Friday, December 04, 2020

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: The agenda that undermines America’s bond with the Jews
Among those who understood the depth of former US President Barack Obama’s hostility to Israel, there’s understandable anxiety about the Obama retreads and acolytes among the foreign policy and security nominees being chosen by the prospective president-elect, Joe Biden.

Obama’s hostility is assumed to derive from his left-wing mindset which regards Israel, falsely and ahistorically, as a colonialist occupying power. He demonstrates this in his new memoir, A Promised Land, in his profoundly distorted account of the origins of the modern State of Israel.

There is, however, a deeper reason why both Obama and the left find Israel so intensely problematic, and why a Biden presidency will once again have Israel in its cross-hairs. This isn’t about foreign policy. It’s about the programme for America itself.

The core of the left’s agenda is to remake the western world; and the agenda of Obama and the American left is to remake America.

Their target is the western nation-state and its culture. The core precepts of that culture are articulated and enshrined within the different histories, laws, religions, institutions and traditions of individual western nations.

The left, however, deems the western nation-state to be evil because it declares itself superior to cultures that don’t share its values while excluding those who don’t belong to it.

Hence the left’s constant undermining of immigration laws in their attempt to erase national borders; their refusal to grasp that citizenship is a bargain between the citizen and the state to which he or she belongs; and their savage denunciations of those who uphold such notions as racists or xenophobes, in order to erase their voices altogether from the cultural conversation.

The nation, its specific attributes and the borders that define its territory must instead give way to a Kumbaya vision of the brotherhood of man expressed through trans-national institutions and laws.

Much of this erosion of western values has already been achieved, in schools and universities, through the culture wars. Obama’s strategy in his eight years in the White House was to weaponise this agenda through the presidency.
20 years on and still no justice
Out of the hundreds of terrorist attacks etched on Israel's collective memory, the slaughter at the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem stands out as one of the worst. On Aug. 9, 2001, when summer vacation was in full swing, Hamas terrorist Muhammad al-Masri entered the restaurant in the city center carrying a bomb hidden inside a guitar. When it detonated, it killed 15 people, including half of the Schijveschuurder family (both parents and three children, and two other children were seriously hurt), wounded a total of 140, and left an indelible trauma.

The victims included six American citizens, four of whom were wounded – including Chana Nachenberg, who remains in a vegetative state – and two of whom were killed – Shoshana Greenbaum, a 31-year-old teacher from New Jersey who was six months pregnant, and 15-year-old Malki Roth, who died alongside her friend Michal Raziel.

In a response that was considered harsh at the time, then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered that the Palestinian Authority offices in Jerusalem, primarily the Orient House, be shut down. And as the horrific days of the Second Intifada continued, the public's attention shifted to the even more deadly attacks that soon followed.

Twenty years after the Sbarro catastrophe, one matter remains unresolved. The 22-year-old suicide bomber had been driven into the heart of Jerusalem by a pair of terrorists, Mohammad Daghlas, who was behind the wheel, and Ahlam Tamimi, a Palestinian TV anchor who used her press pass to get through the security checkpoints on the way to the capital. Tamimi directed the suicide bomber to his target destination, and immediately fled the scene. She got on a bus at Damascus Gate and heard radio reports that the number of Jews who had been killed was mounting.

"There was great joy on the bus. People congratulated each other, even though they didn't know each other. They didn't know about my part," Tamimi said later in several interviews. Later that evening, she reported on the attack without revealing the part she had played. A few weeks later, the IDF arrested her. She was sentenced to 16 life sentences and another 15 years in prison. While in prison, she announced that he had married her cousin Nizar Tamimi, who had murdered Beit El resident Haim Mizrahi in 1993.

A decade after Tamimi was imprisoned, Israel made a deal for the release of captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit. Tamimi and the driver were both released, and subsequently, Tamimi arrived in Jordan. She was the only Jordanian citizen among the 1.027 prisoners who were released in the deal.

Nizar Tamimi was also freed. He was supposed to remain in the West Bank, but someone in the Israeli establishment helped him move to Jordan, duping Malki Roth's father, attorney Arnold Roth, who had been trying to keep the couple from being reunited.


Frimet Roth: Forever 15
This week, we mark yet another agonizing birthday.

My sweet daughter, Malki, would now be 35 years old if Hamas operative Ahlam Tamimi had made some misstep on Aug. 9, 2001.

But Tamimi was and still is a seasoned, determined, efficient and bloodthirsty terrorist.

In the Sbarro bombing, which she confesses she masterminded and which she calls “my operation,” seven babies and children perished with nine adults—some parents alongside their offspring. It was an unmitigated massacre.

Never could we have imagined that her murderer would now be free as a bird—and protected by a ruler who is coddled by both the United States and Israel—King Abdullah II of Jordan.

Tamimi’s stated determination to kill Jews is matched only by the determination of world leaders to ignore our pleas to correct the travesty of justice that Tamimi’s freedom embodies.

Our letters, phone calls, op-eds, tweets and front-page advertisements have fallen on deaf ears. They have only elicited excuses, evasive double-talk, or total silence from most of the people who could easily assist us if they cared to.

There are no obstacles in their path:
- Legislation has existed for years empowering the United States to arrest, try and convict terrorists in U.S. courts under U.S. law if they kill a U.S. national, which Malki was.
- In 1995, an extradition treaty was signed and ratified between the U.S. and Jordan, and accepted as valid by both countries. The State Department still takes that view.
- Tamimi was added to the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list in 2017. A $5 million State Department reward for her capture and conviction was announced in 2018.
- Legislation enacted in 2019 empowers the U.S. to impose a foreign-aid sanction on any country failing to abide by its treaty obligation to the U.S.


None of the steps that could be taken to right this moral wrong has been taken.


Giving Rabbi Sacks the Genesis Prize is the honorable, responsible move
The Genesis Prize, also known as the “Nobel Prize of the Jewish world,” recognizes individuals who have achieved internationally known success, made significant contributions to humankind and who have demonstrated a fundamental commitment to Jewish identity, Jewish values, the international Jewish community and Israel.

In a world of growing and deepening polarization and extremism, underscored by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is one consistent, extraordinary voice, which transcends the particular to connect to the universal, which unites rather than divides, which epitomizes “the dignity of difference.”

Inspiring and illuminating the historic imperative and potential for “renewal of the covenant” between all of humankind, based on mutual recognition that enables negotiation and ultimately paves the path to peace, his is a singular voice of moral clarity, sorely needed in a world of “again and again,” that not long ago was entrusted with the pledge of “never again.”

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks (z”l) was an individual with a voice that delivered overarching messages that will be sorely missed. He was a fearless thought leader, prepared to engage in discussion with all, ingeniously binding together people of all faiths – religious and secular, in Israel and around the globe – based on common values and identity.

The gaping vacuum that his passing has created, embodies the mission, vision and values of the Genesis Prize and, as he is one of the deserving nominees, presents an unparalleled opportunity and alongside it a tremendous obligation to award him with this honor.

In the face of intersecting global challenges, and at this particular moment in time, awarding the Genesis Prize to an individual whose legacy bridges divides harbors the potential of not only filling the void of our collective loss, but of finding and offering a global message of comfort and unity, at a time of distress and instability.
Palestinian Leaders Want Israel Destroyed — Until They Need a Doctor
It was thus ironic that in the past two weeks, at the same exact Golan Heights site where Israel operated the field hospital treating wounded Syrians, Israeli soldiers found a system of IEDs set to kill an IDF patrol.

In Israel, we know the truth. For example, in October 2014, just two months after Hamas started a war with Israel in which it launched more than 10,000 missiles at civilian targets, Sarah Haniyeh, the daughter of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, was treated at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital following complications she suffered in a Gaza hospital. Around the same time, but unreported, Hamas leader Haniyeh’s mother-in-law and granddaughter also left Gaza for treatment in Israeli hospitals.

The parade of Hamas murderers, kidnappers, and genocidal Jew-hating terrorists who find no moral contradiction in seeking medical help from the very people they are sworn to wipe out boggles the mind. But then again, mass murderers usually don’t have guilty consciences.

Another absurdity that separates Israeli medicine from Palestinian cynicism and hypocrisy is the example of terrorist Yahya al-Sinwar, head of the Hamas political bureau in the Gaza Strip, who, while imprisoned in Israel in 2007, was operated on to have a brain tumor removed. Now, having been released in 2011 in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal, he continues to furiously beat the Hamas drum for more and more missiles, and more and more killings.

At present, Hamas holds Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers hostage in unthinkable conditions. No one knows where they are, their conditions, or whether they are even alive. Hamas refuses to let the Red Cross visit them. At the same time, convicted Palestinian terrorist murderers go on hunger strikes in Israeli jails, secure in the knowledge that they can rely on the oath sworn by their Jewish doctors, which the terrorists cynically leverage for their own ends, to get effective “get out of jail free cards.”

Yet Israel is cast as the real impediment to peace.

The difference between the Hippocratic Oath and the hypocritical oath sworn by the Palestinians when they join the terrorist organizations is not the spelling. They invest in weapons and tunnels instead of hospitals, and explosives instead of medicines.

The Palestinian murder doctrine is not meant to bring healing or peace, but to sow death. Hamas’ missiles in UNRWA infirmaries, the Red Crescent ambulances used to transport terrorists and the Hamas bunkers under Shifa Hopsital all give witness to that awful truth. It’s time to put a stop to this lunacy.
Anti-Israel Groups Mobilize to Install Allies in Biden Admin
Anti-Israel organizations have launched a coordinated effort to pressure the incoming Biden administration into selecting people who will champion their causes, a push that reportedly includes opposing mainstream nominees supported by leading Democrats and Republicans.

In a bid to agree on strategy and maximize pressure on Joe Biden's transition team, more than 100 far-left organizations, including Code Pink and Win Without War, held a Wednesday conference call "to try to get on the same page and make a more coherent pitch to the Biden team," according to Politico. The organizations are preparing to recommend some 200 staffers who share these organizations' foreign policy ideology, which includes rolling back sanctions on Iran and challenging American aid to Israel.

Included on the call was Matt Duss, a top adviser for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) who has made a name on the foreign policy stage for his hardline anti-Israel views. Duss faced charges of promoting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories during his time as a blogger at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, and was ultimately pushed out of the organization by Biden nominee Neera Tanden. His role in pressuring the Biden transition team is likely to worry pro-Israel Democrats who prefer the incoming administration sideline the most radical voices in the party, such as Democratic representatives Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.). The House progressives have been working to mainstream anti-Israel voices and push policies such as conditioning military assistance to Israel until it bows to far-left demands.

Last week, Duss responded to the assassination of a top Iranian nuclear weapons program official by accusing the perpetrator, assumed to be Israel, of "terrorism"—a claim that was roundly criticized by regional experts.


Pro-Israel Democrat Gregory Meeks voted chair of key House foreign affairs panel
Representative Gregory Meeks was voted by his Democratic colleagues on Thursday to serve as the next chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, beating out the more progressive Joaquin Castro.

Meeks has long described himself as a major supporter of the US-Israel relationship, voting in favor of military aid for the Jewish state and against the BDS movement. He has ties to AIPAC and J Street, with both the establishment group and the dovish lobby calling the New York congressman a friend.

Meeks beat out Castro 148 to 78. He will be the first Black representative to chair the Foreign Affairs Committee, replacing longtime New York Rep. Eliot Engel, who was ousted in a primary by a progressive challenger earlier this year. Engel was also known for his close ties to the pro-Israel establishment in Washington.

In interviews and events leading up to Thursday’s vote, Meeks said that he would work to reinvigorate the State Department, accusing outgoing US President Donald Trump of gutting the agency. He has also backed Biden’s plan to re-enter the Iran nuclear deal. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, questions former White House national security aide Fiona Hill, and David Holmes, a US diplomat in Ukraine, as they testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The election for panel chair became a two-man race on Wednesday after Rep. Brad Sherman announced his withdrawal.


British MP Suspended for Antisemitism is Elected to Party Disciplinary Board
A member of the British Parliament who served a suspension for antisemitism and was reinstated by his party has been elected to serve on his party’s disciplinary board.

Neale Hanvey of the Scottish National Party was just elected to his party’s disciplinary board one year after serving a suspension over antisemitic social media posts that resurfaced ahead of the 2019 election. In them, he shared an article featuring a caricature of Jewish billionaire George Soros as a puppet master and another comparing the treatment of the Palestinians to that of the Jewish people during the Holocaust.

He was readmitted to his party six months ago after completing a course at a Holocaust center and meeting with Scottish Jewish community leaders to apologize for the posts.

The UK-based Campaign Against Antisemitism criticized SNP for electing Hanvey to the disciplinary board at its party conference, calling it “a wrong move.”

Hanvey, however, defended his election to the board.

“I have always accepted full responsibility for my error in judgment in 2016, for which I have sincerely, and unreservedly, apologized,” he told The National. “I was duly sanctioned for this by my party and complied with those terms without complaint.”


Pro-Israel Progressive Ritchie Torres on Why He's Against the BDS Movement



UPI Fails to Mention UN Schools’ Rampant Antisemitism
There is little doubt that for many Palestinians in the “refugee camps” (many of which are urban sprawls virtually indistinguishable from their surroundings) in neighboring states such as Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, poverty is a real issue. But focusing on the financial crisis facing the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine Refugees in terms of funding alone, as a recent article by the United Press International wire service does, leaves readers misinformed as to the true causes of the situation.

The article, published December 1, by Dalal Saoud, tells readers of how UNRWA’s situation, coupled with Lebanon’s deteriorating economic conditions and the COVID-19 pandemic, have “pushed the estimated 200,000 refugees deeper into poverty.”

There is no doubt that the plight of the average Palestinian in Lebanon is miserable. But beyond the factors mentioned above, the funding of

“Despair, Poverty and Anger”
For example, in the third paragraph, Claudio Cordone, UNRWA’s director in Lebanon, is quoted:
The conditions are really difficult. If we ran out of money and we cannot support the poor among the Palestinians, whose numbers are increasing, then they are left on their own… There is nobody else for them. UNRWA literally is the only lifeline.”

In the same vein, the following paragraph describes Lebanon as “cash-strapped” and “grappling with its worst financial and economic crisis since its 1975-90 civil war,” meaning the country “can barely feed its own population and doesn’t have the capacity to help any of the refugees on its soil.” And the paragraph after cites another UNRWA official — this time Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini is described as sounding the alarm,
warning that a huge deficit in the agency’s budget could force it to stop some of its services and the payment of salaries to 28,000 staffers in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon and Jordan.”

After all this, readers are told of another official involved in the situation, Abdelnasser el Ayi, office director of the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee, who talks of the pervasive “despair, poverty and anger.”
SUCCESS! HRC Prompts CBC To Acknowledge Iran’s Claim It “Disbanded (Its) Military Nuclear Program” Is Disputed
On November 29, we alerted you to how CBC News wrongly claimed that Iran “disbanded (its) military nuclear program” in 2003, in coverage about the assassination of IRGC Brigadier General and Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

As we noted in our alert and in a complaint sent to senior executives at CBC News, reports on November 27 and 28 claiming Iran shuttered its military nuclear program is disputed by Israel and the west who argue that Iran never stopped its program; the Iranian regime just moved research and development underground, off limits to IAEA inspectors, and within existing military research programs. Israel, citing the confiscating nuclear archives that the Israeli Mossad extracted in 2018, says Iran is still trying to execute a comprehensive program to design, build and test nuclear weapons.

While Iran claims to have disbanded its nuclear weapons program in 2003, this assertion lacks credibility and cannot be substantiated. The CBC and the mainstream media shouldn’t accept the regime’s assertions hook, line and sinker.

In dialogue with the CBC, we told our public broadcaster that it has a responsibility to tell its readers, viewers and listeners that this matter is fundamentally in dispute, with Israel and the west believing that Iran has not abandoned its nuclear weapons program.

HonestReporting Canada is happy to report that CBC News has agreed with our criticisms of their reporting and has taken remedial action to set the record straight on this matter. For example, CBC issued the following clarification notice appended to its reporting:


EU Must Protect Rights of Jews to Circumcision and Kosher Meat, Otherwise Declarations Against Antisemitism Are ‘Useless,’ Top Rabbi Declares
One of Europe’s leading rabbis on Friday criticized the Council of the European Union’s milestone declaration on antisemitism issued earlier this week, highlighting the absence of any protection for key Jewish rituals such as circumcision and kashrut that have faced legislative challenges in a number of European countries.

In an interview with the French Catholic news outlet La Croix, Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt — president of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER) — stated that while he welcomed the EU declaration, “it does not correspond to what is fundamentally necessary to safeguard the Jewish communities in Europe.”

Goldschmidt said that he had been “particularly disappointed by the omission of an explicit commitment to defend our religious practices, such as shechita (the slaughter of animals for consumption according to religious guidelines) and the milah (the circumcision of Jewish male infants eight days after birth).”

The six-page declaration published on Wednesday by the Council of the European Union — the key body coordinating policies among the EU’s 27 member states — asserted that “antisemitism, in any form, is and must remain unacceptable and all steps must be taken to counteract it, including, where necessary, through legal measures at European level.”

It underlined that “the member states of the European Union support policy initiatives at European level that aim to combat incitement to antisemitic hatred and acts of violence, as well as the dissemination of antisemitic conspiracy myths online.”
In “scandalous” decision, Sheffield United is sole Premier League football club not to adopt International Definition of Antisemitism
Sheffield United is the only football club of the Premier League’s twenty member clubs to refuse to adopt the International Definition of Antisemitism.

The Premier League and the other nineteen clubs adopted the Definition yesterday, but The Blades have declined to do so.

It is hoped that this adoption will enable the Premier League to identify and discipline anti-Jewish racism among players and employees, and will send a signal to fans that antisemitism has no place in football. Sheffield United’s decision not to adopt the Definition sends precisely the opposite message.

A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “We and others have worked hard to ensure widespread adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism, with Lord Mann in particular campaigning vociferously for the Premier League and its constituent clubs to adopt it. Their decision to do so is a momentous day for everyone who opposes racism in sport.

“It is therefore all the more astonishing that Sheffield United alone would disgracefully decline to adopt the Definition. It sends absolutely the wrong message to fans and players, and undermines the growing consensus that racism has no place in football. Serious questions must now be asked of the owners and management of the club over this scandalous own goal.”
Scientists successfully restore cells to youth, bring back sight in mice
Scientists said Wednesday they have restored sight in mice using a “milestone” treatment that returns cells to a more youthful state and could one day help treat glaucoma and other age-related diseases.

The process offers the tantalizing possibility of effectively turning back time at the cellular level, helping cells recover the ability to heal damage caused by injury, disease and age.

“I’m excited about being able to rejuvenate organs and tissues that fail due to ageing and disease, especially where there are no effective treatments, such as dementia,” senior author of the study David Sinclair told AFP.

“We hope to treat glaucoma in human patients (at the trial stage) in two years,” added Sinclair, a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, who is of Jewish heritage.

The treatment is based on the properties that cells have when the body is developing as an embryo. At that time, cells can repair and regenerate themselves, but that capacity declines rapidly with age.

The scientists reasoned that if cells could be induced to return to that youthful state, they would be able to repair damage.

To turn back the clock, they modified a process usually used to create the “blank slate” cells known as induced pluripotent stem cells.
Across Texas, the show of outdoor Hanukkah festivities must go on
Most will be virtual, some will take place as part of tightly regulated events — but there will be menorah lightings and more Hanukkah festivities this year in Texas, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

“This year, more than ever, the light of Hanukkah is needed to increase the feeling of the triumph and eradication of evil with goodness, illness with health, sadness with joy,” said Rabbi Chaim Lazaroff, program director for Chabad in Houston, adding that the events this year have been “carefully chosen to adhere to best safety practices possible.”

Through large outdoor menorah lightings and other public celebrations they organize every year for the eight-day Festival of Lights, Jewish communities large and small throughout the state — from Lubbock to El Paso to Corpus Christi — don’t shy away from expressing their Jewish pride.

In Houston, the celebrations are among the largest in the state with a City Hall lighting ceremony, menorah car parade and “gelt drop” that involves the chocolate coins being dropped from a helicopter. It’s all organized by the city’s chapter of the Hasidic Chabad-Lubavitch movement, which is known for its outreach activities.

But the limitations on public gatherings due to the pandemic has significantly changed the logistics this year in Houston and elsewhere in Texas, where Jews make up less than 1% of the state’s population of nearly 30 million.





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