Tuesday, October 15, 2019

From Ian:

Israel and Kurdistan - time for an alliance of the ages.
The Kurdish experiment, in at least the territory's current quasi-independence, has shown the world a decent society where all its inhabitants, men and women, enjoy far greater freedoms than can be found anywhere else in the Arab and Muslim world.

The Jewish state must now, more than ever, not ignore the 35-40 million Kurds, who remain stateless and shunned by the world and who seek, at last, the historic justice they have craved for centuries, nay millennia, but have been denied; an independent Kurdish state of their own.

According to an article titled "Can Israel make it alone?" written some years ago by James Lewis in the American Thinker, Lewis wrote: "Nations have no permanent friends, only permanent interests - like survival." He realized that with the stark reality of a profoundly unfriendly Obama Administration towards the Jewish state, creating facts on the ground was more important than ever. He wrote:

"If the United States abandons the Jewish State, Jerusalem will have to seek new alliances." Fortunately that is what Prime Minister Netanyahu successfully and largely has achieved. Since then Israel enjoys the friendliest American President it has ever experienced, but there is never any guarantee that a president will succeed to a second term.

Turkey has now chosen to break its alliance with Israel and instead has sought alliances with rogue states such as Iran and Syria, along with the Hamas occupied and terrorist infested Gaza Strip. Under Erdogan it has turned on Israel with a viciousness that is quite desolating. It is a nation turning its back upon the Ataturk secular revolution of the 1920s. Instead, it is sliding remorsefully back to the 7th century mindset and cesspit that so many of its neighbors wallow in.

Israel should advance the restoration of a profoundly just, moral and enduring pact with the Kurdish people, and assistance towards creating a future independent State of Kurdistan. An enduring alliance between Israel and Kurdistan would be a vindication of history, a recognition of the shared sufferings of both peoples, and bring closer the advent of a brighter and strategically stronger future for both non-Arab nations.

UNRWA in trouble
UNRWA’s mandate from the General Assembly comes up for renewal every three years. Due to expire in June 2020, it was renewed during the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, which came to end on September 30, 2019. Nothing has emerged in the media to suggest that Guterres’s investigation into the ethics report came up in the discussions.

Speaking during the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council on September 23, 2019, former UNRWA general counsel James Lindsay declared that the agency must evolve or dissolve. UNRWA’s major structural problem, he said, is its unique definition of who qualifies as a refugee. This differs fundamentally from the definition used by the UNHCR, which is responsible for all other refugees around the world. By not demanding that UNRWA adopt this definition,” says Lindsay, “the General Assembly has elevated politics over morality.”

Also speaking on September 23, former Knesset member Einat Wilf said the Palestinians had “hijacked” UNRWA after refusing to accept the outcome of the 1948 war that led to the creation of the State of Israel.

“The core issue,” she said, “is that in their mind the war is not over. In their mind, the State of Israel is temporary. If they view Israel as temporary, they will never sign an agreement that will bring peace. They will wait it out.”

Wilf castigated Western donor states “whose definition of peace is two states” but who continue to “funnel money into this organization that makes [Palestinian refugees] think otherwise.”

All in all, the Palestinian refugee story is one of heartless exploitation of Arabs by Arabs – the callous manipulation of powerless victims for political ends, with little regard for their welfare or human rights. Whatever the result of the inquiry into the UNRWA ethics report, this inhumanity must be brought out into the open, the UNRWA farce of “refugee status” in perpetuity must be ended, and steps must be taken to allow people and their families who may have lived in a country for 50 years or more to settle and become full citizens.
PMW: Top Fatah official calls for “escalation” so Israelis will “pay a heavy price every day”
Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki:
"There is no avoiding an escalating policy on the ground with great momentum from the masses, which will not allow the occupiers to live routine lives. Their occupation of our land must have a heavy price, which they will pay every day"

"If we [Fatah and Hamas] consolidate our ranks and unify our internal front... then we will certainly defeat our enemy, which is Israel."


Zaki in speech to Palestinian youth:
"If this enemy [Israel] and America continue with their arrogance, then [our descendants will wave the flag] above Jaffa, the Negev, the Galilee, the Carmel, the Triangle, etc. Land that we don't restore - we are not worthy of it."

One of Fatah's top officials, Central Committee member Abbas Zaki, has called for Fatah-Hamas to unite in order to "defeat" Israel, the common "enemy":
"If we consolidate our ranks and unify our internal front we will begin to work with an open mind, will, and strategy that are undebatable, then we will certainly defeat our enemy, which is Israel."
[Donia Al-Watan, independent Palestinian news agency, Sept. 22, 2019]

In response to US Envoy Jason Greenblatt's statements at a UN Security Council Open Debate on the Middle East on July 23, 2019, that the West Bank is "disputed" and not "occupied" territory, Zaki called for escalation "on the ground" - implicitly calling for violence against Israelis - to "not allow the occupiers to live routine lives" but make them pay "a heavy price every day":
"There is no avoiding an escalating policy on the ground with great momentum from the masses, which will not allow the occupiers to live routine lives. Their occupation of our land must have a heavy price, which they will pay every day."
[Al-Dustour, Jordanian news website, Sept. 8, 2019]
Fatah official: We will obliterate Israel “If enemy [Israel] and America continue their arrogance”


Fatah official: “Wherever there is a problem in the world, behind it is a Zionist fingerprint”
TRANSCRIPT: Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki: “Libya is also about to come out of its crisis.” Host: “How?” Abbas Zaki: “The external interference [in Libya] is the problem... Wherever there is a problem in the world, behind it is a Zionist fingerprint.” [Lebanese Al-Mayadeen TV, Jan. 1, 2019] Abbas Zaki also holds the position as Fatah Commissioner for Arab and China Relations




Seth Frantzman: After Syria debacle, Congress must act for Kurdish region of Iraq
Now, while Syrian Kurds fear ethnic cleansing and the loss of their freedom, pushed through no fault of their own into the arms of the Syrians, Russians and Iranian militias, Congress has to act now to protect our even more important Kurdish allies in norther Iraq, or Iran will sense weakness and seek to exploit America’s perceived retreat.

The Kurdistan Region of Iraq is an autonomous region under Iraq’s 2005 constitution that the US supported after the 2003 defeat of Saddam Hussein. For decades the Kurdish leadership in the Kurdistan Regional Government capital of Erbil has been close to the US and has created a region that is stable and prosperous. They were key allies against ISIS and the US has supported their armed forces, called Peshmerga, through training and budgetary assistance.

However in recent years the Kurdistan region has been sandwiched between a rising Iran and questions about US policy in Iraq and Syria. When the US decided to leave Syria it became clear that the Kurdistan region of Iraq could also be threatened. Unlike the US partnership with the SDF, the US relationship with the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is one of two governments, because the KRG is an autonomous region under the Iraqi constitution, akin to Scotland or Quebec. While there were critics of the US partnership with the SDF, critically Turkey, there is no criticism of the US work with the KRG. That is why it is essential now to shore up support for Kurdish allies in Iraq and make sure they understand that the US is standing behind them. Uncertainty in the Middle East leads to US enemies trying exploit division and pry away US allies.

Washington cannot allow another retreat from the region after the collapse of eastern Syria. Northern Iraq is now the hinge, a strategic key, to the border areas of Iran, Turkey, Syria and Iraq. Iran must not be allowed to consume Iraq and Syria like an octopus. It is time for Congress to move fast and make clear the Kurdistan region is a key ally. That means support for security and the economy of the region. It means supporting the Kurdish region which hosts Yazidis and has large numbers of Christians. It means support for reconstruction and enabling the region to spread its wings at this key moment when US allies and interests appear under siege. An invite to the Kurdistan Regional president Nechirvan Barzani would be a good message from the US that the region is important. Listening to Erbil’s concerns is also important.

In other areas of Iraq protesters are being shot down by Iranian-backed militias. Not so in the Kurdistan region, an island of stability. But as we saw with eastern Syria, an island of stability can be threatened. The US needs to do the right thing and Congress has the tools to make that happen.
Resigned acceptance of the inevitable?
Why is everyone so much more upset with Trump than with Turkey?

My first ‘contact’with the Kurds was when I wrote a piece about Mustafa al-Barzani for Sydney University student newspaper Honi Soit in the middle 1970s. Then, as apparently now, the response was deafening disinterest.

The volume hasn’t risen much since then, except Trump.

Unfortunately we are never likely to read a transcript of the conversation between Erdogan and Trump. I, for one, would love to know whether Trump was persuaded by the Turk’s arguments or intimidated by his threats.
If the threats, what were they?

I can think of two. The first, is simple. Turkey will ignore the presence of US troops, estimated at less than one thousand. If US troops remain in the area what chance would they have against a massive, modern army with armoured vehicles, artillery and planes?

This gives America three bad options:
- Do as Trump did and withdraw. That is in any case in line with his noninterventionist world view. You could argue that this was the world view that won Obama his Nobel.
- Keep the troops where they would either be useless or targets, leaving the President to console grieving parents and a hostile Congress.
- Expand the presence. Turkey is formally an ally and a N.A.T.O. member. Hostilities would be far more complicated than bombing the Taliban or ISIS.

About five thousand airmen, the 39th Air Base Wing (39 ABW) of the U.S. Air Force even share the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey!

The second threat is more indirect. Turkey would point the refugees it intends to rehouse in the safe zone towards Europe. As of September 2019, Turkey hosts 3.66 million registered Syrian refugees. Europe, especially the high social services countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany and Scandinavia would be very unhappy but even less likely to go to war against Turkey, a N.A.T.O. member and applicant for EU membership than America.

Perhaps Trump’s ego won’t allow him to admit that he was taking what for him was the least worst option so he rubbishes the Kurds, instead?
Shmuley Boteach: America must protect the Kurds from the Turkish tyrant
ERDOGAN IS an antisemite. His hatred of the Jewish people and Israel is not transactional but ideological. He has accused Israelis of being Nazis and has repeatedly and falsely accused Israel of genocide. He has also destroyed Turkey’s democracy. He must be stopped from destroying the Kurds.

Turkey’s aggression also harms Israel by hurting one of its allies – the Kurds – and giving new confidence to the Iranians that the United States will not take military action to prevent their hegemonic activities and consolidation of forces inside Syria. It was Obama’s withdrawal of US troops from Iraq that first emboldened the Iranians. That mistake should not be repeated by a president who has proven himself to be Israel’s staunchest ally.

While the American withdrawal of troops has been the focus of critics, let us not ignore the continued complicity of the Europeans who have stood on the sidelines throughout the mass slaughter in Syria. They are doing nothing now to prevent Turkey from conducting its own campaign of ethnic cleansing.

Perhaps the only silver lining is the betrayal of the Kurds is a validation of Zionism. I agree with Yossi Alpher, who wrote in the Forward, “For anyone who has entertained doubts about the need for a state for the Jewish people, the Kurds represent a tragic reminder. They are consistently being abandoned to an ugly fate because they don’t have a country.”

Mr. President, you have shown your commitment to protecting innocent Arab life with your attack on Assad when he gassed his people. Now the United States must show the same commitment in making it clear to Erdogan that slaughtering the Kurds is a red line that he dare not cross lest he incur American wrath. Set up a no-fly zone and tell Erdogan in no uncertain terms that his atrocities against the Kurds will be punished. Europe is feckless, Mr. President. Only the United States can stand for morality and serve as the defender of all people against the threat of genocide.

You did it with Assad. Now do it with Erdogan and Turkey.
Turkey Advances Syria Offensive Despite Global Protest
US President Donald Trump on Monday authorized sanctions on Turkey's leaders, reimposed steel tariffs and ended trade negotiations to protest Ankara's offensive into Syria. "I am fully prepared to swiftly destroy Turkey's economy if Turkish leaders continue down this dangerous and destructive path," he wrote on Twitter. Sanctions were placed on Turkey's defense and energy ministries as well as Ankara's ministers of defense, energy, and interior, the US Treasury said in a statement.


U.S. announces sanctions on Turkey; Pence to lead delegation to Ankara
US President Donald Trump released an executive order on Monday authorizing the imposition of sanctions “against current and former officials of the Government of Turkey and any persons contributing to Turkey’s destabilizing actions in northeast Syria,” according to a White House statement.

It added that steel tariffs will be increased back up to 50%, the level prior to reduction in May.

“The United States will also immediately stop negotiations, being led by the Department of Commerce, with respect to a $100 billion trade deal with Turkey,” said the president.

“The United States will aggressively use economic sanctions to target those who enable, facilitate, and finance these heinous acts in Syria,” Trump continued. “I am fully prepared to swiftly destroy Turkey’s economy if Turkish leaders continue down this dangerous and destructive path.”

He said that the executive order will enable the United States to impose powerful additional sanctions “on those who may be involved in serious human rights abuses, obstructing a ceasefire, preventing displaced persons from returning home, forcibly repatriating refugees, or threatening the peace, security, or stability in Syria.”

According to the statement, the order will authorize a broad range of consequences, including financial sanctions, the blocking of property, and barring entry into the United States.

The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) also announced on Monday new sanctions against two ministries and three senior Turkish Government officials in response to Turkey’s military operations in Syria.
Israeli protesters call Erdogan 'murderer' over Turkish action
Some 300 protesters gathered outside the Turkish Embassy in Tel Aviv late Tuesday afternoon to oppose Turkey's incursion into northern Syria.

The protesters, who represented most of the local political spectrum, shouted slogans against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and called on US President Donald Trump to cancel the withdrawal of American troops from Syria.

Yaya Fink, an IDF reservist major, initiated the demonstration on behalf of the Kurds.

"The commandment 'Do not stand idly by while your neighbor's life is threatened' [Leviticus 19:16] requires us, as Israelis and Jews, not to be silent when another people is at risk of being wiped out," Fink said.

"The abandonment of the Kurdish people is a moral and strategic wrong, and we are urging the leaders of the western world to take urgent action to ensure the safety of the Kurds and the other minorities who live in northern Syria.

"We also expect the Israeli government to provide the Kurdish forces with humanitarian aid and act on the phrase, 'Peace, peace to the far and to the near.'"
IDF Veterans Organize Pro-Kurdish Protest in Tel Aviv
IDF veterans took part in a pro-Kurdish protest, marching from the Turkish embassy to Tel Aviv municipality. Our Emily Rose has the story.


CNN, Trump, the Kurds, Normandy – and Israel?
Some who have criticized President Trump’s rationale pointed out that in fairness to the Kurds, they don’t have a state now and didn’t have one during World War II either, so it would have been impossible for them to fight at Normandy or in the other cited battles as if there had been a country of Kurdistan.

Of course, Israel also didn’t have a state, and so organized Jewish forces didn’t fight at Normandy either. But what Baldwin and most of her viewers don’t know is that organized Jewish forces did fight in World War II, on the side of the Allies. Under the British-ruled Palestine Mandate (which ended in 1948), some 30,000 Jewish volunteers from the territory fought with British forces during the war, and in 1944 the British finally agreed to form a Jewish Brigade of some 5000 soldiers, which fought alongside British forces in Europe, and therefore also alongside United States forces.

While the British also attempted to enlist Arabs from the Palestine Mandate to serve the war effort, in the end very few did.

Perhaps this is because the founder and first leader of the Palestinian national movement, Haj Amin al-Husseini, known as the Grand Mufti, was an ally of Nazi Germany almost from the inception of Nazi rule, and fled to Berlin at the outbreak of World War II, where he closely collaborated with the Nazi leadership. Among the Mufti’s notable achievements during his Nazi years was his creation of a special Muslim Waffen SS Division in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Known as the Handschar Division, it committed brutal war crimes against Serbian Christians and Jews, leading the postwar Yugoslavian government to indict the Mufti as a war criminal.

The Mufti also made numerous pro-Nazi propaganda broadcasts to the Arab world. For example, in a broadcast from Germany on March 1, 1944, he urged Arabs everywhere to commit genocide against the Jews:

Rise as one and fight for your sacred rights. Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history and religion. This serves your honor. God is with you. (Jeffrey Herf, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, p213, Yale University Press, 2009)

The Mufti pressured the Nazis to adopt extermination as the solution to the “Jewish problem,” especially during the period when official Nazi policy was the so-called Madagascar Plan, which called for the brutal expulsion of Europe’s Jews rather than direct extermination.

Some media reports have tried to downplay the Mufti’s role, such as this one in the New York Times, which claimed:

… the mufti “met Hitler in person for the first time” on Nov. 28, 1941 — two months before the Final Solution was formalized and the construction of extermination camps accelerated, according to historians, but after the mass murder of Jews had begun, and roughly one million had perished.

But the meeting between Mufti and Hitler, and exactly when it took place is irrelevant – as stated above, the Mufti’s deep ties to the Nazis long predated 1941. The real question is what impact the Grand Mufti and those he ordered, inspired and incited had on the Holocaust. What role did the Grand Mufti and his Palestinian followers have in preventing Jews from escaping the Nazis and getting to the only territory that would take them, the Jewish community in British-run Mandate Palestine?
Israeli farmers sweat as land they worked for decades to be given back to Jordan
Dozens of Israeli farmers are facing an uncertain future after being informed that the land that they have been working for decades will soon be handed back to Jordan.

The area in question comprises two parcels of agricultural land: Naharayim, known in Arabic as Baqoura, in the Jordan Valley, and Tzofar, or Ghumar, in the Arava region in southern Israel, which together span 1,000 dunams (247 acres). These enclaves also include the Island of Peace, a park located at the confluence of the Jordan and Yarmouk rivers.

A special clause in the 1994 peace treaty between the countries allowed Israel to retain use of the land for 25 years, with the understanding that the lease will be renewed as a matter of routine. However, in October 2018, amid domestic unrest in Jordan, King Abdullah II announced plans to terminate the lease, and despite lengthy efforts by the Israeli government, negotiations to guarantee continued access to the areas were unsuccessful.

“I don’t think anyone has any idea what’s next and the fact that there is a transitional government in place is not helping the situation,” Oren Reuveni, the plantation manager at Kibbutz Ashdot Yaakov Ihud in the country’s north, told Zman Yisrael, the Hebrew sister site of The Times of Israel.

In hindsight, Jordan’s decision not to extend the lease was predictable, he said, adding that for several years, local farmers have only been cultivating low-maintenance crops in Naharayim, so as to overcome what he called the erratic behavior of the Jordanian officers guarding the site.

There were more than a few times when Israeli farmers and their workers were denied access to the land at the random whim of a Jordanian officer, he noted.
Save the peace treaty with Jordan
Both countries recognize that the peace accord serves their mutual interests and is of strategic importance given the volatility of the region, yet neither has done enough to prevent a deterioration in ties.

Israel must be considerate of the kingdom's weaknesses and sensitivities, among them the Palestinian issue, the Temple Mount, Syrian refugees, and the war on terror. This obligates Jerusalem to adopt a more moderate stance and avoid unnecessary provocations. Jerusalem must also act in Washington to soften the Trump administration's position toward the kingdom; the US still does not have an ambassador stationed in Amman. Finally, we should propose joint projects in the fields of energy, technology, and science, and expand the size of Haifa Port to allow Jordan to increase its exports in light of the closure of the Syrian border.

Abdullah, too, could be a little more sensitive. He could simplify bureaucratic processes to allow Jordanian businesspeople to visit Israel. He must also respond firmly to any parliamentarian that calls to blow up the Israeli gas pipeline to Jordan. And in particular, the king must extend Israel's lease of two small areas of land, in Naharayim in the northern Jordan Valley and Ghamr in the south, as delineated in the 1994 accord, and allow Israeli farmers to continue to work their lands. He would also be wise to tone down his criticism of Israel, as he did in his most recent speech at the UN General Assembly, and make clear to his public that the peace accord serves Jordan's interests. By now, he should know that the kingdom's policy of allowing the public and extremists to "blow off steam" has slowly revealed itself to be something a double-edged

And in the short term, both countries must also urgently establish teams, led by their respective ministries of Foreign Affairs, to examine what can be done to prevent a further deterioration in ties.
Jordan-Israel peace treaty under threat - Jordanian parliament speaker
The peace treaty between Jordan and Israel is “under threat” due to Israeli “violations” against Jerusalem, according to the speaker of the Jordanian House of Representatives and president of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union, Atef Tarawneh, as quoted by Jordan’s government news agency.

Tarawneh spoke at the 141st International Parliamentary Union Assembly in Belgrade on Monday.

“We in Jordan, who are signatory to a peace treaty with the Israeli occupation government, see today that this peace is under threat, in light of the blatant violation of its terms, especially with the issue of Jerusalem,” said Tarawneh, adding that UN institutions cannot implement their decisions or authority in countries that don’t abide by international law, like Israel.

The speaker also called on parliaments around the world to push their governments to not move their embassies in Israel to Jerusalem, and to exert pressure on Israel to “stop its tyranny and brutal practices in the Palestinian territories.”

Tarawneh added that Israel’s policies are supported by a “clear bias” from the United States, according to the Jordan Times.
Starting where Nazis burned books, 10,000 march in Berlin against anti-Semitism
Thousands of people in Berlin protested against anti-Semitism on Sunday, four days after a German neo-Nazi attacked a synagogue in the eastern German city of Halle.

About 10,000 people participated in the march through the German capital.

Several thousand others protested Saturday in other cities, including Hamburg and Marburg.

Many Germans are in shock over Wednesday’s attack in which two people were killed outside the synagogue and in a kebab shop.

The attack has renewed concerns about rising far-right extremism and questions about the slow police response.
Halle: Failed mass murder in Germany's dysfunctional liberal democracy
The Jewish community’s security measures on Yom Kippur resulted in a failed mass murder attempt in the synagogue of Halle, the major town in the German federal state of Saxony Anhalt. The synagogue’s steel doors had not been paid for by the local authorities but by the Jewish Agency.

This absence is an indicator of the state of law of Germany’s unsettled liberal democracy. That sums up the wider meaning of the horrible incident. In it an extreme right wing shooter killed at random two people nearby and wounded two others.

It is too early for a full-fledged analysis of the main aspects of this event and the reactions to it. Yet already the various facets of the issues at stake should be listed so that they can be followed in the coming weeks. That will allow a more in depth assessment of the tragedy which could have been much bigger.

One major question is why all synagogues in France, Belgium and the Netherlands have police or military protection - while in Germany apparently only some, mainly in big cities do?

After activating the emergency alarm it took the police more than ten minutes to arrive. According to the community’s chairman Max Privorotsky the police have repeatedly played down the community’s security concerns. Joseph Schuster, President of the Central Council of Jews the umbrella organization of German Jewry, attacked the police saying “that the synagogue of Halle was not guarded by the police on a holiday such as Yom Kippur was scandalous.”

Assigning all the blame on the police is most convenient for the German political system. Yet if one digs a bit deeper one discovers that the police is greatly understaffed. This opens a hornet nest for politicians. It is their responsibility to make sure that the police receive the necessary funding to execute its tasks reasonably and protect threatened citizens.
German politician says Halle shooting caused ‘only property damage’
German politician Roland Ulbrich, a member of the right wing Alternative for Germany (AfD), took to social media on Tuesday to belittle the shooting attack on a Jewish synagogue in Halle during Yom Kippur. The house of prayer contained 51 people, the 27-year-old shooter Stephan Balliet intended to kill them all but failed to do so thanks to security measures taken by the community.

He murdered two people who were outside the synagogue before he was arrested by German security services.

Writing on social media, Ulbrich said that the shooting only caused “property damage” and that “it wasn’t even an attempted murder in the synagogue,” Mako reported.

“What’s worse?” He asked, “that a door was damaged or that two Germans were killed?”

His remarks caused an uproar in Germany, with some users saying he hinted that “Germans” and “Jews” are two separate things and that he is attempting to “minimize” the shooting.
German antisemitism commissioner likes FB post comparing Zionists to Nazis
A commissioner tasked with combating antisemitism in the southern German state of Baden-Württemberg clicked “Like” on an antisemitic Facebook post on Tuesday that compared Zionists to Nazis, just one day before a neo-Nazi murdered two bystanders while attempting to shoot Jews in a synagogue in Halle.

Michael Blume, the commissioner, liked a Facebook post from a user named Alexander Omar Loh who wrote: “Zionists, Nazis and radicals should quickly remove themselves from my friends list.”

Blume is now facing a fresh round of accusations that he stokes contemporary antisemitism on social media and is unqualified to be assigned with fighting Jew-hatred. Loh and Blume are Facebook friends.

The US State Department and the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance both define comparisons between Nazi Germany and Israel as an expression of modern antisemitism. Germany adopted the IHRA definition in 2017.

In March, the human rights organization Simon Wiesenthal Center said Blume “promotes antisemitism” because he used the Nazi mass murderer Adolf Eichmann in a rambling article to demonize Malca Goldstein-Wolf, a German Jewish activist who campaigns against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign in Germany.
German Mosques Pray for Erdogan’s Military Offensive Against Kurds: ‘Allah, Lead Our Glorious Army to Victory’
Mosques in Germany are praying for the Turkish army’s success as it wages a fierce military offensive against the U.S.-allied Kurdish forces and civilians in neighboring Syria, German newspaper Die Welt reported.

The worshippers pray the victory verse: “Allah, Lead Our Glorious Army to Victory.”

The backing from mosques in Germany comes days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered a full-scale attack against Kurds in northern Syria following the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the region. German mosques read out the “victory verse,” or Surah al Fath, from the Muslim holy book Quran, celebrating Muhammad’s victory over his rivals in 7th century Arabia, media reports suggest.

Turkey’s state-controlled Directorate of Religious Affairs, or Diyanet, issued the call to prayer. Germany’s largest Turkish Islamic group, DITIB, which runs some 900 mosques across the country and boasts of 800,00 members, has also allegedly participated in prayers calling for the victory of the Turkish military against Kurds in northern Syria. DITIB officials denied endorsing the call, but a media investigation showed several leading DITIB officials involved in the campaign. Mosques affiliated with Milli Görüs, Germany’s largest Islamic association with around 10,000 supporters, also reportedly took part.
German court convicts 'Hitler 2' for incitement against Israeli professor
A German court in the city of Bonn convicted Bilal Z. on Monday for an antisemitic incitement attack on an Israeli professor, Yitzhak Melamed, in 2018. Bilal, a German citizen of Palestinian origin, dubbed himself “Hitler 2,” reported the daily newspaper Bild.

Melamed’s face was bleeding and his glasses were broken after Bilal and the police attacked him. Following Bilal’s assault, police allegedly mistook Melamed for the assailant and began beating him, according to Melamed’s account of the incident. Melamed, a philosophy professor at Johns Hopkins University in the US, was wearing a kippah when he was violently attacked by Bilal, who screamed “You are a Jew” and “No Jews in Germany” at the professor.

Bilal also said “I’ll kill all Jews.” The court sentenced the 21-year-old to three months in prison. He was previously sentenced to three years and nine months for additional crimes, including robbery, that are not connected to the attack on Melamed. The court did not convict Bilal for allegedly striking the professor in the face.

A psychological report said Bilal is shaped by “deeply inculcated Jew-hatred,” according to the Bild paper.
Tunisia's president elect: Normalization with 'Zionist entity' is treachery
Kais Saied, recently voted in as Tunisia’s next president, expressed opposition to normalizing ties between his country and Israel, according to Maariv, sister publication of The Jerusalem Post.

“This is my view on the Zionist entity and it will not change,” said Saied in a televised interview on Monday. “If one day I change my mind, remind me about the things I said now. We are in a situation of war with Zionism, and normalization is treachery.”

On Friday, the president-elect said he viewed Jews and Zionists differently. “The Jews visit Tunisia; we protected them in the Second World War,” he said. “But whomever normalizes relations with the Zionist entity that stole the land of the Palestinian people and exiled them from their land is a traitor.”

Saied won the country’s runoff for president with some 73% of the vote. He now faces another major challenge since he will have to work with a deeply divided parliament, whose members were elected the previous Sunday in an outcome that indicates that there will be fierce bargaining to select a prime minister and establish a ruling coalition.
BBC’s ME editor says “there haven’t been all that many” terror attacks in Israel
The interview includes some noteworthy comments from Bowen.
“I would say that the conflict, it looms with real weight and damage on the shoulders of many Palestinians, because they are weaker and don’t have the resources and many of them live under occupation. That’s the key thing, if you live under occupation, life becomes way, way more difficult.”

“…plenty of Palestinians feel very threatened by settlers, armed settlers, by soldiers, by raids in the middle of the night, by helicopters, you name it. And many Israelis have been hurt by and continue to be worried about attacks by Palestinians, though there haven’t been all that many in recent years.”


What Bowen means by “recent years” is not entirely clear but in 2015 there were 2,398 terror attacks in Israel (of which the BBC reported 3.2%). In 2016 there were 1,415 attacks (of which the BBC covered 2.8%), in 2017 there were 1,516 attacks – less then one percent of which were reported by the BBC – and in 2018 the BBC covered at most 30.2% of the 3,006 attacks launched. During the first nine months of 2019 the BBC reported 23.6% of the 1,709 attacks which took place.

Obviously the BBC’s ongoing failure to adequately report the scale of terror attacks against Israelis serves its Middle East editor just as badly as it does the corporation’s audiences.
Netanyahu officially requests pardon for Na'ama Issachar
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to pardon Naama Issachar, 26, who was sentenced last week to seven-and-a-half years in a Russian jail for possession of nine grams of pot.

Issachar was arrested in April for carrying nine grams of cannabis in her checked luggage as she flew from India to Israel, while going to board a connecting flight in Russia.

On Sunday Rivlin sent Putin a letter asking him to pardon Issachar. On Tuesday, both Netanyahu and Rivlin forwarded a pardon request.

In his letter to Putin, Rivlin said that he recognized the Russian president as “a friend of the Jewish people and of the State of Israel,” and requested that Putin intervene and grant her a pardon.

“Na’ama made a grave mistake and has admitted her crime, but in the case of a young woman with no criminal record, the severe sentence handed down will have a deeply destructive impact on her life,” he wrote. “The Jewish people and the State of Israel are grateful for your sensitivity to human life and for your willingness to endanger the lives of your soldiers to locate and return the body of IDF soldier Zachary Baumel.

“Because of the particular and individual circumstances of Na’ama Issachar’s case, I am appealing to your mercy and compassion with a request for your personal intervention to grant her an extraordinary pardon,” Rivlin said.
Trudeau’s main challenger would move Canada’s embassy to Jerusalem
Reserved, fiscally-prudent, and a devout Catholic whose opposition to abortion and gay marriage goes against the Canadian grain, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer is the main rival to Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the upcoming October 21 elections.

Two years after winning the leadership of the Conservative Party, Scheer, 40, remains an enigma, despite representing a district in Canada’s big sky prairies in parliament since 2004.

“It’s obvious that he isn’t charismatic like Trudeau. To a certain extent, he’s the antithesis of the current prime minister: he’s not comfortable in front of a crowd nor glad-handing voters,” Frederic Boily, a political scientist at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, told AFP.

Scheer paints himself as an everyman: a father of five who enjoys a beer, watching football (his wife’s younger brother plays in the Canadian Football League) and “The Simpsons” television series.

But behind the chubby face atop a tall frame is also a shrewd strategist who was picked over 12 other candidates in 13 rounds of voting at a leadership convention as the consensus candidate of his party, with the backing of both fiscal and social conservatives.
Canadian imam: ‘Filthy’ candidates in elections support Zionism, homosexuality
A Canadian imam called candidates in the country’s upcoming elections “evil and filthy” supporters of Zionism who approve of homosexuality, warning Muslims they would be judged for their votes.

“This voting is a testimony and will be recorded,” Sheikh Younus Kathrada of Victoria, British Columbia, said in a sermon on October 11.

“On Judgment Day, you will stand before Allah and be asked about it. If you plan on voting, ask yourself prepare the answer first — what am I going to tell Allah when Allah asks me: ‘You voted for that filthy non-Muslin, why?'” continued Kathrada.

“He or she approves of homosexuality, which Allah declared forbidden from above the seven heavens.”

In a video of the sermon from the Middle East Media Research Institute, Kathrada said the political candidates in the elections “oppose” Muslims and are all supporters of Zionism.

“You think that they want good for you? I already told you what Allah said: ‘Never will they [the Jews and the Christians] be pleased with you.’ They will continue to oppose you. You are fighting a losing battle. They are all evil. Every single one of them,” Kathrada said.

“They are all evil and filthy. Do you know that every one of them, without exception, supports the Zionists against Islam and the Muslims,” he added.


MEMRI: Palestinian Journalist: We Should Adopt 'Abbas's Idea Of Establishing A Fund To Help Eastern Jews Disenchanted With Israel Return To Their Countries Of Origin
In a two-part article in the Palestinian Authority (PA) daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, journalist Muwaffaq Matar called to adopt an idea presented by Palestinian President Mahmoud 'Abbas in a booklet from 1982, titled "We Need an Arab Keren Hayesod." [1] In this 14-page booklet, 'Abbas reviewed the activity of the Zionist movement after Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, with emphasis on the Keren Hayesod organization, which was established in 1920 to raise funds for encouraging Jewish immigration to Palestine and consolidating the Jewish settlement there. 'Abbas concluded the booklet by stating that Keren Hayesod had served its purpose and that Israel no longer had any use for it. However, he advocated establishing an "Arab Keren Hayesod" that would help Jews leave Israel. He wrote that the Zionist movement had lured the Jews to Palestine with lies and false promises, and that their lives there have been nothing but "pain, difficulty, anxiety and loss"; therefore, many of them now wished to flee Israel, and helping them do so would benefit both them and the Palestinian cause.

After summarizing 'Abbas's arguments in the booklet, journalist Muwaffaq Matar writes that the Zionist Movement deliberately pushed Jews to leave their countries of origin and emigrate to Palestine by drumming up fear of antisemitism, and also by initiating terrorist actions against Jews around the world. The greatest victims of its activity, he said, were not only the Palestinians but also the Eastern or Sephardi Jews, i.e., the Jews originating in Arab countries, whom he calls "Jewish Arabs." According to him, the Ashkenazi Jews, i.e., Jews of European origin, took over Israel's state institutions and positions of power, while using the Eastern Jews as pawns and settling them in Israel's border regions to serve as cannon fodder in the conflict with the Arabs. Consequently, these Jews are now disillusioned with Zionism and would be happy to flee the state of Israel. The uprooting of the Jews from the Arab countries, he adds, was the most dangerous plot in the history of mankind, second only to the extermination of the native Americans.

Matar claims that the Eastern Jews have remained devoted to their Arab culture and heritage and yearn to return to their Arab countries of origin. It therefore behooves the Arabs to liberate them from "the shackles of the racist imperialist state [of Israel]" by helping them to realize this hope. To this end, he says, the Arabs should implement 'Abbas's idea and establish an "Arab Keren Hayesod" that would raise funds for this purpose. Matar calls on the Arab states to facilitate their return by giving them back the property they left behind when they immigrated to Israel and allowing them to return to their cities and homes. He also calls on the Palestinians to foster ties with the Eastern Jews in order to pave the way for their return, and notes that the PLO began doing this when it founded the Committee for Interacting with Israeli Society in 2012.

These suggestions to fund the emigration of the Jews – who were ostensibly deceived into coming to Israel and now yearn to leave it – may be intended to justify the demand to let the Palestinian refugees return to their homes within the 1948 territories. These suggestions correspond to the uncompromising official Palestinian position in this matter, which is that all Palestinian refugees must be returned to their original homes and given compensation.
Soccer match, Abbas visit to Riyadh a sign of warming ties
After months of tensions, the Palestinian Authority and Saudi Arabia seem to be moving toward improving bilateral relations.

Tuesday’s soccer match between the two sides – hailed by the PA as a “historic” event – is seen by Palestinian political analysts as a sign that the two sides have decided to lay their differences aside.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas and senior Palestinian officials went out of their way to make the Saudi national soccer team feel welcome in Ramallah. Palestinians who were planning to protest the visit of the Saudi team on the pretext that it’s in the context of Arab normalization with Israel were summoned by the Palestinian security forces and warned to stay away from the stadium where the match was being held.

Abbas and several officials made it a point to thank Saudi King Salman bin Abdel Aziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for allowing their team to travel to the West Bank, despite protests by several Palestinians and Arabs who accused the Saudis of violating the Arab boycott of Israel.
Palestinian Authority freezes bank accounts of Gaza NGOs
The Palestinian Authority government in Ramallah has frozen the bank accounts of dozens of Palestinian non-governmental organizations in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (PNGO) revealed on Monday.

Palestinians believe the move is in the context of the PA’s economic sanctions against organizations that are affiliated with Hamas and other Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip.

“The Palestinian NGO Network expresses its deep concern over the continued freezing of the accounts of NGOs in the Gaza Strip by the [PA] Ministry of Interior in Ramallah and warns of the repercussions of these measures,” PNGO, an umbrella organization for civil society organizations, said.

According to PNGO, it has received many complaints from NGOs in the Gaza Strip about the freezing of their bank accounts, “which threatens the services they provide and undermines their role in enhancing the steadfastness of Palestinians.”

The organization also pointed out that some banks operating in the Gaza Strip have refused to open accounts for newly registered NGOs although they had obtained licenses from the PA Ministry of the Interior in Ramallah.
Hamas Set to Inaugurate Children’s Park Near Site of Violent Gaza Border Riots
The steering committee that leads the weekly riots on the Israel-Gaza border is inaugurating a children’s park near a border area that has been a focal point for the often violent disturbances, Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot reported on Sunday.

According to the report, the so-called “Park of Return” is already prepared for use and includes games, entertainment facilities, lawns, gardens, a promenade, shaded areas for picnics, and fountains.

The committee said, “The park is a message of our people’s life and continuity in the face of the occupation, that we are rooted in our land and cling to hope and life.”

The park is likely a response to criticism of the ruling Hamas terrorist group that it has been deliberately putting children in harm’s way during the riots, the Yediot report states.

This criticism has also taken on a class dimension, as Hamas is being blamed for exploiting the children of the poor, who are disproportionately placed among the rioters, while children from wealthy and connected families are not.

There are also claims that Hamas is not funding medical care for children injured in the riots.
Iran Knows Israel Will Respond to Missile Attacks
"We know it was the Iranian air force" that attacked Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure, a former Israeli senior security official told Al-Monitor.

"The Americans know it too. Everyone who needs to know does. Yet that doesn't prevent [Iranian Foreign Minister] Mohammad Javad Zarif from sitting in a TV studio and stating without the slightest hesitation that Iran had nothing to do with the attack."

Concern soared in Israel following the attack. "It's not as if we didn't know that Iran has cruise missiles and armed drones," a former senior military official said.

"The problem is that...so far, Iran's performance in its clashes with Israel has been feeble at best. They tried to fire rockets at the Golan Heights a few times, but these mostly landed on the Syrian side of the border. It turns out that they are capable of much more."

Israel believes that if there is an Iranian attack, it will not be launched from Iranian territory. Israel has stressed that if that does happen, Israel will not allow Iran to hide behind its proxies.

Would a real Iranian strike on Israeli targets by Iran's proxies force Israel to respond against Iranian targets in Iran proper? The answer is yes, and Israel believes that Iran knows it.
UK experts in Iran to upgrade heavy water reactor
A team of British experts arrived in Iran on Monday to begin work to upgrade the Arak heavy water nuclear reactor, the UK embassy in Tehran said.

Iran removed the core of the Arak facility and filled part of it with cement as part of a 2015 deal that gave the country relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

Located southwest of Tehran, the reactor is to be modernized with the help of foreign experts under the deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

“A team of British nuclear experts led by UK Chief Scientific Adviser Professor Robin Grimes arrived in Tehran today to take forward the next stages of the modernization of the Arak reactor, alongside a team of Chinese experts,” said the British embassy.

“The experts will hold talks with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran on international technical assistance to the reactor construction,” it said in a statement.

The British experts would remain in Iran for three days, the embassy told AFP.
Iran economy to shrink 9.5% this year amid tighter U.S. sanctions - IMF
Iran's economy is expected to shrink by 9.5% this year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said, down from a previous estimate of a 6% contraction, as the country feels the impact of tighter U.S. sanctions.

The IMF forecasts, published on Tuesday in the fund’s World Economic Outlook report, are not far from estimates given last week by the World Bank, which said the Iranian economy by the end of the 2019/20 financial year would be 90% smaller than it was just two years ago.

Iran, a large oil producer, saw its oil revenues surge after a 2015 nuclear pact agreed with six major powers that ended a sanctions regime imposed three years earlier over its disputed nuclear program.

But new sanctions brought in after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from that deal in 2018 are the most painful imposed by Washington, targeting nearly all sectors of Iran's economy.

The IMF had previously forecast Iran's economy to shrink by 6% this year, but that estimate preceded Washington's decision in April to end six months of waivers which had allowed Iran's eight biggest oil buyers to continue importing limited volumes.
Princeton's Near Eastern Studies Dept. Co-Sponsors Panel Featuring Anti-Semitism-Spewing Norman Finkelstein
Former academic Norman Finkelstein, who now teaches fourteen-week classes at the Brooklyn Public Library, recently spoke on a "Black and Palestinian Solidarity" panel at Princeton University that was co-sponsored by the Department of Near Eastern Studies.

Displaying his well-known propensity for engaging in blood libels and other forms of anti-Semitism, Finkelstein made a number of reprehensible statements. He labeled Israelis "biped bloodhounds drinking the blood of one million [Palestinian] children"; likened Israelis to slave-owners and then repeated the phrase "shoot them dead"; refused to condemn terrorist organizations Hezbollah and Hamas, because, he claimed, "they're fighting for their basic rights"; and called a student in the audience who had served in the IDF a "concentration camp guard."

As that student later remarked about Finkelstein, "I don't care that he's Jewish. He's anti-Semitic. That's just a fact."

None of this was out of character for Finkelstein, yet panel organizer and student Leopoldo Solis, who disregarded warnings beforehand about the former academic's history of anti-Semitism, would only say that his "behavior derailed the conversation and distracted from our main goal. We do not condone how these words changed the conversation to a less-productive space."

A less-productive space? Weasel words. The real question is, what's Princeton's Near Eastern Studies Department's excuse?
Students Create ‘Kill the Jews’ Page; Make Slurs About Middle School Classmate
MetroWest students created a “Kill the Jews” page though social media, recently.

Last night, a Christa McAuliffe Charter School student received a request to join the “Kill the Jews” page and reported it to her parents.

Her mother has since reported it to the school and to the police. A police officer was at the Framingham family’s house this morning, October 13.

“We are very upset by this and take this threat seriously,” said the mom to SOURCE. “I just want to educate children and adults on this hoping we can put an end to this type of behavior ASAP.”

“This should be taken as a serious threat,” said the mom, who is Jewish.

One boy types “(name) you’re a (K-word).”
Another boy responds “release the gas.”
The first boy then responds “F%&*ing k*#@ VSCO girl”

SOURCE contacted the Christa McAuliffe Charter School for comment.

“This evening I and other McAuliffe leaders became aware of anti-Semitic social media activity involving McAuliffe students,” said Christa McAuliffe Executive Director Kristin Harrison to SOURCE. “As soon as we found out, we reached out to Framingham Police, and have been told there’s an investigation underway.”

“We will be in touch with the McCauliffe community as we learn more about this incident,” said Harrison.

“Needless to say, our community does not tolerate this type of behavior,” said Harrison. (h/t Zvi)
‘Pause for Pittsburgh’ to mark one year since synagogue attack
People across the United States and around the world will join together virtually on the one-year anniversary of the attack on the Tree of Life synagogue building in suburban Pittsburgh.

The virtual commemoration, called “Pause with Pittsburgh,” is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Oct. 27. The moment of solidarity and remembrance for the 11 people who were killed during the attack will include, for those in North America, a text including a video with the mourning prayer and a link to Pittsburgh’s local community public memorial service via livestream, and an opportunity to post on a community message board. Overseas participation is through email.

The program is a project of the Jewish Federations of North America.

“Rather than become desensitized to the terror of a never-ending cycle of senseless deaths, we must focus on doing what we do best: building and sustaining community that brings people together,” Mark Wilf, chair of the Board of Trustees of The Jewish Federations of North America, said in a statement.
Virtual commemoration to be held for Pittsburgh synagogue victims
People across the United States and around the world will join together virtually on the one-year anniversary of the attack on the Tree of Life synagogue building in suburban Pittsburgh.

The virtual commemoration, called “Pause with Pittsburgh,” is scheduled for 5 p.m. on October 27. The moment of solidarity and remembrance for the 11 people who were killed during the attack will include, for those in North America, a text including a video with the mourning prayer and a link to Pittsburgh’s local community public memorial service via livestream, and an opportunity to post on a community message board.

Overseas participation is through email.

The program is a project of the Jewish Federations of North America.

“Rather than become desensitized to the terror of a never-ending cycle of senseless deaths, we must focus on doing what we do best: building and sustaining community that brings people together,” Mark Wilf, chair of the Board of Trustees of The Jewish Federations of North America, said in a statement.
Jewish man slapped and called ‘dirty Jew’ in Brooklyn
A Jewish man was slapped in the face and called a “dirty Jew” on Saturday in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.

The Jewish man was attacked by a man riding a bicycle who rode in front of the Jewish man, slapped him and said “you dirty Jew,” COL Live local news site reported.

The victim immediately reported the incident at a local police precinct.

The incident is being investigated as a hate crime, police told the news outlet.

On Friday night in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, occupants of a car threw eggs at two Jewish men walking in the area. The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the incident, The Yeshiva World News reported, adding that that there are nearly two dozen extra police officers patrolling the streets in the neighborhood. (h/t Zvi)
Israeli flag defaced with swastika in front of Massachusetts synagogue
An Israeli flag was found defaced with a swastika and the numbers “14” and “88” in front of the Falmouth Jewish Congregation in Cape Cod, Massachusetts on Thursday, hours after Yom Kippur ended.

The “14” on the flag stands for the white supremacist slogan, “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children,” while “88” is shorthand for “Heil Hitler” because “H” is the 8th letter of the alphabet.

Rabbi Elias Lieberman of the Falmouth Jewish Congregation told the Cape Cod Times that he believes the “flag initially was spread out in the courtyard or near the pavement by the main entrance” before it was blown into the bushes, where he found it.

“This should be a wake-up call for everyone who lives on Cape Cod,” Lieberman said. “The Cape is not the picture-perfect postcard people like to think it is, or for that matter, any place in the country.”
Michigan synagogue vandalized with antisemitic posters
The Rabbi of Temple Emanuel in Grand Rapids, MI got an unwelcome surprise as he pulled up to the synagogue on Sunday morning before Hebrew school classes began.

Rabbi Michael Schadick found antisemitic posters sprayed with an adhesive stuck to the glass doors of the synagogue that face the parking lot. These doors are the ones all the students walk through every week to get to their Sunday school classes.

Edie Landman, the synagogue's president, said this is the first time, to her knowledge, that any antisemitic crimes have taken place there.

The temple wants to reiterate that they do have, have had and always will have extensive security in place and utilize all measures available.

After Schadick saw the posters, he called the police, who are investigating the incident as a hate crime. The Grand Rapids Police said they are familiar with the posters and have seen them before but didn't share where. The photos were found online but have since been taken down.
Anti-Semitic fliers left on cars in New Jersey town
Fliers with what police described as anti-Israel and anti-Jewish messages were left on cars parked near a restaurant and movie theater in Evesham Township, New Jersey.

One of the fliers tied Jewish Hollywood producers to pedophilia and child rape, the CBS affiliate in Philadelphia reported. The township is considered a suburb of Philadelphia.

Police told the news outlet that a second flier made racist statements about Israel and a third is about Jews and world finances.

“Evesham Township has absolutely zero tolerance for such flagrant anti-Semitism, or any other form of evil and bigotry in our town,” Mayor Jaclyn Veasy said, CBS reported.
Bulgaria soccer chief quits over Nazi salutes, racist abuse at game vs. England
Bulgaria’s soccer union president resigned on Tuesday, a day after racist abuse marred a match against England in Sofia.

“Today the president of the Bulgarian Football Union Borislav Mihaylov presented his resignation, which will be handed in to the members of the executive committee on its meeting on Friday,” the union said in a statement on its website.

The decision “resulted from the tension created over the past days, which is detrimental to Bulgarian football and the Bulgarian football union,” the statement said.

The Euro 2020 qualifier, which England won 6-0, was twice halted as Bulgarian fans made Nazi salutes and directed monkey noises at England players who are black.

Earlier in the day, Bulgaria’s prime minister urged Mihaylov to resign.
German ‘Graffiti Grandma’ fined on Yom Kippur for painting over neo-Nazi slogans
A 74-year-old German woman who has spent three decades painting over neo-Nazi graffiti was convicted of property damage and fined some $330 for painting hearts over graffiti which read “NS-Zone” (Nazi Zone) in the central German town of Eisenach.

The €300 fine was handed down to Irmela Mensah-Schramm last Wednesday, Yom Kippur, the same day that a neo-Nazi German gunman attempted to break into the synagogue at Halle, a two-hour drive away, and massacre the Jews inside, failed to do so, and shot dead two bystanders nearby. Mensah-Schramm was also ordered to pay court costs.

A Stuttgart-born former teacher who lives in Berlin, Mensah-Schramm is known as the “Graffiti Grandma” for her activist work painting over extremist graffiti, or adjusting and amending it to convey positive meanings.

She was convicted on Wednesday of painting hearts over the “Nazi Zone” graffiti four times last December, after she was filmed by a local resident who filed a police complaint against her.

Mensah-Schramm, who said she would appeal the verdict, refused a compromise offered by the court which said she could make a contribution to local charities instead of paying the fine. Such an arrangement would be an admission of guilt, she said. “I did not do anything wrong,” Mensah-Schramm told a local broadcaster.
Largest photovoltaic power plant in Israel to commence operations
The largest photovoltaic (PV) power plant in Israel, set to provide solar energy to approximately 60,000 households, has been granted a permanent license to generate electricity by the Electricity Authority and the Energy Ministry.

The license granted to the Shneur Tze’elim plant in the Negev, constructed by Shikun & Binui Solel Boneh and Belectric, will enable electricity production for commercial purposes for a period of 20 years.

The NIS 600 million ($170m.) project spans 125 hectares (309 acres) of land, consists of some 360,000 solar energy panels and is built on land owned by Kibbutz Tze’elim, Be’eri, Re’im, Sde Avraham, Yated and Pri Gan.

The plant is capable of supplying 120 megawatt of power, twice the output of Israel’s previously most powerful PV plant at Mashabei Sadeh. The most commonly used form of solar generation technology, PV plants directly convert sunlight into usable electricity through large quantities of solar cells.

The facility at Shneur Tze’elim was initially designed as a thermo-solar power plant, a more expensive and complex technology for the production of clean energy. A December 2015 government decision, however, approved plans to convert the plant into a PV plant, leading to annual savings of approximately NIS 120m. in operating costs.

“This is another significant project that will generate electricity for tens of thousands of Israeli homes with clean energy,” said Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz. “We will continue to work to advance renewable energy in Israel and, in light of actions taken so far, I am currently looking at increasing the target for 2030 set by the government.”
What happens if you soak a tutu in the Dead Sea?
An 11-minute video of renowned Israeli artist Sigalit Landau floating naked on the Dead Sea within a slowly uncoiling spiral of 500 watermelons made a big splash in the art world in 2005.

The Dead Sea has beckoned Landau to return again and again from her Tel Aviv studio since 2003.

Called the “Salt Sea” in Hebrew, and actually a lake, the Dead Sea is the lowest continental surface on Earth. It is hailed for its healing powers and mined for cosmetics and industrial products.

Landau and her team submerged objects ranging from a tutu to a cello in the mineral-rich lake and documented their crystallizing transformation.

“Magical moments happen under the water, so my co-creator Yotam From followed the process through underwater photography,” Landau explains.

Salt Years is a newly published pictorial and prose salute to Landau’s unique artistic genre.

“Her art pieces are cultivated with salt crystals, like an oyster farm, using an organic process to transform mundane, everyday, usually useless artifacts into objects of mesmerizing, haunting beauty,” writes editor David Goss in his introduction.



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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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