Friday, November 27, 2015

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Lessons from the Pollard saga
It warns us that while secretaries of state proclaim their eternal concern and friendship for Israel, there are officials whispering in their ears that Israel is the source of instability in the Middle East and that due to the support Israel enjoys from American Jewry, America’s ability to secure its interests in the Middle East is impaired. The weaker both US Jewry and Israel are, the better off America will be, they are told.
Unfortunately, more often than not, when Israelis aren’t pretending that these forces don’t exist, they tend to view them as all-powerful.
So it is that the same Israeli officials – again, predominately on the Left – who insist that Israel can trust US security guarantees because the US will never waver in its commitment to Israel, also insist that Israel must never act in opposition to the US. So long as the US opposes destroying Iran’s nuclear installations, Israel, they insist, must not raise a finger against them.
So long as the US supports a Palestinian state, they insist that Israel must carry on as if the so-called two-state solution is possible, let along good for Israel.
Obviously, both positions are simplistic and wrong. For the past 30 years, as Pollard suffered in prison, and Israel’s position in the US remained under constant assault by its opponents in the bureaucracy, Israel’s relations with the US expanded and deepened. The level of US popular support for Israel has grown from year to year.
Pollard’s story tells us that we need to grow up. The US is a great ally, but our alliance with America is no substitute for national power.
As an ally, we should take US concerns into account where we can, and act independently where we must. Pollard’s case was a great victory for our enemies in Washington. And they will score additional ones in the future. But so will our friends. And so will we.
November 29: The Day the UN Stands With the Palestinians and Demonizes Israel
There is no other UN subsidiary committee or UN day of solidarity specifically designated to advance the political cause of one people over another. This committee is yet more proof such double standards against Israel persist and are sanctioned by an official UN event in New York.
The Day is also a catalyst for highly politicized non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to amplify their support for anti-Israel BDS (boycotts, divestments, and sanctions) movement and other hostile campaigns. Many of these NGOs, which receive extensive funding from European governments, also regularly exploit UN forums and judicial processes to accuse Israel of “war crimes,” “crimes against humanity,” and other alleged violations of international law.
For example, in 2013, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), which prides itself on seeking to create “a wedge” within the American Jewish community over support for Israel, marked the occasion by escalating efforts to boycott Israeli company SodaStream. Similarly, Palestinian NGO Al Mezan co-signed a letter accusing Israel of “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity,” while calling on “UN member states to vote in favor of any resolution that would recognize Palestinian statehood.” Al Mezan is funded, directly and indirectly, by Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Netherlands, the European Union, Norway, Germany, the UN Development Programme, and the UN Central Emergency Response Fund.
In 2012, a dozens of NGOs including Al Mezan, Al-Haq, Badil, Defence for Children International-Palestine — all of which are heavily funded by European donors — participated in a World Social Forum entitled “Free Palestine” held in Brazil. The four-day forum, which overlapped with November 29, included panels on “the right to return,” “international law and human rights,” “popular resistance,” and “the case of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.” Tellingly, the conference did not center on obtaining Palestinian statehood, but rather lamented the “narrowing of the Palestinian struggle to the West Bank only.”
While November 29 recalls the implications of UN resolutions from 40 and 70 years ago, we should also bear in mind another momentous event from the Fall of 1945. On October 24, the UN was founded at Lake Success, New York, to “reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights.” As the UN and NGOs prepare to stand in solidarity with the Palestinians by demonizing Israel and denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination, they and their donors should consider the extent to which they contribute to the exploitation of sacred and universal principles.
On November 30, Remember the Jewish Refugees Expelled from Arab Lands
On June 23, 2014, the Israeli Knesset passed a law designating November 30 as an official date in the calendar to remember the uprooting of almost one million Jewish refugees from Arab countries and Iran.
The date was chosen to recall the day after the UN passed the 1947 UN Partition Plan for Palestine. Following bloodcurdling threats by Arab leaders, violence erupted against Jewish communities all across the Mideast. The riots resulted in the mass exodus of Jews from the Arab world, the seizure of their property and assets, and the destruction of their millennarian, pre-Islamic communities. In 1979, the Islamic revolution resulted in the exodus of four-fifths of the Iranian-Jewish community.
Refugees are much in the news these days. Until the mass population displacement caused by the wars in Iraq and Syria, however, the world thought that ‘Middle Eastern refugee’ was synonymous with ‘Palestinian refugee.’ Yet there were more Jews displaced from Arab countries than Palestinians (850,000, as against 711,000 according to UN figures.)
The Jewish refugee issue is more than simply a question to be resolved at the negotiating table. It is a symptom of the Arab and Muslim world’s deep psychosis — an inability to tolerate the non-Arab, non-Muslim Other.
Today, both Muslim sects and non-Muslim minorities are being persecuted in the Middle East, but people are apt to forget that the Jews were one of the first. As the saying goes, “First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people.” And it does not stop there. A state that devours its minorities ends up devouring itself.
PreOccupiedTerritory: UN: Jacob Used Excessive Force In Encounter With Angel (satire)
The United Nations Human Rights Council ordered an investigation into the behavior of the patriarch Jacob this afternoon, saying that evidence raises serious questions over his use of what appears to be unnecessary force in an episode of combat with a man who turned out to be an angel.
In a unanimous vote, the Council decided to conduct an inquiry into the violent encounter, which occurred after Jacob crossed back over the Yabbok River to retrieve some remaining possessions from his family’s previous camp location. The Council noted that it was unnecessary to keep fighting all night, since, as it turned out, the angel only wanted to hurt Jacob’s thigh.
“Defending himself for hours and hours, as alleged – until dawn, according to documentary evidence – constitutes a violation of the principle of proportionality,” said a statement by the Council. “The fact that Jacob’s opponent had to beg to be released at dawn appears to indicate that Jacob used unnecessary force. The goal of self-defense would have been equally well served without the patently vindictive tactic of restraining the angel when he had all but surrendered.”

JCPA: Hamas Looks beyond Jerusalem … to Rome and Beyond
Despite the recent wave of terrorist attacks in Europe, Europe is in no hurry to equate global terrorism and Palestinian terror, the latter which still is considered justified by some because Palestinians are fighting, supposedly, for the sake of independence and to be free from the “yoke of occupation.”
But a more careful examination of the roots of the Palestinian struggle reveals that it is also calculated against Europe, and is not geared towards an end to occupation, but rather to the eventual takeover Europe.
When the rocket attacks first began against Israel, a senior Hamas leader, Dr. Yunis Al-Astal, published an article in the Hamas journal, Al-Risala, where he compared Hamas’ al-Qassam rockets to the Manjaniq catapult which the Prophet Muhammad used against the Jews of Khaybar. The fall of Khaybar, he explained, opened the gates of the Byzantine Empire to Muslim conquest and was the first step towards the fall of Constantinople. Now, the fall of Israel, he said, would open the gates of Europe to Islam and lead to the fall of Rome.
Hamas MP and cleric Al-Astal proclaimed in 2008, “We will conquer Rome, and from there continue to conquer the two Americas and even Eastern Europe” (Al-Aqsa TV, April 11, 2008, MEMRI TV).
Iran Issues Ultimatum: Stop Examining ‘Military Dimensions’ of Nuclear Program or Deal Is Off
Iran gave the international community an ultimatum on Thursday, its semi-official Fars News Agency reported.
The ultimatum — either stop focusing on the Possible Military Dimension (PMD) of Iran’s nuclear program or forget about implementing the nuclear deal — was spelled out by Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Aragchi, a chief negotiator with the P5+1, in a televised interview.
The P5+1 countries and International Atomic Energy Agency are “well aware that they have to choose between [continuing to investigate] the PMD [case] and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),” Aragchi said.
“If the PMD [case] is not closed, and even if there remains a chance of return of the PMD, it would mean that the JCPOA will not move ahead,” he said, and Iran, “will not fulfill its remaining commitments under the JCPOA.”
Aragchi was echoing remarks made last week by Reza Najafi, Iran’s Ambassador to the IAEA, who said that Iran’s implementation of the JCPOA was conditional upon the closing of the PMD case.
UN Nuclear Chief Says Report on Iran’s Past Nuclear Weapons Work Won’t Be Definitive
A U.N. report on whether Iran has in the past carried out work related to nuclear weapons will not reach a definitive conclusion on the subject, the chief of the U.N. nuclear agency said on Thursday.
The report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is required under a deal between world powers and Iran which provides for a lifting of sanctions against the Islamic Republic in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program.
Erdogan warns Putin 'not to play with fire'
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan warned Russia not to "play with fire" on Friday, but added he did not want to harm relations with Moscow, comments that look more likely to inflame than quell the dispute over a downed Russian bomber this week.
Relations between the former Cold War antagonists are at their worst in recent memory after Turkey shot down the jet near the Syrian border on Monday. Russia has threatened economic retaliation against Ankara, which Erdogan has dismissed as "emotional" and "unfitting".
"We very sincerely recommend to Russia not to play with fire," Erdogan told supporters during a speech in Bayburt, in northeast Turkey. "We really attach a lot of importance to our relations with Russia... We don't want these relations to suffer harm in any way."
Russia deploys S-400 missile battery in Syria, state media says
The Russian military has deployed its sophisticated S-400 missile battery and radar array in Syria, a Russian state-run media outlet claimed Thursday.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had announced Wednesday that the system would be deployed in Latakia, in northwest Syria, in response to Turkey shooting down a Russian warplane the day before.
This nigh-impossible speed that would be required to bring in and activate the system in barely 24 hours has prompted some to question whether the S-400 system had been in place well before the Turkish military shot down the Su-24M aircraft, or if it is in place at all.
The advanced missile system, completed in 2007, is capable of detecting and destroying aircraft some 400 kilometers (250 miles) away. Its deployment in Latakia will grant Russia aerial control over practically all of Syria, Lebanon and Cyprus, over half of Turkey, parts of Iraq and Jordan — and, of course, Israel: Planes flying in and out of Ben Gurion International Airport — approximately 395 kilometers (245 miles) from Latakia — would be within Russian sights.
The Pentagon says it has killed 20,000 suspected Islamic State fighters, with only two cases of collateral damage. Something doesn’t add up.
To intensify the U.S.-led coalition’s war against the Islamic State, also known as ISIL, the Pentagon is considering further loosening the rules of engagement (ROEs) that are intended to minimize civilian casualties and expanding the target sets that can be bombed. On Nov. 19, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter told MSNBC that the U.S. military was “prepared” to change the ROEs, and indeed the following day it was reported that the coalition was seeking to increase airstrikes by “changing a policy to protect against civilian casualties in Islamic State-held territory.” The prospect of more bombs being dropped on more Islamic State-connected targets was also endorsed this past week by presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and Chris Christie.
Although largely missed by the presidential candidates, the ROEs against the Islamic State have already been significantly relaxed. The week ending on Nov. 17 was the most intensive seven-day period of airstrikes — with 980 bombs dropped — since Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) began in August 2014, according to U.S. Central Command (Centcom). Moreover, Operation Tidal Wave II — an escalating series of strikes against Islamic State-controlled oil infrastructure — now includes the bombing of hundreds of oil tankers, which had not been targeted previously because, according to OIR spokesman Col. Steve Warren, “the truck drivers, themselves, probably not members of ISIL; they’re probably just civilians.” Now, those trucks are being shredded by A-10 Thunderbolt II and AC-130 Spectre gunships 45 minutes after leaflets are dropped on them reading, “Get out of your trucks now, and run away from them.”
The assumption of those endorsing relaxed ROEs is that a higher number of bombs falling on a larger array of targets will accelerate the destruction of the Islamic State. But that’s fantasy. The coalition’s 8,300 airstrikes may have destroyed more than 16,000 Islamic State targets and killed more than 20,000 suspected Islamic State fighters — including “one mid- to upper-level ISIL leader every two days” — but this is wholly insufficient. Does Carter really believe that with just a little more air power, this enormous militant army will soon be degraded and destroyed?
U.S. Avoids Destroying ISIS Oil Wells Because of Environmental Concerns
When it comes to destroying ISIS, how serious is the Obama Administration? So serious that the White House avoids destroying the source of ISIS funding because of environmental concerns. Yes, environmental concerns.
Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell joined Charlie Rose to discuss ISIS and the Obama Administration’s aversion to destroying ISIS held oil wells.
Granted, these are the same people that believe the climate change is the world’s greatest threat, but I digress.
The Hill reported:
“We didn’t go after oil wells, actually hitting oil wells that ISIS controls, because we didn’t want to do environmental damage, and we didn’t want to destroy that infrastructure,” Michael Morell said Tuesday on PBS’s “Charlie Rose.”
Morell cautioned that he does not “sit in the room anymore” where strategic decisions are made, but said prior to the Paris terrorist attack earlier this month, “There seemed to have been a judgment that, look, we don’t want to destroy these oil tankers because that’s infrastructure that’s going to be necessary to support the people when ISIS isn’t there anymore, and it’s going to create environmental damage.”
Since the attack on Paris, the U.S. has tried to cut off the terrorist organization’s revenue stream by bombing oil trucks.
US sanctions Syrian regime for buying ISIS oil
The United States imposed sanctions Wednesday on supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government, including a middleman it alleged buys oil for the regime from the Islamic State (ISIS) group.
"The Syrian government is responsible for widespread brutality and violence against its own people," said Adam Szubin, acting under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, in a statement announcing the sanctions action.
"The United States will continue targeting the finances of all those enabling Assad to continue inflicting violence on the Syrian people."
The Treasury Department named four individuals and six entities for sanctions for their support of the Assad regime, "including a middleman for oil purchases by the Syrian regime from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)," another name for the Islamic State group.
The department highlighted "ongoing government of Syria ties to ISIL."
New town to be named after Protective Edge child victim
Over a year after four-year-old Daniel Tragerman was killed by terrorist mortar fire in Operation Protective Edge, a new community is to be established in the Negev bearing his name.
At the start of next week, the Israeli government is set to approve the establishment of five new towns in southern Israel, including one to be called "Daniel" in memory of Tragerman.
The town will be built within the confines of the Merhavim Regional Council, and Daniel's mother, Gila Tragerman, will serve as spokesperson for the council.
Daniel was killed in August 2014 when a mortar shell from Gaza struck his home in Kibbutz Nahal Oz - four days before the declaration of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
Israel to establish first new Druze town
The Interior Ministry approved Tuesday the establishment of Ahuzat Naftali in the northern Karnei Hittim region in the lower Galilee, paving the way for the first new Druze town in Israel’s history.
The approval by the ministry’s National Planning and Building Council comes three years after the cabinet gave its okay to the new town in 2012. The original proposal was first raised by then-foreign minister Avigdor Liberman following a long campaign by Druze leaders to end a housing crisis within the community.
When completed, the new town is expected to house over 10,000 people at full capacity, according to the initial building plans.
An Arabic-speaking community with their own distinct monotheistic religion, officials say there are over 110,000 Druze living in the northern Galilee, and another 20,000 on the Golan Heights.
Coptic Pope Tawadros’s Jerusalem visit ‘will create huge firestorm in Egypt’
Egypt’s Coptic Pope Tawadros II departed for a controversial visit to Israel on Thursday to attend the funeral of a senior church official, a church spokesman said.
“The decision by Pope Tawadros to travel to Jerusalem at the head of a distinguished delegation of bishops to participate in the funeral of Archbishop Anba Abraham will create a huge firestorm in Egypt,” Samuel Tadros, an Egypt expert and research fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, told The Jerusalem Post.
Abraham died on Wednesday and the funeral is set to take place on Saturday.
“Jerusalem has always held a special place in Copts’ hearts, with people wishing to make the pilgrimage before they died,” said Tadros, adding that following the 1967 war the journey became unfeasible.
This is the first Coptic papal visit to Jerusalem since 1832, noted Tadros.
After Israel and Egypt signed the 1979 peace treaty, the previous pope, Shenouda III, barred Copts from traveling to Israel’s capital. “His decision was driven by his political consideration that if they go, Copts would be tarred as the traitors of the Arab world, so he insisted they would only enter Jerusalem together with Muslims,” explained Tadros.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Abbas once again rails against Israel after diplomatic meeting
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday again accused Israel of carrying out summary executions of Palestinians. He said that frustration and despair were driving Palestinian youths to carry out attacks against Israelis.
Abbas, who was speaking to reporters in Ramallah after meeting with visiting Greek Prime Alexis Tsipras, said he briefed his guest on the “intolerable, unacceptable and harsh conditions” of the Palestinians as a result of Israel’s actions.
Repeating his charge that Israel was attempting to alter the identity and character of Jerusalem, Abbas warned of turning the conflict from a political to a religious one.
Abbas said that the “continuation of Israeli occupation, settler crimes, harassment, arrests and summary executions of our youths, as well as the economic siege against our people and the absence of a political horizon, have all prompted Palestinian youths to respond.”
Migrants:Serbian media,Palestinian ambassador's visa scandal
According to Serbian daily Blic, since the migrant crisis began, Palestinian ambassador to Serbia Mohamed Nabhan - using his diplomatic position and high-level contacts - has provided a large number of wealthy migrants from the Middle East with visa to enter the country at high prices, between 3,000 and 5,000 euros.
The daily reported it was wealthy citizens - mostly from Palestine, Syria, Iraq and Jordan - who took advantage of Serbian visa, apt to facilitate and shorten the journey to the countries of Western Europe, and in far less precarious conditions.
Between January and June, according to the daily newspaper, quoting sources inside the security services, the Palestinian Embassy in Belgrade forwarded to Serbian Foreign Affairs Ministry at least 43 notes (for 122 people) applying for a visa, and ambassador Nabhan has personally intervened to favour 24 Middle Eastern citizens.
Hamas Seizes Chest of Ancient Gold Coins Accidentally Discovered in Gaza
Hamas forces seized a chest full of Ottoman-era gold coins discovered in Gaza, Israeli news site Walla reported on Monday.
The Turkish coins, a serious archaeological find, was uncovered by construction workers paving a road in the neighborhood of Shujaiyeh. A fight broke out over the coins among residents of the area, which was ended when Hamas-controlled police intervened.
The police then confiscated the coins and other archaeological objects that were dug up accidentally, and the Gaza City municipality announced a halt to all construction work in the neighborhood until an archaeologist could properly inspect the scene.
Egyptian forces find iron-lined Gaza tunnel
Egyptian security forces have uncovered a tunnel stretching under the Gaza-Sinai border lined with iron.
The finding may mark the most advanced tunnel yet located by Egyptian forces in a two-year campaign to seal the border between Egypt and the Palestinian territory. Thousands of tunnels have been demolished in the campaign, while homes above ground were removed to create a “buffer” zone inside the city of Rafah, which straddles the border.
The tunnel was over 200 meters (650 feet) long, the Palestinian news agency Maan reported. Its walls were 40 centimeters (16 inches) thick.
Destroying it required an unusually large quantity of explosives, according to a report in the Ynet news site.
Israel references in UJ geography book cause controversy
Students and members of the National Campaign for Defending Students’ Rights (Thabahtoona) on Tuesday criticised the University of Jordan (UJ) geography textbook for containing words that “promote normalisation” of ties with Israel.
“We are not used to seeing a book at Jordanian universities that recognises the Zionist entity and the state of what is referred to as ‘Israel’,” Thabahtoona coordinator Fakher Daas told The Jordan Times.
According to Daas, this is the first time any academic book has been used in Jordanian universities that includes the word “Israel” without mention of Palestine.
Students disapproved of the first two paragraphs on page 13 in the 2015 edition of the geography book, which was written by Ziyad Makhamreh, Yusra Husban, Hamzeh Khawaldeh, Abdul Fattah Lutfi, Dalal Zureiqat, and Nazeeh Manasyeh, and edited by Makhamreh and Husban from the faculty of arts’ geography department.
Pro-BDS group uses Israeli platform Wix to build website
A university group that supports the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement built a website for its activities using the free Israeli website builder Wix.
The successful Tel Aviv-based company provides a platform for free website building and reportedly has over 50 million users as of 2014.
The Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Denver recently set up a website using the service, prompting criticism that it was not really practicing BDS.
The group published a post on its Facebook page on Wednesday defending its actions and linking to a longer statement by the group’s branch at Cornell University in New York State two years ago, which was slammed for the same thing.
EXCLUSIVE: Israel Studies Professor Hounded by Anti-Israel Texas U Activists, Forced to Wear Disguise on Campus (INTERVIEW)
Chanting “Long live the Intifada,” University of Texas at Austin activists recently stormed a class to protest and disrupt a talk by a guest lecturer.
Waving Palestinian flags and shouting anti-Israel epithets, twelve members of the Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) entered the public event, sponsored by Institute for Israeli Studies Professor Ami Pedahzur and hosting Stanford University military historian Dr. Gil-Li Vardi.
Throughout the incident — during which Pedahzur insisted that the invasive students either “sit down and learn something” or leave — the PSC activists filmed everything on their cellphone cameras.
Since that episode, which took place on Friday, November 13, mere hours before Paris was brutally attacked by ISIS terrorists, Pedahzur, professor of government and founding director of the Institute for Israel Studies, has become the focus of a PSC intimidation campaign. This includes a petition circulated by the PSC and claims that Pedahzur was violent.
How the twisted ideology of Islamic State came to dominate British universities
When these views dominate university campuses and shut out other perspectives, it hurts Muslim students who are exploring their faith – sometimes for the first time. They are only exposed to a stark outlook on the world, an austere form of Islamic rules, and limits on their interaction with anyone who disagrees. This has an enormous impact on how some Muslim students interact with other Muslims with non-Muslims. It is the start of an "othering" process which ends with a sense of intolerance towards and disconnection from pluralistic British society. That in turn creates a deep sense of alienation: the West, with its "moral depravity", becomes an alien environment where once it was considered a home.
In summary, the groundwork of extremism, in practise and in thought, was laid many years ago. The notion of the West as the locus of moral vice and the puritannical schism from mainstream Islam I've seen across British universities are all hallmarks of the Isil message. Its propaganda taps into well-established if crude concepts and feelings, amplifying them with recruiting materials that are tremendously visceral in nature. At the same time, it conjures an idyllic vision of a utopian society it can never meet in reality.
In order to stop future recruits, we have to uproot the intellectual landscape that Isil taps into. Some have described what is playing out as the reverberations of a "clash of civilisations". I don’t see this, but rather a clash between the civilised and the uncivilised. We need to expose Isil's ideology by presenting it in its true light – a mix of modern totalitarianism and schismatic religion – and in all its ugliness.
We Must Aggressively Fight Antisemitism on All College Campuses
“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” – Elie Wiesel
On November 12, 2015, sentiments similar to those expressed pre-WWII in Germany played out in the City University of New York’s Hunter College, with threats of physical attacks and harassment towards Jewish students abounding, pervasive propaganda about the Zionist agenda and attempts to link Zionism to global economic difficulties. Seemingly unrelated events are woven together to expose the current face of something very old: antisemitism.
Last Thursday, students of CUNY schools organized the “Million Student March,” a movement primarily dedicated to lowering the cost of higher education for students. In the midst of peaceful protest and social activism, a group known as The Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) gathered under the auspices of the “Million Student March” at CUNY Hunter College. Under the guise of joining in the social action, SJP seemed innocuous enough. As its Facebook page states, “We believe that our mission as students living in a free Democracy is to promote the cause of justice and speak out against oppression.”
Instead, what took place was a pro-Palestinian convention targeting Jewish students on Hunter’s campus and concomitantly on all college campuses across the nation.
Soon enough, shortly after the rally began the real agenda of the night’s events was unveiled.
With flags of Palestine waving in the background, the crowd began shouting “F–k Zionism,” demanding “Zionists out of CUNY,” with further claims that they “are fighting Zionism in our administration.” The hate and rage came to a climax as the megaphone rang out: “Long Live the Intifada.” The speaker shouted, “There is only one solution,” with the crowd vigorously responding, “Intifada Revolution.”
Jerusalem Quartet: Evening Standard reporter attending London concert riddled with “liberal guilt”
Journalism is best served, I’m sure you will agree, when political views are put to one side, agendas not pursued and it is safe to say that one certainly does not expect a review of a classical music concert to contain emotional claptrap.
So when Evening Standard journalist Nick Kimberley was tasked with writing a review of a recent concert by the Jerusalem Quartet in London, he was so torn up inside about exercising his liberal rights and freedoms that the poor man “duly felt pangs of liberal guilt”, brought on by the fact that the quartet was made up of Israelis.
“Pro-Palestinian demonstrations have featured at Jerusalem Quartet concerts before; yesterday, there were banners and leaflets protesting the quartet’s perceived status as cultural ambassadors for Israel. I duly felt pangs of liberal guilt,” he said, am sure with tears in his eyes.
The distress of it led him to devote a third of the “review” to sharing his political affiliation and feelings, causing him to forget to mention even where the gig was. Given that he only had 197 words, it is safe to assume that readers would have wanted a little bit more detail on the concert itself, and to not have to wait until the middle of the second paragraph for the review to start.
Former NYPD Jewish Cop Reveals ‘Hard to Listen to’ Recordings of Antisemitic Abuse From Fellow Officers
A Jewish New York Police Department officer who was forced to quit his job — after a request for a transfer to another department was denied by his superiors – released recordings of the relentless antisemitic abuse he suffered from fellow officers, ABC News show “The Investigators” reported this week.
David Attali, a six-year veteran of the NYPD with the World Trade Center Command, told ABC that the slurs he received began to escalate from jokes about Jews to constant references to the “good job” Hitler did.
Attali, originally from Israel, said he initially tried to ignore the incessant barbs, many of which were voiced in front of supervisors.
“Certain officers will come in, regardless of who is standing there, sergeant, lieutenant, not referring to me as David,” but rather “dirty Jew.”
Another commonplace greeting Attali recounted he would receive was, “I should throw you in an oven.”
Florida Zoning Committee Member Receives Antisemitic Mail for Supporting Synagogue, Jewish Museum Plans
A city leader in Boca Raton, Fl., received verbal abuse on social media and via email after supporting plans for a new synagogue and Jewish museum, Florida’s WPTV reported on Wednesday.
“It was disconcerting,” said Glenn Gromann, a member of the Boca Planning and Zoning committee. “It was just something I had not experienced before.”
The vacant lot along East Palmetto Park Road will soon be the home of Chabad of East Boca and a new Jewish museum, My Israel Center. Grossman said he starting receiving antisemitic messages after he voted in favor of the development.
Gromann thinks opposition to the project could be a disguise for antisemitism, but he said he will not be intimidated. He told WPTV, “I supported the project. I would have supported the project if it was a Mosque. If it was a Spanish church. It doesn’t make a difference.”
Teacher Fined €1,000 For Trying To Paint Over Swastika Graffiti
After a small German town failed to clean illegal swastika graffiti, a local resident decided to take action, but found himself fined for vandalism after painting the symbols out.
Part 86a of the German criminal code outlaws the use of “symbols of unconstitutional organisations”, prohibiting the display of the Swastika and other symbols of the Third Reich in Germany. Concerned about the appearance of forbidden graffiti near his school, teacher and ‘anti-Fascist’ Ralf Bender complained to the local Limburg town council, hoping it would be cleaned.
By Spring 2013 the graffiti — which was well within sight of children going to a local school — had not been cleaned by the council and Mr. Bender decided to take action. Now he has been hit with a €1,000 fine for covering up the symbols with paint. The same council that failed to clean the illegal symbols was now charging Mr. Bender for the whole clean up operation, reports
Furious at being lumbered with the costs, Mr. Bender took the town fine to his state court — which upheld the decision this week. The Hesse court stated if he had covered the swastikas with stickers instead, he would have been spared the fine — a stipulation he has called a “joke”.
Century-old Torah scroll being restored at Bronx hospital
A damaged 19th century Torah scroll rescued from the Nazis is being restored at a New York City hospital.
The Daily News says the scroll is being carefully restored at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx for eventual use in services for its Jewish patients.
The scroll dates to 1880 and the restoration is part of a decades-long effort to repair nearly 1,600 sacred Torahs damaged after German forces seized artifacts from Jewish communities during World War II.
The scroll is being worked on by a rabbinical restoration team that is fixing creases, tears and holes. The team is also re-inking words and letters originally written with a quill feather. They’re trying to bring it up to “kosher” status.
A Calvary spokesman says the restoration could cost $100,000.
Israeli invention to fight AIDS wins coveted tech prize
‘If you want to make a man feel really uncomfortable, talk to him about circumcising his penis. I should know, I do it every day,” declares a smiling Sabelo Dlamini in the opening of a film shown at this month’s Tech Awards 2015 honoring winner PrePex, an Israeli-developed nonsurgical method of circumcision.
Developed by Israeli anti-AIDS group Circ MedTech Ltd., PrePex is a circumcision ring that has been shown to reduce the likelihood of contracting HIV by nearly 60 percent.
The simple device – two plastic rings and an elastic band – cuts off blood supply to the foreskin, which then shrivels and is removed with the band after a week.
“There’s no blood, no stitches, no injection, very little or no pain, and it’s absolutely free…. You can trust me, my brother, I’ve done it myself,” Sabelo can be seen saying as he tries to persuade Johannesburg’s men to consider the procedure.
The makers of PrePex boast that a man “can resume work and almost all daily activities shortly after the procedure,” with the device “designed to be placed, worn, and removed with minimal disruption,” though they should abstain from sex for six weeks afterwards.
In diplomatic first, Israel to open mission in Abu Dhabi
Israel is set to open its first diplomatic mission in Abu Dhabi, which is part of the United Arab Emirates.
The mission will not be a diplomatic representation to Abu Dhabi or the UAE, but to the UN’s International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which is headquartered in the Gulf emirate, Haaretz reported on Friday.
Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold was in the UAE this week to attend an IRENA gathering, but remained three days in the country to meet with IRENA director Adnan Amin and finalize the details of the new mission.
The Israeli diplomat who will hold the new post, Rami Hatan, is preparing to leave for Abu Dhabi in the coming weeks, a ministry source told Haaretz. Offices for the new mission have already been chosen.
Israeli company wins $200m Swiss tender for drones
Israel’s defense company Elbit Systems has won a contract worth $200 million to supply Switzerland with six surveillance drones.
The Swiss Federal Department of Defense, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) signed the contract with the Israeli company two months after the Swiss parliament approved the deal. The model, Hermes 900, was chosen by the Swiss government in June 2014.
Elbit will supply the Hermes 900s with a heavy fuel engine, a requirement of the tender issued by the Swiss government.
Already known for its defense exports, Israel has become a veritable giant in the global market for unmanned aerial vehicles.
According to Hebrew-language daily Haaretz, in mid-2013 Israel was exporting 60 percent of the drones purchased worldwide, making it the No. 1 exporter of UAVs.
Israel successfully launches new naval missile defense system
News of the “Barak 8” missile defense system’s successful test came as the eyes of the world turn to the Russian S-400, an anti-aircraft system deployed in Syria on Thursday, which operates at a substantially greater distance.
Though the Russian missile system is effective at a greater range, the Barak 8 can be installed on naval ships as well as on the ground, giving it a decided advantage in its mobility.
The system, made up of a radar array and missile launcher, successfully detected and shot down an unmanned aerial vehicle “that was very fast and very small,” in order to simulate a real-life enemy aircraft or missiles, the naval officer said.
The system, which was developed jointly by Israel and India, had been installed on one of Israel’s Sa’ar 5-class warships. In previous tests, the missiles had been fired from land.
The radar acquiring targets for the Barak 8 system is code-named Adir (Hebrew for “Tremendous”), or MF-STAR (Multi Function Surveillance And Threat Alert Radar).
This newest iteration (“8”) is intended to defend against advanced weaponry believed to be in the hands of Hezbollah, including the Russian-made Yakhont P-800 anti-ship missile.
“The Barak/Adir systems will be able to deal with the Yakhont,” the senior officer boasted. “It is the bread and butter of this system.”
The "Barak 8" successfully shoots down an incoming aircraft

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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 18 years and 38,000 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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