Monday, May 26, 2014

From Ian:

Closing a circle
Israel is often portrayed as a pariah state, an entity whose control over contested territory has turned it into an outcast. But that is a far cry from Israel's real standing on the world stage. In 1964, three years before the Six-Day War, when Jerusalem was still divided and Judea and Samaria were still under Jordanian rule, Israel's image was much worse than it is today. Pope Paul VI's visit and the way he conducted himself during his pilgrimage attest to that.
Pope Francis' visit to Mount Herzl was a tribute to the visionary who foresaw the establishment of the Jewish state. His predecessor refused to make the same gesture. Herzl has won; his vision is being realized. Yes, Israel still faces a delegitimization campaign, some seven decades after its founding (this effort is embraced by some inside Israel, as well,) but its overall standing on the world stage is on the rise. Not for nothing do world leaders keep coming. One almost feels as if there is a constant airlift to Israel. The greatest performers hold concerts here, too. Israel has also enjoyed a boost in its economic ties worldwide. This is the triumph of Zionism. The pope's visit to Mount Herzl attests to that.
Kotel Rabbi Tells Pope: 'We Have Returned Home'
Rabbi Rabinowitz noted that the Roman Emperor Titus stole the treasures of the Second Temple, roughly 2,000 years ago; the Arch of Titus in Rome, erected shortly after his death in 81 CE, clearly depicts Roman soldiers bringing to Rome the golden candelabrum and other Temple artifacts.
"It's true, the menorah (candelabrum) and tools of the Temple Titus succeeded in taking; but the light of faith, and the hope to return to the land of our fathers, he did not succeed in extinguishing," remarked the rabbi. "We have traveled a long road home."
Touré Tells Holocaust Survivors Check Your Privilege
MSNBC's Touré believes that having as many as 7 million of your ancestors gassed, burned, and tortured to death simply for the crime of being Jewish is nothing compared to slavery and Jim Crow, because Jews, in the end, had "white privilege," and therefore, could prosper economically.
On Twitter, Touré said the following in response to a Jew exclaiming, in as many words, that if their family could still prosper after the holocaust, then American blacks should be able to do the same after slavery and Jim Crow:
Twitchy has the scathing twitter replies (h/t MtTB)

Pope Makes Impromptu Visit to Terror Victims' Memorial
Pope Francis made an unscheduled visit to a monument in memory of terror victims while visiting the Har Herzl national cemetery in Jerusalem. The visit followed a stop at the Temple Mount and Western Wall, and ahead of a tour of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum.
While at the cemetery, the pope placed a wreath on the grave of Zionist leader Theodor Herzl, in a symbolic gesture meant to apologize for Pope Pius the Tenth's refusal to help establish a modern Jewish state in Israel in 1904.
After placing the wreath, the pope changed his schedule to honor Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's request to visit the monument, which features black marble plaques in memory of the terror victims.
New research shows 1967-era chief rabbis called for Israel to control Temple Mount
According to the document, then chief Sephardi Rabbi Yitzhak Nissim said that Jews should oversee the site – either alone or in cooperation with other religions – because it belongs to the Jewish people.
Then-chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Isser Yehuda Unterman was quoted as saying, “the site of the Holy Temple should belong to the rabbinate. As for the mosque…we will not give up ownership of the land on which the mosque was built.”
Chief Rabbinical Council member Rabbi Eliezer Goldschmidt suggested that an honor guard made up of rabbis protect the entrance to the Temple Mount.
“If supervision of the mosque will be in their [Muslims’] hands, it will mean it belongs to them again,” Goldschmidt said.
The rabbis agreed, however, that the site is too holy for Jews to enter.
Papal Invitation to Leaders Puts Spotlight on Hamas Terror
The pope made the invitation public during an open-air mass in Bethlehem on May 25.
Abbas adopted a conciliatory tone, calling on Israel to “make peace based on truth, justice, equality and mutual respect.”
However, this apparent peacemaking from the Palestinian leader flies in the face of his ongoing rapprochement with Hamas, which is committed to Israel’s destruction as the organization’s charter makes very clear. Hamas is recognized in both Europe and the U.S. as a terrorist organization.
As Francis arrived in Israel, a Hamas website decried the Pontiff’s planned visit to the Jewish Western Wall, because it “would send a negative message to the Muslims.”
Pope Set to Tour 'Martyr's Gallery' in UNWRA-Sponsored Club
Among other things, the Pope will be “treated” to a rogue's gallery of images of “the martyrs” - sons of the camp who were killed blowing themselves up in Israeli population centers, or killed or captured by IDF soldiers as they attempted to carry out a terror attack. According to David Bedein, director of the Israel Resource News Agency & The Center for Near East Policy Research and an expert on UNWRA policy in the Middle East, the club is operated by UNWRA, the UN refugee agency that exists solely to provide succor to Palestinian residents of refugee camps.
Despite having a chartered responsibility to encourage peace in the region, and despite promises to do so in the past, UNWRA has not removed the photos of these terrorists, Bedein says – and he knows this because a photographer took pictures of the club – and the Pope, on his visit to the club, will be guided through the terrorist photo gallery.
While the Pope will no doubt mouth platitudes about “the suffering of the refugees,” said Bedein, “no one will ask why they are still refugees. No one will ask why the Palestinians refuse to move out of the refugee camps.” The reason, of course, said Bedein, is that the Palestinian leaders want to “preserve” their suffering in order to use it as a weapon against Israel, preferring to see peasants live in wretched conditions in refugee camps rather than allow them to live normally.
Pope Almost Finished With Checklist Of Parties To Offend On Mideast Trip (satire)
Since the start of his trip several days ago, Francis made heads shake in Israel with symbolic gestures and recognition of an already-existing state of Palestine. He participated in ceremonies calculated to highlight suffering that could be blamed on Israel, and refrained from criticizing his Palestinian hosts for inflammatory or classically antisemitic remarks in his presence.
An unscheduled stop at the wall separating Bethlehem from Jerusalem further sparked Israeli and Jewish ire, as the wall exists as a result of Palestinian gunfire aimed at the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo. Francis neglected to acknowledge the fact that since the completion of the separation barrier, the successful penetration of terrorist attackers from Palestinian areas has declined precipitously.
With insults to Jews alone accomplished, the Bishop of Rome elected offend Jews and Christians simultaneously by referring to the Temple Mount as the “Esplanade of the Mosques,” acknowledging only the later Muslim ties to the site and not the ancient Jewish and Christian heritage as enshrined in Francis’s own holy scriptures. Although Jerusalem is not actually mentioned at all in the Koran, the Vicar of Christ decided to erase his followers’ attachment to the place where their Savior performed some of his most important acts in favor of kissing up to later conquerors of the city.
Fighting the caricature that spawned the boycott threat
The President and Vice President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews recently commented on how the Diaspora should deal with the threat of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) following the refusal of the Methodists to reject it, and how to influence the Israelis and PA “to make the difficult concessions necessary for a lasting peace”.
Their Panglossian sentiment that peace will come when we engage in “bridge building” between Palestinians and Israelis doesn’t address the problem any more than would treating a very sick patient with paracetamol.
Enormous efforts towards reconciliation and peace have been expended by Israel and world Jewry for decades, only to be rewarded by hatred and a denial of the national, religious and historic rights of the Jewish people to its nation-state in its ancient homeland.
UCLA Student Gov't Releases Statement in Support of Bigotry
On Friday, the undergraduate student government president's office at UCLA released a statement blasting university chancellor Gene Block for his condemnation of the anti-Israel "ethics statement" that many candidates for student government signed prior to the recent election. Under the pledge, student government candidates vowed not to take trips to Israel with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and Hasbara Fellowships. Block questioned the initiative via a campus wide email on May 16th.
The press release, titled "Chancellor Block's Response to Joint Statement on USAC Ethics is Overreaching, Misguided," came out swinging: "The Undergraduate Student Association Office of the President finds the Chancellor’s statement to be counterintuitive and a limitation on the free speech exercised by a number of student organizations on our campus, including Jewish Voice for Peace, Students for Justice in Palestine, Muslim Student Association, Samahang Pilipino, Armenian Students’ Association, MEChA de UCLA, and Afrikan Student Union."
NIF Vows to March in New York City Despite 'Hollow Marionettes'
Im Tirtzu, a longtime opponent of the New Israel Fund, recently joined the ongoing campaign by Zionist groups in the United States that are trying to keep the fund and the groups it supports out of the Celebrate Israel parade.
Im Tirtzu, which has focused on Israeli campuses until now, has launched a large scale public diplomacy campaign against the NIF that focuses on social networks, and on English and Hebrew news publications that cater to Jewish and Israeli-expatriate communities in North America. The campaign's pamphlet and advertisements portray the NIF as a wolf in sheep's clothing.
The pamphlet points to the similarity in terminology used by the organizations that are supported by the NIF, and that of the most radical groups promoting a boycott of Israel – known as BDS – that accuse Israel of war crimes, racism and ethnic cleansing.
Im Tirtzu Founder Denies NIF Funding
The founder and former chairman of grassroots Zionist student movement Im Tirtzu vehemently denied on Sunday that the group received money from its nemesis, the New Israel Fund.
"I heard that the New Israel Fund is spreading a rumor that they contributed money to Im Tirtzu in 2009,” wrote Shoval on Facebook. “Understand, everyone – this never happened. This is, of course, another delusional lie created by the New Israel Fund. It is a crass lie, a blatant lie.
He added: "Only those who can fund lies against soldiers of the IDF and the state of Israel, according to which we are war criminals / an apartheid state, etc., can produce such lies. The question is, how stupid do they think the public is?!?
"And now, to prove I am lying, I call on the New Israel Fund to produce a receipt from Im Tirtzu,” he continued. “Search very well – you will never find one. There is no such receipt, because we never received a penny of your despicable money. Besides, there is no chance that you would grant a penny to a body that supports Israel.”
Ottawa won't Remove Exhibit Honoring Child-Murderers
Ambassador Rafael Barak said he isn't demanding the artwork be removed, but wants to let Canadians know that some of the alleged "artists and leaders" were also murderers. "I think the Canadian public should know that these people killed civilians," Barak said. "In a way, this exhibit is glorifying terrorism."
The pictures include the face of Salah Halef, or Abu Iyad, who founded the Black September terrorist group, which murdered 11 Israeli athletes and officials at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany.
Also projected on the wall is the face of Dalal Mughrabi, who led a 1978 bus hijacking in Israel that murdered 38 people, including 13 children.
Shaken by Ukraine’s turmoil, Kiev Jews form self-defense force
At an empty Chabad school near the banks of the Dnieper River here in Ukraine’s capital city, six uniformed Jews with handguns and bulletproof vests are practicing urban warfare.
Leading the May 21 training is a brawny man who at irregular intervals barks Hebrew-language commands at the men to test their drilled responses to different scenarios, including “ma’atzor” (firearm malfunction) and “mekhabel” (terrorist).
The men, who belong to Kiev’s newly formed Jewish Self-Defense Force, all have some combat skills from the Israeli or Ukrainian armies or background in martial arts, but they are clearly rusty. Living in a country that had been at peace since World War II, they hadn’t expected to have to use their skills to defend their local Jewish community.
Israel: Teach Europe’s Jews Krav Maga
On Saturday, four people were shot dead at the Jewish Museum in Brussels, and two Jews were attacked leaving synagogue in Paris. This was the tip of the iceberg: three-quarters of anti-Semitic attacks in Europe don’t even reach the police, let alone the headlines.
On Sunday, Europe elected its most xenophobic Parliament to date: the Greek Nazis took 10% of their country’s vote, and the Hungarian Nazis took 15% of their country’s vote too. The Front National won a staggering quarter of the French vote. It goes on.
The extreme right is still a small minority in the European Parliament. But the floodgates have been breached. France has fallen.
Clearly, the situation in Europe is not good. The world’s second largest diaspora feels increasingly unsafe. According to the European Union itself, 29% of Europe’s Jews have considered packing up and leaving out of concern for their physical security. This cannot go on.
Natan Sharansky has announced that the Jewish Agency, which he heads, intends to invest “considerable sums” in helping European Jews “provide for their physical security”. But before he announces funding for more security guards, barbed-wire fences and CCTV cameras, he should consider a more innovative proposal – and one that Diaspora Minister Naftali “Sayeret Matkal” Bennett would probably favour:
The State of Israel should deliver free, or subsidised, lessons in Krav Maga to the Jews of Europe.
Jewish European Parliament Candidate Wakes to Swastika Spray Painted on His Door
Swedish-Jewish European Parliament candidate Dror Feiler awoke on Friday to find a swastika spray painted on the front door of his Stockholm apartment, he told his Facebook followers.
“Good morning! I went out with the trash around 7 o’clock and something resembling a black crab was on my door. But it wasn’t a crab, it was a swastika,” the Left Party candidate wrote in Swedish.
Officials confirmed that a police report has been filed, Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet reported. The swastika spray painted on Feiler’s door has since been removed.
European States to Pass Laws Criminalizing Anti-Semitism
Lars Faaborg-Andersen, the European Union’s ambassador to Israel, told a press briefing yesterday that the EU was working on legislation to penalize anti-Semitism.
According to Ma’ariv (Hebrew link), Faaborg-Andersen said:
"We take the subject of anti-Semitism very seriously. Several months ago we published a report on the subject, examining anti-Semitism in seven countries from the Union, that showed, among other things, that about one third of Jews are afraid of verbal or physical violence against them on account of their Judaism. …
Jews feel this fear, this discrimination, even if doesn’t always exist. It’s impossible to argue with emotions and the fact is that many Jews feel this way; there are many would prefer not to go out with a kippah outside of the synagogue."
Amsterdam to compensate Jews for WWII taxes, fines
Amsterdam says it will pay compensation to Jewish residents who fled or were forced from their homes during World War II — and returned to find overdue taxes and late payment fines waiting for them.
The city council says in Thursday’s statement it will repay survivors or their families 820,000 euros ($1.1 million). It plans a wider investigation into unfair postwar charges.
Mayor Eberhard van der Laan said: “With the eyes of today, but also with the eyes of then, the city levying fines on war victims was formalistic and inappropriate.”
Europe: Despite 'Boycotts', Golan Heights Winery's Sales up 20%
According to Arnon Harel, marketing manager of the Golan Heights Winery, despite all the talk of boycotts against products from Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights, exports to Europe have in fact blossomed over the past year.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Harel commented "we are not the only innovators creating quality wine for (consumption) abroad. We invest a lot in export to the US, the Far East, and Europe."
"Despite the opposition and the attempts to boycott, that doesn't interest the European consumers that are looking for quality wine. There's a roughly 20% rise in sales in Europe; European customers don't care about pro-Palestinian organizations opposing wine from the Golan Heights," reported Harel.
Brothers push for Israeli-style moment of silence for US Veterans Day
After many years of family trips to the Jewish state, the Bendetson brothers of Massachusetts had an epiphany during a 2010 stay in Tel Aviv.
For the first time, the siblings experienced Israeli Memorial Day’s two-minute Yom Hazikaron air raid siren in commemoration of the nation’s fallen soldiers. The brothers and their father watched in awe as cars pulled over and people stopped in their tracks to hear the siren and remember those lost in war.
“Dad, why can’t we do this in our country?” asked Daniel Bendetson, now a junior at the University of Michigan.
The rest of the story is not just history, but a hard-earned amendment to the annual defense authorization bill passed by the US House of Representatives on Thursday.
Justin Timberlake Tel Aviv Gig Sells 44,000 Tickets, Seats Going for $360
Promoters here say they’ve already sold 44,000 tickets to pop powerhouse Justin Timberlake’s show on Wednesday, and promise a knockout performance at Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park.
“The show will be the hit of the summer,” producer Udi Appelboim boasted of the local leg of “The 20/20 Experience” world tour, to Israel’s Channel 2 on Sunday.
“While there were those who were doubtful, we proved that crowds in Israel were bigger than their assumptions,” Appelboim said.
Backstreet Boys are adding a third TLV date this July
The Backstreet Boys, the best-selling boy-band in history will give three concerts in Raanana, just outside Tel Aviv, Israel, in July 2014. The Backstreet Boys career began almost twenty years ago, during which time they have sold over 130 million records worldwide, including major hits such as ”I Want It That Way”, ”Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”, and ”Quit Playing Games (with My Heart)”. The Backstreet Boys concerts will take place at the Raanana Amphitheater, just twenty minutes from Tel Aviv, on July 29, 30, and 31, 2014.
July 29 and 30 are sold out, tickets for the July 31 concert will be on sale soon. (h/t Yenta Press)
What Troubles? 88% of Jerusalemites are Happy with their Lives
Jerusalem is growing and thriving, in all possible parameters, statistics released for the 47th Jerusalem Day show.
Central Bureau of Statistics data show that 88% of Jerusalem's adult residents are pleased with their lives, and 64% think their lives will be better in the coming years.
While 75% are pleased with their place of residence and 51% are pleased with their economic situation, 70% of Jerusalem's residents feel safe in the city.

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