Saturday, May 31, 2014

From Ian:

Palestinian Propagandists are Losing Their Touch
To be sure Palestinian propagandists from the West Bank had their helpers in the West. For example, Charles Enderlin, the man who helped broadcast the Al Durah video to French viewers in 2000, has a lot to answer for. Jews are fleeing the hate he helped promote.
But nowhere is this harvest of hate more evident than in Palestinian society itself. In lying to the world about the cause of their suffering, Palestinian elites are lying to themselves and the people they lead.
The anti-Israel and anti-Jewish messaging that Palestinian elites have promoted to Westerners for the past few decades reveals that the inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza Strip are a long way off from establishing and maintaining a democracy, making peace with Israel and coming to grips with the modern world.
They live in a demon-haunted world of their own making. The end result will be disaster for the Palestinians and possibly for the rest of the world.
New book claims Israel spied on Bill Clinton
The allegations in the book, reported by Newsweek on Friday, are the latest in a series of reports regarding Israeli spying on US targets. The reports have been vehemently rejected by Israel and largely dismissed by American officials.
The new book, however, by British-Israeli political scientist Ahron Bregman, cites purported verbatim transcripts of the Clinton-Assad calls which he says he obtained through “private sources.”
Bregman writes in “Cursed Victory: A History of Israel and the Occupied Territories,” that Israel also listened in as Syria’s foreign minister called the elder Assad to report on private meetings with US officials. The author further claims that he received transcripts of confidential talks between Clinton and then-prime minister Ehud Barak, as well as a letter marked “SECRET” from Clinton’s secretary of state Madeleine Albright to Barak’s predecessor and current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in which the Americans promised to check with Israel first before offering any peace proposals to the Arabs. (h/t Yenta Press)
Exposing the Human Shield Industry
Here’s one example of how this industry works: On the night of September 30, 2013, IDF troops opened fire at two Palestinians who were trying to sabotage the Israel-Gaza border fence, killing one and wounding the other. Both men later proved to be unarmed, so that’s naturally how the story was reported: Israel kills two unarmed Palestinians.
Four days later, I happened to be visiting friends whose soldier son was home on leave. It turned out his unit was involved in this incident, and he was furious over what the media reports left out: Standing just a few hundred meters behind the two men, he said, was a group of armed Palestinians waiting to see whether the attempt to break through the fence succeeded. In other words, the soldiers had every reason to believe the men sabotaging the fence were part of a much larger infiltration attempt, even though they couldn’t be sure those two were themselves armed (it was night, they were moving, and they were partially obscured by the fence). Thus the soldiers did what responsible soldiers do when facing an attempted terrorist infiltration: They used lethal force to stop it.
Brussels May Be Lying About Museum Shootings, Professor Claims
A Swiss professor wrote on Facebook that Belgian officials may be part of a conspiracy to falsely present the Brussels Jewish museum shootings as anti-Semitic.
Tariq Ramadan, a Geneva-based lecturer on Contemporary Islamic issues at Oxford University in Britain, speculated on Tuesday that the slaying of four people last week at the Jewish Museum of Belgium was a deliberate attack on Israeli secret agents.
“The two tourists targeted in Brussels worked for the Israeli secret services,” Ramadan wrote, citing media reports.
“The [Belgian] government does not comment,” Ramadan wrote. “Coincidence. Is this a case of anti-Semitism or a maneuver to divert attention from the real motives of the executioners? We oppose all slaying of innocents and racism but at the same time, it’s time they stopped taking us for fools.”



Dutch city calls Jerusalem, Nazareth ‘cities in Palestine’
A Dutch municipality is facing criticism for describing Jerusalem, Nazareth and Tiberias as “cities in Palestine.”
Likkud Netherlands, a local association, published on its website Friday an article which carried a screen capture photo from Google Street View of the street sign of Tiberias Path in the city of Eindhoven with the description, in which Likkud Nederland accused the municipality of “wiping Israel off the map.”
An intersecting street, Hebron Path, also described Hebron as a city in Palestine, as is Jerusalem Lane – all located within the Woensel district. The sign on Judea Lane described it “an area of Palestine,” as does the street sign of Samria Lane. (h/t John Kinory)
Edwin Black: The inside story of J Street’s rejection by the Conference of Presidents
The fractious public reaction to the April 30 rejection of J Street’s membership by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations has been based on widespread dissemination of false information about the process, according to exclusive interviews with sources close to the Presidents Conference process. The sources declined to be named because, while fully conversant with all aspects of the J Street vote, they were not authorized to speak publicly. But they emphasize that J Street was rejected not by the “Left or Right” or a “right-wing minority” but by the overwhelming voting consensus of the 50-member organization. Moreover, the sources say, J Street supporters were in a smaller minority than initially apparent because just two voting blocs controlled 8 of the 17 yes votes.
By way of background, after a year of trying, the controversial lobby J Street was rejected by a wide margin for membership in the Presidents Conference, the umbrella group for 50 American Jewish communal organizations. The lopsided vote rang in at only 17 for, and 22 against in a process that required 34 yes ballots out of 50 voting member groups. But digging into the numbers reveals more than previously apparent about who voted yes and who did not, Conference sources say.
Australian gallery to return portrait lost under Nazis
An Australian gallery will return a portrait once thought the work of Vincent Van Gogh to its rightful owners in what is believed to be the country’s first restitution of art lost under the Nazis.
The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) said it accepted that ‘Head of a man’ was part of a forced sale by German Jew Richard Semmel in 1933 and should be returned to his heirs.
“As far as we are aware, this is the first case of its kind in Australia,” the gallery said in a statement posted on its website this week.
BBC’s Jon Donnison promotes BDS misinformation on Twitter
Perhaps you too are beginning to wonder if and when the BBC’s Jon Donnison will ever get round to reading those guidelines on social media use put out by his employer.
Jon Donnison ‏@JonDonnison
. @BillGates Foundation sells some of shares in UK Security firm #G4S amid #Israel prison criticism. #BDS is happy.

HonestReporting ‏@HonestReporting
Why @JonDonnison are you hashtagging and promoting non-stories on BDS? R U a supporter? @BillGates still owns #G4S shares. Not a BDS win.
Had he done so, Donnison might perhaps have reached the rather obvious conclusion that the promotion of a story touting a non-existent BDS ‘victory’ written by someone who, in his not too distant university days was to be found promoting a Ben White article on Twitter and writing the lines below, is not the smartest move for a BBC journalist committed to standards of accuracy and impartiality.
Omission and inaccuracy on ME terror misleads BBC audiences
May 29th saw the appearance of a filmed report on the BBC News website’s main, Magazine and Middle East pages under the title of “The CIA spy who could have brought peace to Middle East” [sic]. The report is devoted entirely to author Kai Bird talking about his new book concerning the decade-long relationship between the CIA’s Robert Ames and Fatah’s Ali Hassan Salameh.
Leaving aside both the perhaps fanciful notion promoted in the BBC’s synopsis that the relationship “helped lay the groundwork for the negotiations which culminated in the Oslo Peace Accords of 1993″ and the fact that the Oslo Accords did not bring peace, it is notable that both in the synopsis and in the filmed report itself, Ali Hassan Salameh is described as “Yasser Arafat’s intelligence chief”, “Arafat’s chief body-guard” and “Arafat’s virtual intelligence chief”.
No mention is made whatsoever of the fact that Salameh was a senior figure in Fatah’s Black September terrorist group and one of the architects of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre. Black September – established in 1970 – was of course responsible for numerous additional terror attacks during the years between 1969 and 1979 throughout which Ames and Salameh, according to Bird, were in contact – including the deaths of two American diplomats in Khartoum in March 1973. (h/t Alexi)
Netanyahu: U.S. pressure behind West Bank planning freeze
Netanyahu told a group of settler leaders that the activity of the planning council of Israel’s Civil Administration, the body responsible for authorizing construction in the West Bank, had been partially suspended because the United States demanded it, the news site nrg.co.il reported.
Netanyahu, who met Thursday night with mayors from 20 West Bank settlements, said the United States recently demanded that the Civil Administration not only refrain from issuing tenders for construction, but also freeze the activity of its planning committee altogether and not approve new projects that would later require tenders. (h/t Yenta Press)
Psaki: It’s “Just Plain False” that New PM of Hamas-Abbas Gov’t Was Invited to Washington
State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki has flatly rejected reports published initially by Agence France Press (AFP) and reprinted in the Jerusalem Post, Al-Arabiya and other outlets according to which Washington had extended an invitation to the newly picked prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, Rami Hamdallah. In the earlier report, an unnamed Palestinian official had been quoted saying that such an invitation had been extended as a “recognition of the consensus government by the U.S. administration.” If true, this would have marked a significant change in U.S. policy towards recognition of the new unity government in which the Fatah movement, led by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, joined forces with the internationally recognized terror group Hamas.
Hamas vows to end West Bank security cooperation with Israel
Senior Gaza official and deputy Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk said Saturday that Hamas had reached no understanding with Fatah regarding the issue of security cooperation with Israel, and that the Islamist movement would not allow it to continue, Israel Radio reported.
Abu Marzouk said the Palestinian unity government would be unveiled early this coming week, on Monday or Tuesday. He added that Hamas had withdrawn its objections to Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki remaining in his post.
Hezbollah blasts Lebanese cardinal for meeting ‘Israeli agents’
Lebanese terror group Hezbollah criticized the head of the Maronite Christian Church, Lebanese cardinal Bechara Rai, for visiting Israel as part of the group of religious figures accompanying Pope Francis during his tour of the region last week. The cardinal was also blasted for meeting and praying with exiled fighters of the South Lebanese Army while on the visit.
We dot not want “Israeli agents among us,” said Hezbollah MP Ali Meqdad.
As Lebanon and Syria become one
More than one million Syrian civilians live in Lebanon today. According to some estimates, the number has reached one-and-a-half million. Some are refugees from the civil war; others lived in Lebanon before the outbreak of anti-regime demonstrations in 2011. The changing make-up of the population in Lebanon, alongside the involvement of groups from both sides of the border in the fighting, underline the extent to which the borders between the two states are being erased as the war drags on.
It’s hard to think of Lebanon as a sovereign, independent entity today. True, Syria has been a major player in Lebanon for decades. Damascus, under Bashar’s father, Hafez, took an active part in the fighting between the Shiite Amal militia and Hezbollah at the end of the 1980s. Syrian intelligence operated freely in Lebanon during the 1990s, and Hezbollah was likely behind the assassination of Rafik Hariri, Lebanon’s anti-Syrian former prime minister, on September 14, 2005.
Nonetheless, the active involvement of Hezbollah in the fighting in Syria shattered the familiar rules of the game in Lebanon. Until then, the Syrians played on the Lebanese field. Now, Hezbollah has become the defender of Assad, his rock and his salvation.
Iran Foreign Minister Blames Israel for Nuclear Program Scrutiny
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blamed Israel for the world’s focus on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, according to Iranian semi-official news agency Mehrs on Friday.
Speaking at the Non-Aligned Movement’s 17th Ministerial Conference, entitled ‘Enhanced Solidarity for Peace and Prosperity,’ in Algeria, Zarif on Thursday railed against Israel for questioning Iran’s nuclear program, accusing the Jewish state of trying to divert public attention from its own nuclear activities.
Sudan won’t install Iranian anti-aircraft missiles
Sudan said Friday that it won’t install Iranian anti-aircraft missiles in the country after earlier exploring the idea following suspected Israeli airstrikes there in 2012.
A statement from Sudan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the country wouldn’t install the defensive missiles “for fear it could be misinterpreted by some Gulf states.”
EXCLUSIVE: ‘We are Not Afraid’ Says Mother of Jewish Brothers Brutally Beaten Outside Paris Synagogue
The mother of two Jewish brothers, who are recovering after being severely beaten on Saturday night outside of a Paris synagogue, told The Algemeiner on Thursday that her family isn’t fearful.
“We are not afraid, we are not scared and we’re going to get back on our feet and stay strong,” said the mother, who asked to remain anonymous. “We don’t want to give the feeling to people that we feel weak or anything. However, we are worried, we are concerned about what’s going on.”
“The fact is that the climate is very bad, very scary, and that there is an increase in small or verbal attacks currently and recently,” she said.
Simon Wiesenthal Center to Swedish Education Minister: ‘Prevent Nazification of Sweden’s Schools’
Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center has urged Jan Björkland, Swedish Minister for Education and Deputy Prime Minister, to take a firm stand against allowing a re-named racist party to participate in a school civics program.
In a letter to the minister, Dr. Shimon Samuels, SWC’s Director for International Relations, said, “stand by your own motto: ‘To set school standards is to care,’ by taking every available measure to prevent the Nazification of Sweden’s school system.”
The group in question is now called the Svenskarnas Parti, or the Party of the Swedes, but was formerly the National Socialist Party.
National Archives finds historic Winton letter to FDR
A letter written by Sir Nicholas Winton in May 1939 asking President Franklin Roosevelt to allow Czech refugee children in to the United States has been found in the Department of State records at the National Archives.
In a “60 Minutes” broadcast on CBS in April, journalist Bob Simon interviewed Winton, who turned 105 years old on May 19, about his role in saving 669 children (most of them Jewish) from the Nazis. During the interview, Winton mentioned the letter and expressed his disappointment that his plea was ignored.
“But the Americans wouldn’t take any, which is a pity. We could’ve got a lot more out,” he told Simon.
Much of Washington’s Iron Dome aid to be spent in US
Israel will pay US contractors some 30 percent of the $176 million allocated for the Israeli-built missile interception system for the coming fiscal year and 55 percent for the next year, up from 3 percent, Bloomberg News reported, citing a US Missile Defense Agency report to Congress.
“Under this agreement, the United States focus shifts toward maximizing economic activity in the United States while ensuring that Israel’s security needs are met,” the missile defense agency said in the April 2 report, Bloomberg reported Wednesday. “This new agreement strikes a better balance for both parties and should serve as a model for the future.”
US Army likes how Israeli ‘smart balloon’ flies
The SkyStar 180 balloon, developed by RT Technologies, is competing to be one of the approved technologies for purchase in the annual AEWE (Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment) conducted by the US Army. If chosen, the US armed forces could soon deploy the Israeli-developed surveillance balloon that can be controlled remotely to take highly accurate pictures and video from up to 1,000 feet (300 meters) above the ground.
In order to keep its edge, the United States seeks out the best technologies available for its military. The AEWE is a linchpin of that effort, said Rami Shmuely, CEO of RT, one of three Israeli companies whose technologies are being considered under the program. “The AEWE is an important way the US Army and other American forces decide what new technologies to buy,” said Shmuely. “To be on the AEWE ‘short list,’ as we are, is a great honor.”
NBC’s ‘Dig’ starts filming in Jerusalem
Hollywood cast and crew arrived in Jerusalem this week as filming for the American television series “Dig,” the first ever large-scale television production to be filmed in the Israeli capital, begins to get underway.
“Dig,” an action-adventure series for NBC-Universal, follows an American FBI agent stationed in Jerusalem as he struggles to solve a murder and along the way begins to unravel a centuries-old conspiracy. It is co-written by Gideon Raff, the Israeli television genius behind “Homeland,” and “Heroes” writer Tim Kring. Actors Anne Heche and Jason Isaacs, as well as director S.J. Clarkson, all arrived in Jerusalem this week.
It’s been a busy month for Raff — he has another television program headed for U.S. screens, FX’s “Tyrant,” currently filming in Tel Aviv.
Two Baltic Countries Form New Christian-Israel Allies Caucus
Estonia and Latvia this week became the 29th and 30th countries to form a Christian-Israel Allies Caucus in their governments.
Organized with the help of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) and the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, the new caucuses will work closely with the Israeli Knesset’s Christian Allies Caucus (KCAC).
Palestinian MD lauds Israel for saving children
Palestinian doctor Wafiq Othman told a Montreal audience he went to Israel with great trepidation, unsure he could ever trust his Israeli colleagues.
But he was able to overcome his misgivings because of their common aim of saving the lives of children with heart problems who live in the Middle East and other areas where they cannot receive the surgery they need.
The anesthesiologist completed six years of training at Save a Child’s Heart (SACH), an international humanitarian program based at the Wolfson Medical Centre in Holon. He returned to the West Bank and is now co-ordinator for all the Palestinian doctors and other medical professionals who come to the renowned program to upgrade desperately needed skills.
Othman, who spoke on May 12 at the offices of Richter, has another reason to urge philanthropic support for SACH: it saved his younger brother’s life.


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