Saturday, July 06, 2019

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: This giant toast rack won't help us fight hate
Erecting this memorial against the background of epidemic antisemitism in Britain comes perilously close to humbug. Some who lament most loudly over the Jews slaughtered in the Holocaust simultaneously bash Israel and the Jews today with assumed impunity.

Such people would claim the memorial’s existence proves there is no serious antisemitism in Britain. A memorial to dead Jews will be used as a bronze shield for the bigotry being expressed towards live ones.

Memorialising the Holocaust misses another vital point. The expansion of Holocaust memorials and education programmes has not expunged antisemitism. It has been accompanied instead by an explosion in antisemitism.

This is not to say that the one caused the other; but Holocaust memorialising has not acted as the antidote that was intended.

If we really want to build something to fight antisemitism, it should be a monument to living Jews and the State of Israel to celebrate historic Jewish peoplehood and its survival against all the odds.

Doubtless, community leaders would recoil with horror from such a suggestion and call it divisive. Which tells you all you need to know about the real fight against antisemitism in Britain.
Clarion Project: Yazidi ISIS Survivors in Israel Speak to Clarion
Shireen is a Yazidi ISIS survivor from Iraq. She was held as a slave by ISIS for three years after her village in Iraq was overrun by the terror group until she was able to escape during a military onslaught on the terror group.
Listen to Clarion Project’s exclusive interview with Shireen below

Shireen (we are only allowed to use her first name) was in Israel the past two weeks with a group of other Yazidi ISIS survivors who were brought to the country for a post-trauma course at the initiative of Bar Ilan University and IsraAid.

In the group was Lamiya Aji Bashar, who won the 2016 Sakharov Prize. Lamiya lost an eye when a mine exploded near her during a daring escape. The two girls escaping with her were killed by the same mine.

Bashar now lives in Germany where more than 1,000 Yazidi ISIS survivors now reside. These survivors are assisted there by an incredible man, Mirza Dinnayi, himself a Yazidi who moved to Germany decades ago.

Dinnayi heads an NGO in Germany called Luftbrucke Irak dedicated to helping victims of terror. Dinnayi makes a point of visiting Israel every year. This year, after two years of planning, Dinnayi was able to bring the survivors (most of whom still live in Iraq) to Israel, a country which, out of necessity, has developed tools to deal with post-traumatic stress disorders in terror survivors.

It was a logistics feat, considering that Israel has no diplomatic relations with Iraq.

The dedicated course organizers, Professor Ari Zivotofsky and Dr. Yaakov Hoffman, both from Bar Ilan University, feel they have a moral obligation to study the effects of genocide and to share Israel’s expertise in dealing with it.



U.S. Jews shouldn’t honor Kissinger
The news that a prominent American Jewish organization has invited Henry Kissinger to be the featured speaker at its upcoming conference is deeply troubling. Kissinger’s long record of undermining Israel and Soviet Jewry should disqualify him from the honor of appearing at Jewish communal events.

The Jewish Leadership Conference, a conservative Jewish think tank, has just sent out the announcement for its third annual conference on “Jews and Conservatism,” to be held in New York City in November. The list of speakers includes prominent Jewish public figures such as Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of American Jewish Organizations, as well as leading Jewish intellectuals such as Commentary editor John Podhoretz, Israeli author Yoram Hazony, Prof. Ruth Wisse and Rabbi Meir Soloveitchik.

But the seat of honor has been reserved for former secretary of state Kissinger. Billed as the “featured speaker,” he will be discussing “great figures of the twentieth-century political arena, including Israeli prime minister Golda Meir.” The announcement offers the public the chance to “Go behind the scenes when, in 1973, Israel was attacked on Yom Kippur.”

Actually, it is even more enlightening to go back to the day before Israel was attacked in 1973 – the day Kissinger prevented Israel from launching a preemptive strike.

We know what happened on the eve of the war and the days to follow from three reliable sources: Walter Isaacson’s definitive Kissinger: A Biography; long-time Haaretz chief diplomatic correspondent Matti Golan’s The Secret Conversations of Henry Kissinger; and from former Obama administration Middle East envoy David Makovsky.
4 injured in suspected West Bank car-ramming
Four people were reported injured in a suspected car-ramming Saturday evening near the West Bank town of Hizma to the north-east of Jerusalem.

One person was said to be moderately injured and the remaining three were lightly wounded. Conflicting reports suggested that at least some of the four victims were soldiers.

The victim in moderate condition was a man in his 30s, Channel 13 news reported. The lightly wounded were said to be two male soldiers and one female.

The Magen David Adom emergency services said the wounded were taken to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center for treatment.

Channel 12 news reported that a manhunt was launched for the driver of the vehicle, who fled the scene.
US House members talk restoring aid to Palestinians with Israeli, PA officials
A bipartisan delegation of US House members visited Israel and the West Bank this week, meeting with Palestinian Authority officials about legislative efforts to restore American aid to the Palestinians that the Trump administration slashed.

The members of Congress also discussed these efforts with Israeli officials, according to Florida Representative Ted Deutch, a Democrat, who headlined the visit.

“Throughout our trip, we discussed legislative efforts to reinstate US economic and security assistance which would foster stability, strengthen security for Israelis and Palestinians, and further the chances of Israeli-Palestinian peace,” Deutch said in a statement Friday.

The delegation met with PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh and Palestinian business leaders in Ramallah. “We discussed US policy, the prospects for peace and economic development, and efforts to improve conditions for the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza,” Deutch added.

Since US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the US embassy there, Palestinians have refused to engage with the White House. In response, the administration cut aid to the PA, the UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees, East Jerusalem hospitals and Israeli-Palestinian coexistence programs.

In April, Senate Democrats introduced a resolution to restore humanitarian funding to the Palestinians.
5,000 Palestinians Riot on Israel-Gaza Frontier, Three Border-Crossers Detained
Approximately 5,000 Palestinians rioted at three locations on the Israel-Gaza Strip border on Friday, hurling rocks, firebombs and explosive devices at IDF troops.

According to health officials in Hamas-ruled Gaza, around 40 Palestinians were hurt in Friday’s unrest.

No Israeli casualties were reported.

Three Palestinians who crossed the border on Friday were detained by Israeli forces and taken in for questioning. One was carrying a knife.

Friday violence on the border has been a near-weekly occurrence since the Hamas-orchestrated “Great March of Return” demonstrations began in March 2018.

Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a Security Cabinet meeting at an IDF base near the Gaza border.

“Our policy is clear: We want to restore the calm, but at the same time we are also prepared for a wide-ranging military campaign, if it proves necessary,” he said. “These are my instructions to the IDF.”
Inside Hezbollah's Greatest Weapon Against Israel
Israel has managed to find the Hezbollah tunnels so far and destroy them, but in a constant state of possible war, surprises could be just around the corner. Our Adi Koplewitz goes inside one to see what they're all about.


UN nuclear watchdog to hold emergency meeting on Iran next week
The UN’s nuclear watchdog said Friday it will hold an emergency meeting on Iran’s nuclear program next week, days after Tehran breached one of the limits set in a 2015 deal with world powers.

The meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors, which follows a US request, will be held on July 10, an IAEA spokesman said.

Earlier, the US mission in Vienna said in a statement that American Ambassador to International Organizations Jackie Wolcott had requested the special meeting to discuss Iran’s breach of the amount of enriched uranium it could stockpile.

The IAEA confirmed earlier this week that Iran had breached the limit of 300kg for stockpiles of enriched uranium as stipulated under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The US statement described the news of the breach as “concerning.”

“The international community must hold Iran’s regime accountable,” the statement added.

Iran has said that as of Sunday it will begin breaking another key limit set in the JCPOA, which restricts the enrichment level of its uranium stockpile to 3.67 percent.

On Thursday, the European Union said it was in contact with signatories of the Iran nuclear agreement and will discuss with them what steps to take should the country ramp up uranium enrichment.
What's Behind the UK Seizure of an Iranian Oil Tanker?
Iran is threatening Britain, claiming the U.S. pushed it to seize the Iranian oil tanker. Britain claims it has nothing to do with the U.S., but that the tanker was violating sanctions on Syria. Our Jonathan Regev has the story and our Jonathan Sacerdoti and Shayna Estulin analyze.




Iran’s regime arrests 8 Christians, sending them to solitary confinement
Security officials from Iran’s Intelligence Ministry raided the homes of eight Iranians converts to Christianity on July 1, in the southern city of Bushehr, carting them off to solitary confinement.

The arrest was first reported on Friday by Article 18, an organization that promotes religious freedom and supports Iran’s repressed Christians.

Intelligence agents “stormed the Christians’ homes in a coordinated operation at around 9 a.m.,”confiscating Bibles, Christian literature, wooden crosses and pictures carrying Christian symbols, along with laptops, phones, all forms of identity cards, bank cards and other personal belongings,” Article 18 wrote.

“Reporting suggests that Christianity is on the rise in Iran, along with other non-Islamic religions,” Alireza Nader, the CEO of New Iran, a research and advocacy organization based in Washington, told The Jerusalem Post on Friday. “This is a threat to the Islamic republic, a regime based on a narrow and totalitarian view of Islam. As the regime faces more internal unrest, the more it’ll crack down on religious minorities it views as threatening its stranglehold on religion.”

According to the Article 18 report, “Arresting agents also searched the work offices of at least two Christians and confiscated computer hard drives and security-camera recordings.... The officers are reported to have treated the Christians harshly, even though small children were present during the arrests.”
Labour Party's top lawyer quits after contentious retweet by new member
The UK Labour Party's response to antisemitism is in turmoil after its top lawyer stepped down from his role on Friday, The Independent reported.

Gordon Nardell QC, a key figure hired by the party last year to help tackle Labour's antisemitism problem, added to the renewed pressure the party was facing this week, following a contentious retweet by the party's incoming head of membership, Jules Rutherford on Thursday.

Rutherford, who is due to start the job on Monday, shared a tweet by "Jack Jazz" which claimed that antisemitism allegations against party members are being used as a “political weapon” to “smear” party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The tweet included a video in which Professor Norman Finkelstein described the antisemitism claims as "witch-hunt hysteria." It was subsequently removed from Rutherford's feed following a request for comment from Labour by PoliticsHome.




Dutch Christians rebuff officials seeking labeling of Israeli settlement goods
Christian Zionist importers of Israeli goods declined to comply with a government directive to apply special labeling for settlement products.

The exchange occurred last month between the van Oordt family, which runs the Israel Products Center and the Christians for Israel group in Nijkerk, near Amsterdam, and representatives of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, Roger van Oordt, director of the Christians for Israel group, wrote Wednesday in a statement.

The officials requested to visit the store and urge van Oordt to apply the labels, as per regulations adopted in 2015 by the European Commission, which described the regulations as designed to give shoppers accurate information about product provenance.

Israel and Jewish groups protested the regulations as an attempt to isolate and financially hurt Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The regulations also applied to the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 Six Day War. The Palestinian Authority said the labeling regulations were a welcome buffer against what it considers Israeli land theft.

“Labeling was created to ensure food safety but has become a political tool to pressure the Jewish state,” said van Oordt, whose outfit helps bring in 120,000 bottles of Israeli wine each year, as well as many tons of Dead Sea cosmetics and other merchandise.

“These are anti-Jewish regulations to me. They mean separating products made by Jews and Arabs,” he wrote.
Every terrorist is a terrorist
Dr. Boaz Ganor, in is his book The Counter-Terrorism Puzzle: A Guide for Decision Makers, takes this a step further which would help the BBC even more, by narrowing the definition.

“Terrorism is a form of violent struggle in which violence is deliberately used against civilians in order to achieve political goals (nationalistic, socioeconomic, ideological, religious, etc.).”

This definition truly refutes the idea of “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” by showing that it doesn’t matter what the rational is (nationalistic, socioeconomic, ideological, religious, etc.); it is the act of violence against civilians for political goals that makes an event a terrorist attack. There is no room for any form of bias when using this definition.

The media are the fourth pillar of a democracy. Its role is to ensure that the public is aware of all the different social, political and economic undertakings that go on around us. The media are meant to hold the government accountable to the voting public and to report unbiased facts to educate and inform the public. Terrorists aim to use the media to their advantage and to create an irrational fear within the attacked society in order to pressure their governments in hopes of changes favorable to their cause. By banning the terms terrorist, terror and terrorism, they play into the hands of the terrorists who don’t view themselves as terrorists, and that the terror they have inflicted thus far has affected the people so gravely that they are afraid to use the term. The terrorist view this as a success in changing the narrative and legitimizing them and their cause.

By not explaining terrorist acts as terrorism, the BBC actually does a disservice to its audience and goes against its obligation to inform the public with accurate, unbiased facts.

To find the solution to any problem one must first admit there is a problem. By not using the word “terror” the BBC is denying the act of terror as a phenomenon in our day and age and this will have grave ramifications on their credibility as well as their audience’s ability to understand the events that are unfolding around them.


Rabid French Antisemite Dieudonné Sentenced by Paris Court for Money Laundering, Tax Evasion
The rabidly antisemitic French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala was sentenced to two years in prison by the Paris Criminal Court on Friday, which convicted him of tax evasion and money laundering.

However, the comedian — who has built his reputation in France by mocking the Nazi Holocaust and promoting antisemitic conspiracy theories — is unlikely to serve actual jail time and will perform “community service” instead, Radio France International reported. He has also been ordered to pay a fine of 200,000 euros (approximately $225,000).

Dieudonné has been on trial since March, following a police raid on his home in which a hidden trove of 657,000 euros in cash was discovered. Much of the money the comedian was laundering through front companies was funneled to his family members in Cameroon, the trial heard.

Noémie Montagne, Dieudonné’s partner, was sentenced alongside him with eighteen months in prison suspended and a 50,000-euro fine for crimes including VAT fraud and abuse of corporate resources. The trial disclosed that tax offenses related to Dieudonné’s performances stretched back to 1997.

Throughout the trial, Dieudonné’s lawyers unsuccessfully argued that the comedian was the victim of a political witch-hunt to smear him as an “antisemite,” following a performance in 2013 in which he expressed regret that a Jewish journalist had not been sent to “the gas chambers.” The prosecution responded vigorously that the comedian was not undergoing a “political show-trial,” in turn accusing Dieudonné of “playing the victim.”
Principal apologizes for telling parent, 'Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened'
Florida high school principal William Latson reportedly told the mother of a student, “Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened” regarding the history curriculum.

According to 2018 emails obtained by The Palm Beach Post, Latson of Spanish River High School in Boca Raton, Fla. said that Holocaust education is “to be introduced but not forced upon individuals, as we all have the same right but not all the same beliefs.”

Latson was answering the mother’s question on how that portion of WWII history was prioritized — the school holds annual Holocaust assemblies and focused one-day lessons for 10th graders. “We advertise it to the 10th grade parents as [there] are some who don’t want their children to participate and we have to allow them the ability to decline,” warned Latson in the email.

That mother, who did not want the newspaper to publish her name, reportedly told Latson, “The Holocaust is a factual, historical event. It is not a right or a belief.”

However, the principal insisted, “Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened and you have your thoughts but we are a public school and not all of our parents have the same beliefs so they will react differently, my thoughts or beliefs have nothing to do with this because I am a public servant. I have the role to be politically neutral but support all groups in the school...”

He added, “I can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event because I am not in a position to do so as a school district employee.” Latson says his philosophy remains the same for slavery.
He tried to set fire to a synagogue and burned himself instead
Tristan Morgan, a radical right-wing activist with extreme anti-Semitic views, was recorded on security cameras trying to set a synagogue on fire in Exeter, England on July 21, 2018, shortly before the Tisha B'Av fast.

The cameras showed Morgan, now 52, breaking the window of the synagogue with a small axe and then trying to spill flammable liquids to set the synagogue on fire. Instead, the fire set alight his clothing and he fled the scene engulfed in flames which whipped his hat off his head and set his hair on fire. The flames went out after a few seconds and Morgan suffered only minor burns.

On Friday, a British court sent Morgan to an enforced hospitalization in a London psychiatric hospital for an indefinite amount of time. The order was based on the opinions of psychiatrists who said that Morgan "suffered a psychotic attack during the attack on the synagogue."

One of the prosecutors in the trial described Morgan as having "deep anti-Semitic beliefs," and said that Morgan admitted to the arson. He added that Morgan owns a book on white supremacy and has encouraged terrorism on the web by uploading a song entitled The White Man.

"The footage presented to the court showed Morgan's level of planning, determination and intention," Exeter police chief Matt Lawler said. "The evidence clearly showed that he held extreme right-wing, anti-Semitic and white supremacist views. Morgan is clearly very ill, and after a comprehensive medical inquiry it is clear that a forced hospitalization order is the most appropriate step."


Ancient Iraqi city of Babylon designated UNESCO World Heritage Site
The ancient city of Babylon, first referenced in a clay tablet from the 23rd century B.C., was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site on Friday, after a vote that followed decades of lobbying by Iraq.

The vote, at a UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting in Azerbaijan's capital Baku, made the ancient Mesopotamian city on the Euphrates River the sixth world heritage site within the borders of a country known as a cradle of civilization.

Iraqi President Barham Salih said the city, now an archaeological ruin, was returned to its "rightful place" in history after years of neglect by previous leaders.

Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi also welcomed the news.

"Mesopotamia is truly the pillar of humanity's memory and the cradle of civilization in recorded history," he said.

The government said it would allocate funds to maintain and boost conservation efforts.

Babylon, about 85 kilometers (55 miles) south of Baghdad, was once the center of a sprawling empire, renowned for its towers and mudbrick temples. Its hanging gardens were one of the seven ancient wonders of the world, commissioned by King Nebuchadnezzar II.

Visitors can stroll through the remnants of the brick and clay structures which stretch across 10 square kilometers, and see the famed Lion of Babylon statue, as well as large portions of the original Ishtar Gate.




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