Sunday, August 19, 2018

From Ian:

On the 25th anniversary of the Oslo Accords
For its initiators, the agreement served as leverage to gradually build trust between the sides. It was designed so that both sides would profit from the agreement and receive compensation that would make continuing the negotiations worthwhile, and in this manner, was aimed at accustoming both the Israeli and Palestinian public to a path to a resolution of the conflict, as envisioned by its authors.

But the experiment failed. As could be expected, the Palestinian leadership found it difficult – and quite possibly never even intended – to meet the commitments it took upon itself. The PA never tried to prepare the Palestinian public for the concessions that would be necessary in order to make peace. Worse still, it refused to abandon the use of violence and terrorism as a means to achieving its goals, leaving many Israelis skeptical of the plan.

An interview that Mohammed Dahlan, seen by many as a possible successor to Abbas, gave at the height of the Second Intifada illustrates this point quite well. When asked whether the Oslo Accords had been a mistake, Dahlan replied that the agreement had laid the groundwork for the struggle against Israel. As proof, he said hyperbolically, the number of Israelis killed in the Second Intifada was "100 times higher" than the number of Israelis killed in the first. (In fact, it was about three and a half times higher.)

This is all water under the bridge, but from Israel's standpoint, the problem lies in the reality created by the accord; a reality that, while meant to be temporary in nature, has become permanent. The Palestinian Authority and the Hamas regime in Gaza have become faits accomplis and bones in Israel's throat it can neither throw up nor swallow. This is a problematic reality, which continues to present endless political and security challenges for Israel.

A quarter of a century after the signing of the Oslo Accords, it seems it would be fitting for Israel to look for out-of-the-box solutions and find a way to escape the uncomfortable reality it has since found itself in.

Top 70 Moments of BDS FAILS in 2018
On August 8, 2018 the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) published a list of what is claimed were the “Top 70 Moments of Solidarity & BDS for Palestine in 2018” and stated that “together, we grow it stronger every day”. The list can be found here –

North West Friends of Israelhas put together a BDS FAIL list of our Top 70 Moments, showing that Israel remains as strong as ever and that right minded people understand the need to support the ONLY democracy in the Middle East. The BDS movement, as can be seen below, is failing economically to hurt Israel. The danger with BDS lies in its inherent antisemitism, which seeks NOT to help the Palestinians but to delegitimise and ultimately destroy the only Jewish state in the world – Israel. That is why they must be opposed and exposed.

1 On May 14, 2018, the US Embassy in Israel officially moved to, and opened, its new embassy in Jerusalem, declaring that Jerusalem IS the capital of Israel.
2 On May 17, 2018 the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign LOST its case against the UK government. The Court of Appeal ruled that it was indeed illegal for local councils & their pension funds to pursue boycott, divestment and sanctions against foreign nations. The PSC was left with £100,000 of costs to pay.
3 On May 21, 2018, Paraguay opened its new embassy in Jerusalem. The Paraguayan leader Horacio Cartes called it a “historic event,” adding, that this occasion “is of special significance because it expresses the sincere friendship and brave solidarity between Paraguay and Israel.” rHe continued “From the depth of my heart, I appreciate this country that courageously defends its right to live in peace and it is building a praiseworthy, economically prosperous state that ensures its future and that of its children.”
4 On May 16, 2018 Guatemala opened its new embassy in Jerusalem. President Morales said his country, Israel and the United States “share friendship, courage and loyalty”.
5 On May 23, 2018 the State of Louisiana issued an executive order preventing the state to do business with entities boycotting Israel. They became the 25th state -- 50% of the U.S. – who have now said NO to the antisemitic BDS campaign.
UNRWA Has Changed the Definition of Refugee
Last week, Foreign Policy published a story about Palestinian refugees that claimed I am among the “activists trying to strip Palestinians of their status.” The article obscured basic facts about the matters at hand—both my own role as a policy advocate and the questions that lawmakers in Congress are presently considering that pertain to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). I feel compelled to correct the record on both points.

This requires first understanding the legal facts. UNRWA was founded in 1949 through U.N. General Assembly Resolution 302 at the conclusion of the Arab-Israeli conflict of 1948, aiming for “the alleviation of the conditions of starvation and distress among the Palestine refugees” from that conflict. The agency defines Palestinian refugees as “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.”

In 1965, UNRWA changed the eligibility requirements to be a Palestinian refugee to include third-generation descendants, and in 1982, it extended it again, to include all descendants of Palestine refugee males, including legally adopted children, regardless of whether they had been granted citizenship elsewhere. This classification process is inconsistent with how all other refugees in the world are classified, including the definition used by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the laws concerning refugees in the United States.

Under Article I(c)(3) of the 1951 U.N. Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, a person is no longer a refugee if, for example, he or she has “acquired a new nationality, and enjoys the protection of the country of his new nationality.” UNRWA’s definition of a Palestinian refugee, which is not anchored in treaty, includes no such provision.

Last month, members of Congress introduced a bill asking that with respect to refugees under UNRWA the policy of the United States should be consistent with the definition of a refugee in the Immigration and Nationality Act, such that “derivative refugee status may only be extended to the spouse or minor child of such a refugee” and “an alien who was firmly resettled in any country is not eligible to retain refugee status.”

Foreign Policy’s article includes a claim that deserves closer scrutiny and reflects the sleight of hand often performed by UNRWA.

At Annual Caliphate Conference In Illinois, Haitham Ibn Thbait, Of U.S. Chapter Of Hizb-ut-Tahrir, Warns Muslims Of 'Perils' Of Western Democracy: Our Children Become U.S. Soldiers, FBI Agents, Republicans, Democrats, And Gay
Haitham Ibn Thbait, a member of Hizb-ut-Tahrir America, said that Islam stands in "total contradiction to what the West represents" – liberalism, democracy, feminism, and movements such as DREAM, #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ, pro-choice groups, and Occupy Wall Street. Speaking at Hizb-ut-Tahrir America's annual Khilafa ("Caliphate") Conference, he said that "we should be working within our own system, not democracy" and warned that "our children might prefer democracy to Islam." "Can you imagine the Prophet of Allah standing alongside the LGBTQ community? Or with pro-choice? Or with... the Occupy movements?" he said. The conference was held in Palos Hills, Illinois on April 29, 2018. Ibn Thbait had expressed similar sentiments at the Khilafa Conference held in 2016 in Chicago (see MEMRI TV Clip 5493 An American Hizb Ut-Tahrir Leader Exhorts Muslims To Refrain From Voting In U.S. Elections, Says: Islam Is Here To Dominate, May 14, 2016).

The following are excerpts from the speech:

"Everything We Represent Goes In Total Contradiction To What The West Represents, Because All Of Islam Is In Opposition Of Secularism"

Haitham Ibn Thbait: "There's a global narrative against ideological Islam, a narrative that wants to scare Muslims away from the straight path, to instill distrust in the straight path.

"Many of our community members are recruited so that they can translate, so that they can corrupt our aqida [creed], and so that they can consult the kuffar [unbelievers] in how to derail the Muslims and set them on a course pleasing to the West. Policy-makers work long and hard to ensure that we Muslims believe that you can succeed under their ways and with their values. And that is why we see them promoting these so-called 'hip' Muslims who clearly violate the laws of Allah. We see a veiled Muslima [Muslim woman] on the cover of a sex magazine. We see Muslims in their armies. We see Muslims in political office. This is their way of saying to us: 'You don't need your straight path. We have all you need.' As early as 2004, RAND stated that they needed to get behind the modernists. They need to provide them with the platform to disseminate their ideas, and this is exactly what we are seeing today – the promotion of the secular Muslim. Whether knowing or otherwise, Muslims in the West are soldiers against Islam.

"But what we need to understand is that the battle between us and the West is an ideological battle. It's an ideological battle. Everything we represent goes in total contradiction to what the West represents, because all of Islam is in opposition of secularism. They know this, and it is time that we did too."
As Gaza truce talks falter, Israel closes border crossing
The Erez border crossing, the only land crossing for the movement of people between the Gaza Strip and Israel or the West Bank, will not be opened on Sunday, Israeli authorities announced amid stalled efforts to establish calm along the Israel-Gaza border.

The impetus for the decision, officials explained, was the violent Palestinian demonstration at the border on Friday, in which some 20,000 people hurled rocks and firebombs at Israeli troops under the cover of thick smoke from burning tires, witnesses said.

Israeli forces responded with tear gas and sporadic live fire. Medics said Israeli gunfire killed two men and wounded at least 270 other Palestinians.

The violence erupted Friday despite ongoing efforts by Egyptian mediators to clinch a truce deal that would calm the impoverished enclave.

Last week, after a more than four-month surge in violence along the Gaza Strip border, Israel eased its clampdown on the enclave's commercial traffic and fishing. The clashes included sporadic rocket and mortar fire into Israel, unrelenting arson attacks on Israeli communities and retaliatory air strikes on Hamas terror targets in the Strip.

Cairo said it was finalizing details of a long-term accommodation between Israel and the ruling Islamist group Hamas.
PA leader admits efforts to torpedo Israel-Hamas truce talks
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas warned ‎Saturday that he will not allow for two separate ‎entities to rule Palestinian lands, effectively ‎admitting that Ramallah was actively trying to ‎torpedo the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire talks ‎between Israel and Hamas.‎

Over the past few weeks, Egypt has been heading the indirect negotiations ‎‎between Israel and the terrorist group ruling the ‎Gaza Strip, in an ‎attempt to ‎prevent recent flare-ups on the Gaza ‎border from ‎escalating into war. ‎ ‎

Hamas ousted ‎Abbas' Western-backed government from ‎the Gaza Strip ‎in a military coup in 2007. Since then, the ‎‎various efforts to reconcile the rival Palestinian ‎factions – the latest ‎brokered by Egypt in late 2017 ‎‎– have failed. ‎

The Palestinian Authority will not abide by any deal ‎‎inked between Israel and Hamas and Ramallah will ‎‎actively try to torpedo it, Abbas exclaimed. ‎‎

‎"Either we take responsibility for the West Bank and ‎Gaza under one state, one regime, one law, and one ‎weapon, or [Hamas] will take responsibility for it," he ‎told the closing session of the Palestinian Central ‎Council, the Palestine Liberation Organization's ‎second-highest decision-making body.‎

But according to Abbas, "Reconciliation [with Hamas] ‎does not mean a truce, cease-fire, or humanitarian ‎assistance. Reconciliation means that unity should ‎be reinstated. There is no state in Gaza and an ‎autonomy in the West Bank, and we will not accept ‎this. We will never accept the separation of Gaza ‎‎[from the West Bank]." ‎
Abbas rejection of possible Israel-Hamas truce said to create tension with Egypt
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s rejection of an Egypt-brokered truce between Israel and Hamas to end a recent uptick in violence is creating tensions between Ramallah and Cairo, it was reported Sunday.

Abbas insists that Egyptian efforts prioritize reconciliation between his Fatah party and its rival Hamas, and that the Palestine Liberation Organization, which he chairs, play a central role in agreeing to a ceasefire, the London-based Al-Hayat daily newspaper reported.

Cairo hopes to close a deal between Israel and Hamas by the beginning of next week.

Relations between the PA and Egypt are “very tense,” the report said citing Palestinian sources.

Last week Abbas reportedly refused to meet with visiting Egypt intelligence chief Abbas Kamel. Kamel has been involved in the reconciliation efforts between Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah party, as well as the ceasefire talks between Hamas and Israel.
JCPA: Negotiations in Cairo may lead to a realignment of Palestinian organizations
This is a critical plot twist, because presently Mahmoud Abbas wants these PLO-affiliated organizations to affirm the legality of the PLO as the sole, legitimate source of authority for the Palestinians. He convened the PLO Central Committee to this end, yet organizations such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Democratic Front, and Mustafa Barghouti’s Palestinian National Initiative (an umbrella organization for several NGOs) convened with Hamas in Cairo.

Mahmoud Abbas was left alone with the tiny People’s Party (formerly the Palestinian Communist Party) and the Palestinian Democratic Union (FIDA).

If Mahmoud Abbas continues on this path, sources within Fatah expect that a split inside Fatah may occur. They did not elaborate but stated that the source of the problem between Mahmoud Abbas and the organization is his “punishment” of Gaza. In the recent PLO convention, he promised to end the sanctions on Gaza, but he did not fulfill this promise, although it was confirmed in the PLO’s formal resolutions. In response, the PLO-affiliated organizations boycotted a PLO meeting last week and joined Hamas in Cairo in response.

Today, Mahmoud Abbas threatens to increase Gaza’s punishment if a separate agreement is enacted between Hamas and Israel. If this happens, there will be a split between him and the PLO-affiliated organizations, and part of Fatah may break away.
So, What Is Going to Happen?

In our opinion, Egypt, Israel, and the international shareholders will not recognize Hamas as the de jure ruler of Gaza. When/if the new tahdia enters into effect, Egypt will again try its best to make the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation work.

But, everything in due time.
Superficial BBC WS reporting on Gaza truce discussions
Later on Pfeffer mentioned the Palestinian Authority “who don’t really like to see all this happening without them being involved” but listeners were not told that the day before this report was aired, Mahmoud Abbas had refused to meet the Egyptian intelligence chief to discuss the issue.

Kesby then came up with a totally irrelevant question:
Kesby: “Yeah, you mention Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah. We don’t think they’ve been part of these talks at all, do we? And that may not be the only stumbling block: will all this get through the Israeli parliament?

Pfeffer: “Well the parliament doesn’t have to vote on it. It’s not a formal peace treaty; it’s just a ceasefire agreement.”

Pfeffer went on to say that most Israeli cabinet ministers “have agreed in principle to the plan” and that “the real stumbling blocks” are “some minority within Hamas leadership who are reported to be against” before stating that this is the test which will determine the chances of “something more comprehensive” that will “allow people in Gaza to finally begin enjoying a better level of infrastructure and some kind of freedom of movement in and out of the Gaza Strip.”

As we see, BBC World Service listeners were given inaccurate information about the timing of this potential truce and misled with regard to its terms. Audiences heard nothing about the Palestinian Authority’s stance which would enhance their understanding of factors liable to prevent any significant agreement from coming about, including the fact that PA officials have said that “if any deal were reached, the Ramallah government would stop all financial assistance it provides to the Strip”. And once again, the subject of Israeli civilians held prisoner by Hamas was ignored by the BBC.
Hamas Admits They Never Understood What “Ceasefire” Actually Means (satire)
In the wake of the recent Israel-Hamas negotiations, mediated by Egypt, Hamas has admitted that they never really understood the definition of ‘ceasefire’.

“We always thought that it meant ‘say you’ll stop but carry on launching rockets as usual'”, one spokesman for the Gaza-based Islamist group admitted. “You see, we weren’t really paying attention in the first negotiation meeting years ago and we’ve been way to embarrassed ever since to ask anyone what a ceasefire is supposed to be, so we’ve just kind of bluffed it. And because the Israelis always look so angry we never got up the courage to ask them. Turns out, a ‘ceasefire’ actually means to cease firing shit. Who knew?”

However, when asked whether they intend to behave any differently in the future now they understand the definition, Hamas insists that, on the contrary, they hope to carry on as usual. “Yeah, well, just because we know what a ceasefire is doesn’t mean we’re gonna start abiding by it now. Where’s the fun in not firing rockets at Israel? Rockets are our bread and butter. If you realise you’re allergic to sesame, would you stop eating humus, or if you find out homosexuality isn’t a choice would you stop throwing gays off buildings? Some things are just sacred.”
Top Trump adviser: US, Israel, Russia all want Iran out of Syria
US National Security Adviser John Bolton on Sunday said the US, Israel, and Russia agree that Iranian-backed troops must be removed from Syria.

Bolton was on his first visit to Israel since he replaced H.R. McMaster as US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser in April. Following his trip to Israel, Bolton will travel to Ukraine and Geneva, where he will follow up with Russian officials on Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin last month in Helsinki.

Ahead of a Monday meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Bolton told ABC’s “This Week” that getting Iranian forces to withdraw from Syria was a goal shared by the Washington, Jerusalem, and Moscow.

“Certainly the objective of the United States, of Israel, President Putin said it was Russia’s objective is to get Iran — Iranian forces, Iranian militias, Iranian surrogates out of the offensive operations they’re in in both Syria and Iraq and frankly, to end Iran’s support for Hezbollah,” he said.

Hezbollah is an Iranian-backed terror group which seeks Israel’s destruction.

He said Putin did not view Russia’s interests as aligned with Iran’s in Syria, despite the two nations’ forces fighting alongside each other to uphold the regime of Bashar Assad.

“I think President Putin is very candid in his comments to President Trump, he was to me as well,” Bolton said. “He said he didn’t – didn’t have the same interest as Iran in Syria. And that he’d like to talk about ways to get them out.”
Trump Is the First President to Get Turkey Right
Last Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan published an op-ed in the New York Times outlining his country’s grievances toward the United States. The Turkish leader raised valid concerns about U.S. policy that genuinely vex Turkish leaders and citizens alike. Yet Erdogan only told half the story, leaving his readers to believe that Washington has victimized a reliable ally and partner. The United States has long had its own list of grievances, however—and it’s to the Trump administration’s credit that, unlike its predecessors, it finally seems to be doing something about it.

U.S. grievances include Ankara’s plans to buy the S-400 advanced air-defense system from Russia; because Turkey will both operate the F-35, the newest high-tech jet in the American military inventory, and depend on Russia for maintenance and spare parts for the S-400, Moscow will be in a position to glean valuable intelligence on how to detect the plane. The Turks have also complicated the U.S. fight against the self-declared Islamic State, first by forcing the United States to negotiate for a year over the use of Incirlik Air Base, and then through their incursion into northern Syria, targeting Washington’s Kurdish allies. Against this backdrop, President Erdogan himself threatened U.S. troops in Syria.

When it comes to Iran, Ankara has done everything possible to undermine U.S. policy, whether by negotiating a separate nuclear agreement or opposing and then helping Iran evade sanctions.

Then there is the detention of Pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey since October 2016. This has become a flashpoint between the two countries this summer, especially after Ankara seemed to renege on a deal for his release. But Turkey is also holding between 15 and 20 U.S.-Turkish dual citizens—including a NASA scientist—on trumped-up terrorism charges. Three Turkish employees of the U.S. Embassy have also been arrested. They are being used as bargaining chips to force the United States to hand over Fethullah Gulen, a green card holder who Ankara accuses of masterminding the failed July 2016 coup, and/or to secure the release of a Turkish banker convicted in a New York court of aiding the elaborate scheme to help Tehran get around multilateral sanctions.
UN Watch mourns Kofi Annan, “a great advocate of reform at the UN”
UN Watch mourns the loss of Kofi Annan, a revered statesman who will be remembered as the secretary-general who led the move to scrap the UN’s discredited Human Rights Commission, and who was the first UN chief to publicly and repeatedly call for an end to the UN’s obsessive and one-sided targeting of Israel.

UN Watch enjoyed a long relationship with Mr. Annan. Even as he acknowledged being “on the receiving end of some sharp criticism from UN Watch,” Annan encouraged the work and mission of UN Watch, and understood its value as an outside watchdog mandated to hold the world body accountable to the principles of the UN Charter.

Annan’s Support for Reform of UN Commission on Human Rights
Annan will be remembered for leading the successful effort to scrap the UN’s discredited Commission on Human Rights, and as the first secretary-general to decry its failures. In 2005, Annan dropped a bombshell when he declared that countries had sought membership “not to strengthen human rights but to protect themselves against criticism or to criticize others.” • The commission was undermined by the “politicization of its sessions” and the “selectivity of its work”; it suffered from “declining professionalism” and a “credibility deficit”— which “cast a shadow on the reputation of the United Nations system as a whole.

Annan called for a new Human Rights Council. However, when he saw that it began to repeat the pathologies of its predecessor, such as the singling out of Israel, he spoke out, expressing the hope that the Council would deal with the Middle East issue “in an impartial way” and “not allow it to monopolize attention at the expense of others where there are equally grave or even graver violations.”

Annan Fought UN’s Anti-Israeli Discrimination
Annan was the first UN secretary-general to so strongly and consistently join UN Watch’s call on the world body to end its self-destructive anti-Israeli discrimination.

In 1998, on a visit to Israel, Annan acknowledged UN bias against the Jewish state, and he called to “rectify an anomaly: Israel’s position as the only Member State that is not a member of one of the regional groups, which means it has no change of being elected to serve on main organs such as the Security Council or the Economic and Social Council. This anomaly should be corrected. We must uphold the principle of equality among all United Nations Member States.”

Annan recognized that “Israelis see hypocrisy and double standards in the intense scrutiny given to some of [Israel’s] actions, while other situations fail to elicit the world’s outrage and condemnations.”

Annan called for the “normalization of Israel’s status within the United Nations.”

In 1999, speaking at a tribute to UN Watch founder Morris Abram, Annan said that “The exclusion of Israel from the system of regional groupings; the intense focus given to some of Israel’s actions, while other situations sometimes fail to elicit the similar outrage; these and other circumstances have given a regrettable impression of bias and one-sidedness.”
Israeli Arabs want to set July 19 as Apartheid Day
July 19, the date on which the Knesset passed the Jewish Nation-State Law, should be set as International Israel Apartheid Day, the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee decided over the weekend.

The committee is an independent political organization whose aim is to coordinate the political actions of various Israeli-Arab bodies. However, it does not represent Palestinians in the West Bank or Gaza. The committee is comprised of Arab MKs, Arab local council heads and representatives of different streams in the Arab sector.

The decision still requires approval by the Palestinian Authority and representatives of Palestinians who live abroad, who could recommend a different date. The head of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, former MK Mohammad Barakeh, will meet with PA leaders in early September to seek that approval.

“That is the day of the apartheid law being passed, which makes Israeli Arabs second-class citizens,” Barakeh told The Jerusalem Post. “Our defining it as apartheid is based on a study that found our situation similar to apartheid in South Africa and the American South before the Civil War. It’s not a political decision but a fact.”

When reminded that unlike nonwhite South Africans under apartheid, Israeli Arabs have the rights to vote and be elected and that he himself served 16 years in the Knesset, including a decade as its deputy speaker, Barakeh responded that he still believed it was similar. He added that he did not believe the comparison was offensive to South Africans who endured apartheid.

“Our marking the apartheid of Israel does not diminish the apartheid of South Africa,” Barakeh said. “That was a crime and what Israel is doing a crime. Israel is a democracy, but our Joint List does not have the same rights as all the other parties, because Labor and Yesh Atid have both said they would not form a coalition with us. Rabin was the only one willing, and he paid the price of his life.”
Head of Syrian intel’s ‘Palestine Department’ said assassinated
A Syrian military intelligence officer in charge of the army’s “Palestine Department” was assassinated Saturday in the country’s northwest, Arabic media reported.

Ahmad Issa Habib was said to have been shot in the head by unknown assailants in the village of Baarin, west of the city of Hama. Some reports said he was killed in his car, others that he was hit at his home.

According to Israel’s Army Radio, quoting Syrian opposition sources, Habib was the point man in President Bashar Assad’s regime “responsible for the struggle against Israel.”

There was no word on the identity of the shooters or a possible motive.

The reported killing came exactly two weeks after the assassination of a top Syrian chemical weapons and rocket scientist in nearby Masyaf, which some have blamed on Israel’s Mossad spy agency.

Aziz Azbar was killed when his car exploded in Masyaf late on August 4.

Syrian media blamed Israel for that killing, and a senior official from a Middle East intelligence agency later told the New York Times Israel was behind the attack and said his own intelligence agency had been informed of the Israeli operation.

Can UK's Labour rid itself of anti-Semitism?
Former Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal added an important rider at the press conference introducing the charter: "Hamas affirms that its conflict is with the Zionist project, not with the Jews because of their religion."

The rider is important to the group because it puts them on the side with Western far leftists who like to make the same distinction. The latter have, for decades, seen the world through an anti-imperialist lens, influenced, as Jamie Palmer writes in a recent essay, by such works as Frantz Fanon's "The Wretched of the Earth" and Edward Said's later "Orientalism," both of which stress Western guilt and Israel's position as an outpost of imperialism. This produced, writes Palmer, "the uncritical valorization of any indigenous movement that positioned itself as hostile to Western aims and interests."

Corbyn and the group around him grew up with these attitudes. They could believe in the goodness of their motives because they were on the side of the "wretched of the earth" and against those whose relative wealth both in Israel and in the Diaspora made them obvious oppressors. They could, in all sincerity, deny anti-Semitism – some of their friends were Jewish, for heaven's sake! – but they were against the Zionists. And if their friends thought the Zionists must be killed, well, they wouldn't say that themselves but that was their friends' right, and they would – literally – stand with them.

Corbyn, though he has twisted this way and that to avoid taking responsibility for his past positions – or even admitting he had them – may not suffer electorally because of his views on Israel. He does not appear to be suffering now. And he may even gain on this issue. Hundreds of British academics, musicians and artists are promoting a boycott of the country. For the majority, it doesn't seem to be of great importance.

It isn't that those who may put him in 10 Downing Street are anti-Semitic. They're just not all that worried if Israel exists. Or not.
UK's Corbyn in new controversy involving female terrorist hijacker
As the controversy over images of leader of Britain's Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn laying a wreath at the graves of Black September terrorists continues to rage, while the party faces harsh criticism for its failure to address rising anti-Semitism in its ranks, the British Sun reported last week that Corbyn twice shared a stage with Palestinian terrorist hijacker Leila Khaled.

According to the Sun report, published this weekend, Corbyn appeared at events with Khaled – a terrorist operative with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine who blew up the nose of a passenger jet in 1969 and was part of an attempt to hijack an El Al passenger aircraft en route from Amsterdam to New York in 1970 – in 2002 and again at a pro-Palestinian conference in Lebanon, where both Corbyn and Khaled gave keynote speeches.

A spokesman for Corbyn said that the Labour leader had a "long and principled record of solidarity with the Palestinian people."

Meanwhile, new details have emerged about the terrorists alongside whom Corbyn was photographed in Tunisia four years ago when he placed a wreath at the memorial to the terrorists who murdered 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics.

Corbyn was snapped standing next to Maher al-Taher, a leader of the PFLP (the same terrorist organization of which Khaled is a member). A month after the picture was taken, the PFLP carried out a terrorist attack at a yeshiva in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Nof, killing four rabbis and one police officer.

Corbyn was also photographed next to Fatima Bernawi, who tried to blow up a Jerusalem movie theater in 1967.
Google Maps ‘Crosses Country Borders’ in Jerusalem
We’re very proud of our brand new offices in the heart of downtown Jerusalem. But what happens when someone wants the best route on Google Maps to make the relatively short walk to the Old City?

This is what Google Maps says:

So apparently a walk from downtown Jerusalem to the Western Wall “may cross country borders” according to Google Maps.

Granted, the Old City is over what was the 1949 armistice line (the Green Line) but the city has been reunified under Israeli control since 1967. However, there is certainly no crossing of country borders either legally or practically whether or not one recognizes or agrees with Israeli sovereignty over the whole of Jerusalem.

Interestingly, there is no similar warning given if we prefer to drive by car or take public transport to the Old City, which leads us to believe that this is a technical bug rather than a political statement on the part of Google.

We’ve contacted Google for an explanation. Watch this space.
HR Prompts The Guardian to Downgrade Palestinian ‘Ambassador’
Another day, another story concerning UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and antisemitism. This time a visit to a Palestinian cemetery in Tunisia where he laid a wreath at a ceremony honoring members of the Black September terrorist organization responsible for the 1972 Munich Olympic massacre.

The Guardian quoted “Palestine’s ambassador to the UK”:

The UK has not officially recognized a Palestinian state. That is why there is a Palestinian Mission in the UK as opposed to an embassy. Manuel Hassassian may proclaim himself an ambassador on the website but according to diplomatic protocol, and the UK government’s own list of diplomatic representatives, his official title is “Head of Mission” rather than “Ambassador.”

The Palestinians do have embassies in numerous countries that have recognized Palestinian statehood, predominantly in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.

The UK is not one of those countries however.

Following our complaint to The Guardian, the following correction was issued:
Guardian omits vital facts and context in story on delayed Palestinian mail
The story fails to provide vital context, such as the fact that the 1995 interim agreement between Israel and the PLO includes clauses relating to postal services.

The interim agreement includes the stipulation that the PA is entitled to use Jordanian mail services, subject to a commercial agreement allowing international mail to be transferred to the PA via Jordan. That agreement has not yet been signed. Therefore, in the absence of such an agreement, international mail must go through the Israeli Postal Service before being sent to the PA.

Most international mail sent to Palestinians via this arrangement gets to the Palestinians without a problem. However, Arab countries boycott Israel, and won’t send postal items to the PA via the Israel Postal Service, thus preventing Palestinians from receiving mail sent from these countries.

However, in 2009 steps were taken to try to solve this, by the creation of a joint committee aimed at finding a solution which allow the Palestinian Authority to use Jordanian postal services, fulfilling the terms of the 1995 agreement

Talks dragged on for years, but in September 2016 a memorandum of understanding (in lieu of a final agreement) was signed that would eventually result in all international mail, including from Arab countries, being sent to the PA via Jordan.
Ben Kingsley: I carried a photo of Elie Wiesel on 'Operation Finale' set
Each day when he walked on to the set of Operation Finale, Ben Kingsley carried a photo of a man in his pocket.

That man? Holocaust survivor and activist Elie Wiesel.

In an interview with CBS this morning last week, Kingsley – who plays Adolf Eichmann in the film about the Israeli capture of the Holocaust mastermind – said he drew strength from Wiesel, whom he met on several occasions.

“When I was last with Elie [who died in 2016], I did have the opportunity to tell him to his face that the next time I walk onto a film set that’s relevant to your story, I will dedicate my performance to you,” Kingsley said.

Asked about his preparation to play the genocidal monster, the Oscar award-winning actor said he drew on his past experience with Holocaust films and his meeting many survivors. In 1989, he played Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal in the TV movie Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Story; in 1993, he played Jewish worker Itzhak Stern in Schindler’s List; and in 2001 he played Otto Frank in the TV miniseries Anne Frank: The Whole Story.
“So really, I did not immerse myself in Nazism or German nationalism,” Kingsley said, “I immersed myself in the memory of Elie Wiesel. So every day I said to him, and to a photograph I had of him in my pocket: ‘I’m doing this for you.’”

Kingsley said the central struggle in the film was humanizing and portraying Eichmann as a regular guy.

“I think if we fictionalize the man as a ‘monster baddy,’ then we relegate that horrendous portion of history to fiction, and it’s easy to either digest, forget or dismiss,” the British actor said. “But when we insist on the audience to accept these men and women as men and women, then it makes that period of history much harder to deal with – but we must, must confront it and deal with it.”
Bank guard who saved Holocaust-era records relives Swiss ordeal
The Swiss night watchman who ignited a furor over Holocaust victims' missing wealth two decades ago is now reliving the ordeal that involved his dream of becoming a hero after the example of Oskar Schindler turned into a nightmare.

Unlike Schindler, Christoph Meili saved no lives. But by leaking Swiss bank documents bound for the shredder, he helped Holocaust survivors and relatives of Jews murdered by Nazi Germany to win justice and recover more than a billion dollars.

Meili's actions had a cost. His life remains marked by a media-driven ordeal that won him worldwide fame but forced him into temporary political asylum in the United States while touching off Switzerland's worst crisis since World War II.

Now aged 50, Meili says he would do it all again, despite the cost of being expelled from Switzerland's close-knit society, which traditionally values unity and conformity. Since returning home, nine years ago, he has chosen to live in relative obscurity as a part-time hardware salesman and quail breeder.

However, he recently re-emerged in the public eye this week thanks to a documentary film about Switzerland's Holocaust-era bank accounts, released last week.
Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson coming to Israel
Iron Maiden's lead singer will be appearing in Israel this December. It won't be a heavy metal rock show from Bruce Dickinson, but rather a more sedate affair in honor of his new autobiography, What Does This Button Do?

On December 3rd, Dickinson will appear on stage at the Tel Aviv Opera House with a unique act. The musician, who quit Iron Maiden in 1993 and then returned in 1999, is expected to spend the evening reminiscing about his lengthy and colorful career.

According to local organizers of the event, Dickinson will tell anecdotes from his life, tell stories about Iron Maiden songs and accept questions from the audience.

In addition to his musical pursuits, Dickinson has explored many other interests, including as a commercial pilot and a competitive fencer. In 2006 he flew 200 British citizens out of Lebanon during Israel's war with Hezbollah, and in 2007 he flew the Rangers soccer team to a match against Hapoel Tel Aviv in Israel.

Iron Maiden performed its only shows in Israel in 1995, with three performances in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem, but without Dickinson.
After breaking world record, Israeli gymnast Ashram bags 2nd gold medal
Israeli gymnastics superstar Linoy Ashram on Sunday won a second gold medal and a bronze at the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Challenge Cup in Minsk, after breaking the world record in the clubs-handling round a day earlier on the way to winning the all-round phase of the competition.

In the clubs-handling final, the 19-year-old Ashram didn’t quite match her record score of 20.65 achieved on Saturday — the highest since the point-awarding system was changed two years ago — but her 20.25 was enough to comfortably secure the gold medal over Russian Alexandra Soldatova’s 19.6 and Belarussian Anastasia Salos’s 19.35.

The Israeli athlete added another bronze medal to her impressive performance in the balls final, scoring 19.35 — tied with Salos, who finished second thanks to a higher difficulty score. The gold medal was won by Russia’s Ekaterina Selezneva who scored 19.9.

A second Israeli, 17-year-old Nicol Zelikman, came in seventh place with a balls demonstration that earned a 17.2 score.

Ashram missed the podium in the hoop phase, where she dropped the apparatus once and came sixth with a score of 18.65. Zelikman finished eighth with a score of 17.

Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev hailed Ashram’s achievement, saying the gymnast was “continuing to make us extremely proud and breaking every record possible.”
Netta’s ‘Toy’ hits No. 1 on Billboard’s top dance club tracks
Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai’s hit single “Toy” will debut at the top of Billboard’s dance club chart this week in an unprecedented feat for an Israeli singer.

“This is very exciting for me,” Barzilai said in a statement sent to Hebrew media from New York, where she is on a promotional tour. “I just got off the plane and this is the first message I got when I turned on my phone.”

“I am grateful for everything happening around me,” she added. “This is an amazing year and the experience I’m having is just nuts.”

“Toy” is now on the list of Billboard’s top dance club songs for the ninth week, with the track steadily climbing in popularity.

Having reached number one on the chart, “Toy” ranks ahead of songs by world famous artists such as Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias and U2, among others.
Israel’s Netta Barzilai celebrates after winning the Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon, Portugal, May 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

According to Hadashot TV news, it is the first time a song by an Israeli singer has topped one of Billboard’s charts, which track the most popular music in the United States each week.

“Toy” is also number 31 on the Billboard top hot dance/electronic songs, where it has been the past five weeks.

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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 14 years and 30,000 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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