Tuesday, January 12, 2021

From Ian:

Miriam Adelson: With Great Sorrow: Sheldon Adelson, 1933-2021
It is with unbearable pain that I announce the death of my husband, Sheldon, of complications from a long illness.

Sheldon was the love of my life. He was my partner in romance, philanthropy, political activism, and enterprise. He was my soulmate.

To me — as to his children, grandchildren and his legions of friends and admirers, employees and colleagues — he is utterly irreplaceable.

Much has been written and said about how Sheldon, the son of poor immigrants, rose to the pinnacle of business success on the strength of grit and genius, inspiration and integrity. His was an all-American story of entrepreneurship. When Sheldon launched a new venture, the whole world looked on with anticipation.

In our amazing 32-year adventure together, I was fortunate to witness the beauty of Sheldon’s private side.

He was an American patriot: a US Army veteran who gave generously to wounded warriors and, wherever he could, looked to the advancement of these great United States. He was the proudest of Jews, who saw in the State of Israel not only the realization of a historical promise to a unique and deserving people, but also a gift from the Almighty to all of humanity.

And Sheldon was kind. He gave readily of his fortune to charitable causes that may literally be countless, as he expected no credit and often preferred anonymity. Although bluff in build and speech — and, in the last two decades, beset by painful sickness — Sheldon was always sensitive to the needs of others.

Visit any of our hotels and you will immediately notice the extraordinarily high ceilings, exquisitely designed by Sheldon at a sacrifice of lucrative story-space. He wanted all of our guests — no matter their means — to feel like kings, to breathe free in gorgeous tranquility. When the COVID-19 crisis hit and those hotels went dark, he insisted that our tens of thousands of team members continue getting their wages and medical insurance.

Each of those people, and millions of other beneficiaries of Sheldon’s largesse, are his testimonials.


Sheldon Adelson, Iconic Jewish Philanthropist and Political Donor, Dies at 87
Sheldon Adelson, a casino-resort billionaire who funded Jewish charities and political causes in both Israel and the United States, died on Monday night of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, at the age of 87.

The son of a Lithuanian Jewish immigrant, Adelson became one of the world’s richest men as the founder of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, with an estimated net worth of $35.9 billion. He donated huge sums to causes like Birthright Israel, which finances trips to Israel for young Jews, the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jersualem, and medical research into cancer and other diseases.

He also spent heavily on politics, becoming one of the largest backers to President Donald Trump and the Republican Party in the US, and to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In 2007, he created the Israeli daily Israel Hayom, and also owned the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

American and Israeli officials and Jewish leaders began commemorating Adelson’s life Tuesday.
Netanyahu mourns Adelson as ‘champion of the Jewish people,’ as tributes pour in
The death of Jewish-American billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson at the age of 87 drew a flood of eulogies Tuesday, as politicians and other public figures in Israel, the US and elsewhere remembered the powerful political donor and philanthropist as a prominent champion of the bond and alliance between Jerusalem and Washington.

Adelson, who used his vast fortune to push conservative policies in both countries, was also remembered for his support for West Bank settlements and right-wing Jewish organizations.

A major patron of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump, Adelson was confirmed by his company, Las Vegas Sands, to have died from complications related to treatment for non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Netanyahu said in a statement that he received the news of Adelson’s death with “deep sorrow and heartbreak.”

“Sheldon’s tremendous efforts to strengthen Israel’s position in the United States and to strengthen the connection between Israel and the Diaspora will be remembered for generations,” said Netanyahu, calling Adelson “an incredible champion of the Jewish people, the Jewish state and the alliance between Israel and America.”

“Along with his wife Miri, Sheldon was one of the greatest contributors in history to the Jewish people, Zionism, settlements and the State of Israel,” he said, listing among those causes his support for Taglit-Birthright, which funds trips to Israel for young Jews from around the world, and Ariel University in the West Bank.

President Reuven Rivlin also expressed sorrow and condolences to the family, saying that Adelson was “a great American patriot who saw it as his mission and goal to strengthen the alliance between Israel and the US” and made “groundbreaking” contributions.

Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer tweeted that Adelson was a “true giant” who “devoted himself to strengthening his people, his homeland and the bonds between his beloved America and Israel.”


B’Tselem, for first time, labels Israel an apartheid state
Israel is an apartheid state, B’Tselem said Monday for the first time in its 31-year history. In response to its statement, the left-wing Israeli NGO was accused of being antisemitic.

“Israel is not a democracy that has a temporary occupation attached to it; it is one regime from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, and we must look at the full picture and see it for what it is: apartheid,” B’Tselem executive director Hagai El-Ad said in explaining the policy change.

“The fundamental tenets of Israel’s regime, although already implemented for many years, have recently grown more explicit,” he added. Prof. Eugene Kontorovich, head of the Kohelet Policy Forum’s International Law Department, said B’Tselem’s charge of apartheid was akin to an antisemitic “blood libel.”

“Apartheid is an extraordinary accusation because there is an international crime called the crime of apartheid and an international treaty against the crime of apartheid,” he told The Jerusalem Post.

No country has ever been deemed by the international community as an apartheid state since South Africa, not even China and Iran, he added. B’Tselem has a right to disagree with Israeli policies toward the Palestinians, and it is not antisemitic for it to protest those policies, Kontorovich said.

By labeling Israel as apartheid, however, B’Tselem is “treating Israel the way no other country would be treated,” he said.


Guardian op-ed Israel is a 'Jewish supremacist' state with no right to exist
El-Ad’s argument that Israel is a (non-democratic) supremacist state rests in part on the passage we highlighted above, that Israel “rules everyone and everything between the river and the sea” and that the state works “to advance and perpetuate the supremacy of one group of people – Jews – over another – Palestinians”.

Let’s unpack this. El-Ad is arguing that Israel rules not only Palestinians in PA controlled Area A, but, even more implausibly, that it rules the two million Gazans who live under Hamas rule.

Even leaving aside the suggestion that – despite Israel’s complete withdrawal 15 years ago – Gaza is still occupied, El-Ad is arguing that Israeli restrictions on the coastal enclave, and the fact that Gazans can’t vote in Israeli elections, is motivated not by security concerns stemming from Hamas’s genocidal designs, but by the belief that Jewish are ‘superior’ to Palestinians and therefore should dominate them.

However, what El-Ad and other anti-Zionists published at the Guardian get so horribly wrong is that Zionism is not the belief that Jews are superior to others people in the region, but that Jews are equal to non-Jews, and therefore possess the same intrinsic rights to safety, self-defence and self-determination that other people and nations enjoy. Throughout their pre-state history, Jews inhabited a precarious and decidedly unequal position, ever exposed to the whims and wishes of rulers and the resentment of the populace – an inequality relative to their non-Jewish neighbors that left Jews perpetually vulnerable to antisemitic violence.

Zionism, rightly understood, was a progressive, revolutionary movement seeking equal rights for Jews.

Anti-Zionism, as Israeli journalist Eylon Levy framed it, should be seen as a regressive, counter-revolutionary spirit – an effort to deny Jews the rights they currently enjoy, and to restore the old, dangerous power imbalance. It’s a movement that of course has no answer to how Israeli Jews, without the apparatuses of sovereignty, could conceivably defend themselves from regional antisemitic terror groups and state actors that seek their subjugation and murder.

Though Guardian editors have, at times, said the right things about the dangers of antisemitism, their decision to publish and promote El-Ad’s op-ed, and their consistent tolerance towards such anti-Zionist hatred, once again demonstrates the huge moral gulf between perfunctory condemnations of anti-Jewish racism in the abstract and actively fighting this scourge in the real world.


Ari Lesser - Israel Apartheid

Ramallah Awaits the Biden Administration
It is likely that several meaningful as well as symbolic acts will be manifested shortly after Biden’s inauguration. Some of these include:
- reopening the PLO office in Washington
- renewing US financial assistance to the PA
- reviving American support for UNRWA
- reopening the American consulate in East Jerusalem
- strongly opposing the expansion of Israeli settlements and any implementation of sovereignty by Israel.

The Palestinian leadership is planning a cautious and pragmatic approach to the new administration rather than an over-eager approach involving the presentation of problematic and controversial demands. The leadership seems to understand that it is not realistic to expect Biden to undo Trump’s clear-cut political decisions, particularly on the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the moving of the US embassy to the holy city.

The PA’s policy is already visible in its decision to renew full coordination with Israel in the security and civilian domains, as well as in its readiness to accept tax refunds and tariffs from the Israeli Ministry of Finance.

The PA’s political approach to the new administration will be accompanied by a renewed public interest in reviving the political process with Israel through coordination with Egypt and Jordan. In this regard, the historical role of the Quartet (the EU, Russia, the UN, and the US) in providing international sponsorship would be much welcomed. The desired format would be the convening of an international conference early in 2021. PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said on December 20, “We are ready for cooperation and dealing with the new US administration, and we are expecting that it would re-draw its ties with the state of Palestine.” It is well-known that Biden supports the two-state solution, and he is likely to seriously consider the emerging Palestinian initiative.

In the prevailing circumstances, Hamas in Gaza is not interested in initiating a military escalation with Israel. Its restraint reflects its need to contain the out-of-control spread of coronavirus in the Gaza Strip, a problem that could constitute an existential threat to its rule in the Strip. Therefore, a scenario in which Hamas prioritizes an unofficial ceasefire (a “hudna”) with Israel is a possibility. Israel could, indeed, “rescue” Hamas by providing vaccines to the Palestinians of Gaza.

Palestinian society would like to see an end to the division between its two largest factions, the PA/Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. This objective, while unrealistic at present, is the society’s ultimate goal.

The optimism among the Palestinians vis-à-vis the potential for a positive working relationship with the Biden administration signals a new and serious constraint on the Israeli government: namely, the challenging of the “Netanyahu Doctrine” as manifested in the Abraham Accords. The expected renewal of US prioritization of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should motivate Israel to establish reliable channels to Biden, and the sooner the better.
Germany, France call for 2-states at 67-line, prior to Biden presidency
The United States has an important role to play in relaunching an Israeli-Palestinian peace process that would create a two-state resolution to the conflict at the pre-1967 lines, the Munich Group said in advance of US President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20.

The Munich Group — composed of the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Germany and France — met Monday in Cairo.

In a statement put out after the meeting the group "emphasized their commitment to a negotiated two-state solution, ensuring an independent and viable Palestinian state based on June 4, 1967, lines and UN Security Council resolutions, living side by side a secure and recognized Israel." It also "emphasized the role of the United States in this context" and "expressed willingness to work with the United States towards facilitating negotiations leading to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the region, based on the internationally-recognized parameters, and re-launching a credible peace process between the Palestinians and Israelis."

It spoke out as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem announced he would advance plans for 800 new West Bank settler homes, including the legalization of an outpost.

In Cairo, the foreign ministers called on Israel to "completely cease all settlement activities including in east Jerusalem." They also urged Israel to maintain the "legal status quo of the in the Holy sites in Jerusalem and "recalled the importance of the historic Hashemite custodianship of Jerusalem’s Holy sites."


After approving settlements, Gantz advances permits for Palestinian construction
Defense Minister Benny Gantz approved a number of preliminary steps for Palestinian construction projects in the West Bank, his office said Monday, in an apparent effort to offset any potential blowback for his approval of some 800 housing units in Israeli settlements earlier in the day.

The permits would legalize hundreds of Palestinian structures in Area C, which makes up some 60 percent of the West Bank and is under fully Israeli security and administrative control. Israel rarely approves Palestinian construction in Area C, with the overwhelming majority of requests being denied.

On Monday morning, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that a Defense Ministry panel would approve plans for over 800 new settler homes days before the inauguration of US President-elect Joe Biden, who is expected to take a harsher view of Israeli settlement expansion than his predecessor, Donald Trump.

That night, Gantz’s office announced he had approved the submission of plans for the expansion of the village of al-Walaja in the southern West Bank, the expansion of the village of Hizma outside Jerusalem, approval for plans for a hotel in the Bethlehem area, a hearing regarding the submission of plans for a hotel in Beit Jala, and a hearing regarding retroactive approval for agricultural buildings in the area of al-Fara in the northern West Bank.

The proposals were scheduled to be discussed next week in a meeting of the Civil Administration’s Planning and Licensing Subcommittee, a different body than the one that will approve the plans for the settlement expansions.


Israeli Court Bans Screening of ‘Jenin, Jenin’ in Israel Following Defamation Suit
The Lod District Court on Monday night ruled that the screening of the film “Jenin Jenin” will be banned in Israel and ordered the confiscation of all copies of the film in the country, the latest phase in 18 years of defamation legal suits surrounding the movie.

In addition, the court ordered the film’s director, Muhammad Bakri, to pay the plaintiff, IDF Lt. Col. Nissim Magnaji. compensation in the amount of NIS 175,000, as well as legal expenses in the amount of NIS 50,000.

Footage of Magnaji was added to the film.

The judge noted that Bakri could not be protected under the Defamation Prohibition Act “when it is found that there is no truth in the substance of things published in the film, there is no good faith in their presentation, and no steps were taken by the defendant, not as reasonable steps, in order to substantiate the alleged argument woven into the publication.”

“We are dealing with a defendant who found it appropriate to produce a film that claims to be a documentary based on a group of interviews of those who are supposed to be residents of the Jenin refugee camp, “Judge Halit Silesh wrote. “The defendant chose not to examine, even minimally, even initially, the allegations and facts that came up in the interviews and found it appropriate to weave between the interviews a variety of images, videos and music, which have in themselves, both in the location and the way they were inserted into the film, to illustrate, and in some cases even reinforce, what was said in those interviews.”

Jenin, Jenin, directed by Bakri, allegedly portrays what Bakri calls “the Palestinian truth” about the “Battle of Jenin”, the clash between IDF forces and local terrorists in April 2002 during the IDF’s counterterrorism Operation Defensive Shield.

The film is mostly fictional and portrays the IDF troops and a vicious force that committed a massacre and multiple war crimes.

Since the film was released 18 years ago in 2002, it has received harsh reviews in light of lies about the portrayed events, and courts have previously criticized the film and the distortions depicted in it.
Abbas rival oversees UAE medical aid to Gaza
While the Palestinian authority has refused to accept medical aid to combat the spread of the coronavirus from the United Arab Emirates, Hamas has in recent weeks allowed the Gulf state to send medical equipment to the Gaza Strip.

The UAE aid to the Gaza Strip is being coordinated by deposed Fatah operative Mohammed Dahlan, an archrival of PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Dahlan, who was born in the Khan Yunis refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, moved to Abu Dhabi 10 years ago after a falling out with Abbas. He previously served as commander of the PA Preventive Security Force in the Gaza Strip.

The medical supplies to the Gaza Strip are seen by some Palestinians as part of Dahlan’s efforts to bolster his standing among Palestinians in a post-Abbas era. Dahlan is also hoping to improve his relations with Hamas, the Palestinians said.

Over the past few years, Hamas has allowed Dahlan loyalists to hold political rallies in the Gaza Strip, much to the dismay of Abbas and the PA leadership in the West Bank.

Abbas has indicated his desire to hold new presidential and parliamentary elections sometime this year. Earlier this week, he said he will set a date for the vote by January 20.

It’s not clear at this stage whether Abbas intends to run in the election, if and when they take place.
Media Silent on Abbas Beginning 17th Year of Four-year Term
While major news outlets have incessantly been covering the Palestinians’ purported lack of access to COVID-19 vaccines, a narrative that HonestReporting has debunked, one story isn’t being told: the Palestinian people’s predicament is a result of their government’s inefficiency, despotism, and corruption.

News reports most often portray Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as a moderate, at least in comparison to the Hamas terrorist group, for example, which rules the Gaza Strip. What goes largely unmentioned is the number of times Abbas has promised to hold elections, only to use some pretext or other to postpone such an eventuality.

Accordingly, Abbas this week enters the 17th year of what was meant to be a four-year mandate.

In addition, the arbitrary arrests and torture endured by people living under Abbas’ rule, his long dalliance with antisemitism, and consistent rejection of coexistence with Israel are rarely deemed newsworthy.

Democracy Now? Abbas Election Approved By Former Heads of State
The last Palestinian presidential election took place in the wake of Yasser Arafat’s death on November 11, 2004. Mahmoud Abbas was elected on January 9, 2005 following what was viewed as a fair and free election, approved by hundreds of international observers led by former US president Jimmy Carter and former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt.

But even though Abbas’ victory was hailed by many as a positive step toward a democratic system, for the most part this has proved illusory.

Under Abbas’s rule, the PA has arrested people for posting on Facebook, blogging, and demonstrating against the government in Ramallah. Between January 2017 and August 2018, PA security forces held 221 Palestinians in administrative detention without charge.
PMW: Canada must now designate the PLO and Mahmoud Abbas as terror supporters
As stated, in addition to being Chairman of the PA and Fatah, Mahmoud Abbas ‎is also the Head of the PLO. According to the Canadian court, Mahmoud Abbas ‎heads an organization - the PLO - which created the Palestine Martyrs’ Families ‎Foundation with “a single purpose… of a criminal nature” for “incentivising ‎acts of terrorism against Israelis.”

Significantly, the court ruled about this woman who played a relatively minor ‎administrative role in the Institute for the Martyrs, “that her contribution was ‎significant because her work directly concerned the foundation’s objective, ‎which was to issue payments to the families of individuals who committed ‎unlawful killings and acts of violence, which in turn incites further acts of ‎martyrdom.” What does this indicate about Canada’s attitude towards ‎Mahmoud Abbas who is not at minor administrator but is solely responsible ‎today for all major decisions related to the Institute for the Martyrs?‎

The Institute for the Martyrs together with the PA-funded PLO Commission for ‎Prisoners’ Affairs make up the two components of PA’s “Pay-for-Slay” policy. ‎The Institute for the Martyrs rewards the families of dead terrorists, while the ‎Commission for Prisoners’ Affairs pays the salaries of imprisoned terrorists. ‎According to sworn testimony of the Director General of the Institute, Khaled ‎Jibrin given in the Jerusalem District Court in the course of litigation by victims ‎of terror against the PA and the PLO, the Institute of the Martyrs, like the ‎Commission for Prisoners’ Affairs, is entirely funded by the PA. ‎

Through these two frameworks, the PA spends hundreds of millions of shekels ‎every year, making monthly payments to terrorist murderers in prison as well as ‎to the families of dead terrorists, to reward their acts of terror.‎

Finally, since the Canadian court has recognized the criminal nature of the ‎PLO’s support of terror, it would be only be fitting for the Canadian government ‎to adopt the court’s ruling and declare the PLO and its Chairman Mahmoud ‎Abbas designated terror supporters.‎
Iran Allowed Al-Qaeda Set Up ‘Operational Headquarters’ on its Soil, Pompeo Says
Iran has allowed the al-Qaeda terrorist group to establish a new “operational headquarters” on its territory, US State Secretary Mike Pompeo said Tuesday.

In his remarks at the National Press Club, Pompeo said that al-Qaeda operatives are allowed to conduct activities in Iran as long as they comply with the rules set by Tehran.

Pompeo said that in 2015, Iran and al-Qaeda struck a deal which saw Tehran provide the terrorist group with a safe haven in exchange for its members reporting to Iranian secret services.

He added that Iranian spies had assisted the group in various ways, including by supplying it with forged passports.

He also confirmed a New York Times report saying that Abu Muhammad al-Masri, al-Qaeda’s second-in-command, was shot dead in Tehran.

While the article, published in November 2020, attributed the hit to Israel, Pompeo did not confirm the credit.

According to the report, the terrorist and his daughter had been gunned down by two attackers on a motorbike on August 7, 2020.

Israel’s Channel 12 later reported that the hit had been a joint US-Israeli operation as the terrorist had been planning attacks on Jewish targets worldwide.
Pompeo: Al-Qaeda Has a New Homebase in Iran



Iran Is Ramping Up Its Military Nuclear Program
Iran is stepping up uranium enrichment to 20%, closer than ever to bomb-grade material. The International community must maintain sanctions until the regime changes course and ceases to advance its nuclear weapons program.




U.S. Re-Designates Cuba, Ally of Hezbollah and Marxist FARC, State Sponsor of Terrorism
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Monday that his department would return Cuba to its list of State Sponsors of Terrorism over the Castro regime’s ties to international terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The Castro regime — which regularly imprisons Cuban citizens for crimes such as “disrespect” if caught speaking ill about the government in public — also openly harbors violent American criminals, most prominently Joanne Chesimard, who killed a New Jersey State Trooper in 1973.

After decades on the list — since 1982 — President Barack Obama removed Cuba from the official State Department list of State Sponsors of Terrorism in 2015, claiming the evidence did not support a place for the regime on that list. At the time, Cuba shared the list with Iran, Syria, North Korea and Sudan; the administration of President Donald Trump removed Sudan from the list in 2020.

Since Obama’s decision to remove Cuba, reports have repeatedly indicated that Cuba has direct ties to the Shiite jihadist organization Hezbollah, including reports linking Cuban funding to the creation of Venezuelan passport machines that ultimately created fraudulent documentation for Hezbollah members from the Middle East. The Castro regime has also never hidden its support for the FARC, a Marxist terrorist organization, including allowing prominent FARC leaders to march in its parades after Obama removed it from the state sponsors of terrorism list.

In announcing the designation Monday, Pompeo said in a statement that the move was necessary in light of the Communist Party of Cuba “repeatedly providing support for acts of international terrorism in granting safe harbor to terrorists.”





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