Tuesday, March 28, 2017

From Ian:

Evelyn Gordon: The Real Trump Link in the Threats on Jews
In short, for all the criticism he justly earned for his belated and reluctant condemnations of anti-Semitism, Trump took action to stop it in a way his predecessor never did–a point to remember for anyone who believes that actions speak louder than words.
Many commentators have already noted that by rushing to blame Trump and his supporters for the bomb threats despite the complete absence of any evidence, the U.S. Jewish community has made the fight against anti-Semitism more difficult, because next time, its claims are liable to be met with considerable skepticism. But the new police information indicates that the damage was even worse than that: The anti-Trump hysteria actually encouraged the very attacks it was meant to combat.
The lesson here obviously isn’t that Jews shouldn’t react to anti-Semitic acts. But by tying the bomb threats into a broader anti-Trump narrative for their own political purposes, American Jewish leaders and their non-Jewish left-wing allies generated a degree of media hysteria that the acts on their own would not have produced. And that is precisely the type of hysteria that attracts copycats–in this case, not just the original perpetrator (who copycatted his own attacks once he saw they produced the desired media attention), but also the only other person arrested to date.
Absent this media hype, it seems unlikely that Juan Thompson, a black, left-wing radical who was stalking his girlfriend, would have come up with the idea of making trouble for her by phoning bomb threats into Jewish community centers and trying to make them look as if they were coming from her, instead of choosing any number of other possible targets.
In short, by making the bomb threats part of a broader anti-Trump narrative without a shred of evidence, American Jewish leaders discredited both themselves and the battle against anti-Semitism while also actively encouraging copycat attacks. Obviously, they didn’t mean to do any of those things. But there’s a lesson that needs to be learned here, and it goes way beyond the narrow issue of Donald Trump: Jewish interests aren’t identical to those of any political ideology, either liberal or conservative. And when you conflate Jewish interests with political ones, Jews are usually the ones who end up the losers.
Political narratives collapse
The past week had more than its share of big political stories -- a London terror attack, the collapse (for now anyway) of the Obamacare repeal and replace effort, and the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on U.S. President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. Buried among this collection of breaking news was the arrest of an Israeli teenager on suspicion that he had orchestrated a campaign of phoned-in bomb threats at over 150 Jewish institutions across America, plus a few in other countries since the start of the year.
The arrest, made in Israel, undermined a recent theme in American politics since Trump's election: that the president had helped unleash a toxic strain of hatred directed against various ethnic/racial groups, especially Jews, supposedly demonstrated by the wave of bomb threats. The president's nastiest critics portrayed him and his administration as neo-fascists, if not actual fascists. Steve Bannon, the president's campaign adviser and later his strategic adviser, was seen by these misguided Trump haters as the godfather of the "alt-right" and an anti-Semite.
Cartoonist Scott Adams argued that this week marked a very important turning point in the fledgling Trump presidency. According to Adams, the defeat of the health care bill marked the end of the narrative of Trump as Hitler and the emergence of the new narrative of Trump as incompetent. A president who is viewed as incompetent is hardly new to American politics. In fact, it is about as mainstream a criticism as you can get. Conservatives thought Obama was incompetent. Liberals thought George W. Bush was incompetent. If leftists now come to view Trump as an incompetent, it means they might no longer need to be so scared of his presidency, since he is unlikely to get much done that would really disturb the Left (even if he were a fascist).
The arrest of the Israeli teen seemed to be a disappointment as well as a great surprise for many among the organized American Jewish community. A few weeks earlier, an African-American journalist, Juan Thompson, had been arrested in St. Louis for calling in some bomb threats to Jewish organizations. That arrest may also have been a disappointment to the organized Jewish community. After all, if the president is inciting the hard Right and other assorted anti-Semites, an African-American named Juan does not fit the perpetrator profile.
Ben-Dror Yemini: Mosul, Gaza and the world’s hypocrisy
Op-ed: ISIS learned from Hamas how to use civilian populations as human shields. While hundreds of civilians have been killed in US-led airstrikes in Iraq, there have been absolutely no protests and no claims of ‘war crimes.’ Those are reserved for one country only—Israel.
Hundreds of women and children were killed in west Mosul last week. The Americans bombed the area, as part of their cooperation with the Iraqi army against the Islamic State. The tragedy did not make the headlines. Claims of “war crimes” were nowhere to be found either. Neither was something more moderate like claims of “a disproportional response.” There were no protests whatsoever. The hostile sentiments, like the condemnatory headlines, are reserved for only one country in the world—Israel.
The United Nations issued condemnations—not against those who bombed the area, but against the use of civilians as a “human shield.” The New York Times, which constantly condemned Israel during Operation Protective Edge, argued mostly with Trump: “Taken together, the surge of reported civilian deaths raised questions about whether once-strict rules of engagement meant to minimize civilian casualties were being relaxed under the Trump administration.”
One might have assumed that since 2003, or maybe only from 2008, the strict rules of engagement had led to minimum civilian casualties. Well, the figures show that 268,000 civilians have been killed in Iraq since the war began there in 2003. There is no proof that former President Barack Obama reduced the number of casualties. The use of drones, for example, was 10 times higher during the Obama era than during the George W. Bush era.
Why Isn't There a Palestinian State?
Why don't the Palestinians have their own country? Is it the fault of Israel? Of the Palestinians? Of both parties? David Brog, Executive Director of the Maccabee Task Force, shares the surprising answers.




Palestinians and the Balfour Declaration at 100: Resisting the Past
On the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, the Palestinians have launched a campaign calling for an official British apology and compensation. This effort illustrates the ways in which honor, internationalization, symbolism, and playing on Western guilt shape the Palestinian culture of denial, which impedes progress towards either a stable Palestinian state or peace with Israel.
A striking aspect of Palestinian culture is its resistance to the realities of the past.
On September 22, 2016, Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas addressed the UN. He said, “100 years have passed since the notorious Balfour Declaration, by which Britain gave, without any right, authority or consent from anyone, the land of Palestine to another people.” He went on to demand an apology from Britain. Abbas has had previously threatened to sue London for damages resulting from the declaration and the creation of Israel.
This storm against the past was also on display at a recent conference at University College London that brought together British Islamists and revisionist Israelis to demand that the British government apologize for the Balfour Declaration, with the ultimate aim of exposing “the illegality of the state of Israel while giving practical steps in campaigning towards an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.”
What do such efforts tell us about Palestinian culture and the prospects for peace?
White Liberals Attack Brown Islamic Dissidents
"[A] section of the Western left has adopted the ideology of the Salafists, Khomeinists and Islamists. It supports their blasphemy codes, and apologias for murder." — Nick Cohen, The Spectator.
"Thus the defenders of liberty are styled as fascists, while the fanatics are portrayed as victims!" — Pascal Bruckner, Perlentaucher.
"It is putting bounties on the heads of Muslims like Maajid Nawaz, who are opposed to Muslim extremism (...) The document is simply an enemies' list, of the kind that fascists, Stalinists, and other totalitarian thinkers can't help producing." — Lee Smith, Tablet.
"Is the concept of holy war compatible with our ideal of religious toleration? Is it blasphemy—punishable by death—to question the applicability of certain seventh-century doctrines to our own era?" — Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wall Street Journal.
Most of the solidarity to French cartoonists under threat has come from even braver -- but ostracized -- Muslim intellectuals.
At the time of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, the literary "Left" stood with the Muslim "anger", not with the persecuted writer -- while all around, translators and publishers were being killed and wounded by the Iranian murderers.
In the global struggle for the confrontation of ideas between the West and political Islam, too often the Western values are represented by Muslim dissidents and downplayed by the liberals who should be safeguarding them. It is an unpleasant spectacle.
"The current situation in Europe is deeply troubling: not only are Muslim women within Europe subject to considerable oppression in many ways, such norms now risk spreading to non-Muslim women who face harassment from Muslim men. One would think that Western feminists in the United States and Europe would be very disturbed by this obvious misogyny. But sadly, with few exceptions, this does not appear to be the case". — Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
IsraellyCool: M’aan News’ Palestine Tourism Video
Ma’an News agency is part of the Ma’an Network, a non-governmental organization media network, and it claims to be one of the largest wire services in the Palestinian territories. As a non-governmental news outlet, you might expect it to be more reasonable than, say, Shehab News, which is Hamas-affiliated.
I say this as an introduction to the following video put out by Ma’an. It is a tourism film for Palestine.
Note who hardly gets mentioned or shown in the film, and what Palestine encompasses.
And this is how you get to the film from the Ma’an news site:
Again, this is not Hamas. This is a non-governmental news agency, which claims to be one of the largest in the palestinian territories. And now we know what they consider to be these “palestinian territories.”
Ken Livingstone: Nazi Policy Had Effect of Supporting Zionism
Ken Livingstone has published his defence as he prepares to face Labour’s disciplinary committee on Thursday. He says Nazi policy “had the effect of supporting Zionism” and condemns “Israel’s ethnic cleansing”.
In my remarks to Vanessa Feltz, I was just pointing out the Nazi policy in relation to the Transfer Agreement had the effect of supporting Zionism.
I did not say or suggest that Hitler was a Zionist. I did not make any equation of Hitler and Zionism. I neither criticised the Transfer Agreement or the section of Zionism that participated in the Agreement. I did not draw any historical parallels with the situation today anywhere, including with the conflict between Israel and Palestine.
Any suggestion that my intention was to draw equivalence between Nazism and Zionism is entirely false. I do not believe that Zionism or the policies of Israeli governments are at all analogous to Nazism. Israeli governments have never had the aim of the systematic extermination of the Palestinian people, in the way Nazism sought the annihilation of the Jews. There is a gigantic difference between Israel’s ethnic cleansing and the Nazis’ extermination policies.
As I have said before, my view is that the holocaust against the Jews is the greatest racial crime of the 20th Century.”
He ain’t sorry…
JCPA: Lessons from Israel's Response to Terrorism
A team of Jerusalem Center experts headed by Fiamma Nirenstein - former Vice President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in Italy's Chamber of Deputies - takes a very timely look at Israel's model for dealing with terror.
Contributors to this study include Amb. Dore Gold, Brig. Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, Amb. Freddy Eytan, Amb. Alan Baker, Dan Diker, Prof. Asa Kasher, Jennifer Roskies, and Dr. Irwin Mansdorf.
- Amb. Dore Gold: Terror against Europe and Israel is not different. Effective solidarity among states has become a prerequisite for ultimately succeeding in the war of the West against jihadist terrorism. Just as the West, the Arab states that are threatened, and Israel all face similar threats, the models developed in Israel for dealing with terror merit attention in Europe and beyond.
- Fiamma Nirenstein: An important component of Israel's struggle against terrorism is its population's psychology, resilience, and capacity to counter the constant attacks against civilians. How do the Israeli people overcome being in the front line against terror? The answers lie in Israel's history, sociology, education, and social values.
- Brig-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser: Israel's overall strategy of fighting terror was developed out of ongoing learning efforts. Understanding the goals and strategy of the enemy and the context in which it operates, and being agile enough to rapidly adopt adequate responses that build on former solutions, enabled Israel to become a world leader in the fight against terror.
- Amb. Alan Baker: International law calls for stringent and active measures against terrorists. Today's massive incitement to terror uses modern technology and means of communication as a central component of terror. The international community needs to act to criminalize incitement to terror.
- Dan Diker: Palestinian and international terror organizations have increasingly engaged in both terror and diplomacy, conducting relations with states and within international bodies. In recent years, international organizations and institutions have legitimized Palestinian and some Islamic terror groups. Any counter-terror efforts require unconditional and uncompromising condemnation of all forms of radical Islamic terror.
- Prof. Asa Kasher: How can democracy face terrorism? The first principle is the right and duty of self-defense. The second principle is the duty to respect human dignity. These two principles are meant to be applied together under all circumstances. This chapter provides a conceptual framework for presentation, explanation, and justification of practices Israel has used over decades for facing terrorism.
- Jennifer Roskies: Familiarity breeds respect. Interaction between Jews and Arabs is a daily fact of life in Israel. The longstanding contact has yielded basic knowledge of Arab and Muslim customs among virtually all Israeli Jews, with acceptance of cultural differences. The result is a clear-eyed coexistence that is functional on a civic level and often cordial on a personal level.
Carlos the Jackal gets another life sentence for 1974 Paris bombing
Self-styled revolutionary Carlos the Jackal, already serving two life terms for murder, was given a third life sentence on Tuesday for a deadly 1974 Paris bombing.
Prosecutor Remi Crosson du Cormier had told the court in Paris on Monday that “all evidence gathered in this investigation points to Carlos” while admitting that investigators had found no DNA, fingerprints or CCTV evidence from the grenade attack on a store in the French capital that left two dead and 34 injured on September 15, 1974.
The flamboyant white-haired defendant, wearing a black shirt and jacket with a trademark kerchief in the breast pocket, blew kisses at supporters at the start of the hearing, taking the stand to denounce the “absurdity of a trial held 43 years after the fact.”
Lawyers for the 67-year-old Venezuela native, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, had derided the two-week trial as “judicial palaeontology.”
Michael Lumish: This Week on Nothing Left
This week we speak live in the studio with Emily Gian, Media and Advocacy Director at the Zionist Federation of Australia; we then discuss the views of Sen James Patterson on Section 18C (unfortunately the audio quality was not suitable for broadcasting).
We speak live with Andrew Bolt, also on Section18C and Islam, and then hear from Canadian Diane Bederman on Islamic immigration and its effect on Jewish life in Canada.
Copenhagen Jazz Festival Rejects Israeli Musician for ‘Political Reasons’
Israeli musician Alon Farber received a rejection letter from “Kenneth” at the Copenhagen Jazz Festival, informing him that artists from Israel will not be welcome at the event “these years” for what he called “political reasons.”
There were no other details and no further explanation in the rejection letter, which the musician included on his wall in this English-language post in which he expressed his Israeli outrage:
To be clear: Alon Farber studied jazz composition at Berklee College of Music, and music therapy at Bar Ilan University. He is a professional musician in every way.
The Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism sent a response to the festival organizer of the Copenhagen Jazz Festival, asking “whether the Festival has a policy of postponing other musicians in the world for political reasons, or whether this policy applies to Israelis only.”
New Video Reveals UK Students Voicing Support for Terrorism, Calling for Israel’s Destruction
A new video — obtained exclusively in the US by The Algemeiner on Monday — reveals UK university students openly expressing support for terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah, and calling for the destruction of the Jewish state.
In the footage, produced by global Jewish YouTube channel J-TV, students at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) — whose acronym some in the Jewish community wryly say stands for “School Of Anti-Semitism” — are asked questions about their political views on Israel, with one answering that he advocates for “resistance against occupation and against apartheid, at all costs.”
One student wearing a kaffiyeh tells J-TV that Zionism “has nothing to do with Judaism at all,” and claims Palestinians were there “before they [Zionists] had ever even entered the country.”
“[Zionism] only came to wipe us [Palestinians] out,” the student added.
Others defined Zionism as an “extremist ideology born out of hate” and described Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as worse than both Hitler and Mussolini.


PreOccupiedTerritory: SJWs Wearing Hijabs In Solidarity Now Outnumber Actual Muslims (satire)
A survey of people in the US and Scandinavia wearing a traditional Islamic garment has found that the majority of them do not adhere to the faith, but wish to show their sympathy with the plight of those facing anti-Muslim prejudice.
Pew researchers approached hundreds of hijab-clad people and asked about their religious observance. Their report, published this afternoon, indicates that 75% of those wearing the hijab do not practice Islam, but are covering themselves in that fashion to demonstrate solidarity with Muslims in the face of hate crimes. The poll also determined that up to 30% of those wearing the hijab identify as male. The poll’s margin of error was placed at plus or minus three percent.
Of the 544 hijab-wearers surveyed, 408 of them, or three quarters, insisted they are not Muslims, whereas the rest professed Islamic faith. Nine-tenths of those who declined to identify as Muslim described themselves as atheists or “culturally Jewish.”
Demographers disagreed over the significance of the findings. “I’m actually a little surprised the number is as low as it is,” confessed Linda Sarsour, a social justice activist. “With all the important work I’ve been doing to promote feminism, I’d have expected everyone would want to be a Muslim by now in some respect. I mean, I don’t think an entire generation of liberal Americans would adopt Islam all of a sudden, but this is more or less the direction I’ve been working in. Enforced Sharia is for a later stage.”
Guardian: US Ambassador to Israel and Hamas leader are both “hardliners”.
One of the ways the narrative about the Israel-Palestinian conflict is warped is by the false equivalences that are drawn or implied between actors on both sides. Peter Beaumont at the Guardian was guilty of this when he used the same terminology to describe Yahya Sinwar, the new leader of Hamas, and David Friedman, the new US ambassador to Israel.
In the middle of February, Hamas elected a new leader in secret elections to replace Ismael Haniyeh as their leader in the Gaza Strip. Peter Beaumont described the new leader as “a hardliner from its [Hamas’] armed wing.” The leader in question, Yahya Sinwar, is a convicted terrorist. In 1988, he was sentenced to four life sentences for his role in the murder of two Israeli soldiers, and was one of the most high profile prisoners of the 1027 Palestinian prisoners released in 2011 for Gilad Shalit. (For the record, Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by the Al Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, which Sinwar had a central role in establishing.) Sinwar has also reportedly murdered more than a dozen Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel. Yahya Sinwar – hardliner A.
This past December, Donald Trump selected David Friedman to be his ambassador to Israel (he was confirmed by the Senate last week). “Donald Trump’s Israel Ambassador is hardline pro-settler lawyer,” announced the headline of Peter Beaumont’s article at the Guardian. His “hardline” positions are detailed in the article – staunch opposition to a two state solution, support for Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel, and his strong language referring to some liberal US Jews as “worse than Kapos”. David Friedman – hardliner B.
Gaza’s “Sole Border Crossing With Israel?”
Why is this important? Aside from a factual error on the part of The Times, the world should know that even if Hamas has closed Erez, Israel has continuously and is still maintaining the entry of huge amounts of aid and materials into Gaza for the benefit of its population.
We contacted The Times to point this out yet the error has not been corrected.
Yet, the following day, another story in The Times also referred to the Erez closure:
This time, the description of Erez is accurate. So someone at The Times was clearly listening. Why then has the correction to the first article not been made?
Washington Post’s Richard Cohen: ‘Jewish-Only Roads’
Richard Cohen, to his credit, in the Washington Post, makes it clear in his opinion piece that the apartheid charge against Israel is a false one even while he criticizes the direction that he believes Israel is heading.
That’s why it’s astonishing that Cohen then goes on to claim one of the very falsehoods that anti-Israel activists employ to ‘prove’ the apartheid label:
There are no ‘Jewish Israeli-only’ roads. As Michael Totten points out, West Bank roads are:
AFP Article on Palestinian Incitement Avoids Examples
Virtually devoid of concrete actual examples of incitement in the Palestinian school system, AFP's article today "'Incitement' or history? Israeli-Palestinian debate rages" turns the phenomenon into a he said/she said debate, in which the Palestinian denial of incitement is afforded more credibility than the Israeli complaints about incitement.
Even the headline of the article signals to readers that Israeli concerns about incitement are not to be believed. While the headline puts "incitement" in scare quotes, it does not similarly qualify the word "history" with scare quotes.
Moreover, the lone concrete, specific example of incitement in the Palestinian school system is an relatively mild case: the naming of schools after Amin al-Husseini. The article begins:
BBC Arabic inaccurately portrays 2002 terror attack victims
On March 24th 2017 Fuqaha was assassinated outside his home in Gaza City by unidentified gunmen.
While that story did not receive any coverage on the BBC’s English language services, on March 25th a report about Fuqaha’s funeral did appear on the BBC Arabic website. In paragraph 15 of that report the victims of the 2002 Meron Junction terror attack are described as “nine Jewish settlers”.
Four of the nine people murdered in the attack were not Jewish. None of them lived in what the BBC would term ‘settlements’.
This is not the first time that BBC Arabic has portrayed Israeli victims of terror attacks to its audiences as “Jewish settlers” regardless of their ethnicity and place of residence. Clearly that description is neither accurate nor impartial.
BBC’s Bowen saw no human shields in Gaza – but reports them in Mosul
‘Death toll mounts amid Gaza strikes‘ Jeremy Bowen, BBC television news, July 14th 2014 (discussed here)
Bowen: “Israel says it goes after Hamas.”
Man: “That’s not true. It’s not true.
Bowen: “They’re children, said Munsar al Batsh [phonetic] – a cousin. It’s not logical they’d be Hamas.” […]
Bowen: “He rejected Israel’s claims that Hamas uses civilians as human shields.”
After having left the Gaza Strip, Bowen penned an article for another media outlet in which he claimed to have seen “no evidence of Hamas using Palestinians as human shields”.
In contrast, in his reporting from Mosul Bowen was able to inform BBC audiences of ISIS’ use of human shields and did not find it necessary to promote either his own amateur opinions on the legality of the alleged incidents nor unproven accusations of deliberate targeting of civilians and ‘war crimes’.
BBC News report on JCC bomb threats promotes irrelevant videos
Embedded in the report is a video captioned ‘”It’s other people’s loved ones – you don’t do this”: People gather at Philadelphia graveyard’ which first appeared on the BBC News website on February 27th in a written report titled “‘Hundreds’ of US Jewish graves attacked in Philadelphia” as well as in a separate filmed report.
Obviously that video has no connection to the arrest which is the subject matter of this report and the reason for its inclusion is therefore unclear.
A second video embedded in the article is captioned “The BBC spoke to a Muslim-American couple targeted by an abusive caller”. It first appeared on the BBC News website on November 29th 2016 in an article promoting a report produced by the controversial SPLC titled “‘Trump effect’ led to hate crime surge, report finds” as well as in a separate filmed report.
There is nothing to suggest that this video has any connection to the story being reported either and so the editorial decision to promote it in this article is similarly incomprehensible.
Bipartisan US bill would boost penalties for antisemitic bomb threats
A bipartisan bill would increase the federal penalty for bomb threats and other threats of violence against religious institutions and ensure such acts can be prosecuted as a hate crime.
The bipartisan Combating Anti-Semitism Act of 2017, introduced Monday by Reps. David Kustoff, R-Tenn., and Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., comes after over 150 bomb threat hoaxes were called into Jewish community centers starting in January. Although a Jewish teenager with dual Israeli-American citizenship was charged last week in the bulk of those threats, both sponsors focused on their impact on the dozens of JCCs and their clientele.
“The rise in threats at religious community centers is deeply disturbing and makes it clear that existing federal laws do not suitably deter these acts of hate,” Kustoff, who is Jewish, added in a statement. “Religious tolerance is the bedrock on which our great nation was founded. We must defend the individual liberties of our neighbors of all faiths and protect places of worship, and I am proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation that addresses the issue head on.”
Added Kilmer: “No American should be made a target because of his or her faith. Sadly, religious community centers across the country have increasingly had to lock down their facilities and call in bomb squads.”
California High School Students Behind ‘Toasted Jew’ Graffiti Identified, Disciplined, Principal Says
The California high school students behind “Toasted Jew” and other antisemitic graffiti and other antisemitic messages have been disciplined, NBC Bay Area news reported Thursday.
According to the report, Carlmont High School Principal Ralph Crame said the school had identified and taken action against the perpetrators of two recent incidents involving swastikas and messages targeting the Jewish community written in chalk on the campus, though he would not elaborate on the nature of the disciplinary measures.
The school has removed the messages and cautioned students that any further such action could be determined a hate crime.
“They had some education involved in the consequences, and we also sent the message out that it is against our school respect policy,” Crame told NBC.
“I think it’s horrible that students would think that it was OK to have any type of vandalism or graffiti, especially anything that was demeaning towards another group, another student,” he added.
According to northern California Jewish news site JWeekly, other incidents have occurred at Carlmont in recent weeks, including chants of “kill the Jews” inside the school’s stadium (which Crame refuted), and one mother’s report that students shouted, “Here’s a Jew; let’s burn her,” as she walked by with her daughter.
Teen apologizes for twisting neighbors’ menorah into swastika
An Arizona teenager arrested for twisting a menorah in the front yard of a family’s home into a swastika posted an apology on Facebook.
Clive Jamar Wilson, 19, one of four teens arrested on March 17 for the December 30 incident, told the Ellis family of Chandler that he was sorry, the East Valley Tribune newspaper reported. The Facebook page appears to have since been removed.
“My name is Clive (CJ) Wilson. I am writing this post to say I am truly sorry for the insensitive prank which my friends and I participated in during the holiday season last December. What we did was reckless, stupid, idiotic, and insensitive,” he wrote, according to the local paper. “From the bottom of my heart I apologize to your family. From the bottom of my heart I can tell you that that is not the way of my Jamaican heritage.”
He also reportedly wrote that he “made a mistake when I joined my friends in a very insensitive prank. If I could turn back the clock and remove myself and my three friends from participating in the horrible prank I would. But I can’t.”
Comedian unwraps Holocaust denial with apparel line
When comedian Nathan Fielder found out that his favorite jacket company paid postmortem tribute to a known anti-Semite and Holocaust revisionist in one of their catalogs over a decade ago, he did what any nice Jewish comedian would do: he opened up a competing jacket company.
“Although many disagreed with his views, he has to be admired, however grudgingly, for his lions [sic] courage in asserting and defending the rights of free opinion and free speech in these wimpy, politically correct times,” read the obituary for the late columnist Doug Collins.
The homage was a disappointing find for Fielder, who can been seen wearing his Taiga jacket in many episodes of his Comedy Central series “Nathan for You.”
“Not only could I not trust Taiga anymore, I couldn’t trust any outdoor apparel company to know their beliefs so I thought it would be safest, if I could be wearing a jacket on TV, to start my own company,” Fielder told Canada’s Global News.
According to the Summit Ice website, “Mr. Fielder immediately recognized a need in the marketplace for an outdoor apparel company that openly promoted the true story of the Holocaust.”


Pet Shop Boys to return to Israel for TLV Pride
Legendary British electro-pop duo Pet Shop Boys will return to Israel for the first time in over four years to perform at Park Hayarkon on June 10 as part of Tel Aviv’s Pride Week.
The Super World Tour will see the dynamic duo of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe perform songs from their acclaimed new album Super, as well as classic hits such as “West End Girls,” “It’s a Sin,” “Always on My Mind,” and “Heart.”
The 12 studio albums made since Pet Shop Boys’ 1981 formation “remain an iconic blueprint for hook-heavy pop music that is proudly challenging and political,” according to Electronic Beats magazine.
Over the past 25 years, Pet Shop Boys have gained a reputation as innovators of the modern live music show. On stage, the duo are often clad in futuristic, oversized outfits which evoke the CGI imaginings of videos like “Go West.”
Tennant and Lowe are also icons in the gay community, with tracks like 1990’s “Being Boring,” which addressed the contemporary AIDS epidemic.
30 Pastors Witness Lifesaving Israeli Volunteer EMS Methods in Jerusalem
A special delegation from the US organized by Christians United for Israel (CUFI) traveled to Jerusalem last week and visited the headquarters of United Hatzalah, an Israeli volunteer-based emergency medical services (EMS) organization.
According to a statement released by Hatzalah’s international spokesperson, the CUFI delegation — consisting of some 30 pastors from multiple Christian denominations—learned about the organization’s “lifesaving, all-volunteer, emergency medical services (EMS) model,” and saw “firsthand how the Hatzalah model is uniting the peoples of Israel in the joint cause of saving lives.”
During their time at Hatzalah’s Jerusalem headquarters, the Christian delegation also toured the organization’s command center, learned about the advanced technology used at the facility and met with a diverse group of volunteers representing Israel’s Jewish, Muslim and secular communities, among others.
“We have a number of pastors here from different states and different denominations,” CUFI Western Regional Coordinator Randy Neal. “A lot of them are not familiar with Israel and most of them have never been to Israel before. I have had the occasion and privilege to learn about United Hatzalah and I believe that the organization encapsulates the heart of Israel.”
India to buy Spike anti-tank missiles from Rafael
India is moving forward with a $1 billion purchase of Spike anti-tank guided missiles from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems of Israel, overlooking the single-vendor situation in the deal, according to an Indian Ministry of Defence official.
The MoD postponed the purchase because it would be made with a single vendor, which has been discouraged multiple times under India's defense procurement policy, according to news organization IHS Jane's 360.
Apart from the single-vendor situation, the Spike deal since 2014 has also been deferred over costs, which has now been cleared, the MoD official said.
"MoD has now forwarded the deal to the Cabinet Committee of Security, which is likely to clear the same (deal) this week" on March 29, the official said. "The deal could then be signed after next month."
The Cabinet Committee of Security, which is headed by the prime minister and which deals with weapons purchases, is the highest body in the Indian government.
The push to buy the Spike comes ahead of a proposed visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Israel in June this year.
2,000-Year-Old Jewish Community Unearthed Near Beit Shemesh
During a weeklong excavation project near Beit Shemesh, 240 Israeli students from Jerusalem’s Boyer High School uncovered the remains of an ancient Jewish community dating back to Israel’s Second Temple period.
The archaeological dig was launched prior to the construction of a new residential neighborhood in the area and, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) district archaeologist for Judah, Dr. Amit Shadman, “the excavations will be followed by the site’s preservation and development as an archaeological site in the heart of the new neighborhood.”
Discoveries at the site included “eight ritual baths, cisterns and hiding refuges, along with rock-hewn industrial installations,” the IAA said.
The IAA directors leading the excavation added, “The settlement’s extraordinary significance lies in its imposing array of private ritual baths, which were incorporated in the residential buildings. Each household had its own ritual bath and a cistern….Underneath the dwellings and rock-hewn installations, another surprising discovery was unearthed, dating to the time of the Bar Kokhba Revolt (2nd century CE) — a winding labyrinth of hiding refuges connected to sophisticated and elaborate complexes.”
The Israeli students’ excavation work served as a means of supplementing the expenses of an upcoming student delegation to Poland. Funding from Israel’s Ministry of Construction and Housing supported the initiative, which was directed by the IAA and also involved pre-army course cadets.
Passed over by Nazis, remnants of Ukraine’s last shtetl prepare to celebrate
At first glance, this drab town 160 miles south of Kiev seems nearly identical to the settlements that dot the poverty-stricken district of Vinnitsa.
Shrouded in a seemingly permanent cloud of smoke from wood fires — still the standard means of heating here — Bershad, population 13,000, features two rickety bridges over the polluted (and presently frozen) Dokhna River, roads traversed by Soviet-era clunkers and an utter absence of street lights.
And like many far-flung Ukrainian towns, Bershad, too, has a small, aging Jewish population. The Jews persist here even though almost all of their relatives are living in the relative comfort of Israel or the United States.
A closer look at its unique history and architecture reveals something incredible: Bershad is one of Europe’s last remaining shtetls. This town near the Moldavan border, with a Jewish population of 50, is a living testament to the Jewish community’s incredible survival story — one that has endured despite decades of communist repression, the Holocaust and the exodus of Russian-speaking Jews.
Nowhere is the uniqueness of this Jewish community more evident than the Bershad synagogue, which was built from clay 200 years ago.



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