Thursday, December 12, 2019

From Ian:

Jewish Blood on the Streets of Jersey City
In the early afternoon, after the governor and mayor had come and gone, Rabbi David Niederman, the president of United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and one of the public faces of the city’s Satmar communities, arrived on the scene. I followed him and various leaders of the Jersey City community up that side stairway and into the first floor of the school, where dozens of children had been hiding in fear just a day earlier, and where a massacre beyond all imagination might have been narrowly avoided. There was a board game half out of its box, and cards strewn across one of the hallways. A single page of cursive Yiddish handwritten on notebook paper sat at my feet.

Niederman, who was likely in the midst of one of the most intense and complicated days of his life, had appeared at a press conference with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio just a couple hours earlier. He ate an egg salad sandwich and then said birkat hamazon under his breath.

Niederman had tirelessly sounded the alarm about the frequent attacks and harassment of Jews in Williamsburg. It was important for him to come to Jersey City as soon as he could, he said, because “my brother and my sister were killed here.”

In his experience, the attack was not a single, shocking incident of violence but rather the latest episode in a year-and-a-half-long period in which a Haredi Jew was hit, beaten, or threatened on the streets of New York on what felt like a monthly and then a weekly basis. That the steady drumbeat of attacks on Jews had finally turned deadly left him with a feeling of inevitability, exhaustion, and waste. “It’s incremental,” Niederman said of the worsening attacks. “The target moves.”

Niederman had a message for the non-Haredi Jews who form the vast majority of New York’s incredibly diverse Jewish community. “Don’t think that because you don’t have a kippa and you don’t dress like the Hasidim that you are safe,” he said. “Speak out, and say anti-Semitism has to be stopped, no matter who the recipient of the anti-Semitic acts are. Say: Those are our brothers and sisters. It’s our brothers and sisters, and people should start understanding that they are also Jewish, and therefore they can be next on the line.”
Jersey City rampage victims remembered as generous Satmar community members
Two of the Jewish victims of the Jersey City shooting rampage were remembered on Wednesday as a dedicated mother of five “full of love,” and a charitable young member of the Satmar Hasidic community who was involved in the founding of the local yeshiva.

A police officer, three bystanders and the two suspects all died in the violence Tuesday afternoon in Jersey City, just across the Hudson River from New York City. Two of the bystanders have been identified by local community members as Leah Mindel Ferencz, 33, and Moshe Deutsch, 24, both members of the local ultra-Orthodox community.

The 40-year-old slain officer, Detective Joseph Seals, who led the department in the number of illegal guns removed from the streets in recent years, was cut down by gunfire that erupted near a cemetery. The gunmen then drove a stolen rental van to another part of the city and engaged police in a lengthy shootout from inside the kosher market, where the five other bodies were later found.

Ferencz, 33, was part-owner of JC Kosher Supermarket. Shortly before the gunmen stormed the store, her husband, Moishe, went to the synagogue next door to pray, according to Chabad Rabbi Moshe Schapiro.

Thousands mourn at funerals of 2 Jewish victims of Jersey City shooting
Thousands of mourners took to the streets of Brooklyn and Jersey City late Wednesday for the funerals of Mindel Ferencz, 31, and 24-year-old Moshe Deutsch, who were killed in the kosher store shooting.

In Brooklyn, thousands of mostly men followed Ferencz’s casket through the streets hugging and crying. Many prayed. She was later laid to rest in Jersey City, where she had made her home in recent years and ran the grocery with her husband.

Thousands also accompanied Deutsch, a rabbinical student from Brooklyn who was shopping at the grocery when the assailants entered. The funeral service was held at the Satmar Beit Midrash in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Eulogies, in Yiddish, were broadcast to the crowds who filled the roads and stairs of homes along the route, with many sobbing and wailing.

Police provided escorts to both funerals.

The prospect of attacks against Jews weighed heavily on the more than 300 people who attended a vigil Wednesday night at a synagogue about a mile from where the shootings took place.

“I think maybe we have two parts of our brain,” said Temple Beth-El president Tom Rosensweet. “One part is absolutely not expecting something like this to happen in Jersey City, but the other part knows we have to be careful.”

The Silence Surrounding Violence Against Us Orthodox Jews Is Deafening
People may think we are having a national conversation about anti-Semitism, but we really aren’t. What we keep on talking about is politics. If we can’t fit every story into the preconceived narrative we’ve built in that arena, we just ignore it and search for a story that we can.

What happens when the stories get more complex? What happens when the victims are people who publicly align themselves with the President? What happens when the people committing the acts of anti-Semitism against them aren’t white nationalists, but minorities — like the former Black Hebrew Israelite who committed the Jersey City murders?

Then we ignore it.

Visibly Orthodox Jews increasingly find themselves left out in the cold, abandoned and alone in the face of the anti-Semitism targeting us specifically. Jewish institutions dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism are there with statements and resources, but beyond that, it’s hard to get anyone to act as though they really care about us.

Even worse, our fellow Jews sometimes participate in our alienation.

When people can only recognize anti-Semitism when it comes from the other side of the aisle, it isn’t ant-Semitism which bothers them; it is their political enemies. It isn’t Jew hatred that is at stake but politics, and winning.

And the Jews — the visibly Orthodox Jews — who are the ones bearing the brunt of the violent anti-Semitism, are the ones who suffer, just because we, and the “type” of violence we are enduring, don’t fit neatly into the political box so many wish we would.

It’s a terrible state to be in, subjected to regular violence and now a massacre, yet to be utterly alone. Won’t anyone set aside politics and stand up for what’s right, stand up for the most visible, vulnerable among us? Why won’t anyone hear our cries as we try to tell the story of how we are being targeted?
The Real Dangers to Jews
Even in a political climate rich with petulant outbursts and virtue-signaling, the reaction to Trump’s executive order sets a dangerous precedent. Portraying measures clearly designed to combat anti-Semitism and protect Jews from harm as being in of themselves somehow anti-Semitic is not only an affront to logic and morality, but also a reckless move when violence against Jews is on the rise.

If you want to see this muddled logic carried to its extreme and ugly end, just look at what New York’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, said in a press conference after the Jersey City shooting. The attack, he said, “tragically confirms that a growing pattern of violent anti-Semitism has now turned into a crisis for our nation. And now this threat has reached the doorstep of New York City.”

The doorstep? The threat has been far inside the mayor’s own house for years. But acknowledging that would mean fessing up to his own calculated inaction—and finally explaining exactly why he’s allowed targets to be put on Jewish backs.

The mayor’s laughable campaign for president is one likely reason for his inaction in the face of all this violence, and for his belief that threat has only now reached his city’s limits. Another may be the fact that the majority of the hundreds of hate crimes against Jews in New York were perpetrated by African Americans and Hispanics, not by enraged white nationalists, who are frequent targets of the mayor’s rhetoric but have been found responsible for exactly zero hate crimes in the city of New York.

Jews make up about 2% of the American population, yet were the victims of a whopping 57.8% of all religious bias crimes last year, according to the FBI. Rather than vocally and unequivocally demanding that their Jewish constituents be protected, the politicians representing those targeted—from de Blasio to New York Sen. Chuck Schumer—have been largely silent on this issue, while at the same time loudly and vigorously accusing the right of racism. Videos like this one, shot at the scene shortly after the Jersey City attack and featuring local neighbors blaming the Jews for Jews being murdered, are not likely to make any politician on the left take action, especially not someone like de Blasio, who has for years been kissing the ring of Al Sharpton, an anti-Semite best remembered for inciting an actual pogrom against the Jews of Brooklyn.


What American Jews need right now is clear and concrete action that protects them from anyone who wishes them harm. Whether you like it or not, the fact is that yesterday New York’s senator and mayor took no such steps. The president did.
Fears of anti-Semitism hang over New Jersey attack probe
The prospect of attacks against Jews weighed heavily on the more than 300 people who attended a vigil Wednesday night at a synagogue about a mile from where the shootings took place.

In the deadliest such attack in US history, 11 people were killed in an October 2018 shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. Last April, a gunman opened fire at a synagogue north of San Diego, killing a woman and wounding a rabbi and two others.
Orthodox Jewish men mourn during the funeral service of Leah Mindel Ferencz who was killed in a kosher market that was the site of a gun battle in Jersey City, New Jersey, December 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

The heartbreak was obvious Wednesday night as thousands of mostly men followed Ferencz’s casket through the streets of Brooklyn hugging and crying. Many prayed.

The kosher grocery is a central fixture in a growing community of Orthodox Jews who have been moving to Jersey City in recent years and settling in what was a mostly black section of Jersey City, causing some resentment.
Prof. Phyllis Chesler: What kind of Iron Dome can we deploy against the hate in Jersey City?
All day yesterday and part of today, no announcement was made as to who the killers were. Usually, that means that the politically correct narrative did not apply, that the Bad Guys were Muslims, or African-Americans or Black Muslims. In this case, they are Black Hebrew Israelites who believe that they are the original Jews. Even the Southern Poverty Law Center has condemned them as a hate group. Also, one of the killers posted Jew-hating material online and both killers drove slowly and purposefully to the kosher market.

Is what I’ve written anti-Black? How, dear God, are we going to talk about (indoctrinated) Jew hatred among people of color? Among Muslims of color? Among faux-Jews of color? Jew hatred on both the left and the right? Jew hatred among Muslims in the Islamic world?

Is this too forbidden a subject?

Not as forbidden as the subject about how so many Jewish leaders, both in America and Israel have failed the historical moment.

Not as forbidden as discussing how many American Jews blame Israel for being attacked and refuse to bear the burden of understanding and fighting for the right of our only Jewish state to exist.

The rockets that recently fell again—again! on Sderot were barely reported in the world media. Oh, there is a connection.

What kind of Iron Dome can we create against hate in Jersey City? Against real bullets in Pittsburgh? In London? In Paris? Against hard and cowardly hearts the world over?
Reeling Jewish Community Launches Fund for Jersey City Kosher Market Victims
The small Jewish community in the Greenville section of Jersey City — the location of the kosher supermarket that was deliberately targeted by two shooters on Tuesday — has launched a fund to assist the families of the victims of the atrocity.

Police in Jersey City have meanwhile set up a separate fund for the family of Detective Joseph Seals, the officer who lost his life during the attack, leaving a wife and five children.

Along with Seals, three other people were murdered in Tuesday’s incident: Leah Mindel Ferencz, 33, the co-owner of the store with her husband Moshe, and the mother of three children; Douglas Miguel Rodriguez Barzola, 49, a worker at the store who was married with an 11-year-old daughter; and Moshe Hirsch Deutsch, 24, who was shopping at the store at the time of the attack.

The Jewish community’s fund will provide assistance to the surviving members of the Ferencz family, help with funeral costs, rebuild the JC Kosher Market and install better security at Jewish locations, according to its organizers.
Chabad: Jersey City Jewish Community Establishes Fund for Anti-Semitic Attack Victims
The beleaguered Jewish community in the Greenville section of Jersey City has established an emergency fund to help the family of the shop owner who was killed in the JC Kosher Supermarket shooting on Dec. 10.

Leah Minda Ferencz and her husband, Moshe Dovid, owned and operated a small kosher grocery that served the fledgling Jewish community comprised largely of Chassidic Jews. Two attackers entered the store, murdering Ferencz; Moshe Deutsch, 24; and Douglas Rodríguez in what authorities are now saying was a targeted anti-Semitic attack.

“People have been asking how they can help,” said Rabbi Moshe Schapiro, who co-directs Chabad of Hoboken and Jersey City and is heading up the fund with Greenville Jewish community leaders. “We want to make sure that the three young Ferencz orphans have whatever they need in the days, weeks and months ahead.”

Schapiro also pointed out, “the family’s source of income, the small grocery store, is completely devastated. This family needs a lot of help now.”

Shocking Surveillance Footage Shows Moment Antisemitic Shooters Opened Fire at New Jersey Kosher Supermarket
Surveillance footage emerged on Wednesday showing the start of the previous day’s deadly shooting attack at a kosher supermarket in Jersey City, New Jersey.

The three civilians who died were identified on Wednesday as Leah Mindel Ferencz, 33, and Moshe Hirsch Deutsch, 24 — both members of the local Jewish community — as well as Douglas Rodriguez, a 49-year-old store employee who was an Ecuadorian native.

An NBC New York report named the shooters as David Anderson and Francine Graham. Anderson was described as a “one-time follower of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement.”

It was also reported on Wednesday that Anderson had posted antisemitic and anti-police messages online.

The shooters died in a shootout with police at the supermarket.

A police officer, Joseph Seals, was shot dead in a confrontation with the suspects before they arrived at the supermarket.

WATCH: Ranting Residents Blame Jews for Antisemitic Terror in Jersey City
As the bodies of the murdered Jews were still lying in their spilled blood after being shot to death in Jersey City by domestic terrorists, a representative from the organization “Americans Against Antisemitism” arrived at the site to give support to the Jewish families in the area.

There were still neighbors waiting for their children to be released from schools where they had been held in “lockdown” in order to keep them safe from the two attackers who instead had focused their murderous hate on the Jews in a kosher supermarket, and the police who had tried to protect them.

The videographer captured on film the spontaneous anti-Semitic tirades of residents who were blaming the Jews for their own murder, with others cheering them on.


Antisemitism in America is a far greater problem than it appears. The video is indeed shocking, but it is one that accurately reflects the current reality on the street. It is important for every adult Jew in the United States to watch it, and learn.

Tlaib Blames ‘White Supremacy’ for Anti-Semitic Murders Carried Out by Black Assailants
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) blamed "white supremacy" Thursday for a mass killing in New Jersey carried out by two black assailants, one of whom had ties to a nationalist hate group.

Tlaib linked to a tweet from IfNotNow naming three of the victims of Wednesday's rampage in Jersey City, two of whom were Orthodox Jews. She wrote, "This is heartbreaking. White supremacy kills."

Tlaib, who represents a majority African-American district in Detroit, deleted her tweet after respondents pointed out the race of the suspects. She didn't send any follow-up tweet acknowledging her error, condemning the perpetrators, or expressing condolences for the victims.

The shooters were identified as David Anderson and Francine Graham. Anderson had ties to the Black Hebrew Israelites, a black separatist movement that was labeled a hate group by the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center. Known for its members who engage in provocative street preaching, the group harbors black supremacists and has no association with Judaism.

Could Jordan’s Economic Crisis Solve the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?
Jordan should become a homeland for both Jordanians and Palestinians, thus ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by creating a home for the Palestinians.

Jordan is Palestine and Palestine is Jordan — this is what the late King Hussein bin Talal said.

In return, there must be a guarantee of American and Israeli mediation that will result in the complete elimination of Jordan’s foreign debt, which is part of the price the international community should pay Jordan for solving one of the hardest conflicts in the world. The international community must also increase international aid and financial support from the Arab Gulf states for Jordan in order to make sure Jordan will not collapse. In order to ensure the security of the Middle East in the future, they must ensure the survival of the Hashemites on the throne of Jordan, who have played a role in establishing regional and international peace.

All of these steps must be taken in order to get Jordan out of its stifling and deadly crisis on the one hand, and guarantee that it will not return to a new suffocating economic crisis in the future on the other. This will also solve one of the oldest and most complicated conflicts in the world and mark Jordan as one of the countries that has contributed the most to world peace.
EU and Denmark inaugurate new public buildings in Area C
The European Union and Denmark have joined forces with the Palestinian Authority to inaugurate two new public buildings in Area C villages near Bethlehem.

Two multipurpose buildings, in the al Ma'sarah and Marah Mi'allah villages within the Bethlehem Governate region, were inaugurated on Wednesday at a ceremony jointly attended by European Union representatives, the Representative Office of Denmark in Ramallah, the Ministry of Local Government, Bethlehem Governorate and the Municipal Lending and Development Fund, as well as representatives of both local councils.

Covering more than 630 m² between them and serving more than 2,000 Palestinians, the buildings are designed to support the local population by providing a location for the village councils to meet, as well as offering a space for local and public community events.

"By investing into projects in Area C, we invest in the future State of Palestine," Simone Petroni, EU Head of Political Section said.

"Projects like the ones we inaugurated today will help bring a positive change to the lives of Palestinian families in this area. The EU will continue to support projects promoting economic development and improving the quality of life of Palestinian communities in Area C in areas such as private sector, environment and agriculture."
German UN ambassador makes list of worst antisemitic incidents
The prominent human rights organization Simon Wiesenthal Center ranked the German UN ambassador’s comparison between Israel and the terrorist organization Hamas as number seven on its top ten list of worst outbreaks of antisemitism and anti-Israel incidents for 2019, The Jerusalem Post can exclusively report.

The Wiesenthal Center said that “Germany is in the midst of a two-year stint on the UN Security Council. Its UN Ambassador, Christoph Heusgen, created an uproar by the number of anti-Israel votes he has cast and by his equating 130 rockets fired by terrorist Hamas at Israeli civilians in one week in March with the Jewish state’s demolition of terrorists’ homes.”

Heusgen declared: “We believe that international law is the best way to protect civilians and allow them to live in peace and security and without fear of Israeli bulldozers or Hamas rockets.”

The Wiesenthal Center noted in its justification that Bild, the largest circulation paper in Germany, “accused Heusgen in an editorial of ‘pure malice’ against the Jewish State. “
Austrian parliament sets stage for overwhelming condemnation of BDS
The Austrian parliament is expected to unanimously pass a resolution against “Israel-related anti-Semitism” that calls on the government to condemn the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

On Wednesday, all five parties represented in Austria’s National Council — including the Greens and the far-right Freedom Party — agreed to support the text of the resolution and to hold a vote on it next month.

The initiative was spearheaded by the center-right People’s Party, headed by former and likely future chancellor Sebastian Kurz, but legislators from all five major parties are formally co-sponsoring the resolution. Austrian lawmakers rarely vote against their own factions, which means that the resolution is likely to be accepted unanimously.

“The National Council emphatically condemns all kinds of anti-Semitism, including Israel-related anti-Semitism, and calls on the federal government to confront these tendencies resolutely and consequently,” the resolution states.

The text further urges the government to “strongly condemn the BDS movement and its goals, especially the call for a boycott of Israeli products, businesses, artists, scientists or athletes.”

Vienna should not provide any infrastructure to organizations that make anti-Semitic statements or question Israel’s right to exist, according to the resolution. Furthermore, the government is called upon “not to support financially or in any other way” events organized by the BDS movement or groups that further it goals.
Demark: Police arrest 20 over Islamist terror plot
Danish police arrested about 20 people on Wednesday after carrying out raids throughout the country to thwart what they suspected were preparations for an Islamist terrorist attack, police and security officials said.

The detainees had tried to obtain explosives and firearms, police said.

The raids were mounted on the suspicion that several people had been planning an attack, the Danish Security and Intelligence Service said in a news conference with police.

"It is our assessment, that those people are driven by a militant, Islamist motive," operational chief of the intelligence service, Flemming Drejer, said.
‘We’re Fighting So That Everyone Can Come Back, Including Jews’
Renewing the relationship between Venezuela and Israel is of “paramount importance” as the two nations share similar values and face similar threats, Venezuelan politician Julio Borges said on Wednesday.

“Without a doubt, our relationship with Israel is important and we are talking about a change in this relationship. We are united with Israel on values such as peace, democracy, and the fight against terrorism, so I’m convinced that relations will be profound,” said Borges, who serves as shadow foreign minister under Venezuela’s Opposition Leader Juan Guaidó.

Venezuela is currently embroiled in a political crisis over the country’s presidency which has been underway since Jan. 10, with the nation and the world divided between support for Guaidó and rival President Nicolás Maduro. Guaidó has been recognized as the country’s president by some 60 nations worldwide, including the United States and Israel.

During a recent visit to Israel, Borges told Israel Hayom that Caracas attaches great importance to its ties with Jerusalem, adding, “We want to learn from Israel, among other things because our two countries share similar threats, like terrorism. Renewing our relationship is an issue of paramount importance on the agenda led by President Guaidó.”
Highest Ranking Muslim in Israel Police Addresses UN Conference on Discrimination and Racism
Maj.-Gen. Jamal Hakroosh of the Israel Police, a Muslim Arab, addressed the UN World Conference against Discrimination and Racism in Geneva on Dec. 4. Having served in the police for 40 years, he said, "I was the commander of three big police stations, providing policing services to Arab and Jewish citizens alike....The Israel Police is a decent institution that opens doors before every citizen in the country, regardless of their background or religion."

"Not only did the Israel Police open doors to an Arab citizen, but also my friends and colleagues of my generation can now be found among directors of medical wards in Israeli hospitals, and lecturers in Israeli universities."
In 2016, the government created a special unit to improve policing services in Arab society and Hakroosh was asked to command this unit. He said that in the last two years, eight police stations have been added in Arab communities, and more than 600 Arab men and 55 Arab women have joined the police.
It’s Official: Israel Heading to Third Election in Less Than Year
Israel headed on Wednesday toward a third national election in less than a year with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu facing the fight of his life for political survival after a criminal indictment.

A midnight deadline, the last of a series of set to allow for the formation of a new government after a September election, passed unmet. That triggered another election within three months. Under an earlier agreement between the two main parties, March 2 was the date to be set for the new election.

What had once seemed nearly impossible to many Israelis — a third visit to polling stations after the inconclusive ballots of April and September — carries a heavy economic price: it will be well into 2020 before a new budget is passed, which will mean months of cutbacks that will weigh on growth.

Neither Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party nor the centrist Blue and White party led by his main rival, former military chief Benny Gantz, won enough seats in the Knesset for a governing majority in the previous two contests.
Why Israel’s third elections might not be such a disaster, after all
Our politicians have been tested twice, we’re about to test them again, and that might just enable us to make a more definitive decision. March 2, 2020, may stand as the date when Israel completed its incremental separation from its longest-serving prime minister, or when it decided that it still couldn’t live without him.

Let’s face it, we don’t always make the right decisions at the first time of asking. Remember that car you bought? That house? It’s not always easy to get it right. (Marriage and divorce emphatically do not belong in this analogy; in a democracy, prime ministers and coalitions are not for life.)

Between them, our electorate, our system and our politicians have combined to force us to a third election in less than a year. We might not like it, but ultimately, in our purest of systems, we chose it; we did it to ourselves.

It’s certainly no luxury, but Election 3 is our creation. And maybe — third time’s a charm? — we’ll finally manage to make up our collective mind.
Liberman backs pardon for Netanyahu in exchange for exit from politics
Yisrael Beytenu party leader Avigdor Liberman said Thursday he would back a deal in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is allowed to avoid jail in exchange for an agreement to retire from politics.

Netanyahu is facing criminal charges in three corruption cases and is thought to be seeking a Knesset support for immunity. The statement was the latest indication that he would likely face trouble in gaining Liberman’s backing to secure a parliamentary majority for immunity, should his right-wing religious bloc fall short of the needed 61 seats after elections in March.

Liberman told the Ynet news site that he backed “a deal [for the premier] to retire with dignity,” claiming there was “a sense of fatigue” with Netanyahu in the Knesset and a feeling that “he’s become a burden.”

He added: “No one wants to see him in prison, but no one wants him in politics either. And everyone is truly prepared to give him the opportunity to exit with dignity.”
MEMRI: Palestinian Former Minister: We Have State Institutions And Symbols, But We Have Failed To Consolidate A Real State, Anchored In Democracy And Rule Of Law, Which Benefits The Citizens
In his October 27, 2019 column in the daily Al-Quds, Ziad Abu Zayyad, formerly the Palestinian Authority (PA) minister of Jerusalem affairs, slammed the PA for failing to establish a state anchored in democracy and the rule of law which serves the citizens and meets their needs. The PA, he stated, has so far built the state "from the top down," i.e., focused on its outward characteristics, such as a flag, anthem and state institutions, instead of building it "from the bottom up," i.e., caring first of all for the citizens by granting them security, prosperity and a sense of belonging. Stressing that outward symbols, important as they are, do not make up for the absence of essential foundations like the rule of law, proper governance, democracy and citizenship, he called to rebuild the Palestinian state upon these principles, lest it turn into yet another corrupt, failing and tribal Arab regime.

The following are excerpts from his column:[1]
"The questions that go through our minds these days are, What is the meaning of a state? What does it consist of? What makes a state worthy of the name, or not worthy of it? How can we establish a state and strengthen its foundations? True, we declared the establishment of the [Palestinian] state, and we sing its anthem and wave its flag. That is a good and heartening thing, for symbols are important in a struggle for national liberation. However, we must not be content with just symbols. They must serve as a basis for moving forward and lending [the symbols] real content and a tangible existence...

"In many parts of the PA, there is a recurring phenomenon that is taking root in our society: anarchy and illegal weapons are becoming the norm, crime is spreading, and [loyalty to] the tribe and the clan has become dominant. [This is] due to the absence of the rule of law, which is the most important principle of the state. This situation was not born in a day. It is the outcome of a method and a process of deterioration that still threatens to pitch us into an abyss, unless we make an enormous, ongoing effort to stop it... and ultimately to eradicate it. This is the challenge [we face]... We are still under occupation, and this in itself should be a powerful factor that unites us and places us in the same trench, and compels us first of all to maintain an utmost commitment to [our] moral and national [values], for they are the basis of our existence. This moral and national commitment must not characterize only the weak among us. It must [also] be of utmost concern for the powerful, who, for reasons known to everyone, have distanced themselves from the needs and the distress of the weak among their people.
PMW: UN neutrality at its worst: Ignore the PA's "Pay for Slay" policy, and ask the world for funding
Today the UN marks International Neutrality Day, stressing that “Neutrality is critical for the UN to gain & maintain the confidence & cooperation of all.” In direct contrast to this statement, just yesterday, Dec. 11, 2019, the UN together with the Palestinian Authority launched a $348 million appeal “to address critical humanitarian needs of Palestinians.”

Asking the world to once again dig deeply into the pockets of their taxpayers, the UN request ignores the fact that the PA squanders hundreds of millions of shekels every year.

Most notably, the appeal failed to mention the hundreds of millions of shekels the PA squanders financing its “Pay-for-Slay” terror reward policy. In 2018, “Pay-for-Slay” cost the PA no less than 743 million shekels. 502 million shekels were spent paying the monthly salaries of terrorist prisoners and released prisoners and at least 241 million shekels were spent paying allowances to the families of dead terrorists, the so-called “Martyrs.”

As of the end of October 2019, PA financial reports show that it has spent 490,709,000 shekels on the PLO Commission of Prisoners, of which 396,103,000 shekels was paid to terrorist prisoners and released prisoners. Hundreds of millions more have been paid in 2019 to the families of dead terrorists.
Bir Zeit University bans ‘paramilitary’ rally, sparking student protests
The administration of the Palestinian Bir Zeit University near Ramallah on Wednesday ordered the evacuation of all its students after some of them went on a rampage on campus and damaged one of the gates.

The administration, which held an emergency meeting in the morning, said in a statement a group of students rioted and damaged the western entrance to the campus.

“The university administration considers these actions a violation of the university laws and regulations,” the statement said. It also warned the violence would negatively impact the safety of the students and university employees.

The administration announced it has decided to “evacuate all students quickly and until further notice.”

The decision was taken after students tried to hold a rally on campus marking the 52nd anniversary of the founding of the PLO’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
Palestinian Islamic Jihad Representative in Iran Naser Abu Sharif: Jews Control the Porn Industry
Naser Abu Sharif, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s representative in Iran, said in a November 29, 2019 interview on Al-Alam TV (Iran), that Israel and the Jews have significant influence in the world. He claimed that the Jews hold half the wealth of mankind and that they control banking, the political establishment, Hollywood, the porn industry, casinos, gambling, and every source of corruption in the world. He said that U.S. Defense Department and State Department officials under Clinton had been Jewish and that the Republican Party is even more Zionist than Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself.

Lebanese officials protest Iranian threat to attack Israel from Lebanon
Lebanese officials protested against a recent threat by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) to attack Israel from Lebanon, calling the statement a violation of Lebanon's sovereignty, the Arabic newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported.

"If the Zionist regime makes the smallest mistake toward Iran, we will reduce Tel Aviv to ashes from Lebanon," said IRGC commander Morteza Qorbani, adding that Iran wouldn't need to fire a single missile from its territories.

"These statements are unfortunate and unacceptable," tweeted caretaker Defense Minister Elias Bou Saab. "They are a violation of the sovereignty of Lebanon, which enjoys ties of friendship with Iran that should not infringe on its independent decision-making in any way, shape or form."

Caretaker Information Minister Jamal al-Jarrah called Qorbani's remarks "irresponsible" and "arrogant," adding that they are a violation against Lebanon's sovereignty, people and state.

"Iran may defend itself in any way it likes, but Lebanon is not the Guards’ mailbox or an arena for foreign actors," Jarrah said, according to Asharq Al-Awsat.
Shiite Protester in Beirut Destroys Hizbullah Membership Card, Complains: We Are Dying of Hunger
In a December 8, 2019 broadcast on Al-Arabiya TV (Dubai/Saudi Arabia) from Beirut, a Shiite protestor from Baalbek-Hermel named Hussein Ali Matar asked to be interviewed by the reporter. Matar said that it is impossible to find a job in his area without connections to Hizbullah or the Amal Movement and that Shiites in Lebanon are dying of hunger and eating from the trash. He said Hizbullah and Amal Movement officials should resign if they cannot help the people and criticized these movements for accusing their critics of treason and collaboration with Israel. Matar proceeded to destroy his Hizbullah membership card on camera.

Iranian Economy in Crisis as Flammable American Flag Sales Plummet (satire)
With protestors in the streets in Iran over the rise in the cost of gasoline, and the economy crippled by American sanctions, another key Iranian industry is suffering a severe downturn: flammable American flags.

Since the revolution, the Iranian regime has supplemented their economy that was largely based on oil and flying-carpet revenues with the sale of American flags that were easy to light on fire for the anti-imperialist protestor. Now though, with protests sweeping Lebanon, Iraq and at home in Iran targeting the regimes and not the Great Satan, flammable American flags are piling up on warehouses across the country.

Economists agree that the protests presented a double problem for flag vendors: first, that they weren’t aimed at the Great Satan. Secondly, due to the heavy-handed approach that Iranian security forces and allies in Lebanon and Iraq are taking, they’re killing protestors, which is their primary customer base.

“Every dead protestor is one less customer” a local shop owner explained.

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