Thursday, October 22, 2015

From Ian:

Israel needs cultural bridges, not boycotts – letter from JK Rowling, Simon Schama and others
We will be seeking to inform and encourage dialogue about Israel and the Palestinians in the wider cultural and creative community. While we may not all share the same views on the policies of the Israeli government, we all share a desire for peaceful coexistence.
Cultural boycotts singling out Israel are divisive and discriminatory, and will not further peace. Open dialogue and interaction promote greater understanding and mutual acceptance, and it is through such understanding and acceptance that movement can be made towards a resolution of the conflict.
Ultimately we all believe in a two-state solution so that the national self-determination of both peoples is realised, with the state of Israel and a Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security.
Cultural engagement builds bridges, nurtures freedom and positive movement for change. We wholly endorse encouraging such a powerful tool for change rather than boycotting its use.
UK Court refers Western Sahara imports case to EU Court
Two EU Member States have a strong position on the subject of Western Sahara imports. The Dutch government has stated on more than one occasion that products from Western Sahara cannot enter the EU market labelled as from Morocco, a position shared with the Swedish government. Similarly, the EFTA countries do not interpret their Free Trade Agreement with Morocco to apply to Western Sahara. The United States explicitly excludes Western Sahara from its free trade cooperation with Morocco.
At present, the European Court of Justice is reviewing the legality of both the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement and the EU-Morocco Free Trade Agreement covering agricultural products, precisely because they allow Western Sahara products to enter the EU market as if they were Moroccan.
Western Sahara, in north-west Africa, is the subject of a decades-long dispute between Morocco and the Saharawi people. In October 1975 the International Court of Justice rejected Morocco’s territorial claims over Western Sahara and recognised the Saharawi people's right to self-determination. Since 1975 Morocco has supported the settlement of its citizens in Western Sahara, arguably in breach of Article 49 of the Geneva Conventions, which states: ‘The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.’ The United Nations and NGOs such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Norwegian Refugee Council have found evidence of human rights abuses.
Fred Maroun: Being pro-peace means being pro-Israel
As an Arab, I proudly support Israel, and I believe that it is the duty of every fair-minded person to support Israel. I have tremendous respect for the Jewish culture, and I believe in the right of Jews to be independent on a land where they have had continuous presence for longer than any other group. I also proudly support the goal of a democratic and peaceful Palestinian state.
Not only is there no contradiction between these two goals, but just as I believe that Israel would benefit from the existence of a peaceful Palestinian state (see “The one-state delusion”), I know that the creation of such a state hinges on Palestinians fully accepting the existence of the Jewish state.
Some Arabs and even some Palestinians understand this. Palestinian human rights activist Bassem Eid wrote, “Despite what we tell ourselves, Israel is here to stay. What’s more, it has a right to exist. It is the nation of the Jews but also a nation for Israeli Arabs who have better lives than Arabs anywhere in Arab countries. We must accept these facts and move on. The anti-Semitism promoted by Hamas, Fatah, and the BDS movement is not the answer for us Palestinians.” Sadly Arabs such as Eid are few.
Palestinian thugs who are currently engaged in attacks against Jews in Israel are not building a Palestinian state. They are the product of a Palestinian hate culture, and their actions entrench that hate culture even more, further pushing away the dream of Palestinian statehood.
To achieve peace and eventually dignity and statehood for the Palestinians, there is one path and one path only, and it is to denounce terrorism and unequivocally support Israel. (h/t Cliff)

PMW: PA lies: Israel fabricates stabbings to incriminate Palestinians
A cartoon repeating the libel that Israel fabricates the many recent Palestinian stabbing attacks and even plants the knives as fake evidence at the scenes of the crimes appeared in both the official Palestinian Authority daily and on a Fatah website.
The cartoon claims that Israel victimizes Palestinians, framing them for the many recent stabbing attacks. A knife attached to the end of the rifle of an Israeli soldier cuts the hand of a Palestinian. The soldier withdraws the rifle, leaving the knife in the hand of the Palestinian, thus making it look like the Palestinian is the one attacking the soldier with the knife. The soldier then shouts: “Terrorist!” [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, and website of Fatah's Information and Culture Commission, Oct. 17, 2015]
Palestinian Media Watch has reported on the PA's lies presenting terrorist stabbers whose intention is to kill as innocent victims who have been “executed in cold blood.”
Official PA TV hosts also repeated this, claiming that Israel places knives at the scene after Israel attacks innocent Palestinians in order to frame them for terror attacks: (h/t Elder of Lobby)
PA TV falsely portrays terrorist murderers as innocent victims killed by Israel

Israel slams ‘cynical’ Marmara lawsuit against Barak
The Foreign Ministry on Thursday slammed a US lawsuit against former defense minister Ehud Barak over a 2010 raid on a Gaza flotilla as another attempt at a “cynical attack” on Israel using legal means.
A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem said he was certain that the US “would not lend its hand” to the lawsuit, Israel Radio reported.
The parents of one of the nine people killed when Israeli troops clashed with passengers on board the Mavi Marmara ship served a civil lawsuit in Los Angeles on Wednesday against Barak, who was defense minister at the time.
The lawsuit says that Furkan Dogan, an American national who was a resident of Turkey, was shot five times, including in the head from a short range. The family are claiming unlawful death and torture.
Family of American Killed in Flotilla Raid Suing Ehud Barak, But Accounts Suggest Not Guilty
The parents of a young American who lived in Turkey and was killed on board the Marmara in the flotilla to Gaza in 2010, filed a civil suit in a Los Angeles court against Ehud Barak, who served as Israel’s Defense Minister at the time. The plaintiffs allege that their son, Furkan Doğan, was shot five times, once in the head at close range.
Furkan Doğan was born to ethnic Turkish parents in Troy, New York on October 20, 1991, precisely 24 years to the day prior to the lawsuit. He moved to Turkey at the age of two. His father, Ahmet Doğan, graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with an MBA in accounting, and works as assistant professor of accounting at Erciyes University in Kayseri, Turkey.
Doğan was not too interested in politics, according to the NY Times’ Roger Cohen. It’s not clear, then, why he decided to participate in the Gaza Flotilla. His father said “Furkan was a US citizen only and he never thought that he would be killed since he was an American citizen.” But his final diary entry written on the ship, reveals a zeal for martyrdom: “It is the last hours to martyrdom, insha’Allah [God willing]. I am wondering if there is a more beautiful thing. The more beautiful thing is only my mother, but I’m not sure. The comparison is very difficult. Martyrdom or my mother? Now, the hall has been evacuated. So far people were not serious, but they have become serious recently.”
David Collier: A response on the Israel conflict
This is a piece written specifically in response to a comment left on one of my previous articles.
Every point in history you seem to suggest is down to Arab rejection and anything contrary to your point of view is Palestinian propaganda. You present statistics to support your claim but I work with data in my job everyday so I know that stats can be presented in such a way to prove anything you want as alleged fact.
Now we are getting down to the meat in the argument. First off, yes stats can be used to prove almost anything, but then again, those telling the truth have to use them too. I do not however understand your opposition to this argument. It is a historical truth that the Arabs rejected Balfour, rejected the Mandate, rejection Zionism, rejected Jewish immigration, rejected partition, rejected Israel’s declaration of independence and have been rejecting Israel for the most part ever since. The Palestinian argument is not that they did not do this, but that it was a justifiable ‘rejectionism’. I personally do not think all of this was justifiable, thus setting in motion a cause and effect situation that brings us to today. That is simply my position on a historically accurate truth. There is no propaganda involved in this argument whatsoever.
Regarding propaganda. Your accusation is unfairly levelled. If you can provide me with a specific instance where I called a particular piece of information propoganda, we can analyse it together and find out if it has substance, or is indeed propaganda. I am quite a good at research, and I tend to dig deeply before I reject a story as bogus. I also admit I make mistakes, so if you think I have made one, point me in the direction and unleash me. But please do not simply discard my position without a factual case to back you up. Look at that map of Palestinian land for example, the one that is used at almost every pro-Palestinian event I have been to. It is absolute distortion, totally bias and factually false. Garbage would be the best word to describe it; a disease the infests intelligence and spreads stupidity. I admit I have come across ‘Hasbara’ that is factually incorrect, but there is nothing comparable with the lies, distortions and false claims that eminate from the Palestinian propaganda camp. If their case is truly so indisputable, so ethically obvious, why is there this constant need to make up stories?
Isi Leibler: American Jewish leaders - Speak up now!
It is now evident that, by and large, the Jewish establishment has adopted a policy of deafening silence in relation to the virulent one-sided political attacks and sins of omission by the Obama administration concerning our barbaric adversaries.
It is only the outspoken Zionist Organization of America and minor fringe groups that have been directly speaking out against the Obama administration’s intensified anti-Israel rhetoric.
Until now, I had a nagging suspicion that the failure of American Jewish leaders to confront the biased Obama administration attacks on Israel was not merely a reasoned strategic approach. But aware of their devotion to Israel and having witnessed their former stalwart defense of Jewish interests, I was reluctant to conclude that fear was their primary consideration.
But the ongoing silence by the Jewish establishment in relation to the current disgraceful behavior of the Obama administration, its secretary of state and State Department spokesmen is incomprehensible.
Today Israeli Jews are confronted by frenzied, psychotic young Arabs who have been brainwashed into believing that murdering innocent Jews will deliver them directly to paradise and transform them into glorious martyrs. This barbarism, inculcated by hideous indoctrination from kindergarten and subsequently nurtured in the mosques and throughout Palestinian social media, is creating monsters. It is publicly sanctified by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who has whipped up a frenzy on the insanely false allegation that Israel is bent on destroying al-Aksa mosque and building a Jewish temple on its ruins.
JPost Editorial: Our German ally
Hamas, a terrorist organization that has received extensive support from the Islamic Republic, was behind the despicable murder of Naama and Eitam Henkin on October 1, the first attack in the current wave of Palestinian terror.
The bloodbath in Syria was instigated in large part by Iran; the sectarian violence that continues to tear apart Iraq is perpetuated by Iran; the war in Yemen is yet another result of Iranian meddling. These are all minor matters, according to Khamenei. So what should really bother Muslims is that a few Jews would like to pray on the Temple Mount? After hearing all these comments and many more by Khamenei and other high-ranking Iranian officials, Merkel is rightly concerned. But what does she plan to do about it? Germans and Israelis have drawn diametrically opposite conclusions from the Holocaust. For Israelis the lesson to be learned is “Never again.” Never should Jews be the victims of another nation’s genocidal hatred.
Germans also have a “Never again” lesson that they learn from World War II – never again must Germany make war.
When pressured about what Germany was willing to do to stop Iran from harming Israel, Merkel replied, “I’m not interested in overstating Germany’s goal and abilities.”
Germany is one of Israel’s most important allies. Half a century of solid bilateral relations will be celebrated in Berlin next week. But ultimately Israel cannot rely on the Germans – or anyone else, for that matter – to protect it. We have to do that ourselves.
An Open Letter to The Guardian About Netanyahu’s Comments on the Mufti and Hitler
There is no excuse for the Guardian to be ignorant of the Madagascar Plan, which confirms the PM’s assertion that Hitler initially wanted to expel, not exterminate, the Jews.
In 1938, the notorious Adolf Eichmann prepared a report advocating an evacuation plan for 4 million Jews to be shipped to Madagascar. In his paper, “Madagascar Plan,” Christopher Browning quotes Heinrich Himmler in May 1940 stating: “However cruel and tragic each individual case may be, this method is still the mildest and best, if one rejects the Bolshevik method of physical extermination of a people out of inner conviction as un-German and impossible.”
The plan was endorsed by the Third Reich in August 1940.
Damming evidence of the Mufti’s exhortations to exterminate the Jews was presented at the Nurenberg trials by none other than senior Nazi official Dieter Wisliczeny. On September 15, 1947, Drew Pearson, one of the best-known American columnists of his day, quoted Wisliczeny’s evidence in his column, “Washington Merry-Go-Round,” as follows:
In my opinion, the grand mufti, who has been in Berlin since 1941 played a role in the decision of the German government to exterminate the European Jews, the importance of which must not be disregarded. He had repeatedly suggested to the various authorities with whom he had been in contact, above all before Hitler, Ribbentrop and Himmler, the extermination of European Jewry. He considered this as a comfortable solution to the Palestinian problem. In is messages broadcast from Berlin, he surpassed us in anti-Jewish attacks. He was one of Eichmann’s best friends and had constantly incited him to accelerate the extermination measures. I heard him say that, accompanied by Eichmann, he has visited incognito the gas chamber of Auschwitz.
 Leading historian backs Netanyahu over Mufti's Holocaust role
Middle East Forum scholar Dr. Wolfgang Schwanitz has backed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday night, after the premier was heavily criticized for stating that Mufti Hajj Amin Al Husseini convinced Adolf Hitler to annihilate the Jews during World War II.
“It is a historical fact that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem al-Hajj Amin al-Husaini was an accomplice whose collaboration with Adolf Hitler played an important role in the Holocaust," Schwanitz stated. "He was the foremost extra-European adviser in the process to destroy the Jews of Europe.”
Schwanitz noted the Mufti's role in his book, Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East [co-Authored with Barry Rubin], in which he contended that Hitler's orders to prepare for the Holocaust directly followed a meeting between the two.
Husseini additionally noted that “since any European Jews let out of Europe might later go to Palestine, al-Husaini made it clear that if Hitler wanted Muslims and Arabs as allies he must close Europe’s exits to Jews."
"At the same time, al-Husaini and Arab rulers also told Britain that if it wanted to keep Arabs and Muslims from being enemies, it must close entrance to Palestine to all Jews. By succeeding on both fronts, al-Husaini contributed to the Holocaust doubly, directly, and from the start.”
"Hitler did not want to annihilate the Jews at the time," Netanyahu asserted in a speech Tuesday at the World Zionist Congress. "He wanted to expel them. And Hajj Amin al-Husseini went to him and said – 'if you expel them, they will all come here.' 'So what shall I do with them?', Hitler asked, and Husseini answered – 'burn them.'"
Netanyahu – Mufti Kerfuffle: Ask Yourself Why Doves are Enraged
According to Joseph Schechtman’s The Mufti and the Fuehrer, the mufti began his outreach to the Nazis on July 21, 1937 via the German consul in Jerusalem.
Keep in mind that at the time, the Nazis still had hopes to keep Britain out of any war so didn’t want to rock the boat in British-controlled Palestine.
Nonetheless, the mufti sent an agent to Berlin to lobby the Nazis.
In fact, Adolph Eichmann was dispatched to Palestine to study the situation in response to the Mufti’s lobbying efforts. He was also in contact with Husseini.
Actually, there is some evidence that already in 1936, the Nazis were helping the Arabs in Palestine.
Obviously, there is much more to be said about the Mufti and the Nazis.
An inconvenient history: The Grand Mufti, Hitler and the “Knife Intifada”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a controversial statement as he was leaving for Germany on the role of Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. Netanyahu’s statement suggesting that the idea of genocide against the Jews of Europe originated with the Mufti and not Hitler was overstatement, and quickly walked back by Netanyahu (but not before Netanyahu’s political enemies had a field day with it).
But there is a silver lining in Netanyahu’s political gaffe — people now are talking about the role of the Grand Mufti in the European genocide.
We have discussed the Mufti’s Nazi-sympathies and assistance here before, so it’s not new to us.
But given the current “Knife Intifada,” in which the agitation to kill Jews is pervasive in Palestinian culture, it’s clear that there is a direct line from the Mufti’s Nazi-affiliation to the Jew hatred that motivates the current conflict.
Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic tweeted out a link to this study from 2005, National Socialism and Anti-Semitism in the Arab World. It’s very lengthy, so read the whole thing. Here is an excerpt:
Nobody had a greater influence on the early history of the Middle East conflict than the Mufti, who as president of the Supreme Muslim Council was not only the supreme religious authority but also the central figure in Palestinian nationalism. In the 1930s, there were countless Arab nationalists who viewed Germany as an ally against the British without concerning themselves with the nature of the Hitler regime. Things were different where the Mufti was concerned: he knew what the regime was about and was attracted to it for that very reason.
Defense minister: Palestinian incitement based on Nazi legacy
Current Palestinian incitement against Israel is "based on the legacy of the Nazis," Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon told Army Radio on Wednesday.
Referring to the controversy roused by Prime Minister's Benjamin Netanyahu's comments of World War II-era Arab leader Haj Amin al-Husseini's role in the Holocaust, Ya'alon said, "History is actually very, very clear. ... Hitler initiated [the Holocaust], Haj Amin al-Husseini joined him and unfortunately the jihadi movements promote anti-Semitism to this day, including incitement in the Palestinian Authority that is based on the legacy of the Nazis."
'Palestine's efforts against Nazis are deep-rooted part of our history,' Erekat says
Erekat claimed that Palestinians had fought alongside the Allied Troops in defense of international justice. “Palestinian efforts against the Nazi regime are a deep-rooted part of our history,” he said. “Palestine will never forget – though it seems Netanyahu’s extremist government has.”
Erekat said that this was a “sad day in history when the leader of the Israeli government hates his neighbor so much that he is willing to absolve the most notorious war criminal in history, Adolf Hitler, of the murder of six million Jews."
"Mr. Netanyahu should stop using this human tragedy to score points for his political end,” he said.
PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi accused Netanyahu of “losing touch with reality” and “lying.” She said that Netanyahu’s remarks were “political and historic hallucination.”
Guardian piles on Bibi historical distortion – omits Erekat lie that Palestinians fought Nazis
Erekat’s claim that Palestinians fought the Nazis turns history on its head.
Not only is the grand mufti’s enthusiastic involvement with the Nazis’ annihilationist antisemitic ideology beyond dispute, but historians have noted his deep imprint on Palestinian consciousness, including the “conspiratorial view of Jewish ambitions”. This is reflected in their endemic antisemitism and the “widespread dissemination” of Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” within Palestinian society. “The view of the Jews as contaminators of society and malevolent conspirators”, CAMERA senior researcher Steve Stotsky argued, “resonates today in the founding Charter of Hamas”.
Additionally, contrary to Erekat’s audacious claim that “Palestine will never forget” the Holocaust, Holocaust denial is actually ripe within Palestinian society. A recent ADL poll revealed that 72% of Palestinians believe that the number of ‎Jews killed by the Nazis is “greatly exaggerated”. Indeed, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s own Holocaust revisionism is part of the historical record.
So, why would Beaumont cite a partial quote by Erekat criticizing Bibi’s claims, while ignoring the part where the official Palestinian spokesperson outright lied about Palestine’s putative “philo-Semitism”? Well, as we argued in a previous post citing the Guardian’s decision to largely ignore Abbas’s lie about the “execution” of a 13-year-old boy, evidence of Palestinian fabrications is buried because it’s not part of their desired narrative of immutable Palestinian victimhood.
Further, if you’re a journalist covering the region and passionately believe your job is to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the powerful”, rather than objectively reporting the news, then it naturally follows that evidence of Palestinian misdeeds and outright malevolence must be downplayed, denied or ignored.
Netanyahu to Yedioth: I have experience with binoculars
During a visit to the border with the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin was photographed during a brief instant in which he was looking through binoculars while the lens caps were still on. Netanyahu quickly removed the lens caps, but the Ynet website, which belongs to the Yedioth Ahronoth, chose to feature the picture at the top of its home page for several hours on Tuesday, with the headline, "The situation here is under control."
The incident sparked memories of a similar occurrence in 2007, when then-Defense Minister Amir Peretz was photographed viewing a military exercise through covered binoculars. Peretz's image was already tainted by his performance as defense minister during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, and the binoculars incident was widely viewed as further evidence of his lack of suitability for the post.
In a sarcastic Facebook post on Tuesday night, Netanyahu took a swipe at Yedioth Ahronoth, writing, "I want to reassure Ynet and Yedioth: I have some experience with binoculars." Attached to the post was a photo of Netanyahu from his time as an officer in the elite Sayeret Matkal commando unit. In the photo, a pair of binoculars is strapped to the young Netanyahu's chest.
Khamenei: Any New Sanctions, Even For Terror or Human Rights, Means Deal is Off
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei has conditioned acceptance of the nuclear deal on Iran being exempted from consequences of its ongoing support for international terrorism, human rights abuses, and nuclear cheating, CNN reported today.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s official website carries a letter from the Supreme Leader to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani endorsing the deal, subject to certain conditions.
The nuclear deal will be rendered void if any future sanctions are imposed on Iran by any country, or under any pretext — including “human rights” and “alleged support of terrorism,” according to the letter.
The letter lists a series of nine key conditions before saying, “The motion passed by the National Security Council … adhering to the points mentioned, is approved.”

Khamenei contradicted the language of the nuclear agreement and the Obama administration’s interpretation of the deal in other ways.
According to Iran’s Mehr news agency, Khamenei “asserted that [the] Arak reactor modernization while maintaining its heavy water function will start only after signing a reliable contract for an alternative design. On the issue of enriched uranium transaction, the Leader also stressed on a reliable contract followed by adequate guarantees.”
Senate Dems: Iran Used Missile Test to Gauge How US Will Respond to Nuke Deal Violations
Eleven Democrats in the Senate penned a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry Wednesday expressing “profound concern” regarding Iran’s ballistic missile test that violated United Nations sanctions.
The Hill reported that the senators, some of whom voted against the nuclear agreement with Iran, alleged that Tehran was using the test to gauge how the United States will respond to violations of the nuclear deal.
“We are concerned about the military significance of this test, which is part of a long-term Iranian program that seeks to improve the range and capabilities of its ballistic missiles,” the senators, including vocal opponent of the deal Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), wrote.
“We are also convinced that the launch is an attempt to test the world’s will to respond to Iranian violations of its international commitments.”
Last week, Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said that the ballistic missile test earlier this month represented a “clear violation” of U.N. Security Council resolutions. Diplomats from the United States, Britain, France, and Germany have demanded the U.N. Security Council take action in response to the violation.
While the Obama administration has acknowledged the likely violation, the White House has maintained that the missile test did not violate the nuclear deal with Iran.
Khamenei recommits to 190,000 centrifuges in 15 years
Iran currently operates a model of centrifuge dubbed the IR-1— a 1970s-technology device that enriches uranium at a slow pace. According to Harvard University's Olli Heinonen, who once served as deputy director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, that model, at its best, reaches a capacity of 1 SWU per year.
"In my view, [Khamenei] maintains as his goal to have a 190000 SWU/year capacity," Heinonen told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. "Thus you can also say that the goal could be 190,000 centrifuges."
"However, the IR-1s are not reliable and old technology," he added. "This is why Iran is developing more advanced centrifuges. When the limitations of the JCPOA start to fade away after ten years, we will see other centrifuges than IR-1 emerging."
Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz told the Post on Wednesday that the pronouncement— along with a test of ballistic missiles days before— a "finger in the eye" by Iran to the United States.
"This was well known," Steinitz said, at an event with his American counterpart, Ernest Moniz. "This was one of our criticisms of the agreement. The agreement will meet Iran's 190,000 centrifuges in fifteen years."
Russian Airstrike Hits Syrian Field Hospital, Kills 13
At least 127 of the 370 killed in Russia's aerial war over Syria were civilians, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says.
At least 13 people including medical staff were killed when Russian warplanes struck a field hospital in northwestern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Wednesday.
"Thirteen people were killed in Russian air strikes on Tuesday on a field clinic in the town of Sarmin, including a physiotherapist, a guard, and civil defense member," the Observatory's Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
Sarmin lies in the northwestern province of Idlib, which has been regularly targeted by Russia's military since the beginning of its air war in Syria on September 30.
The clinic was run by the Syrian-American Medical Society, whose staff confirmed that strikes had "severely damaged" the facility.
Israel must leave the UN
UNESCO -- the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization -- stated in a ‎resolution on Tuesday that it condemned Israel for what it called the "aggression and illegal ‎measures taken against the freedom of worship and access of Muslims to Al-Aqsa mosque and ‎Israel's attempts to break the status quo since 1967." It also "deeply deplores the recent ‎repression in East Jerusalem, and the failure of Israel, the Occupying Power, to cease the ‎persistent excavations and works in East Jerusalem particularly in and around the Old City." It ‎also called for "prompt reconstruction of schools, universities, cultural heritage sites, cultural ‎institutions, media centers and places of worship that have been destroyed or damaged by the ‎consecutive Israeli wars on Gaza." Finally, UNESCO now considers the Cave of the Patriarchs in ‎Hebron and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem to be Muslim sites.‎
Initially, the resolution had been drafted to include the Western Wall as an Islamic ‎site also, or rather as an extension of Al-Aqsa mosque, but this was dropped after ‎widespread condemnation. Only six countries voted against the resolution -- the United States, ‎Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Estonia.‎
One can hardly exaggerate the extent to which UNESCO has lost its way. The organization and most of its member states have been ravaged by utter derangement. For the ‎U.N. to so unequivocally and unabashedly aid the ongoing Arab effort to delegitimize the Jewish ‎connections to Judaism's holiest sites in Israel is an act of supreme perfidy. ‎
9 more Jewish symbols UNESCO should claim for other religions
On Monday, news broke that UNESCO, the United Nations cultural agency, is to vote on a Palestinian-backed proposal declaring the Western Wall a Muslim site.
While Muslim and Arab leaders have long claimed Jews have no religious claim to the Temple Mount — even questioning the historic existence of the Temple — this is the first time they have gone so far as to claim the Western Wall itself.
But why stop with the Western Wall? Here are some other Jewish things UNESCO might want to consider claiming for other religions.
1. Hanukkah: It’s coming up, so if UNESCO acts quickly, Muslims could be enjoying eight nights of candle-lighting, latke-eating and gift-giving in time in no time. Maybe it can’t compete with Christmas, but it’s definitely more fun than Ramadan.
2. The Bible: Christians might enjoy this wealth of texts  — oh wait, they already do and call it the Old Testament!
3. Challah: These braided loaves are beautiful and delicious, but they’re also kind of fattening. We’ll let the Christians have them, so long as they promise to pronounce the guttural “ch” sound.
Giuliani, Arafat, And The Bankruptcy Of Jewish ‘Leadership’
Twenty years ago this Friday, New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani threw Yasir Arafat out of a UN event – and in doing so brought down on himself the anger and opprobrium of the Clinton administration, New York’s political elite, and not a few feckless Jewish “leaders.”
I wrote a column about the incident on its tenth anniversary, and am revisiting it here, because neither the relentless passage of time nor the gradual erosion of Giuliani’s luster (some of it self-induced but much of it unfair and unjustified) should dim our memory of – and appreciation for – this singular act of principle and courage.
The UN was marking its fiftieth anniversary with a series of galas around New York City, including an Oct. 23 invitation-only Lincoln Center concert by the New York Philharmonic for a glittering list of dignitaries and diplomats. When Giuliani spotted Arafat and his entourage making their way to a private box seat near the stage that evening, the mayor immediately ordered the Palestinian leader off the premises.
Family of Saudi schoolboy protester fears his execution is imminent
The family of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, a Saudi teenager facing death by crucifixion or beheading for taking part in an anti-government protest, fear his execution is imminent.
A member of the Shia minority, he was only 17 years old and still a schoolboy when he was arrested three and a half years ago at a rally in Qatif during the Arab Spring.
The Saudi authorities sentenced the teenager to death after convicting him of armed robbery, possessing a machine gun, attacking security forces and attending an illegal protest.
An appeal was rejected by the country’s supreme court last month and he was moved into solitary confinement along with, it is believed, two other teenagers facing the death penalty for similar offences – Dawood Hussein al-Marhoon and Abdullah Hasan al-Zaher.
The death sentence imposed on the teenager has intensified criticism of Saudi Arabia's human rights record.
Fears that the Saudis are preparing for his execution have been heightened by the abrupt cancellation of prison visits and phone calls.
IMF Predicts Saudi Arabia Bankrupt by 2020
The IMF just confirmed Breitbart News’ October 5 warning that Saudi Arabia’s cash reserves are in free-fall, with a new estimate that the world’s richest kingdom may be bankrupt by 2020.
Each October, the International Monetary Exchange issues its World Economic and Financial Regional Surveys. For the first time since the 1960s, the region set to suffer the worst financial agony over the next five years is the Middle East. Ground Zero for that pain is Saudi Arabia.
The reason for Saudi Arabia’s reluctance to balance its budget is that the 15,000 members of the six branches of the Saudi royal family buy national support through massive social welfare spending that requires a crude oil price of $103 a barrel to balance their budget.
The vast majority of the 30 million residents enjoy their standard of living due to government handouts. Saudi citizens tend to lack employable skills and are culturally not inclined to work. Of the 5.5 million that do have jobs, 3 million work directly for the government. The small private sector tends only to employ foreigners.
Although other Middle East nations are engaged in “active consolidation measures,” such as lower investment, hiring freezes, or energy price reform, Saudi Arabia’s government stated that they will make no austerity “tax increases and spending cuts.”
Daniel Pipes: Erdogan Leads Turkey to the Precipice
The Republic of Turkey is undergoing possibly its greatest crisis since the founding of the state nearly a century ago. Present trends suggest worse to come as a long-time Western ally evolves into a hostile dictatorship.
The crisis results primarily from the ambitions of one very capable and sinister individual, Turkey's 61-year old president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. A career politician who previously served four years as the mayor of Turkey's megacity, Istanbul, and then eleven years as the country's prime minister, he forwards two goals hitherto unknown in the republic: dictatorship and full application of the Shari'a, Islam's law code.
During his first eight years of power, 2003-11, Erdoğan ruled with such finesse that one could only suspect these two aspirations; proof remained elusive. This author, for example, wrote an article in 2005 that weighed the contradictory evidence for and against Erdoğan being an Islamist. A combination of playing by the rules, caution in the Islamic arena, and economic success won Erdoğan's party, Justice and Development (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, or AKP), increasing percentages of the vote in parliamentary elections, going from 34 percent in 2002, to 46 percent in 2007, to 50 percent in 2011.
That 2011 election victory, his third in succession, gave Erdoğan the confidence finally to remove the armed forces from politics, where they had long served as Turkey's ultimate power broker. Ironically, this change ended the increasing democratization of prior decades for his fully taking charge allowed Erdoğan to develop an oversized ego, to bare his fangs, flex his despotic muscles, and openly seek his twin objectives of tyranny and Shari'a.
Senior State Department Official Urges EU to Adopt Working Definition of Antisemitism
The U.S. is urging the European Union to adopt a working definition of antisemitism, similar to the one used by the State Department, a senior State official said in a conference call with Jerusalem U on Monday.
Defining antisemitism is “an important tool” for combating the rising antisemitic trend in Europe, where — the official, who was not speaking on the record, warned — several smaller Jewish communities, which have existed for 500 to 2,400 years, are on the verge of extinction.
The State Department definition of antisemitism includes certain attitudes toward Israel. In what are commonly referred to as the “3 Ds,” a phrase coined by Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, the definition says that demonization, delegitmization and holding Israel to a double standard all constitute antisemitism.
The senior official noted that Europe needed to make a distinction between legitimate criticism of Israel and when criticism may function as antisemitism.
The E.U.’s Agency for Fundamental Rights put a working definition of antisemitism on its website in 2005, but deleted it a few years ago, with certain E.U. members claiming it was never official anyway; the State Department still includes that working definition on its website.
Similarly, Israel’s Foreign Ministry antisemitism czar, Ambassador Gideon Behar, told The Algemeiner on Monday that Israel also wanted to see the E.U. adopt a working definition.
US official: Anti-Semitism cannot be eradicated, must be diminished
A week after a State Department report documented an increase in European anti-Semitism in 2014, a senior state department official said Wednesday that combating anti-Semitism is “a major issue for the US government,” acknowledging that efforts were focused on communities considered at-risk rather than on anti-Semitic elements within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In a briefing, the official who spoke on condition of anonymity lauded the fact that the fight against anti-Semitism overseas “is one of the few issues that remain totally bipartisan” in Washington. The role of the State Department Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat anti-Semitism was in fact grounded in Congressional legislation over ten years ago, rather than being a position created at the behest of a a particular presidential administration.
The official warned that it was important to strike a careful balance, saying that “it is damaging to the larger cause of fighting anti-Semitism if we overstate the problem and certainly if we understate it.”
Neo-Nazi group says it vandalized Athens Jewish cemetery
The main Jewish cemetery in Athens was vandalized with swastikas and anti-Jewish graffiti.
“F*** Jews” and a Nazi swastika were sprayed on one of the cemetery walls on Wednesday night. A swastika and the German word “Raus,” meaning “get out,” along with the tag C-18 was sprayed on the cemetery gate pillar.
C-18 refers to Combat 18 Hellas, a small neo-Nazi group operating in Greece. The group posted pictures on its website and claimed responsibility for what it called the “beautiful artistic intervention at the Jewish cemetery.”
The Jewish community of Athens in a Greek-language statement condemned the vandalism perpetrated by “cowardly Nazis” and called on Greek authorities to find and prosecute the perpetrators.
Federal prosecutor seeks plea deal with Islamic State supporter from Lodi
Teausant, who is being held without bail at the Sacramento County jail, has been described in court papers as boasting of wanting to bomb the Los Angeles subway system and blow up his infant daughter’s day care center because it was a “Zionist reform church.”
He allegedly boasted of wanting to train Islamic State fighters. “I’m going to be a commander and I’m going to be on the front of every single newspaper in the country,” he allegedly told the informant.
His public defenders presented a different view of their client, saying in court papers that he lacked the wherewithal to carry out such daring deeds.
Israel’s First Computerized Sign Language Lexicon Goes Online
Israel’s first online sign language lexicon launches Wednesday. In the lexicon — which is the fruit of two years of work by the Institute for the Advancement of Deaf Persons in Israel (IADPI) — users enter a word in Hebrew, English, Arabic, or Russian, and immediately, a video clip opens in which a presenter demonstrates the word in Israeli Sign Language.
The lexicon currently contains 3,000 five-second clips and will continue to be expanded. The purpose of the project is to facilitate communication between the deaf and the hearing in the workplace, in customer service situations, during medical consultations, and in other everyday situations.
IADPI Executive Director Yael Kakun said, “This is an innovative service that will connect the citizens of Israel, Jewish and Arab, with a single language, and help those who hear begin a dialogue with deaf and hearing-impaired people.”
Kakun added, “The lexicon and its accessibility will allow every citizen of Israel to provide minimal aid in real time and learn work-related terms in the language spoken by people who do not hear.”
Israeli startups on target for record-breaking year
Israeli high-tech companies are likely to shatter 2014’s record-year of funding and acquisitions, according to a new survey by IVC-KPMG. The third quarter of 2015 concluded with $1.1 billion raised by 165 Israeli high-tech companies, some 55 percent above the $703 million attracted by 170 companies in the third quarter of 2014.
So far in 2015, 506 Israeli high-tech companies have raised a phenomenal $3.2 billion, reaching in nine months, nearly 95 percent of the entire 2014’s record capital raising.
Some of the biggest acquisitions this year include Heartware’s purchase of Valtech Cardio for $929 million, Amazon’s buyout of Annapurna Labs for $370 million, ClickSoftware’s price tag of $438 million, and Lumenis selling for $510 million.
India, Israel collaborate in Water Technology
Rapid industrialisation and population growth of recent years has increasingly put pressure in India’s limited water resources. Earlier this week, China’s announcement to construct a mega-dam on Brahmaputra river, that also runs through the eastern part of India, has revived regional tensions between the two Asian giants — once again reminding that water could well be the source of future conflicts, just as oil and energy resources today. Securing water demand for a billion-strong population is one of the biggest challenges facing India today.
In recent years, Israel has become India’s leading partner in water management and clean technologies. During Indian President Pranab Mukherjee’s historic visit to Israel earlier this month, both countries signed series of agreements aimed at expanding this bilateral technological cooperation.
Indian news website Boom Live described the extent of water scarcity faced by the country and need for further strengthening the cooperation with Israel in water technology:
Destination Israel
A Groupon in Israel offered a $64 steal on a stab-proof vest (it flopped). Now there’s a deal up for grabs that’s a little less ominous: wicked cheap, all-inclusive vacations in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, or the Sea of Galilee, in an attempt to encourage tourism amid ongoing conflict in the region.
According to a Ynet, the Israeli Tourism Ministry has partnered with the trendy bargain-boasting e-commerce service Groupon to offer week-long vacations—airfare, lodging, food, and tours included—for just $990-$1,400. The campaign, funneled through Groupon Getaways, began Tuesday and continues for the next two weeks.
Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said Monday that the goal of the unique campaign was to project a sense of business as usual and encourage tourism during the months when hotel occupancies in Israel are low… Minister Levin added that while the ministry usually halts all its campaigns during times of crisis, he decided to proceed as usual.
“The continued marketing activity is aimed at preserving incoming tourism and creating a faster exit route once the security problem is behind us,” he said. “So far, it has been proving itself. There have hardly been any cancellations so far, and despite the slowdown in reservations, we are not witnessing a terrible crisis or something people should change their habits for.”
In fact, this year looks to be the most promising for American travel to Israel, with an estimated 700,000 tourists coming to, and returning from, the Holy Land. So open up your apps, and check your browsers to see if you are one of the lucky 30 million American household to whom this campaign is being marketed… because we’re currently unable to find it.
Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem is Condé Nast’s top Middle East hotel
Jerusalem’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel took the top spot in the Middle East and seventh place worldwide in Condé Nast Traveler’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards.
“More than 128,000 travelers took part in our 28th annual Readers’ Choice Awards survey — the most in its history — submitting millions of ratings and tens of thousands of comments to help us create a list of winning favorites,” Condé Nast Traveler said in announcing the rankings Tuesday.
The world list was headed by the 16-room Singita Grumeti in the Serengeti, Tanzania, followed by The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch, in Saratoga, Wyoming.
Places 2-5 on the Middle East list were filled by hotels in the United Arab Emirates, with Jerusalem’s Mamilla Hotel at 6, and the King David Hotel at 8. Also in the Middle East top 15 were the Inbal Jerusalem at 12, the Dan Tel Aviv at 13, the Hilton Tel Aviv at 14, and the David’s Citadel Jerusalem at 15.
“What an honor! We are thrilled,” the Waldorf posted on its Facebook page.
The 226-room Waldorf opened in March 2014, after a reported $150 million refurbishment.

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 11 years and over 22,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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