Saturday, March 02, 2019

From Ian:

Matti Friedman (NYT$): Israel’s Secret Founding Father
The members of the Arab Section were one part of what later became the Mossad. When Cohen died in 2002, having spent much of his life under an assumed identity, he was described by a military historian as one of Israel’s most successful agents: “We never heard of him because he was never caught.” Saman, the mastermind, eventually ran Eli Cohen, Israel’s most famous spy, who penetrated the Syrian regime as the businessman Kamal Amin Thabet before he was exposed and hanged in 1965. But the point I’d like to make here is not about what they did, but instead about who they were and what it says about the country they helped create.

Were they the “ones who become like Arabs”? Or was that identity real?

This is an important question beyond the particular case of these spies. The divide between Jews from Christian countries (known as Ashkenazim) and from Muslim countries (generally called Mizrahim) has always been the key fault line in Israeli society, with the former clearly on top. But in recent years it has become more acceptable to admit or even celebrate the Middle Eastern component of Israel’s Jewish identity. The Hebrew pop style known as Mizrahi, long scorned, now rules the airwaves. The dominance of the political right in recent years comes far less from the settler movement, as foreign observers tend to think, than from the collective memory of Israelis who remember how vulnerable they were as a minority among Muslims and grasp what this part of the world does to the weak. In the country’s official view of itself, it might still seem as if the Jews of the Islamic world, by coming to Israel after the founding of the state, joined the story of the Jews of Europe. But in 2019 it’s quite clear that what happened was closer to the opposite.

As the young Jamil Cohen found when he was recruited in the 1940s, the world of military intelligence is, ironically, one corner of Israeli society where Arab identity has always been respected. The Israeli scholar Yehouda Shenhav opens his 2006 book “The Arab Jews” with an anecdote about his father, who came to Israel from Iraq and found his way into the secret services. Looking at a photograph of his young father on a beach with friends from those early days, the author is forced to consider his father’s tenuous position in Israeli society and his utility as a spy: His appearance, Mr. Shenhav wrote, “confronted me with my complex location within what is often represented as an ancient, insurmountable conflict between Arabs (who are not Jews) and Jews (who are not Arabs).”

To an Israeli viewer, that ethnic blurriness runs clearly beneath the surface of “Fauda,” the popular Netflix thriller. In the second season it’s embodied in the character of Amos Kabilio, who confuses us when he first appears on screen — he’s speaking Arabic and it’s not clear which side he’s from, until we realize that he’s the father of Doron, the Israeli agent who’s the main character. Amos is a Jew from Iraq, and when he speaks to his son, the Israeli spy, it’s partly in his mother tongue, Arabic. We’re meant to grasp that when Doron “becomes like an Arab” as part of his mission, it’s not entirely artificial.

“Espionage,” John le Carré once observed, “is the secret theater of our society.” Countries also have cover stories and hidden selves. The identity of Israel’s spies teaches us who Israel has to spy on, of course. But it also has much to say about what Israel is — and how that country differs from the country we know from stories. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
Ben Shapiro: Stop Treating Ilhan Omar Like A Child. Her Anti-Semitism Isn't 'Sad.' It's Consistent, Vicious, And Vile.
This is simply the soft bigotry of low expectations – or, more insidiously, an attempt to soft-pedal anti-Semitism in order to preserve the intersectional hierarchy. Omar is, you see, a Muslim woman from Somalia, and that means that she ranks higher than Americans Jews do on the victimhood scale – and thus she must be treated with kid gloves when she targets said American Jews. Omar will still be cheered, despite her open and unapologetic Jew-hatred, by the same media members who place her alongside Nancy Pelosi on the cover of Rolling Stone. And Nancy Pelosi will continue to cover for her, all the while claiming to be an advocate of anti-bigotry.

Now, imagine, for just a moment, that Omar were instead a white Congressman from Iowa who said something bigoted. Would the media react with “sadness” and advice? Or would the media correctly react with outrage?

You don’t have to theorize. When Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said, according to The New York Times, that he didn’t understand how the language “white nationalist” became “offensive,” he wasn’t accorded any of the hemming and hawing surrounding Omar. There was no weepy talk about learning curves and ignorance of “tropes.” There was appropriate and universal condemnation.

Not so with Omar, who will continue to get away with her anti-Semitism, as Democratic Party leaders and their allies in the media simply shake their head and tut-tut softly while elevating her to a position of public leadership. We don’t have to speculate. They’re already doing so.


The Line Between Criticism of Israel and Anti-Semitism
Criticism becomes bigotry when it involves demonizing and delegitimizing Israel. Accusing Israel of genocide—or of running an apartheid state, as Omar did on Wednesday—is a shameful lie that cannot be labeled legitimate criticism. The same goes for describing Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, as a human rights abuser on the level of China and North Korea. Those who support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel employ such rhetoric as part of their campaign of economic warfare against the Jewish state. Such efforts seek to destroy the Jewish state through international pressure, undermining Israel to the point that it effectively ceases to survive as we have come to recognize it. Think about the implications for Israeli Jews, who live in a region in which most governments have shown indifference to if not support for slaughtering Jews. Moreover, now that the Jewish people have Israel and are not prepared to surrender it after 2,000 years of exile and persecution, the only way to replace Israel with Palestine, or a bi-national state, or whatever else Omar and her allies envision, is by forcibly taking it. That would mean killing many Jews. Those who do not realize this reality cannot plead ignorance and absolve themselves.

Imagine if someone demonized and sought to de-legitimize another country—say, Ireland—with the same obsessive hatred that Omar shows Israel. Would they not be bigoted against the Irish? Of course they would.

But no one targets Ireland, or any other country, like so many target Israel. And here we get to the bigger point. Anti-Semitism, to paraphrase the eminent historian Bernard Lewis, has two special features that make it a distinct form of bigotry: Jews are assigned restrictive, disadvantageous double standards, and more importantly, a cosmic, satanic evil is attributed to them unlike anything else in this world. What do these criteria look like today? Treating Israel differently than all other countries and accusing it of being a nefarious puppet master controlling world events—maybe even hypnotizing the world.

Separating anti-Semitism from criticism of Israeli policy is not that hard. As with pornography, "I know it when I see it."

In today's world, where hatred and persecution based on race and religion are supposed to be no longer tolerated, anti-Semitism is based primarily on the Jewish people's nation-state. Anti-Zionism, or opposition to Israel's continued existence as a Jewish state, is the chief medium through which anti-Semites push their agenda. Those who may not have a personal animus toward Jews at large—like Omar (one certainly hopes)—but who support the BDS movement and other efforts to destroy the Zionist project—again, like Omar—are complicit in anti-Semitism. As nefarious and troubling as her comments peddling anti-Semitic canards are, her efforts to isolate, hurt, and ultimately destroy the world's only Jewish state pose a much greater threat. Those who want to fight anti-Semitism need to fight the policies toward Israel that Omar and like-minded progressives support. In other words, those who support such policies, those warriors for social justice, are part of the problem.

Netanyahu’s Downfall?
One of Netanyahu’s most bellicose and loyal supporters, Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev, responded to the bombshell by helping a woman advance her claim that Gantz exposed himself to her while they were both teenagers. Jacobs’s trauma was triggered only recently when she learned that Gantz had a shot at becoming the next PM. Apparently, Gantz’s promotion to Chief of the IDF years ago did nothing to ruffle her sensitivities.

Israeli politics is a notoriously murky cesspool, but this episode seems a little dirtier, uglier, more pungent. It involves hundreds of individuals, more than a handful of ruined lives and careers, and a lot of collateral damage.

Most worrisome is how it further sullies public office and the very noble and important work that so many fine people do in these positions. We tend to remember the scandal, tumbles from grace, corruption. We forget quiet competence.

Should Netanyahu be indicted and found guilty of one or more charges, it will also mark the downfall of a man of towering intellect, ability and, I believe, boundless devotion to the well-being of the state of Israel—a man who lost his way.



Engel Rips Omar for ‘Invoking a Vile Anti-Semitic Slur’ With Latest Remarks on Israel
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) again found herself receiving blistering criticism for anti-Semitic remarks on Friday, and once again it came from a fellow Democrat.

Omar, after already being forced to apologize last month for saying pro-Israel politicians are paid off to do so, said Wednesday she wanted to "talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay to push for allegiance to a foreign country," clearly referencing Israel. She also accused her "Jewish colleagues" of bigotry, saying she feared her anti-Israel rhetoric was considered anti-Semitic by them because she is a Muslim.

Rep. Eliot Engel (D., N.Y.), who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee that Omar sits on, blasted Omar in a statement for "invoking a vile anti-Semitic slur."

"I welcome debate in Congress based on merits of policy, but it's unacceptable and deeply offensive to call into question the loyalty of fellow Americana citizens because of their political views, including support for the U.S.-Israel relationship," he said in a statement. "We all take the same oath. Worse. Representative Omar's comments leveled that charge by invoking a vile anti-Semitic slur."

"This episode is deeply disappointing following so closely on another instance of Ms. Omar seeming to invoke an anti-Semitic stereotype. Her comments were outrageous and deeply hurtful, and I ask that she retract them, apologize, and commit to making her case on policy issues without resorting to attacks that have no place in the Foreign Affairs Committee or the House of Representatives."
Ilhan Omar equivocates on her anti-Semitism statement: 'I apologized for the way that my words made people feel'
Omar later deleted her original February tweets as well as a 2012 tweet accusing Israel of “hypnotizing the world."

In Thursday's interview, however, she said, “I think the theme here is because I’m Muslim.” She said that there were plenty of people “within journalism, within politics, within all kind of aspects of our society who have spoken about the kind of influence that AIPAC has on Congress and on our foreign policy” and that she was being singled out for her Muslim faith.

She suggested that critiques of her stemmed in part from “preconceived notions about who a Muslim is" and also that Republican complaints about her remarks and those of Rep. Rashida Tlabi, D-Mich., was tantamount to bullying.

Omar said that she and Tlaib “are quite used to bullies and we’ve always beaten bullies.”

Tlaib has come under fire herself for what many considered anti-Semitic remarks, including her accusation that some members of the Senate were “forg[etting] what country they represent” in reference to a pro-Israel bill in early January.

This week, Omar said she is worried that many will see her comments and those of Tlaib as anti-Semitic "because we are Muslim.”




Greenblatt: UN report biased against Israel, Hamas responsible for violence
The US Envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt rejected the UN Human Rights Council's report on the Gaza conflict, calling it a "testament to bias against Israel," on Friday.

Greenblatt also accused Hamas of endangering Palestinian lives by inciting and perpetrating violent demonstrations.

In a related development, 6,000 Palestinians arrived at the shared border fence with Israel for the weekly "March of the Return" demonstration.

The rioters burned tires and threw explosive devices and stones at IDF forces. The Palestinian Health Ministry reported 17 wounded in the clashes.

"This COI [Commission Of Inquiry] report is another manifestation of the UNHRC's clear bias against Israel," the American envoy wrote on his Twitter account. "Which remains the only country that the Council dedicates an entire standing agenda item to targeting. When the HRC [Human Rights Council] speak the truth?"

In another post, Greenblatt wrote, "Hamas behaved with reckless irresponsibility & disregard for human life when it incited VIOLENT (not “civilian”) protests, breaches & attacks at the Gaza fence-line. Hamas is directly responsible for the miserable situation of the people of Gaza."


Bret Stephens calls Netanyahu the ‘Nixon of Israel,’ says he should resign
Conservative New York Times columnist Bret Stephens compared Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to disgraced former US president Richard Nixon in a Friday op-ed, and called on the “cunning” and “toxically flawed” Israeli leader to resign in light of the Israeli attorney general’s declared intention to indict him for corruption.

“When the final chapter on Benjamin Netanyahu’s political life is written — and it may be a long time from now — he is likely to go down as the Richard Nixon of Israel: politically cunning, strategically canny, toxically flawed,” Stephens wrote.

Stephens, who is Jewish and a former editor of The Jerusalem Post, backed Netanyahu’s opposition to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

“Just as Nixon’s achievements in domestic and foreign policy were undone by skulduggery and paranoia, Netanyahu’s legacy has been permanently tarred by his apparent corruption, his appeals (or indifference) to bigotry and his demonization of his political opponents,” he added.

Stephens also sharply criticized Netanyahu for brokering a political deal that could see the extremist Otzma Yehudit party enter the Knesset, calling the pre-election gambit a “moral blight.”

The merger deal between the right-wing religious Jewish Home and Otzma Yehudit could see at least one member of the latter party, which comprises disciples of Rabbi Meir Kahane, enter the Knesset after the elections on April 9. Netanyahu brokered the deal to strengthen a potential Likud-led coalition last week amid the increasingly tight race between his Likud and Benny Gantz’s centrist Israel Resilience party. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
Mossad chief met with his Sudanese counterpart in Munich, Sudan denies
Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen met with his Sudanese counterpart Salah Gosh at the security conference in Munich two weeks ago, the London-based Middle East Eye reported, while the Sudanese intelligence denied the report.

The meeting was organized by Egypt, backed by Saudi Arabia. The pro-Qatari website claims that its goal was to discuss the appointment of an heir to Sudanese ruler Omar al-Bashir, but it is more likely that the purpose of the meeting was to examine the possibility of establishing ties between the two countries.

Sudanese intelligence denied the report in Middle East Eye about the alleged meeting at the Munich conference. "Sudan's position is strong with regard to the Zionist entity," read a rare statement by Sudanese intelligence. "Sudan is committed to the principled position on the Palestinian issue - which is the first and most important issue of the Arab and Islamic nation."

"The Sudanese intelligence policy is committed to the foreign policy of our country, which does not act contrary to this policy or in secret," the statement said. "These fabrications are part of an ongoing campaign of rumors aimed at getting Sudan to have diplomatic relations with the occupying entity, contrary to the official position of our country, based on the values ​​of the people, and which supports the oppressed."

In the past, I reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in his efforts to establish relations with the Sunni states, sought to visit Khartoum or allow El Al planes to fly over Sudanese territory.

In the past, Sudan maintained close ties with Iran and allowed it to transfer weapons to Gaza. Against this background, Israel attacked several times in Sudan in order to prevent arms shipments.
Balloon cluster with incendiary device launched from Gaza; IDF hits Hamas post
The Israeli army said Saturday evening its aircraft fired at a target in the southern Gaza Strip in response to a cluster of balloons attached to an incendiary device that was launched from the Strip toward Israel.

The arson balloons did not cause any injuries or damage.

In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces called the target a Hamas post, where the airborne devices were launched.

Earlier on Saturday, violent clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli soldiers broke out along the border fence. IDF soldiers used riot dispersal methods to keep the demonstrators away from the border fence, the Walla news site reported.

According to the news site, several demonstrators attempted to sabotage the border fence.

No injuries were reported in the incident.
How does the strife between Hamas and the PA affect Israel? - analysis
Any historian who will investigate the history of the split between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, and wish that his research be covered with juicy footnotes, will not be able to skip this week. One after the other, the two of them struck each other, not to draw blood, but mainly to humiliate and sow venom in it. A responsible adult is what these two camps do not have, and yet it is not at all certain that we Israelis should wish success for any of the sides.

Mahmoud Abbas's threats against Hamas were what, yet again, started this round of quarrel. For months now he has been playing with the idea of ​​cutting more and more of the budget his government is transferring to the "southern provinces," as the PA calls the Gaza Strip. Hamas decided not to remain silent. They demonstrated against him in a noisy street campaign called "Go Home."

Thousands gathered at the beginning of the week in the central square of Gaza City and demonstrated - with Hamas' encouragement - against the PA. Posters with Abbas's face were hung in the Gaza Strip, and the slogans 'screamed' for him to step down. In one of the video clips recorded in Gaza, a woman was holding a poster with Abbas in her one hand and a shoe in the other, as she thrashed the picture, while cursing at it. The shoe was and remains a crude expression of protest among the Arabs.

Almost since its inception, the PA funded Gaza with NIS 1.4 billion a year. This is the central oxygen pipeline of the Gaza Strip. In the past two years, since he launched an all-out war against Hamas, Abbas has cut a quarter of the annual budget.

In Israel, there are those who believe that the goal of the Abbas is to oust Hamas to fight Israel, and that he will not shed a tear if his two troubles, Hamas and Israel, tear each other apart. In truth, however, Abbas is working to economically drain Gaza until Hamas begs him and his men to take full command over the Gaza Strip.
Convicted PA Soldier-Slapper Ahed Tamimi Incites Against MK Yehuda Glick, Saying It’s ‘Permissible to Kill’ Him
Teenage Palestinian Authority soldier-slapper Ahed Tamimi is back to inciting against Israel and Israelis again – the same kind of behavior that landed her in an Israeli prison barely a year ago – and may yet send her back if she doesn’t learn to watch her Ps and Qs, or at least her mouth.

This time she’s decided that she authority equal to that of any Islamic cleric, ruling it is “permissible (according to religion) to kill” MK Yehuda Glick.

“Justice Ahed’s” decision was handed down via her Instagram account:
“My soul is disgusted when I understand that he remains alive. It is better if he were dead. I hate him. Yehuda Glick is the most disgusting person on earth. It is permissible (according to religious) to kill him,” she wrote in Arabic.

Glick re-posted and translated her wishes for him into Hebrew to make sure all of Israel could understand, introducing the post with the cheery greeting, “What a sweetie Ahed Tamimi is, really!” and concluding with a “fare thee well” at the bottom of the post: “There is no sweetness like this, anywhere.”

For those unfamiliar with this “little sweetheart” – Tamimi was a long-time social media video star in clips showing her as a child and pre-teen screaming and sometimes throwing things at Israeli soldiers who were forced to stand stoically putting up with her nonsense. The videos were then circulated by her family, building a presence for the blue-eyed little girl with the long and frizzy camel-blonde hair.


Fatah: Hamas brutally torturing our men in Gaza
The West Bank-based Palestinian Fatah faction on Saturday accused Hamas of torturing Fatah members in the Gaza Strip.

Fatah officials said at least 100 of their members were detained by Hamas in the past week. The crackdown, according to the officials, came in response to demonstrations organized by Fatah to express support for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

The pro-Abbas demonstrations came after thousands of Palestinians took to the streets in the Gaza Strip to demand the ouster of the PA president.

Fatah claims that Hamas, Islamic Jihad and supporters of deposed Fatah official Mohamed Dahlan, a prominent critic of Abbas, are all behind the demonstrations against the PA president in the Gaza Strip.

Osama Qawassmeh, a Fatah spokesman in the West Bank, accused Hamas of “kidnapping and brutally torturing Fatah members in a way that no Palestinian can imagine.”

Qawassmeh said that Fatah activists who were detained by Hamas were physically and verbally assaulted and held in the cold. The detainees, he added, “were thrown into cold and dark cells, together with criminals and spies.”

The torture included subjecting the detainees to “shabah” – the painful binding of the hands and feet to a chair, he said.


MEMRI: Egyptian Researcher: Hebrew Translations Of The Quran By Jews Are Distorted; Muslims Must Produce An Alternative 'Islamic' Translation As An Act Of 'Academic Resistance'
In an article he posted on the Arabic Ida2at.com website, Egyptian journalist and academic Ahmad Al-Bahnasi, a researcher of Jewish studies and Israeli Orientalism,[1] called on Islamic institutes to publish an "Islamic" Hebrew translation of the Quran. This is necessary, he said, because the existing Hebrew translations of the Quran, produced by Jews, are riddled with errors as well as deliberate omissions and distortions. It is also important due to the interest in Islam and the Quran among Jews and Israelis, which has been growing recently, and in light of the growing number of Jewish Israelis converting to Islam, he explained. Al-Bahnasi added that an accurate translation of the Quran would constitute a form of "academic resistance" (muqawama 'ilmiyya) to Israel and help in spreading Islam among Jews. He proposed to involve Israeli Arabs in this project, including the head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, Raed Salah, since they know Hebrew well and are familiar with Israeli and Jewish culture.

The following are excerpts from his article:
"Translating the Quran into Hebrew is of great academic and pedagogical importance. It requires deep knowledge in many fields and a command of many tools, so as to produce a correct and objective translation free of any errors or vagueness. This is a very serious and sensitive matter, for two reasons. First, due to the central place of the Quran in the hearts of Muslims worldwide, of all schools and all sects; second, because of the tradition of hostility and mutual hatred between the Arabs and Muslims [on the one hand] and the Jews and the state of Israel as a political entity [on the other].

"Jewish scholars, translators and Orientalists were the first to produce Hebrew translations of the Quran, either partial or full. [They did so] for various reasons, some (if not all) of which were related to the religious and political aspects of the conflict [between the Jews] and the Muslims and the ideological and political struggle between them.

"The earliest Hebrew translations of the Quran, produced during the Middle Ages, when Andalusia was under Islamic rule, included [only] a few verses and were written by the [10th century] Jewish philosopher Sa'adia Al-Fayyoumi [Saadia Gaon] and the [11th century] Jewish poet Solomon ibn Gabirol. The first translation of an entire Quranic surah was by the [13th century] Jewish scholar Abraham Hasdai in his translation of the book Mizan al-'Amal by [prominent 11th century Muslim philosopher and theologian Abu Hamid] Al-Ghazali.
Watchdog confirms chlorine used in 2018 attack on Syrian rebel town of Douma
The global chemical weapons watchdog said Friday it found “reasonable grounds” to believe chlorine was used as a weapon in a deadly attack on the Syrian town of Douma last year.

The determination was contained in a detailed report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ fact finding mission that investigated the April 7, 2018 attack. Medical workers said at the time that the attack killed more than 40 people.

The mission’s mandate does not include laying blame.

In a statement, the OPCW said the mission visited Douma, analyzed samples taken from the scene and from people affected, interviewed witnesses and studied toxicological and ballistics analyses.

The investigators were delayed by several days from reaching the scene by security concerns, leading to fears that evidence could degrade or be cleaned up.

However, the data they eventually amassed and studied provided “reasonable grounds that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon” took place, the OPCW said.

“This toxic chemical contained reactive chlorine. The toxic chemical was likely molecular chlorine.”
Iran says British ban on Hezbollah is ‘irresponsible’
Iran on Saturday condemned Britain’s decision to outlaw the political wing of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, describing it as “wrong and irresponsible.”

Britain said Monday it would seek to make membership of the Shiite terror group or inviting support for it a crime.

The decision followed outrage over the display of the Hezbollah flag, which features a Kalashnikov assault rifle, at pro-Palestinian demonstrations in London.

“Iran considers Hezbollah a legitimate and legal force which plays an effective and undeniable role in helping its country’s political stability and safeguarding its security,” Iran’s foreign ministry said on its website.

“[It] considers the decision to place Hezbollah on a terrorism blacklist to be wrong and irresponsible and one which will not contribute to the stability and security of Lebanon.”
Iran merges military financial institutions with bank under US sanctions
Iran’s official IRNA news agency said Saturday the country’s Central Bank has merged four banks and a credit union to reform the country’s banking system and financial markets.

The report announced the merger of Ansar, Mehr-e Eghtesad, affiliated with powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Ghavvamin, affiliated with the police, Hekmat-e Iranian Bank and the Kosar Credit Institute, affiliated with the defense ministry, with Bank Sepah, Iran’s first bank that is also affiliated with the army.

Bank Sepah has 1800 branches in Iran and others in Britain, France, Germany and Italy. The United States imposed sanctions on Bank Sepah in November after it withdrew from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Iran is in the grip of an economic crisis and has seen sporadic protests in recent months as officials try to downplay the effects of the restored US sanctions on Tehran.

The 2015 deal was aimed at preventing Tehran from building atomic weapons in exchange for economic incentives, including the lifting of previously imposed, punishing sanctions. The US pulled out of the agreement in May 2018 and has been urging the remaining signatories — the UK, France, Germany, Russia, and China — to abandon it as well.
BBC details new ‘harassment’ of Persian service staff by Iran
The BBC on Friday detailed the latest “escalation” in the “systematic targeting” by Iranian authorities of its Persian service journalists and their relatives.

In the most recent intimidation, government-affiliated media in Iran published articles and pictures of staff describing them as “a mafia gang” associated with terrorism, BBC TV presenter Rana Rahimpour said at a panel discussion in London.

Iran’s judiciary-linked Mizan news agency warned in its report that “God’s hand of justice will manifest itself through the arms of the Iranian people and they will be punished for their actions,” she said.

“This language is ominous: it has had particular use in the past in reference to extra-judicial killings,” Rahimpour noted.

Iran’s embassy in London did not respond to a request for comment.
40 years after Iranian Revolution, LA’s Persian Jews are still feeling the pain
Asher Aramnia, an 83-year-old Iranian Jewish businessman living in Los Angeles, fought back tears recently when recalling his beloved cousin, who was randomly executed by Iran’s Islamic regime 40 years ago for the crime of operating a women’s beauty parlor there.

Aramnia is among the thousands of local Iranian Jews who are recalling the painful memories of the violence, imprisonment, anti-Semitism and total chaos they encountered 40 years ago after the Iranian regime’s late dictator, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, took power in Iran.

“We grew up together. I was devastated when hearing the news of her execution because she was supposed to be released from prison that very day,” said Aramnia, who arrived in the US only a few years before the revolution. He asked that his late cousin’s name be withheld because family members living in America still fear potential reprisals from the Iranian regime.

The nightmare for Iran’s Jews began on February 1, 1979, when the exiled Khomeini returned to Iran, quickly dissolved the monarchy of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and shortly after established a new fundamentalist Islamic state. Practically overnight, the new theocratic regime eliminated many of the freedoms and civil liberties once taken for granted by Iranians — including the country’s Jews, who under the shah’s reign had experienced one of the greatest periods of peace and prosperity in their long history in the region.
Vandals attack memorial for Strasbourg synagogue destroyed by Nazis in WWII
A memorial stone marking the site of Strasbourg’s Old Synagogue, which was destroyed by the Nazis in World War II, was vandalized overnight, leaders of the eastern French city said Saturday.

Police have opened a probe, and a source said investigators would consult surveillance video and interview witnesses “to determine the origin of the incident, whether intentional or accidental.”

“Once again, enough is enough,” Mayor Roland Ries wrote on his Facebook page before heading to the site for an inspection.

“The site is itself a response to whoever did this repulsive act because it symbolizes both the exactions and horrors of the Nazi regime and the French people’s power of resistance,” he added.

The stone lies next to the Avenue of the Righteous, dedicated to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust, Ries noted.

The synagogue, which was built in 1898 and was the Strasbourg Jewish community’s main place of worship, was ransacked and burnt to the ground by Hitler Youth on September 30, 1940.
First batch of Eurovision tickets sells out in 10 minutes
The first batch of tickets for Eurovision 2019 sold out just 10 minutes after they went on sale Thursday night, with some 2,000 fans bagging a place at the international song contest set to be held in Tel Aviv in May.

The long-awaited opening sale, however, left many fans disappointed, with tens of thousands still waiting for a chance to see the show.

The European Broadcasting Union and Israel’s Broadcasting Corporation announced the sale earlier Thursday. The next batch of tickets will be sold in April.

The competition will be held at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds from May 14-18. There will be nine shows in total, the semi-finals and final, and two rehearsals for each.

Tickets range in price from NIS 350, close to $100, for rehearsals, to NIS 2,000 ($550) NIS for VIP treatment at the finals.

The high prices, likely the most expensive ever for Eurovision, were heavily criticized in Israel and abroad.

Around 4,000 tickets will be available to the general public and 3,000 others reserved for the European Broadcasting Union that runs the event.
Year-long UK arts fest celebrates contributions of refugees from Nazi Europe
A nationwide UK arts festival celebrating the refugees who came from Nazi Europe and their indelible contribution to British culture opens March 2, and will run through March of next year.

Coinciding with the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, the festival, called “Insiders/Outsiders,” brings together a vibrant program of exhibitions, concerts, dance and theater performances, film screenings, walks, lectures and literary and educational events.

The festival launches with a series of exhibitions, talks and concerts, as well as the opening of two design exhibitions in London.

The Isokon Gallery will house an exhibition entitled “George Adams: Bauhausler in Britain,” focusing on the prolific, Austrian-born graphic designer, while at the London Transport Museum, “Émigré Poster Designers” will feature the work of Hans Schleger, Hans Ungar and László Moholy-Nagy.

A lecture at Jewish Book Week is set to shine a light on Oscar Nemon, the little-known sculptor behind some of Britain’s most iconic public statues, including those of Freud and Churchill, and a number of events held in London and Cambridge will pay tribute to the Austrian-born musician and writer Hans Keller, along with his wife, artist Milein Cosman.

Initiated by London-based art historian, curator and writer, Monica Bohm-Duchen, “Insiders/Outsiders” pays tribute to the artists, photographers, writers, architects, musicians as well as art historians, dealers and publishers who greatly enriched British life and culture. An accompanying anthology of essays, focusing on the visual arts and edited by Bohm-Duchen, will be published this month.



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Aussie Dave: "King of the auto-translation."
The Israel Situation:The Elder manages to write so many great, investigative posts that I am often looking to him for important news on the PalArab (his term for Palestinian Arab) side of things."
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