Thursday, May 24, 2018

From Ian:

CAMERA OP-ED: Is It Criticism or Bigotry?
Note: A slightly different version of this article appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune on May 20, 2018. (The commentary was written in response to an anti-Semitic Op-Ed that was published earlier in that newspaper. Following the negative publicity generated by CAMERA’s harsh criticism, the newspaper published an apology by the author.)

Honest and civil criticism based on truth is an essential component of any democracy. Bigotry is an expression of visceral hatred against a person or a people. Both are protected free speech, but the first strengthens democracy while the second erodes it.

A controversial opinion column by Michael Robinson in the May 6 Salt Lake Tribune has raised the question of what differentiates the two. The author claims his commentary simply represented criticism of human rights abuses by the Israeli government. Yet its misrepresentation of facts and reality and its inflammatory language convey undisguised bigotry, which is why it was the subject of a critique by CAMERA (Committee for Middle East Reporting in America), of angry comments and outraged letters, and of an editor’s column.

This was in reaction to the author’s self-declared hatred for Israel, rooted in misconceptions and inaccuracies about Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab-Israeli conflict. By lashing out emotionally and attacking Israel inchoately, without any facts to back up his accusations, the author precluded any rational discussion that might arise from legitimate criticism.

Many readers were appalled by the crude invoking of classic, anti-Semitic caricatures that have been used for centuries to demonize the Jews as a people possessing malign attributes — as monsters lacking human compassion. Such demonizing in the past has been the precursor to grotesque violence. Referring to “the Jews” interchangeably with “Israel” and conflating the two, the author was not criticizing specific government policies as much he appeared to be attacking “the Jews” as a people. And in dismissing the wholesale slaughter of European Jewry as akin to a child’s “owie,” the author did nothing to dispel that impression.

David Collier: The Parliament Square Kaddish. We have to fight back
The blog on the Parliament Square Kaddish event was the hardest I have ever had to write. My research has taken me into some of the darkest anti-Jewish movements on the internet. I have got up close and personal with neo-Nazis, Rothschild conspiracy theorists and Holocaust deniers. I have worn a Kaffiyeh, walked with the Hezbollah and broken bread with people who think Jews are ‘evil’ and Israel needs to be ‘nuked’. Yet after all this, it was reporting on a small gathering of Jewish ‘peaceniks’ saying Kaddish for Hamas terrorists that hurt me the most.

I admit to being angry and sickened by that event in Parliament Square. The act was deliberate, public and provocative. It was designed to create a stir. Those involved have little cause to complain about the publicity they asked for, simply because the publicity they received was overwhelmingly negative. The stunt simply backfired on them.

But these people are still not ‘the enemy’. Those that really wish us harm are numerous and determined and deadly. The people at the Kaddish event are not ‘traitors’, nor ‘kapos’. Nor is there anything malicious in their activity. They are even unaware that they have been infected with a poison that is dripping from within the organisations that are supposed to ‘educate them’. These people are our kids. Our nieces and nephews and cousins and siblings and children.

Looking to put names to faces and then to find those who act as ‘influencers’ was soul-destroying. There was no joy in this. This type of research is one of the things I excel at, but there was no sense of accomplishment when I succeeded. There was only sadness.
Anti-Israel Protesters Shout Down Amb. Nikki Haley at University of Houston
Washington’s ambassador to the United Nations was interrupted by protesters waving Palestinians flags while speaking at the University of Houston in Texas on Tuesday.

Less than three minutes after taking the podium, Nikki Haley’s speech on US foreign policy achievements was interrupted by a male protester who accused her of sanctioning “the genocide of a native people.” She seemed startled by the exclamation, muttering, “Oh jeez.”

About two dozen students, some affiliated with the school’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter, quickly rose in unison and chanted, “Nikki, Nikki can’t you see, you are on a killing spree,” and “free, free, free Palestine.”

The disruption continued for more than two minutes, until most of the protesters were removed from the Cullen Performance Hall by police. The audience then applauded and Haley resumed speaking, only to be shouted over once again. “Any more?” she asked to loud applause after the final interruption.

“You know, while disruptive as that might have been, it’s a reason to celebrate,” she said. “Because my husband and my brother are combat veterans, and they fought for their right to be able to do that.”

The protesters continued displaying their signs outside the event hall, where SJP member Muhammed Fattoush expressed his objection to Haley’s defense of Israel’s response to recent Hamas-led riots in the Gaza Strip.

JPost Editorial: Bernard Lewis
One of the most influential Middle East scholars, Bernard Lewis, died Saturday, two weeks short of his 102nd birthday, in Voorhees Township, New Jersey.

Lewis, who will be buried at the Trumpeldor Cemetery in Tel Aviv on Thursday, had a major impact on US foreign policy, particularly under the presidency of George W. Bush. He briefed vice president Dick Cheney and defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld before the invasion of Iraq in 2003. His phrase, “the clash of civilizations,” was made famous by American political scientist Samuel Huntington, who argued that cultural and religious identities would be the primary source of conflict in the post-Cold War era.

Lewis attributed the 9/11 attacks to a decaying Islamic civilization that enabled extremists such as al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to conduct an international terrorist campaign. The solution to the growing problems of fundamentalist Islamic ideology was, in a word, democracy. “Either we bring them freedom, or they destroy us,” Lewis wrote. In many ways he was a modern-day prophet, although he was sometimes wrong and was often accused by his academic colleagues of being Eurocentric. “For some, I’m the towering genius,” Lewis told The Chronicle of Higher Education in 2012. “For others, I’m the devil incarnate.”

He warned in 2006 that Iran had been working on a nuclear program for some 15 years. But he wrongly predicted that Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could be planning an apocalyptic attack, perhaps against Israel, on August 22, to coincide with Muhammad’s night flight to Jerusalem.

As Israel deliberates again whether to recognize the Armenian Genocide, it is timely to recall that in the first editions of his well-known book, The Emergence of Modern Turkey, Lewis described that genocide as “the terrible holocaust of 1915, when a million and a half Armenians perished.” In later editions, he changed the text to “the terrible slaughter of 1915, when, according to estimates, more than a million Armenians perished, as well as an unknown number of Turks.” Critics accused him of “historical revisionism.”
Bernard Lewis was right about ‘the return of Islam’
Lewis was an Orientalist before Edward Said made that a term of abuse. Said was not a scholar of the Middle East, but a polemicist from the Middle East. He was also an intellectual impostor. Ever since Orientalism came out in 1978, proper historians have concluded that it would be a masterpiece, if only it were true. The only people who take Edward Said’s books seriously are, in no particular order of irrelevance, academic poseurs, chippy lefties, and the legions of chippy academic lefty poseurs churned out by the departments of Middle Eastern Studies.

Unfortunately, Said’s fellow-travelers were in the process of taking over the academic humanities at the time Orientalism came out. The result was that the study of Islam and the Middle East, once one of the jewels in the crown of Western scholarship, became a stage for salon Maoism and callow anti-Westernism. Said became a sort of intellectual pet for guilty white Americans, and Lewis and the traditional, which is to say, professional Orientalists, were driven from Middle Eastern Studies, many of them to regroup in a ghetto called Jewish Studies. All very entertaining if intellectual perversion or academic careerism or avenging the Arab nation’s humbling by the treacherous Zionists is your thing, but also fundamentally false, and not really related to historical reality, either.

Lewis had a close relationship to political reality. Too close, in Said’s estimate. If you were to put Said on the couch—late-Ottoman, preferably with French stylings—you might conclude that his central thesis in Orientalism was an assault on Lewis, the daddy of the field. Veiled, of course, but full-frontal. Said claimed that classic Orientalist historiography was nothing more than the intellectual armor of European colonialism. Lewis had got his field experience among the Arabs in the French and British colonies of the Middle East, and had served in British military intelligence in Cairo during the war. After moving to American in the 1970s, Lewis criticized the Soviet Union. He was a Zionist Jew too.

So, who was right, Ed the Arab or Bernie the Jew? In 1979, while Bernie warned that Ayatollah Khomeini was up to no good, Ed was complaining in The Nation about the ‘depressing and misleading’ image of ‘Islam’ in the Western media: ‘What emerges is that Ayatollah Khomeini, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani and Palestinian terrorists are the best-known figures in the foreground, while the background is populated by shadowy (though extremely frightening) notions about jihad, slavery, subordination of women and irrational violence combined with extreme licentiousness.’

Call me a Zionist, but haven’t subsequent events tended to confirm that image? The only change is that the Palestinian terrorists, instead of being secular leftists like Ed, are now religious lunatics. Bernie also warned that ‘the return of Islam’, which Ed said was a ‘fiction’ of the Western academic-media complex, was actually happening, and that all that resentment was all going to blow up in the West’s face like an exploding waistcoat. Full marks, Bernie, and thank you for that handy phrase, ‘clash of civilisations’.
Shmuley Boteach: Trump lays waste to Obama’s amoral foreign policy
It has been an incredible few weeks for lovers of Israel.

After eight years of tension with the Obama administration, Israel now has a partner in the United States which has killed the Iran deal, defends the Jewish state at the United Nations and has moved the American embassy to from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

US President Donald Trump has rid America of the shame of the Iran nuclear deal, which completely overlooked all of Iran’s sins and its promises to annihilate Israel’s six million Jews.

In so doing, Trump has created the potential for reining in the vile regime in Tehran, curbing the ascendance of radical Islamists and advancing a foreign policy that recognizes evil and holds belligerent governments accountable. Former president Barack Obama’s foreign policy had elements of Kissingerian realpolitik.

America was prepared to engage tyrants so long as it was in America’s interest to do so. Trump, by contrast, has put enormous pressure on tyrants like Kim Jong-un of North Korea and Bashar Assad of Syria.

To be sure, Trump has emerged as a great champion of the Jewish people and a protector of Israel, but globally, he has emerged as an American leader who is willing to condemn rather than excuse evil.

The Iran deal was traumatic because it was catastrophic.

It allowed a government which mows down its own citizens in the streets to pocket billions of dollars to finance terrorism, ballistic missile development, and intervention in its neighbors’ affairs in exchange for biding its time before building nuclear weapons. Obama promised Iran’s behavior would change. Instead Iran’s aggression got worse and its threats to US and global interests escalated. President Obama ignored Iran’s lies and threats in search of a foreign policy achievement to attach to his legacy.
The rise of the Islamocrats
Regrettably, a large segment of the population goes along with these nonsensical euphemisms depicting Islam. It is less threatening to believe that only a hijacked small segment of Islam is radical or politically driven and that the main body of Islam is indeed moderate and apolitical.

Our liberal professors and universities claim that Islam is inherently good; the majority of Muslims are good; and only a small minority has hijacked the good faith of Muhammad by engaging in acts of intolerance, hatred, and violence. I agree: it is not uncommon to observe Muslims, anywhere in the world, who are indeed exemplary in many ways. They are kind, generous, and much more. But these are cultural Muslims who are, in effect, only part Muslim. The question is, why is it that the good Islam is not ruling in the world and the bad Islam is engulfing it in fire?

Most Americans are bewildered as to why Democrats back Islamic ideology; honor their holidays and customs; and promote them as the religion of peace, knowing that Islam is not a religion of peace. In fact, it is an ideology of war. The answer is quite simple: the Democratic Party stands with anyone who hates America and the Republican party. History has proven that once Muslims have the majority, they institute sharia law and adopt their own legal system. A government within a government.

Sharia is Islamic law – the disciplines and principles that govern the behavior of a Muslim individual toward himself and his family, neighbors, community, city, nation, and the Muslim polity as a whole, the Ummah. Similarly, sharia governs the interactions among communities, groups, and social and economic organizations. Sharia establishes the criteria by which all social actions are classified, categorized, and administered within the overall governance of the state.

We are on a precarious path to lose our freedom and the American values we cherish. The Democratic Party is no longer the Party of Kennedy. It has become the greatest threat to our national security and our survival as a nation.
Could Israel Offer Palestinians What Their Own Leaders Won’t – Hope?
After the deadly Hamas-led riots last week at the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel, Gazans were asking of Hamas, the terrorist group that rules Gaza, what it had accomplished by ratcheting up the violence. One young man told The New York Times that nothing was accomplished by the violence, adding, “People are dead. They deceived us that we would breach the fence. But that didn’t happen.”

The Times reported further, “Hamas is no closer to improving the lives of increasingly restless Gazans. The group lacks money to even pay public employees’ salaries or other expenses of governing.”

While the residents of Gaza are no closer to independence than they were at the end of March, when Hamas started the weekly riots, called the Great March of Return, neither are the Palestinians of the West Bank, ruled by the Palestinian Authority and its president, Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas who is now in the fourteenth year of a four-year term as president, has recently been hospitalized. Though he’s in his 80s and in uncertain health, he says that the PA will not negotiate with Israel as long as Donald Trump is president. His possible mortality has not moved him to seek a historic capstone to his career, a Palestinian state, and prefers to brood that the terms of that state would not be to his liking.

Neither Hamas, nor the Palestinian Authority offer any positive vision for the future. They offer more conflict with Israel but no vision of independence. Hamas may be more explicit about it, but in his more than thirteen years as PA president, Abbas has turned down one peace offer, and scuttled other chances at negotiation.
US ambassador to Israel says Trump peace plan months away
U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said Wednesday that the Trump administration's long-awaited Middle East peace plan is still months away.

Speaking with reporters at the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem on Wednesday, Friedman said that the plan will be launched "within months" but had no exact date.

Earlier this week, U.S. administration officials said that the plan would be rolled out next month, but Friedman told Channel 10 Wednesday that the plan "is not finalized. … There's an awful lot of listening going on."

"It's not just the substance but also the timing and the presentation" that are important, he explained.

Upon entering the White House last year, Trump promised to pursue the "ultimate deal" between Israelis and Palestinians.

But most recently, Palestinians were outraged by Trump's decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and to demonstrate the recognition by relocating the U.S. Embassy there last week. Viewing the move as blatantly biased toward Israel, the Palestinians have rejected the U.S. as peace broker.

Meanwhile, Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was granted a security clearance after a lengthy background check, granting the White House adviser access to some of the country's most closely held secrets.
Report: Egypt, Qatar proposing truce between Israel and Hamas
Are Israel and Hamas moving toward a truce that will resolve the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip?

According to a report by Channel 10 broadcast on Wednesday, there are currently two proposals on the table – from Egypt and Qatar.

Israel has reportedly demanded a complete cessation of rocket fire and tunnel building, in addition to respecting the security perimeter at the Gaza border and a solution regarding the missing Israelis held in Gaza.

In return, Israel will substantially reduce restrictions at Gaza’s border crossings, including permitting the entry of goods and services to the Gaza Strip – on the condition that they will not be used to boost Hamas’s military. Egypt will also offer to lessen restrictions at its Rafah crossing with Gaza.

According to the report, Arab officials believe the truce is also of interest to moderate Arab states and that Cairo will take on the responsibility for monitoring the implementation of the agreement.

Officials did, however, voice concern that the Palestinian Authority and its president Mahmoud Abbas will not support the arrangement, as it consists of a deal between Israel and Hamas, thereby overlooking the role of the Palestinian Authority.
Knesset approves motion on recognizing Armenian Genocide
The Knesset will hold a vote on whether to recognize the Armenian Genocide, after approving Meretz chairwoman Tamar Zandberg’s motion for the agenda on the subject Wednesday.

“This is our moral and historic obligation,” Zandberg said. “Some things are above politics.”

The motion, approved 16-0, was to hold the first-ever debate of the recognition in the Knesset’s plenary.

Zandberg’s office is aiming for Tuesday as the date of the unprecedented vote. In 2015, the Knesset approved a motion for the agenda to discuss the Armenian Genocide, which resulted in the Education, Culture and Sport committee recognizing it. Zandberg’s motion is different in that it called for a discussion in the plenum, such that its vote represents the position of the entire Knesset.

Similar motions have been put to the vote in the past, but the government always asked the coalition to vote against them, out of concern for relations with Turkey.

This time, the government did not respond to the motion at all.

Wednesday’s vote took place with diplomatic tensions between Israel and Turkey in the background. Last week, Turkey expelled Israel’s ambassador over Israel’s response to violent riots in Gaza that resulted in the deaths of 50 Hamas terrorists, by Hamas’s own count, and 11 other Gazans. Jerusalem then sent away Ankara’s ambassador.
Steyer on Trump Jerusalem Embassy Move: There’s Something ‘Very Scary and Very Dangerous’ Going On
Liberal billionaire Tom Steyer suggested on Tuesday that there was some kind of "dangerous" connection between President Donald Trump's decisions to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal and move the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and GOP donor Sheldon Adelson's donation to the Congressional Leadership Fund.

Steyer called the decisions and the donation "very scary and very dangerous."

"It was worse than you just said. Because actually Trump walked away from the Iran treaty and moved the embassy to Jerusalem, and Sheldon Adelson gave the RNC $30 million the next day. So, there is something going on here that is very scary and very dangerous," Steyer said. The remarks were first flagged by NTK Network.

Steyer made a couple of inaccurate statements. First, the Iran nuclear deal is not a treaty. The deal was never ratified by the Senate, thus allowing Trump to unilaterally pull out from the agreement. Second, Adelson didn't make a donation to the Republican National Committee as Steyer claims. In reality, Adelson made a donation to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a group aligned with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R., Wis.).

It is unclear exactly what Steyer meant by the comment, but he isn't the first to make it. MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle suggested Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal to "please" Adelson, a wealthy Republican donor and avid Israel supporter.
Angolan diplomats sacked for attending Jerusalem Embassy opening
Angolan Foreign Minister Manuel Augusto dismissed two senior diplomats on Wednesday for their participation in the the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, according to African Media.

Jao Diogo Fortunato, a senior official at the Angolan Embassy in Tel Aviv, was fired from his job for "failing to comply with procedures and harming Angola's good reputation with countries that have enjoyed historically good relations."

The Angolan state-run newspaper reported that Fortunato participated in the opening ceremony of the embassy in Jerusalem with the approval of the director for African, Middle East and Regional Organizations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and that it was "contrary to the government's decision."

The Foreign Ministry invited 86 diplomats serving in Israel, but only about half of them attended the opening ceremony.

While significant Western European representatives were absent from the ceremony, those who broke the European consensus were the ambassadors of Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Austria. These states attended the ceremony despite the European Union's position that moving the embassy to Jerusalem harms efforts to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Trump Cancels Summit With North Korea Scheduled for Next Month
US President Donald Trump on Thursday called off a planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, even after North Korea followed through on a pledge to blow up tunnels at its nuclear test site.

Referring to a scheduled June 12 meeting with Kim in Singapore, Trump said in a letter to the North Korean leader: “Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it would be inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting.”

Trump called it “a missed opportunity” and said someday he still hoped to meet Kim.

Earlier on Thursday, North Korea repeated a threat to pull out of the unprecedented summit with Trump next month and warned it was prepared for a nuclear showdown with Washington if necessary.

In a statement released by North Korean media, Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui had called US Vice President Mike Pence a “political dummy” for comparing North Korea –– a “nuclear weapons state” — to Libya, where Muammar Gaddafi gave up his unfinished nuclear development program, only to be later killed by NATO-backed fighters.

A small group of international media selected by North Korea witnessed the demolition of tunnels at the Punggye-ri site on Thursday, which Pyongyang says is proof of its commitment to end nuclear testing.
Israel accuses Iran of testing 2 missiles this year, violating UNSC resolution
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, on Thursday accused Iran of violating a Security Council resolution by conducting in January two previously unreported tests on ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

In a letter to the Security Council, Danon said a variant of the Shahab-3 medium-range missile was tested on January 2 in the region of Chabahar in southeast Iran. Three days later, he said, the country’s military launched a variant of the Scud missile from a firing range 110 kilometers northeast of the city of Kerman.

Danon did not cite any sources for his claims. There don’t seem to have been any reports of such activities by Iran in January. Danon and the Israeli Ministry of Defense did not reply to requests for details.

“Both the Shahab-3 and Scud missiles are Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) category one ballistic missiles, capable of delivering a nuclear payload of 500 kilograms for a range of over 300 kilometers,” Danon wrote. “Iran’s activities, are therefore, in violation of Article 3 of Annex B to Security Council Resolution 2231.”

Iran has conducted dozens of missile tests in recent years in violation of Security Council Resolution 2231, which affirmed the 2015 nuclear deal and called on Iran to refrain from developing missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons. Iran has maintained that it never intended to develop nuclear weapons and therefore its missile development doesn’t violate the agreement. Diplomats have said the language in the resolution is nonbinding and therefore can’t be enforced with punitive measures.
CAMERA: The Washington Post’s Flawed ‘Fact Check’ on the Iran Deal
President Donald Trump’s May 8, 2018 announcement that he would be removing the United States from the Iran deal attracted considerable media attention—much of it littered with omissions and distortions. But a May 9, 2018 Washington Post “fact check” of Trump’s remarks may take the cake.

The Post’s report claimed that the President’s “rationale” for withdrawing from the deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), “merits scrutiny,” but then failed to deliver an accurate take.

The “fact check” begins with the assertion that the Iran nuclear deal’s “prohibition on Iran’s building nuclear weapons does not sunset, and other international agreements to which Iran has committed itself prohibit the development of such weapons.” Yet, this is misleading.

Only several paragraphs later—and even then only briefly—does The Post acknowledge that Iran signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation (NPT) Treaty. However, the paper omits that Iran signed the NPT under the government of Shah Reza Pahlavi. That is, it did so prior to the 1979 Islamic revolution, in which Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei and his gang of Islamic fundamentalist theocrats came to power. Khomenei and the terror state that he created viewed the Shah as illegitimate and murdered many members of his government, infamously hanging some of them from construction equipment. The newly formed Islamic Republic of Iran explicitly or implicitly voided many pre-existing agreements made under the Shah.

Nor does The Post explain why—if Iran was actually abiding by the NPT—the Iran deal is even necessary in the first place. The newspaper also fails to explain why an agreement that Iran has already disregarded can be relied upon as a bulwark to “prohibit the development” of nuclear weapons.

Hidden camera TV show on Israel sparks furor in Tunisia
A television show in which well-known Tunisians were secretly filmed agreeing to deal with Israel has sparked controversy in the North African nation, which cut off ties with the Jewish state almost two
decades ago.

Even before being broadcast, the "Shalom" show caused a stir after lists of those filmed agreeing to cooperate with Israel -- for financial rewards -- were circulated on social media.

In the programs, actors presenting themselves as aides to an "Israeli embassy" operating secretly in Tunisia -- which severed relations with the Jewish state in 2000 -- meet up with politicians, performers and sports personalities.

Those caught up in the ruse include a sportswoman who agreed to coach an Israeli club for $120,000.

Raouf Ayadi, an opposition leader and known critic of Israel, claimed to "have no problem" with the Jewish state while being filmed by a hidden camera.

"I was put under a lot of pressure, I was terrified," he told Mosaique FM radio, who in a clip is shown looking visibly worried in the presence of an armed man.

"Scenes in which an armed bodyguard stopped me from leaving" have been left out, according to Ayadi, leader of the Wafa party.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Reviewers Bash Ramadan TV Series For Lack Of Antisemitism (satire)
Viewers across the region anticipate the onset of the monthlong Ramadan observance each year, either for the spiritual development it represents or for the special entertainment the government-run media in the Middle East produce to accompany each evening’s festive meal to break the daylight fast. This year, however, audiences and critics from Fez to Jakarta have issued harsh critiques of one television series on offer, with the main complaint involving the show’s near-complete absence of hatred for Jews.

“Qassem Jafr” follows the exploits of an eponymous industrial spy in the fictional Arab state of Nazriq. It takes numerous twists and turns through corporate intrigue, extortion, corrupt law enforcement, and a potential love triangle involving the daughter of a fictitious Persian Gulf banker. But unlike every other series produced for the occasion in past years, the program leaves out a constant audiences have grown to expect: implied or explicit antisemitism. Critics and viewers alike have registered their displeasure.

“The acting is fluid; the dialogue, crisp and clever,” wrote Tunisian reviewer Fares Aino, “but Qassem Jafr suffers from a moral blindness that keeps it from acknowledging the injustice of our age, perhaps of all ages: the epic struggle with the cursed Jews. It therefore falls flat, despite other promising, even compelling features.”

A critic in Malaysia echoed Aino’s sentiments. “Where is the axiomatic solidarity with Palestine?” railed Madezza Hatr. “Qassem Jafr forfeits all verisimilitude when it ignores the defining aspect of Muslim life.”
Dershowitz to sue against Israeli flag ban at sports events in Arab states
A team of leading international jurists, including Harvard Prof. Alan Dershowitz, plan to petition the international Court of Arbitration for Sport against the exclusion of Israel’s flag and anthem at sporting events in Arab countries.

“It starts with sports, but it won’t end there,” Dershowitz warned. “We won’t allow the Jewish state to be treated like it’s a second-class country.”

Yesh Atid MK Yoel Razbozov, a former Israeli judo champion who launched the initiative, said: “When I saw Israeli athletes having to compete in Arab countries without an Israeli flag, without the anthem and without any Israeli symbol, as a former Olympic athlete and a member of Knesset, it drove me crazy.

“This is a national humiliation and a surrender to terror,” the MK added. “The Arab world is trying not to recognize Israel through sport.”

The legal team is led by Dershowitz, former New York State Attorney-General Dennis Vacco, and lawyer Jon Purizhansky. Their efforts follow multiple events in which Israeli athletes could not display the flag on their uniforms and the national anthem was not played when they won. Razbozov also sought advice from Efraim Barak, an Israeli attorney who is an expert on sports and law and an arbitrator at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and other Israeli and Swiss lawyers will take part in the efforts.

Dershowitz said he agreed to take part in the effort after Razbozov told him about the incidents, and that he hopes to bring an end to discrimination against Israeli athletes.
Jerusalem Eurovision 2019 under threat due to possible boycott – report
Israel’s hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest in Jerusalem next year is in doubt due to threats of boycotts by several of the countries expected to attend, according to a Channel 10 report.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) reportedly held secret meetings with Israel’s public broadcaster Kan and said its main concern about holding the event in the capital was that several countries may not participate, the Wednesday report said.

Immediately after her victory, Israeli winner Netta Barzilai told the crowd, “Next year in Jerusalem.” Her message was echoed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and many other politicians who insisted the event be held in the capital.

The Eurovision Song Contest on Tuesday raised questions about next year’s competition in Israel, with a tweet advising fans not to “go booking your flights just yet” as the time and location of the 2019 event had yet to be set.

According to Channel 10 the main concern of the organizers is that countries including Iceland, Ireland and Sweden could boycott the event due to the political situation.
Pro-Palestinian activists set off stink bombs at NZ screening of Ben-Gurion film
Pro-Palestinian activists in New Zealand bought tickets to the screening of a new film about Israel’s founder and first prime minister David Ben-Gurion, then detonated stink bombs and shouted anti-Israel slogans, forcing the invited audience to leave the hall, Hadashot News reported Thursday.

The incident in Auckland followed a similar one in New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, where protesters chained a bleeping black box to a seat, according to Newsroom, a New Zealand-based news and current affairs site.

Peace Action Wellington said it had targeted the screening because the film, “Ben-Gurion, Epilogue,” was “racist propaganda” and because the Israeli embassy had paid for director Yariv Mozer to fly to New Zealand.
Canada school removes student banner for likeness to Israel flag
In a decision upheld by officials at the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), the principal of a Toronto public school removed a banner made by students for Jewish Heritage Month - because of its resemblance to an Israeli flag, according to Jewish organization B’nai Brith Canada.

The banner had hung for a week without incident in the main foyer of Forest Hill Collegiate Institute, a midtown Toronto high school with a large Jewish population, before being removed without notice or consultation on Monday. When questioned by students and parents, Principal Reiko Fuentes told them that, although originally approved, the banner was “too controversial” because it resembled the Israeli flag.

Parents of Jewish students at Forest Hill Collegiate Institute are fuming. Yael Elfassy, the mother of one of the students who made the banner, told B’nai Brith that, “The principal’s decision to remove the banner is totally unacceptable. She has no right to tell Jewish students to remove Israel from their heritage.”

When contacted by B’nai Brith, TDSB officials suggested that the banner be displayed internally at Jewish Heritage Month events organized by students, but stood by Principal Fuentes’ decision to remove the banner from the main foyer.

“The TDSB is making a mockery of Jewish Heritage Month,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “This month is supposed to symbolize the acceptance and inclusion of Jewish students and teachers in Toronto schools, but is now marking the exact opposite.
IsraellyCool: Hatred of Israel Is In (Teen) Vogue Yet Again
A month ago I posted about an Israel-bashing piece published in Teen Vogue by someone identifying as a palestinian Arab.

Teen Vogue has now gone one better, publishing an Israel-bashing piece written by someone identifying as Jewish.

Not surprisingly, the author is a member of IfNotNow, a radical anti-Israel organization.

Note the virtue signalling in the piece. The implication is in order to be a good person, you need to oppose Israel and support the palestinians.

By continuing to give airtime to these Israel haters – and not any Zionists – Teen Vogue has made their agenda very clear. And as I posted last time, they are doing more than normalizing hatred of Israel – they are making it more fashionable.
Editor’s note on why corrections matter – the perfect is the enemy of the good
We’d like to respond to those who strongly support our work promoting accurate reporting of Israel, but sometimes question the impact of such corrections. Who notices, some have asked, the tiny blurb on page 32 of the newspaper the following day? The damage, they assert, has already been done with the original smear, distortion or inaccuracy.

In response to such sincere skepticism over the efficacy of CAMERA’s focus on corrections, it’s important to note that the tiny blurb in the paper is far from the only achievement. The question of who reads that small bit in the print paper is not as important as the fact that we’ve set the record straight, and that journalists and editors are far less likely to make the same error again – sometimes motivated by professionalism, other times merely out of fear of being embarrassed again.

UK Media Watch prompted print correction at the Daily Mail on Nov. 27, 2017.

Also of significance is the fact that most people get their news online and, when we prompt revised language to an article that originally contained false assertion, the new accurate language is what news consumers will read when they come across the article.

Finally, there’s the cumulative effect that our monitoring, and our prompting of corrections, has on journalists.

Though we can’t change their personal opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the fact that they know we monitor every word they write about Israel has the effect of making their writers more careful. In addition to the corrections we garner, those of us who monitor media outlets day after day can see the impact in other ways – in, for instance, improvements over time in the language used about Jerusalem, and in other ways which are sometimes difficult to quantify. The Guardian’s then Readers’ Editor wearily acknowledged in 2011, in an article responding to charges of antisemitism in their coverage of Israel and clearly alluding to our criticism, that “organisations monitoring the Guardian’s coverage” studiously hold the Guardian accountable to the facts and language in their articles and op-eds.

Bipartisan Congressional Group Urges Secretary of State to Appoint Antisemitism Special Envoy
A group of American legislators urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday to appoint a new Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism — a position that has remained unfilled since January 2017.

Expressing concern about growing Jew-hatred around the world, members of Congress’ Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating Anti-Semitism wrote in a letter to the State Department chief, “Prioritizing this important role would bolster the United States’ ability to monitor and combat anti-Semitism abroad and send a strong message to the international community that the U.S. remains committed to fighting the scourge of anti-Semitism.”

“Without a Special Envoy, the United States lacks the focus of a person solely dedicated to spearheading our important diplomatic efforts in the fight against anti-Semitism,” the letter said. “Appointing this important position will make clear to foreign governments that combating anti-Semitism remains an American priority and that the U.S. maintains its traditional leadership in the fight.”

The Special Envoy position was created by the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004. The most recent person to serve in the role was Ira Forman, who left at the end of the Obama administration.
New legislation seeks to define anti-Semitism in US education system
A bipartisan group of US lawmakers from both houses of Congress introduced legislation on Wednesday to codify a working definition of anti-Semitism into the American education system.

The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act would direct the Department of Education (DOE) to use the definition that was developed by the US State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism office in 2010. The office has been vacant since US President Donald Trump took office.

Under the guidance, anti-Semitism is said to include “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews.” Acts of hatred can have both “rhetorical and physical manifestations” that are “directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property,” as well as “Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

It also incorporates manifestations that target Israel, particularly attacks that assail Israeli actions as representative of “Jewish collectivity.”

The legislators said the Department of Education currently lacks a firm direction on how to identify and define anti-Semitism, and that, should the bill be signed into law, it would give the agency the tools to recognize when actions violate US anti-discrimination laws.
Jewish group questions sainthood for WWII-era cardinal
A leading Jewish organization has criticized the Vatican’s decision to move World War II-era cardinal August Hlond along the path to possible sainthood, saying the Polish primate was “extremely” hostile to Jews and failed to condemn a 1946 pogrom.

In a letter to top Vatican officials released Wednesday, the American Jewish Committee said it was “profoundly” concerned that Pope Francis approved a decree recognizing Hlond’s “heroic virtues,” the first main step in the sainthood process.

AJC’s director of interreligious affairs, Rabbi David Rosen, cited a 1936 pastoral letter Hlond wrote in which he urged Poles to stay away from the “harmful moral influence of Jews” and to boycott Jewish media.

Hlond refused to condemn the 1946 Kielce pogrom, which left 42 Jews dead and at least 40 wounded.

“It is a fact that the Jews are fighting against the Catholic Church, persisting in free thinking, and are the vanguard of godlessness, Bolshevism and subversion,” Hlond wrote in the letter, which frequently has been cited as evidence of the Catholic Church’s institutional anti-Semitism prior to the modernizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.

“Cardinal Hlond held a press conference but he did not condemn the pogrom nor urge Poles to stop murdering Jews,” wrote Rosen. “Rather, he pointed out that the Jews were all communists or supporters of communism and that the pogrom was their own fault.”
Targeting of Jews in the Netherlands hits a 5-year high
Discrimination against Jews in the Netherlands nearly doubled in 2017, reaching a five-year high that accounts for 41 percent of all the xenophobic incidents recorded.

A report published last month by the Dutch Public Prosecution Service listed 144 confirmed criminal offenses last year involving xenophobia, including intimidation, vandalism, assault and incitement to hate or violence.

Of those cases, 41 percent of incidents were “directed against Jews,” who account for 0.2 percent of the Dutch population. Another 7% were against victims for their “religion or way of life,” including Muslims. Criminal discrimination against homosexuals accounted for 8% of the 144 cases.

In 2016, discrimination against Jews accounted for 22% of the 163 cases upheld by the Dutch judiciary.

The report lists an additional 187 cases involving convictions for other offenses where xenophobia was not the main motive, but where it nonetheless featured as an aggravating circumstance. Of those, 9% involved anti-Semitism, and the same percentage targeted Muslims for their faith.

Of the more than 60 cases involving direct criminal discrimination against Jews in 2017, more than three-quarters were related to soccer. In the Netherlands, anti-Semitic rhetoric is common during soccer matches, in which both supporters of the Ajax team from Amsterdam and fans of rival squads refer to Ajax as “Jews.”
UNICEF Chooses Israeli Platform for Campaign to Fight Infant Mortality
When the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) wanted to create an online petition and quiz to raise awareness about preventing infant mortality in developing countries, it chose a platform from the Israeli startup Kueez.

Kueez, founded in Bnei Brak two years ago, specializes in creating personalized entertaining content for web surfers in 21 languages in more than 200 countries. The website was cofounded by Uri Mendi, Orr Katznelson and Daniel Tony and now has about 100 million unique monthly visitors.

UNICEF approached Kueez to create a campaign encouraging people to join in an international call for health ministers to participate in the World Health Assembly on May 21-26. The aim is to encourage countries to increase their support for medical care for every mother and baby in at-risk parts of the world.

According to UNICEF statistics, every minute five babies die in Third World countries for reasons that could be prevented. In some countries, more than 10 percent of babies die before they are a year old due to various diseases. In recent decades, these numbers have improved, but there is still a huge gap between deaths in the West and those in developing countries.
Israeli breakthrough could lead to cure for ALS
A groundbreaking discovery by Tel Aviv University researchers may provide hope to people suffering from ALS.

There is currently no cure for ALS, a degenerative disease that gradually paralyzes all the muscles of the body and eventually causes death.

Tel Aviv University researchers, led by Dr. Eran Perlson from the Sackler School of Medicine, discovered that muscle cells in ALS patients excrete toxins that damage nerve cells, causing them to degenerate.

They later discovered a molecule that blocks the effect of the toxins, and could serve as the basis for the development of a treatment for the disease in the future.

In a scan of all the proteins excreted by ALS patients, researchers found elevated levels of a protein known as semaphorin, a toxin know to be active during the development of the nervous system in fetuses. Semaphorin is normally only active in the fetal development state, where it destroys some 50% of unnecessary axons, which connect nerve cells to one another. The toxin can, however, reactivate in a variety of pathological conditions like Parkinson's or ALS, or as a result of trauma, for instance following a stroke or spinal cord injury.
Meet Toy, the newest baby giraffe at the Jerusalem Zoo
A baby giraffe was born at the Tisch Family Zoological Gardens (Jerusalem Biblical Zoo) on May 12. Keepers decided to name her Toy because she arrived the same night Netta Barzilai won the Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon with the song “Toy.”

The 100-kilo (220-pound) newborn calf, standing 1.6 meters (5’2”), is resting in the giraffe house with her mother, Lila, before being introduced to the other animals in the Africa enclosure.

At the beginning of March, a baby giraffe nicknamed Mitzi was born to Maya, the Biblical Zoo’s first Israeli-born giraffe. Mitzi’s grandmother, Akiya, was brought to the zoo from South Africa.

First written record of Semitic alphabet, from 15th century BCE, found in Egypt
Newly deciphered Egyptian symbols on a 3,400-year-old limestone ostracon from Luxor’s Tomb of Senneferi appears to be the first written evidence of the ABC letter order of the early Semitic alphabet, according to a University of British Columbia Egyptologist.

In his article, “A Double Abecedary? Halaham and ‘Abgad on the TT99 Ostracon,” Prof. Thomas Schneider concludes that a small (approximately 10 x 10 centimeters, or about 4 x 4 inches) double-sided limestone flake was used by Egyptian scribes as a mnemonic device to remember the letter orders of not one, but two forms of early Semitic alphabets.

On one side of the flake is Schneider’s recent discovery: the transliteration into cursive Egyptian writing of the sounds that signify the beginnings of today’s Hebrew alphabet (Aleph, Bet, Gimel). On the other, a contemporary, though now lesser-known letter order, called “Halaḥam,” which was deciphered in 2015, on the same limestone flake, by Leiden University’s Dr. Ben Haring.

The limestone piece is dated to the Egyptian 18th dynasty, from the excavation of Theban Tomb 99 from the necropolis on the west bank of the Nile at Luxor, known as the Tombs of the Nobles. Director of the Cambridge Theban Tombs Project Dr. Nigel Strudwick found the object back in 1995, in what he calls “a later tomb shaft,” dating to about 1450 BCE.

Extremely rare 4th century BCE Jewish-minted coins unearthed in Jerusalem
Three extremely rare Jewish-minted coins dating from the 4th century BCE were recently discovered by the Temple Mount Sifting Project, doubling the number unearthed in ancient Jerusalem to date. These coins are among the earliest testaments to Jewish minting in the Land of Israel.

But they’re easy to miss: The coins are only 7 millimeters in diameter and of an almost negligible weight. Made of silver, their design is based on the Athenian Obol and utilize its barn owl motif, representing the goddess Athena. However, instead of the Greek letters ΑΘΕ for Athens, they bear an inscription in ancient Hebrew — “yhd” or Judah.

The Sifting Project has uncovered over 6,000 ancient coins during its systematic meticulous study of thousands of tons of Temple Mount earth haphazardly discarded during unauthorized renovations of a subterranean mosque in the late 1990s.

Only three were clearly identified as these silver Yehud coins minted in Jerusalem by Jews during the Persian era, as well as two others which are suspected to be of the same class.

All told, in Israel to date there are 193 archaeologically provenanced coins which were minted locally throughout the Holy Land during the Persian era. Among them are only 51 Yehud coins.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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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