Sunday, January 15, 2017

From Ian:

Elliott Abrams: The Paris Peace Conference
What is the point of this endeavor? According to the French, it is to show support for the two-state solution and urge both parties, meaning Israel and the PLO, to negotiate. That is a demonstration of bias, because it is the PLO not Israel that has been refusing negotiations and rejecting peace plans again and again for years—indeed decades. To treat the government of Israel and the PLO as if their desire for peace were identical is wrong and unfair. If the participants at the conference truly wished to advance peace, they would be pressuring the Palestinians to stop rewarding and inciting terrorism by glorifying terrorists, and pressuring them to start negotiating seriously. This will not happen. There is every reason to believe Mr. Abbas will leave Paris satisfied with the circus and feeling zero real pressure to do anything at all.
The other point, perhaps the real point, of the conference is to pressure Israel to stop all settlement growth. In this sense it is a follow-up to UN Security Council resolution 2334 of December, and shares its conclusion that the real barrier to peace is the increasingly rapid, uncontrollable, endless, limitless growth of Israeli settlements. But this is false, as the statistics show. Settlement populations are growing, at about four percent a year, but the notion that they are rapidly gobbling up the West Bank and making peace impossible is a fiction.
There may be a third objective for the conference: pressing President-Elect Trump not to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. We can expect language about leaving Jerusalem as a final status issue and doing nothing at all that changes the status quo. If you believe the President-Elect will be dissuaded by such a declaration from a conference such as this, well, I don’t agree.
So the conference will soon be nearly forgotten, and go down as yet another feeble effort to undermine Israel’s legitimacy. Of course if you ask the French, they will angrily deny that this was their purpose. I agree that it was not the purpose, but it is the effect, predictably. Like Resolution 2334, it is another diplomatic blow against the Jewish State, trying to isolate it and criticize it and undermine its ideological and diplomatic defenses. And meanwhile, this very month, we will see the PLO pay more money to prisoners convicted of terrorist acts and name more schools or parks or squares after murderers and would-be murderers. But there will be no Paris conference about all of that.
Why the Palestinian Question Won’t Be Resolved by the Paris Conference
Yet while the change of administration in Washington may strengthen Israel’s diplomatic position for the immediate period, and while the Palestinians will have to get to the back of the line in terms of international priorities, the Palestinian question itself will not disappear. In many ways, it will find its status enhanced.
To begin with, there’s the public domain. And this brings us to something that the Europeans have never understood: The historic Palestinian strategy has never been about achieving statehood, but about preventing a negotiated solution in order to perpetuate the image of the Palestinians as the people to whom history has dealt the cruelest blow. It’s why the Palestinians make deliberately unrealistic demands, like the “right of return”—a goal the Palestine Liberation Organization originally pledged to achieve through violence—and suing the United Kingdom for the 1917 Balfour Declaration.
In terms of building up public support around the world, it’s a strategy that has worked. Hence, we can assume that if President-elect Donald Trump does a 180-degree turn on President Obama’s approach to the Israelis, the narrative of the Palestinians—ignored by America, facing 50 years of “occupation” under Israel—will become emblematic of public resistance to the foreign policies of the Trump administration. In the American context, the Democratic Party is now the most significant barometer of that process.
The Palestinians can also play power politics. They can carry on with their campaign to achieve membership in international bodies as an independent state. They can curry favor with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the next stage of his conflict with the West. And they can insert themselves into domestic issues—rising anti-Semitism, the political culture on university campuses, the legality of boycotts—in a way that few other foreign policy issues can do.
As I said, Netanyahu may well be right about the last gasp of Obama’s strategy to secure Palestinian independence. But none of us should believe that these battles are over.

An indulgent, damaging MidEast "peace" conference
The French initiative for a conference was made tempting with promises of incentive packages for both Israel and the Palestinians if agreement could be reached on a peace arrangement.
It is laudatory that each people understand the basic needs of the other party. But there is a basic asymmetry in the situation. There are legitimate disagreements on Israeli settlements, but the state of Israel threatens no other nation or people.
On the contrary it seeks satisfaction of its security needs and defense against unending terrorist attacks, most recently in the truck attack in Jerusalem. Israel is not reinforcing the worst stereotypes of Palestinians or Arabs or Muslims when it accuses them and responds to terrorist attacks.
It is time for the international community to consider the real nature of the problem. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict exists and has always existed because of the refusal of Palestinians to acknowledge the right of Israel, a Jewish state, to exist.
The US administrations, particularly Secretary of State John Kerry, have forgotten the statement of Madeleine Albright in March 1994 when she was US Secretary of State, “We simply do not support the description of the territories occupied by Israel in the 1967 war as ‘occupied Palestinian territory.’”
The solution can only come through negotiations between the two parties, bilateral talks, and not by statements or intervention by the US, the UN, or any other nation or international body.

IsraellyCool: Paris Peace Conference On Israel-Palestine Will Ignore French Law
Today in France 70 nations will come together in Paris and blindly ignore the legal ruling of a highly significant French court (Court of Appeal of Versailles) just a few years ago. They will most likely issue a statement which creates the impression that Israel’s activities in Judea and Samaria are illegal.
I wrote a couple of weeks ago that there hasn’t been a proper legal case to decide the legality of Jews living in the lands captured back from Jordan in ’67, specifically Judea, Samaria and parts of Jerusalem. I was wrong! There was exactly such a case and, even though I’ve written about it, it has received almost no attention and been buried.
Here’s a very simplistic background on how western legal systems operate. In a Western country founded on Judeo-Christian principles, some form of elected body decides to pass and enact laws. Perhaps there is a foundational document (like the US Constitution) or centuries of history and a set of procedures and prior law on how stuff is done (the UK). One thing that unites all these systems is that new laws must be tested in court.
A law enters the books when the elected officials have all agreed on it, but until someone breaks the law or challenges it in some way, it isn’t fully tested.
NGO Monitor: French Funding to NGOs Involved in Boycott Campaigns and with Alleged Ties to Terror Groups
An international peace summit, spearheaded by the French government, will be held on January 15, 2017, in Paris. In this report, NGO Monitor documents French government support of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that support discriminatory BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel and with alleged ties to terror groups. This type of financial support casts doubts on the ability of France to serve as an impartial host of a summit dedicated to peace.
Executive Summary
  • The French government funds numerous French, Israeli, and Palestinian organizations that support and promote BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel, despite the fact that such boycotts are illegal under French law.
  • The Platform of French NGOs for Palestine (The Platform) is one such grantee. One of the Platform’s government-funded projects is explicitly geared towards influencing elected officials, media, and public opinion regarding the conflict – an obvious abuse of taxpayer money. The Platform supports boycott campaigns targeting Israel and partners with organizations instrumental in BDS efforts.
  • France directly and indirectly funds several other NGOs with alleged ties to the PFLP terror group.
JPost Editorial: Israeli-Palestinian peace conference: No tango in Paris
Jerusalem is concerned that President Barack Obama – with just six days left in office – will use the conference to drive a final nail in the coffin of the so-called peace process. The scenario speculates that Kerry will urge the conference to approve a draft resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which could then be approved by the Security Council just before Obama leaves office on Friday.
A hint of this dire possibility is that, despite France’s declaration that the issue of dividing Jerusalem into two capitals would not be raised at the conference, the topic will be discussed at a last-minute meeting of senior officials before it convenes, where the parley’s concluding statement is expected to be finalized.
Conferences in Paris will not bring peace. That will only come from negotiations. For peace to happen, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas needs to first come to Jerusalem and meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The problem is that Abbas is a known rejectionist. He rejected the peace deal offered to him by Ehud Olmert in 2008 and has since remained intransigent in his refusal to even meet Netanyahu.
While France might be sincere in its desire to see peace come to the Middle East, holding a conference is misguided. Unfortunately, the more the international community supports Abbas’s unilateral diplomatic delegitimization campaign, the more stubborn he will become in his refusal to sit down for real and sincere negotiations.
Our suggestion – cancel the meeting in Paris.
Israeli UN Envoy: Paris Peace Conference a Reward to Palestinians for Avoiding Negotiations While Promoting Terrorism
The international diplomatic conference set to be held in Paris on Sunday and attended by outgoing US Secretary of State John Kerry will be a “reward to the Palestinians for continuing to avoid negotiations while promoting terrorism,” Israel’s UN envoy said on Thursday.
Ambassador Danny Danon sounded the alarm about potential moves against Israel at the UN next week before US President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday.
“We are witnessing an attempt to promote a last-minute initiative before the new US administration takes office,” Danon said. “Supporters of the Palestinians are looking for further anti-Israel measures at the Security Council.”
“The hypocrisy and the obsessive focus on Israel has reached new heights,” Danon went on to say. “These one-sided initiatives not only fail in bringing us closer to peace, but they actually encourage terrorism like we saw in last week’s horrific attack in Jerusalem.”
EXCLUSIVE - PLO Official: We are Working for EU Recognition of 'State of Palestine'
The Palestinian leadership is working with Western governments on a movement for European countries to unilaterally recognize Palestine as an independent state, a member of the PLO executive council told Breitbart Jerusalem.
He said that the Palestinians are working in conjunction with members of the European Union to advance a motion to recognize Palestinian statehood following Sunday’s Middle East summit in Paris. He added that some members of the Obama administration support the effort, although it was not clear that the Obama administration itself would make any public declaration to that effect.
“Its significance lies not only in the number of states that will recognize Palestine, but also in the fact that Palestine will become the world’s only state that is under occupation, which will pose a real challenge for the community of nations,” he claimed.
The PLO council member said the Palestinian Authority hopes to take the “Palestine” recognition campaign to the UN Security Council after the Paris summit, but he conceded that the White House does not currently back any move at the UN on the matter.
“We and our European partners, as well as some officials in the US State Department, hope that the summit creates some kind of leverage that will persuade the White House to throw its weight behind it,” he said. “Our stated goal is that the June 1967 borders will be reiterated as the future borders of the Palestinian State, including East Jerusalem. We also seek to set a deadline for the establishment of a Palestinian state which, if missed, the UN will impose sanctions on Israel just like the ones imposed on South Africa in the 1980s and 1990s and on Iran more recently. We have to establish a position whereby Israel is a danger to world peace no less that the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations.”
Pro-Israel demonstrators march in Paris against peace summit
Hundreds of pro-Israel demonstrators marched in Paris on Sunday to protest against an international peace conference held in the French capital aimed at finding a fresh path to reaching a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
France hosted more than 70 countries at the summit in an effort to revive the moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process, though Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has derided the summit as “pointless” and “rigged” against the Jewish state.
Protesters from France and abroad gathered outside the Israeli Embassy in Paris and waved the national flag of the Jewish state. Some carried banners with slogans of “500,000 killed in Iraq. Even one Paris summit?” and “The illusion of peace by sacrificing Israel.”
The conference is expected to condemn Israeli settlement building and urge Israel and the Palestinians “to officially restate their commitment to the two-state solution.”
Kerry to Netanyahu: US won't support new UN resolution after Paris parley
The United States will oppose any efforts to codify any decree that may emerge from the Middle East peace conference on Sunday into a UN Security Council resolution, US Secretary of State John Kerry told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a phone conversation.
Israeli sources said that Kerry called Netanyahu from the conference on Sunday to brief him on the efforts the US was making at the conference to soften the language of the final resolution.
According to the sources, Netanyahu told Kerry that damage has already been done to Israel by the anti-settlement resolution that the US allowed to pass in the Security Council last month, and that no more harm should be allowed to be caused to Israel from the Paris summit.
Kerry, the sources said, assured Netanyahu that there would be no follow-up to the Paris conference in the Security Council.
Earlier on Sunday, Netanyahu said the conference in Paris was “futile” and the “final palpitations” of yesterday’s world.
In ‘snub,’ UK sends low-level delegation to Paris summit
The United Kingdom has reportedly refused to send a high-level delegation to the Paris peace conference in a bid to appease US President-elect Donald Trump.
Rather than sending a minister or the French ambassador to Sunday’s conference, which hosted representatives from 70 countries, the United Kingdom had junior diplomats attend, The Guardian reported on Sunday.
That move was designed to placate Trump, the report suggested. Trump has reportedly conveyed to French diplomats his disapproval of the conference, which Israel has rejected as “pointless.”
Representing the UK at the conference was the head of the Middle East desk of the Foreign Office, Michael Howells, as well as two advisers to the UK envoy to Paris, the report said.
The United Kingdom last month voted in favor of the UN Security Council resolution lambasting Israeli settlements, which passed after Washington refrained from exercising its veto.
France warns of ‘serious consequences’ if US Embassy moved
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault warned Sunday that moving the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would result in “extremely serious consequences.”
Speaking as representatives from 70 countries gathered in Paris to try to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts, Ayrault told French TV he believed US President-elect Donald Trump would find it “impossible” to fulfill the pledge he made during his campaign to transfer the embassy.
“When you are president of the United States, you cannot take such a stubborn and such a unilateral view on this issue. You have to try to create the conditions for peace,” Ayrault said.
Trump hasn’t yet laid out a clear Mideast policy, but has signaled he will be more sympathetic to Israel’s hard-line right than previous US administrations.
Samantha Power Warns Against Cutting US Funding to UN
US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power on Friday warned that cutting US funding to the United Nations would be “extremely detrimental” to American interests, one week before Donald Trump’s administration takes office.
Addressing her final news conference, Power told reporters that “countries like Russia and China” would benefit from Washington’s reduced standing at the United Nations if funding were withdrawn.
“We lead the world, in part, by leading at the UN,” said Power, who is stepping down next week after four years as President Barack Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations.
“If we were to tie our hands behind our back or strip this organization of programming” to support peace mediation or humanitarian work, “this would be extremely detrimental to US interests,” she said.
Power spoke after a bill was introduced in the US Senate that would slash all US funding to the United Nations until a Security Council resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements is repealed.
In Response to UN Settlements Resolution, Zionist Moon Base Plans Revealed (Satire)
In response to the recent United Nations Security Council resolution regarding Israeli settlements, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced Israel will be launching a space expedition from its Palmachim Airbase to find suitable land to build new settlements on.
Naturally, the Obama administration condemned the decision without really knowing why but mainly because of a nagging doubt that if Netanyahu wants to do it, it’s probably wrong:
“Jewish…I mean Israeli settlements, have no right to be there,” President Obama commented.
Across the pond in the European Union, key leaders said the decision is only likely to hinder peace: “Jews have the right to live anywhere safely,” a spokesman said, “Just not on the Moon, Europe and especially not in the West Bank. That prime spot is reserved for our settlements. We really don’t want to have to start expelling Jews again.”
Fatah warns moving US embassy will ‘open gates of hell’
The spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party on Saturday warned that if the Trump administration moves the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, it will “open the gates of hell.”
Fatah spokesman Osama Qawasmeh said Donald Trump’s campaign promise, if implemented, would negate chances for peace and stability in the region, and “the Palestinian people won’t allow that happen,” according to Israel Radio. To move the embassy, he said, would be to “open the gates of hell in the region and in the whole world.”
On Friday, Abbas told Le Figaro the Palestinians might revoke their recognition of Israel: If the embassy transfer takes place, “there would be several options for us, and we would discuss them with Arab countries,” Abbas said. “Reversing our recognition of the State of Israel is one of them. But we hope that it doesn’t reach that point, and that, on the contrary, we will be able to work with the next American administration,” he added.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Donald Trump To Move Al Aqsa To Tel Aviv (Satire)
President-elect Donald Trump intends to complement the move of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by arranging for a transfer in the opposite direction of a mosque that has become a flashpoint for sectarian violence, a member of his transition team announced today.
Spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway told reporters Sunday that Donald Trump will order the two moves to occur in parallel, within the first few months of taking office. Trump’s inauguration will take place this Friday.
Conway explained that the violence that various leaders have warned will result from moving the embassy to Israel’s declared capital will prove to be mere sound and fury, and that the incoming administration can kill two birds with one stone by cementing US recognition of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem through the embassy move and eliminating a point of friction between Muslims and Jews with the mosque relocation.
“Al Aqsa has been a rallying cry for Muslims since the 1920’s, based on the libel that ‘the Jews’ plan to raze the mosque and build their Temple,” she observed. “Even though Zionism, especially at the time, was a secular movement uninterested in the religious aspects of Jewish rebirth in the ancestral Jewish homeland. The same call to ‘save’ Al-Aqsa from the designs of the Israeli government – a government led by the secular Likud Party – has sparked the Second Intifada and the current wave of stabbing and automotive attacks by Palestinians. It has to go. Since we’re going to be repurposing our Tel Aviv facility once it ceases to function as an embassy, an obvious choice for its new designation is Al-Aqsa II.”
Israel foiled 1,226 smuggling attempts at Gaza crossing last year
In 2016, Israeli security personnel prevented 1,226 attempts to smuggle illicit goods like drones and scuba gear into the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing, a significant increase over the previous year, the Defense Ministry announced Sunday.
On average, nearly 500 trucks entered the Strip loaded with goods each day in 2016, a 13 percent increase from 2015, according to the ministry.
In order to prevent the production of weapons and the digging of so-called terror tunnels, Israel’s Coordinator for the Government’s Actions in the Territories (COGAT) maintains a strict list of what goods may not be on those trucks.
For instance, certain chemical compounds, gas tanks and drilling equipment are not allowed into Gaza at all. But also some “dual purpose” materials, like electrical cables and cameras, which can be used for either benign or nefarious ends, are heavily regulated, if not outright forbidden, by Israel.
IDF tanks fire at Hamas targets in response to Gaza border shooting
The IDF fired towards Hamas positions in the southern Gaza Strip in response to shots that were fired towards the IDF vehicle earlier Sunday, the IDF Spokesperson’s Office said.
According to the IDF, the rounds, fired by a tank, was in retaliation to gunfire which damaged an IDF vehicle working near the border fence earlier.
Farmers in the area were advised by the army to stop working in the fields and to remain in their homes.
A similar incident occurred in December when shots were fired at IDF troops near the southern Gaza Strip and IDF artillery returned fire.
The cross-border incident on Sunday occurred as civilians in Gaza organized demonstrations protesting against a serious lack of electricity and gas in the Strip. Hamas is reported to have threatened to resume rocket fire against Israel, blaming Jerusalem for the crisis.
Hamas says Turkey to send fuel to end Gaza electricity crisis
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said Saturday that Turkey has pledged to send large amounts of fuel to the Gaza Strip in an effort to end the crippling electricity shortage in the Palestinian enclave, which has sparked rare public protests.
Gaza’s Hamas rulers have detained hundreds of people in recent days in an effort to quell the protests that have rocked the Strip.
In a press release, Haniyeh said the deal for the emergency assistance from Ankara was struck after days of “extensive efforts” to end the power crisis.
The diesel fuel would help re-open Gaza’s sole power plant, which supplies electricity to some 2.2 million Palestinian residents of the Strip.
Haniyeh is also expected to meet with Qatari leaders in the coming days to discuss long-term solutions to the regular electricity shortages in Gaza.
Arson is not legitimate criticism
Something is rotten in the city of Wuppertal in western Germany. The district court there recently ruled that the torching of a local synagogue in 2014, during Operation Protective Edge in the Gazs Strip, was not an anti-Semitic act. The three arsonists, of Arab descent, who, according to the judges, were simply trying "to draw attention to the conflict in Gaza," will not sit behind bars.
A lot of creativity -- or perhaps a disconnect from reality -- is needed to claim that vandalizing a synagogue is not anti-Semitism. And in Germany, where synagogues were a symbolic victim of Nazi anti-Semitism, this is a display of audacity of the first order. After all, the arsonists did not have a conflict with any of the synagogue's congregants. They chose the site because in their eyes -- in everyone's eyes -- a synagogue is a symbol of the Jewish people. They sought out a way to express burning hatred towards the people of Israel and their land. And so they torched a Jewish place of worship.
The delusional ruling whitewashes anti-Semitic violence. The judges are presenting the arson, which could have taken human life, as near-legitimate criticism. By the same distorted logic, one can justify any harm done and any act of terrorism. If the throwing a Molotov cocktail at a synagogue is nothing other than criticism of Israel, was the ramming of shoppers at the Christmas market in Berlin a way to criticize German society? And maybe the terrorists who flew planes into the twin towers in New York wanted to focus the public's attention on U.S. policy?
PreOccupiedTerritory: German Court Also Calls Lynching Of Blacks Legitimate Criticism Of Liberia (Satire)
Following a ruling in which a German court refused to define an attack of a synagogue as antisemtism, instead seeing it as a protest against Israeli policies, the same body acquitted several members of a lynch mob that had attacked an African migrant, reasoning that such an incident merely reflected frustration with the policies of the West African country of Liberia.
Justice Helmut Upp-Majaß ruled today that a group of youths who had bound, beaten, and tortured a 24-year-old Eritrean man could not be charged with a hate crime, as subjecting Africans to such treatment falls well into the accepted German framework of legitimate protest against the policies of African government. Legal experts note that the ruling will help clarify the law regarding a spate of alleged hate crimes in Germany.
“It is crucial that in the aftermath of the synagogue ruling, the parameters of hate crimes be better defined,” explained Sieg Heil, a Berlin attorney. “The consistency with which this point of law is applied remains to be seen, but it is important, given Germany’s and Europe’s fraught history with Jews, that it not become just another way in which Jews are singled out. The lumping together of East African refugees and sovereign West African governments will go a long way toward demonstrating that Jews are not receiving discriminatory treatment in this regard.”
What is a "Palestinian Citizen"?
I spotted this and it piqued my curiosity:
In the past, we would have read "Israeli Arabs demonstrate...".
They are not "Arabs" but "Palestinians".
Their nationality, even if born in Israel, is not Israeli.
PBS Ombudsman Upholds CAMERA Criticism of Ben Rhodes' Settlements Falsehood
In a thorough column Friday, Getler sought and received a response from Rhodes, and ultimately upheld CAMERA's correction request, stating "it merits some kind of correcting or clarifying statement by the NewsHour on the air or online or both." An excerpt of his post ("The Mailbag: Settlements, Settlement Units, Settlers") follows:
But in the course of the interview, Rhodes’ grip on strategic communications failed him at two points when he talked about “thousands of new settlements are being constructed” and later on when he said, “…when people look back and they say, you saw tens of thousands of settlements being constructed…”
CAMERA Focuses
On Jan. 10, I got an email from the ever-vigilant, pro-Israel, Boston-based media watch organization known as CAMERA, for Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America. It said, in part: “Ben Rhodes falsely claimed that Israel is constructing ‘tens of thousands’ of settlements in the West Bank. Zero settlements are under construction and there have been no new settlements in some two decades. The total number of settlements and illegal outposts combined, according to the anti-settlement watch group Peace Now, is 228. While Judy Woodruff did an overall professional job in this interview, she failed to challenge Rhodes on his completely inflated, false figure and to inform viewers that his figure was not even close. We urge PBS to broadcast a correction and post it online as well.”
I’ve asked the NewsHour about this and will post their response if and when I get one. For most people who have followed the seemingly never-ending Arab-Israeli dispute reasonably closely over the years, they will probably be aware that there are not tens of thousands or even thousands of Israeli settlements on the territories it occupied after the 1967 war. On the other hand, there are, in increasing numbers, several hundreds of thousands, of Israelis living within what are hundreds of settlements.
I contacted Rhodes and he responded quickly, saying in an email, “I assume I was referring to settlers/individual settlement units, rather than settlement blocs.” I asked what he meant by settlement units and he said he’d describe them as “housing, whereas settlements are generally used to refer to a cluster of houses (which can obviously take different forms—apartments, houses, etc).”
My Thoughts
So it seems clear to me that Rhodes misspoke when he talked about thousands and tens of thousands of settlements, but meaning what may be called settlement units or living quarters within established and official settlements. And it also seems to me that while this was a misstatement by a guest rather than the interviewer, it merits some kind of correcting or clarifying statement by the NewsHour on the air or online or both. I have some sympathy for both guest and interviewer on this because when one thinks about this issue, it is easy to slip in a live interview from settlements to settlers, and the focus usually is on the numbers of Israelis now living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Nevertheless, this is always a hot-button issue and worthy of keeping straight.
The Independent repeats ‘fake news’, claiming “50 racist laws” in Israel
Yesterday, The Independent published an op-ed by Nadia Hijab (This is the one good thing about Obama’s legacy in Israel – and John Kerry might be about to destroy it, Jan. 14th) which included the same claim.
Here’s the relevant passage – which was also repeated in the strap line:
Kerry’s principles are full of internal contradictions. For example, saying that Israel must be a “Jewish state” in which the 1.7 million Palestinian citizens of Israel “must be able to live as equal citizens” is not grounded in reality: there are already over 50 laws that discriminate against them, and Kerry’s principles do nothing to address these.
As we noted in September, CAMERA and NGO Monitor have refuted Adalah’s claims of “50 racist laws” in Israel – a charge used so carelessly that even an Israeli public health law requiring that parents vaccinate their children is characterised as a “racist law”.
Chilean neo-Nazis attack Jewish LGBT youth with razor
A young Jewish and homosexual activist was attacked at a park in Santiago, Chile by three men who carried neo-Nazi symbols.
Jorge Arce was walking Thursday at the Bustamante park wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the flag of Israel that his mother had given him recently. The attackers yelled “murderer” before punching him in the thorax and making several razor cuts on his arms and legs, reported El Mostrador news website.
“I had forty stitches on my arm. Some will be forever. Just for being Jewish. The pain overwhelms me,” he told the Movement for Integration and Homosexual Liberation, or MOVILH, which called the attack “an anti-Semitic and homophobic aggression.”
Arce is a member of the Hod Jews for Diversity, a Jewish group for sexual minorities and supporters of LGBT rights.
Archaeologists unearth ancient copper-smelting site dating to King David
A recently unearthed ancient copper-smelting site, numerous sling stones, and the remains of a deeply fortified wall found in the Negev’s Timna region by archeologists may buttress the biblical story of King David’s military victory against the Kingdom of Edom.
The archeological team, led by Tel Aviv University’s Dr. Erez Ben-Yosef, first found a wall of the 10th century BC copper-smelting site near Timna Park, in the southern desert, where the world’s first copper mine is believed to have been.
Citing the biblical story about King David traveling with his soldiers to the land of Edom, where a major battle took place with the Edomites by the Dead Sea, Ben-Yosef said his team may have found evidence of the bloody conflict.
According to the Bible, Edom stretched from the Sanai Peninsula to the southern border of Canaan and Kingdom of Judah, and as far west as Eilat, where it maintained its seaport. As David expanded his reign, Samuel 8:13 states that his army vanquished 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt.
Israelis donate winter gear to Syrian refugees en masse
The crisis in Syria hasn’t been ignored by Israel. Various Israeli youth movements, including the Youth Federation for Working and Studying, The Dror Movement, and the committed for the fight against genocide are leading a wide scale operation to collect winter clothes for Syrian refugees.
The operation, codenamed “Human Warmth,” has opened up 15 collection centers around the country where Israelis can go and donate winter clothes. The centers are in Druze, Arab, and Jewish communities.
The winter clothes will then go off to the Syrians who are in need of assistance.
A similar operation occured in 2014, seeing 30 tons of winter clothes being donated to Syrian refugees. It took 1,500 boxes to carry all of the clothing, and eight 18 wheelers to transport it all.
Organizers said that “this terrible tragedy has been going on for six years now. This terrible reality forces us to act and do everything we can to help these people.”
“The goal of this operation is to enable the Israeli public to donate unused winter clothing which is sitting in their house, and make a meaningful donation which might just save a life.”

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