Sunday, January 26, 2020

From Ian:

Douglas Murray: What unites the Nazis and Communists?
So what is it that makes Life and Fate (by Vasily Grossman) so deserving of the description “great”, a realisation of which more and more English readers — not least thanks to Robert Chandler’s translation — are becoming aware? There are a number of ways in which the term can be used of a novel; a key one is if the work appears to convey every aspect of the world which it describes.

Though it might seem impossible to do that with the panorama Grossman surveys, he manages it: from the mother of a Russian soldier travelling to find the grave of her son, to the civilians and soldiers still eking out their lives in the rubble of the besieged city; from the minds of Hitler and Eichmann to those of Stalin and the NKVD, the novel is a vivid, living x-ray of the whole 20th-century nightmare.

The novel’s tricky publishing history is now well-known. Completed in 1960, it was confiscated by the KGB and only smuggled into the West in 1980. But you can see immediately why, even in the Khrushchev period, this novel could never have been allowed. One of the central, simple insights of the work is the way in which it innocently demonstrates how Nazism and Communism were mirrors of each other.

On one side, the Nazis would put people in camps because of their racial origin. On the other, Soviet, side people could be consigned to the camps because of a relative who had chosen to live abroad or who had the “wrong” job before the revolution. In both cases, the individual could be disappeared due to factors over which they had absolutely no control. As one of the more decent Russian characters of the novel reflects:
“To me, a distinction based on social origin seems legitimate and moral. But the Germans obviously consider a distinction based on nationality to be equally moral. One thing I am certain of: it’s terrible to kill someone simply because he’s a Jew. They’re people like any others — good, bad, gifted, stupid, stolid, cheerful, kind, sensitive, greedy… Hitler says none of that matters — all that matters is that they’re Jewish. And I protest with my whole being. But then we have the same principle: what matters is whether or not you’re the son of an aristocrat, the son of a merchant, the son of a kulak; and whether you’re good-natured, wicked, gifted, kind, stupid, happy is neither here nor there. And we’re not talking about the merchants, priests and aristocrats themselves — but about their children and grandchildren. Does noble blood run in one’s veins like Jewishness? Is one a priest or a merchant by heredity?”

Never over-laboured, the mirror keeps offering up reflections. The Germans had their crazed purges just as the Russians — before, and after, as well as during 1937 — had theirs. The Nazis had Rohm, the Russians had Bukharin. Stalin and Hitler are not just evil geniuses of their own creation, but clever students of each other.


Rashida Tlaib retweets false blood libel claim that Israeli soldiers killed 7-yr-old Palestinian boy
The most anti-Semitic congressperson in memory, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, grievously retweeted a blood libel claim about a seven-year-old Palestinian child. The online antisemitic canard stated the boy “was kidnapped by a Herd of violent #Israeli settlers, assaulted & thrown in a water well, was found this morning frozen to death in Beit Hanina, Jerusalem after Israeli forces assaulted search teams.”

The claim, originally posted to a fake Twitter account called “Real Seif Bitar,” was false.

What is true is that the boy was found dead in a cistern Saturday morning after going missing on Friday.

Israeli journalist Eylon Levy pointedly accused Tlaib of being, at the very least reckless, and quite possibly far worse …

“Blood libel” is an antisemitic, defamatory allegation that Jews murder non-Jewish children to use their blood as part of religious rituals.

The Jerusalem Post reported: “Palestinian politician Hanan Ashrawi re-tweeted the allegation and added ‘the heart just shatters, the pain is unbearable, no words.’ Congresswoman Tlaib then retweeted the Ashrawi tweet that included the allegations.”
Victor Rosenthal: Tweet and Delete
Tweet and delete. If someone complains, shrug. Anyone can make a mistake.

There is no excuse for what they did. They know how the Palestinian rumor machine works. They know that @RealSeifBitar is not a real journalist, and that his vicious language is not that of a reliable source.

They should know that the blood libel that leads to the murder of Jews, sometimes to the destruction of whole Jewish communities, has a long history in both the Christian and the Muslim worlds.

But they don’t care, because it serves their purpose. Because it serves the Palestinian Cause. Because – maybe they would even admit this if you asked – truth for them is not independent of the observer. Truth for a Palestinian is identical with what helps the Cause. And that is defined as what hurts Jews and Israel.

So it is fine to make up massacres that didn’t happen (Jenin, 2002) as did pro-Palestinian journalist Phil Reeves, or to make movies about them like Mohammad Bakri. There’s no problem with accusing Israel of opening the dams to flood Gaza, even when there are no dams in the area. And if you get caught in a lie, no big deal. Just move on.

Tweet and delete. Because the Palestinian Theory of Truth says you can.


Bernie Sanders rolls out video casting Trump as threat to Jews
Bernie Sanders launched a campaign video highlighting his Jewish identity and casting President Donald Trump as part of the white nationalist threat.

The four-minute video posted Thursday night on Sanders’ Twitter feed, interpolates excerpts from Sanders’ speech last year to J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group, with commentary by Joel Rubin, the campaign’s Jewish outreach director.

It starts with Sanders’ declaration of pride in being Jewish. “I’m very proud to be Jewish and look forward to becoming the first Jewish president in the history of this country,” Sanders says.

During his 2016 run for the Democratic nomination, Sanders at first played down his Jewish background, although he was the first Jewish major-party candidate to win nominating contests. This cycle, he has emphasized his Jewishness.

The video otherwise focuses almost entirely on the threat that Sanders says President Donald Trump poses to Jews and other minorities.



Pope on Holocaust atrocities: Let’s all say ‘never again’
Pope Francis urged Catholics on Sunday to engage in prayer and reflection about the “huge tragedy, this atrocity” of the Holocaust, in a public speech ahead of Monday’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

He called on people to vow in their heart, “Never again.”

In remarks to the public in St. Peter’s Square, Francis noted that Monday was also the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.

He said that “in the face of this huge tragedy, this atrocity, indifference is not admissible and memory is a duty.”

He added: “Tomorrow we are all invited to take a moment for prayer and for reflection, each one saying in one’s own heart: Never again, never again!”

The pope himself prayed on the camp’s memorial grounds during a 2016 pilgrimage to Poland.

Francis has referred repeatedly to anti-Semitism and the Holocaust over the past week, in the lead-up to the international day of commemoration on January 27.
Survivor in Slovenia Turns 100 on Holocaust Remembrance Day
For Marija Frlan it’s as symbolic as it can get: A survivor of a Nazi concentration camp during World War II, the Slovenian woman turns 100 years old on Monday, the international Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Frlan, who was held at the Nazi’s Ravensbruck camp in northern Germany for over a year in 1944-45, will join other survivors and officials in Poland on Monday for ceremonies marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.

Ahead of the ceremonies, Frlan told The Associated Press that one could talk at length about what it was like in the Ravensbruck camp, but that only those who were there really know how horrific it was.

“The ones who didn’t survive this, they can’t understand, no,” the energetic woman said at her home in the small village of Rakek in southwestern Slovenia. “It was terrible.”

Frlan said prisoners at the Nazi camp for women were given just enough food to survive and had to work throughout the day. Obligatory inspections were held outside every morning, lasting for at least one hour.

“One time, the inspection was going on for four hours,” she recalled. “It was a rainy day. It is impossible to explain if you weren’t there.”

Women at the camp encouraged each other not to give up, telling one another “Girls, hold on!” and “No moaning!” she recalled.

The Ravensbruck concentration camp was the second in size only to the women’s camp in Auschwitz, according to the U.S. Holocaust Museum. Toward the end of the war, some 50,000 prisoners, mostly women, were held at the camp.


In first, Dutch prime minister apologizes for how government failed its Jews during Holocaust
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte apologized for how his kingdom’s wartime government failed its Jews, a first by a sitting prime minister

Rutte, on Sunday during a Holocaust commemoration, offered “apologies for the government of those days, while the last survivors are still with us.” That government, he said, “failed is in its responsibility as provider of justice and security” for Dutch Jews.

Rutte, in power since 2010, has resisted calls for issuing such an apology, including by Dutch Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs in 2015 and by the Party for Freedom in 2012.

Rutte in 2012 cited the absence of “broadly supported counsel from those involved or objective information” that would merit an apology.

Some 75 percent of the 140,000 Jews who lived in the Netherlands before the Holocaust were murdered by German Nazis and their local collaborators.

The Dutch police under Nazi occupation and the national railway company were widely complicit in hunting down Jews and transporting them to death camps and concentration camps. At the same time, the Netherlands had a strong resistance movement and has the second-largest number of Righteous Among the Nations — the designation reserved for non-Jews who were recognized by Israel for risking their lives to save Jews from the Holocaust — behind Poland.

France, Belgium and Luxembourg have officially apologized for their authorities’ roles in the systemic annihilation of Jews in statements.
Honest Reporting: Dangers of Hate and Propaganda
On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, #WeRemember the six million lives that were stolen from us.

It took Nazi Germany some time to poison the minds of the average German, and it started off by spreading hate and lies in the mainstream media. HonestReporting believes accurate reporting is crucial to the safety of Israel and Jews worldwide.




British Jewry leaders demand BBC apology for report tying Holocaust to Mideast conflict
The Board of Deputies of British Jewry said that the BBC should apologize for a report on Wednesday evening about International Holocaust Remembrance Day that linked the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the Holocaust.

In a report broadcast on BBC News, international correspondent Orla Guerin described Israeli soldiers entering Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and museum to "share in the binding tragedy of the Jewish people."

She then said: "The State of Israel is now a regional power. For decades, it has occupied Palestinian territories. But some here will always see their nation through the prism of persecution and survival."

Amanda Bowman, a senior vice president at the Board of Deputies, said, "in an otherwise moving report on the experiences of a Holocaust survivor, Orla Guerin’s attempt to link the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the horrors of the Holocaust was crass and offensive."

She added that "her lack of partiality on the Israel-Palestine conflict has long been a matter of concern, and it is questionable why the BBC would even use her for this sensitive assignment. As we approach [International] Holocaust Memorial Day, the Jewish community is within its rights to expect an apology."

The United Kingdom’s Campaign Against Antisemitism said it was filing an official complaint.
Former BBC executives criticise Orla Guerin's Holocaust report
The former BBC chairman Michael Grade and Danny Cohen, its former director of television, have joined criticism of the broadcaster over an “unjustifiably offensive” News at Ten report that appeared to link Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to the Holocaust.

Orla Guerin, the BBC’s international correspondent, made the reference at the end of an interview with Holocaust survivor Rena Quint ahead of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

At the end of the interview, which included images of Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre in Jerusalem, Guerin said: “In Yad Vashem’s Hall of Names, images of the dead. Young soldiers troop in to share in the binding tragedy of the Jewish people. The state of Israel is now a regional power. For decades, it has occupied Palestinian territories. But some here will always see their nation through the prism of persecution and survival.”

Jewish leaders and the former BBC executives have criticised the report as antisemitic. Cohen said he had been careful not to criticise the BBC since leaving almost five years ago, knowing the amount of unfair criticism it often receives, but that in this case he could not stay silent.

“Orla Guerin’s report on the Holocaust and forthcoming 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz should be widely condemned,” he said. “The attempt to link the horrors of the Holocaust to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is deeply offensive and upsetting. It was unnecessary, insensitive and particularly ugly in the days before Holocaust Memorial Day. Adding insult to injury, the report uses pictures of Holocaust victims in Yad Veshem during the sequence in which this link is made. This is inexplicably and unjustifiably offensive.”
BBC R4’s ‘World at One’ misleads on the Holocaust
The January 23rd edition of BBC Radio 4’s ‘World at One’ included several items relating to the World Holocaust Forum event held on that day at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, one of which was an interview with Holocaust survivor Dr Martin Stern.

Presenter Sarah Montague introduced the run up to that item as follows:
Montague: “The ceremony underway at the moment in Jerusalem is thought to be one of the largest gatherings of world leaders in Israel’s history. It’s being held at Yad Vashem and it’s brought representatives from all over the world to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Yad Vashem’s the country’s memorial to the six million killed in the Holocaust, the majority of whom were Jews. More than a million of those died in Auschwitz.”

The Holocaust is defined as follows by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:
“The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jewish men, women and children by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.”

And similarly by Yad Vashem:
“The Holocaust was unprecedented genocide, total and systematic, perpetrated by Nazi Germany and its collaborators, with the aim of annihilating the Jewish people.”

Montague’s claim that Jews were “the majority” of “the six million killed in the Holocaust” – and the resulting implication that some of those killed in the Holocaust were not Jews – is hence inaccurate and misleading.


The collapse of old conceptions
The Trump peace plan has caused a profound conceptual change, in parts irreversible, even before its details have been unveiled and before we know whether it entails anything that can soon be implemented territorially or diplomatically. Over a quarter-century ago, a similarly impactful conceptual change was precipitated in Oslo regarding the Palestinian issue; the Trump plan amends some of its failures.

In Oslo, Israel recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization as a negotiating partner, even though its leader, Yasser Arafat, only barely tempered his overt commitment to the strategy of terror ("the armed struggle") and never even bothered pretending to abandon his goal of destroying Israel ("the right of return"). The establishment of this conception prevented Israel from presenting the Palestinian national movement with preconditions to negotiations – that is to say completely purging the ethos of establishing their state through bloodshed and fire on the ashes of Israel, akin to the deep-seated policy change fostered by Anwar Sadat in Egypt. The lack of this return explains Palestinian society's addiction to glorifying the "shahid" (martyr) and raising its children on the virulent ideology of negating the legitimacy of the Jewish state.

This topic should be examined from a historical perspective. David Ben-Gurion and Moshe Sharett understood in 1948 that the Palestinians' national movement (led at the time by the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini) was built on faulty foundations; hence they partitioned the land in partnership with a responsible Arab party: King Abdullah and his Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. They, too, knew that a sovereign Palestinian state would perpetuate war because its society prioritizes harming its Jewish enemies over giving its children a better future. Today, the Palestinians in Gaza are proof if this.

Now, too, we are facing a conceptual matter of the highest order. Ever since Oslo, the PLO and Hamas have abhorrently ingrained in the past two generations a veneration of violence and delusions of destroying the Jews. Ever since Oslo, it has also been widely accepted that any peace deal must be based on establishing a sovereign Palestinian state in most of Judea and Samaria. The Palestinians rejected two far-reaching Israeli proposals. The first, offered by Ehud Barak at both Camp David in 2000 and Taba in 2001, would have met most of these Palestinian demands; and the second, offered by Ehud Olmert in 2008, would have met almost all of them.
Government formally okays travel of Israelis to Saudi Arabia for business, hajj
In a fresh sign of warming ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, citizens of the Jewish state will from now on officially be allowed to travel to the neighboring Arab kingdom under certain circumstances, the government announced Sunday.

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri signed an order permitting Israelis to go to the kingdom to participate in business meetings or to search for investments provided that they have an invitation from an official body and have taken care of the necessary paperwork to enter the country.

It also formally allows Muslim citizens of Israel to travel to the Saudi city of Mecca to perform the hajj or Umrah religious pilgrimage. Israeli pilgrims usually travel for the hajj on temporary Jordanian papers.

The ministry statement said Israelis would be allowed to travel to Saudi Arabia for up to nine days, but an official later clarified that the permits would be for 90 days.

Until now, Israeli law banned citizens from traveling to many Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, without express permission from the interior minister, and increasingly common visits by Israeli businessmen were generally held secretly.

It isn’t clear whether the new order will in fact allow Israelis to visit Saudi Arabia, however, since Riyadh generally bars Israeli nationals from the country and hasn’t made an announcement easing those restrictions.
Is Trump's plan a fantasy or an exercise in realism?
The point that Trump’s critics miss is that no Israeli government can or should consider signing an agreement that doesn’t force Hamas to disarm or limit the capacity of Palestinians to fulfill their fantasy of erasing the last 100 years of history. And while statehood is possible for the Palestinians (should they ever come to terms with the idea of giving up their quest for Israel’s elimination), the only way they are ever going to get it is by disarming Islamist terrorists and foreswearing the conflict in a way that most Israelis will take seriously.

The virtue of Trump’s plan is not in who gains from it in the short term – assuming that anyone actually can. Its value lies in the demand that the Palestinians and the foreign-policy wise men who have been enabling their whimsy to start living in the real world. The fact that it seeks to put pressure on the Palestinians by reportedly allowing Israel to annex land that it would likely keep in any peace agreement provides an incentive for peace, even if it is unlikely to be heeded.

It is those who have been calling for Israel to repeat Ariel Sharon’s failed Gaza experiment – in which the Jewish state traded land for terror, rather than peace – who are insane, not Trump. Those who think that a peaceful future can be built on dividing Jerusalem and evacuating Jewish communities are not paying attention to facts.

In a world in which Palestinians were actually prepared to accept the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders would be drawn, a peace agreement would probably resemble Trump’s proposal far more than the failed ideas put forward by his predecessors. Though it has no chance of success, it is Trump who is thinking seriously about the Middle East, not his critics.
Sidelined and isolated, Palestinians say disappointed in international community
As dozens of world leaders converged on Israel for the Fifth World Holocaust Forum 2020, some Palestinians expressed frustration that only a few of these leaders would be visiting the Palestinian territories for a one-on-one meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Among those who attended the forum in Jerusalem were U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and the presidents of Russia, Germany, France, Italy and Austria.

Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative party Mustafa Barghouti says that the international community should do more than pay “lip service” to help the Palestinians.

“I want to ask a question of all those leaders who [visited] Israel in solidarity with Israel and the memory of the Holocaust," says Barghouti. "Why don’t they exercise pressure on Israel? What can they do to stop the Israeli violations, starting with the torturing of Palestinian prisoners, the killing of people without accountability and the unprecedented level of settlement expansion?

"What do these states want to do about the fact that they support the two-state solution, although Israel is killing that option? What can they do in terms of active measures rather than just statements?”

Barghouti also offers a scathing critique of foreign powers, saying their credibility is on the line.

“Palestinians are already disappointed in the international community,” Barghouti says.

“But the question now … [is] how to challenge the international community and put facts in front of it and challenge it to take actions consistent with its claims of supporting democracy, human rights and the right to self-determination.”
Netanyahu says he and Trump will ‘make history’ this week
US President Donald Trump’s peace plan will advance Israel’s interests, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said before boarding a plane to Washington D.C. on Sunday to meet with the American president.

“I am going to Washington to face an American president that is bringing forward a plan that I believe will advance our most vital interests,” Netanyahu said.

“During the last three years I spoke countless times with Trump — who is a great friend of Israel — and his team,” Netanyahu said.

During those conversations he discussed Israel vital interests, its security and that issue of justice, Netanyahu said.

He recalled the time he had traveled to the US under very different circumstances, to hold a speech in Congress to argued against former US President Barack Obama’s Iran deal. It was a plan that he felt endangered Israel’s very existence.

The circumstances have now changed when it comes to Israel’s future, Netanyahu said.

“I am meeting with President Trump tomorrow, and on Tuesday, together with him, we will make history,” he stated.


Israeli settler leaders to join Netanyahu in Washington for Trump talks
Four major settler leaders plan to join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington to receive information on US President Donald Trump's peace plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, known as the "Deal of the Century."

Netanyahu will meet with Trump on Monday and Tuesday. Yesha head and Jordan Valley Regional Council head David ElHayani will join Netanyahu's entourage. Elhayani will be accompanied by Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shlomo Ne'eman, Binyamin Regional Council head Yisrael Ganz and Yesha foreign envoy Oded Revivi, who is also the Efrat Council head.

They will not be in the White House, but will be briefed by Netanyahu in real time.

These leaders have been supportive of Netanyahu's efforts, even though earlier Sunday ElHayani spoke of his opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state, such as the one that is expected to be part of Trump's peace plan.
Liberman to PM: Hold Jordan Valley vote now to show you're serious
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should show that he is serious about annexing the Jordan Valley, by doings now, Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman said on Sunday.

He visited the region in advance of the publication of US President Donald Trump’s peace plan, known as the "Deal of the Century", which is expected to allow for Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley.

Netanyahu and his chief political rival, Blue and White head Benny Gantz are on their way to Washington to hear details of the plan from Trump in separate meetings.

“Bibi, instead of being photographed there, legislate here,” Liberman tweeted in the evening.

Until Netanyahu and Gantz were invited to Washington, Netanyahu had appeared to be bowing to right-wing pressure to apply sovereignty to the Jordan Valley with a cabinet vote on Sunday and a Knesset vote on Tuesday. But all that activity was put on hold because of the Washington trip.

“There is an absolute majority to apply sovereignty over the Jordan Valley. The law can be passed in one day, as [former prime minister] Menachem Begin did when he passed the Golan Heights Law [in 1981],” Liberman tweeted.

“Better a bird in hand than two on the bush,” he added.
No future Democratic president will accept Trump plan, says former US envoy
Former US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro on Sunday denounced the timing of the unveiling of US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan as political in nature, warning that no future Democratic administration would accept the plan and be bound by it.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival in the upcoming Knesset elections, Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz, will both meet Trump in Washington this week — separately — and the long-awaited peace plan is slated to be unveiled by Tuesday.

It is not yet clear whether those developments, which were announced late last week, will affect a Knesset vote planned for Tuesday on Netanyahu’s request for immunity from prosecution in three corruption cases. The premier is seeking to delay the vote until after the March elections since his immunity request is likely to be rejected under the makeup of the current Knesset.

The ongoing political stalemate in Israel — two elections last year failed to produce a government — has delayed the release of the plan, and the administration’s plan to release it now, less than six weeks before an unprecedented third vote in a row, have been met by accusations that it constitutes political meddling.

“It is not a coincidence, the timing, that this is happening at the time of a Knesset discussion over immunity and at a time the [US] Senate is holding an impeachment hearing,” Shapiro, who was the envoy during former US President Barack Obama’s administration, told Army Radio in a Hebrew-language interview.


Palestinian factions call ‘day of rage’ on day of Trump peace plan
Palestinian factions on Sunday called for a “day of rage” on the same day US President Donald Trump releases his long-awaited plan for Mideast peace. Parts of the plan are expected to be publicized during separate meetings in Washington this week between Trump, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz.

Palestinians often mark “days of rage” by initiating clashes with IDF soldiers in the West Bank and Israeli policemen in east Jerusalem.
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The latest call for a “day of rage” came as the Palestinian Authority continued to threaten that Trump’s upcoming plan, also known as the “Deal of the Century,” would ignite mass protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

PA officials have also hinted that the Palestinian leadership may renounce all signed agreements with Israel and halt security coordination between the Palestinians and Israel in the West Bank.
Iran may be pushing Islamic Jihad to challenge ‘Deal of Century’
Iran is concerned about US President Donald Trump’s push for his “Deal of the Century” and his invitations to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz. Iranian regime media has reported on the potential “deal” and Palestinian attempts to prevent it.
On the face of it, Iran’s media has reported the “deal” in a relatively neutral manner. Mehr News notes that Netanyahu says this deal is a historic opportunity and that Trump has asserted that it will benefit Palestinians.

Iran’s IRNA news agency says that Jordan is maneuvering to accept the deal as well, portraying the Jordanian government as abandoning the wishes of Palestinians and its own people. However, the report notes that local media see the deal as a disgraceful plan that involves the annexation of Jerusalem and settlements “to the Zionist regime” and the complete “destruction of the right of return of refugees.”

Evidence for Iran’s real intentions comes from Tasnim news media, which reports in detail on Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s plans to disrupt the process. The report notes that PIJ, which fought a brief conflict with Israel in November, has called for an uprising, or intifada.
From Anastasiades to Zelensky: Rivlin hosts Israel’s largest diplomatic influx
President Reuven Rivlin on Friday wrapped up a whirlwind period of diplomacy after welcoming dozens of heads of state to the Fifth World Holocaust Forum, the largest-ever diplomatic gathering to be held in the Jewish state.

With over 40 kings, princes, presidents, prime ministers, parliament speakers and other dignitaries all making their way to the President’s Residence for the three day-event, the Holocaust summit turned hectic, even seeing French President Emmanuel Macron volunteer to help take pictures.

When President Nicos Anastasiades of Cyprus was signing the guestbook at the President’s Residence on Wednesday, Macron, who was waiting in line to meet the Israeli president, snapped a photo of Rivlin and the Cypriot leader.

“Seeing how intense our diplomatic activity was, he lent a hand, revealing another of his many talents as a photographer,” Rivlin said of Macron on Twitter.

On Friday, the final day of the diplo-marathon, Rivlin met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Canadian Governor-General Julie Payette, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen.
Reuven Rivlin to address German Bundestag
President Reuven Rivlin, who is in Poland for the official 75th anniversary commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz, will continue on to Germany, where he will address the Bundestag on Wednesday.

It will not be his first presidential visit to Germany. He was also there in 2015 to participate in festivities marking the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Israel and Germany, the inauguration of which he had protested half a century earlier.

Since taking office in July 2014, Rivlin has also hosted Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as a succession of German presidents and other high ranking German dignitaries.

The first Israeli president to visit Germany was Chaim Herzog in April 1987, who began by going to Bergen-Belsen which, as an officer in the British Army, he had helped to liberate.

On the site of the former death camp, Herzog recited kaddish, placed a monument hewn from Jerusalem stone and said: “I do not bring forgiveness with me, nor forgetfulness. The only ones who can forgive are dead; the living have no right to forget.”
Germany warns of ‘mass exit’ of Jews if anti-Semitism persists
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned Sunday that Jews could leave Germany on a “massive” scale if urgent action was not taken to stem rising anti-Semitism.

Writing in Der Spiegel weekly on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, Maas said anti-Jewish insults and attacks, in real life and online, had become “a daily occurrence.”

Almost one in two Jews has considered leaving Germany, he said, a country that has long taken pains to confront its Nazi past.

“We need to take urgent countermeasures to make sure that such thoughts do not turn into a bitter reality and lead to a massive departure of Jews from Germany,” he wrote.

The fight against anti-Semitism would be a priority when Germany takes over the rotating EU presidency in July and the chairmanship of the Council of Europe, the bloc’s leading human rights body, in November, Maas vowed.

Germany will push for tougher legal consequences for anti-Semitic acts, he said, and for more EU nations to make Holocaust denial a crime — currently illegal in over a dozen member states including Germany, Belgium and Italy.
Israeli ambassador slams Belgian daily for 'anti-Israel drivel'
Israel's ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg Emmanuel Nahshon condemned the leading Flemish-language daily de Standaard for publishing an opinion piece that claimed that Zionists have "played the Holocaust card uninhibited," according to the Algemeiner.

The piece, titled "How the Zionists 'Discovered' the Holocaust," was authored by Johan Depoortere and timed to coincide with commemorations of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
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Nahshon read the piece while he was in Israel attending the World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem and called the piece "cheap, distorted and devious antisemitism and anti-Israel drivel" in a tweet on Thursday. "Shame on you @destandaard!" wrote Nahshon.

Depoortere wrote that the millions of Jews killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust cannot "protest if they are used to justify another injustice: a regime [Israel] that has imposed discrimination and apartheid in law."

The piece claimed that Palestinians, "who did not participate in the massacre of European Jews by the Nazis have to pay the price for that crime or are accused of antisemitism."
MDA offers assistance to Turkey after earthquake
Magen David Adom (MDA) has offered humanitarian aid to the Turkish Red Crescent in the aftermath of a powerful earthquake in Turkey's Elazig province.

"We are anxiously tracking the developments," wrote MDA director-general Eli Bin in a letter to Turkish Red Crescent president Dr. Kerem Kinik on Saturday. "Our heart goes out to the Turkish people and to those who have lost loved ones. The Turkish Red Crescent is respected and highly experienced in responding to disaster. MDA leadership, its employees and volunteers are following with admiration after the effective response given by the forces," he said.

"This is a significant earthquake that requires a large-scale response and collaboration between a large number of organizations," said Bin, adding that he had "great appreciation" for the Turkish Red Crescent, which has already set up a control center in Ankara and a field kitchen capable of feeding 5,000 people daily. Some 2,500 shelter tents were set up for families, blood has been secured to supply to hospitals and mental health teams are available as well.

"I view this as an opportunity for collaboration and offer all assistance towards saving lives anywhere in the world. This is how MDA has operated in the past and will continue to do so," stated Bin.
IAF attacks Hamas targets in Gaza in response to incendiary balloons
The Israeli Air Force attacked multiple sites belonging to the Hamas terrorist group in the Gaza Strip on Saturday night in response to a large number of incendiary and explosive balloons that have been launched from the Strip in the past two weeks, according to an IDF spokesperson.

Multiple explosions were heard at the Fajr site and other targets near Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip and an additional explosion was heard in the central Gaza Strip.

The IDF stated that the sites targeted included a site used for producing weapons and a military compound containing infrastructure for collections.

"The IDF views with great severity all destructive activities of all types towards Israeli territory and will continue to act as necessary against attempts to harm [Israeli] citizens," said the IDF spokesperson, who added that Hamas is responsible for all actions in and from Gaza and will suffer the consequences for acts of terror against Israeli citizens.

In response to the airstrikes, Hamas spokesperson Hazam Kasam stated that the people will continue "in their struggle until the siege is lifted completely and we return the freedom of the citizens of the Gaza Strip."
Hundreds of Jews pay solidarity visit to Jerusalem mosque hit by arson attack
Roughly 200 Jews paid a solidarity visit to a mosque in the Sharafat neighborhood of East Jerusalem on Saturday evening, a day after the Muslim house of worship was torched in an apparent hate crime.

Fire services were dispatched to the East Jerusalem mosque on Friday morning and managed to put out the blaze before serious damage could be caused.

Police announced that they had opened an investigation into the attack and distributed photos from the scene, showing that the vandals had spray-painted in Hebrew “Destroy [the property of] Jews? Kumi Ori destroys [the property of] enemies!” before fleeing.

Kumi Ori is a flashpoint outpost neighborhood of the Yitzhar settlement in the northern West Bank where security forces razed a pair of illegally built homes earlier this month.
Hundreds of Jews pay a solidarity visit to a mosque in Sharafat that was torched in an apparent hate crime on January 25, 2020. (Tag Meir)

The Saturday visit was organized by the Tag Meir organization, which works to counter hate and racism in Israel and the West Bank. Recalling the inter-faith meeting, the group’s chairman Gadi Gvaryahu said: “We expressed our shame and anger at the appalling crime, jointly wished for days of peace and brotherhood and promised to keep in touch with the residents of the neighborhood.”

Tehran and its Three Fantasies
The first of these is that Iranians as a nation are united behind Khomeini's messianic regime and ready to put up with poverty, injustice and even oppression in order to keep "The Revolution" alive. Over the past few years that fantasy has been punctured by almost continuous protests, strikes and socio-political turmoil at various levels throughout Iran.

For years, that [second] fantasy has been fed by foreign leaders and groups who have revived the ancient industry of flattery in a new form.... The idea that a majority of Lebanese, Iraqis, Yemenis and Syrians love the Islamic Republic and adulate Khamenei may still deceive the "Supreme Guide". But more and more Iranians now realize that Khamenei, and through him, the Islamic Republic as a whole, have been sold a bill of goods.

The third fantasy in the fable of which Soleimani is but the latest propagator-cum-victim, is that the Islamic Republic's strategy of "exporting the revolution is virtually cost free and that, shaking in fear, the rest of the world won't dare oppose it.... That fantasy was generously fed by people like former US President Barack Obama and former European Union foreign policy tsarina Federica Mogherini who, perhaps with good intentions, treated the Islamic Republic like an unruly teenager who should be cajoled into more reasonable behavior through kind inducements rather than parental punishment

This means that news from the Islamic Republic is not as bad as sober heads in Tehran believe. It is much worse.


Iranian FM: We’re still willing to negotiate with US
Iran is not ruling out negotiations with the United States even after an American drone strike that killed a top Iranian general, the country’s foreign minister said in an interview released Sunday.

Mohammad Javad Zarif told Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine that he would “never rule out the possibility that people will change their approach and recognize the realities,” in an interview conducted Saturday in Tehran.

There has been growing tension between Washington and Tehran since 2018, when President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the nuclear deal with Iran. The US has since reimposed tough sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy.

But Zarif suggested Iran was still willing to talk, though he reiterated his country’s previous demand that first the US would have to lift sanctions.
Prince Charles says he wants to visit Iran, be ‘peacemaker’ in Middle East
Britain’s Prince Charles wants to visit Iran, the heir to the throne said in an interview published Sunday, in which he also described himself as a “peacemaker” when speaking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Yes, obviously I would like to [go to Iran],” Charles told The Sunday Times last week on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, before he flew to Israel to take part in a major gathering of world leaders in Jerusalem to commemorate victims of the Holocaust. He also visited the Palestinian territories and said in Bethlehem Friday that it “breaks my heart” to witness Palestinian suffering.

“I know that Iran has been such an important part of the world for so many centuries and has contributed so much to human knowledge, culture, poetry, art,” the prince added in his newspaper intervieew. “I mean, really remarkable people. And I have always been fascinated by Islamic culture and architecture and craftsmanship for a long time.”

Relations between Tehran and London have historically been poor, with the Islamic Republic equating Britain with the US in representing “imperialism” and “arrogance.”

They deteriorated further earlier this month after Tehran arrested Britain’s ambassador, Rob Macaire, who participated in a vigil for victims of an incident in which Iranian missiles shot down a passenger plane, which later became an anti-regime protest.


Turkey: The worst antisemitic incidents of 2019
Anti-Semitism has been rising in Turkey largely because of the anti-Semitic atmosphere that the government actively promotes, Işıl Demirel, an editor of Avlaremoz, a Turkish-Jewish news website, told Ahval.

Demirel said that her observations on anti-Semitism are based, among many other things, on a survey recently held by Avlaremoz in which readers chose the most egregious antisemitic incident of the last year. The news site published a number of incidents on one page, describing each one, and readers chose which they viewed as the worst.

The results of the survey include a wide range of antisemitic events – schoolchildren indoctrinated at a summer camp and comments by opposition lawmakers, pro-government and anti-government newspapers, mayors, politicians, Islamic preachers and the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

“We have conducted a similar survey at SEHAK (the Civil and Ecological Rights Association) on how the people of Turkey perceive Jews,” Demirel said. “That, and other media monitoring activities including Hrant Dink Foundation’s reports, demonstrate that anti-Semitism has intensified in Turkey in recent years.

“The fact that the media in Turkey have increasingly become pro-government and have no real alternative to being pro-government has also helped make anti-Semitic rhetoric commonplace,” Demirel said.

“And the regime’s tolerance towards anti-Semitic discourse makes antisemitism even more widespread among the public. Of course, Turkey’s policy towards Israel also affects this situation to a great extent.” (h/t Zvi)
Nazi propaganda books branding Jews 'race defilers' and 'the devil in human form' are on sale on Amazon in English
Anti-Semitic books published by the Nazis at the height of the Third Reich have been translated into English and are being sold on Amazon.

The first book, 'Der Giftpilz', which translates as 'The Poisoned Mushroom', was published in German in 1938 and was used as evidence at the Nuremberg Trials.

The company faces a storm of controversy over the publication of the children's books just a year after it was forced to remove bottle openers and towels bearing photographs of Auschwitz.

'This book brands the Jew as a persecutor of the labour class, as a race defiler, devil in human form, a poisonous mushroom, and a murderer,' the trial report stated.

'This particular book instructed school children to recognise the Jew by caricature of his physical features, shown on Pages 6 and 7; taught them that the Jew abuses little boys and girls, on Page 30; and that the Jewish Bible permits all crimes, Pages 13-17.'

After the trials, the book's multi-millionaire publisher Julius Streicher, founder and editor of the Nazi newsletter Der Stürmer and friend of Adolf Hitler, was convicted of crimes against humanity and executed.

Yet the 64-page paperback, now translated into English, was published by Third Reich Books on Amazon's independent publishing platform CreateSpace on July 29, 2017 and is being sold for £7.67 on Amazon Prime.
Australian anti-hate organization condemns sale of Adolf Hitler web domain
An Australian anti-racism organization on Sunday harshly criticized two of the country’s technology firms after they put the internet domain name “AdolfHitler.com.au” up for auction.

The Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC), which describes itself as “Australia’s leading anti-hate organization,” blasted domain registrars Netfleet and Drop for selling off the name, worrying that it could be used to create a site promoting anti-Semitic or white supremacist beliefs.

The sale took place on Friday, only a day after dozens of foreign leaders gathered in Jerusalem to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.

“Shame on netfleet.com.au and drop.com.au for what can only be described as beyond offensive, beyond normal, and beyond insensitive,” ADC chair Dr. Dvir Abramovich said in a statement.

“How can anyone be so callous and so indifferent to the barbaric crimes of Hitler, and show zero respect to the feelings of Holocaust survivors so as to put profits over morality?
Louisiana store to stop selling KKK, Nazi apparel after public outcry
The owner of an antiques shop in New Orleans’ famous French Quarter has announced that they will no longer sell Nazi or Ku Klux Klan memorabilia after a complaint by the Anti-Defamation League sparked a public outcry.

According to NOLA.com, ADL South Central Region director Aaron Ahlquist publicly demanded the store stop selling items including a Nazi flag, a figurine of a Klansman and racist caricatures of African-Americans, asserting that they did not present “the image that New Orleans wants to convey to the millions of visitors each year, nor to our own citizens.”

“It is deeply troubling that items so clearly associated with hateful ideologies are so prominently displayed for sale in the French Quarter,” Ahlquist said. “We cannot allow for hate to become normalized, and that certainly includes profiting from the symbols of hate.”

When first asked by reporters about her merchandise, store owner Sue Saucier replied that the offending products were “historical items” and that while they did “not represent my sentiments,” she would not stop selling them. Customers could burn them after purchase for all she cared, she asserted.

“You can’t please everyone in this world,” she was quoted as saying, blaming political correctness for people’s anger.
Alma Har’el first Israeli,first woman, to win key Directors Guild Award
Director Alma Har’el became the first Israeli and the first woman to win the Director’s Guild of America Award for Outstanding Direction — First-Time Feature Film for her work directing the 2019 film Honey Boy, when the awards were given out at a ceremony in Los Angeles on Saturday night.

The DGA began giving out this award in 2015.

Har’el used her win for the critically acclaimed coming-of-age drama written by and starring Shia LaBeouf to make a passionate plea for women directors who lost their health insurance when they had children and took time off from work.

As she won her DGA for Best First Feature, she thanked director Jessica Dimmock for speaking out about women directors trying to juggle children and a career.

Dimmock took time off from her work to care for her newborn baby in 2017 and found that she had not earned enough money to meet the minimum yearly required income to keep her DGA health insurance.

Dimmock has written an open letter to DGA management asking that this system be changed in order to allow new parents to take time off and has gotten more than 50 prominent women in Hollywood to co-sign the letter, including Amy Schumer, Amy Poehler, Ava DuVernay and Greta Gerwig.

Har’el was also outspoken in her criticism of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences earlier this month for not nominating any women in the Best Director Oscar category this year and suggested introducing a category for female directors.

Sam Mendes, who is Jewish, won the top prize for direction of a feature film, for his World War I epic, 1917. This is a significant victory because the DGA award is widely seen to be predictive of the Oscar both for Best Director and Best Picture. Mendes already won a Best Director Golden Globe and the film won the Golden Globe for Best Picture in the drama category.
Israel techies to brainstorm ideas for tackling Australia bush fire challenges
Israeli tech entrepreneurs, programmers, water and environmental experts and zoologists are being called to take part in a special hackathon that will take place for 15 hours later this week in Tel Aviv to devise ways to help Australia tackle the consequences of the environmental calamity it is witnessing.

Called #StandWithAUS, the all-night hackathon, which will start at 6 p.m. on Jan. 30 and end at 9 a.m. the next day, will seek to tackle the challenges of the devastating Australian bush fires, which has seen the destruction of thousands of homes, death of citizens and killed and displaced almost half a billion animals. Hackathons are sprint-like events where programmers and other professionals team up to create solutions to challenges in a limited amount of time.

The initiative is spearheaded by Appleseeds Academy, a non-profit that seeks to close the digital divide in Israel and create technological equality, Kinneret Innovation Center, a tech hub that is part of the Kinneret Academic College, and Impact Innovation Israel, a tech consultancy. Its backers include VC fund Grove Ventures, Amazon Web Services, Cisco, SAP, My Heritage and the Keren Hayesod marketing firm Natural Intelligence, according to the registration form for the event.

Participants will be presented with a number of challenges including identify and treat water sources that have been contaminated by flame retardants and ash from fires; detecting and averting online fraud in fundraising efforts; strengthening the Australian economy by encouraging tourism; monitoring and handling air quality in infected areas detecting and caring for animals and their habitat and finding fireproof and emergency solutions for communications and electricity infrastructure.



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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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