Saturday, December 19, 2015

From Ian:

The Left's Muslim Replacement Theology for Jews
Muslims are the new Jews; time to get rid of the old Jews.
Muslims are the new Jews. You can find this offensive claim repeated everywhere in the media. The Jews, a small ethnic minority of millions that was stateless for thousands of years, are a terrible analogy for a global Muslim population of 1.6 billion and around 50 countries that do not comprise a single ethnicity or race. Comparing the two makes as much sense as comparing the Finns to all of Asia.
The only thing the Muslims and the Jews have ever had in common is that the former conquered, persecuted and enslaved the latter. Any religious similarities are the product of Muslim cultural appropriation of Jewish beliefs and any cultural similarities are the result of Muslim colonization.
Comparing Jews to Muslims makes as much sense as comparing Jews to Nazis. But the media began making the argument that the Jews are the new Nazis from the very moment that the stateless Jews got their first state since Rome and its allied Arab invaders had destroyed the last one.
In this twisted historical revisionism, the Jews, a beleaguered minority hanging on to a country slightly bigger than Fiji, who have spent the last 40 years cutting pieces off their small slice of the world to hand over to the region’s massive Muslim majority in the hopes of being left alone, are the new Nazis.
Gil Troy: Fair and balanced
A pro-Israel activist was invited recently to teach teens about Israel at a “liberal” – non-Orthodox – synagogue. Good educators know the importance of building a tent big enough politically to welcome a range of perspectives without reducing Israel to a political problem or politicizing the basic facts so many students don’t know. The challenge grew when the rabbi intervened, saying: “I expect you to present BDS fairly.”
“What,” this activist asked me, “should I do?” We knew what the rabbi meant. In this age of delegitimization, this Jewish leader wanted to make the case for boycotting Israel to the synagogue’s teens, presenting Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions as a fair, legitimate option.
It’s astonishing. If gays, feminists and African-Americans don’t invite homophobes, sexists and racists to present their enemies “fairly,” why should we? This was not even a request to present the Palestinian side – which has educational value – but to justify the boycotters, rooted in anti-Semitism, championing anti-Zionism, often demanding Israel’s destruction.
We need to understand how we stumbled into this pathetic state, wherein Jewish leaders urge us to disrespect ourselves and our story.
It starts with the loony Left’s identity politics and anti-“racism” obsession. Identity politics’ essentialist approach reduces people to their skin colors and ethnicities while labeling them “privileged” or “oppressed.” The privileged are automatically racist, even when biological differences are irrelevant. The oppressed are always right, even when they are violent or wrong.
Elliott Abrams: Predictions for 2016
The survey results are worth noting on several counts. Eight of the top eleven items revolve around troubles in the Middle East, including the top item: Syria. Problems in Egypt, Libya, and Turkey rose from moderate to high priorities. But I am struck by the second and third items, which concern the United States: fears of a terrorist or cyber attack on the homeland.
Here are the top items of concern:
• the intensification of the civil war in Syria;
• a mass casualty attack on the U.S. homeland or a treaty ally;
• a highly disruptive cyberattack on critical U.S. infrastructure;
• a severe crisis with or in North Korea;
• political instability in EU countries stemming from the influx of refugees and migrants;
• continued political fracturing of Libya;
• heightened tensions between Israelis and Palestinians;
• intensified political violence in Turkey;
• increased political instability in Egypt;
• increased violence and instability in Afghanistan; and
• continued fracturing of Iraq due to territorial gains by the self-proclaimed Islamic State and ongoing Sunni-Shia sectarian violence.
Take a look at the entire text. Not exactly Christmas cheer, but as always the survey concentrates the mind on what we are likely to face very soon.

Bernard-Henri Lévy: Palestinian Stabbings a “Cousin” of ISIS Beheadings
In a packed event at New York’s 92d Street Y on Thursday, Bernard-Henri Lévy, one of France’s top public intellectuals, called for forces of the liberal Left to unite in confronting the growing threat of violent jihad. In particular, he criticized those who have abandoned internationalist liberalism in favor of opposition to America and Israel, or who draw a distinction between ISIS’s attacks in France and Palestinian attacks against Israelis.
Daily stabbings are a form, or cousin, of beheadings. Beheading without the big weapon. Beheading with the weapon you find. But it is the same thing. Those who stab in Tel Aviv have seen, definitely, the propaganda of ISIS, praising beheading, praising the spilling of blood of Jews because they are Jews. And they have read how the propaganda of ISIS declares a total war on the spirit of cities. And Tel Aviv is like New York, like Paris.
Much of the Western Left has, in his view, abandoned the liberalism that he has been advocated for decades, in favor of simple opposition to Israel and the U.S. While he sympathized with protests against the deaths of civilians in Gaza, at the same time “they never go to the streets to protest” far greater carnage in Syria, or Rwanda, or Darfur—”This is the real scandal.” Lévy recalled his experience at the 2001 World Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa, which deteriorated into a forum for attacking Israel. Many oppressed groups that had traveled there to have their voices heard were not given the opportunity, he said, because they did not fit the organizers’ radical agenda. “The meeting ended with a crowd of Leftist NGOs shouting against Israel, with the motto, ‘One Jew, One Bullet, One Jew, One Bullet.'” At this point, he understood the profound link between criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism.
EXCLUSIVE - UN Envoy Held Secret Meeting with Top Hamas Officials in Gaza
The United Nations’ Middle East envoy Nikolay Mladenov met with Hamas officials during a visit to the Gaza Strip on Monday, Breitbart Jerusalem has learned from sources with inside knowledge of the meeting.
The confab breaks with a longstanding cold shoulder policy toward Gaza’s Islamic government.
Sources in Hamas confirmed that Mladenov met with Khalil el-Hayeh and Ziad al-Zaza, both members of Hamas’ political bureau; as well as Ghazi Hamad, who oversees Hamas’ foreign relations committee. The meeting was also confirmed by Middle Eastern diplomats familiar with the matter.
Asked for comment on the report, Farhan Haq, deputy UN spokesman, did not deny the meeting took place.
“The office of the UN Special Coordinator, UNSCO, is working with the Palestinian Government and all relevant interlocutors on how to reunite Gaza and the West Bank under the single legitimate Palestinian Authority,” Haq told Breitbart Jerusalem.
“Thousands of Gaza public sector employees need to have their salaries paid and the crossings to Gaza must be returned to the control of the Palestinian Authority. This would be a very important step towards lifting the closures.”
According to Hamas sources, Mladenov discussed the possibility of a cease-fire with Israel and the status of the bodies of Israeli soldiers held by Hamas.
Al-Sabirin claims responsibility for blast along Gaza border
The Al-Sabirin movement took responsibility Friday for detonating an explosive device two days earlier that targeted an Israeli army patrol near Khan Younis, along Israel’s border with the southern Gaza Strip.
The movement, a Palestinian Shiite group funded by Iran and given protection by Gaza’s Hamas rulers, has in the recent past also taken responsibility for two other attacks against Israeli troops.
No injuries or damage were reported on the Israeli side in Wednesday’s attack. Palestinian sources said at least one Palestinian farmer was shot and injured when IDF soldiers returned fire to the source of the blast.
Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said that a 20-year-old man suffered moderate injuries to the leg and hand.
Israeli reports, however, said three Hamas fighters were injured in the firefight with Israeli troops.
Potentially Devastating Terror Attack Foiled on Gaza Border
Israel on Friday uncovered a number of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) along its border with Gaza, foiling a possible devastating terror attack.
Israel Defense Forces engineers uncovered the unexploded IEDs, with some devices connected to remote-controlled timers set to be activated by a cell phone, Yedioth Ahronoth reported. Earlier this week, a similar IED detonated near IDF troops.
The IDF and Shin Bet security forces are conducting an investigation into the uncovered IEDs and believe that terrorists had planned a large-scale attack against Israeli soldiers along the Gaza border.
Three hurt in stabbing attacks in central town of Ra’anana
Three Israelis were stabbed in the central town of Ra’anana on Saturday afternoon. Their suspected attacker was arrested by police.
Magen David Adom paramedics treated a seriously injured 40-year-old man and a lightly injured woman on Anielewicz Street in the town north of Tel Aviv. Another woman was lightly injured a block away.
Two of the injured were taken to Meir Medical Center in neighboring Kfar Saba.
Police officers apprehended an Arab man suspected of involvement shortly afterwards during a search of the vicinity. Police were reportedly searching the area for a vehicle suspected of being involved in the attack.
The man was later identified as a 20-year-old Palestinian man from a village near the West Bank city of Jenin, who was illegally in Israel, the army said. He was believed to have an accomplice who drove him to Ra’anana and fled the scene.
Parents of Baby Terror Victim Publish Photo of Smiling Son, Reject False Rumors About His Condition
The parents of 18-month-old Yotam Sitboun who was wounded in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem earlier this week published a photograph of their child smiling on Friday, seeking to dispel rumors about their son’s health.
“It’s important for us to clarify: false pictures and rumors about Yotam’s health were published,” the parents said in a statement released by Israeli news website nrg. “We are asking others to respect our privacy on this matter. Yotam is alive, he is smiling and this is a great light for us. We have the utmost faith that soon, God willing, we will be able to return to our lives fully recovered.”
Yotam Sitboun was among 14 Israelis who were wounded, some more critically than others, when an east Jerusalem man with ties to Hamas rammed his car into a crowd of people waiting at a Jerusalem bus stop on Monday.
His father, Binyamin Sitboun, told Hebrew news outlets that medical staff were working to save their son’s leg, which was badly damaged in the attack. The parents did not comment on their child’s leg in their message on Friday.
Hamas vows to repeat success of Schalit swap and free more Palestinian prisoners
The military wing of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas vowed Friday that it will secure the release of more prisoners held in Israeli jails by means of another swap similar to the 2011 exchange involving captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.
During a public demonstration in the Gaza City quarter of Shejaia, a Hamas spokesperson said that the organization plans to barter with Israel by using the remains of IDF soldiers that the group is believed to possess following last year's Operation Protective Edge.
"Rest assured," the spokesperson said, aiming his remarks at Palestinian prisoners. "The ones that are coming for you are heroes. They are following the same path, so your liberation is soon coming, with the help of god."
Hamas held Schalit for five years in captivity, releasing him after reaching agreement with Israel on the release of hundreds of Palestinians who were incarcerated for various terrorist-related offenses.
Earlier this week, the parents of Golani Brigade soldier St.-Sgt. Oron Shaul, 22, killed in action in the Gaza Strip in 2014, held a press conference Sunday in their hometown of Poriya and demanded the government do more to recover their son’s remains.
Denmark To Take Valuables From Migrants To Cover Costs
Denmark is being forced to defend a proposed law allowing officials to confiscate migrants’ valuables which has drawn comparisons with Nazi practices.
The proposed law introduced to Parliament earlier this month would allow authorities to search migrants entering Denmark for valuables which could then be confiscated. The proposal is almost certain to pass into law in January as part of an asylum policy reform, reports The Washington Post.
An email from Denmark’s Ministry of Integration explained:
“The bill presented on 10 December 2015 provides the Danish authorities with the power to search clothes and luggage of asylum seekers — and other migrants without a permit to stay in Denmark — with a view to finding assets which may cover the expenses.”
The Integration Ministry has set out some further details, explaining that police would be allowed to seize valuables and cash amounts they deem expensive enough saying: “the new rule on seizure will only apply to assets of a considerable value.”
Ex-Danish chief rabbi raps handling of plan to seize refugees’ valuables
A former chief rabbi of Denmark has criticized the government for its handling of a plan for police to search asylum seekers’ luggage for valuables and cash that prompted international outrage and drew comparisons to Nazi Germany.
Rabbi Bent Melchior said the government partly had itself to blame for coming under criticism since it had not immediately made clear that items of personal significance would be exempt from the searches.
The initial proposal looked “like it had the character of what was actually in force during the Nazis’ persecution of minorities,” Melchior told news agency Ritzau.
The Danish government on Friday defended the plan, which calls for cash amounts over 3,000 kroner ($435 or 400 euros) to be confiscated, while items of personal significance, such as wedding rings and mobile phones will be exempt.
The plans have sparked global ire, especially in the US, where The Washington Post on Thursday said confiscating jewelry from refugees had “a particularly bitter connotation in Europe,” where the Nazis seized gold and valuables from Jews and others during World War II.
Dutch village built for Jews who fled Nazis now offered to Syrian refugees
The Dutch owner of land that was once a village for Jews fleeing the Nazis has offered its use as housing for refugees from Syria and Iraq.
Joep Karel, the owner of the area in Slootdorp, 35 miles north of Amsterdam, made the offer earlier this month to the government’s Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers, The Noordhollands Dagblad daily reported last week.
The offer came amid a heated debate over the arrival this year of at least 26,000 Middle Eastern migrants. In Geldermalsen near Rotterdam, police fired warning shots during a riot by thousands of protesters opposed to the opening of a refugee center.
Dutch Jewry’s main organizations expressed their opposition to plans to open such a center in the heavily Jewish municipality of Amstelveen, citing security concerns.
Hagel: White House had no Syria strategy, was unprepared for IS
Former secretary of defense Chuck Hagel pulled no punches in a new interview, accusing the White House of failing to devise a coherent strategy on Syria and of being utterly unprepared for the rise of the Islamic State.
In an interview with Foreign Policy magazine published Friday, the former Republican senator who joined the Obama administration — and was vilified by his party colleagues for doing so — said that the decision to refrain from attacking the Assad regime after it used chemical weapons on its own civilian population in August 2013 was a terrible misstep. The decision contradicted a warning Obama previously issued to Syrian President Bashar Assad that using such weapons would cross a “red line.”
“Whether it was the right decision or not, history will determine that,” Hagel said. “There’s no question in my mind that it hurt the credibility of the president’s word when this occurred.”
He said that for a president to go back on his word inflicted a major blow to the US’s reputation abroad.
“A president’s word is a big thing, and when the president says things, that’s a big deal,” Hagel told FP.
Iran Plans Another Holocaust Cartoon Contest; Winner Gets $50,000 Prize
Tehran’s city hall is offering a $50,000 prize for the best cartoon mocking the Holocaust, as part of the 11th Tehran International Cartoon Biennial to be held next June.
“We do not mean to approve or deny the Holocaust, however, the main question is that why is there no permission to talk about the Holocaust despite [the West’s] belief in freedom of speech,” contest organizer Masud Shojai-Tabatabai told the state-run IRNA news agency. “Moreover, why should the oppressed people of Palestine pay the price for the Holocaust?”
Holocaust cartoon contests are not uncommon in Iran. A similar contest was held earlier this year, featuring hundreds of submissions of anti-Semitic art. According to Iran’s Fars news agency, the rationale for the contest was “aimed at testing the West’s tolerance towards the Holocaust,” because of “the West’s double standard behavior towards freedom of expression as it allows sacrilege of Islamic sanctities…but prevents research on the Holocaust due to the Zionist regime’s steadfast opposition.”
Though the contest is presented as a challenge to the West’s concept of freedom of speech, it comes at a time that Tehran is increasingly cracking down on individual freedoms. Two poets poets was sentenced to lashes and jail time in October for shaking hands with members of the opposite sex. The country was criticized last month by Ahmed Shaheed, the United Nations official in charge of monitoring human rights in Iran, after five journalists were arrested. Iran “should not silence critical or dissenting voices under the guise of vague and unsubstantiated national security concerns,” Shaheed said.
Iran to export enriched uranium to Russia in coming days
Iran will export most of its enriched uranium to Russia in the coming days as it rushes to implement a nuclear deal and secure relief from international sanctions, Tehran's nuclear chief was quoted as saying on Saturday.
Drastically reducing its stock of enriched uranium, which can be used in nuclear weapons, was at the heart of the deal Iran reached in July with a group of six world powers.
Under its terms, Iran must cut its stockpile to around 300 kg (660 lb) and mothball most of the centrifuges that produce the enriched fuel. It must also remove the core of a heavy water reactor at Arak so it cannot be used to produce plutonium, another potential bomb-making source.
Once the United Nations verifies those steps, international sanctions will be lifted, giving Iran access to global markets for the first time in years and opening a lifeline for its ailing economy.
Maajid Nawaz: The Left’s Witch Hunt Against Muslims
Hope Not Hate, a supposedly ‘anti-fascist’ group in Britain, has just compiled a list of people it deems ‘anti-Muslim’—including devout Muslims.
If there was anything we learnt from McCarthyism, it is that compiling lists of our political foes is a malevolent, nefarious, and incredibly dangerous thing to do. But this terrible tactic to simplify and reduce our political opponents to a Rogue’s gallery of “bad guys,” is not solely the domain of the right-wing. As the political horseshoe theory attributed to Jean-Pierre Faye highlights, if we travel far-left enough, we find the very same sneering, nasty and reckless bully-boy tactics used by the far-right. The two extremes of the political spectrum end up meeting like a horseshoe, at the top, which to my mind symbolizes totalitarian control from above. In their quest for ideological purity, Stalin and Hitler had more in common than modern neo-Nazis and far-left agitators would care to admit.
It was with little surprise therefore, but still a great deal of disgust, that I came across a sprawling list of “anti-Muslim” campaigners, published by an organization that I had hitherto—albeit cautiously—respected.
The Jewish Chronicle: Hatred not hope
For many years this newspaper was a supporter of Hope Not Hate, an organisation that had admirable aims, and welcomed its writers in our pages. But it has now lost its claim to be taken seriously. Last year it started targeting UKIP as if it was no different to the EDL or BNP. But its latest offering on supposed Islamophobes is not merely shoddy - it is dangerous. Including those who criticise aspects of Islam, or even Islamism, even when some of those critics are practicing Muslims, is libellous, ignorant and deeply counter-productive. It also effectively places them on a hit list for jihadis to target. And including the likes of Melanie Phillips on the basis that she is a vocal defender of Israel is deeply disturbing. Hope Not Hate is now, it seems, engaged itself in the politics of hatred - by smear.
In Portugal, Israel-Haters Disrupt Jerusalem Quartet Performance (video)
As poisonous as a "Portuguese man of war," this (translated) message from Israel-haters in the country known as "England's oldest ally":
Activists protested on Wednesday (16/12) the concert of the Jerusalem Quartet at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon. They opposed the Quartet's official association with the Israeli army committing war crimes against Palestinians.
In a video released by the Comité de Solidariedade com a Palestina protesters are seen chanting "boycott Israel" as the concert was taking place. At one point the Jerusalem Quartet was forced to interrupt the performance.
The heckling came in two waves and lasted for several minutes catching the audience by surprise. The Jerusalem Quartet seemed undaunted and indeed used to the protests given the frequency in which they take place at venues where they play around the world.
French PM Valls: All Campaigns to Boycott Israeli Products Must be 'Condemned'
All campaigns to boycott Israeli products have been condemned by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who has accused activists of creating a “campaign of hatred” inside France.
“I tell you here clearly: we condemn all campaigns of boycott against Israeli products,” he told the French parliament Thursday in response to a question from MP Meyer Habib on the anti-Israeli campaigns driven under the banner of the BDS (Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions) which are backed by the majority including Socialist MPs.
The French Supreme Court upheld a judgment in October condemning BDS activists who had called for a boycott of Israeli products, as Breitbart London reported. In his question Mr. Habib lamented that calls for a boycott persist in France.
“The boycott creates a climate of hatred in France. Have we forgotten that in January it was a kosher supermarket that was targeted? It stigmatises before killing,” said Mr. Habib, who represents French citizens living abroad including in Israel.
“There is no sense in these campaigns and therefore the French government from this point of view is very clear,” the prime minister said in his response, adding that his government would take “all necessary measures to condemn these campaigns.”
Phyllis Chesler: Welcome to Hamas West, aka Connecticut College
The Connecticut College administrators have finally put it in writing.
And they did so on the last day of the semester before the winter break when they knew that students would be leaving or already gone.
Based on what they wrote, these administrators would welcome a professor who teaches that the earth is flat. One can only wonder if they would also welcome Darwin’s discoveries about evolution—or might they view evolution as Darwin’s own opinion to which he has every right unless it offends a person of color who might become violent, in which case, Darwin’s ideas may be taught as long as Creationism is given equal time.
The American campus now welcomes all expressions, Big Lies, lethal narratives, speech that incites people to violence, junk science, ideas that are false and that endanger their own students—all are welcome.
Here is the statement just issued by Connecticut College administrators. I have never read a more intellectually vacuous statement—but the good news is this: they have opened the door to the truth. I can only hope and pray that organizations begin to tell the truth via posters on every campus from coast to coast. Here is your permission:
Congressional spending bill has $3.1 billion in foreign aid to Israel
Congress on Friday passed an omnibus spending measure that appropriates $487 million for US-Israel missile defense programs and $40 million for a new US-Israel tunnel detection program, earning accolades from the pro-Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
This year’s package, however, allocates $132 million less to Israeli missile defense than last year’s, as the US provided $619 million in 2015 toward the Iron Dome program, the Arrow 3 long-range interceptor program and David’s Sling mid-range rocket interceptors.
Sources familiar with the funding package said that last year’s missile defense spending was unusually high due to the use of Iron Dome missiles in July 2014’s Operation Protective Edge. In fiscal year 2015, Iron Dome received $350.9 million from the US while this year’s allotment is $55 million.
The omnibus bill, which approved a $1.15 trillion spending package to avert a government shutdown and fund federal agencies through next fall, also reinstates provisions passed through earlier legislation that address the ongoing implementation of the Iranian nuclear deal and the peace issue with Palestinians.
Dozens of Americans With Ties to Israel Denied Military Jobs Due to “Divided Loyalties”
Many Americans with ties to Israel have been denied security clearances necessary to work for the Defense Department or the United States military, Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
Stephens reported on the case of Gershon Pincus, a dentist, who after 35 years in private practice started a second career as a dentist for the Navy as a way “to assist those who have chosen to serve in the United States military.” In October of 2014 Pincus underwent an interview for a security clearance and mentioned that his mother and two siblings live in Israel, and one of his children had previously served in the Israeli army. He acknowledged that he had visited Israel three times in the previous decade. The security investigation concluded that Pincus was not a security risk.
However, in March of this year the Office of Personnel Management called him back for a follow-up interview in which his ties to Israel were questioned. A few months later, Pincus’ request for a clearance was officially denied, on the grounds that his contact with relatives in Israel “may be a security concern due to divided loyalties or foreign financial interests.”
36 of the 58 petitioners whose clearances were denied on account of ties to Israel since 2009 have had their appeals rejected. During the same time, only one French citizen had his appeal denied and no British citizens had their appeals denied.
AJC seeks end to security ban for US Jews with family in Israel
A prominent American Jewish organization this week urged the US government to end a decades-long policy of denying security clearance for US Jews with family in Israel.
Citing the case of a Jewish dentist who had initially been approved to work at a naval base in New York, only to have his clearance denied after it emerged he had relatives in Israel, the American Jewish Committee slammed “the shopworn canard of dual loyalty,” and demanded an end to the practice.
“Of course, the US must evaluate every candidate, but what is truly stunning is that our armed forces make judgments on the loyalty of certain American citizens based solely on their Jewish identity and any family ties to Israel,” said the AJC’s general counsel Marc Stern in an emailed statement.
“To be sure, this questionable practice resurrecting the shopworn canard of dual loyalty has been taking place for years, over several administrations. For the good of the country, it is high time that it be brought to an end.”
Teachers in Germany Want Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' On School Curriculum
A teachers’ association in Germany says an annotated edition of Adolf Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ should be taught in senior high school to help “inoculate” teenagers against political extremism.
The Nazi leader’s anti-Semitic diatribe has not been printed in Germany since the end of World War II, but an annotated and critical edition is set to be published next year.
The rights to the book have been held for 70 years by the state of Bavaria, which has refused to allow reprints, but the copyright runs out at the end of 2015.
German authorities still plan to prosecute publishers of unedited reprints on charges of “inciting racial hatred”.
However, Munich’s Institute of Contemporary History plans to publish in January ‘Hitler, Mein Kampf. A Critical Edition’ which adds context to the hateful rant with historical commentary in some 3,500 annotations.
The teachers’ association proposed that selected passages from the book should be taught to students aged 16 and over, reported the online edition of business newspaper Handelsblatt.
German media: Medical record shows Hitler only had one testicle
A medical document shows that Adolf Hitler only had one testicle, German media said on Saturday, suggesting there is some truth after all to a popular British song that says the dictator had "only got one ball."
There has long been speculation that Hitler was missing one testicle, with rumors circulating that he lost the other one during the Battle of the Somme in the World War I.
But a medical record from the time when Hitler was put in prison after the failed Munich beer hall putsch in 1923 shows he suffered from "right-side cryptorchidism" - a condition where a testicle fails to descend into the scrotum - media reports said.
The doctor's notes were thought to have been missing for years but reappeared at an auction in 2010, at which point they were seized by authorities.
"The experienced medical officer immediately recognized the condition!" top-selling newspaper Bild quoted historian Peter Fleischmann, who has studied the record, as saying.
Russian PM congratulates Jews on reopening far-east synagogue
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited the synagogue of Vladivostok in Russia’s far east shortly after its reopening Friday.
Built in 1916, the synagogue, which is located 350 miles west of Russia’s maritime border with Japan and 90 miles from Russia’s land border with North Korea, was confiscated by communist authorities in 1932 and turned into a candy factory. It was returned to the Chabad-affiliated Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia in 2005 and reopened as the port city’s only Jewish house of worship on Friday, the news site reported.
Medvedev toured the synagogue shortly after its reopening in a ceremony attended by hundreds of guests. Berel Lazar, one of Russia’s chief rabbis and a leader of the federation, hosted Medvedev at the synagogue and led the opening ceremony, which followed two years of renovations supervised by the local rabbi, Shimon Varakin.
“When the synagogue was returned, it was in a deplorable state,” Lazar said. “Nothing about it showed is was once a house of worship.” Medvedev praised the Jewish community’s commitment to rebuilding itself, the TASS news agency reported.
Jewish author wins top Tunisian prize for book on Cairo expulsion
A French Jewish author has won a prestigious literary prize in Tunisia for a book he wrote about the life and expulsion of Egyptian Jews.
The jury of the “Goncourt List: The Choice of Tunisia” award voted Wednesday to give its first-ever prize to Tobie Nathan for his book “This Country that Resembles You,” which was published in French earlier this year.
The Tunisian award was established earlier this year as the local version of France’s Goncourt Prize, awarded annually since 1903 by the Académie Goncourt literary society in Paris to the author of “the best and most imaginative prose work of the year.” Prominent members of the French society visited Tunisia in October to assist the Tunisian affiliate in selecting candidates for the prize.
Nathan was announced as the affiliate’s first-ever laureate at an event Wednesday at the French Institute of Tunisia. The four final candidates were selected according to the votes of 176 literature professionals and students from 12 institutions, the news site reported Thursday.
Two Holocaust-themed films make the Oscar cut
Two films about the Holocaust and its aftermath have made the cut to compete for best foreign-language film. They were selected from among entries from 80 countries vying for Oscar honors, according to an announcement Thursday evening by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Both entries, “Son of Saul” and “Labyrinth of Lies,” are among the critics’ favorites to garner an Academy Award — indicating, once again, that the Shoah retains its grip on the minds and souls of both international filmmakers and the members of the academy who cast their votes.
Last year, the foreign-language Oscar went to the Polish movie “Ida,” which followed the path of a devout young woman raised in a convent and about to take her vows as a nun. Suddenly, she learns that her parents were Jews who perished in the Holocaust and sets out to rediscover her roots.
In Hungary’s “Son of Saul,” winner of the Grand Prix at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Saul Auslander is a member of the Sonderkommando at Auschwitz-Birkenau, forced to cremate the bodies of fellow prisoners gassed by the Waffen SS. As he goes about his ghastly task, he thinks he recognizes his son among the bodies, unexpectedly clinging to life for a few extra minutes.
Jerry Seinfeld ‘happy to be in Israel again’ for Tel Aviv shows
Stand-up comedian Jerry Seinfeld landed in Israel on Friday, ahead of the four shows he is to perform in Tel Aviv on Saturday and Sunday. He had planned to put on one show, but three more were added after tickets for the first quickly sold out.
Upon landing at Ben Gurion Airport, Seinfeld quipped that he was surprised the performances were proving so popular — “I can’t believe anybody bought a ticket,” he deadpanned — but said he was “very happy” to be in Israel once again.
Seinfeld has previously visited in the country on private trips. According to Hebrew website Ynet, he volunteered on a kibbutz as a teenager, but his shows mark his first performances in Israel.
The entertainer began working as a comic after finishing high school, and was catapulted to fame by his eponymous sitcom, which aired from 1989-1998 and garnered an immense and abiding following.
Why Tel Aviv is Hollywood's New Billion-Dollar Sin City
It may be smack-dab in the middle of the Holy Land, but over the last decade Tel Aviv has unveiled itself as a kind of glamorous new Sin City. The tantalizing beaches, cafes and nightlife, along with its unique mix of the Middle East with a Mediterranean party atmosphere, ensure the lifestyle-loving capital continues to buzz with energy. It couldn't be more contrary with the image of many of the uninitiated: "People think we're still riding on camels!" one local told THR. "They also think we're always at war — and it's not safe here." Yet upon arrival, one finds a bustling urban respite with all the things sophisticated seekers are hoping to find, and more.
Why the exodus to the Israeli coastal city? "Tel Aviv is the sexiest city in the world!" declares native Motty Reif, a producer and founder of Tel Aviv Fashion Week (its fourth was held in October) who's also resided in Los Angeles. But it's not just the sultry heat that Hollywood embraces. Tel Aviv's thriving TV and film business compels the entertainment industry to visit frequently — to schmooze and to buy. "Tel Aviv's now a world capital," says producer Howard Rosenman, who's been spending winter holidays there (it's a 15-hour direct flight from L.A.) for more than a decade, as well as developing a number of homegrown projects. World-traveling director Brett Ratner calls it "the most cosmopolitan place I've ever been. A scene of cosmic proportions." Producer Ben Silverman loved it so much he got married there five years ago. "It's the utmost free open society – Christians, Muslims, Arabs, Jews... Even the Jews are from all different countries," he says. Showtime CEO David Nevins went for the network's Homeland shoot but returns because he is in awe of it: "The place is a real 20th century city — ancient and modern."
New world, indeed. Real estate prices have skyrocketed — Madonna reportedly paid $20 million dollars for a pad in a new Richard Meier-designed, all-white luxury tower. "Tel Aviv is a very good investment: the economy's stable, and real estate prices have literally doubled in five years," says Israeli-born producer Avi Lerner. And the area dubbed "Silicon Wadi" (the Arabic word for "valley") has emerged as a digital mecca: $1.7 billion of funding was tracked in 2014 alone. (h/t

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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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