Sunday, September 17, 2017

From Ian:

Jesus was a Palestinian and similar claims that often cloud Middle East reporting
The Canaanite-Palestinian claim has two parallels. The first is that Jesus was a Palestinian, even though the designation “Palestine” was not use in the region during his lifetime, and would not be until a century or so later when the Romans imposed it.

I've heard pro-Palestinian Christians, clergy and lay activists alike, dismiss Jesus’s Jewishness, saying that he was Palestinian and even the first martyr to the Palestinian cause — murdered, of course, by the Jews of his time.
This essay by a well-known Palestinian journalist and activist explains Palestinian reasoning on this.
The second parallel -- well, the second parallel is purely a matter of religious belief, with which I will not argue here. Though I will label it aspirational supercessionism.

Islam presents itself as the final revelation in the Abrahamic lineage, supplanting both Judaism and Christianity and correcting their faults. It also claims that the Jewish prophets, including Abraham, and Jesus, were in fact Muslims because of their fidelity to the God known in Arabic as Allah.

So what's the bottom line here?

From my perspective, arguments that rely on “facts” cherry-picked from antiquity and faith claims hold little water when debating seemingly intractable, contemporary geopolitical disputes. Where we’re at and how we move forward toward a solution is what matters.

So beware, scribes, when either side starts throwing about faith claims or unprovable “facts” from thousands of years ago to gain political advantage in the here and now. History matters, but unprovable claims should never be taken on face value in journalism.
Bahrain king denounces Arab boycott of Israel, says countrymen may visit
Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa last week denounced the Arab boycott of Israel and said his subjects are free to visit the Jewish state. The head of the Persian Gulf country, which does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, made the statements to Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, at a multi-denominational event at the center to sign and support a declaration denouncing religious hatred and violence.

Cooper and his partner at the Wiesenthal Center, Marvin Hier, visited Manama, Bahrain’s capital, by invitation, in early 2017.

A walk through the city, Cooper said, was an eye-opener. There was a church, with a huge cross, next to a Hindu temple, and 90 meters on an impressive mosque. Even a small synagogue, the only one in the Persian Gulf region, still stands in an older part of the city.

Hier and Cooper met with King Hamad and discussed the ruler’s plan to establish a Museum of Religious Tolerance in the capital city by the end of this year.

At the Los Angeles event last week, delegations of Buddhists in saffron robes, Sikhs in turbans, and Muslims with keffiyehs and hijabs [Muslim head-covers for men and veils for women], mingled with Jews with kippot [skullcaps] and Christians in business suits.

IsraellyCool: Is Roger Waters an Antisemite?

Police raid home of UK couple who reportedly took in Syrian refugees

A second suspect was arrested on Saturday in connection with the subway attack at London’s Parsons Green station that left 30 people injured, officials announced on Sunday as the city’s terror threat level is downgraded to “severe.”

A 21-year-old man was arrested late Saturday night in Hounslow in west London under the Terrorism Act, authorities said. Another 18-year-old man was arrested earlier in the day at the port of Dover, where ferries leave for France, and is also being held under the Terrorism Act. The suspects' names have not been released and no charges have been filed.

The arrests indicate police and security services believe Friday’s attack involved several people.

Little details are known about the suspects and whether they are suspected of planting or building the bomb. The 18-year-old, whom authorities tracked using facial recognition technology, was believed to be a foster child taken in by Ronald Jones, 88, and his wife, Penelope, 71, who were honored by Queen Elizabeth for taking care of 268 foster children, the Times of London reported.

Police searched the couple’s home on Saturday as they reportedly stayed with friends. Neighbors around the house was evacuated as a precaution on Saturday. Mojgan Jamali, who lives near the house being searched, said police gave her "one minute" to pack.

"I was in my house with my children and there was a knock at the door from the police. They told me to leave. They said, 'You have one minute to get out of the house and get away,'" she said. "I just got out. I got my three children and we left the house and the street."

A friend, Alison Griffiths, said the Jones are "great pillars of the community" who have taken in several hundred children in the last 40 years.
4 US tourists attacked with acid in Marseille
The Marseille prosecutor’s office sad four young female US tourists were attacked with acid in Marseille’s main train station by a woman who has been arrested.

A spokeswoman for the prosecutor office told The Associated Press that two of the tourists were injured in the face in the attack Sunday in the Saint Charles train station and one of them has a possible eye injury. She said all four of the tourists, who are in their 20s, have been hospitalized, two of them for shock.

She did not have any more details and spoke on condition of anonymity, per the French judicial system.

There was no immediate information on where the US tourists were from.

Marseille is a port city in southern France that is closer to Barcelona than Paris.
Trump Condemns Those Who Spread Antisemitism, Expresses Hope for Mideast Peace in Call With Jewish Leaders
The debate has gone on for weeks among rabbis and Jewish leaders: If President Donald Trump does not formally renounce white supremacists, is it still worth engaging in a conversation with him?

This was on much of the Jewish community’s mind since Aug. 23, when the leaders of three religious streams — Reconstructionist, Reform and Conservative — said they would not organize the annual pre-Rosh Hashanah call with the president, which the rabbinical groups had instituted at the start of the Obama administration. That call, principally for clergy, was aimed at helping to shape High Holidays.
Trump-Netanyahu meet to focus on Iran threat
Following a weeklong trip to Latin America, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his entourage landed in New York on Friday ahead of the United Nations General Assembly later this week.

Netanyahu is expected to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the assembly.

Upon his arrival in New York, Netanyahu was quick to publicly issue a warning to Iran not to challenge Israel in the Syrian-Lebanese arena, thereby setting the tone for the diplomatic efforts of the coming week.

"Israel will not tolerate an Iranian military presence on our northern border," Netanyahu said, "because it would pose a threat not only to us, but also to our Arab neighbors, and we would be forced to take action to prevent it."

"I think that today, Israel's warnings are being taken seriously, as they should be," he added.

In his meeting with Trump, Netanyahu is expected to pressure the U.S. to amend or scrap the nuclear agreement with Iran that the former American administration spearheaded.

A White House official told Israel Hayom on Friday that the meeting between Netanyahu and Trump – one of the first meetings on Trump's agenda at the event – would "enhance the already strong and long-standing relationship between President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu."
The aggressor becomes the deterred
If the reactions out of Lebanon are any indication, the drill has already met one of its objectives. Hezbollah apparently received the message and rushed to uncharacteristically deliver calming messages, clearly indicating that it fears a future war with Israel. Hezbollah knows that a future war will exact a far heavier toll on them than on Israel.

Thus, for instance, deputy Hezbollah leader Naim Qassem took pains to assuage the terrorist organization's alarmed supporters, telling them that Israel was not interested in war. Furthermore, in a calming message directed at Israel, he added that despite the recent airstrike in Syria (attributed to Israel) – which, if true, is a direct blow to Hezbollah's exposed underbelly – the organization was not looking to retaliate or go to war either. This marks a significant shift in tone for Hezbollah, which has customarily opted for menacing intimidation against Israel, in the knowledge that its threats would fall on open and mainly concerned ears.

Over the years, Hezbollah has engaged in effective psychological warfare against Israel. It has managed to convince the country's leaders that in a conflict, the damage to Israel would greatly outweigh the damage to Hezbollah and its supporters, and that therefore it should be wary of taking steps toward all-out war. The organization's success also stemmed heavily from its willingness to take things to the brink and remain there, unlike Israel, which prefers to keep a safe distance. This was merely a form of psychological warfare with very little to back it up, and yet in the battle over minds and perception, Hezbollah consistently gave Israel a run for its money.

Now, however, the tables have turned. The IDF drill changed the discourse and the rules of the game. Hezbollah, formerly the agent of deterrence, is now the deterred; previously eager for battle, it is now pleading for Israel to stand down; the organization that used to regularly threaten Israelis is now preoccupied with allaying the fears of its supporters in Lebanon.

But in the end, wars never erupt in the Middle East because somebody really wants them to. They usually start because of lack of thought or an error in judgment. This, too, must be kept in mind in the wake of Or Hadagan, the code name given to the IDF's exercise in the north.
David Singer: King Abdullah’s Dethronement Threatens Jordan-Israel Two-State Solution
Dethroning King Abdullah to end Hashemite-rule in Jordan for the last 95 years will only exacerbate the 100-years-old conflict between Jews and Arabs.

The Plan also calls for the transfer of one million Arabs living in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) to Jordan:
“Zahran intends to build a new city in Jordan to accommodate a million new residents. This will create jobs and stimulate the economy. These homes will be purchased on behalf of any Arabs willing to emigrate and given to them on arrival.”

President Trump will certainly not be embracing this belligerent and catastrophic Plan.

Wiser counsel should remind Trump that one of his predecessors – Ronald Reagan – said in 1980:
“Israel and Jordan are the two Palestinian states envisioned and authorized by the United Nations. Jordan is now recognized in some 80 per cent of the old territory of Palestine. Israel and Jordan are the parties primarily authorized to settle the future of the unallocated territories in accordance with the principles of the mandate and the provisions of Resolutions 242 and 338.”

Ignoring this Reagan Declaration has prolonged a conflict that could have ended 37 years ago.

President Trump needs to convince King Abdullah to begin direct negotiations with Israel. Failure to do so ensures an even bleaker future for the Middle East than currently exists.
This Ongoing War: Stopping terror?: Questions for Jordan's heir apparent
The Jordan Times, published in Amman and owned by a kingdom-controlled foundation, reported this morning the not-entirely-stunning news that

His Majesty King Abdullah, accompanied by Her Majesty Queen Rania, on Friday left the Kingdom, heading to New York, where he will be leading the Jordanian delegation to the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly... Deputising for the King, HRH Crown Prince Hussein is scheduled to deliver Jordan’s speech before the General Assembly... In 2015, the Crown Prince became the youngest person ever to chair a Security Council meeting, when he called for measures to prevent the world’s youth from being lured into the dark world of extremism... ["King to take part in UN meeting", September 16, 2017]

If you're a news reporter or editor, wouldn't you want to take the opportunity to get Jordan's ruler to clarify his view of terrorism in light of the free-pass and ongoing protection he has given to a mass-murdering Jordanian woman who was named to the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list on March 14, 2017?

No mainstream media has tackled him on this. In view of his repeated public condemnations of terror, that's strange, disturbing and something that ought to be corrected.

If King Abdullah is out of reach, can we suggest putting a similar question to HRH Crown Prince Hussein who is going to deliver Jordan's speech to the UN General Assembly? There's much he could explain, but frankly it's the reference in the Jordan Times piece above that has us intrigued.
Netanyahu said to refuse meeting at UN with Swedish premier
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly rejected a proposed meeting with Sweden’s prime minister during the upcoming United Nations General Assembly, in part because of Sweden’s decision to recognize a Palestinian state in 2014.

The snub of Stefan Lofven marked the second year in a row the prime minister has turned down the Swedish prime minister’s invitation for a sit down, Channel 2 reported Saturday. The request for a meeting was rebuffed as “not possible,” the TV report said.

Israel has had tense relations with Sweden since Lofven’s election in 2014, shortly after which Stockholm recognized the State of Palestine, becoming the first major European Union member to do so.

The move was met with widespread anger in Israel and ties between the two countries have remained strained over comments made by Lofven concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including that a wave of stabbing attacks in Israel did not constitute terrorism.
Kurds are flying Israeli flags at independence rallies
In recent weeks Israel flags appeared frequently among the sea of Kurdish flags at pro-independence rallies across Europe and in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq. In Cologne in late August and then Geneva and Oslo, Israel flags were waved proudly by attendees. On September 16 the blue and white appeared at rallies in Brussels, Hamburg and Stockholm. The unprecedented embrace of the Israeli flag comes amidst Israel’s support for Kurdish rights and historic connections between the two nations.

The rallies are in response to an independence referendum planned by the Kurdistan Regional Government for September 25. Announced in June, the Kurdistan parliament in the autonomous region in northern Iraq approved it on September 15. Since September 5 the Kurdistan region and diaspora communities have been holding increasingly large rallies in support of the nation’s hopes for independence. This has been more than 100 years in the making, say many Kurds. The Kurdish people live in Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq, divided by the colonial borders set down after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. In Iraq they have enjoyed autonomy since the 1990s. After three years of war against ISIS the local government thinks it is time to show the world that the people want independence.

The international community’s response has been tepid. On September 15 the White House released a statement saying the United States does not support the intention to hold a referendum. Other members of the international coalition fighting ISIS, who have been working with the Kurds and the Iraqi government, have also pressured the KRG to postpone. Israel is the only country to openly back Kurdish aspirations. “Israel supports the legitimate efforts of the Kurdish people to achieve their own state,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said on September 13. Speaking at the ICT’s World Counter-Terrorism summit on September 11, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said, “Israel and countries in the West have a major interest in the establishment of the state of Kurdistan.”

Iraq VP opposes creating ‘second Israel’ in Kurdistan
An Iraqi vice president warns Sunday that Baghdad would not tolerate the creation of “a second Israel” after the Jewish state became the only country to support a planned Kurdish independence referendum in northern Iraq.

The leaders of autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan must “call off the (September 25) referendum that is contrary to the constitution and does not serve the general interests of the Iraqi people, not even the particular interests of the Kurds,” said Vice President Nuri al-Maliki.

“We will not allow the creation of a second Israel in the north of Iraq,” Maliki, a Shiite former prime minister, says at a meeting with US ambassador Douglas Silliman, in a statement released by the vice president’s office.

A country set up on a religious or ethnic base, like the Jewish state established in 1948, would not be acceptable, Maliki says.

He warns that an independence vote would have “dangerous consequences for the security, sovereignty and unity of Iraq,” and calls for dialogue between Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government in the northern city of Erbil.

As opposed to Muslim countries in the region as well as the United States and Western allies, Israel has come out in apparent support of the referendum.
Turkish nationalists protest creation of ‘second Israel’ in Kurdistan
The Israeli Embassy in Ankara was evacuated on Friday as supporters of an ultra-nationalist party demonstrated outside against what they called plans to create a “second Israel” in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Utku Reyhan, secretary-general of the Homeland Party, said in a press statement that a unilateral independence referendum called for September 25 by the Kurdistan Regional Government was a “declaration of war by US imperialism and Israeli Zionism against countries in the region.”

Attempts to establish a Kurdish state, “which our party has been calling ‘Second Israel’ for 30 years,” threatened the territorial integrity of Turkey and Iraq, he charged.

Bearing banners with the slogan “We won’t allow a Second Israel,” the Homeland Party took its protest to the Incirlik Air Base in Adana, southern Turkey, on Saturday and was planning a protest outside the Israeli consulate in Istanbul on Tuesday.

In recent days, Turkish media has been abuzz with reports that Kurdish leader Masoud Barazani has reached a secret deal with Jerusalem to have the descendants of Kurdish Jews in Israel repatriated to Kurdistan after the referendum.
New Karmiel-Tel Aviv train line to open, with access for Israeli Arab towns
Hundreds of thousands of Israeli Arabs from the Galilee in northern Israel will join their Jewish neighbors in enjoying a new fast train link to Tel Aviv, where jobs are in greater in supply, after a campaign by a civic equality group sought to ensure equal access for all.

The 90-minute Karmiel-Tel Aviv line will open next week, along with two new stations, at Karmiel in the northern Galilee and Ahihud in the western Galilee.

The area around these towns is heavily populated by Israeli Arabs, among whom unemployment is relatively high.

Last year, state comptroller Yosef Shapira slammed the government for what he called a “grim and alarming picture of the employment situation among Israel’s Arab population,” saying recent government efforts to integrate Arabs into the workforce were “broken, ineffective and deficient” and that “the goals set by the government to promote employment equality and promote integration of the Arab sector are not being met.”

Furthermore, the report found, the Arab community “suffers from ongoing discrimination.”
Western Galilee view, with the town of Karmiel in the foreground (photo credit: Doron Horowitz/Flash90)
The Western Galilee (Doron Horowitz/Flash90)

Following intervention by Sikkuy – the Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality, together with lawmaker Dov Khenin, a member of the Joint (Arab) List party and chairman of the Knesset’s subcommittee on public transportation, the Transportation Ministry announced the addition of bus lines and changes in the routes of existing lines to enable Arab citizens to reach the two new stations easily.
Hamas agrees to reconcile with Fatah, hold elections
The Hamas terrorist group on Sunday said it has accepted key conditions demanded by its rival, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction, including future elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Elections would clear the way for a unity government ending a 10-year rift that has left the Palestinians divided between two governments.

In a statement issued overnight, Hamas said it was "responding to the generous Egyptian efforts, which reflect the Egyptian desire to end the split and achieve reconciliation, and based on our desire to achieve national unity."

Hamas said it had dissolved a contentious administrative committee that runs Gaza, invited Abbas' government to return to Gaza and was ready to hold new elections.

The Palestinians have been divided between two rival governments since 2007, when Hamas violently drove Abbas' forces out of the Gaza Strip, leaving the Palestinian Authority in control only of autonomous areas of the West Bank. Repeated attempts at reconciliation have failed.

Hamas, however, has been greatly weakened by an Israeli and Egyptian blockade, three wars with Israel and international isolation. Gaza's economy is in tatters and residents of the territory have electricity for only a few hours a day.

Egypt recently invited top Hamas officials to Cairo for reconciliation discussions, and last week, Abbas sent a delegation of representatives to Egypt, as well.
In overture to Fatah, Hamas agrees to dissolve its governing body in Gaza
In a overture to its rival Fatah, Hamas on Sunday agreed to dissolve its governing body in the Gaza Strip, also known as the administrative committee, allow the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority government to take over in its place and hold general elections.

For the past several months, Fatah and its chairman Mahmoud Abbas have called on Hamas to make and implement such an announcement.

Since Hamas ousted the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority from Gaza in 2007, Hamas and Fatah have essentially established two separate governments, one Hamas-run government in Gaza and another PA-led government in the West Bank. While the two parties have signed a number of reconciliation agreements aimed at creating one shared government, they have failed to implement any of them.

Hamas’s announcement on Sunday followed separate talks in Cairo last week between Fatah officials and Egyptian officials and Hamas officials and Egyptian officials. The groups of Fatah and Hamas officials were still in the Egyptian capital Sunday evening.

Fatah Vice Chairman Mahmoud al-Aloul welcomed Hamas’s announcement, but said his party would first like to confirm its veracity.
Hamas Prevents Large Islamic State Attack on Its Members
Jihadist organizations affiliated with the Islamic State are refusing to give the Hamas terrorist group a rest in the Gaza Strip. An informed Hamas source in the enclave told Breitbart Jerusalem that Hamas security forces arrested six Gaza jihadists in the last two days.

The six were arrested in possession of explosive belts and all are supporters of the Islamic State. They were detained during Hamas raids on two homes on Tuesday, one in Khan Younis and the other in Rafah. The operation was led by members of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ so-called military wing.

The source noted that some of those arrested were planning a large attack against Hamas members in the border area and others were planning to use the attack to cross into Sinai and join Wilyat Sinai, the Egyptian branch of IS. According to the source, some of those arrested admitted that they were planning on crossing into Sinai and coordinated their journey with one of the operators of the tunnels on the Gaza-Egyptian border. Three of those questioned said they were supposed to go through the same tunnel together.

Hamas police spokesman Iyad al-Bazam refused to confirm the report when asked by Breitbart Jerusalem. However, Abou Baker al-Maqdesi, a senior jihadist active in the Gaza Strip who fought with IS in Syria and Iraq before being wounded in battle in Iraq, confirmed the arrests to Breitbart Jerusalem.
PreOccupiedTerritory: With Jewish Population Gone, Syria Boasts 0 Antisemitic Incidents (satire)
Officials of President Basher Assad’s regime boasted today that prejudice-monitoring agencies in the country had recorded no verbal or physical assaults against Jews in the last 12 months, sparking hope that when the dwindling Jewish population of Syria disappears over the next several decades, local antisemitism will be a thing of the past.

Fewer than two dozen Jews remain in Syria, almost all of whom live in a small area of the capital, representing the remnant of a community that stretches back thousands of years. Brutal and discriminatory treatment by surrounding Arabs reached its peak during the decades immediately following the establishment of Israel, but in recent years the number of anti-Jewish incidents has dropped precipitously. Once the mostly elderly Jews of Syria die off, officials predict, the country will boast a more impressive set of statistics on antisemitic incidents than even the so-called liberal democracies of the West in perpetuity.

“We already look better than the ostensibly tolerant and open societies of Canada and Ireland,” bragged Minister of Minority Affairs Meqqem Safr. “We don’t have such things here. And by ‘such things’ I mean Jews. Official ‘encouragement’ of the Jews to leave has done wonders to reduce the incidence of antisemitism within our borders. This could serve as a useful model for other countries looking to put a serious dent in reports of antisemitic attacks.”

The statistics cover only incidents in which private citizens have been involved, and an internal ministry report specifically excluded official government actions from the data and analysis. “Tendentious misinterpretation of facts and terminology are a major concern,” explained Safr. “Actions by the government cannot be classified as antisemitic – that would be absurd. It would be like claiming some inherent connection between ‘honor killings’ and Islamic culture, or that anti-Zionism overlaps almost completely with antisemitism.”
MEMRI: Goal of Jiahd Is to Implement Sharia - Non Muslims Should Convert to Islam to Gain Equal Rights
Sheikh Suleiman Anwar Bengharsa, head of the Islamic Jurisprudence Center in Clarksburg, Maryland, gave a lecture in Toronto, Canada in 2010, in which he said that Muslims could only live in the land of the infidels under certain circumstances, one of which was to do da'wa. "When the caliphate is established, you need to pack your bags and go home," he said. In the lecture on the jurisprudence of interaction with non-Muslims, which was delivered at the Abu Huraira Center in Toronto and posted on YouTube in August 2010, Bengharsa stressed that historically, Islam had been spread by the sword and said that the purpose of Jihad is to establish the law of Allah and that while you can’t force a person to believe in Allah, "you can force him to live by the shari'a."

Educational Non-Fiction Content Provider Apologizes for September 11 Fact Sheet
An educational non-fiction content provider has issued an apology for offering teachers across the country a fact sheet on the September 11 attacks that included commentary about Israel having a "shady history" and having previously "belonged to the Muslims."

Newsela prides itself in being a reliable source of current event pieces and historical articles, each edited by Newsela staff to meet multiple reading skill levels, for teachers to use in their elementary and middle school classrooms. On 9/11, fifth and sixth grade teachers found available an article, adapted by Newsela staff from a piece, outlining the day's attacks and an overview of Osama Bin Laden's alleged reasons for attacking the United States.

One level of the sixth-grade article read, "They were angry that the U.S. gave money to the country of Israel, an area with a long and shady history in the Middle East."

"[Bin Laden] thought the United States was too involved in the Middle East. … The United States also gave money to Israel. It is a Jewish country in the Middle East. Many Muslims live there. Before Israel was Jewish, the land belonged to Muslims. Bin Laden believed that Jews should leave the land," read a version of the fifth-grade article.

Prior to the 1948 establishment of the State of Israel, the region was under Ottoman and then British rule.

Some 4,300 students nationwide might have had access to the article.
BBC contributor on ME links up with UK Hamas supporters
The fact that ‘Middle East Monitor’ (MEMO) is organising such an event comes as no surprise: it is after all the Hamas-linked outfit that invited Raed Salah to the UK in 2011 and it includes among its staff seasoned anti-Israel activists such as director Daud Abdullah (also connected to the PRC) and senior editor Ibrahim Hewitt of ‘Interpal‘.

Neither is the line-up of speakers at this latest MEMO event much of an eye-opener: no-one familiar with the Hamas-sympathetic anti-Israel scene in the UK would be shocked to find names such as David Cronin, Clare Short and Peter Oborne on the list.

Nevertheless, one name on that list should raise eyebrows – not because he has unsurprisingly agreed to speak at an event run by a group known to be linked to Hamas but because the anti-Israel, anti-Zionist activist academic Avi Shlaim is also a fairly regular (but inevitably inadequately introduced) BBC contributor on Middle East affairs and has even in the past been consulted as an ‘expert’ at the later stages of the BBC complaints procedure.
BBC Arabic Removes False Claim About Excavation-Related Arrests
CAMERA’s new Arabic department has prompted an amendment to an article published last month on the BBC Arabic website.

Although the arrest of the leader of the banned northern Islamic Movement – Raed Salah – on August 15th did not receive any BBC coverage in English, the corporation’s Arabic language website published both a report on that story and a profile of Salah.

In that profile, readers were told that Israel often arrests members of the northern Islamic Movement for protesting against archaeological excavations in the vicinity of Temple Mount.

CAMERA’s Arabic department contacted BBC Arabic requesting a correction and pointing out that, contrary to the BBC’s claim, none of the legal action against the northern Islamic Movement or its leader has been related to protests against archaeological excavations: rather the group has been outlawed since late 2015 due to its links to Hamas, incitement and provocation of violence.
CAMERA Prompts National Geographic Corrections on 'Palestine,' Barrier and Leila Khaled
Finally, a photo caption accompanying the text had euphemistically referred to "Leila Khaled, a Palestinian activist credited as the first woman to hijack an airplane." Khaled, as a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – a group designated as a terror organization by the European Union and the United States, as well as Israel and Canada – hijacked a civilian airplane, which makes her a terrorist, not an "activist."

Editors agreed that the characterization of Khaled as an "activist" was problematic, and commendably removed it. A screen capture of the amended caption follows:

In another instance of prejudicial language, however, National Geographic refused to budge. A separate photo caption accompanying the article (photo 9/14) refers to the West Bank barrier as "the towering wall of segregation." As the article notes, Palestinians consider the barrier "racial segregation and apartheid" (despite the fact that Israeli Arabs, of the same race as Palestinians, can cross back and forth as freely as Israeli Jews). Israelis, on the other hand, consider the barrier essential to preventing terrorism. Why then, does the photo caption adopt the partisan Palestinian terminology instead of using the neutral term "West Bank barrier"? (The reporter refers to the barrier as a "wall," or "massive concrete wall" throughout the article, but according to the United Nations, the vast majority of the barrier – over 85 percent – consists of "fences, ditches, razor wire, groomed sand paths, an electronic monitoring system, patrol roads, and a buffer zone," and not a concrete wall.)
Who Works Out at a “Pro-Zionist Gym?”
Tensions between far-left and far-right groups playing out on the streets of Melbourne, Australia feature in The Age.

A central character in the story is one Avi Yemini, a former Israeli officer. According to The Age:

We wrote to the author of the story, Ebony Bowden, asking what exactly is a “pro-Zionist gym?” While Yemini may publicly state that he is pro-Israel (putting aside his other politics), that does not mean that his gyms can be politically labeled.

Perhaps he teaches Krav Maga, a form of Israeli self-defense in his gyms. Would a gym be labeled pro-Thai if kick boxing were taught there?

Zionism at its most basic is simply the belief in the right of the Jewish people to a sovereign state. People may be Zionists. Organizations may be Zionist. But a gym?
Indy slams Israel’s ‘continuing’ arming of Burma, but omits fact there’s been no major sales since 2011
The aim of the article was to tie Israel to what McKernan characterises as Burma’s (Myanmar’s) “intensified violence against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority”, amidst reports of 400 Rohingya killed and over 100,000 displaced since August. To help buttress the ‘Jews contributing to violence against Muslims’ narrative, McKernan included a ludicrous quote by a fringe Israeli leftist arguing that “weapons used against the Palestinians are being sold as ‘field-tested’ to some of the worst regimes on the planet”, such as Myanmar.

However, beyond the hyperbole, the specific claims in the article don’t stand up to critical scrutiny.

The Indy claim that “More than 100 tanks, as well as boats and light weapons, have been sold to the Burmese government by Israeli arms companies” is extraordinarily misleading. As blogger Elder of Ziyon recently demonstrated, based on data from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), there’s been no major* recorded arms sales between the two countries since 2011.

Also, Israel provides a minuscule proportion of Myanmar’s overall weapons imports, representing roughly 1% of all major arms to the country between 2010 and 2016.
'I heard about kidnapping of the 3 boys and had to enlist'
Nechama Rivlin, the wife of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin hosted 30 lone soldiers from the Givati Brigade at a pre-Rosh Hashanah toast.

The gathering was also attended by Chana Eisenkot, the wife of IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, as well as the commander of the Givati ​​Brigade, Lt. Col. Ivri Elbaz.

The soldiers included immigrants from the US, France, Britain, and Switzerland, as well as soldiers without families.

The soldiers discussed their reasons for joining the IDF. Avraham, a lone soldier from the US, said: "When I heard about the kidnapping of the boys Gil-Ad, Eyal and Naftali, and the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, I could not just sit in America. So I decided to enlist."

Rafi, also from the US, said: "I always had the dream of serving in the IDF."

The lone soldiers spoke of the camaraderie of the IDF and of the culture of giving the army fosters. They also spoke of the bonds they formed with Israeli families who 'adopted' them during their service.

The soldiers also spoke about the difficulties and hardships they encountered in transitioning to a new country. Avraham explained that the language barrier was especially difficult for him. "People did not understand me, and it was hard to explain what they were thinking or feeling. It's hard to be in a situation where you don't know how to explain yourself."
Founding member of Israel's 101 Squadron dies at age of 94
Mitchell Flint, a former US Navy fighter pilot who helped form the Israeli Air Force has died in Los Angeles at the age of 94.

Flint, who also served in Israel’s first fighter squadron, died Saturday of natural causes, his son Michael Flint was quoted by US media as saying.

Flint, whose father was also a Navy combat flyer in World War I, volunteered at the age of 18 to serve as a US Navy pilot and earned three Air Medals and eight Navy Unit Commendations during his service in the Pacific during World War II.

He volunteered to fly for the fledgling State of Israel during the country’s War of Independence after seeing what had occurred to the Jews of Europe during the Second World War, and in 1948, under the guise of heading to the Olympic Games in London, he made his way to Czechoslovakia before flying to Israel.

Flint was one of the founding members of “Machal," a group of non-Israelis who fought in Israel’s War of Independence. They flew in German aircraft that had been captured during WWII, such as Messerschmitts with Stars of David painted over Nazi insignia, as well as Mustangs and Spitfires,

The Machal volunteers played a key role in the war and during his time flying for Israel’s 101 Squadron, Flint served alongside Ezer Weizman, who would later go on to become the head of the air force and Israel’s seventh president.

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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