Tuesday, April 19, 2016

From Ian:

Watchdog: UN Operating in Own ‘Distorted Reality’ With Virtual Reality Film Demonizing Israel, Ignoring Hamas Terror
The United Nations is continuing the demonization of Israel with a new film distorting the facts of the 2014 Gaza war, the head of a Geneva-based organization that monitors the international body told The Algemeiner on Monday.
Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, was reacting to a UN initiative featuring a trio of virtual reality films highlighting the stories of a young Syrian refugee, a Liberian woman’s attempt to help others recover from the Ebola virus and a Palestinian mother whose two sons were killed during Operation Protective Edge, the war Israel waged against Hamas in Gaza in the summer of 2014. The goal of the films, according to the UN, is to raise awareness and money.
The film about the Palestinian, titled “My Mother’s Wings,” places the blame for the death of the woman’s two sons — killed during the shelling of a UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) school — on Israel. But, as Neuer has pointed out, during the war, Hamas terrorists used UNRWA schools and other civilian locations as bases from which to launch rockets into Israel. And the eight-minute documentary, Neuer said, fails to delve into the other side of the story, namely how terrorists used civilians as human shields and the attacks against Israel, which led to and continued throughout, the war.
“Sadly, through distorted portrayals like these, the UN has itself become a form of virtual reality. In the real world, Hamas targets Israeli civilians with deadly rockets, firing them from densely populated areas to maximize civilian casualties, as part of its military strategy to demonize Israel in the eyes of international opinion, and thereby to weaken Israel’s capability for self-defense,” said Neuer. “In the UN’s virtual reality, however, Israel is condemned, even though it is Hamas which — by law, logic, and morality — bears the full responsibility for any and all civilian casualties that ensue from the cynical manipulation of their own people.”
Shame on the US for Its Treatment of Israel at the UN
At an open debate on the Middle East at the United Nations Security Council in New York on Monday — as a bus was being blown up in Jerusalem — Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told his Palestinian counterpart, Riyad Mansour, that he ought to be ashamed for not denouncing terrorism and incitement.
Danon had brought Natan and Renana Meir to the session to personify the devastation that Palestinian Authority incitement to violence against Jews continues to wreak. Natan is the widower of Dafna Meir, a 38-year-old nurse who was murdered three months ago by a Palestinian teenager at the entrance to her home in Otniel, a settlement south of Hebron. Renana is Natan’s 17-year-old daughter, who not only witnessed her mother being stabbed to death, but tried to help fend off the assailant.
The 15-year-old terrorist later told Israeli interrogators that he had been inspired to commit his heinous act from broadcasts on PA television and social media.
Mansour did not condemn any of it, of course. Instead, he berated Israel for imprisoning and killing Palestinian children. No surprise there, which is why Danon — who should be lauded for standing alone in the hornets’ nest of hypocrisy and deceit that the Security Council occupies — was wasting his breath. As Natan Meir said later in a small press conference after the event, it hurt him to hear a diplomat referring to jailed Palestinian kids as victims, when one of those “kids” had slaughtered his wife in cold blood.
The Metaphysics of Article 49
In January 2012, rising opposition to Israeli construction in the West Bank compelled Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to establish a committee tasked with assessing the construction’s legality. Judge Edmond Levy headed that commission, which produced the Levy Commission Report (“LCR”). The LCR concluded that Israel is not in violation of Article 49 and, as such, Israeli construction in the West Bank and other areas captured in 1967 are legal.
First, the LCR posited that Israel does not qualify as an “occupying power” because Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip were never part of an independent Arab state. At the time, Egypt did not claim sovereignty over the Gaza Strip and Jordan was not a lawful sovereign over Judea and Samaria. Therefore, according to the LCR, Article 49 is not applicable to Israeli settlements because Israel is not an “occupying power.”
In a strict legal context, this argument might be specious. In 1947, the U.N. passed resolution 181, which identified borders for a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jewish population of Palestine accepted the notion while the Arab population rejected it. In its Declaration of Independence, Israel cited that U.N. resolution by “calling for the establishment of a Jewish State in Eretz-Israel … This recognition by the United Nations of the right of the Jewish people to establish their State is irrevocable.” By relying on the resolution, Israel recognized an Arab sovereign in 1947. In response to an all-out attack twenty years later, Israel took control of the area. Subsequently, Israelis settlers created a new frontier for Jewish settlement. Based on its declaration of independence, Israel recognized Arab sovereignty of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza and then had a population move into that area.
On the other hand, the reference to resolution 181 in the Declaration of Independence may not be the equivalent of Arab sovereignty recognition. The U.N. recognized the right to a Jewish state. Israel referenced that recognition, but not a state that the Arabs themselves rejected. As such, there was never Arab sovereignty over Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.
Second, the LCR pointed to the language in Article 49 that states “deport or transfer,” which is not the reality of those who settled in the disputed areas. Settlers willingly chose to live in these areas, for ideological or other reasons, not because the Israeli government deported or transferred them there.

NGO: US Coast Guard evidence shows ‘Marmara’ case against Ehud Barak based on lies
Part of the lawsuit against Barak involves four anti-Israel activists – three Americans and a Belgian – who were aboard a second boat in the flotilla, the US-flagged Challenger I, seeking damages for injuries they say they sustained during the altercations with the IDF.
The activists claim that they were shot with rubber bullets, tasered and handcuffed by the IDF while aboard the Challenger I. Lawyers for the plaintiffs argue that the IDF breached US sovereignty since the plaintiffs incurred their alleged injuries on a US-flagged ship.
However, in a first disclosure, the US Coast Guard and Homeland Security report reveals that the Challenger I in fact “never made contact with the Israelis” after it “experienced steering casualties” and was forced to “seek refuge in a Cyprus port.”
The report continues that the “Greek side of Cyprus denied the Challenger I request to enter port. Therefore it sailed to the Port of Famagusta on the Turkish side of the island,” and hoped to “rejoin the Freedom Flotilla at the next opportunity,” which did not occur until after the altercation with the IDF.
Shurat Hadin also said, “Not only was the US registration for the vessel obtained via duplicitous means, but according to the US Coast Guard report, the Challenger I was actually a Greek ship that was re-flagged as an American vessel in international waters, having never docked at a US port.”
Shmuley Boteach: Is there an Obama doctrine?
After doing everything possible to avoid entanglement in Syria, and refusing to use America’s might to destroy ISIS, the people of Syria, Iraq, France and Belgium have reaped a terrible whirlwind. Even now, President Obama is reluctant to take the necessary measures to defeat not only ISIS, but the Iranian-sponsored Shi’ite terrorists who are no less dangerous than the radical Sunnis.
The killing of Jews in the West Bank, as well as the atrocities in Paris at the kosher market, are not “random” incidents, as described by our president.
They were intentional murders. When Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas calls on Palestinians to defend the Aksa mosque against the fictional Jewish threat to destroy it, he is inciting Muslims to murder non-Muslims. Still, the president cannot muster an unambiguous condemnation of this evil.
George Bush had a straightforward worldview that identified our enemies. Even the president of France and the prime minister of Great Britain openly acknowledge the war with radical Islam. The pope put it best when he said the attacks in France last year are part of a Third World War and that the international community would be justified in using force to stop “unjust aggression” by ISIS militants.
President Obama’s policy has been weak and vacillating.
He still has a few months as commander- in-chief to lead the free world from the front rather than from behind.
US rejects Netanyahu’s pledge to hold onto Golan forever
The United States on Monday objected to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s assertion that the Golan Heights will forever remain under Israeli control, reiterating that it does not recognize the Jewish state’s claims to the strategic plateau.
US State Department spokesman John Kirby said that the Obama administration does not consider the Golan Heights to be part of Israel.
“The US position on the issue is unchanged,” Kirby said at a daily media briefing at the State Department in Washington. “This position was maintained by both Democratic and Republican administrations. Those territories are not part of Israel and the status of those territories should be determined through negotiations.”
Israel captured the Golan from Syria in the 1967 war and effectively annexed it in 1981. The move was unanimously rejected the same year by the UN Security Council.
Cruz backs Netanyahu on Golan Heights
Texas Senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz on Monday expressed support for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s call to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
“The government of Israel reiterated the reality that the Golan Heights are part of Israel’s sovereign territory,” Cruz said in a statement, adding, “Given the presence of hostile terrorist organizations ranging from ISIS to Hezbollah on Israel’s northern border, it is foolhardy and dangerous for elements in the international community to try to pressure Israel to abandon the Golan to the chaos engulfing Syria.”
“The path to peace cannot involve Israel’s abdication of its own security,” continued Cruz.
“I applaud Prime Minister Netanyahu’s courage in standing up for the safety of his people. America stands with you,” he concluded.
Incorporate the Golan into Israel now
Reports that both the United States and Russia are willing to support a return of the Golan Heights to Syria prompted a first ever Israeli Cabinet meeting on the Golan on April 17. Prime Minister Netanyahu was unequivocal in stating that the Golan would forever remain in Israeli hands, and that any attempt to end the Syrian conflict would not come at Israel’s expense.
If the reports are true, which the Cabinet meeting near the historic site of Gamla would seem to confirm, then it is time to swing into action.
The notion that, in the name of some ephemeral pipe dream, Israel should be expected to cough up the Golan, is cynical in the extreme.
First of all, it is cynical and shocking that major powers are willing to try to fashion a peace agreement at Israel’s expense. One would expect this from Putin, but for all his antipathy, this marks a new low for Obama.
So, where is the American Jewish community? Where is AIPAC, where are our friends in Congress?
More to the point, where are we, the Israelis? Why are we dithering about this instead of not just applying Israeli law and administration to the Golan, but incorporating the Golan into Israel, the same way East Jerusalem was incorporated into Israel in the wake of the ’67 War.
Arab League joins the Golan Heights free-for-all
Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi on Monday denounced as an "escalation" Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's remarks Monday in the first Cabinet meeting on the Golan Heights, in which he declared that the Golan will always remain under Israeli control.
Arabi, the secretary general of the pan-Arab bloc headquartered in Cairo, said Netanyahu's statement "was an new escalation that represents a brazen violation of international law."
The Arab League's condemnation is the latest in a surge of condemnation for the Cabinet meeting - earlier on Monday Germany condemned the meeting.
Syria's UN envoy Bashar al-Jaafari on Monday vowed to use the UN to pressure Israel and "take back the Golan."
Two Cheers for Ted
Cruz has a vision of American exceptionalism, of the appropriateness, indeed the necessity, of American leadership. He exudes a horror for the creeping entitle-ism that threatens to bury the American dream, and is desirous of seeing how government can serve the people and facilitate economic growth, and not the reverse.
As an American Israeli, I see Cruz assessing Israel and the Middle East with a degree of understanding and empathy for the Jewish state that leaves his opponents in the dust. While some of that is due to his freedom/Western/America-centric worldview, much of it also stems from his Christian Zionism. Cruz’s evangelism is a source of hand-wringing and cringing to some American Jews.
I say, get over it. First of all, no one is trying to convert anyone. And even if they were, as my mother of blessed memory would constantly remind me as a kid, so if your pal is jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge, does that mean you have to, too? In other words, just say no.
Above all, I believe in what Ed Koch used to call his one-question rule. When moshiach comes, you will ask him one question: is this your first or second time? Depending on what he says, many attitudes will have to be adjusted. Until then, I am thrilled to have the friendship of Christians, who embarrass us with their unambiguous, no-questions-asked, no-punches-pulled love of Israel.
Would that it were that way with all of the Jews.
People get the leadership they deserve, and America is courting a self-affliction of massive proportions. There is only one way out, and that is a decision to embrace the candidate who can steer the nation away from its current anemia and self-doubt.
For the sake of America’s future, Americans need to elect Ted Cruz as President.
Alan Dershowitz: Bernie Sanders Is Not Pro-Israel
Israel has now located and neutralized yet another terror tunnel leading from Gaza into Israel that had been built recently, and already extended “tens of meters” underneath the border fence and into Israel proper. Its purpose is to kill, kidnap and hold hostage Israeli civilians, including children from those towns located near the tunnel exits. The entrances to these deadly military targets have been deliberately placed by Hamas in densely populated areas, rather than in the many sparely populated parts of the Gaza Strip. (Yet there are many such sparsely populated areas, despite the media’s demonstrably false claim that the Gaza Strip is among the most densely populated areas of the world.)
Hamas knows that if they were to deploy their rockets and place the entrances to their terror tunnels in unpopulated areas – as the laws of war require – the Israeli military could attack these military targets without endangering civilians. But Hamas wants Israel to injure and kill its civilians. They deliberately employ what has come to be known by the cruel but accurate term, “the dead baby strategy.” Under this double war crime strategy, the Israeli military is put to the terrible Hobson’s choice of either allowing its own civilians to be subjected to rocket and tunnel attacks or to destroy those rockets and tunnels by attacking targets that are surrounded by Palestinian civilians, who Hamas effectively uses as human shields.
What would Sanders do if the United State were faced with a comparable dilemma? Would he allow rockets to rain down on American civilians? Would he allow for terror tunnels to ferret armed terrorists to kill and kidnap American children? Or would he do what President Obama urged Israel to do: whatever it takes to stop the rockets and tunnels.
American voters are entitled to know what Sanders would do and what he thinks Israel should do. Would he apply a double standard to the nation state of the Jewish People? Or would he deny the American military the authority to do whatever it takes to protect our citizens? Does he condemn the United States military for using comparable tactics in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria? In other words, does Bernie Sanders only believe that Israel has acted disproportionately, or does he also believe that the United States military acts disproportionately? We are entitled to know the answers to these questions, and Bernie Sanders is not entitled to pretend that he is pro-Israel.
Pro-Sanders Jewish Group Distributes Anti-Zionist Flyer
A flyer distributed in Yiddish on Monday calls on Orthodox Jewish voters to vote for Bernie Sanders in Tuesday’s New York presidential primary to dispel the notion that the ultra-Orthodox community supports the ‘Zionist’ agenda and the “extreme right-wing” Israeli government.
“Recent attacks by the Zionist groups and Haredi spokespeople are aimed at Sanders only because he refused to bend to the extreme right-wing Zionist agenda, and was not willing to agree with the radical politics of Netanyahu,” the flyer reads.”The entire political world is watching how the New York Jewish votes are going to be cast since the election is being viewed as a referendum over how blind support of Israel is being supported in Jewish and ‘heimish’ neighborhoods.”
The flyer, distributed on popular Whatsapp messenger groups and on Twitter by a group “Hasidim for Bernie,” comes days after Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders harshly criticized Israel over what he called was “disproportionate” force against the Palestinians in the 2014 military campaign against Hamas in Gaza. On Sunday, during an interview on ABC’s “This Week” program, Sanders said, “You can’t just always nod your head to Netanyahu. He is wrong on occasion.”
Councilman David Greenfield called on Sanders to denounce the group. “These flyers are blatantly anti-Israel,” Greenfield tweeted. “Bernie Sanders needs to immediately denounce them.”
Sanders Yiddish ads blast 'wicked' Netanyahu, rightwing Zionists
Some candidates have even launched Yiddish-language ad campaigns micro-targeting New York’s Hasidic population.
While Orthodox Jews tend to lean more Republican than Democrat by a margin of 55% to 31%, some Hasidic sects, including the staunchly anti-Zionist Satmar, have lent their support in the past to Democratic candidates.
Yiddish flyers distributed by a pro-Sanders group and bearing the official logo of the Sanders campaign, have targeted this niche audience by emphasizing the Vermont Senator’s disapproval of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Some of the flyers even employ the Hebrew curse “may the name of the wicked rot” in regards to Israel’s Prime Minister.
“Some self-interested haredi figures have attacked the Democratic candidate for president, Bernie Sanders, calling on [the Jewish public] not to vote for him. The real reason [for their opposition] is because Sanders refuses to bow down to radical right-wing Zionists, and because he does not agree with the radical policies of Netanyahu, may the name of the wicked rot”.
By comparison, a Yiddish advertisement run by the Cruz campaign touted the Texas Senator’s conservative bona fides and religious faith.
“Presidential candidate Ted Cruz is the first and only since President Reagan who believes that God is the one who decides who will be elected president of the US, which is why he is confident that he will be elected.”
Comment: What Bernie Sanders overlooks when he talks about Israeli proportionality
For most of the 2016 Presidential campaign, foreign policy issues have played a secondary role, but Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders’ response to questions about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has generated considerable attention on the eve of the New York primary.
Recently, Sanders threw around random numbers with respect to civilians killed in the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, the terrorist organization ruling over the Gaza Strip. Confusion about the precise figures is not disqualifying, but even more troubling than having only a distant familiarity with one of the most high profile issues a sitting US Senator confronts is the language Sanders chose to criticize Israeli conduct in its war of self-defense.
Sanders is among those who argue for a “proportional response” to terrorists. This is a notion many find baffling, as the merciless attacks by terror groups focus overwhelmingly on their attempts to murder as many innocent civilians as possible. In such a political and military context, one wonders what the advocates of proportionality really mean given Webster’s definition of “having a size, number or amount that is directly related to or appropriate for something.”
Bernie Sanders, Israel, and the law of war
Somehow, Senator Bernie Sanders fancies himself an informed judge on the laws of war - alternately referred to as either "humanitarian international law," or the "law of armed conflict" - but his current judgments are woefully incorrect. In accusing Israel of using "disproportionate force" against Palestinians, this "shoot-from-the-hip" presidential aspirant ignores both the critical regional context of Israel's self-defense responses to terrorism, and the authentic legal meaning of "proportionality." In essence, although plainly unknown to the Senator, this meaning has nothing to do with equivalence, or with any obligatory legal matching of reprisals against Palestinian force.
Jurisprudentially, the rule of proportionality is never merely a matter of "common sense." It is, rather, an established norm of long-settled, codified, and customary international law. More precisely, this authoritative rule stipulates, among other things, that every belligerent's resort to armed force be purposely limited to what is presumed necessary to meet appropriate military objectives.
Under no circumstances, does this binding principle suggest that each party to an ongoing conflict must intentionally seek to impose only symmetrical harms upon the enemy. If that sort of "common sense" suggestion were actually correct, there would then be no modern historical equivalent to America's grievously "disproportionate" attacks on European and Japanese cities during World War II. Indeed, by that inapplicable standard, Dresden, Cologne, Hiroshima and Nagasaki would represent the documented nadir of inhumane belligerency; unassailably, the modern world's very worst violations of the law of war.
In all war, whether fully-blown world wars, or regional counter-terrorist operations, legal judgments need not be made in an historical vacuum.
In all war, in other words, background "counts."
Reality v. Democrats’ Israel Debate
The disconnect here is not so much between Netanyahu and Obama, Sanders and J Street as it is between these Democrats and the realities of Palestinian politics. The one thing missing from the complaints of Israel’s critics about Netanyahu is any acknowledgment that it is the Palestinians that not only refuse to make peace. More than that, they continue to ignore PA and Hamas incitement to hatred against Jews and Israel that is rooted in traditional anti-Semitic themes rather than a desire to improve upon the already generous offers the Jewish state has made for peace. The stabbing intifada demonstrated that Palestinian public opinion continues to not only see Jewish sovereignty anywhere in the country as unacceptable but to consider bloody attacks on individual Jews, whether in the settlements, Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, as praiseworthy.
To the contrary, rather than encouraging peace, stands such as those of Sanders, and the European countries that he cites as backing up his slurs about the Gaza war, are instead giving the Palestinians the impression that they should redouble their terror efforts rather than make peace.
As unrealistic as Sanders’ economic positions may be, his opinions about the Middle East that are being applauded on the left as a refreshing dissent from the bipartisan support for Israel that exists in this country, are based on even greater fantasies. It would be helpful for the cause of peace if Sanders’ certain defeat in the Democratic race were interpreted as a sign that his party was rejecting his desire to create even more daylight between Washington and Jerusalem than has been the case since Obama became president. But there is no denying that the leftward tilt of the party is a sign that support for Israel is no longer a matter of consensus among Democrats. That’s something that ought to worry not only friends of Israel but also anyone who hopes that the Palestinians will someday give up their futile opposition to the existence of a Jewish state.
Anti-Israel Activist Linked to Terror Investigation Is Bernie Sanders Supporter
A prominent Palestinian-American activist campaigning on behalf of Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders has been linked to a terrorism investigation and has in the past insinuated that violence is a legitimate form of resistance against Israel, according to information compiled by the Washington Free Beacon.
Linda Sarsour, a pro-Palestinian activist, has come out full force for Sanders, spearheading a get-out-the-vote campaign to galvanize the Muslim community in support of Sanders.
Sarsour’s past, which includes fierce criticism of Israel and “Zionism,” puts her in company with a handful of other Sanders supporters who have expressed similar anti-Israel views. These surrogates have raised questions about Sanders’ position on the Jewish state and his vision for the region.
Sanders was recently forced to suspend his Jewish outreach coordinator after the Free Beacon disclosed comments maligning Israel and its government.
Sarsour has been designated by the Obama administration as a “champion of change.” She used this position to attack pro-Israel activists, including one African-American pro-Israel voice who Sarsour accused of forgetting “where she came from.”
The activist also has lashed out against Zionism, tweeting in 2012, “Nothing is creepier than Zionism. Challenge racism.”
Sarsour also has weighed in on the presidential elections, specifically by attacking Republicans.
In response to a 2015 tweet by Republican presidential contender Ted Cruz, who wrote that America “remains a nation built on Judeo-Christian values,” Sarsour responded, “Genocide and slavery?”
Sarsour also has come under fire for appearing to endorse Palestinian rock throwing.
In one October 2015 tweet, Sarsour attached a picture of a young boy holding rocks and included the message, “The definition of courage #Palestine.”
Sarsour in 2012: NYPD Informants ‘Manufacture’ Terrorism Cases Against American Muslims
Palestinian-American activist and Bernie Sanders supporter Linda Sarsour said in 2012 that she believed the New York Police Department’s informants had manufactured terrorism cases against American Muslims.
Sarsour appeared on the “Arab Voices” radio program to discuss, among other issues, the “anti-Muslim sentiment in New York.”
“The cases that they have supposed foiled, we believe many of those cases are entrapment cases,” she said. “We believe that the NYPD informants actually manufacture these cases so they can justify the funding that comes to the NYPD.”
Sarsour recounted several cases that she said fell under this category, including that of Algerian-born Ahmed Ferhani, who she said had a history of mental illness. An investigation revealed he and a partner wished to attack a synagogue. She also mentioned the case of Shahawar Matin Siraj, who she said had an IQ of 75. According to the NYPD, he and an accomplice planned to blow up the Herald Square subway station.
“As an American, I would question the plots that the NYPD talks about,” she said.
U.S. Jews Torn between Adding Trump Fans or Bernie Bros as 11th Plague at Passover Dinner (satire)
Ahead of Passover, many Jewish Americans are debating which extra plague to include in the Seder night recitation of the Ten Plagues of Egypt.
“Trump fans and Bernie Bros are as idiotic and dangerous as each other,” said Ira Abrahmovitz, who is weighing which group to add to the list of biblical plagues that Jews read out alone during Seder. “Whether by fascism or socialism, their chosen candidates both stand to enslave America,” the Manhattan resident told the Mideast Beast. “Trumpians are violent racists who reject God’s teaching that we’re all made in His image. And BernieBots, while claiming to be peace-loving universalists, are nothing but cultic delusionaries too young to remember the true horrors of ‘socialist revolution.’”
For Danny Goldberg of Los Angeles, the choice is also proving difficult; his family is even considering adding both an eleventh and twelfth plague. “They’re different sides of the same Pharaonic coin,” he told TMB. “For the love of God and the preservation of the Land of the Free, grow a brain and vote Clinton or Kasich!”
However, for Rabbi Sarah Kerstenbaum – leader of the nation’s largest Reform synagogue – the choice is simpler: “Blood, frogs, lice, wild animals, pestilence, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, death of first born – and racist, misogynistic neo-Nazis who need to be rounded up and re-settled in northern Alaska!”
JPost Editorial: UNESCO fiasco
After publishing a piece in October 2015 about the Temple Mount titled “Historical Certainty Proves Elusive at Jerusalem’s Holiest Place,” The New York Times was forced to issue the following correction: “... the article implied incorrectly that questions among scholars about the location of the temples potentially affected Jewish claims to the site and Israel’s broader assertion of sovereignty over Jerusalem.
In fact, as the article was later corrected to clarify, the scholarly debate is a narrower one, focused on the precise location on the Temple where the long destroyed temples once stood...archeological and historical uncertainties about the site – unlike assertions by some Palestinians that the temples never existed – do not directly challenge Jewish claims to the Temple Mount.”
After being duped into entering a twilight zone dominated by narratives with no basis in fact, the Times found its way into the light of truth, and this is commendable. Even in its correction, however, the Times remained captive to the problematic claim that archeological and historical certainties, or uncertainties, had the power to affirm or undermine Jewish claims to sovereignty in Jerusalem.
But should Jews’ claims to sovereignty in Israel be based on the veracity of archeological finds? We can think of no other nation in the world whose sovereignty hinges on the remains found at an archeological dig. True, Israelis and Palestinians are engaged in a territorial dispute. But referencing ancient history does not clarify the conflict, it only complicates it further by engaging in a game of who was here first, when the question at hand is how can we live together now.
No intellectually honest person seriously doubts that the Jewish people has religious, cultural and historical ties to the Land of Israel. Attempts to deny these ties are a perversion of science. That UNESCO is engaging in such perversion is a tragic testimony to the sorrowful state of UN institutions.
The self-destruction of UNESCO
Would it be overly unreasonable to expect the Secretary General of the UN to voice his reservation and total rejection of, and disassociation from this decision and to call for its revocation?
By the same token, rather than vaguely paying lip-service and calling for “respect and dialogue with regards to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound or Temple Mount, revered by both Muslims and Jews”, might it not be unreasonable to expect that the Director-General of UNESCO actively and urgently intervenes in order to have the resolution revoked and to institute a review of the politicization of the functioning of her organization?
With a view to saving UNESCO and preventing its total self-destruction, the member-states must undertake a thorough and urgent review of the manner in which their organization, its integrity and the viability of its continued functioning as a specialized agency, have been prejudiced, abused and hijacked to serve the political aims of the Arab and Moslem states.
The US, Israel and other responsible states should suspend their continued membership in UNESCO, including payment of membership fees and cultural and scientific cooperation, until the organization takes the measures necessary to reverse its acute political radicalization, and returns to fulfill the functions for which it was established.
States that supported the resolution – and among them France, which is seeking to host an international conference and to play a central role in the Israel-Palestinian peace process, should be called upon by the Israeli leadership to announce the revocation of their vote and to disassociate themselves from the decision.
UNESCO Chief Seeks To Calm Anger Over Jerusalem Holy Site
The UN cultural body on Monday sought to calm anger over a resolution on a flashpoint Jerusalem holy site which saw Israel accuse it of seeking to “rewrite history”.
UNESCO chief Irina Bokova called for “respect and dialogue” with regards to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, revered by both Muslims and Jews, who refer to the site as the Temple Mount.
“Jerusalem is a Holy Land of the three monotheistic religions, a place of dialogue for all Jewish, Christian and Muslim people. Nothing should be undertaken to alter its integrity and authenticity,” Bokova said in a statement.
“Only respect and dialogue can build the trust we need to move forward.”
The UNESCO executive board on Thursday adopted a resolution on “Occupied Palestine” presented by several Arab countries.
UNESCO Erases Jewish Connection to Temple Mount, Kotel
UNESCO apparently agrees with this narrative, asserting that Israel had placed “Jewish fake graves” in Muslim cemeteries. UNESCO, charged with protecting culturally significant sites, ignores the fact that, rather than protecting holy sites, Palestinian groups have been desecrating and destroying them, including Rachel's Tomb, Joseph's Tomb and the Church of the Nativity.
The UNESCO resolution denounced the “new cycle of violence, since October 2015, in the context of the constant aggressions by the Israeli settlers and other extremist groups against Palestinian residents including schoolchildren, and asks Israel, the Israeli authorities to prevent such aggressions.”
Yes, though Palestinian leadership has been inciting violence against Israelis and Jews, UNESCO lays the blame on Israel and does not even refer to the scores of fatalities and casualties from Palestinian terror attacks.
Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States were the six votes in opposition to the resolution. France, Spain, Sweden, and Russia were among the 33 countries that supported it.
Justice for Alberto Nisman and Victims of Iranian Terror Inches Closer
The Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank this week presented its Alberto Nisman Award for Courage to Judge Royce Lamberth. A senior district judge for the District of Columbia, Lamberth is no stranger to the Iranian-backed terrorism that cost Alberto Nisman his life as he investigated Tehran’s responsibility for the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires. In 2003, Lamberth ruled that the Iranian regime would have to pay more than $2 billion to the families of the 241 U.S. Marines murdered in Beirut in 1983 by a Hezbollah bomb.
“Based on the evidence presented by the expert witnesses at trial, the court finds that it is beyond question that Hezbollah and its agents received massive material and technical support from the Iranian government,” Lamberth wrote at the time. Much the same can be said of the AMIA atrocity, which claimed the lives of 85 people and which came just two years after another Iranian-sponsored attack in Argentina—the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, which killed 29 people and wounded hundreds more. But in Nisman’s case, his unmasking of Iranian culpability, along with the Argentine government’s decision to shield the mullahs from investigation, is what has fueled the widespread suspicion that this courageous federal prosecutor was murdered for speaking truth to power.
Since, sadly, Nisman is not yet a household name among Jews in general, some reminder of both his life’s work and the circumstances of his death is probably in order. In 2004, Nisman was appointed by Argentina’s then-president, Nestor Kirchner, to take over the AMIA investigation, which had descended into a farce by avoiding the Iranian connection and concentrating solely on low-level local operatives. With Nestor Kirchner’s support, Nisman formally accused Iran and Hezbollah of orchestrating the attack. His indictment named Iran’s top leaders as having approved the bombing, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, then-president Ali Hashemi Rafsanjani, and then-foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati.
Tens of thousands participate in March of the Living in Hungary
Three Christian bishops were among tens of thousands who took part Sunday in the March of the Living in Hungary, as well as the country's largest anti-racist rally of the year.
"It is a historic moment, when the leaders of the Christian and the Jewish religion are on the same stage together,” Gabor Gordon, the head of the March of the Living Hungary Foundation, said in his introduction.
It marked the first time that three Christian bishops took part together in the march, which is held annually to commemorate the deportation of Hungarian Jewry to the Auschwitz concentration camp, and gave speeches on the same stage. March of the Living is now in its 14th year.
Janos Szekely, a Roman Catholic bishop, said: "We are here now at the March of the Living in Budapest to express our pain and repentance over the killing of more than half a million Hungarian Jewish compatriots.”
The march started from the downtown Dohany Street Synagogue and ended at the downtown Basilica, the largest Catholic Church in Budapest.
It began with a moment of silence in memory of Imre Kertész, the Hungarian Jewish writer who died earlier this month at 87, and whose Holocaust novels won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2002.
French-Jewish philosopher attacked at event for pro-Israel views
Alain Finkielkraut, a pro-Israel, left-wing philosopher who was recently recognized as one of France’s greatest thinkers, was violently ejected from a public gathering on labor laws.
Finkielkraut, who is Jewish, was spat on and heckled by protesters shouting “fascist” and “racist” on Saturday at a rally organized by the Nuit Debout, or White Night, platform, set up in March 31 in opposition to laws proposed by the government of President Francois Hollande, a Socialist, that would make it easier for employers to fire workers in order to help France’s stagnant economy to grow.
Finkielkraut was filmed leaving the gathering, where he came only to listen to speeches, with his wife as insults were shouted at him. He initially tried to engage the hecklers, telling them: “I’m also a human being, am I not?” before he finally gave up and left.
Actress and filmmaker Ronit Elkabetz dies at age 51
Ronit Elkabetz, one of the brightest stars in the Israeli film industry, died on April 19 of cancer at the age of 51.
The public is invited to pay its respects on Wednesday at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be a memorial service for her there at 12 p.m. and at 3 p.m. there will be a funeral at Kiryat Shaul.
Her death is a terrible loss for Israeli cinema, since she was both Israel’s leading actress and an important director.
She was a great actress who lit up the screen whenever she appeared on it. When Elkabetz stepped into the frame, even if her character was not the focus of the scene, it was impossible to look at anyone else. She was stunning, a great beauty, but it was much more than her beauty that commanded attention. She came alive on screen, as only a handful of actors in the world ever can. When she performed, she disappeared into the character.
Oracle buys Crosswise for $50 million
Oracle has acquired Crosswise, the startup that helps advertisers and marketers with cross-device advertising, personalization and analytics. Financial details of the deal were not announced but reports say the multinational computer technology corporation paid $50 million for the Israeli startup.
Crosswise solves a difficult problem for advertisers. Its technology identifies the different devices users are using and then helps advertisers personalize their content on each device.
Crosswise’s innovative technology processes over one petabyte of user and device activity data from billions of unique devices every month. By applying advanced data science and proprietary machine-learning techniques to this data, Crosswise constructs a new probabilistic Device Map matching multiple devices to individual users.
Oracle says its acquisition of Crosswise will be added to its Oracle Data Cloud.
Girl, 12, finds ancient Egyptian amulet at Jerusalem dig
An ancient Egyptian amulet was uncovered in Jerusalem by a young girl taking part in a family dig in the capital.
The amulet has been dated to 3,200 years ago and bears the name of Pharaoh Thutmose III, a prominent figure from the Eighteenth Dynasty who reigned from 1479 BCE to 1425 BCE, the City of David organization said on Tuesday.
Neshama Spielman, from Jerusalem, found the artifact four years ago at a dig organized by the City of David and the Temple Mount Sifting Project, which works to examine tons of dirt removed without archaeological supervision from the Temple Mount by the Muslim Waqf. Details of the find and its identification, however, have only now been revealed. Spielman, who is aged 12, was just 8 when she made the find.
The piece was taken away for laboratory testing, and the Spielman family only received a phone call this month telling them the amulet had been identified.
Spielman was sifting through dirt at the Emek Tzurim national park on the slopes of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem when she noticed the small rectangular object.
Hundreds of new immigrants celebrate 'Aliyah Day'
Hundreds of new immigrants from all over the world gathered in Tel Aviv on Sunday to mark "Aliyah Day," which celebrates the Jewish people coming together in Israel.
The event was a cooperative project by new immigrant community organization TLV International; Nefesh B'Nefesh; the Am Yisrael Foundation and its president, Jay Shultz; and the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality.
A bill proposing that the day be formalized as a national holiday has already passed a first reading in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation and is scheduled to be presented for second and third readings in the Knesset soon. The bill has widespread support among both coalition and opposition MKs.
Nefesh B'Nefesh Executive Vice President Zev Gershinsky said, "Aliyah Day is a significant landmark in helping thousands of new immigrants come to Israel. We're proud to be a driving force behind putting Aliyah Day on the Israel calendar as a day that celebrates both Jewish tradition through history and the immense contribution of olim from all over the world in building modern-day Israel."
The Christian Zionist Officer Who Helped Lay the Foundations of the IDF
When, in the midst of World War I, Britain acceded to Vladimir Jabotinsky’s lobbying and created a Jewish volunteer unit to join in the fight against the Ottomans, it appointed Colonel John Henry Patterson as its leader. Patterson, who was born in Ireland to a Protestant father and a Catholic mother, sympathized strongly with Zionism and was an outspoken opponent of anti-Semitism. Veterans of the unit he commanded later helped form the core of the Haganah. Patterson died in California in 1947, but it was not until 2014 that his wish to be buried alongside his men in Israel was fulfilled. Myrna Strapp, the attorney who made the re-interment possible, speaks about Patterson’s life and her battle to have his remains brought to Israel. (Interview by Yishai Fleischer; audio, 32 minutes.)

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