Sunday, April 26, 2015

From Ian:

San Remo: The Forgotten Milestone
Ninety five years ago, prime ministers, ambassadors and other dignitaries from Europe and America gathered in the Italian Riviera. Journalists from around the world reported on the upcoming San Remo Peace Conference and the great expectations the international community placed on this event, just a year after the Paris Peace Conference had settled the political map of Europe at the end of World War One.
On Sunday, April 25, 1920, after hectic deliberation, the Supreme Council of the Allied Powers (Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan and the U.S. acting as an observer) adopted the San Remo Resolution -- a 500 word document which defined the future political landscape of the Middle East out of the defunct Ottoman Empire.
This Resolution led to the granting of three Mandates, as defined in Article 22 of the 1919 Covenant of the League of Nations. The future states of Syria-Lebanon and Iraq emerged from two of these Mandates and became exclusively Arab countries. But in the third Mandate, the Supreme Council recognized the “historical connection of the Jewish people to Palestine and the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country” while safeguarding the “civil and religious rights” of the non-Jewish population.
Subsequently, the British limited the Jewish Homeland in Palestine to the area west of the Jordan River and allowed eastern Palestine to be gradually administered by the Hashemites. The territorial expansion to the east eventually gave birth to the Kingdom of Transjordan, later renamed Jordan in 1950.
The importance of the San Remo Conference with regard to Palestine cannot be overstated:
A Dybbuk in the White House
In Jewish folklore a dead malcontent may return to possess the living. The troubled soul is known as a “dybbuk’, and it runs amok making mischief. Writers and people of stage and screen have invoked the fiend to aggravate family wrangles to the point of madness.
Yet for all its wicked antics the dybbuk wants nothing more sinister than to settle a score. It may upturn some lives in the ghetto, but not the balance of world power. And no dybbuk, until now, toyed with the President of America.
Love or hate Obama’s par-cooked nuclear deal, there’s no doubting the architect’s turn-up of the old order. Iran, hitherto America’s number one foe, is to be, in the world’s number one hotspot, America’s number one ally.
A detente, in other words, is brewing between the world’s powerhouse and the world’s sour pickle jar. The President’s resolve to bring war-mongering mullahs in from the cold is life-changing.
Debate his grip on reality; fret at the madness of trusting Iran to abide by unverifiable terms; believe that the terms will inhibit or pave the way to nuclear breakout; extol Obama’s indefatigable self-belief or cut at his mulish naïveté, it all pales beside one dominating horror. Effectively a president of America has decamped to the enemy.
JCPA: The Power Struggle for Leadership of the Palestinian Authority
The conflict between Abbas and Dahlan, who for years had been a favorite of Abbas, erupted in 2011 and escalated to the point that Dahlan was expelled from Fatah and tried in absentia.
Since then there have been various attempts at mediation. Even Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi tried, but Abbas rebuffed his appeal to mend fences with Dahlan.
The Ramallah court’s ruling prompted a wave of rumors about new, behind-the-scenes mediation efforts.
Such efforts appear to depend on whether the PA will appeal the court’s ruling. Fatah officials who are close to Dahlan confirm that reconciliation efforts have resumed, taking account of Dahlan’s growing power in Gaza and in the refugee camps in Lebanon.
Recent months have also seen a spike in Dahlan’s power in the refugee camps and general area of Jenin and Nablus, leading to armed clashes between his supporters in the Balata camp (adjacent to Nablus) and Abbas’ followers in the Nablus area.

Charles Krauthammer: Obama’s Nixon doctrine: anointing Iran
Iran went into the nuclear negotiations heavily sanctioned, isolated internationally, hemorrhaging financially — and this was even before the collapse of oil prices. The premise of these talks was that the mullahs would have six months to give up their nuclear program or they would be additionally squeezed with even more devastating sanctions.
After 17 months of serial American concessions, the Iranian economy is growing again, its forces and proxies are on the march through the Arab Middle East and it is on the verge of having its nuclear defiance rewarded and legitimized.
The Saudis are resisting being broken to Iranian dominance. They have resumed their war in Yemen. They are resisting being forced into Yemen negotiations with Iran, a country that is, in the words of the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., “part of the problem, not part of the solution.”
Obama appears undeterred. He’s determined to make his Iran-first inverted Nixon doctrine a reality. Our friends in the region, who for decades have relied on us to protect them from Iran, look on astonished.
Why the Iran Nuclear Deal Can’t Be Saved
As Mandelbaum points out, the mistake in the administration’s strategy on Iran is that it is based on an abandonment of American military, political and economic leverage. By stating that the only alternative to a policy of appeasement of Iran is war and that war is unacceptable under virtually any circumstances, the president has ensured that Iran will get its way on every key point in the negotiations:
If the Obama administration is in fact resolutely opposed to the use of force to keep Iran from making nuclear weapons, then American foreign policy has changed in a fundamental way. For more than seven decades, since its entry into World War II, the United States has carried out a foreign policy of global scope that has included the willingness to go to war on behalf of vital American interests. There is no higher or more urgent current American interest beyond the country’s borders than keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of an aggressive, theocratic, anti-American regime located in a region that harbors much of the oil on which the global economy depends. If fighting to vindicate that interest has become unthinkable, then American foreign policy has entered a new era.
Mandelbaum’s trenchant observation illustrates the key flaw in Ross’s facile call for the president to finally stand up to Khamenei in the talks. Having discarded not only his leverage but signaled that he will not defend U.S. interests and will abandon allies in order to pursue an entente with Iran, President Obama has made any outcome but a weak and unenforceable deal impossible. Unless there is a fundamental change in the administration’s approach, there is no saving this deal. That is something senators should remember when they are eventually asked to vote on this fiasco.
Obama’s Last Red-Line: Blockade of Iranian Weapons to Yemen
President Obama has ordered the USS Theodore Roosevelt Aircraft carrier battle group to the shores of Yemen to interdict likely Iranian attempts to resupply their Shiite proxies in Yemen, the Houthis. It has been reported that the Saudi Air campaign has very effectively destroyed over 80% of the Houthis’ weapons supply in a very short time. In respect of the Saudi bravery, Sunni Yemen army elements have begun to side with the Saudis.
All this means that the Iranian imperative to resupply the Houthis has become mission-critical for the Iranians, and equally mission-critical for the Saudis to deny that resupply. Is Obama’s jumping to help the Saudis just another “red-line” like Obama’s red-line over Assad’s genocidal use of chemical weapons against the Syria Sunnis? What’s clear is that if Obama betrays the Saudis on this red-line, the Saudis and all the other Arab Sunnis won’t wait for another false promise from Obama and the Middle East will go into a flaming all-out Arab-Sunni-Persian-Shiite War.
The risks of Iranian weapons delivery to Yemen are astronomic. Principally, the most lethal weapons systems the Iranians would likely to import into Yemen is their Ghadir anti-ship missile systems that are state-of-the-art, having been developed with the Chinese. These anti-ship missiles have a range of 300 kilometers or 186 miles. In the narrow Straits of Mandab, the Ghadirs would be a game-changer that would expose the Saudi-Egyptian blockade to a merciless and effective attack. Such Ghadir anti-ship missiles in Yemen would set the warm-Sunni-Shiite war now raging into a scalding nova hot-Sunni-Shiite war.
First round talks on final Iran deal ends, disputes unresolved
The first round of talks on a final Iran nuclear deal ended on Friday after three days of discussions in Vienna, but disputes between the U.S. and Iran are still unsolved.
At the top of the agenda for the talks was the timing of sanctions relief, but the U.S. and Iran continue to hold different or even opposite opinions on the procedures for sanctions relief.
"Discussion was good, but we made slow progress," Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told China Central Television when he was leaving the meeting venue.
The latest round of nuclear talks kicked off with a bilateral meeting between Iran and the European Union on Wednesday.
Obama Jokes: Boehner Invited Netanyahu to Speak at My Funeral
President Barack Obama was in a boisterous mood Saturday night at the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner.
Speaking during the "stand-up" part of the dinner, Obama joked about a long list of people from Hillary Rodham Clinton and Dick Cheney to even Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
While addressing getting older, Obama joked: "I look so old John Boehner's already invited Netanyahu to speak at my funeral."
The joke was an obvious jab at the House Speaker's controversial invitation to Netanyahu to speak before Congress in March. Furious at the time over the invite, the Obama administration reacted with overt hostility toward Netanyahu and Israel.
PreOccupied Territory: UN Pre-Condemns Potential Israeli Actions For Next 3 Months (satire)
Seeking to save time and effort in case Israel responds militarily to recent attacks by Palestinians, the United Nations Human Rights and Security Councils convened separately to condemn in advance any possible IDF actions in that regard.
A bus carrying passengers to Jerusalem on Highway 443, part of which which runs near several Palestinian villages, was hit by a homemade bomb this evening, apparently hurled from the roadside. No casualties were reported, but the bus suffered damage and traffic in both directions was snarled for several kilometers. On Thursday, a rocket from the Gaza Strip struck southern Israel, also causing no damage, but heightening tensions. A string of stabbing and automotive attacks over the last few weeks has claimed the lives of at least one Israeli and injured several more. Anticipating Israeli steps to neutralize suspects at large and to deter future attacks, the two UN bodies decided not to wait until after those operations take place, but to hold sessions immediately to issue a blanket condemnation that omits the particular details of the potential military actions.
“The Council condemns in the harshest terms the Israeli aggression and calls on the Israeli government to immediately take steps to reduce tensions and return to the negotiating table,” read Security Council Resolution 9441. More or less simultaneously, the Human Rights Council issued Proclamation 909, which used similar language, and accused the Israel Defense Forces of “disproportionate responses that appear to violate the Laws of Armed Conflict.” The Human Rights Council announced it would form a commission to investigate such possible war crimes, and had already begun its search for the head of such a commission even before the session began.
Report: Israeli strike in Syria was aimed at thwarting attack on strategic targets in Golan
An attack allegedly carried out by Israeli fighter jets against targets in Syria over the weekend was aimed at thwarting plans to attack strategic Israeli targets in the Golan Heights, Kuwaiti daily Al-Jarida reported on Sunday, citing a Western diplomatic source.
The attack took place overnight Friday, targeting Syrian military bases housing long-range missiles, according to a previous report by Al-Jazeera. The bases, near the Syrian-Lebanese border, belong to Assad regime brigades that possess weapons such as Scud missiles, according to Al-Jazeera.
The Western diplomatic source was quoted by Al-Jarida as saying that the alleged Israeli raid targeted two brigades of the Syrian Army, which housed long-range strategic weapons to be transferred to Hezbollah.
The Western diplomatic source confirmed to Al Jarida on Sunday that IDF fighter jets were behind the attack in the Qalamun Mountain region near the Syria-Lebanon border. The IDF has refused to address the claims, saying that its policy is not to respond to foreign reports.
The source told Al Jarida that the "the raid was a preemptive strike to prevent a plan to hit strategic targets in the Golan, which would draw Israel into a war with Syria, and shuffle the cards."
Suspect in Saturday terror attack captured, confirmed as Palestinian man, 32, from Shuafat
A suspect in connection with Saturday's vehicular attack in the Jerusalem neighborhood of a-Tur was detained overnight during an operation by border police and security forces, a police spokesman said Sunday.
The police have confirmed that the suspect is a 32 year old Palestinian from the Shuafat neighborhood of Jerusalem.
The suspect was detained by security forces at a checkpoint near the Shuafat refugee camp.
Three Border police officers were injured when a vehicle struck them in Jerusalem's a-Tur neighborhood on Saturday. They were treated by Magen David Adom paramedics before being evacuated to a nearby hospital where one of the officers was deemed to be in serious-to-critical condition and the other two in good-to-satisfactory condition.
…After Attacking Officers with Knives…
For millions of people who spend a few seconds scanning the headlines of the New York Times, here is what they saw the other day:
"Israeli Officers Kill 2 Palestinian Men."
While it is admittedly difficult to boil the essence of a news story into a few words, the Times failed miserably in this case. Did Israeli police officers stroll through a cafe and shoot dead two innocent people sipping coffee? Not at all. As the article points out, the men had attacked the officers with knives. The Israeli police officers were acting as any police officer anywhere in the world would act when attacked with a deadly weapon.
Yet for some inexplicable reason, whomever had the task of attaching a headline to the article decided that the most important thing for people to know was that Israeli police officers had killed Palestinians.
What makes it even stranger, is that the New York Times website also published an earlier version of the story by Reuters that had a similar headline but used the words “knife-wielding” before the word “Palestinians.” A day later the story appears under a Times byline with the words “knife-wielding” removed.
But the worst headline was reserved for the print edition of the Times. At the end of the online article, we see this note:
A version of this article appears in print on April 26, 2015, on page A10 of the New York edition with the headline: Palestinian Teenager Killed by Israeli Police.
Hevron Attack 'Incited by Anarchists'
The Spokesman for the Jewish Community of Hevron, Noam Arnon, said Saturday evening that the stabbing attack against a Border Policeman Saturday afternoon “is the direct result of the incitement being carried out in Hevron by anarchist anti-Semitic organizations, which whip up hatred and encourage terror attacks.
"Shortly before the attack, a group of Israeli hikers was attacked by an anarchist group. Unfortunately, these phenomena are constantly taking place," Arnon said.
"The security forces do not prevent the activity of the pro-terror organizations,” he accused. “We demand the immediate expulsion of racist terror-supporting groups from Hevron, and the encouragement of the those residents who seek peace, coexistence and good neighborly relations in the city.”
Jerusalem Terror Victim Breathing on Her Own
The condition of 20-year-old Shira Klein, who was seriously injured in the terror attack in Jerusalem in which Shalom Yohai Sherki was killed, has improved.
The Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital said on Saturday evening that Klein is conscious, breathing on her own and talking with her family.
Klein and Sherki were the victim of a Palestinian Arab driver who deliberately rammed his car into a bus stop in the French Hill neighborhood. The attack was originally ruled an “accident” before police confirmed it was indeed a terror attack, with evidence from the scene including the way the car struck the bus stop where the two were waiting strengthening that assessment.
Sherki, who was critically injured and taken to hospital where he later died, was recognized this past week as a victim of terror by the State of Israel.
Rivlin Commemorates Fallen Soldiers of Australia, New Zealand on ANZAC Day
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin commemorated the fallen soldiers of Australia and New Zealand during a ceremony at the Commonwealth Military Cemetery on Jerusalem’s Mt. Scopus on ANZAC Day.
“The bond between the State of Israel and Australia and New Zealand is historic and strong. This bond is based on the common values our nations share: The pioneering spirit, creativity, and faith,” Rivlin said as he laid a wreath in honored of the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who took part in the British Empire’s efforts to defeat the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East.
ANZAC Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that falls on the anniversary of the infamous World War I Battle of Gallipoli in 1915. Australian and New Zealand soldiers as part of the Allied campaign sustained heavy loses against the forces of the Ottoman Empire. Though ultimately unsuccessful in their aims to capture Constantinople, the battle helped define the national identities of the two nations.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli, where Australians and New Zealanders held special ceremonies amid a heavy police presence after a number of men were recently arrested for planning terror attacks in Australia.
Why should we, Palestinians, learn about the Holocaust?
AT SCHOOL I hadn’t read a single line about the Holocaust. In the 12th grade there were lessons about World War II, but still no mention of the Holocaust. In fact, there is no “Holocaust” in Palestinian history books.
I’m currently a law student at a Palestinian university, and still, the word “Holocaust” isn’t mentioned anywhere.
Yesterday, for the first time, I was privileged to meet a Holocaust survivor. She was standing with her daughter Suzi Nunes. An Israeli filmmaker called Yasmine Novak made a film about Suzi’s mother’s story called The Lost Love Diaries. It is the story of Suzi’s mother, Elise, and a man called Bernie. They were torn apart by WWII, and 65 years later Elise decided to read Bernie’s diaries and go on a journey to discover his fate. I don’t usually watch romance films, but this one wasn’t just a love story, or even just a movie. It documents the pain of the millions who suffered and died, and of those who survived.
Even though my schools and university didn’t teach me about the Holocaust, I read about it on the Internet, and checked some books.
But I must admit that what I read wasn’t good enough to give me a clear image.
Holocaust education isn’t only a Jewish issue, it is an issue for humanity.
PMW: Popular Palestinian singer: Israeli cities are “Palestine”‎
Using all the communication structures under their control, the Palestinian Authority and Fatah - both headed by Mahmoud Abbas - depict a "Palestine" that includes all of Israel, the PA areas and the Gaza Strip.
One of the means used by the PA to disseminate this message is official PA TV, which regularly broadcasts songs and music videos presenting Israel as “Palestine.” One such song turned into a big hit when Palestinian singer Muhammad Assaf sang this in 2013 at the Arab Idol song contest, which he later won. Oh Flying Bird misrepresents Israeli towns as being part of “my beautiful country Palestine.” Recently, Assaf was interviewed and had the opportunity to sing the song again on PA TV:

End of 'Unity'? PA Unity Govt. Cuts Contact With Hamas
The latest brouhaha in Gaza revolves around a topic that has been a source of tension since PA chairman and Fatah head Mahmoud Abbas torpedoed peace talks with Israel last year by signing the unity agreement with Hamas - namely Hamas's demand that the unity government pay the wages of its employees.
Hamas wants payment for its 50,000 public workers, who were hired in 2007 when the organization violently seized control of Gaza after having resoundingly won in elections.
Those employees took the place of 70,000 PA employees in Gaza who continue to be paid by the PA, and who the unity government insists should return to their posts, with Hamas employees being retained "according to need." It has been estimated that the PA has avoided paying the Hamas salaries, fearing that paying the wages of members of an internationally recognized terrorist group may harm its own international funding.
After the incident last week with the delegation leaving Gaza early, Islamic Jihad spokesperson Daoud Shihab said the "crisis and the issue is bigger and deeper than the unity government."
PLO’s Executive Committee meeting on Wednesday to redefine relations with Israel
The PLO’s Central Council is due to meet on Wednesday, April 29 to redefine its relationship and its economic and security cooperation with Israel, Saeb Erekat, Palestinian chief negotiator in the suspended peace talks with Israel, told members of the Foreign Press Association in Jerusalem on Sunday.
Using almost identical language to what was said a month earlier by Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi, Erekat said that Israel has stopped its obligations and has abrogated all the agreements that it has with the Palestinian Authority.
He charged that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is undermining Palestinian moderates because he doesn’t want a Palestinian state in which people can live in dignity and peace.
Erekat went so far as to state that Israel is committing crimes against the Palestinian people and suggested that some legal expert from one of the Israeli universities write a paper on the subject and give it to Netanyahu. “We will hold the Israeli prime minister accountable for any crimes committed against Palestinians,” Erekat declared. “It will not be cost-free legally.”
Abbas Negotiates Release of Swedish Missionaries from Al Qaeda
Two Swedish men held hostage by Syrian jihadists have been reunited with their families in Sweden, the country's foreign ministry said on Sunday.
The hostages, named in local media as Thomas Olsson, 50, and Martin Reen, 33, were freed with the help of Palestinian Arab and Jordanian authorities, according to Sweden's foreign ministry as reported by AFP.
According to the Swedish Christian newspaper Dagen, the men were taken hostage in November 2013 when they crossed the border into Syria while doing missionary work in Jordan.
"We are doing well under the circumstances and want to thank everyone who was involved in setting us free. Now we want to be with our families and meet our children," Olsson told Swedish news agency TT, adding that they needed peace and quiet and would not answer questions about their ordeal.
Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallstroem thanked the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Jordan Saturday for helping secure the men's release.
Abbas’ Son Loses $10 Million Libel Suit in US Court
The libel suit that was rejected in Washington may go to the Supreme Court, said a lawyer for Tarek Abbas, one of the PA chairman’s sons.
He sued Foreign Policy magazine and Foundation for the Defense of Democracies researcher Jonathan Schanzer, who in 2012 wrote an article for the magazine, whose subhead line read:
Are the sons of the Palestinian president growing rich off their father’s system?
A three-judge panel unanimously agreed that defining defamation to include raising a question would “dramatically chill” public debate.
“Yasser, the elder son,…owns Falcon Tobacco, which reportedly enjoys a monopoly on the sale of U.S.-made cigarettes in the Palestinian territories. According to the Toronto Star, Yasser also chairs Falcon Holding Group, a Palestinian corporate conglomerate that owns Falcon Electrical Mechanical Contracting Company, an engineering interest that was established in 2000 and boasts offices in Gaza, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and the West Bank.
“This business success has come with a helping hand from Uncle Sam: According to a Reuters report, Abbas’s company received $1.89 million from USAID in 2005 to build a sewage system in the West Bank town of Hebron.
Yasser Abbas also manages a company that engages in public works projects for his father’s regime and which was awarded $300,000 in USAid funds between 2005 and 2008.
His younger brother Tarek’s advertising firm received $1 million in USAID funds “to bolster public opinion of the United States in the Palestinian territories.”
Lancet Under Pressure to Retract Anti-Israel Letter
The Lancet has repeatedly come under fire for its politically-charged articles on the Israel-Palestinian conflict. The latest case, however, appears to be the most damaging to the journal’s reputation. Two of the signatories of the open letter were later discovered to have distributed videos sympathetic to the views of David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard.
In an apparent acknowledgment of the crisis caused by the open letter, Horton made a personal visit to Israel several months after its publication. Following the visit, Horton told The Times of Israel, that open letter “did not convey the level of complexity that is the reality in Israel.” However, he refused to retract the letter.
The Independent called the statement by Concerned Academics a serious threat to the publication – and, amazingly, to free speech itself:
Observers say it is the most serious threat to The Lancet and free speech in academia since the journal’s first campaigning editor, Thomas Wakley, faced a series of lawsuits after attacking the incompetence, nepotism and greed of the medical elite shortly after it was founded 192 years ago.
The Independent, however, doesn’t understand the concept of free speech, which is exactly what the 500 doctors exercised when they issued their statement. Apparently, “free speech” is only for those who want to criticize Israel, even with false statements. And those who challenge those falsehoods in an open and public statement are somehow threatening the free speech of others.
Princeton Votes Against BDS
The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement has experienced another failure on college campuses - this time, at Princeton University.
The divestment referendum called on the prestigious school to divest from companies or associations “that maintain the infrastructure of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, facilitate Israel’s and Egypt’s collective punishment of Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, or facilitate state repression against Palestinians by Israeli, Egyptian, and Palestinian Authority security force," according to the Daily Princetonian.
But of the 2,032 students who voted over the proposal, 52.5% voted against divesting from Israel, with a close 47.5% voting for the boycott.
The results surface days after the US Senate's Finance Committee adopted measures to counter BDS - and amid a worrying trend of using BDS as an excuse to single out Jewish students on college campuses.
British council candidate says she will never support 'the Jew' Ed Miliband for PM
A British politician sparked outrage over the weekend by referring to the Labour Party's prime ministerial candidate Ed Miliband as "the Jew," in comments made in Arabic, according to British online publication, Jewish News.
In remarks made in a Facebook exchange Saturday, Gulzabeen Afsal, a Tory council candidate running in Derby, wrote that she would never support "the Jew," apparently referring to Miliband.
The exchange began when Afsal wrote on her Facebook page: “Just can’t take Mr Ed Miiband seriously!! DC (David Cameron) has what it takes to be the future PM.”
When a respondent suggested that Afsal should have some respect "for the future PM", she responded: “Nah bro! never ever will I drop that low and support the al yahud [Arabic for Jew] lol.”
This marks the first time a candidate running for elected office has brought up the religion of Labor's choice for prime minister in the upcoming UK elections, according to Jewish News.
PreOccupied Territory: Time To Let The Holocaust Go So We Can Move On To The Next One By Tim Willcox, British Broadcasting Corporation (satire)
Letting go of the Holocaust does not, as Jewish organizations keep telling us, necessarily mean that we would try to get back to the business of industrialized mass murder of Jews. Undermining Israeli legitimacy and self-defense might be our favorite pastime, but there is no reason that laying the Holocaust to rest as an event of contemporary relevance has to specifically inform our treatment of Jews: Europe would be just as, if not more, likely to stand idly by as wholesale ethnic cleansing takes place in Iraq, Syria, Sudan, and elsewhere. Our ongoing love-hate relationship with Christianity can take center stage, as we continue to do nothing about the Christian populations of the Muslim world shrinking under oppression, murder, discrimination, mass rape, expulsion, and forced conversion. Leaving the Holocaust behind means broadening our focus to include turning a blind eye to the horrific treatment of all peoples, not merely those on the Continent.
This network will continue to highlight important challenges our society faces, chief among them how to escape the shackles of the Holocaust and pursue the right policy, doing what we can not to be distracted by jaded media treatment of the Führer.
Furor! We meant furor. Honest.
Mecca sex shop report fools media
Sex may sell, but not in Mecca. Non-Muslims and sex shops will be still be a non-existent sight in the Saudi Arabian holy city, despite a titillating, yet false, Arabic media report this month that managed to fool major media outlets and generate considerable controversy.
The report, originally written by Moroccan news website Alyaoum24 on April 12, was published with the title “Moroccan intends to open a Halal sex shop in Mecca” and featured quotes from a year-old interview conducted by the AFP with Moroccan businessman and sex shop owner Abdelaziz Aouragh, according to an article published Friday by al-Arabiya.
The story’s headline, however, proved to be fallacious, as Aouragh merely said he was willing to open a sex shop in the holy Saudi Arabian city and never actually was given the authority to do so.
Despite the fact that the headline did not accurately reflect the content of the story, the report was covered by media outlets around the world, including the International Business Times, The Independent, the Daily Express and The Huffington Post, with many major news publications running inaccurate translations of the original text.
Jerusalem named top emerging tech hub
Jerusalem tops a new list on emerging tech hubs from across the globe. The Entrepreneur Magazine website chose Israel’s capital as the place to find “a flourishing center for biomed, cleantech, Internet/mobile startups, accelerators, investors and supporting service providers.”
According to the report, Jerusalem, Stockholm, Santa Monica, Buenos Aires and Pune are the five places outside of Silicon Valley for tech startups to launch and thrive.
“Transplants and commuters from nearby Tel Aviv, widely considered the second most important tech hub in the world, has contributed to a ripe atmosphere of innovation in Jerusalem. The ancient city today is not just rich in history, but is full of promise and creativity for the future,” reads the report.
Jewish app ready for service on Apple Watch’s first day
Just in time for the Apple Watch’s debut, a Jewish-oriented app called Hayom (“today” in Hebrew) is ready for early adopters, with information on Sabbath candle lighting and Torah readings, the proper times for prayers, and even quotes from Jewish literature and tidbits on Jewish history that flash at various times of the day.
Users who are fans of the worldview of Chabad, the international organization that runs educational programs for Jews around the world through its chain of Chabad Houses, will especially appreciate the app, because Hayom’s spiritual lineage shows up clearly in the app’s content.
The app was created by the software house of the Hassidic group.
Israel rushes aid to earthquake-struck Nepal
The Israel Defense Force is sending one of its largest humanitarian aid teams in years to Nepal in the wake of a devastating earthquake that has killed over 2,300 people and injured more than 5,000.
Two aircraft with 260 medical and rescue crew members from the IDF will lift off from Israel with tons of equipment this evening on the 12-hour journey.
The delegation, which includes dozens of army physicians and search-and-rescue experts, will try to locate and rescue earthquake victims trapped in the rubble, and expects to have a field hospital operating within 10 hours of landing.
The hospital will include two operating rooms, four intensive-care rooms, 80 hospital beds and specialists in neonatal and adult care. It can treat 200 people a day.
Other Israeli aid groups are also on the way, including civilian NGO IsraAID, which will send a disaster team to the city this evening, paving the way for a larger emergency relief team, which will bring supplies and medical services.
The magnitude 7.8 earthquake, which hit the impoverished Himalayan nation on Saturday morning, has devastated parts of Nepal’s capital city, Kathmandu, flattening offices and homes, and destroying centuries-old temples. It also triggered an avalanche at Mount Everest that killed at least 17 people and injured more than 60.
Nepal: Unprecedented Relief Effort 'Shows Israel's True Face'
For the first time, United Hatzalah, Zaka and First will be embarking on a joint mission to the disaster-hit country, adding their combined weight to the Israeli team, which also includes emergency workers from Magen David Adom.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva ahead of his departure to Nepal on Sunday, United Hatzalah's International Operations and Development Coordinator Dovi Meizels took stock of the task ahead of the Israeli team.
"It's a unique cooperation between three Israeli emergency agencies, led by us," he said.
The team will include doctors, paramedics, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), and of course search-and-rescue personnel to deal with the difficult task of locating survivors - and bodies.
Meizels - who is also a volunteer paramedic and has joined relief teams in Haiti, Japan and the Philippines, among other disaster zones - explained how apart from the sheer scale of the earthquake (which registered 6.7 on the Richter Scale), Nepal's mountainous terrain posed an added challenge to rescue workers.
Describing the earthquake as a "world-class disaster," he explained: "Each country's disaster has their own characteristics: in Haiti it was a certain type of rubble and great devastation (concentrated) in the heart of one city; in Japan it was a tsunami.
IsraAID Launches Rescue Team, Fundraising Project for Nepal
The international community is in the midst of racing as many rescuers to Nepal as humanly possible right now. As of the time of this writing, current estimates place the number of dead at well above 1,800 people. It is still unclear how many are injured or how many more people might be missing from the total count. As the situation changes rapidly on the ground, Israel is setting an international precedent with an immediate and relatively large response given the size and resources of the country.
Later today, Israel will send at least two jumbo jets worth of supplies and rescue workers to Kathmandu, the Nepalese capital. One of the organizations that will be represented on that flight is IsraAID, Israel's main international aid organization led by Founding Director Shachar Zahavi.
"We already have an emergency team in place and hopefully well put them on a plane later on response," Zahavi told Arutz Sheva this morning. "Just like in Haiti and in other places we have worked, it has medical aspects, opening up field hospitals parallel to those of the IDF. Of course, like in Haiti we'll do anything in our power to coordinate our efforts with the IDF and the Israeli Government."
Rescuers on 2 El Al Jets Heading for Nepal Sunday
El Al Director David Maimon announced Saturday evening that in response to a request from the Defense Ministry, the airliner will send two 747-400 Jumbo Jets to Nepal at 5:00 p.m. Sunday, following the earthquake that has killed close to 1,500. The planes – a passenger jet and a cargo jet – will carry an aid delegation from the Homefront Command and the Ministry of Defense, along with its equipment and supplies.
The return flight is expected to carry survivors of the disaster as well as about 25 babies born in Nepal in recent days through surrogacy procedures, together with their parents.
El Al has had to change its flight schedule because of this development and it apologized to passengers for the inconvenience.
Shortly after receiving word of the disaster, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu held an assessment of the situation, via telephone, with Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon. It was agreed to dispatch – as soon as possible – a rescue delegation including medical elements.
IDF delegation preparing to depart for Nepal (h/t Yoel)

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