Sunday, February 21, 2016

From Ian:

A few questions the Independent could have asked Roger Waters
What’s the role of a journalist while conducting an interview about a charged political topic? In the UK, it seems that the accuracy clause of the Editors’ Code likely demands that questionable claims be challenged, or some minimal context provided to readers.
Yet, in an “exclusive” interview published at the Independent, Paul Gallagher allows famed rock star Roger Waters to level several misleading and inaccurate claims against Israel and its supporters without even suggesting that his views are in dispute.
Waters’ first claim unchallenged by Gallagher: His 2006 concert in Israel (at Neve Shalom, an Arab/Israeli peace village) was segregated, and attended by “Israeli Jews only”.
How Gallagher could have responded:
But, there is no racial or religious segregation in Israel. Further, the country’s population is 25% non-Jewish. As 50,000 people attended that show, are you really claiming that the entire audience was Jewish? No Christians or Muslims attended? How did you arrive at this conclusion?
Waters’ second claim unchallenged by Gallagher: there are “40 to 50 discriminatory laws” against non-Jews in Israel.
How Gallagher could have responded:
Can you name some of these discriminatory laws? How do you respond to media critics who refuted this very allegation?
IsraellyCool: Roger Waters Attacks Israel While Praising The “Humane” Palestinian Civilization
Waters rambles on about Israeli apartheid, which as I have posted about on many occasions, is an outright lie. He then compares it to the amazing thing that is palestinian society.
Waters likened Israeli treatment of Palestinians to apartheid South Africa. “The way apartheid South Africa treated its black population, pretending they had some kind of autonomy, was a lie,” he said.
“Just as it is a lie now that there is any possibility under the current status quo of Palestinians achieving self-determination and achieving, at least, a rule of law where they can live and raise their children and start their own industries. This is an ancient, brilliant, artistic and very humane civilisation that is being destroyed in front of our eyes.”

Yes, he said that. About a society that brought us the airline hijacking, a society that incites murder against Jewish civilians, a society that names streets after terrorists, a society of modesty police, honor killings and the murder of “collaborators.”
Meanwhile, Israeli society in which Arabs have more rights than anywhere else in the Middle East, in which homosexuals are not persecuted, in which there is religious freedom for all – that is what attracts his ire.
Roger Waters is accused of being antisemitic because all signs point towards it. And his statements in this piece only serve to make this clearer to me.
IDF Reservists Debunk ‘Breaking the Silence’ Tantrums, Offer Grownup Approach to Irregularities [video]
Deri’s organization Reservists in the Front has shifted gears in recent weeks, and he and his partners have been making the rounds among past and present decision makers and high ranking military officers, pushing a program that mixes long-term evaluation of the IDF role in various areas, as well reporting real problems on the ground.
According to reserve officer Shachar Debi, even when leftwing groups report events truthfully, they do it in a way that turns those events into a paradigm of what the IDF is about, rather than keeping them in proportion to everything the IDF is doing right while dealing with its never-ending mission of protecting civilians against countless enemy attacks. “This kind of conflict exists the world over,” Debi said, “and the IDF behavior can set an example for others — it shouldn’t be dragged to the negative place those NGOs are taking it.”
The new group is interested in coming to terms with the challenge faced by a squad of soldiers who are being attacked by a raging 14-year-old girl brandishing a sharp scissors. “Our challenge is to deal in a practical, real and purposeful way with complex situations and not to commit the sin of oversimplification of either ‘everything is wonderful,’ or ‘everything is terrible,” Shlomo Peled, a reserve officer in special force Sayeret Matkal, told Channel 10.
On Tuesday, March 1, the new group will hold its first large-scale conference in Rishpon, Israel, with President Reuven Rivlin as honorary keynote speaker. The conference will debate ethical and moral issues related to the war against Terror.
PreOccupiedTerritory: NGOs That Badmouth IDF Obviously More Patriotic Than You (satire)
Non-governmental organizations that make it their business to paint Israeli security forces in the most negative light possible not only occupy a higher moral plane than you, sources reported today, but also demonstrate a more worthy form of patriotism than yours.
Groups that monitor IDF interactions with Palestinians, and that publicize incidents that depict Israeli soldiers in a way calculated to portray them as brutal or inhumane have always shown that their ethical sensibilities lie far above yours. However, the new reports also indicate that those groups have greater love for their country than you do, since they are even willing to flat-out accuse Israel of crimes based on partial or tendentious evidence in an effort to get the IDF to improve itself, whereas you, pathetically, do not demand that the country you claim to love live up to idealized notions of how its army should behave.
The reports give short shrift to the tired notion that IDF soldiers perform critical security tasks day in and day out, preventing terrorist attacks and apprehending people suspected of involvement in terrorism, instead nobly insisting that the military be defined by its treatment of the Palestinians as demonstrated only by selected incidents specifically chosen for the negative impression those incidents convey. Such an approach, according to the reports, are manifestly the only way the country will ever, ever change its ways, which are just leading to disaster, don’t you know. This attitude contrasts markedly with your naive, obsolete sensibilities, which would show appreciation to the IDF for its constant, continuous operations that allow you and the people running the NGOs to live relatively normal lives unmolested by would-be stabbers, suicide bombers, gunmen, or homicidal drivers who wish you harm for being Israeli. You Neanderthal.

Austrian parliament nixes event honoring pro-Hamas, anti-Israel Jew who fled Nazis
The spokeswoman for the president of the Austrian parliament informed The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that an event slated to honor Hedy Epstein - an anti-Zionist Jew and defender of Hamas - has been canceled.
"In consideration for the concerns against some of the participants, the Austrian Parliament has cancelled the event 'In Grandmother’s Words…The Fate of Women in the Second World War,'" Marianne Lackner said.
"It had showed already that it is difficult to find witnesses for the project whose physical and health condition allows participation in the event. A short-term replacement of the podium is therefore not possible."
Efraim Zuroff, the head of the Simon's Wisenthal Center's Jerusalem office, told the Post via telephone, "The center welcomes the swift action to be taken by the Austrian parliament to cancel the event in which the notorious anti-Zionist Hedy Epstein was scheduled to speak about her experiences during the Nazi era. With more through research we are certain it could lead to far more appropriate speakers for this event but should be held with only the appropriate participants."
Soldiers shoot would-be stabber in the West Bank
In the third attempted stabbing of the day, IDF troops shot and killed a Palestinian teen as he attempted to stab one of them on Sunday morning near the West Bank city of Nablus.
No soldiers were injured in the attack, which took place at Bitot Junction in the northern West Bank.
The assailant, approached a group of soldiers and tried to attack one of them, but was stopped before he could injure any of the IDF troops.
“The force responded to the imminent danger,” the army said in a statement, “firing towards the assailant, resulting in his death.”
The attacker, Qusai Diab Abu al-Roub, was 15 years old, according to Palestinian media. He was a resident of Qabatiya, a West Bank town located south of Jenin.
Palestinian teen girl arrested with knife in West Bank
Israeli security forces arrested a Palestinian teenage girl who was carrying a knife Sunday morning at the Tapuah Junction, near the central West Bank settlement of Ariel, where police said she was planning to carry out a stabbing attack.
The girl, 17, was ordered to halt after security forces noticed her acting suspiciously, police said in a statement. When she continued walking, a Border Police officer cocked his weapon in her direction. At that point, she stopped and raised her hands, and a knife fell to the ground, the statement said.
Police confiscated the blade, and the young Palestinian was transferred to a nearby security facility for questioning.
During her initial interrogation, she said she had planned to carry out an attack after watching “inciting videos” on social media sites, police said.
Victim’s widow: ‘Yanai protected us with his body’
Yael Weissman, the widow of Tuvia Yanai Weissman who was murdered on Thursday in a terror attack by two 14-year-old Arab terrorists at the Rami Levy supermarket in Sha'ar Binyamin, spoke with Arutz Sheva about her ordeal.
Yael described her long relationship with her late husband, “He was my best friend since the ninth grade. We spend our youth together and grew up together. He always put others before him, he was generous through and through … right from the start, even from such a young age.”
She added that others viewed Yanai with the same kind image, saying, "I always knew I could trust him no matter what, even now I hear people say how they miss him, how he always knew the right words to say in every situation. Just his presence and the look in his eyes was enough to encourage everyone around him… he knew how to be silly and make others happy.”
Describing his love for Israel and his devotion to helping others, the bereaved widow noted that “The county was always so important to him, he always knew he was meant to work in security and to help others.”
Israel defends troops who repeatedly shot fallen Palestinian stabber
Israeli officials on Saturday rejected criticism of security forces’ repeated shooting of a Palestinian assailant at Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate, after footage showed the man being riddled with bullets while already lying on the ground.
The footage aired by Al-Jazeera on Friday showed 20-year-old Muhammad Abu Halaf, who had stabbed three people before he was killed, being sprayed with bullets as he lay, apparently lifeless, near the Old City gate.
The Al-Jazeera crew at the scene said Border Police officers “fired almost 50 bullets” at Abu Halaf after he fell to the ground. Arabic press has called the incident an extrajudicial execution.
Asked about the incident on Saturday, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who is in charge of Israeli police, backed their actions.
“It’s impossible to judge the situation the combatants are in,” he told Channel 10 news. “Every day there are attempts to stab them and the civilians around them. There have been incidents in which (security forces) fired, the terrorist was not killed, and then he managed to stab again.”
Security officials also told Channel 10 that troops sometimes fire at an assailant when he is down out of fear that he may be carrying explosives.
Martyrs? Desperate? Crazy? Palestinians struggle to define Palestinians who attack Israelis
The Israelis are clear. They call it “terrorism.” Yet after five months of near-daily attacks against Israelis, Palestinian society struggles with how to describe the wave of knife, gun and vehicular attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians.
Is it an “uprising” or “upheaval” or “awakening” — or personal “despair”? Are the assailants “martyrs” or “victims” or both? Are the teens wielding kitchen knives “heroes” or “children” — and after they are shot and killed by Israeli soldiers during their attacks, should they be celebrated as “warriors” for the Palestinian cause or pitied as unstable individuals who “snapped”?
If Palestinians on the street are uncertain what to call the ongoing violence, the Palestinian leadership appears paralyzed over word choices.
The aging, unpopular leaders of the Palestine Liberation Organization are careful to neither openly support nor oppose the attacks, adding to the aimless narrative of the current violence. Are the attacks helping the Palestinians get a state — or lose one?
The Palestinian political class is wary of offending the international community, which has universally condemned the attacks. At the same time, the Palestinian officials are afraid of getting in front of their own people, who tell pollsters they support “armed struggle” and are tired of the old leadership, who have failed to win them a nation.
The words Palestinians use to describe the attacks are important. Language reveals meaning and intent, especially in conflict.
Barry Shaw: The dangerous hope of Two-Staters
I am in bewilderment watching those who have made a fifty year career, costing billions of dollars, in pursuit of an elusive Two-State Solution.
Personal disclosure. I was a member of this cult until the harsh reality of truth hit my hometown of Netanya in the form of post-Oslo Accord, Arafat-inspired, Palestinian terrorism.
I was fortunate. I was hit with a psychological smack in the head. I got off easily. Too many of our citizens were killed or badly injured by the incessant suicide bombings, car bombs and shootings that was only stopped by Operation Defensive Shield which targeted the terrorist cells under Palestinian control.
It is shocking how persistent people are to pursue this Two-State Solution as if it is the only oasis in a barren, arid, desert. But this fifty year trek toward a shimmering distant mirage draws sloggers toward an unreachable goal. Had they looked left or right they may have discovered alternative routes to peace, rather than doggedly plod toward a fantasy.
UN Breakthrough? “Hamas Continues to Directly Threaten the Security of Israel”
On January 26, 2015, United Nation’s Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon stated that it was “human nature” for the Palestinians to attack and kill Israelis on the streets, in a statement that was roundly criticized by pro-Israel advocates. Just a few weeks later, on February 18, 2016, Nickolay Mladenov, Secretary-General’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, made a more balanced report to the UN Security Council. His comments included:
“The issue of incitement runs to the heart of the current climate of tension and fear. It is essential that authorities on both sides do more to address this scourge. I am particularly concerned that some Palestinian factions continue to glorify violence and terror. Such acts only contribute to tensions and violence. Governance reforms must also remain a central commitment for the Palestinian Authority.
Volatility persists in Gaza amidst a tenuous security situation. The collapse of another four tunnels — bringing the total to date this year to five — and the continued test firing and launching of rockets at Israel indicate that Hamas continues to directly threaten the security of Israel. Such actions risk not only people’s lives but the fragile reconstruction process in the devastated Strip.”
Obama times Cuba visit to avoid Netanyahu?
The White House announced on Thursday that U.S. President Barack Obama will make history as he will be the first U.S. President to visit Cuba in over 80 years. The state visit is a direct continuation of the Obama's historic achievement from last year when he initiated diplomatic relations between the two countries. Diplomatic relations between the countries was severed 6 decades ago.
The President announced the news via his Twitter account on the same day. "14 months ago, I announced that we would begin normalizing relations with Cuba - and we've already made significant progress," he tweeted. "Our flag flies over our Embassy in Havana once again. More Americans are traveling to Cuba than at any time in the last 50 years."
It is expected that Obama will meet with Cuban President Raul Castro, as well as various entrepreneurs and VIPs of Cuban society.
The statement by the White House made waves in the U.S. media, however, most of the press overlooked one important fact which relates to Israel, the timing of the visit.
Obama’s visit to Cuba, is scheduled for Mar 21st and 22nd. From there he is expected to continue his trip through Latin-American countries. His departure from the U.S. during that time will mean that he will be absent during the AIPAC conference and consequently miss the visit to the U.S. of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who is expected to speak at the conference.
‘Very rough’ talk with Netanyahu referenced in new Clinton email dump
The US State Department on Friday publicized 562 more emails written by Hillary Clinton during her 2009-2013 term as secretary of state, including some relating to Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
One email is a transcript of a telephone conversation between Clinton and Netanyahu and bearing only the subject line “very rough.” After the two greet each other, however, the rest of the document is blocked out with the word “page denied” written across the page in large letters, meaning that it has remained classified.
In another email Clinton talks about an interview given by the former Israeli national security adviser Uzi Arad to the Ynet news site in 2012, discussing reports that Arad had been forced to resign following suspicions on the part of the Shin Bet security service that he was responsible for leaking information. “You should get whole, translated article. US press should report asap,” Clinton said.
During the correspondence, an aide to Clinton contended that Netanyahu had tried to dismiss the claims “with a story published by the Jerusalem Post, right-wing Likud organ,” and writing to Clinton, “Holy Moly! What more can you find out about this and why Arad had to resign?”
Clinton: More Support For Aspirations of Palestinians in Long-Term Best Interest of Israel

Cruz: Trump wrong on Israel, no to neutrality
Texas Senator and presidential hopeful Ted Cruz repeatedly slammed Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s statements regarding Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Referring to the New York billionaire’s comments last week during an MSNBC town hall event in South Carolina that he would be “neutral” in dealings between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Cruz emphasized his support for the Jewish state.
“As president, America will stand unapologetically with the nation of Israel – if I am president – because I am not neutral between terrorists who are blowing up and murdering women and children, and the people of Israel who are trying to defend their nation,” Cruz told Fox News.
Cruz, who is struggling to draw conservative voters away from Donald Trump, came in second among Evangelical voters in South Carolina on Saturday.
Israeli filmmaker tells Germans: Don't sell submarines to 'fascist' Israel
An Israeli filmmaker whose movie took home a prize at a prestigious Berlin film festival was recorded by Channel 10 as telling an audience in the German capital that the government in Jerusalem was “fascist.”
Udi Aloni, the director of Junction 48, told festivalgoers in Berlin that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was wrong to sell submarines to Israel.
Aloni, the son of the late education minister and prominent left-wing politician Shulamit Aloni, said that Israel was a country in which “a white [Jewish] man” like himself could speak freely while non-Jews were forbidden from doing so.
Aloni mentioned the case of Mohammad al-Qiq, the Palestinian journalist who has been on a hunger strike for three months in protest of being placed in administrative detention.
The Supreme Court supported the government’s position that Qiq was involved in terrorist activities on behalf of the Islamist movement Hamas.
Authors Michael Chabon, Ayelet Waldman edit book on 'Israeli Occupation'
Celebrity American Jewish author Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman have joined forces with controversial NGO Breaking the Silence for a book focusing on '50 years of the Israeli Occupation.'
Chabon (The Yiddish Policeman's Union) and Waldman (Red Hook Road) will edit essays written by prominent authors like Dave Eggers, Geraldine Brookes and Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa, who will travel to the region this year to visit Palestinian cities and villages and meet with residents and activists, according to a press release issued Sunday. The release made no mention of the writers meeting with any Israelis or visiting Jewish settlements.
Chabon and Waldman have both been publicly critical of Israel's policies in the territories.
Hamas terror cell planned to assassinate Netanyahu
A Hamas terror cell operating out of eastern Jerusalem was planning a mass casualty terror attack in the capital, which incuded assassinating Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
According to indictments filed last month against the cell, the terrorists planned to assassinate Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as part of a huge terror attack in Israel’s capital.
The cell planned to strike while Netanyahu was visiting either the Great Synagogue of Jerusalem, or the Payis Arena, according to the Walla! News Hebrew-language news site.
The gang had reportedly secured a safe house in Abu Dis, just east of Jerusalem, and set up an explosives laboratory to prepare the large mass of explosives necessary for the attack.
The five-man cell was led by Ahmed Azzam, a resident of Yassuf who had relocated to Abu Dis. The group’s operations were supported and directed by Hamas members in the Gaza Strip.
Poll: 77% of Israelis support Netanyahu's 'suspension bill'
A poll published this past weekend indicates that 77% of Israelis are in favor of a bill that would make it possible to suspend any member of Knesset who expressed support for terrorism.
The proposed legislation seeks to enable a special majority vote of 90 MKs, similar to the majority necessary to suspend a president or a Knesset speaker, to suspend lawmakers for unbecoming conduct. The measure would allow the suspensions to be for short periods or for the duration of the Knesset's term. It also calls for the suspension of pay and any other benefits enjoyed by incumbent lawmakers and seeks to strip suspended MKs of their parliamentary immunity.
According to the poll, only 17% of Israelis oppose the bill. Most people who opposed it belonged to the center-left of the political camp. Another 6% of respondents had no opinion about the bill.
The bill, sponsored by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was drafted following controversy sparked by three Israeli Arab MKs who recently met with the families of terrorists and observed a moment of silence in honor of the deceased terrorists. All three were temporarily suspended by the Knesset Ethics Committee under an existing law.
S. African scholars, journalists get unvarnished look at Israel’s complexities
One morning, they visited Rahat to see a project that aims to help Negev Bedouin find jobs. That night, they met the first Ethiopian woman in the Knesset. They spent an afternoon watching a debate in the Knesset plenum and, that night, heard Mohammad Darawshe, an expert on Jewish-Arab relations, challenge aspects of the parliamentary democracy they had just witnessed. Another day, they visited Ramallah, where Palestinian Authority officials told them that Israel was responsible for the ongoing conflict. That evening, an Israeli-Arab and former PLO journalist told them the Palestinian leadership was to blame.
They were eight prominent South African journalists, economists, and professors, and they came to Israel under the auspices of an organization called Israel Now Tour of South Africa, together with the World Zionist Organization. The trip, from February 7-14, was intended to enable them “to understand the complexity of Israel’s situation on the ground,” according to organizer Reeva Forman.
Funded by the South African Zionist Federation and the WZO’s Department of Zionist Operations under the direction of Dr. David Breakstone, the trip’s itinerary was specifically geared for the South Africans, who have grown up with words like “apartheid,” “racism,” and “segregation” in the context of apartheid South Africa — and have seen those terms applied to Israel in recent years via the BDS movement.
Palestinian Human Rights Activists Receives Death Threats From Anti-Israel Protesters During U of Chicago Lecture (VIDEO)
A Palestinian human rights activist said Thursday that he was “terrified” by the hostile reception and physical threats he received while lecturing at the University of Chicago.
Bassem Eid, founder of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, expressed this sentiment on Facebook, after his speech, critical of the Palestinian Authority, was interrupted by angry protesters, questioning why he was talking about human rights abuses in the PA, while letting Israel off the hook for the “occupation.” One individual in the audience — a former student at Chicago’s Columbia College who said he was from Gaza — even threatened him physically.
The young man is heard on a video of the event yelling in Arabic, “I’m going to destroy this place!” Later, he was heard saying, “I’m going to kill this motherf—–!” and “Wait until you go to your car!” He also said, “we” are going to be at Eid’s lecture at DePaul University in Chicago on Saturday evening, so he should be “ready for” us.”
The police can be seen toward the end of the video attempting to calm the situation.
Brooklyn College President Calls for Investigation Into Antisemitic Disturbance at Faculty Meeting
The president of Brooklyn College strongly condemned the disruption of a faculty meeting this week by students shouting antisemitic and anti-Zionist epithets, in a statement released Thursday.
Referring to the interruption of the Faculty Council meeting by students chanting “Zionists off campus” while demanding the university divest from Israel, President Karen Gould said, “We find this disruptive behavior unacceptable and the hateful comments especially abhorrent.” She also called for an investigation into the students’ conduct and for appropriate actions to be taken based on the findings.
The Anti-Defamation League also denounced the students in a press release, and praised Gould for her strong response.
The event occurred on Tuesday, when 10 students entered the premises of the Faculty Council meeting, yelling anti-Israel slogans. When Faculty Council Chair Prof. Yedidya Langsam attempted to restore order, they reportedly called him a “Zionist pig.” According to a statement issued by New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn), some of the faculty members present applauded the students’ anti-Israel rants.
Victory: Protest gets Chicago BDS billboard taken down
A massive online campaign demanding that a Chicago advertisement agency remove an offensive pro-BDS billboard calling on motorists to boycott the Jewish state has borne fruits, as the agency eventually relented and agreed to take down the offensive sign.
Posted on the major highway I-294 by the Lamar Advertising agency, the huge billboard directed motorists to visit, a rabid anti-Israeli organization. It read in massive letters: "Boycott Israel Until Palestinians Have Equal Rights."
An outpouring of Facebook users gave one-star reviews to the Lamar Advertising agency's page and the company was inundated with phone calls. After initially refusing to apologize on late Thursday and defending the "First Amendment rights" of its customers to advertise calls for a discriminatory boycott, Lamar Advertising relented on Friday.
"Serious questions concerning the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign (SEAMAC) billboard in Chicago have been raised in numerous contacts to Lamar Advertising," wrote the company in a Facebook post.
JNF Canada drops event over singer Noa’s alleged BDS support
The Jewish National Fund of Canada has withdrawn its sponsorship of the Jewish Federation of Vancouver’s Yom Ha’atzmaut event over the federation’s decision to feature controversial Israeli pop singer Achinoam Nini, known as Noa.
“Due to the views of the entertainment booked for this year’s celebration, we will be taking a one-year hiatus from sponsoring the event,” JNF CEO Josh Cooper said in a statement. “The entertainer that has been hired does not reflect, nor correspond to the mandate and values of the Jewish National Fund of Canada.”
The Canadian Jewish News reported on February 12 that the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver is preparing “a warm welcome” for Nini, and that it decried a Jerusalem Post report suggesting Vancouver Jews were “outraged” about the singer’s appearance because she allegedly supports the boycott, divestment and sanctions, or BDS, movement against Israel.
The federation said it had done its “due diligence by looking closely into the facts. To the best of our knowledge, reports suggesting Ms. Nini promotes BDS are incorrect.”
PreOccupiedTerritory: Amid Gang Rapes, Europeans Unsure: Blame Victims Or Israel? (satire)
As a trend of sexual assaults on women continues, perpetrated by groups of immigrant men from Muslim countries, disagreement has arisen among European politicians, journalists, and pundits regarding whom to blame for the phenomenon: the victims themselves or Israel.
Sharp differences of opinion have surfaced in recent months over the triggers for the many dozens of rapes – several of them gang rapes – across Western Europe at the hands of the Muslim immigrants. Strident assertions that the women could have avoided being raped had they dressed more modestly are competing with a powerful, reflexive desire to blame Israel or Jews for all ill phenomena.
A survey of media and commentary on the Continent and in Britain found no statistically significant difference in size between the two schools of thought, though certain industries were more likely to blame one or the other, said Dutch political observer Dr. Skejp Goot. “Among politicians, the trend overwhelmingly favors blaming Israel,” he explained. “That holds true in Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, and Britain, and to a slightly lesser extent in France and Belgium.”
“By the same token,” he continued, “journalists, social activists, and commentators are much more prone to accuse the women of inviting or provoking the rapes by not dressing according to the mores of the societies in which the perpetrators were raised. That trend was more pronounced across Scandinavia, but less so elsewhere.”
Khaled Abu Toameh: Abbas calls on Kerry to intervene in release of hunger-striker Mohamed Al-Qeeq
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday called on US Secretary of State John Kerry to intervene with Israel to secure the release of Palestinian detainee Mohamed Al-Qeeq, who has been on hunger strike for nearly three months.
The call came during a meeting in Amman between Abbas and Kerry.
Abbas told Kerry that the PA leadership was determined to pursue its efforts to seek an international conference for peace in the Middle East, according to Nabil Abu Rudaineh, spokesman for the PA presidency.
Abbas also told Kerry that the PA leadership would continue its effort to seek a UN Security Council condemning construction in the settlements and calling for an immediate cessation of building there, Abu Rudaineh said.
The PA president also briefed Kerry on his ongoing efforts to form a national unity government that would consist of Hamas and other Palestinian factions and end the division between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Israel thwarts attempt to smuggle drones into Gaza
Israeli security guards at the Kerem Shalom border crossing into the southern Gaza Strip and Shin Bet operatives recently foiled an attempt to smuggle drones into the Palestinian enclave, the Defense Ministry announced Sunday.
During a search of an Israeli vehicle carrying toys, security guards found several drones of different sizes and types, all of which were equipped with quality cameras. Additional smuggling attempts of drones have been foiled by the Shin Bet in recent weeks.
The drones were apparently set to be used for spying on Israeli targets, the Defense Ministry said.
Israeli authorities launched an investigation into the smuggling attempts.
New video paints Gaza 'tunnel men' as a legitimate part of the Palestinian resistance
A new video spread on Palestinian social media paints Gaza's "tunnel men" as legitimate partners in the fight for Palestine, claiming that their resistance to the "Israeli occupation" is not different from the resistance of most Gazans – they just do it underneath the ground, while most Palestinians fight Israel above ground.
The three-minute video, titled "Dig and Advance," presents people from different sectors of Gazan society, such as a journalist, a builder and a doctor, comparing their role in the Palestinian resistance to the role played by the "tunnel men."
The journalist claims that "here in Gaza, there are people who resist on the ground and others who resist underneath the ground. Here we have journalists who resist through words, voice and images."
A TV host speaking in the video claims that, "Like we dig to reach the people with our voice, they (the tunnel men) dig in order to get closer to al-Aksa." Two girls speaking later in the video say that they live in a refugee camp that hosts refugees from the 1948 War and they hope that the "tunnel men" will bring them back the territories they lost.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Iran-backed group blames Israel for trying to kill leader in Gaza
The Iranian-backed Al-Sabireen over the weekend accused Israel of being behind an attempt on the life of the terrorist group’s secretary- general, Hisham Salem.
A powerful explosion targeted the home of Salem in Gaza City early on Friday, causing huge damage, the group said. No one was hurt.
Al-Sabireen (The Patient Ones), in a statement released shortly after the explosion, claimed that Israel and its “agents” were responsible for the assassination attempt against its leader.
The attack was designed to “strike at the mujahideen [holy warriors], sow the seeds of discord and deviate the resistance from its track,” it said.
“All signs prove that the Israeli occupation’s hand did it. The occupation has not spared any effort to target the secretary-general of Al-Sabireen and the leaders of the group,” the group claimed.
It pointed out that Israel had recently killed Ahmed al-Sarhi, a top commander of Al-Sabireen, who was shot dead by IDF soldiers near the border with the Gaza Strip.
Iranian heavy metal musicians face execution for ‘satanic music’
Two members of an Iranian heavy metal band could be executed for blasphemy after they were arrested by the state's religious guard and accused of writing 'satanic' music.
Nikan Siyanor Khosravi, 23, and Khosravi Arash Ilkhani, 21, the core members of the band Confess, are believed to have been arrested and jailed on November 10.
Held in Tehran's notorious Evin prison by the Revolutionary Guards until February 5, the pair wrote and released their own heavy metal albums and ran a record label.
Their latest album, released in October, included tracks named 'Teh-Hell-Ran' and 'I'm Your God Now', both of which would likely rankle with the state's hardline Islamic leadership.
Tara Sepehri Far, a researcher for Human Rights Watch, told MailOnline the pair likely faced up to five years in prison.
Salman Rushdie: Iranian state media renew fatwa on Satanic Verses author with $600000 bounty
Forty state-run Iranian media outlets have jointly offered a new $600,000 bounty for the death of British Indian author Salman Rushdie, according to the state-run Fars News Agency.
Fars News Agency, which is closely affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), was among the largest contributors, donating one billion Rials - nearly $30,000.
The announcement coincides with the anniversary of the fatwa issued the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, the agency said.
Ayatollah Khomeini, the First Supreme Leader of Iran, issued the fatwa against Rushdie on charges of blasphemy for his novel The Satanic Verses on 15 February, 1989.
The Ayatollah called for the death of the book's author along with anyone "involved in its publication". (h/t Yenta Press)
Israeli films win in Berlin
The two winners of the Panorama Audience Awards presented at the 66th Berlinale, the Berlin International Film Festival, are from Israel: Udi Aloni’s Junction 48 in the fiction film category and Tomer and Barak Heymann’s Who's Gonna Love Me Now? in the documentary section.
The winners were announced on Saturday at noon. Aloni’s Junction 48 tells the story of a Palestinian rapper in Lod. Since 2003 he has presented all of his films at Berlin. Junction 48 was the sixth production to premiere in the Panorama section.
The Heymann brothers’ Who’s Gonna Love Me Now? is about an Israeli gay man with HIV who lives in London, and his relationship with his family. This is the second Panorama Audience Award for Tomer Heymann, whose documentary, Paper Dolls, won in 2006.
The Heymann brothers recently released the popular documentary, Mr. Gaga, a portrait of the Batsheva Dance Company’s artistic director, Ohad Naharin, which Tomer directed and Barak produced.
During the festival, moviegoers were asked to rate the films shown in the Panorama section on voting cards after the screenings. A total of 30,000 votes were cast.
The most important Apple executive you’ve never heard of
Srouji runs what is probably the most important and least understood division inside the world’s most profitable company. Since 2010, when his team produced the A4 chip for the original iPad, Apple has immersed itself in the costly and complex science of silicon. It develops specialized microprocessors as a way to distinguish its products from the competition. The Apple-designed circuits allow the company to customize products to perfectly match the features of its software, while tightly controlling the critical trade-off between speed and battery consumption. Among the components on its chip (technically called a “system on a chip,” or SOC) are an image signal processor and a storage controller, which let Apple tailor useful functions for taking and storing photos, such as the rapid-fire “burst mode” introduced with the iPhone 5s. Engineers and designers can work on features like that years in advance without prematurely notifying vendors—especially Samsung, which manufactures many of Apple’s chips.
At the center of all this is Srouji, 51, an Israeli who joined Apple after jobs at Intel and IBM. He’s compact, he’s intense, and he speaks Arabic, Hebrew, and French. His English is lightly accented and, when the subject has anything to do with Apple, nonspecific bordering on koanlike. “Hard is good. Easy is a waste of time,” he says when asked about increasingly thin iPhone designs. “The chip architects at Apple are artists, the engineers are wizards,” he answers another question. He’ll elaborate a bit when the topic is general. “When designers say, ‘This is hard,’ ” he says, “my rule of thumb is if it’s not gated by physics, that means it’s hard but doable.”
Srouji recently spent several hours with Bloomberg Businessweek over several days and guided a tour of Apple chip facilities in Cupertino, Calif., and Herzliya, Israel. This was, no doubt, strategic. Investors have battered Apple stock over the past year, sending it down more than 25 percent. Most people are already pretty satisfied with their phones, the criticism goes, and aren’t compelled to spend an additional few hundred bucks on an upgrade. (In March, Apple intends to announce an updated iPad and smaller-screen iPhone featuring the latest A9x and A9 chips, according to a person familiar with the plans, who wasn’t authorized to comment publicly.)
Syrian refugee creates website to thank Israelis
Aboud Dandachi, a Sunni Muslim from the city of Homs now living in Istanbul, has created a website dedicated to the Israeli and Jewish organizations and people helping Syrian refugees.
The website, Thank You Am Israel, highlights the humanitarian aid being given to displaced Syrians and also refutes any reasons why Israelis and Syrians should be enemies.
“As a Syrian, I am morally obligated to ensure that the goodwill that Israelis and Jews have displayed towards my people will not be overlooked nor forgotten. The day will come when the conflict in Syria will come to an end, as all things come to an end. On that day, it is imperative that Syrians reciprocate the enormous goodwill shown towards us by Israelis and the Jewish people. Whatever supposed reasons we may have had to be adversaries is dwarfed by the compassion shown to us during our darkest days, a time when we have nothing to give back except our gratitude,” writes Dandachi in a January opinion article on his site.
Dandachi, a 39-year-old high-tech professional, says he never imagined the civil war in Syria would last five years. Dandachi left his hometown of Homs in September 2013 for Lebanon and then made his way to Turkey.
IsraellyCool: Know Your History: Dr Martin Luther King’s Support For Israel, One Week Before Six-Day War
A new series where I bring to you news from the newspaper archives to debunk common misconceptions about the Middle East conflict.
With Israel haters equating Gazans with blacks in Ferguson, and trying to claim the great Martin Luther King despised Israel, a New York Times article a mere week before the Six Day War of June 1967 rebuts that claim.
Leading up to that fateful war, Egyptian leader Gamal Nasser had ordered the withdrawal of the UN Emergency Force, stationed in the Sinai since 1956, and closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships. One week before the war commenced, 8 Church leaders, including Dr Martin Luther King, stood up for Israel.

Know Your History: Palestine, The Land Of Promise, 1922

Know Your History: Founding Of The PLO, May 1964

Know Your History: French Leftists Supported Israel, 1967

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