Saturday, November 30, 2019

From Ian:

London Bridge killer, 28, was jailed for eight years in 2012 for plotting to BOMB the London Stock Exchange and build an Islamic terror training camp - but was RELEASED last year and had an ankle tag on when he stabbed two people to death
Scotland Yard has named the terrorist responsible for yesterday's attack on London Bridge as 28-year-old Usman Khan, who was convicted of a plot to blow up the London Stock Exchange in 2012.

Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu confirmed that a man and a woman were killed in the attack which saw Khan, wearing a fake suicide vest, stab up to five people before being shot dead by armed police.

Commissioner Basu also revealed that Khan, who was from Stoke-on-Trent, had a prior terrorism conviction and had been jailed for eight years in 2012.

He was released on licence in December 2018 and was still wearing a monitoring tag.

Anti-terror police have raided a house in Staffordshire area linked to the killer.

The commissioner also confirmed that Khan had been attending a seminar in Fishmongers' Hall run by Cambridge University's Criminology Department to help offenders reintegrate into society following their release from jail.

Khan had threatened to blow up the building at the start of his five-minute rampage which ended in his death on London Bridge.

Dramatic video footage showed him being tackled to the ground by at least six members of the public. One man chased the attacker with a fire extinguisher while another used a Narwhal whale tusk to restrain him.

Khan had previously been arrested on December 20, 2010, four days before he and his nine-strong Al-Qaeda-inspired gang had planned to plant a bomb in the toilets of the London Stock Exchange.

Police found a handwritten list of targets which included the U.S. Embassy and the homes of London Mayor Boris Johnson, the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral and two rabbis.
'Breath-taking heroism': praise for Londoners who tackled knife attacker
Ordinary Londoners who showed "breath-taking heroism" in disarming a knife-wielding attacker were praised by politicians and members of the public alike after they intervened to stop an attack which injured several people at London Bridge on Friday.

Police shot dead the man, who had strapped a fake bomb to his body before stabbing a number of people, in what they said was a terrorism incident.

Videos on social media showed a crowd of people who had tackled the man to the ground, before being moved away by police who then shot him.
"I ... want pay tribute to the extraordinary bravery of those members of the public who physically intervened to protect the lives of others," Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. "For me they represent the very best of our country and I thank them on behalf of all of our country."

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said those who confronted the attacker would not have known that a bomb device strapped to his body was a hoax.

"What's remarkable about the images we've seen is the breath-taking heroism of members of the public who literally ran towards danger not knowing what confronted them," Khan told reporters.

"They really are the best of us," he added.
Bad to the bone: Moment hero Polish chef called Luckasz used a narwhal tusk to tackle London Bridge terrorist after grabbing it off the wall at Fishmongers Hall
A chef at Fishmongers' Hall who grabbed a narwhal tusk to fight off a knifeman is the latest hero to be identified in the London Bridge terror attack.

Luckasz, originally from Poland, tried to pin down knifeman Usman Khan, 28, who wore a fake suicide vest, using a five-foot narwhal tusk he took from the wall of Fishmongers' Hall yesterday.

One man - identified as Cambridge graduate Jack Merritt, 25 - and one woman were killed in yesterday's attack, and three others were injured.

Video exclusively obtained by the Daily Mail shows Luckasz using the narwhal tusk as he and a group of men try to pin down the attacker.

The Queen today praised the 'brave individuals who put their own lives at risk to selflessly help and protect others' during yesterday's attack.

Hero Luckasz's colleague, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Times: 'Luckasz grabbed a nearby pole and ran at him, getting stabbed in the hand in the process but continued to pin him down.

'Being stabbed didn't stop him giving him a beating. Luckasz is a hero.'

Luckasz is thought to have suffered from cuts but is not critically injured.



First victim in London terror attack named; officials praise ‘hero’ bystanders
The first of two victims in Friday’s London Bridge terror attack was named on Saturday as Jack Merritt, 25, a University of Cambridge graduate who worked in its criminology department and had attended an event prior to the attack where the suspected terrorist was also present.

A second victim, a woman, was not yet named. Three more people were injured in the stabbing attack.

Merritt was attending a Cambridge University conference on prisoner rehabilitation as part of a program called “Learning Together,” where he was a course coordinator. The event took place at Fishmongers’ Hall at the north end of London Bridge and was attended by dozens of students and former offenders. Among them was the 28-year-old attacker Usman Khan.

Khan began “lashing out” at the event but was “bundled out of the front door as he tried to go upstairs,” according to a Sky News report on Saturday.

“We believe the attack began inside before he left the building and proceeded onto the bridge,” said London police counterterrorism chief Neil Basu on Saturday. Basu said the suspect appeared to be wearing a bomb vest but it turned out to be “a hoax explosive device.”

The Telegraph reported that one of the event’s organizers tried to intervene when Kahn began “ranting and waving two knives around before launching his murderous attack.”
Usman Khan: Al-Qaeda-inspired militant launched London Bridge attack
Nine years before Usman Khan killed two people in a stabbing spree on London Bridge, he was overheard by British security services discussing how to use an Al-Qaeda manual he had memorized to build a pipe bomb.

It was a snippet of conversation, along with other intelligence about a plot to bomb the London Stock Exchange, that prompted British police to arrest Khan - then 19 years old - and a group of older men on Dec. 20, 2010.

Sentenced to a minimum of 8 years in prison in 2012 with a requirement that the parole board assess his danger to the public before release, he was released in December 2018 - without a parole board assessment.

On Friday, he strapped on a fake suicide vest, armed himself with large kitchen knives and went on the rampage at a conference on prisoner rehabilitation beside London Bridge.
JPost Editorial: Rabbi Mirvis’s message sounds the alarm over antisemitism
The chief rabbi’s harsh comments triggered a media frenzy – and an important statement of support from Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

“That the chief rabbi should be compelled to make such an unprecedented statement at this time ought to alert us to the deep sense of insecurity and fear felt by many British Jews,” Welby said. “The chief rabbi’s statement provides all of us with the opportunity to ensure our words and actions properly reflect our commitments to mutual flourishing and inclusion, for the common good.”

Corbyn has come under fire from Jewish leaders and lawmakers both outside and within his party for his failure to combat antisemitism in Labour. It has led to the resignation of a string of Labour MPs, most notably Dame Louise Ellman, who after 22 years in parliament said Corbyn was “not fit” to be prime minister.

Corbyn himself declined several opportunities to apologize for his party’s approach in a tough interview with BBC broadcaster Andrew Neil on Tuesday night. The next morning, Corbyn acknowledged the chief rabbi’s concerns, but insisted that Labour still has many Jewish supporters, and he had made it clear that antisemitism is wrong. “Our party did make it clear when I was elected leader, and after that, that antisemitism is unacceptable in any form in our party or our society and did indeed offer its sympathies and apologies to those who had suffered,” he said.

But words are not enough. In a letter to The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, World Zionist Organization vice chairman Yaakov Hagoel stated, “One of the top contenders for the United Kingdom’s leadership is a declared antisemite, a hater of Israel and a terrorist supporter.

“In 2019, nearly 300,000 Jews are living in fear for their own future and their own security,” he wrote. “Jewish symbols are hidden in fear of rising antisemitism on the streets of Britain.”

Hagoel urged Britain’s government, currently headed by Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson, to “take immediate action to protect her Jewish citizens through physical and legal protection.”

President Reuven Rivlin voiced his support for Mirvis in a meeting in London on Wednesday. “Your clear voice and leadership, particularly in the last few days, fills us all with pride,” Rivlin told Mirvis.

It should be noted that a record number of almost 900 antisemitic incidents were reported in the UK in the first six months of 2019, and the situation seems to be getting worse. The Community Security Trust, British Jewry’s largest watchdog, noted there was a 10% rise from the same period in 2018.


Ruth Smeeth, Jewish Labour MP, carries panic button due to death threats
Prominent Jewish Labour party politician, Ruth Smeeth, admitted to local newspapers in her electoral constituency of Stoke-on-Trent North that she carries a panic button in her pocket, and refrains from using public transport due to death threats.

Despite the threats, Smeeth said that she “won’t be bullied by anyone.” In her discussion to Stoke on Trent Live, Smeeth noted that an additional death threat was sent to her constituency office last week, following years of incidents targeting her after party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s rise to power.

Local police said that are investigating the threat and “malicious communication being sent to a local MP.”

“As with every election the police’s role is to prevent and detect crime and enable the democratic process to take place unhindered,” a spokesperson for the local police force said.

Smeeth remarked on the history of death threat made against her, mentioning that she received her first death threat in 2014 after being selected as a candidate for the seat of Stoke-on-Trent North. She also noted that the threats came form both far-left and far-right elements, with half of them being of an antisemitic nature.

Smeeth also said that police ranked her among the top 10 MPs most likely to be targeted by death threats or violence, which she attributes to her being a Jewish woman.

“My house is a fortress, my office is a fortress. I’ve got panic buttons in my house, I carry one in my pocket. I have to live in an environment that no-one should have to live in,” she told the local newspaper.


Dutch daily’s cartoon shows Netanyahu behind Labour anti-Semitism scandals
A major Dutch daily ran a caricature that critics said reinforces anti-Semitic tropes and suggests that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is attacking Britain’s Labour Party over anti-Semitism to distract from corruption charges against him.

In the caricature Thursday in De Volkskrant, Netanyahu is depicted holding a stone labeled “anti-Semitism charges” in one hand and reading an indictment for corruption in the other.

Opposite the Israeli leader is Jeremy Corbyn, who heads the UK Labour Party, which is under an investigation by the British government’s Equality and Human Rights Commission over complaints that Corbyn’s anti-Israel agenda and far-left politics have made the party institutionally anti-Semitic.

Corbyn says in the illustration: “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone,” an utterance attributed to Jesus in the New Testament.

Netanyahu has rarely referenced Corbyn publicly and has not spoken out about anti-Semitism in Labour. In 2018, Netanyahu condemned Corbyn’s laying of a wreath four years earlier on the graves of Palestinian terrorists.

The Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, a Dutch-Jewish watchdog group on anti-Semitism, called the caricature’s statement “absurd” and said that British Jews, not Netanyahu, are the ones making allegations of anti-Semitism against Corbyn.

“Jews have a right to speak out against anti-Semitism. The fact that an indictment was filed against the Israeli prime minister is irrelevant,” the center wrote. It also said the caricature “reaffirms the anti-Semitic stereotype that Jews are more loyal to Israel than countries where they live.”

Israeli Diplomats Celebrate 72nd Anniversary of UN Decision That Led to Jewish State’s Founding
Friday marked the 72nd anniversary of the UN General Assembly’s passage of Resolution 181, which lead to the establishment of the State of Israel.

Israel’s current UN ambassador, Danny Danon, celebrated the occasion with a tweet, saying the Jewish state “continues to exemplify the Zionist ideals, fulfilling our ancestors’ dreams.”


He added, “Today, 163 nations recognize the State of Israel as we continue to build our state and be a rising force in the world. Am Yisrael Chai!”

The Israeli Foreign Ministry tweeted, “We’re proud of Israel’s achievements and contribution to the world in the last 72 years.”

Israeli Ambassador to the UK Mark Regev highlighted the Palestinians’ rejection of the partition plan, accusing their leaders of choosing “violence over compromise.”

“When will they finally admit their mistake?” he asked.
A Newly Published Book of Letters Provides a Thrilling Eye-Witness Account of Israel’s Birth
Mordecai Chertoff moved from the United States to Palestine in 1947 as a young man, writing evocative letters to his family back home and capturing the drama of Israel’s birth. These letters were collected and annotated by his son, Daniel Chertoff, in a newly published book, Palestine Posts: An Eye-Witness Account of the Birth of Israel. This letter was translated by Rachel Chertoff Kaminetsky.
***
And so it was—And it came to pass at midnight!

And a redeemer will come unto Zion!

My dear family—Friday afternoon, before Shabbat, we sat crowded together and fearful around our huge radio in the newspaper office, and heard the proposal to postpone the vote—Our eyes dimmed and our blood froze in our veins: They’re “pulling one over on us,” as the children say. After the broadcast we walked through the silent and sad streets of Jerusalem, and found no comfort. We envisioned military posts at every corner and machine guns, explosions and sirens, the terror and suffering renewed. Then comes a clear Shabbat morning under the scalding sun, and the people walk about with some sort of hope and prayer on their lips, and they stream to the Western Wall to pray with the chief rabbis. I visited Rabbi Herzog before going to the office to hear the latest broadcast, and to work with no logical hope of victory but with a great sense that despite all, we will triumph. Friends on the street and at the cafe ask me, the journalist, how the debate will end, what the night will bring and I answer their prayers with a quiet “it will be okay.” And until 11:30 [pm] I stand hunched over the desk, gloomy and irritable and answer every question with only “It will be okay.”

Dr. Aranha begins, and the delegate from Lebanon speaks, and another and yet another after that, and “our Herschel” and then Gromyko (hero of the Hebrew state) demands a vote. And suddenly, amid all the chaos, the chairman announces a vote not regarding France’s proposal, but on the Partition Plan itself. We sat glued to our seats, each of us with a piece of paper to calculate his prophecy, and pen in hand: [And thus he would count:] One, one and two, one and three… thirty-three: A great, joyous cry and silence, the silence of the moment we’ve awaited for two thousand years. And in the narrow, smoke-filled room, heavy with tension and oppressive concern, one long sigh of relief and fumbling for cigarettes and pipes. As though the conductor of the dance gave a secret sign—a silent Mazal Tov from the depths of the heart. (h/t Isaac Storm)


Palestinian Authority urges all EU members to recognize Palestinian state
The Palestinian Authority has increased its efforts to convince all European Union members to recognize a Palestinian state in response to US and Israeli policies and decisions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday called on the EU to “collectively recognize” a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines, with east Jerusalem as its capital.

Abbas made his appeal during a meeting in Ramallah with Spanish diplomat and politician Miguel Moratinos, who also serves as the UN High-Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations.

The EU is the single largest donor of foreign aid to the Palestinians.

PA officials have been waging a diplomatic offensive to convince the EU to recognize a Palestinian state – with east Jerusalem as its capital – since US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Gaza rocket explodes in open field in Israel; IDF strikes Hamas post in response
Rocket sirens wailed in Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip Friday night, with the army saying a rocket launched from the Palestinian territory exploded in an open field in Israeli territory. There were no reports of casualties or damage in the attack.

In response Israel Defense Forces aircraft struck a Hamas military post in the northern Gaza Strip, the army said.

Some time later sirens once again went off, this time in the Ashkelon area north of Gaza. The army said “non-rocket fire” had triggered the alarms, and that Iron Dome interceptors were fired in response but no interception was made.

The incidents came hours after a Palestinian teenager was reported killed by Israeli troops during a protest near the Gaza-Israel border.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry reported that 16-year-old Fahed al-Astal was shot in the stomach and that five others were wounded. No official demonstrations were held Friday. An Israel Defense Forces spokesman said some demonstrators had approached the border fence and attempted to sabotage it. Troops responded with less-lethal means as well as some live fire.
Is Hamas the true beneficiary of the Israel-Islamic Jihad escalation?
On the morning of November 12, 2019, the Israel Air Force conducted a surgical airstrike against Bahaa Abu al-Ata, a senior terrorist in Gaza who belonged to Islamic Jihad. Based on Israeli intelligence, al-Ata was preparing an immediate terrorist attack on Israeli civilians and IDF troops. He was also responsible for hundreds of other terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians.

Islamic Jihad retaliated by launching over 450 rockets toward 110 communities in Israel, tethering Israelis to their bomb shelters at night and preventing more than one million kids from going to school. Israel responded to the jihadist aggression by targeting Islamic Jihad rocket launchers, missile factories, rocket storage-spaces and terrorists.

It took 48 hours of back-and-forth fire until Egypt mediated a ceasefire between Israel and Islamic Jihad. A number of Islamic Jihad violations of the ceasefire were recorded but at the moment of writing these words, things seem to be quiet, order is restored.

I found it interesting to see how Israel reacted to the rockets from Gaza this time, as opposed to how it acted in the past. In the past, Israel had held Hamas accountable for any terrorist activity originating from Gaza. Hence, when an attack occurred, Israel reserved the right to target not only the terrorist organization behind the attack, but also Hamas’s infrastructure as well. The thought was that Hamas would help restrain any aggression towards Israel so that it doesn’t get hurt by Israeli strikes.
US ambassador slams Norway for praising bypass of Iran sanctions
US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell on Friday savaged the Norwegian ambassador to Iran Lars Nordrum for lauding a European system to circumvent American sanctions targeting Tehran for its illicit nuclear activities and terrorism.

“Terrible timing – why fund the Iranian regime while it’s killing the Iranian people and shutting off the Internet?” tweeted Grenell, the most high-profile US ambassador in Europe. “You should be standing for human rights not funding the abusers.”

The UK-based human rights watchdog Amnesty International said in November that at least 143 protesters were killed in Iran during demonstrations against the regime due to gas price increases and opposition to the clerical regime system.

Nordrum tweeted that “We join INSTEX with the E3 to facilitate trade with Iran and preserve the JCPOA.”

The JCPOA is the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name for the Iran nuclear deal that is supposed to curb Tehran’s nuclear weapons ambitions in exchange for sanctions release.

INSTEX is an abbreviation for the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges, a European special-purpose vehicle (SPV) launched in January to circumvent US sanctions imposed on Iran. The US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 because, the Trump administration said, the agreement does not stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and ballistic missiles, or its use of terrorism.

Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden joined on Friday the United Kingdom, France and Germany as partners in INSTEX.
Book review: Ex-Irish minister says he was framed
Irish Journalist Paul Williams writes about Ireland’s Jewish former minister for justice, equality and defense Alan Shatter that “no other politician in living memory endured such a frenzied onslaught by the baying mob of populist politicians... intent on deliberately targeting his career and reputation in order to destroy him.”

In Frenzy and Betrayal: The Anatomy of a Political Assassination, Shatter explores how and why he was treated so maliciously by the Irish establishment – politicians, the judiciary and the media – before and after he resigned in May 2014. His resignation came in the wake of two reports that wrongly condemned his conduct.

Shatter’s book comprehensively deals with the how, charting the five years between the period prior to his resignation and his final and total vindication. I was tempted to write “vindication and exoneration,” except Shatter has not been exonerated. Official Ireland has yet to acknowledge that the frenzied onslaught that destroyed his reputation was based on falsehoods.

What the book does not and cannot do is answer the why. Why did former Irish prime minister Enda Kenny, to whom Shatter had shown extraordinary loyalty when other members of the Fine Gael hierarchy tried to depose Kenny, demand his resignation? Why did Kenny never contact Shatter, even after the courts declared that the grounds for Shatter’s resignation had been false?

Why did Shatter’s cabinet colleague, then-minister of transport and current Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, use Shatter’s absence from the country on official government business to publicly question his judgment? Why did current Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney send a congratulatory private text to Shatter after he won one of his legal victories to clear his name, but refuse to publicly state that Shatter was owed an apology from the government?
On Fox News, the Fix is In Against Israel when Trey Yingst is Reporting
While Fox News opinion hosts are often very fair – or even sympathetic – towards Israel, the reporters Fox News sends to Jerusalem are a different story, often going out of their way to bash Israel as they seemingly mimic their more senior colleagues at the New York Times or the BBC.

With former Fox Jerusalem reporters like Reena Ninan or Conor Powell the Palestinian narrative always took center stage.

Unfortunately the same seems to be true with the current reporter Trey Yingst. Consider his interview with Mediate, where he explained that since Palestinians in Gaza face serious hardships, they have nothing to lose by demonstrating against Israel:
Residents in Gaza live with four hours of electricity a day, limited access to clean water and high rates of unemployment, so many people there have nothing to lose.

But the shortages of electricity, water and jobs in Gaza are all due to its Hamas rulers, who steal so much of the international aid sent to Gaza and use it to attack Israel. Cement meant to rebuild or repair buildings, along with the necessary fuel, for example, has been diverted to building attack tunnels into Israel. As for water, Gaza sits on a large aquifer – it is essentially an oasis – but the Hamas rulers and before them the Palestinian Authority did nothing to stop massive illegal over-pumping, allowing sea water to infiltrate and foul the water. Neither did the Palestinian rulers of Gaza do anything to treat sewage, instead allowing it to collect and percolate through the porous soil into the aquifer, further fouling the water.

So if the Palestinians have nothing to lose, it’s not because of Israel, it’s because of their own rulers. Perhaps Yingst should ask them why they’re not attacking and overthrowing Hamas.
BBC WS radio facilitates unchallenged HRW monologue – part one
The November 25th afternoon edition of the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Newshour’ included a long item (from 14:05 here) relating to the ‘Human Rights Watch’ employee Omar Shakir whose work visa was not renewed by the Israeli authorities in May 2018 and who – following several court cases – left the country on that day.

Presenter Razia Iqbal introduced that eight minute and thirty-nine second item as follows:
Iqbal: “Now, a controversial fight [sic] between Israel and one of its most vociferous human rights critics. The outcome is the expulsion of the director of Human Rights Watch based in Israel, Omar Shakir, who is a US citizen but was accused by the Israelis of advocating BDS – a Palestinian-led campaign calling for the boycotting, disinvestment and sanctioning of Israel until it meets what it des…what is described as Israel’s obligations under international law.”

Anyone familiar with the long years of BBC refusal to inform its audiences of the BDS campaign’s aims would not be surprised by Iqbal’s blatant whitewashing of that subject. The BDS campaign – which is not “Palestinian-led” as claimed by Iqbal – does not aspire to have Israel ‘meet international law’. Rather it seeks to end the “occupation and colonization of all Arab lands” and promotes a right of “Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties”: goals which undermine the fundamental right of the Jewish people to self-determination.

Yet as we see, Iqbal refrained from providing listeners with that obviously relevant background information before she went on to introduce her two sole interviewees – both from ‘Human Rights Watch’. She did however promote one of HRW’s long-standing talking points while referring to “a 2017 law” (actually an amendment to existing legislation) which she failed to explain.
BBC WS radio facilitates unchallenged HRW monologue – part two
Iqbal closed the pre-recorded interviews there, failing to point out to listeners that Shakir’s claim of ‘using the same standards’ in Israel as it does “everywhere else” is patently untrue and that – for example – it did not campaign for Airbnb to de-list holiday rentals in other disputed territories such as northern Cyprus.

Listeners then heard an ‘explanation’ of why ‘Newshour’ completely failed to provide its listeners with any other perspective.

Iqbal: “Our correspondent in Jerusalem has attempted to get reaction from the authorities in Israel but they have rejected requests for interviews. We have also been trying here in London.”

That of course does not excuse the entirely one-sided nature of this long item in which listeners repeatedly heard HRW’s long-standing spin on the story go unquestioned and unchallenged but were told nothing at all about the court’s findings.

Once again we see that when reporting on ‘Human Rights Watch’ – which is one of the political NGOs most quoted and promoted by the BBC in its coverage of Israel – the BBC tosses its editorial standards on accuracy and impartiality aside, opting for journalistic activism over providing its audiences with the full range of information necessary for proper understanding of the story.
A third superficial BBC News website report on ‘Human Rights Watch’
An additional paragraph was given over to amplification of similar comments from another political NGO which engages in lawfare against Israel, ‘B’tselem’ and yet another paragraph (also seen in the previous report) told readers that:
“Former Israeli officials and human rights groups filed motions to join Mr Shakir’s appeal against the deportation order at the Supreme Court, while the European Union and United Nations Secretary General António Guterres called on the Israeli authorities not to deport him.”

BBC audiences were not however informed that among those expressing support for Omar Shakir and ‘Human Rights Watch’ was Hamas.

While the caption to the main image illustrating the article told BBC audiences that “Omar Shakir vowed to continue investigating and reporting human rights abuses”, both a Tweet from Shakir embedded into the article and a Tweet from the head of HRW make it very clear that the NGO’s interest in human rights is far from universal.

This is the third BBC News website report on this topic (see earlier ones here and here) and all three have extensively and unquestioningly amplified the talking points of HRW and other political NGOs while failing to inform BBC audiences of the obviously relevant issue of the aims of the BDS campaign.

Clearly the BBC has no interest whatsoever in providing its audiences with the full range of information necessary for proper understanding of the story and its wider related background but that editorial policy is more comprehensible when one appreciates that while for years ‘Human Rights Watch’ has been one of the political NGOs most quoted and promoted by the BBC in its coverage of Israel, that organisation’s political agenda and funding has never been adequately clarified to audiences as required by BBC editorial guidelines on impartiality.
Jewish Practice in Europe ‘Severely Under Threat,’ Prominent Rabbi Warns
Jewish practice in Europe is “severely under threat,” a prominent rabbi from the continent warned this week.

“The continued efforts made by several European nations to restrict our ability to observe important religious customs and traditions are increasingly worrying and problematic,” Chief Rabbi of Moscow Pinchas Goldschmidt — president of the Conference of European Rabbis — said at a gathering in Geneva, Switzerland. “Following the recent banning of religious slaughter in two regions of Belgium and challenges to religious circumcision in Iceland, there are constant discussions in other states including Sweden, France and Germany.”

Goldschmidt noted that protecting Jewish life in Europe was “of the utmost importance within today’s political and social climate.”

“The future of the Jews in Europe is once again thrown into question,” he added. “Many are experiencing huge anxiety about whether they are able to continue living on this continent.”
London Man Jailed for ‘Vile’ Antisemitic Harassment of Jewish Women
20-year-old man from London was jailed on Thursday after he admitted to stalking and harassing Jewish women.

Sam Hemmati targeted a number of Jewish victims and bombarded them with antisemitic messages across several different social media platforms, local news outlet the Ilford Recorder reported on Friday.

Between September 2018 and March of this year, Hemmati stalked and harassed a total of eight women.

In a number of the communications, Hemmati sent the victims sexually-explicit material. He also made offensive comments, including making reference to the Holocaust.

He repeatedly contacted the women — whom he had found via social networks — even after being asked to stop.

Police Inspector Jason Scrivener who led the investigation said: “The nature of Hemmati’s online communications can only be described as vile.”

Scrivener said that Hemmati “took pleasure in hounding his innocent victims using online channels, subjecting them to the most horrendous vitriol about their religion.”
Norwegian mayor asks church to take down Star of David decoration
A Norwegian mayor asked a church to replace its traditional Star of David Christmas decoration due to complaints that it’s too associated with Israel and Jews.

Strand mayor Irene Heng Lauvsnes asked the Klippen Pentecostal church, which lights a large Star of David neon decoration in a municipal park where it holds a Christmas celebration, to replace the symbol with a “traditional Christmas star,” the Strandbuen newspaper reported Wednesday.

The park in southern Norway must remain “neutral,” especially in light of the controversy, Lauvsnes told the Aftenbladet news outlet.

Unnamed critics said the church “designed [the decoration] as a Star of David, a national symbol both for the Jews and for the State of Israel” and “therefore does not fit in the public space” in Strand.

The church is considering the request as it does “not want to provoke in any way,” its representative told Strandbuen.

The use of the Star of David in Christmas decorations is common throughout northern Europe.

The municipality’s intervention provoked anger, including by the editor in chief of the Dagen daily, Vebjorn Selbekk.

“Municipal Christmas bureaucrats obviously do not want a Jewish or Israeli mark on their Christmas. Then we almost have to remind them of some key facts about why we celebrate Christmas at all,” Selbekk wrote in a column titled “merry Jew-free Christmas,” adding the the holiday “is marked by the fact that a Jewish boy was born to a Jewish mother in a Jewish stable in a Jewish city in a Jewish country.”
Miss Hitler beauty pageant winner 'was among 19 people arrested for trying to establish a new Nazi party in Italy'
The winner of a neo-Nazi online beauty pageant was among those arrested yesterday when Italian authorities seized a huge stash of weapons and far-right memorabilia from 19 homes across the country, Italian reports say.

Francesca Rizzi, 26, who won the 2018 Miss Hitler competition, is believed to be among those being investigated for plotting to form a neo-Nazi party called the National Italian Socialist Workers' Party.

The 26-year-old woman, who is from Milan, was among 19 people arrested during an operation by Italian officers called 'Black Shadows'.

She won the online fascist beauty pageant in 2018 under the name Miss Eva Braun, and her upper back is covered with a tattoo of the Reichsadler – a Nazi emblem with an eagle atop a swastika.

During the nationwide raid, police seized an arsenal of swords, knives, crossbows, hunting rifles and automatic weapons from 19 homes.

Rizzi's co-accused include a middle-aged female civil servant called Antonella Pavia who refers to herself as 'Hitler’s Sergeant Major'.


Flying high: Military prowess helps Israel become global force in drone industry
In a fierce battle for market share against world superpowers China and the United States, Israel’s drone industry likes to say it has a secret weapon — military experience.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are used daily by Israel’s military in and around its borders.

The senior echelons of the country’s industry are populated by former military and intelligence officials, many of whom became founders or engineers in local startups.

Israel’s first rudimentary drone dates back to 1969. It was a remote-controlled plane with an attached camera to spy on neighboring rival Egypt.

Drones became more common, though not much more technically advanced, during the war in Lebanon from 1978.

But half a century later, tiny Israel is now a global force in the multibillion-dollar UAV industry, competing against China and the US.

It trades on its unique selling point: enemies at its borders and therefore plenty of opportunities to test and fine-tune its UAVs.

Ronen Nadir was a military commander specializing in missile development before establishing his company, BlueBird Aero Systems.
Thyssenkrupp invests millions in first 3D metal-printing in Israel
The German-based company Thyssenkrupp has announced an investment of several million euros in a new center that will focus on advanced manufacturing aided by 3D metal-printing technologies. The 3D metal printing center will serve Israeli companies that need customized metal parts.

The new center, called Metal Point, was inaugurated during a recent visit to Israel by Dr. Alexander Orellano, a member of the board of directors of Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems.

Metal Point is the outcome of a collaboration between Thyssenkrupp and the Israeli company Impact Labs.

Metal Point will benefit from the support of the Economy Ministry, the Manufacturers Association of Israel, the Israeli Institute of Metals at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, and other agencies that encourage innovation in advanced manufacturing. The Economy Ministry estimates that advanced manufacturing technologies will help increase Israel’s industrial GDP by NIS 25 billion per year.

“We regard the economic strengthening of Israel with innovation and entrepreneurship as an important goal,” Orellano said. “The establishment of a first-of-its-kind 3D metal-printing innovation center will allow Israeli start-ups and industrial companies to enhance their position in the international market. The strategic collaboration with Impact Labs is a significant example of ThyssenKrupp’s commitment to the long-term relationship with Israel.”
Transcendence: 50,000 Jews celebrated Zionism in Hebron
Despite the intense focus on Israel’s ongoing political stalemate, the Israeli media have found plenty of room in recent days to run lengthy features on food, music, sports, shopping and social gossip.

This includes the victories of Tottenham, Manchester and Liverpool in the British Premier League, another visit to Israel by Quentin Tarantino and the pregnant Daniela Pick, a comedy show in Tel Aviv by Louis CK, Sacha Baron Cohen’s attack on Facebook, oodles of advice about where and whether to buy cellphones on Black Friday, instructions on how to baste your Thanksgiving turkey, Miri Mesika’s tell-all magazine cover story, and much excitement about the upcoming seventh annual Solidarity Film Festival and the Jacob’s Ladder Music Festival.

But Israeli media found little reason to cover the biggest festival of the month – the largest gathering in at least 2,000 years of Jews in Hebron, last Shabbat, to mark the anniversary of Abraham’s purchase of the Jewish people’s first piece of land in Israel, the field and Tomb of the Patriarchs.

Perhaps 50,000 (!) Israelis and Jews from around the world camped-out in downtown Hebron adjacent to Ma’arat HaMachpela (the Cave or Tomb of the Patriarchs), to celebrate the Chayei Sarah Torah reading, which tells the story of Abraham’s negotiations over a burial plot in that city for his wife, the matriarch Sarah.

Of course, the importance of Hebron in Jewish tradition and nationalism is broader than the spiritual legacies of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, and Jacob and Leah – all of whom are buried in Hebron according to the biblical record. King David’s throne was established in Hebron, and he ruled there for seven years before moving his capital to Jerusalem.



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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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