 12 Jews, and had remained unsolved and uninvestigated for nearly a quarter century.

During an official state visit in Israel with President Varela, the Israeli prime minister said it had been a Hezbollah suicide attack. Varela, who had lost a college roommate in the attack, promised a reopened investigation. If Argentina's investigations of similar attacks on its Jewish community in the early 1990s was any indication, this one in Panama had the potential to lead straight to senior figures in the upper echelons of Iranian and Hezbollah leaderships.

During a reporting trip to Panama in December, I wanted to find out how this potentially consequential investigation was coming along. The synagogue seemed a logical starting place because inside were not only those in contact with the Varela administration about this but surviving relatives and memorials to the dead. I left Panama two weeks later, however, believing it was more likely than not that no such promised investigation of Iran and Hezbollah was actually happening.

A Sleeping Mystery Kicked Awake

There's good reason Jews throughout Latin America worship behind layers of barricades and security. Few can forget the high-casualty Hezbollah attacks of 1992 and 1994 on Jewish facilities in distant Argentina. Iran and its mortally anti-Semitic Hezbollah proxy maintain clandestine forces throughout Latin America, including Bolivia, Venezuela, Peru, and Nicaragua.
MEMRI: From The MEMRI Archives: Turkish President Erdoğan's Past Close Relations With Afghan Warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar – In Light Of Hekmatyar's Afghan Presidential Candidacy
As Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a U.S. Specially Designated Global Terrorist, announces his candidacy for the Afghan presidency, MEMRI presents archival material – a column published March 23, 2005 in the New York Sun by MEMRI Executive Director Steven Stalinsky – that includes a photo explaining the long-standing relationship between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Hekmatyar, and Erdoğan's esteem for the man at whose feet he sits for a photo. It is interesting to note that the man on the left at Hekmatyar's feet is Rached Al-Ghannouchi, the leader of the Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood movement Ennahdha.

The following is the article:
A picture is worth a thousand words. A couple months after Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was elected to office representing the Justice and Development Party, the Turkish daily Star Gazette ran a photo on July 10, 2003, that shows Afghan jihad leader (and Taliban and Al Qaeda ally) Gulbuddin Hekmatyar sitting with two men kneeling at his feet. The man on the right is Mr. Erdogan. The caption reads, "Taliban in the armchair, kneeling is the Prime Minister." It is important to recognize the significance of sitting at one's feet in Islamic tradition: It implies spiritual submission.

Mr. Hekmatyar has long-established ties with Osama bin Laden and is responsible for offering to shelter him in Afghanistan after he fled Sudan in 1996. Following September 11, 2001, Mr. Hekmatyar pledged allegiance with the spiritual leader of the Taliban, Mullah Omar, to launch a guerrilla war on the Afghan government and American troops there. Mr. Hekmatyar was named in Executive Order 13224 as a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist" during the same month that Mr. Erdogan was elected.

After Mr. Erdogan came to power, press reports in the West displayed some initial concern for a possible Islamist tilt by Turkey. As the Voice of America reported this week, the "underlying U.S.-Turkish tensions is the growing presence of Islam." The VOA went on to discuss how America had been in support of Turkey's experiment with a party that originated from the Islamist movement and that when it initially came to power it was viewed as something that would prove that Islam and democracy are compatible.

The VOA quoted a professor explaining why Turkey's opposition to American activity in Iraq does not justify anti-Americanism by members of the Turkish government and press corp. "When you have serious newspapers publishing articles about the U.S. having a secret weapon that makes earthquakes and that Istanbul is the next target ...When you have newspapers that publish all kinds of scurrilous articles about the U.S., that is more worrisome. The problem is that some Turkish politicians have joined the fray and have accused the U.S. of genocide and all kinds of other activities in Iraq," VOA recounted the professor saying.

Since the Islamists came to power, there has been a noted increase in anti-Americanism. A BBC poll that found that 82% of Turks are anti-American and one of Turkey's current best-sellers involves a fictional futuristic war with America. Additionally, Turkish protesters laid black floral wreaths outside the American embassy during Secretary of State Rice's visit last month.
Jordan said to bar hundreds of Israelis from disputed ‘Isle of Peace’ on border
The Jordanian army on Saturday reportedly prevented hundreds of Israelis from entering the Naharayim border area, which was leased to Israel under an appendix to the 1994 peace accord that is set to expire later this year.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II announced in October 2018 he would not renew the appendix to the peace treaty that granted Israel use of the area — two small parcels of agricultural land, long farmed by Israeli farmers, which are also home to the remains of a hydroelectric power station built by Jews in 1921. Known in Israel as Naharayim in the north and the Tzofar enclave in the southern Arava desert, the territories are thus set to return to Jordanian hands when the lease expires in October.

Israel is hoping to persuade the Jordanians to reconsider, but no progress is known to have been made in such efforts.

Israeli tourists who arrived Saturday at the Naharayim site, also known as the Isle of Peace, were turned away by the Jordanian military despite being in possession of the necessary permits and having coordinated the trip with authorities in advance, Hadashot TV news reported.

A local Israeli official told Hadashot news that Jordanian officials were changing the facts on the ground, but that he remained hopeful that tourists from both sides would be able to continue to visit the site.

“Unfortunately, since the announcement by the king of Jordan about the future of the Naharayim Isle of Peace, we are witnessing attempts by Jordanian officials to change the arrangements and facts on the ground that have been in place in Naharayim for the past 25 years,” said Idan Greenbaum, head of the Emek HaYarden regional council.
Palestinian killed in violent altercation with settlers over Shabbat
A Palestinian was killed near Al-Mughayyir after an altercation developed between area Jewish settlers and a number of Palestinians, according to an IDF investigation Saturday.

The settlers of Adi Ad, a settlement near Al-Mughayyir, northeast of Ramallah, claimed they were viciously attacked by Palestinians with knives. One of the settlers was injured.

Armed settlers, who are in charge of keeping the safety of the citizens, opened fire at the Palestinians, killing one and injuring more than 20. Soon after, IDF troops arrived on the scene and began firing in an attempt to disperse the crowd.
Abbas under pressure to form Fatah-dominated gov’t
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is facing pressure from his ruling Fatah faction to form a new PA government, a senior Palestinian official in Ramallah confirmed on Saturday.

“We believe that the new government should consist of members of the Fatah Central Committee, as well as representatives of other PLO factions,” the official said.

The present Ramallah-based government, headed by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, is called the Palestinian National Consensus Government. It was formed in accordance with the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation agreement that was signed in the Gaza Strip in April 2014. Although it is also referred to as the Palestinian National Unity Government, it does not include any representative of Hamas.

Sources in Ramallah said over the weekend that Fatah leaders are particularly interested in removing Hamdallah from his post.

Although Hamdallah, who previously served as president of An-Najah University in Nablus, is affiliated with Fatah, he does not hold any official position in the faction.

Informed sources told the Palestinian news agency Safa that PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat, who is also a member of the Fatah Central Committee, is the strongest candidate touted to succeed Hamdallah.
Qatar to Pay Aid Into Gaza, With Hamas Approval
Qatar on Friday said it will pay $20 million in humanitarian aid to boost the ailing economy of Gaza, a day after the coastal strip’s Palestinian rulers stopped the oil-rich Gulf state from paying money directly to impoverished government workers there.

The move was widely seen as a compromise between Qatar, which appears intent on increasing its regional influence, and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which controls Gaza.

Qatar’s point-man for Gaza relief efforts, Mohammed Al-Emadi, said in Gaza: “It was agreed to allocate the Qatari financial grant to pay for humanitarian projects with full cooperation and coordination with the United Nations.”

He said the first agreement with the UN would be signed on Monday next week, setting up a $20 million job creation project.

A Hamas official, Sami Abu Zuhri, on Friday welcomed Qatar’s decision to give money to humanitarian projects.

A day earlier Hamas had blocked direct Qatari payments to thousands of unpaid Palestinian civil servants in Gaza, claiming that Israel had broken agreements about how the arrangement would be carried out.
Iran's Kidnapping Industry
This international breach of justice should be a lesson to the UK and other governments: It does not matter if the mullahs reach out their hands out in peace; the Islamist regime of Iran will continue to harm innocent victims on a daily basis.

In response to the snub, the British government should consider bringing to a halt its appeasement policies toward the ruling mullahs. The more they are appeased, the more emboldened and empowered they become to continue violating human rights.

It must be made clear to Iran that, apart from its unacceptable nuclear and ballistic missile build up, the UK -- and every country -- will also not stand for the capture, torture and imprisonment of the innocent. If the British government speaks in actions rather than words, perhaps these captives could be free to resume the life they deserve again, and the world could be free of a major nuclear threat.
Angela Davis to get award as Birmingham civil rights body reverses course again
Angela Davis will be honored by an Alabama civil rights center after all.

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, after rescinding its award to Davis allegedly due in part to complaints from Jewish leaders, reversed course on Friday in recognizing the African-American activist.

“This update follows a BCRI Board of Directors January 14 public apology for its missteps in conferring, then rescinding, its nomination of Dr. Angela Y. Davis in early January,” the institute said Friday in a statement.

“Immediately after that public apology, in keeping with its commitment to learning from its mistakes and in order to stay true to the BCRI’s founding mission, the Board voted to reaffirm Dr. Davis as the recipient,” it said. “Dr. Davis was immediately thereafter personally invited to reaccept the award. The BCRI respects her privacy and timing in whatever her response may ultimately be.”

The museum and educational center’s decision to withdraw the Fred L. Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award from Davis stirred controversy after reports emerged that some local Jewish leaders had objected on the grounds of her endorsement of a boycott of Israel. A former local college president had also publicly objected to the award due to Davis’ past affiliation with the Communist Party.

Davis wrote that her pro-Palestinian activism was the reason for the withdrawal, as did Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin. But local Jewish leadership declined to comment, and no concrete evidence emerged that Jewish complaints were the deciding factor. Three BCRI board members resigned over the controversy.
British Jews Furious Over Fresh Labour Party Call to Suspend UK Arms Sales to Israel
As the UK continues to wrestle with the absence of a political deal to accompany its departure from the European Union on March 29, the opposition Labour Party has again clashed with the Jewish community, this time over a call to suspend arms sales to Israel.

In a letter on Thursday to British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Labour Party Shadow Foreign Minister Emily Thornberry equated Iran’s military support for the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria with Israeli air strikes against Iranian and Hezbollah weapons convoys and military facilities in that country. This was followed by a list of demands that focused exclusively on punishing Israel, including the suspension of arms sales to Israel and the canceling of joint exercises between the Israeli Air Force and the Royal Air Force planned for later this year.

“It would seem utterly inappropriate for the RAF to be helping to train pilots who would then be using those lessons in a war of aggression against Iran, or in breach of Iraq’s sovereignty,” Thornberry said.

British Jewish leaders reacted furiously to Thornberry’s letter.

“Will Labour give a cast-iron guarantee that if Israel is attacked by Iran or its proxies like Hezbollah or Hamas that Labour would support Israel’s defense of its civilians?” asked Marie Van Der Zyl — president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

“British Jews are invested in the security of the region, not least because of our close religious and familial and religious ties,” Van Der Zyl continued.

Joan Ryan — a Labour MP and the chair of Labour Friends of Israel — reminded Thornberry that “the leadership of Iran has consistently made clear its desire to destroy Israel.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar Lands Book Deal Worth $250G Despite Controversial Comments
Fox News has reported that freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) received a book deal worth $250,000 that will detail her move to America to Congress.

However, the book deal announcement comes at a time when Omar has come under fire from numerous people over her controversial comments about Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Israel, and the Covington Catholic students.

From Fox News:
The book by Omar, the first Somali American to serve in Congress, has the working title, “This Is What America Looks Like,” and will be published by Dey Street. It will touch upon Omar’s upbringing in Somalia, her years as a refugee in Kenya and her subsequent arrival in the United States.

According to Forbes, which first reported the book deal, the agreement is listed as a “good deal” – meaning Omar will be getting between $100,000 and $250,000.

“Her voice on the page is very much as it is in real life — fresh and positive even when she is tackling serious issues, with real empathy and deep knowledge,” Dey Street executive editor Alessandra Bastagli told the outlet.

“Her story counters everything we keep hearing from the current administration and the right-wing media about refugees, immigrants, Muslims and women. This memoir presents an urgent and important counter-narrative.”


Yeah, it’s superb how a refugee from Somalia has made it all the way to Congress. Unfortunately, Omar has started her first term off with a long list of controversial tweets deemed homophobic and anti-Israel. (h/t MtTB)
Ilhan Omar Retweets Venezuelan, Russian State Media After Bashing U.S. ‘Coup’
The United States led the way in recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaido as the head of Venezuela, after President Nicolas Maduro won an election that international observers described as fraudulent. "I will continue to use the full weight of United States economic and diplomatic power to press for the restoration of Venezuelan democracy," Trump said in a statement.

But several members of Congress, in particular Democrats affiliated with Democratic Socialists of America, dissented from the decision. Omar tweeted Thursday that the U.S. was backing a "coup" in Venezuela to "install a far right opposition."


In fact, Guaido's opposition party Voluntad Popular is considered center-left and is a member organization of the Socialist International.

Less than an hour after that tweet, Omar retweeted a Jan. 11 tweet by journalist Abby Martin, who shared a video from her show "Empire Files" claiming "Trump is Expanding the US Empire."

Martin is a host for TeleSur English, a TV channel founded by socialist revolutionary Hugo Chavez and funded in part by the Venezuelan government. The rest of TeleSur's funding comes from other leftist Latin-American countries such as Cuba, Bolivia, and Nicaragua, but the Venezuela government maintains a 51 percent ownership stake.

Martin previously worked at Russian state TV and propaganda outlet RT America. She made national news during the 2014 Russian invasion of Crimea when she criticized the invasion on-air, but the praise was short-lived after the New York Times reported she had a long history in the 9/11 Truther movement.


Yvonne Ridley the University College Union and the Politicisation of Holocaust Memorial Day
Most people who had heard of her might think Yvonne Ridley would make an unlikely choice to speak on Holocaust Memorial Day. Not so the University College Union in Newcastle, they actually invited her to speak at their Holocaust Memorial Day Event:

And speak she did, alongside local Labour MP Liz Twist:

The reason one might think Ridley is a strange choice is because of some of her past comments on the Holocaust:

One might also want to read this note written on Facebook:

For those unwilling to read the full piece linked to above:
What it also exposes is just how far Israel is prepared to go in its bid to deceive the world and justify its actions … even if it is at the cost of the memory of those blameless Jewish souls who perished in the Holocaust.

By invoking the Holocaust – a favourite trick of the Zionist State – we were all expected to recoil in horror and disgust and accept blindly the evidence put before us by these masters of mass deception. To even question would have exposed us to accusations of being anti-semitic.”


Also:
“Not content with insulting the memory of the Holocaust victims, Tel Aviv has shown it is prepared to exploit the deaths of those who perished in 9/11 … clearly nothing or no one is sacred.”
IsraellyCool: World Bank Consultant Farah Manji Seems to Be Breaching Code of Conduct By Promoting BDS
Farah Manji has written a piece entitled THE GRAPES OF WRATH: A Case for Boycotting Israeli Wines from Occupied Territories. Pardon the pun, but it’s the pits.

It’s also long, so I can’t ask you read it all. You will never get those 5 minutes of your life back. But you get the idea from the title.

Why am I even drawing attention to it? Because Manji is a consultant for the World Bank, (having co-authored at least one report for them) and – surprise, surprise – has worked at UNRWA.

Promoting a boycott of Israel seems to contravene the World Bank’s Code of Conduct (page 17):
Ahead of International Holocaust Memorial Day, Germany’s Merkel Calls for ‘Zero Tolerance’ of Antisemitism
German Chancellor Angela Merkel underscored the urgency of combating antisemitism, racism, and hatred more than 70 years after the Holocaust, calling for new ways to keep alive the memory of the millions of people killed by the Nazis.

Merkel, in a video address released ahead of Sunday’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day, said it was everyone’s responsibility to ensure “zero tolerance” of xenophobia and all forms of antisemitism.

“People growing up today must know what people were capable of in the past, and we must work proactively to ensure that it is never repeated,” Merkel said.

The German leader called for new forms of remembrance due to the dwindling number of eyewitnesses from the Nazi era, and because of persistent hatred and incitement today.

Merkel expressed deep regret about antisemitism among Germans, as well as hatred of Jews among Muslim migrants and a hatred of Israel that she said could not be tolerated.

Germany last year appointed a commissioner to oversee efforts to combat antisemitism and will also set up a central repository to collect information about such incidents and attacks, with an eye to bolstering prevention, Merkel said.

“It will be crucial in the coming time to find new ways of remembrance,” she said. “We must look more closely at the personalities of people who were victims back then, and to tell their stories.”
Vandals smash Thessaloniki university’s memorial to Jewish cemetery
A university in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city, said Friday that unknown vandals smashed a campus monument that marks the site of a former Jewish cemetery.

The University of Thessaloniki issued a statement condemning the significant damage inflicted on the marble monument overnight.

The centuries-old cemetery was razed during the German Nazi occupation, and the university was built on its site.

Thessaloniki’s large Jewish community was almost entirely wiped out by Nazi forces during World War II.

The vandalism on the campus in northern Greece occurred with the annual observance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day taking place on Sunday.
Holocaust institute calls on Romania not to rehabilitate war criminal
A Holocaust institute has called on Romanian authorities to not rehabilitate a war criminal convicted for his role in the slaying of Jews and Roma in the former Soviet Union.

The Elie Wiesel Institute for Holocaust Study said Friday it hoped authorities in the eastern county of Vrancea wouldn’t move to restitute land to the family of Gheorghe Alexianu who was governor of the Trans-Dniester region during World War II.

It said the move could affect “the memory of tens of thousands of Jewish and Roma victims,” deported there from Romania.

In 2008, Romania’s highest appeal court rejected an attempt to rehabilitate Alexianu, convicted of war crimes and sentenced to death in 1946.

Last year, a judge in Vrancea ordered authorities to return the land to Alexianu’s family.
Marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israel’s Yad Vashem Memorial Launches Ambitious Online Commemoration Project
As the world prepares to mark International Holocaust Memorial Day on Sunday, Israel’s national memorial to the Holocaust has launched a massive online project to commemorate the six million Jewish victims of Nazism.

The “IRemember Wall” campaign — organized by Yad Vashem in Jerusalem for the five days around International Holocaust Memorial Day, which falls on Jan. 27 — “provides a unique opportunity for the wider public to engage in an interactive commemorative activity,” its organizers explained in their announcement of the project.

Participants are randomly matched with one of the 4,800,000 Jewish men, women or children recorded in Yad Vashem’s Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names. The name of the participant, together with the name of the Holocaust victim they are matched with, will be added to Yad Vashem’s virtual “IRemember Wall” and can then be shared on the participant’s Facebook page.

It is also hoped that matching participants with Holocaust victims will also shine a light on the documentation, letters, diaries and photographs that Yad Vashem has collected, which portray the rich Jewish life that thrived in Europe before the Holocaust. as well as the tragedy experienced by those subjected to its ravages.

Among the myriad stories to be found in Yad Vashem’s Names Database is that of Adolf and Katherine Rosenfeld from Adelsheim, in Germany. A veteran of the German army, Adolf and his wife Katherine succeeded in sending their five children to safety via the Kindertransport — including their daughter Ruth, who went on to submit “Pages of Testimony” for her parents at Yad Vashem. Adolf and Katherine were eventually murdered in Auschwitz. Ruth, meanwhile, emigrated from Britain to the US, where she was reunited with her other four siblings.
Ahead of Moon Mission, SpaceIL Transports First Israeli Spacecraft to Florida
Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)’s first lunar spacecraft began a historic journey to the moon on Jan. 17, when it was transported in a cargo plane from Ben-Gurion International Airport to Orlando, Fla., ahead of launching from SpaceX Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in mid-February.

SpaceIL and IAI packed the 180-kilogram spacecraft into a special temperature-controlled, sterile shipping container, built to protect the spacecraft and ensure it arrives safely at the launch site.
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After landing at Orlando International Airport, the spacecraft—named Beresheet (Hebrew for “in the beginning” and the first weekly portion of the Torah)—will then be driven to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, where it will be added as a secondary payload by launch service-provider Spaceflight. It will be launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket together with a geostationary communications satellite built by SSL.

“After eight years of hard work, our dream has come true: We finally have a spacecraft,” said SpaceIL CEO Ido Anteby. “Shipping the spacecraft to the United States is the first stage of a complicated and historic journey to the moon. This is the first of many exciting moments, as we look forward to the forthcoming launch in Cape Canaveral.”
Michel Legrand, Oscar-winning composer of Yentl, dies aged 86
Prolific French composer Michel Legrand, who won three Oscars and five Grammys during a career spanning more than half a century, died aged 86 on Saturday, prompting an outpouring of tributes for his “inexhaustible genius.”

Legrand’s music spanned a wide range of styles and genres, and he composed for more than 200 film and TV productions and was associated with over 100 albums.

“Since I was a child, my ambition has been to live completely surrounded by music, my dream was to not miss anything, which is why I have never focused on a single musical discipline,” he once said.

He first won an Academy Award in 1969 for the song “The Windmills of Your Mind” from Norman Jewison’s hit thriller “The Thomas Crown Affair.”

He followed that with Oscars for his music for “Summer of ’42” in 1972 and for “Yentl” in 1984.
Collection of Yiddish songs that went missing for decades nominated for a Grammy
In the despair of the Soviet Union’s fierce World War II battles against the Nazis, a 42-year-old Jewish man from Odessa wrote a song in Yiddish poking fun at Hitler’s failures to seize control of Ukraine’s coal and oil resources.

“On the High Mountain,” written by Veli Shargorodskii about the war experience in 1943-44, ends with the words “Germany is in trouble, Hitler is kaput!”

The satirical song was among hundreds collected during the war by Moisei Beregovsky (1892-1961), a Russian-Jewish ethnomusicologist and Yiddish scholar. Beregovsky led a team of colleagues and volunteers for the Kiev Cabinet for Jewish Culture, a department of the Ukrainian Academy of Science.

Beregovsky and his colleague Ruvim Lerner (1912-1972), planned to publish an anthology of the collected songs, a continuation of Beregovsky’s earlier groundbreaking work preserving Jewish folk songs and Yiddish and klezmer music.

But after the war, their hope was dealt the cruel blow of Stalin’s vicious anti-Semitism. In 1950, Beregovsky was arrested, convicted of Jewish nationalism and jailed for five years. Soviet authorities confiscated his monumental collection of music during the war years, and he and Lerner died believing their work had been destroyed.
New Trailer Released for Horror Film ‘The Golem’ Based on Jewish Folklore
A trailer was recently released for an upcoming horror film that is based on well-known Jewish folklore.

“The Golem,” of the production company Epic Pictures Group, is about a young Jewish woman, Hanna, in 17th-century Lithuania who turns to mysticism and conjures a dangerous entity to save her and her community from foreign invaders. However, the powerful creature, that she molds out of mud and summons to life, turns out to be incredibly evil.

According to Jewish folklore, a golem is an anthropomorphic being mystically created from inanimate matter, usually clay or mud. The most common Jewish legend about a golem involves 16th-century Rabbi Yehudah Loew, who created the being to protect Jews in Prague from antisemites.

“The Golem” will be released in select theaters in the US and on Blu-Ray/DVD on Feb. 5.


Reinhold Niebuhr’s Zionism
In the American Midwest of the early 20th century there were many missionary organizations working to convert Jews to Christianity. In his Detroit congregation, in 1923, Pastor Reinhold Niebuhr preached on the necessity of increasing the numbers of Jews who would join the Christian fold. According to Niebuhr, there were two reasons why Jews did not convert: “The un-Christlike attitude of Christians” and “Jewish bigotry.” Yet Niebuhr would soon reconsider his position, influenced, he wrote, by his experience of the Detroit Jewish community’s commitment to “better the welfare of the poor, the unemployed, and those who suffered from racial discrimination.”

In the 1920s and ’30s, many prominent social activists in Detroit were Jews. When Niebuhr arrived in the city, his mentor, Episcopal Bishop Charles Williams, told him that “in the weightier matter of social justice there were only two Christians in Detroit, and they were both Jews.” By 1926 Niebuhr had rejected completely the idea of a mission to Jews. As his biographer R.W. Fox noted, Niebuhr understood by this time that “Christians needed the leaven of pure Hebraism to counteract the Hellenism to which they were prone.” Niebuhr now argued forcefully that Christians had no business trying to convert Jews.

Niebuhr was aware that by rejecting the idea of converting the Jews he was challenging a sanctioned concept in Christian life. For Niebuhr the removal of Christian animosity toward the Jews would allow genuine dialogue between the two faiths. The philosophical underpinning of his stance was this: As both the Jewish and Christian ideas of covenant base themselves on revelation in history, members of each faith community must admit that no objective view is possible within the context of a faith commitment. For Niebuhr the Gospel’s portrayal of the Jews of Jesus’ time as Pharisees, legalists, and betrayers is the subjective view of one historical Jewish party—a party that later developed into Christianity. By the late 1950s Niebuhr was suggesting that contemporary Christians engaged in dialogue with Jews move away from making claims to absolute truth toward a stance that emphasizes the notion of “a double covenant.”

To make the case against missionizing the Jews, Niebuhr enlisted the authority of his brother H. Richard Niebuhr. Both brothers felt that attempts to Christianize Jews “negated every gesture of our common biblical inheritance.”

There was also a pragmatic point to be made. Both brothers recognized that “the mission to the Jews” was, for the most part, a dismal failure. Yet Reinhold Niebuhr wrote that “when some of us questioned the ecumenical wisdom of those not too successful missions to the Jews, we were met with sympathy, as well as a warning that our concern was ‘heretical.’”



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