Monday, June 18, 2018

From Ian:

Amb. Alan Baker: The Many Ways the Palestinians Violate International Law
After the UN General Assembly on June 14, 2018, voted to condemn Israel for its handling of the Gaza border fence violence, It is all the more curious to observe the deliberate disregard of the serious and flagrant international humanitarian, environmental, and ecological crimes committed by Hamas and the Palestinians.
Since the Palestinian Authority is utilizing the events in Gaza to conduct its own political and legal campaign against Israel in international bodies, this renders the Palestinian leadership an accessory to Hamas in the commission of these crimes.

By initiating, encouraging, and supporting mass pollution of the border area through the organized stockpiling and burning of tires, the Palestinian leadership is responsible for repeatedly creating caustic clouds of carbon pollution. This act is damaging to the health of the Palestinian civilian demonstrators themselves, as well as the residents of Israeli communities in the vicinity of the border.

Incendiary kites and balloons have ignited vast swathes of agricultural land in Israel, destroyed crops, and endangered Israeli residents. The International Criminal Court Statute defines as a war crime "extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly."

Weaponizing kites and balloons by attaching explosive devices with the intention that they will explode upon landing or when found by Israeli civilians is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, notably the 1997 Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings. Moreover, the 2001 Conventional Weapons Convention prohibits the use of incendiary weapons.

From the viewpoint of international humanitarian law and accepted norms of humanity, placing Palestinian civilians, and especially women and children, at the forefront of violent demonstrations and attacks on the border fence as human shields to conceal the presence of Hamas terrorists is a violation of several international treaties protecting children and prohibiting their involvement in warfare.

The Palestinian leadership must be made to understand that its fixation with joining international treaties is not unidirectional. It involves solemn responsibilities to abide by the obligations included in such treaties. The international community must hold the Palestinian leadership to their commitments and not ignore their violations of the most fundamental norms and principles of international law.

Radical-Left SPLC Pays Anti-Islamist Think Tank $3.37 Million After Calling It 'Extremist'
On Monday, Quilliam, a London-based counter-extremism think-tank that battles against Islamic extremism, announced the hard-left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) would pay Quilliam almost $4 million after SPLC had included Quilliam in its “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.”

SPLC released a statement, which read:
Today, we entered into a settlement with and offered our sincerest apology to Mr. Maajid Nawaz and his organization, the Quilliam Foundation, for including them in our publication A Journalist’s Manual: Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists. Given our understanding of the views of Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam, it was our opinion at the time that the Field Guide was published that their inclusion was warranted. But after getting a deeper understanding of their views and after hearing from others for whom we have great respect, we realize that we were simply wrong to have included Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam in the Field Guide in the first place.

Then, the acknowledgment of the payment: “As part of our settlement, we have paid $3.375 million to Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam to fund their work to fight anti-Muslim bigotry and extremism.”

And this conclusion: “As we move forward, we are committed to redoubling our efforts to ensure that our work is always carried out with the utmost care and integrity. The stakes in the battle against hate and extremism are simply too great to be satisfied with anything less.”

The SPLC has defended anti-Semite and radical leftist Linda Sarsour; called the late Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum a hate group; named the Family Research Council a hate group, and written that Prager University videos are “indispensable propaganda device for the right.” (h/t jzaik)
Antisemitism at the United Nations Cannot Be Ignored
Yet even most of us who care about these issues tend to treat the UN’s actions as mere rhetoric. While this is true, we’re wrong to treat days like June 12 as deplorable but not worth getting all that upset about. While what goes on in the United Nations is, in a sense, just talk, it’s far more dangerous than that.

What we forget about these exercises in hypocrisy is that they give official imprimatur to antisemitism. As Obama’s State Department certified, a “rising tide of anti-Semitism” is sweeping across Europe and Southeast Asia. Arab and Islamic hatred for Israel, as well as some Western elites’ belief that the Jews are the one people on the planet who aren’t entitled to a homeland, drive this trend.

If other countries are willing to give Hamas a pass for terror and bash Israel for defending its border in a way no different (if not far more humane) than almost all of the nations condemning it, then this is an act of prejudice against the one Jewish state on the planet.

To note this fact is not to assert that Israel is perfect or above criticism. But when a world body attacks Israel alone and vilifies it for doing what any other nation would do, that is called hate.

The Obama administration treated the United Nations like a sacred multilateral cow. But it’s time for the Trump administration to put even more pressure on the United Nations that it already has done, cutting the US allocations that keep it going.

By regarding everyday hate as ordinary, we are, even if only because of exhaustion and a sense of futility, enabling it. That has to stop. We must never allow ourselves to get used to UN-certified Jew-hatred. The United Nations must be made to understand that decent persons won’t tolerate this practice indefinitely without consequences.

JPost Editorial: The Royal Visit
Instead of healing old wounds, the visit could reopen them. Although the Balfour Declaration of 1917 helped pave the way for the establishment of the State of Israel, relations have been ambivalent and even hostile at times.

It is impossible to forget that the British blocked Jewish immigration (but not Arab immigration) before, during and even immediately after the Holocaust. While Princess Alice is recognized as a “Righteous Gentile” for her role in hiding Greek Jews during the Shoah, it should be kept in mind how many hundreds of thousands of Jews could had been saved had an independent State of Israel already existed, or had the British authorities allowed Jews to flee to safety in the Jewish homeland.

Only Britain and Pakistan recognized Jordanian rule over (east) Jerusalem after Amman annexed it in 1948, and it seems that there are some in the Foreign Office who have never come to terms with Israel’s survival of the Six Day War and reunification of Jerusalem.

Trade relations with the UK are good; it is one of the many countries benefiting from Israeli intelligence and technology in the common fight against terrorism. Former prime minister David Cameron gave a speech in the Knesset, and Netanyahu and current Prime Minister Theresa May have met on many occasions.

Prince William is reportedly particularly excited about the chance to meet “a number of people from his own generation.” This would be an excellent time to look ahead and put relations on a new, positive footing. Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people since the time of King David – it deserves more than a royal snub by the Duke of Cambridge.
Minister blasts Prince William for listing Old City as Palestinian in itinerary
Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin criticized Britain’s Prince William for listing his upcoming tour of the Old City of Jerusalem as part of his trip to the Palestinian territories, rather than to Israel.

The royal itinerary, published last week by Kensington Palace, had raised some eyebrows in Israel, as it implies that the palace considers the Old City to be located in the “Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

“It is regrettable that in Britain they chose to politicize the royal visit,” Elkin said, according to the Ynet news site. “United Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for 3,000 years and no distortion in the tour itinerary can change that reality.”

Elkin, who recently announced that he will campaign to become mayor of Jerusalem in upcoming October elections, added, “I expect the prince’s people to correct the distortion.”

Much of the international community does not recognize Israel’s 1980 annexation of East Jerusalem, where the Old City is located.
Melanie Phillips: Prince William an FCO hostage in a minefield
The official itinerary for the royal visitor, published a few days ago by his office at Kensington Palace (but using briefing notes that will have been provided by the FCO) says that the last leg of his visit will be to the “Occupied Palestinian Territories”.

This deeply tendentious phrase is standard fare at the FCO. But what’s raised eyebrows is that the itinerary goes on to say, after HRH meets Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah and speaks at the UK consulate in east Jerusalem,

“The next day’s programme in the Occupied Palestinian Territories will begin with a short briefing on the history and geography of Jerusalem’s Old City from a viewing point at the Mount of Olives. From here His Royal Highness will travel a short distance to the Church of St Mary Magdalene where he will pay his respects at the tomb of his great-grandmother, Princess Alice.”

This wording places Jerusalem’s Old City and the Mount of Olives within the “Occupied Palestinian Territories”. This goes even further than Britain’s ludicrous but customary refusal to accept that any part of Jerusalem is within Israel. Absurdly, in British diplo-speak Jerusalem has thus resided in geopolitical limbo – a city apparently situated in the middle of nowhere.

That was bad enough. But through this wording of HRH’s itinerary, Britain is implying that the Old City of Jerusalem, which houses the holiest sites in Judaism and Christianity, belongs as of right to the “Palestinians” and is illegitimately “occupied” by Israel. (That may be the inescapable logic of Britain’s position, but it normally sidesteps this most sensitive of implications). Worse still, it appears that the UK government is also saying that the Western Wall – the retaining wall of the ancient Jewish Temple, one of the most sacred places in Judaism – also belongs as of right to the “Palestinians”.

The Israeli website Ynet reports that, in his proposed visit to the “Occupied Palestinian Territories”, Prince William plans to visit the Temple Mount, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Church of Saint John the Baptist and the Western Wall.

“According to sources in Jerusalem, the palace intentionally avoided mentioning these sites in a bid to prevent a politicization of the visit… While Israel accepts Britain and the European Union’s definition of east Jerusalem as ‘an occupied Palestinian territory’, the Old City is a completely different story and the Western Wall is considered a red line. Including the Western Wall in the PA leg of the visit is a serious move, which Israel doesn’t know how to respond to.”

If Israel really has accepted “Britain and the European Union’s definition of east Jerusalem as ‘an occupied Palestinian territory’”, it has made itself complicit in one of the Arab world’s Big Lies. For the issue here is not just about the territorial status of Jerusalem’s Old City and the Western Wall.
Melanie Phillips: William's ME trip, Trump_Kim meeting, UN
Please join me here as I discuss with Avi Abelow of Israel Unwired the forthcoming visit of HRH Prince William to Israel, that most intriguing face-to-face meeting between US President Trump and North Korea Chairman Kim Jong-un, and the interesting developments at the UN over its attitude towards the Hamas onslaught against Israel at the Gaza border.

Holy only to Jews
"The Western Wall doesn't belong to the Jews alone," Labor party leader Avi Gabbay said last week before rushing to walk it back. But maybe we should thank him. The party leader gave us a chance to address another perversion of history, this one intentional – the Palestinian Islamization of the Western Wall – the holy site they long for as one of the walls of Al-Aqsa compound – by categorically denying any Jewish ties to it, just like they do with the Temple Mount and Jerusalem as a whole.

Embarrassingly, good Jews who are fighting for the place of the Jewish people and the State of Israel on the Temple Mount are unaware that they are helping the Muslim perversion. They want so badly to elevate the status of the Mount that they minimize the Western Wall, even going so far as to deny its holiness, and sometimes even holding it in contempt. One such activist recently called it "a meaningless wall" and "a rear parking place for horses and camels."

We need to put things straight. The Western Wall became the central place for Jewish prayer in Jerusalem following the earthquake that shook the city in 1546. The earthquake brought down the buildings that had stood flush up against the Western Wall, in what today is the well-known prayer plaza, and allowed the Turks to allot the Jews a narrow passageway for their prayers.

But despite the contemptuous remarks by those who deny the Western Wall's status (both Jewish and Muslim), this was no "invention" of the past few hundred years. Historic sources show that from the moment the Muslim occupiers allowed the Jews back into Jerusalem, over 1,000 years ago (after the Christians had barred them from the city), they would pray all along the length of the Western Wall, much of which was free of Muslim construction, unlike today. Jews prayed at the southern corner of the wall, as well as its northern sections – near the Cotton, Iron, and Council (Majlis) gates. Until Jerusalem fell to the Crusaders in 1099, a synagogue known as "the cave" operated in an underground space beneath Warren's Gate in the Western Wall.
IsraellyCool: French Logic
June 24, 2008: Speaking at a Bethlehem press conference Tuesday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Jerusalem should be divided, and called on Israel to dismantle the West Bank security fence

“The separation fence will not bring security to Israelis forever,” the French leader added.

June 15, 2018: Paris is about to unveil thick bulletproof glass walls and metal fences around the Eiffel Tower, designed to protect France’s most famous monument from terrorist attacks.

The boosted security measures, under construction since last year, come with France still on high alert after a string of jihadist attacks that have killed more than 240 people since 2015.

The new walls, shown to journalists during a site tour on Thursday, are part of security measures that have cost nearly 35 million euros ($40.7 million) and are due to be finished by mid-July.

David Horovitz: BDS is a dirty business. Those who battle it on Israel’s behalf must stay clean
Three years ago, when the current coalition began to govern and Erdan was appointed to run the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, Israeli diplomats anonymously warned of the likely fiasco as various Foreign Ministry powers were divvied up among no fewer than six ministers; a year later, in May 2016, the State Comptroller issued a report castigating the dysfunctional Israeli leadership for failing utterly in the battle against BDS. Underlining his point, a few weeks later, Israeli diplomats in London reportedly cabled home to the Foreign Ministry that the Ministry of Strategic Affairs was working behind the embassy’s back, was causing consternation in the Jewish community, and risked violating British law.

Today, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs has secured a much-enlarged budget — which it seeks to spend without transparency — and enlarged responsibilities, some which were previously the purview of ministries such as Justice, Interior and Foreign Affairs. Tomorrow, as Israel’s domestic politics shift, and ministers come and go, its finances and indeed its entire fate will shift with them.

For now, rather than taking public center stage and loudly predicting its successes, as its minister has done, while trying to secretively allocate taxpayers’ money — including to pro-Israel organizations some of which have been discomfited by its approaches — the ministry might usefully be scaled back to its previous dimensions, to concentrate on national strategy. Erdan, meanwhile, could focus on his other, hardly marginal, area of responsibility — as the minister of public security, in charge of our overstrained police force, which has proved so appallingly derelict in tackling the global plague of Israeli-controlled white-collar crime.

Israel’s marginalized Foreign Ministry — which underestimated the second battlefield threat to Israel for years, and failed to act effectively to counter it — should be directed to do at least that part of the work it should have been doing, via fully transparent mechanisms, to meet the challenges of the hour. What the Foreign Ministry might need is a strategic blueprint of the kind Kuperwasser helped develop all those years ago, and an actual minister of its own — the position has been held by the prime minister for the past three years — to shake it up and make sure the job is done.

BDS may be a dirty business, but pro-Israel advocacy must not go down into the sewer with it. Both because it’s wrong and because it will boomerang. The repercussions when any such activity is exposed, and exposed it assuredly would be, are certain to far outweigh any benefit.

BDS activists seek to undermine Israel’s very legitimacy, Yossi Kuperwasser told The Times of Israel. So, the methods of countering them, he rightly stressed, must always be strictly above board. “This is a war for legitimacy,” he said of Kela Shlomo’s activities. “You have to prove that you are doing the legitimate stuff.”
Eurovision organizers warn Israel could lose hosting rights
The European organizers of the Eurovision Song Contest have reportedly warned that if a push by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to split Israel’s public broadcaster is approved by the High Court of Justice, the country could lose its eligibility to host next year’s event.

The European Broadcasting Union on Thursday sent a letter, warning that if the public broadcaster Kan is divided into an entertainment entity and a separate news entity, Israel’s membership in the EBU– a necessary condition for participating in Eurovision or hosting it — will be reconsidered, possibly preventing the contest from being held in the Jewish state in 2019 as planned, The Marker reported Monday.

The financial news website published a copy of the letter, sent by EBU chief Noel Curran to Kan chairman Gil Omer and director general Eldad Koblenz, after they asked for an update on their membership status in the EBU.

The report about the letter was published shortly before a meeting on the plan to split the public broadcaster, attended by Netanyahu, Communications Minister Ayoub Kara, Culture Minister Miri Regev, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and others. The letter sent by the EBU would be a major topic of discussion at the meeting, which was to focus on finding an agreement that would enable Eurovision to be held in Israel, the report said.

In the letter, Curran said Kan currently has interim membership in the EBU, and that the status could be extended next week until the “resolution” of the pending legislation to split the broadcaster.
'EU funding of anti-Israel lawfare undercuts national security'
A report claiming that the European Union has agreed ‎‎to fund a ‎‎left-wing initiative to pursue legal ‎‎proceedings ‎‎against Israeli soldiers sparked a ‎‎political firestorm Sunday, with some urging Prime ‎‎Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to summon the EU envoy ‎in Israel for ‎clarification.‎

A recent report by NGO Monitor, which promotes ‎greater transparency ‎‎‎among foreign-funded Israeli ‎nongovernmental ‎‎‎organizations, claims that the ‎program, for which the ‎‎‎EU has allocated some €250,000 ‎‎($290,000), was set up at ‎‎‎the request of three left-wing groups and is slated ‎‎to be ‎in place at least ‎until 2021‎.‎

The initiative is the brainchild of the groups Yesh Din – ‎‎Volunteers for Human Rights; Breaking the Silence, ‎‎an advocacy group dedicated to exposing alleged ‎‎wrongdoings by the IDF; and Physicians for Human ‎‎Rights – Israel. On their funding application, the groups indicate that they wish to eradicate the "culture ‎of impunity" among ‎Israeli security forces personnel.‎

‎"This report shows that EU-funded anti-Israel ‎lawfare is now conducted on another level," Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked told Israel Hayom on Sunday.

"It ‎is trying to pave a path to the International Criminal ‎Court in The Hague.

"These actions undercut Israel's national security. ‎It is absurd that while Europe enjoys the benefits of Israeli ‎intelligence, which saves lives, the EU itself is ‎harming Israel's security." ‎
French police block Gaza-bound boats from docking in Paris
French police prevented two boats belonging to the "Freedom Flotilla" bound for the Gaza Strip from docking along the Seine River in Paris on Sunday, as they began sailing toward the Palestinian coastal enclave in an attempt to breach Israel's naval blockade.

Dozens of supporters waving Palestinian flags and chanting "Stop the massacre of Palestinians" gathered by the Seine to greet two of the four flotilla boats as they passed through Paris, escorted by French river police.

According to the honorary president of the France-Palestine Solidarity Association Taoufiq Tahani, French police carried out extensive searches of the boats earlier in the day before prohibiting them from docking.

"We were unfortunately surprised," he said. "We didn't know that Israeli waters now begin in the Seine in Paris. That's unimaginable."
UK Jewish students blame Labour party for campus anti-Semitism – report
British Jewish students are not applying to certain UK universities because of fears over anti-Semitism, which they say have increased as a result of the Labour Party’s failure to deal with the issue within its own ranks, the BBC’s Newsbeat radio show reported on Monday.

Allegations of Labour anti-Semitism have grown since Jeremy Corbyn, a pro-Palestinian socialist, was elected leader of Britain’s main opposition party in 2015. Some in and out of the party say Corbyn, a longtime critic of Israeli policies, has allowed anti-Jewish abuse to go unchecked.

The outgoing national chair of Labour students, Melantha Chittenden, told Newsbeat the party leadership has not made enough of an effort to confront anti-Semitic sentiments in the party.

“It’s stopping Jewish students from being able to go to the campuses they want to or even engage in activities they want to on campus,” she said. “That’s very problematic and I don’t believe Jeremy Corbyn wants that to be happening. He needs to challenge the problem head-on.”

Dave Rich, of the Community Security Trust, which deals with Jewish security, told Newsbeat that anti-Israel campaigns on campus are an opening for anti-Semitism.

“They can create an atmosphere where Jewish students feel incredibly uncomfortable and those people who do have anti-Semtitic attitudes feel confident to express them,” Rich said.
IsraellyCool: Lies Surrounding New Palestinian Museum in the US
A few months ago, the first “Palestinian museum” in the US opened in Connecticut. According to its statement of principles, it is supposed to “espouse a nonreligious and nonpolitical posture.” The museum will also “accept donations that fully comply with its policies, principles, and mission.”

But it does not take too long to realize he is straight-out lying. The museum is heavily political, and predictably takes a one-sided view of the conflict while demonizing Israel. The fact it opened on their so-called Nakba Day provides the first clue!

Why would Saleh lie about the museum’s principles? I suspect he wants to attract more “middle-of-the-road” people as potential investors. By claiming the museum will solely display “palestinian culture” without getting into political discourse could be a real selling point.

Alas, it is yet another lie – which ironically displays the palestinian culture in a highly appropriate way.
Asians get the Ivy League's Jewish treatment
Decades ago, the Ivy League colleges thought they had a problem: too many Jews. These recent immigrants, from a culture that prized education and academic achievement, had an unfortunate characteristic: They worked harder, studied longer and cared more about school. In short, they had all the attributes required for success in the Ivy League.

Problem was, the Ivy League didn't really want them. Being first-generation students, these applicants didn't have rich alumni parents who would be likely to donate big bucks. Being from an ethnicity not associated with America's governing class, they didn't help the Ivy League with its biggest selling point — that going to college there provides an opportunity to rub shoulders with America's governing class. And they were seen as boring grinds who studied too hard and weren't much fun.

The result was a change in admissions criteria to reward "leadership," and "well-rounded" candidates — a thin disguise for "WASPs" — and, following closely on, actual quotas for Jewish students, so that no matter how many applied, their numbers on campus would stay just about the same. After several decades, this came to be seen as racist and unfair, and the quotas were dropped. (Though by then, conveniently enough, the Ivy League was able to find Jewish applicants with plenty of money, polish and governing-class connections without too much trouble).

But while the quotas for Jews are gone, the Ivy League now, by all accounts, has quotas for Asian students. They are seen as people who study too hard, boring grinds who aren't much fun — and, of course, their parents aren't as rich and connected. And though the numbers of highly qualified Asian applicants have grown dramatically, the number of Asians admitted stays pretty much the same every year.

BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – May 2018
As can be seen, in six of the BBC’s articles audiences were told of stone-throwing (which is not recorded by the ISA) and incendiary devices – i.e. firebombs – with one mention of incendiary kites. The only mentions of explosive devices (IEDs), shooting and arson attacks were found in quotes or descriptions of statements from the IDF/Israel. BBC audiences were given an account of the mortar and rocket attacks on May 29th/30th which did not reflect the full number of projectiles launched.

Even if we count the six BBC references to firebombs as covering the full amount of attacks with such devices, count the BBC’s presentation of “more than” 30 mortar attacks as portraying the full number of projectiles fired and include the four mentions of IEDs, one reference to “machine gun fire” and one mention of an arson attack, we still see that more attacks went unreported than reported and that at the very most, BBC audiences saw coverage of 46.3% of the terrorism that took place during May.

Since the beginning of 2018 the BBC has at best reported 18% of the terror attacks that have taken place and 83.3% of the resulting fatalities.
Newsweek Headline Fail on Israeli Attacks in Syria
A grossly misleading Newsweek headline ("Israel Bombs Syria to Stop Refugees Fleeing to Europe, Netanyahu Says," June 14) falsely suggests that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel is bombing Syria in order to stop refugees from fleeing to Europe.

He did not. According to Haaretz, he did cast Israeli attacks on Syria -- meant to prevent the flow of Iranian weapons to Hezbollah and to curb Iranian entrenchment in Syria -- "as potentially helping to stem a Syrian Sunni Muslim refugee exodus to Europe." In other words, Israel's attacks, meant to curb Iran in Syria, also may have the by-product of slowing the tide of refugees, he reportedly stated.

Haaretz elaborated:
Netanyahu accused Iran, which has been helping Damascus beat back a seven-year-old rebellion, of bringing in 80,000 Shi'ite fighters from countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan to mount attacks against Israel and "convert" Syria's Sunni majority.

"That is a recipe for a re-inflammation of another civil war - I should say a theological war, a religious war - and the sparks of that could be millions more that go into Europe and so on ... And that would cause endless upheaval and terrorism in many, many countries," Netanyahu told an international security forum.

"Obviously we are not going to let them do it. We'll fight them. By preventing that - and we have bombed the bases of this, these Shi'ite militias - by preventing that, we are also offering, helping the security of your countries, the security of the world."
UKMW prompts 2nd British media correction to false Amnesty claim on “settler-only roads”
Last week, we posted about a correction we prompted at The Telegraph to an article about Prince William’s upcoming trip to the region. The piece, in contextualising criticism about William’s visit, included a quote from Amnesty International falsely suggested the existence of “settler only” roads in the West Bank.

Here’s the original quote:

As we noted in our post, there have never been “Jewish-only” or “settler-only” roads anywhere in the West Bank (or, of course, anywhere in Israel). Following our communication with the Telegraph journalist, the quote was amended to remove the part about “settler-only” roads.
No legal action against German rappers for anti-Semitic lyrics
No legal action will be taken against two German rappers who created an uproar with their anti-Semitic lyrics.

The state prosecutor in the western German city of Dusseldorf announced Saturday that the controversial lyrics in the song “0815” that drew several complaints against hip-hop artists Kollegah and Farid Bang were not grounds for prosecution.

“The comparison of a concentration camp inmate with their own body may be tasteless, but it does not represent denial of the Holocaust,” the prosecutor said in a statement.

He acknowledged that the lyrics were “vulgar,” and “misogynistic,” and said that they are protected by rules regarding artistic freedom, according to the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

Several complaints had been filed against the artists. Holocaust denial is illegal in Germany.

The artists made a private visit in June to the former Auschwitz Nazi camp in Poland on an invitation from the International Auschwitz Committee.

Kollegah and Farid Bang were the focus of a media firestorm in April after winning the prominent Echo Award in the hip-hop category for an album with lyrics boasting of physiques “more defined that those of Auschwitz inmates” and a call for “another Holocaust; let’s grab the Molotov” cocktails.
London: Woman shouts 'I want to kill all you Jews'
A female suspect was arrested on Sunday after she ran after children with a knife while shouting “I want to kill all you Jews” in the Haringey area of London.

The suspect was arrested after police were alerted of the incident by the Shomrim organization.

According to a report released several months ago by the Community Security Trust (CST), British Jewry’s largest watchdog on anti-Semitism, the number of anti-Semitic attacks recorded in the United Kingdom rose slightly in 2017 to 1,382 cases, marking a new all-time record.

The number marks a 3-percent increase in 2017 over the previous year.

Figures released by CST last July found that there were 767 anti-Semitic attacks in the first half of 2017, the highest figure recorded within six months since monitoring began in 1984.
Israel First-Quarter GDP Revised Up to Annualized 4.5 Percent Growth
Israel‘s economy grew an annualized 4.5 percent in the first quarter of 2018, faster than previously thought, boosted by gains in consumer spending, investment and export, the Central Bureau of Statistics said in a second estimate.

In a preliminary estimate last month, the bureau said gross domestic product grew an annualized 4.2 percent, faster than the average forecast of 3.9 percent in a Reuters poll.

The bureau on Sunday also raised its fourth-quarter GDP estimate to 4.5 percent from 4.4 percent.

Growth in the January-March period was led by a 9.7 percent gain in private spending, similar to its preliminary estimate. Exports rose 4.5 percent, investment in fixed assets increased 14.2 percent led by industries, and government spending rose 11.5 percent.

The Bank of Israel forecasts economic growth of 3.4 percent in 2018. Last week the Finance Ministry raised its growth estimate by 0.3 percentage points to 3.5 percent.
10 must-have apps for tourists visiting Israel
It's no surprise that Israel is one of the world's top tourist destinations.

The range of historical sites, natural landscapes and geopolitical intrigue make it a go-to country for travelers from around the world. Summer is an exceptionally good time to visit if you want to take advantage of the outdoors - especially the country's beaches.

In preparation for the summer, The Jerusalem Post has compiled a list of ten must-have apps that every tourist visiting Israel should download in order to make the most of their stay.

1. Moovit: Most of the tourists who come to a foreign country do not know how to travel by train, bus or taxi service. Using public transportation can save high costs, which is why every tourist must have the "Moovit" app. The app offers guidance from the first step until you reach your endpoint. The application is effective from walking to the right and short way to reach the destination whether it is on the bus, on foot or by bicycle.

2. Cellopark: Many tourists decide to rent a car during their stay, and in a small country like Israel, it is also highly recommended. With the help of Cellopark you can easily park a vehicle across the country. The app has a special tourist route that includes an international SIM, and it receives international credit cards. The Cellopark application is available in Hebrew, English, Russian and Arabic, and allows payment of parking fees by phone in blue and white parking areas, without characters parking or parking tickets.
IDF Blog: Giving Motivated Soldiers a Chance
You’ve never met a group of soldiers like the ones from the “Nahshon” Platoon at the Michve Alon training base. The platoon consists of 24 Arabic-speaking Christians who volunteered to join the IDF for one collective cause: acceptance to significant positions in order to contribute to the State of Israel. We spoke to the platoon staff from the Education Corps and heard about this unique group that finished the course with pride and fluent Hebrew.

Right under our noses, quietly and humbly, an incredible thing is happening at the Michve Alon training base. After years of low drafting percentages amongst the Arabic-speaking Christian community in Israel- specifically, no more than one or two in each national draft, things have now changed. In this current drafting class, 24 soldiers of the Arabic-speaking Christian community have volunteered to draft into the IDF.

The motivated soldiers began their military service with a three-week preparatory program. They were then taken into the Michve Alon training base to overcome their biggest challenge: Hebrew.

The “Nahshon” Platoon was especially established for the Arab-speaking Christian population in Israel. It’s a place of education with a familial and prideful atmosphere. As the platoon’s training has ended, we spoke to the people who have molded it into what it is today.

“The preparations for the culminating ceremony make me very emotional”, says Lt. Sapir, commander of the “Eyal” Company, where the soldiers were first taken in. “They’re amazing soldiers and their Hebrew has improved unbelievably.”
My grandfather practised Judaism in secret
Shirley tells the story of her family to Daisy Abboudi, who runs Tales of Jewish Sudan, a website dedicated to the Jews of the Sudan. These numbered around 1,000 at their peak; the community is today extinct. Shirley's grandfather was forced to convert to Islam by the fundamentalist Mahdi in the 1880s but continued to practise Judaism in secret. He eventually became president of the Jewish community.

My grandfather Moshe, they called him Mousa, was the first who built the community in Sudan. Originally they were Spanish, and then from Spain they went to Turkey, and then from Turkey they came to Israel, at that time it was Palestine, they came to Hebron. From there they went to Sudan, that was in 1842. After that there was the Mahdi and so on. There were very few Jews then, about three families all together. They were compelled to be Muslims, my grandfather remained Jewish, but he didn't do it openly. He used to go to his house and to pray and to put on his tefillin and everything, but outside they thought he was Muslim. They gave him the name - his name was Moshe Ben Zion Koshti - so they gave him the name 'Bassiouni'. I don't remember him because he died in 1917, a very long time ago!

My grandparents were well-known; my grandfather was the president of the Jewish community until he died in 1917. He also erected the first synagogue in Sudan a few years before he died in Omdurman. He made a cemetery too for the Jews in Omdurman and he and my grandmother are buried there. My grandfather also sent for a Rabbi from Egypt to convert my grandmother to Judaism before she gave birth to the children, and this Rabbi also circumcised his first son. He had four children and my mother is the second one.

My grandmother was very...she didn't study at all...but she was very wise. She lived with us at home - with my mother and father, and she died around the age of seventy. She wasn't born Jewish, she was a Copt, but the Mahdi forced everybody to marry again when he made them all convert. My grandfather already had a wife from Turkey, her name was Bechora and she was Jewish, but he had to marry my grandmother. The other wife was living at the same house but she died a few years after and she was also buried there in Sudan.

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