Sunday, November 03, 2019

From Ian:

David Collier: The Catholic Church, Interfaith and the Antisemites
This weekend Chester saw an Interfaith event – at least on paper it did. In reality what took place in the North-West is part of a particularly insidious antisemitic attack. Those responsible are a group called ‘Interfaith for Palestine’. The people behind Interfaith for Palestine created a Facebook page and a website in spring of 2019. This week they held a two-day conference. The programme over the two-days contained the names of highly toxic speakers such as Gilad Atzmon, Stephen Sizer and Mick Napier. The event had originally been scheduled to take place inside St Columba’s, a local Catholic Church, but after successful protests led by North West Friends of Israel, the Church soon cancelled their booking. The event still went ahead at a different venue.
A few questions about interfaith

This type of event shows just how lost the anti-Israel movement has become. With almost no visible Palestinian activists actually calling for peace, anti-Israel activism has been on the slide to oblivion for decades. They’ve aligned with every toxic ideology possible. So much so that there is now no resemblance whatsoever between how they define themselves and what they actually represent. Consider this – was the Roman Catholic Church really going to host an interfaith event about Israel on a Saturday – a day that automatically excludes the religious members of the Jewish community? And just as absurdly, what on earth have Napier, Sizer and Atzmon got to do with Interfaith?
Moving the interfaith event

When the Church cancelled, they were allegedly told by the angry event organiser that they had caved in to the ‘Jewish lobby’. Obviously interfaith to these people doesn’t include the Jews. The event then moved to a local community centre in Hoole. North West Friends of Israel turned to the charity behind the centre to explain why the event was so offensive. This time NWFOI walked into a brick wall. In fact, the response was hostile. This from the first email response:

“Your intervention (and the various other coordinated extreme ones we received today) did nothing to help foster good community relations here in Chester or to improve the understanding of and sympathy for the Jewish cause nationally in the UK.”

The email was signed by Roderick Heather MBE, Chairman of the Hoole Community Trust. A few antisemites dressing up as an interfaith group and hosting an event with toxic speakers isn’t a problem to dear Roderick. He is clearly more concerned about the reaction. The ‘ill-informed and bigoted telephone and social media campaign’ that the victims in this case – the Jewish community – launched in response. The exchange deteriorated even further, with Roderick Heather himself referring to a ‘Jewish lobby’ and additionally becoming an expert on what is and is not antisemitism:

Twitter suspends Hamas, Hezbollah-affiliated accounts
Twitter has suspended all Hamas-affiliated accounts and “most” accounts associated with Hezbollah, according to media reports.

“There is no place on Twitter for illegal terrorist organizations and violent extremist groups,” a Twitter spokesperson told AFP.

A bipartisan group of US lawmakers accused the social media giant last week of violating American law by allowing content from US-designated terrorist groups to appear on the micro-blogging site. Congress ordered Twitter to suspend all accounts affiliated with Hezbollah and Hamas by November 2, according to Al-Manar TV, a Hezbollah-affiliated station that claimed most of its Twitter accounts had been suspended on Saturday.

The Twitter accounts in Arabic, French, English and Spanish were suspended with no prior notice.

Al-Manar stressed the channel’s “objectivity and accuracy in conveying truth,” in a post about the suspensions. The TV station stressed that, in addition to its “resistance role,” Hezbollah “plays a big role in Lebanese political life.”
PMW: Violence against LGBTQ people "with greater frequency and intensity" since PA police said gay activities "violate highest ideals"
The Israel-based alQaws organization for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society has reported that following a statement by the PA police against LGBTQ people, violence has “continued unabated” and even “with greater frequency and intensity.” The organization further said that “much of the violence and harassment perpetrated... has been at the hands of police officers themselves.” [alQaws’ website, Oct. 30, 2019]

Palestinian Media Watch documented that PA Police in August announced that gay activities are "a violation of the highest ideals and values of the Palestinian society" and that the police would ”prevent any activity by the homosexual group" alQaws - the organizers of a gathering in the West Bank for LGBTQ people. PA police encouraged the Palestinian public to “contact the police and report any person who has a connection to this organization.”

According to alQaws, the PA police has refused to officially retract its statement against the LGBTQ community in general and alQaws’ activities in particular. This is despite the fact that the police has removed the statement from its official website and its spokesman’s Facebook page, apparently after pressure from human rights groups.

However, without an official retraction, the PA police’s implied sanction of violence against LGBTQ people is still valid, - also in the eyes of police officers themselves who, according to alQaws, are the ones perpetrating “much of the violence and harassment.”

‘Her whole body shook’: Photo of 5-year-old cowering amid rockets goes viral
A photo of a five-year-old girl from Sderot cowering on the floor of her home as rockets rained down on her community went viral over the weekend, signifying to many the lasting trauma that years of repeated rocket barrages have done to innocents living near the border.

Sara Dahan, a 22-year-old single mother, posted the photo of her daughter Tahel online. She said her niece had accidentally taken it as the family gathered in the home’s protected space.

“My daughter! My own personal joy! The little girl who I promised to protect froze in place and simply would not move even though she was in the shielded room,” she wrote, referring to fortified concrete rooms that are mandatory in modern Israeli homes.

“Her whole body shook, she locked up on the floor and didn’t move, with her hands on her head. My girl, I’m so sorry you need to go through this.”

The photo was quickly shared on social media, with many expressions of sympathy towards the family as well as the impossible situation faced by residents of southern communities.

Terror From Gaza
This past weekend, terrorists in Gaza fired rockets into Israel from. This time, a rocket landed next to a civilian home in the city of Sderot, causing damage and endangering the lives of the residents. Israelis all too often are forced to run into bomb shelters while terrorist fire at innocent civilians. Share this video to spread the truth.

BBC News ignores Gaza rocket attacks yet again
Israeli forces responded to the attacks, which were attributed to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

News agency reports on the incidents were published by numerous media outlets but visitors to the BBC News website saw no coverage whatsoever of those Palestinian rocket attacks against Israeli civilians.

Since the beginning of the year twenty-nine separate incidents of terror attacks from the Gaza Strip using rockets and/or mortars have taken place. BBC audiences have seen coverage of just eight of those incidents.
Conservative Party chairman: Jews will leave UK if Corbyn wins election
There are Jewish families who intend to emigrate from the United Kingdom if controversial Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn wins the December 12 general election, Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly said in an interview.

Speaking with British newspaper The Sunday Telegraph, Cleverly, who has only held the post for a matter of months, said that "a number of my Jewish friends told me that if this man [Corbyn] gets in to government, they will get out of here and go and live with their families in other countries."

Cleverly added that no group in the UK should live in such an atmosphere of fear.

The parliamentarian's comments come a week after a rabbi in Maidenhead wrote to his community in a letter that, "Jewish life as we know it” would be in danger if Corbyn wins.

Since becoming head of Labour in 2015, Corbyn and his party have become embroiled on a number of occasions in allegations of antisemitism masked as anti-Israel behavior. Several Jewish MPs have left the party due to the rife climate of antisemitism; the BBC aired a detailed expose on the party titled "Is Labour Anti-Semitic?"

Former Labour MP John Mann resigned from the party in September, accusing Corbyn of "normalizing" antisemitism within the party.

McDonnell Shown Jewish Newspapers Condemning Labour

Remembering the Balfour Declaration
The Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917 was the first recognition in 2,000 years that Jews had as much a right to a homeland of their own as any other nation or people. It was a statement of British support (in principle) for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” It was made in a letter from Arthur James Balfour, the British foreign secretary, to Baron Rothschild, a prominent Anglo Jew. It was also left suitably ambiguous. British foreign policy on this and many other issues was intentionally opaque and vague, offering different polices to different parties. The Sykes-Picot secret agreement between France and Britain in 1916 had already laid out an agreed division of the Ottoman Empire between the two countries.

After the First World War was over and the Ottoman Empire was defeated, both Arabs and Jews pursued their own agendas. After the peace, the League of Nations awarded Britain a Mandate over the area that included Palestine and Transjordan. It was confirmed in the San Remo conference of April 1920. Both sides were unhappy. There was a lot of behind the doors haggling and promising. But in the end, the Allies imposed their will, as well as new dynasties and rulers, and in effect created the mess that the Middle East is in today.

On September 23, 1922, the British Colonial Office issued Article 25 of the Palestine Mandate. The first High Commissioner, Sir Herbert Samuel, a Jew, tried to prove his objectivity by trying to achieve a balance of interests. But he only succeeded in alienating everyone. It was an impossible situation. Arab nationalism as well as Jewish nationalism hit each other head on, culminating in the riots in Hebron and Safed in 1929, in which over 70 Jews were killed.
There's room for cautious optimism on UNRWA
For decades, the UN's agency for Palestinian refugees, officially known as the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, has been doing nothing but perpetuating the Palestinian problem.

The relief and employment it provides thanks to the generous donations of the international community are fueling Palestinian hatred of Israel and it is inflating the number of Palestinian "refugees" to a scope that makes any solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict impossible.

Until a few years ago, harsh criticism was only leveled at UNRWA only people like Center for Near East Policy Research Director David Bedein, who relentlessly tried to expose the refugee agency's true colors.

Many wouldn’t listen. And then came US President Donald Trump and exposed the agency for what it was, bravely ignoring the political correctness that prevented other Western countries from ever saying anything bad about UNRWA. Now, the truth about UNRWA is finally reaching the most important person of all – UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, as the General Assembly will soon rule on extending UNRWA's mandate.

It is too soon to tell whether reforms would be instated. Still, once the UN chief is willing to listen to the agencies' critics, there is room to expect positive developments.
Jordanian schools, clinics shut as UN Palestinian agency strikes
Thousands of employees of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees went on strike in Jordan on Sunday, shutting schools and health centers that provide services for more than two million people.

The strike demanding pay raises is being observed by around 7,000 workers, UNRWA spokesman Sami Mshamsha said, and comes as the agency faces an unprecedented financial crisis.

It has brought to a standstill work at UNRWA schools, clinics and centers providing social welfare to refugees across Jordan, Mshamsha said.

“We deplore this strike and we are worried about the impact it will have on the services provided to the refugees,” he said.

A union of UNRWA workers said the action that began Sunday morning was “open-ended” and all staff members were observing it.

Students should stay at home as UNRWA-run schools and universities would remain closed, it said.

More than two million Palestinians are registered as refugees with UNRWA in Jordan. The agency runs 169 schools in the kingdom — where some 120,000 students are enrolled — as well as a faculty of science and educational arts, 25 primary healthcare centers and other services.
Palestinians: PA Jerusalem Affairs minister arrested by Israel
Israeli security forces arrested Palestinian Authority Minister for Jerusalem Affairs Fadi al-Hadami at his home in east Jerusalem overnight Sunday, Palestinian media reported Sunday.

If the reports are accurate, this would be the third such arrest in the last five months, as Israel has already arrested al-Hadami twice, on June 30 and again on Sept. 25. Palestinian reports said that Israeli security forces raided al-Hadami's home in the neighborhood of Silwan.

Since he was appointed to his post in April, al-Hadami has been involved in a number of provocations. He has tried to leverage Israeli demolitions of illegally-constructed homes in east Jerusalem to increase unrest. On June 26, he, along with other senior PA officials, caused a diplomatic incident by bringing the President of Chile Sebastián Piñera to the Temple Mount.

The outraged Israeli reaction to the Palestinians hosting Piñera at the Temple Mount prompted the Chilean president to apologize to President Reuven Rivlin later than same day.
Germany grants refugee status to Iranian judo champ who fled country
Germany has granted refugee status to an Iranian judo star who said he is afraid to return home after exposing and criticizing his government’s pressure on him to deliberately lose in the World Championships in Tokyo last summer to avoid a potential bout against an Israeli opponent.

Saeid Mollaei, the defending heavyweight world champion, fled to Berlin after the championships, where he is hoping to secure a place at the 2020 Olympic games.

The International Judo Federation said in a Saturday statement that Mollaei had obtained the refugee status “in record time, thanks to the diligence of the German authorities.”

Responding to the news, Mollaei said, “I am very happy and I want to thank from the bottom of my heart everybody who helped me in those difficult moments. Now I can fully concentrate on judo and the preparation for the next IJF events and for the Olympic Games.”

Mollaei said that he was coerced into losing his World Championship semifinal bout so as not to risk facing Israel’s Sagi Muki, the eventual winner, in the Tokyo final. The IJF said Mollaei had been pressured to lose by Iranian deputy sports minister Davar Zani. Mollaei and was also reportedly pressured to bow out by Iranian Olympic Committee president Reza Salehi Amiri, who told him minutes before his semifinal match that Iranian security services were at his parents’ house in Tehran.

In Middle East: Pull Down Facades
The state-controlled media in Tehran are advising the "authorities" in Beirut and Baghdad to crush the popular uprisings "by all means necessary". One of Tehran's Iraqi propagandists even advised Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi "to kill leaders of sedition (fitna)" who had gathered in a restaurant in Baghdad.

In building their empire, the mullahs made a big mistake: they prevented the emergence of genuine local authorities, including national armies that could hold things together in a semi-autonomous way.

The Houthis, the Assad clan, Hezbollah, PMF and kindred groups are puppets in a surrealistic show scripted by faceless puppet-masters in Tehran. That they, in turn, hide behind secondary puppets, playing president and/or prime minister, makes for an even more absurd flight into fantasyland. Just over 1,000 years ago, Nizam al-Mulk noted that what appears legal is not necessarily legitimate and that being in office but not in power produces the worst kind of tyranny.
Iraqis block roads in support of anti-government protests
Iraqi protesters blocked roads in Baghdad on Sunday to raise pressure on the government to resign after more than a week of renewed mass demonstrations.

Protesters blocked one road with burning tires and barbed wire, and held up a banner reading “Roads closed by order of the people.” They appeared to be borrowing a tactic from Lebanon, where similar anti-government demonstrations have been underway since October 17, and where protesters have repeatedly blocked major roads.

Tens of thousands of protesters have gathered in Baghdad’s central Tahrir Square and across southern Iraq in recent days, calling for the overhaul of the political system established after the 2003 US-led invasion. Protesters have also taken over a large tower in the square that was abandoned after it was damaged in the war.

Thousands of students have skipped classes to take part in the protests, blaming the political elite for widespread corruption, high unemployment and poor public services.
Iran’s Khamenei rules out talks with US, saying they will yield ‘nothing’
Iran’s supreme leader on Sunday again ruled out negotiations with Washington, a day before the 40th anniversary of the hostage crisis at the US embassy in Tehran.

“Those who see negotiations with the US as the solution to every problem are certainly mistaken,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said during a speech to mark the anniversary, according to his official website.

“Nothing will come out of talking to the US, because they certainly and definitely won’t make any concessions.”

On November 4, 1979, less than nine months after the toppling of Iran’s American-backed shah, students overran the embassy complex to demand the United States hand over the ousted ruler after he was admitted to a US hospital.

It took a full 444 days for the crisis to end with the release of 52 Americans, but the US broke off diplomatic relations with Iran in 1980 and ties have been frozen ever since.

Mayor of Nice lauded for foiled antisemitic attack
Following a thwarted attack on Jewish school children in the French city of Nice that took place on Tuesday, the Wiesenthal Center congratulated Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi in a Sunday press release.

Wiesenthal Center Director for International Relation Dr. Shimon Samuels lauded the clear condemnation of hate and antisemitic violence by the mayor, which he said were ‘unacceptable’ and added that he is “concerned” at how people who commit assaults on Jewish people in France claim to be insane or under drugs and so a “denial of justice” is allowed to exist.

In the Tuesday attack, a man attempted to break into the Or Torah school while shouting insults against Jews. The guard confronted him, sounded the alarm, and the police arrived and arrested the man – who had fled the scene, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.

In 2012, Mohammed Merah, a French citizen of Algerian descent, murdered four people in Ozar Hatorah Jewish school in Toulouse. They were Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his two children who were aged 6 and 3 at the time, and another 8-year-old child. Merah was shot by French police after a siege.

The incident led to increased security measures being taken in France when Jewish institutions are concerned.

In 2017, 65-year-old Sarah Halimi was thrown off her balcony to her death by her 27-year-old neighbor Kobili Traore. French authorities determined that the attack was not antisemitic because Traore was under the influence of drugs and claimed he had killed the devil.
Colombia condemns defacement of menorah monument with swastika
The Colombian government and Israel’s ambassador have condemned the vandalism of a menorah monument in Bogota.

The South American country’s foreign ministry on Friday described the defacement of the monument on Israel State Avenue in the Colombian capital as an expression of “intolerance and hate.”

Israeli Ambassador Christian Cantor tweeted a photograph of the stone monument. It shows a swastika painted in orange on the base of the monument and the engraved word “Israel” is covered in paint.

Cantor has thanked Colombia for its statement of solidarity and says efforts to fight anti-Semitism will continue.
US’s Proofpoint buys firm that flags insider cybersecurity leaks for $225m
US cybersecurity firm Proofpoint, Inc. said Sunday it has agreed to buy Israeli founded ObserveIT, a maker of software that identifies insider cybersecurity threats, for $225 million in cash.

The acquisition will allow Proofpoint to “extend its data loss prevention (DLP) capabilities,” to better protect enterprises from cyber-attacks, the firm said in a statement.

The Boston-based ObserveIT, with a research and development center in Tel Aviv, was founded in 2006 by Gabriel Friedlander and Avi Amos. It has raised $53 million to date from investors including Bain Capital Ventures, Boston-based Spring Lake Equity Partners, and San Francisco-based VC firm NightDragon Security, according to Start-Up Nation Central, which tracks the Israeli tech industry. ObserveIT employs 150 people, 70 of them in Israel.

The combination of the capabilities of the two firms will “give enterprises unprecedented insights into user activity with their sensitive data, wherever it resides,” the statement said.
JCPA: The Cyrus Debate Ironically Confirms the Truth of Jewish History in Jerusalem
Ishaan Tharoor of The Washington Post sets out to disparage U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Nov. 1, 2019) – and by association, President Donald Trump – in his comments on Pompeo’s October 29, 2019, tweet in praise of Cyrus the Great, who ruled the Persian Empire in the 6th century BCE.1 Tharoor correctly notes, “[a]ccording to sources including biblical scripture, Cyrus allowed the Judeans deported and exiled following the ravages of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II to return to their homeland.”2 Perhaps unintentionally, this affirms important historical truths, thereby dashing what has become part of standard Palestinian narrative. Yet Tharoor’s distortions call for correction:

The Edict of Cyrus Is Not the Balfour Declaration.
The Edict of Cyrus does not declare a “Jewish national home,” as did the Balfour Declaration, commemorated on November 2. It stipulated a Temple, a place of worship (sacrifice). That is clear. However, it was President Harry S Truman who compared himself to Cyrus and metaphorically said, “I am Cyrus!” at a meeting at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York shortly after his presidency ended. In this sense, Cyrus was no more a political Zionist in the modern Herzlian sense than were the British, who called for a “Jewish national home” – not a state. They were both imperial powers.

As a matter of context, when Cyrus conquered the Near East (with the exception of Egypt, captured by his successor, Cambyses) in 539 BCE, he allowed peoples to rebuild their temples and worship their gods. This policy was the opposite of that of the Babylonians, whose conquests were marked by destruction of temples and local gods. This was a smart policy on the Persians’ part because it tended to prevent revolts.

The Jews were a different case because the majority of them were exiled from their homeland to Babylonia. The Babylonians had destroyed the (First) Temple and Jerusalem, the capital city of the Kingdom of Judah (Yehuda in Hebrew; Yehud, according. to the Persians) in 586 BCE. As the Edict of Cyrus (2 Chronicles 36:23 and Ezra 1:2-3) states: “Whosoever there is among you of all His people – his God be with him – let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah and build the house of the Lord, the God of Israel, He is the God who is in Jerusalem” (Ezra 1:3). In other words, it seems that Cyrus regarded the rebuilding of the Temple and the restoration of Jerusalem as building a Temple to a local god in a Temple-city, whereas the Jews always view God as the universal God who is the God of Israel as well. That being said, Cyrus was not a theologian, but a king, and this was his political policy. It is clear that the Jews were neither independent nor sovereign and that they remained under Persian rule.
Holocaust survivors reunite with rescuer at Yad Vashem
There was not a dry eye in sight as siblings Sarah Yanai and Yossi Mor embraced the woman who saved their lives during the Holocaust in Greece for the first time in many years.

On Sunday, Melpomeni Dina (née Gianopoulou) reunited with Yanai and Mor - whose family name was previously Mordechai - in an emotional meeting in which the siblings introduced 92-year-old Dina to almost 40 members of their family.

The meeting took place at Yad Vashem and was facilitated by the Holocaust remembrance organization and sponsored by the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous.

Tears streaming down her face, Dina told Mor that his grandson, who is currently serving in the IDF “resembles you as a child.

“You are no longer that small boy that I remember,” Dina added crying and laughing at the same time.

After the two embraced Dina, Yanai told reporters that she was so happy.

“There are no words to describe this feeling,” she said. “It is very emotional for us to be together again.”

Dina responded that it had been “so long” and invited the siblings to come back with her to Greece.

“We have a lot to talk about,” she added.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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