Thursday, September 13, 2018

From Ian:

Noah Rothman: Do Zionists Have Civil Rights?
When then-presidential candidate Donald Trump famously declared his intention to be a “neutral” arbiter of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian territories and put the onus for resolving the conflict on Jerusalem, few observers could have predicted that Trump would run one of the most pro-Israel administrations in American history.

This year, the Trump administration began relocating the U.S. embassy in Israel to the nation’s capital city, fulfilling a promise that began in 1995 with the passage of a law mandating this precise course of action. The administration also declined to blame Israel for defending its Gaza border against a Hamas-led attack. Last week, the administration shuttered the PLO’s offices in Washington.

The Trump administration’s commitment to shedding the contradictions and moral equivalencies that have plagued past administrations has exposed anti-Zionism for what its critics so often alleged it to be.

This week, Department of Education Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights Kenneth Marcus announced his intention to vacate an Obama-era decision that dismissed an alleged act of anti-Semitism at Rutgers University. Marcus’s decision to reopen that particularly deserving case has led the New York Times to publish an article by Erica L. Green full of misconceptions, myths, and dissimulations about the nature of the anti-Israel groups in question and the essential characteristics of anti-Semitism itself.

In reporting on Marcus’s move, Green declared the education activist and opponent of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement a “longtime opponent of Palestinian rights causes,” a designation the paper’s editor felt fine printing without any substantiating evidence. You could be forgiven for thinking that BDS itself constituted a cause of “Palestinian rights” and not an international effort to stigmatize and harm both Israel and its supporters. If you kept reading beyond that second paragraph, your suspicions were confirmed.

Green contended that Marcus’s decision has paved the way for the Education Department to adopt a “hotly contested definition of anti-Semitism” that includes: denying Jews “the right to self-determination,” claiming that the state of Israel is a “racist endeavor,” and applying a double standard to Israel not “expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.” As Jerusalem Post reporter and COMMENTARY contributor Lahav Harkov observed, this allegedly “hotly contested definition” is precisely the same definition used by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. In 2010, the IHRA’s working definition was adopted almost in total by Barack Obama’s State Department.
Antisemitism definition sparks backlash on U.S. Left
Washington - A debate over the definition of antisemitism that has paralyzed Britain’s Labour Party made its way across the Atlantic this week, amid news that the Trump administration would apply a similar standard on discrimination toward Jews under scrutiny there at the US Department of Education.

The matter in question is whether opposing Jewish self-determination in the ancestral Jewish homeland of Israel, a political movement known as Zionism, should be considered antisemitic. Several Western government agencies, including the foreign and justice ministries of the US, Britain and Germany, have policies that deem anti-Zionism a discriminatory practice that uniquely denies Jews the right to govern themselves.

But the Trump administration is now applying that standard in America’s schools, where anti-Israelism has raged in recent years in the form of the BDS movement meant to delegitimize the Jewish state in advancement of the Palestinian cause.

A policy paper released last month by Kenneth Marcus, the assistant secretary of education for civil rights, announced that department would adopt the US State Department definition of antisemitism that applies a test of “three Ds” to determine Jewish discrimination: Delegitimization of Israel, demonization of Israel, and the subjection of Israel to double standards.

That definition classifies opposition to Israel’s existence as a form of antisemitism, according to former officials from the Obama administration, which adopted the definition.

The Senate has advanced legislation in recent months which supports the application of this standard at the education department.

Marcus also announced the reopening of a years-old case involving anti-Israelism, directed toward Jewish students at Rutgers University, in which the department would repackage its argument based on the new policy.
For Jewish New Year, NY Times Attacks an Opponent of Anti-Semitism
Over the two-day Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) holiday, the New York Times greeted its Jewish readers with a one-two punch of news stories that strayed from fact-based reporting to attack supporters of the Jewish state and denigrate a widely accepted definition of anti-Semitism.

The first article, appearing on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, was entitled “A Harsh Diplomatic View, Even Where His Boss Sees Hope” and provided a colored and dismissive rendering of US National Security Advisor John Bolton’s first major public remarks about US foreign policy.

The newspaper’s offering for the second day of the Jewish New Year was even worse: a brazenly partisan, opinion-laden characterization of Kenneth L. Marcus, the assistant secretary of education for civil rights, as “a longtime opponent of Palestinian rights causes” who had pressured campuses “to squelch anti-Israel speech and activities.”
An Attack on an Opponent of Anti-Semitism

The Times makes a show of promising reporting “without fear or favor,” and yet the article, “U.S. Revives Rutgers Bias Case In New Tack on Anti-Semitism,” by Erica Green, clearly favors—worse, embraces—the antagonistic judgments of radical anti-Israel activist groups, which often slur anyone supportive of Israel as “anti-Palestinian.”

The language wouldn’t be out of place, for example, on the website of the so-called US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, an advocacy group opposed to Israel’s right to exist. Indeed, that group has used virtually the same wording about Marcus: “This is bad. Trump has nominated Kenneth Marcus – a sworn opponent of Palestinian rights – for Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Department of Education,” the anti-Israel group asserted in a piece entitled, “The Trumpocalypse is coming to campus BDS, and YOUR senator can stop it.”

Likewise, the Times language mirrors a headline on Electronic Intifada, a virulently anti-Israel propaganda site: “Trump taps head of anti-Palestinian group as top civil rights enforcer.”

The forgotten Palestinian refugees
70 years ago, war ravaged what was, until May 15, 1948, the British-ruled “Palestine Mandate.” As is common in war, many civilians were uprooted. This well-publicized fact is the heart of the Great Debate over the justice or injustice of Israel’s founding. Arguments rage over the number of Palestinian Arab refugees – anywhere from 300,000 to 800,000 – and the causes of their dispossession.

However, a lesser known fact is that between 10% and 20% of “Palestinian” refugees were Jews. Not the 400,000-800,000 Jews who fled or were driven from Arab countries during the same time, but Palestinian Jews – or Israelis, as they were later called.

I first encountered this surprising fact in Benny Morris’s book 1948, where he puts the number of Jewish refugees at 70,000 but provides little discussion as to why the number is so large.

I asked acquaintances whom I consider to be knowledgeable, how many Jewish refugees the war created and all believed only few hundred to a couple of thousand – considering only the most devastating defeats, like the fall of the Old City of Jerusalem and the Etzion Bloc.

I wondered whether Prof. Morris, among Israel’s most valuable and important historians, made a mistake in citing such a high number, or perhaps a typo – may be he meant 7,000?

Enter Dr. Nurit Cohen-Levinovsky, a historian with the Rabin Center and author of Jewish Refugees in Israel’s War of Independence (Hebrew). Her book supports Morris’s claim – she estimates closer to 60,000 Jewish refugees – and provides a broad analysis of the causes and scope of that Jewish flight.

Her book examines the issue from all angles. It captures the full horror of suffering Jewish children whose homes were under attack, their parents desperately trying to save them, fighting off the attacks on their homes, worried sick for their spouses and/or children and sweltering in make-shift shelters only a few hundred yards away from the front lines.
Zionism is still the answer to anti-Semitism
The debate between the Left and Right in Israel has taken a surprising turn recently. Along with arguing over the Palestinian issue and the future of Judea and Samaria, a new-old discussion has been rekindled about the anti-Semitism rearing its head in Europe. Jeremy Corbyn in Great Britain is a good example of the new anti-Semitism espoused by the Left in Europe, and some of the new right-wing parties are contributing to the debate. Is the Polish Holocaust law anti-Semitic? Is Viktor Orban an anti-Semite? What are the positions of the Freedom Party of Austria? How should we approach France's Marine Le Pen?

These are fundamental questions in and of themselves, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's current linkage with elements on the new right, who are hostile to the European Union, have polarized the Left and Right in Israel: Each side accuses the other of linking up with anti-Semites or of tolerance toward their positions.

One factor, however, is absent from the equation: Zionism. Let's set aside the important distinctions between the various parties for a moment and basically assume they're all anti-Semitic. The radical Left, the new Right, the populist Right and the far-Right – they all exhibit a similar degree of Jew hatred, very reminiscent of the 19th century. So what do we do? Will the people of Europe hate us into perpetuity? Can nothing be done to cure the world's anti-Semitism?

Let me propose a new start-up: Zionism, an ideological movement that accepts Western anti-Semitism as a given and aspires to find a solution to the Jewish problem, without presuming to change the nature of Europe. The gentiles will always be anti-Semitic; therefore the Jews must establish a state and defend themselves. This is History 101.
John Podhoretz: Operation Finale: Evil in the Dock
Retelling for a new generation the story of Eichmann’s capture and trial.

For those who know about the astoundingly nervy mission in which Israeli agents in Argentina secretly apprehended the fugitive war criminal Adolf Eichmann and whisked him off to Jerusalem to be tried as the architect of the “Final Solution,” the new film Operation Finale may seem unnecessarily didactic. The movie stops here and there and forces the actors to provide wooden exposition about the historical details it portrays. It is unfortunate that screenwriter Matthew Orton and director Chris Weitz were unable to find a more graceful or supple way to handle these matters.

But then it occurred to me: How many people today actually do know about the Eichmann case? His seizure took place 58 years ago, his trial 57 years ago, his execution 56 years ago, and the publication of Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem 55 years ago. The never-ending controversy over Arendt’s repugnant treatment of the case is likely responsible for the fact anyone knows anything at all about Eichmann today.

Three generations have come to life since he was apprehended. More than three-quarters of Americans were not yet born when Israeli prime minister David Ben-Gurion announced to a shocked world that Eichmann had been removed to Jerusalem to face trial for his crimes—the first time in history, as Orton has Ben-Gurion say in Operation Finale, that the Jews secured the power to judge their executioner.

It is a great and twisty story that begins with a happenstance: A blind Jew living incognito in Argentina (played by, of all people, the 1970s miniseries king Peter Strauss) figures out that his daughter’s new beau is Eichmann’s son. The news is transmitted to Jerusalem, and the legendary spy chief Isser Harel (played by Lior Raz, creator and star of the popular Israeli Netflix show Fauda) begins designing the mission to capture Eichmann. (In fact, it took several years for the mission to get underway, but the compression of time here makes sense for dramatic purposes.)
Book Accusing Israel of Sparing Palestinian Lives ‘In Order To Control Them’ Wins Women’s Studies Award
A Rutgers University professor who accused Israeli forces of deliberately sparing the lives of Palestinians in order to debilitate them has been awarded by the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA).

Jasbir Puar, an associate professor of women’s and gender studies, co-won the NWSA’s 2018 Alison Piepmeier Book Prize for her work The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability.

Published by in November 2017 by Duke University Press — which has come under scrutiny for its editorial advisors’ ties to the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel — the book posits that the “Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have shown a demonstrable pattern over decades of sparing life, of shooting to maim rather than to kill.”

Yet it contends that this “purportedly humanitarian practice of sparing death by shooting to maim” is not rooted in a desire to minimize fatalities, but rather seeks to maintain “Palestinian populations as perpetually debilitated, and yet alive, in order to control them.”

The NWSA award’s review committee called The Right to Maim a “major milestone book,” which argues “that debilitation and the state production of disability are biopolitical projects both useful and productive for states under Neoliberal capitalism.”

Puar — a supporter of BDS who wrote that the book’s “ultimate purpose … is to labor in the service of a Free Palestine” — has attracted controversy over the work, with critics accusing it of advancing a blood libel against the Jewish state.

Seth Mandel, an op-ed editor at The New York Post, accused Puar on Twitter on Saturday of receiving an “award for book-length medieval blood libel because academic anti-Semitism is not just tolerated, but encouraged and rewarded.”
Australian-Government suspends funding to Union Aid Abroad after further terrorism links are revealed
Australian-Government suspends funding to Union Aid Abroad after further terrorism links are revealed
From The Daily Telegraph, September 13, 2018, by Sharri Markson, National Political Editor:

THE federal government has suspended taxpayer funding to a union charity after it was ­revealed a Palestinian organisation receiving aid employed a second member of a listed terrorist group.

Union Aid Abroad — APHEDA, which was set up by unions and has been run by federal Labor MPs including Ged Kearney, has received $21 million of public funds, millions of which has made its way to a Palestinian organisation called the MA’AN ­Development Centre.

Hamza Zbiedat is a supporter and affiliate of terrorist organisation the PFLP and is employed by the MA’AN Development Centre which receives APHEDA funding.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal the MA’AN Development Centre is employing as a field and media co-ordinator, Hamza Zbiedat, who is a supporter and affiliate of terrorist organisation, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

The PFLP is on the official terror list of the US, the European Union and Canada, as a result of its history of hijacking of planes, assassinations and suicide bombings, while Australia has the group on its “Consolidated” list of organisations subject to financial sanctions as a result of terror and security threats.

Zbiedat, who was arrested by Palestinian Authority secu­rity forces on October 14, 2017, is the second PFLP affiliate employed the MA’AN Development Centre.

In June, The Daily Telegraph revealed the same org­anisation had employed since 2012 a leader of the PFLP in Gaza, Ahmad Abdullah Al Adine, 30, as their Project Co-ordinator and Field Monitor.
Walter Russell Mead [$]: Jeremy Corbyn and the Socialism of Fools
It’s a short step for hard-left Labour from hating Israel to finding “Zionist” conspiracies on every side. Marxism typically rejects liberal democracy as a sham. Rich and powerful capitalists make all the big decisions: They control the political parties, they control the press, and they use the facade of democratic politics to amuse, befuddle and ultimately control the masses. From this standpoint, conspiracy thinking isn’t a sign of ignorance or emotionalism; to the contrary, perceiving the hidden plots of our true rulers is a necessary and vital step in seeing through the myth of liberal democracy.

The hard-line Marxist and the classic anti-Semite agree that the world is really run by a cabal of greedy men behind closed doors. But where the Marxist sees capitalist string-pullers, some of whom may happen to be Jewish, the anti-Semite sees only Jews. This is the meaning behind the famous statement, once popular on the European left, that anti-Semitism is the “socialism of fools”: the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories are too narrow and miss the real point.

But for Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour colleagues, the perceived special relationship between American imperialism and Zionism collapses the distinction between the socialism of fools and the “real” thing. The urban legend that “the Jews” control America’s Middle Eastern policy and that Jewish power forces the U.S. to march in lockstep with right-wing Israeli governments is also an organizing principle of the Corbynite worldview. The supposed control exerted by Zionist Jewish billionaires over American politics makes the fight against imperialism also a fight against a powerful Jewish conspiracy.

Those ideas, as any serious student of American politics or of the American Jewish community knows, are nonsensical. In every presidential election of the 21st century, American Jews have given significantly more money and votes to Democratic than to Republican candidates. If the American Jewish community controlled American politics, President Trump would still be hosting a television show and there would be no U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.

Yet myths are no less powerful because they are false. Mr. Corbyn’s outlook will lead any government he forms into deep trouble and frustration, but that in itself won’t keep him out of Downing Street. Liberalism today may face its deepest crisis in the country that gave the liberal tradition to the world.
Guardian editorial endorses Corbyn’s dissent over Labour antisemitism definition adoption
Don’t be fooled by a Guardian editorial (The Guardian view on Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour: it must be an anti-racist party, Sept. 5) on the Labour Party’s grudging adoption of the full IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism. It is not an endorsement of the IHRA Working Definition. It is a defense of Jeremy Corbyn’s proposed amendment, which was rejected by the party’s National Executive Committee, that we’ll quote later in this post.

However, the Guardian editorial inserts language which would seem at first glance sympathetic to the concerns of the British Jewish community, as it acknowledges that “British Jews’ trust in [Corbyn’s] Labour party is at a historic low”, affirms that “the fear and anxiety felt by many British Jews is not to be belittled”, that “Labour must be a reliable ally in fighting prejudice and Mr Corbyn’s party ought to be a protective, not hostile, environment”.

It also argues that, in “appearing reluctant to accept the full IHRA text…Corbyn confirmed to some British Jews that he did not have their welfare at heart”, and that he “ought to reflect on this and seek ways to reach out, with humility, to the British Jewish community.”

The editorial also instructs Labour members that the “defence of anti-Zionism cannot be invoked when using antisemitic tropes”, that “Corbyn must stop supporters turning a denial of antisemitism into a kind of leftwing principle, and warns against the “kneejerk and wrong response by sections of the left to see a factional attack behind every claim of antisemitism”.

However, at the end of the day, these sentiments – commendable in and of themselves – represent mere window dressing, a kind of moral throat clearing to provide credibility for what ultimately is a defense of Corbyn’s reluctance to accept the full definition, and a promotion of his supporters’ talking points.

First, the Guardian downplays antisemitism in the party by maintaining that “the Labour party is not antisemitic, but there are pockets of Jew-hatred within it”, parroting the words of Corbyn himself back in March, when he issued a statement claiming that the party must “recognise that anti-Semitism has occurred in pockets within the Labour Party…”.
The Guardian’s Steve Bell demonises Zionists, smears Rabbi Sacks and exonerates Jeremy Corbyn
The first thing you need to know about a recent cartoon by the Guardian’s Steve Bell (Donald Trump fires Jeremy Corbyn for rejecting his moral authority, Sept. 6) is that, despite the title, and likeness of the US president, Trump is partly a stand-in for another personality, former British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.

A clue to this graphic trick is found in the first frame, where Bell references Trump’s former role as host of the US television show, The Apprentice, but changes the network from NBC to BBC Radio 4, and the name of the show to ‘Apprentice Morality in the 21st Century’. This is a clear allusion to a new five-part show on BBC Radio 4 called “Morality in the 21st Century” hosted by Rabbi Sacks. Bell also added Sacks’ title, Lord, to Trump’s name.

Though the cartoon isn’t about Trump per se, Bell, aware of the criticism Sacks was subjected to for advising Trump’s Vice President, Mike Pence, on the links between Jews and Israel in advance of his Knesset speech in January, does appear to be implying some sort of political overlap between the President and the former Chief Rabbi.

Specifically, as the second frame makes clear, Bell is going after Sacks for his recent characterization of Jeremy Corbyn as a dangerous anti-Semite, and taking aim at the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism grudgingly adopted by Labour, which defines as antisemitic the charge that ‘Israel is a racist endeavor’.
Activist who daubed ‘Free Palestine’ at Warsaw Ghetto quits Momentum panel event
A woman who daubed a Warsaw ghetto wall with the words “Free Gaza and Palestine” has withdrawn from a panel event run by Momentum at a conference in Liverpool this month, Jewish News understands.

Ewa Jasiewicz, 40, who says she is the daughter of a soldier in the Polish army when war broke out, has described the 2010 daubing as “a small act of unarmed resistance”, which she carried out together with a former IDF captain and reservist, Yonatan Shapira.

The action has been denounced by Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, who says “defacing the wall of the Warsaw ghetto where hundreds of thousands of Jewish men, women and children were imprisoned, starved & eventually sent to their deaths” was “sickening and shameful”.

The daubing included the words “Liberate all ghettos” and was said by Ms Jasiewicz and Mr Shapira to be a protest against “Israel had “co-opted” the Holocaust to serve “agendas of colonisation and repression”.

Ms Jasiewicz, who is based in the UK, has also been attacked for a 2002 comment on the Palestine Solidarity Campaign website in which she apparently called for action against members of Israel’s Knesset,

IsraellyCool: Roger Waters to Antisemite & Terror Supporter: “We Love You!”
Rock’n’roll BDS-hole Roger Waters has claimed he does not have a single antisemitic bone in his body.

I guess that means his antisemitic bones are not single, but taken.

Last night, he tweeted this:

He is tweeting to Ewa Jasiewicz, the infamous Jew hater and terror supporter.
'Don't sell Israeli goods': Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell handed out boycott flyers in the name of 'peace' at 2014 constituency protest
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell faced claims he was as ‘hard core’ as Jeremy Corbyn over anti-Semitism last night after it emerged he took part in a boycott of Israeli goods.

Mr McDonnell helped organise a protest in his Hayes and Harlington constituency in 2014 to get shops not to stock fruit and other products from Israel.

The protest came during bitter fighting between Israel and Hamas forces in Gaza.

But Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard condemned the protest as ‘vile’. He claimed it showed that, far from trying to defuse the row over anti-Semitism, Mr McDonnell was ‘as hard core as Jeremy Corbyn and the rest of them’.

Mr McDonnell defended taking part, saying it came from people ‘appalled by the bombing of Gaza’. He said he had also previously supported a boycott of Saudi Arabia over arms sales.
One of the flyers, like that handed out by McDonnell, boycotting Isreali goods hangs in Lycamobile.
Who is pushing Jews out of academia in the US?
Dr. Sharona Aharoni-Goldenberg, an expert on the struggle against BDS, says that the Trump administration's decision, according to which anti-Israel activity on college campuses will be defined as anti-Semitism, is a turning point in the fight against anti-Semitic activity on campuses.

"This is a very important decision. The BDS movement today, which really appears to be activated by an invisible hand - and the feeling is that it is funded by totalitarian elements - works to remove Jews from academia. There is real activity against Israeli lecturers, regardless of their position or opinion, but rather because they are Israelis," Aharoni-Goldenberg said in an interview with Israel Hayom.

"The activity is not just against Israeli lecturers. If you are a Jewish professor who uploads a post for Israel, you will be fired," she says. "It's not a parable, US lecturers who worked against ‘Apartheid Week’ were fired from the institutions at which they taught. The same applies to many Jewish students who simply feel uncomfortable on campus."

She adds that a recent study revealed a close connection between the activities of lecturers who support boycotts against Israel in a certain institution and a sharp rise in anti-Semitism in the same institution.
U.S. Jewish activist detained at airport over previous West Bank visits
A left-wing Jewish American activist was detained and questioned by the Interior Ministry on Wednesday, notwithstanding being issued an A-1 temporary residence visa, because of previous visits to Area A in the West Bank.

Julie Weinberg-Connors, 23, was eventually allowed into Israel, after being assisted by lawyer Leora Bechor.

Weinberg-Connors arrived here with the intention of making aliyah (immigrating) at a later stage. A-1 visas are only granted to those who are eligible to immigrate in accordance with the Law of Return.

Officials initially denied Weinberg-Connors entry, citing “illegal immigration” and that the “civil administration does not want her in Israel,” according to journalist and educator Daniel Roth, who was in touch with Weinberg-Connors during the incident.

According to a second source who was in touch with Weinberg-Connors during the activist’s detention, the transgender person completed an aliyah file with the Jewish Agency. Two weeks ago, JAFI notified Weinberg-Connors that it was forwarding the aliyah file to the Interior Ministry because the activist had previously visited Area A in the past.

As an intern with the NGO Encounter, Weinberg-Connors visited several areas in the West Bank which Israeli law prevents citizens – but not tourists – from entering. Weinberg-Connors is currently a member of All That’s Left: Anti-Occupation Collective.
Berlin-financed NGO cancels talk with ‘antisemitic’ activist Manal Tamimi
An Iranian refugee NGO that is financed by the capital municipality canceled an event with the allegedly antisemitic Palestinian and pro-BDS activist Manal Tamimi, Berlin’s cultural senator Klaus Lederer confirmed to The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.

The slated talk named “Women Under Occupation – A Talk with Manal Tamimi” was supposed to be held the same day.

“The Iranian Refugees Association e.v. canceled today’s event in its space after feedback from its executive board and informed the event organizer,” wrote Lederer, a politician from the Left Party who has campaigned against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting the Jewish state.

Jutta Ditfurth, German ecological activist and co-founder of the German Green Party, asked Lederer on Tuesday on her popular Twitter feed: “Is this Antisemite, who wants to murder all Jews, allowed to travel to Berlin and appear?”

Tamimi, who has been accused of hardcore antisemitism by European Jews and other critics, is the aunt of Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi, who just completed an eight month prison term for assaulting Israeli soldiers.

In 2015, Manal Tamimi posted on her Twitter account in connection with Yom Kippur: “Vampirezionist celebrating their Kebore day [sic] by drinking Palestinian bloods [sic], yes our blood is pure & delicious but it will kill u at the end.”
German festival boycotts Brian Eno for pro-BDS views
In a rare case of a boycott against a musician who himself advocates boycotting Israel, a German town has withdrawn an invitation to British musician Brian Eno to perform at a festival.

Eno was slated to appear at the Electricity Conference in Düsseldorf in October but last week he signed a letter urging a boycott of the Eurovision Song Contest that will be held next year in Israel.

Festival organiser Rüdiger Esch told the Westdeutsche Zeitung it “was the only right decision” to disinvite Eno because “we don’t want to invite anyone who supports activities against the State of Israel, even if you cannot agree with the current settlement policy.”

Mr Esch said he had visisted Israel for five days and that personal experience had made him more aware of Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign directed at the country.

Organisers said Eno’s appearance had been planned since last November but his support for BDS had not been known.
BBC News report on US closure of PLO mission fails to adequately inform
In other words, when Mahmoud Abbas told the UN General Assembly on September 20th 2017 that “[w]e have called on the International Criminal Court to open an investigation and to prosecute Israeli officials for their involvement in settlement activities and aggressions against our people” he was no doubt aware of the potential consequences under the terms of the legislation passed by the US Congress nearly two years earlier under the Obama administration. And yet despite the US State Department having issued that warning in November 2017, in May 2018 the PA’s foreign minister nevertheless chose to present a referral to the ICC.

Nevertheless, as was reported in November 2017, the PLO mission in Washington could have remained open.

“The declaration does not automatically mean the mission will close. US President Donald Trump now has a 90-day window to decide whether “the Palestinians have entered into direct, meaningful negotiations with Israel” — in which case he can waive the requirement to shutter the office.”

However, the Palestinians have of course done no such thing and – as the BBC has itself reported on numerous occasions over the past ten months – Palestinian officials have repeatedly made it abundantly clear that they have no intention of even considering a US peace plan.

In summary, while readers of this BBC report found an unsatisfactory 48 word ‘explanation’ of the legislative background crucial to proper understanding of this story, they saw 127 words of PLO condemnations of the US administration decision – but no clarification of how the Palestinians could have prevented that decision from being taken.
Context lacking, inaccuracies let slide in BBC WS coverage of PLO mission closure
Plett-Usher refrained from mentioning reports that the PLO mission in Washington had been funding campus activity of the anti-Israel BDS campaign in the US.

Marshall then went on to introduce his second contributor, failing to clarify to listeners that Hanan Ashrawi is a member of the PLO’s executive committee.

Marshall: “[…] and earlier I spoke to Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestinian legislator and former negotiator. What’s her reaction to Mr Bolton’s remarks?”

[48:23] Ashrawi: “This is not an act that happened in isolation. It’s part of a concerted American assault on Palestinian rights, on the chances of peace [laughs] and on any semblance of justice, on legality and solving the Palestinian-Israeli issue. And it seems to me the US is certainly doing Israel’s bidding and is trying to resolve all issues by bashing the Palestinians, by punishing the Palestinians – who are already under occupation – and by rewarding Israel and granting it full immunity to act outside the law with full impunity.”

Marshall: “The United States says it’s doing this because the Palestinians are not supporting peace talks with Israel.”

Ashrawi: [laughs] That’s extremely ironic. There are no talks. There are no plans. There is no negotiating table to invite us back to: the US has smashed it into smithereens. It has decided unilaterally to give away Jerusalem to Israel which is illegal because Jerusalem is occupied territory – it is Palestinian land. It has decided single-handedly to redefine Palestinian refugees and to stop funding UNRWA which is an international organisation specifically set up to serve and protect the Palestinian refugees. It has unilaterally decided that the settlements are not illegal, that it doesn’t want the ’67 boundaries or the two-state solution. So what does it want? Right now it is busy telling the Palestinians if you do not surrender to our dictates, if you do not accept all these steps then you are going to be punished again and Israel is rewarded. So it’s extremely ironic. It’s really disingenuous to talk about peace. Actually now we are being punished because we dared ask the International Criminal Court to speed up its investigation of Israeli war crimes and as you know, settlements are a war crime by international definition according to the Rome Statute.”

Making no effort whatsoever to challenge Ashrawi’s egregious portrayal of Jerusalem as “Palestinian land”, her “war crimes” smear or her partisan interpretation of Article 8 of the Rome Statute, Marshall changed the subject.
Omission and imbalance in BBC report on ‘Bedouin village’
Readers found no explanation of that reference to “European states” and so remain unaware of the fact that some of the illegal construction at that site and others was carried out by the EU.

In addition, readers found forty words of comment from what is described as the PLO’s “human rights body” along with a link to the B’tselem website. The only other link in the article leads readers to the UNRWA website and readers are provided with 145 words of highly questionable legal interpretation attributed to “the UN”.

In other words, in addition to the serious omissions in the BBC’s representation of this story, audiences saw four times more comment (and two links) from outside sources opposing the evacuation of the illegally constructed settlement than they did opinions in favour.
Renoir looted by Nazis returned to Jewish owner's family
A painting by famed French impressionist artist Pierre Auguste Renoir that was stolen by the Nazis in World War II was returned to the family of its original owner on Wednesday, after making its way through three continents.

Renoir's "Deux Femmes Dans Un Jardin" ("Two Women in a Garden"), painted in the last year of the artist's life, was handed over at a ceremony at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York.

The painting was originally owned by Alfred Weinberger, a well-known art collector in pre-war Paris. His granddaughter and sole living heir, Sylvie Sulitzer, who lives in southern France near Marseille, formally received the work at the ceremony.

"Since 2010, Madame Sulitzer has actively sought to recover the stolen works from her grandfather's collection," U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman said.

"When Madame Sulitzer learned in 2013 that 'Deux Femmes' was being put up for auction at Christie's, she made a claim for the work. After an investigation by my office and the FBI, the purported owner of the work voluntarily agreed to relinquish its claim to the 'Deux Femmes,' and as a result, we are able to return the painting to Madame Sulitzer today. The FBI's art crime team played an important role in investigating Madame Sulitzer's claim and securing the painting's voluntary return."
Argentina’s Parliament honors citizens who fought Nazis
Foreign Affairs

Argentina’s Parliament held a public national event to pay tribute to the 5,000 Argentine citizens who voluntary fought in World War II against the Nazis.

The 17 remaining survivors of the original 5,000 volunteers received the tribute and a certificate during last week’s ceremony in the Argentine Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the Parliament.

“Their role was so important that the Argentine-British squadron was created. They fought for freedom and democracy against Nazi totalitarianism and the concentration camps ” said Juan Hunter, former president of the Argentine-British Community Council.

The first recognition in 73 years of the Argentine citizens who flew to Europe to fight against the Nazis was pushed by lawmakers from the Civic Coalition, a party which is part of the Cambiemos coalition that governs the country.

The event also was attended by the head of the lower house of the Parliament, Emilio Monzó, and the chair of the Committee on Foreign Relations commission, Cornelia Schmidt Liermann.

“They went voluntarily and many lost their lives to defend the freedom of nations. It fills me with pride and emotion. The Argentine State is late in recognizing them. I apologize for that. I am the daughter of a father who came to the country with WWII,” said Schmidt Liermann
Paul McCartney had no idea anybody would associate the now iconic Beatles song “Hey Jude” with the Jews. That was, until he got a very angry phone call.

In a video interview with GQ magazine published this week, the former Beatles singer was discussing the origins and history of many of the band’s most famous songs.

The song, he said, was originally going to be called Hey Jules, for John Lennon’s son Julian. But later, McCartney decided he preferred the name Jude instead.

“I didn’t realize it meant Jewish,” the singer said in the video published on Monday. “Actually I nearly got into trouble, because we put it up on a window of our shop... so that people going by on the buses would see.”

McCartney was referring to the Apple Boutique, a short-lived business venture the Beatles opened in London in 1967.

But one day in 1968, McCartney said, “I got this furious phone call from this guy, Mr. Leon, who was Jewish, he said: ‘What are you doing, how dare you do this.’”
Israel among world leaders in combating bribery abroad
Israel is one of the world’s seven leading countries in enforcing the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Anti-Bribery Convention, according to a report issued on Wednesday by Transparency International, a Berlin-based NGO monitoring and tackling global corruption.

The 1997 convention, which is signed by all 36 OECD countries and eight other states which together are responsible for 65% of global exports, requires the criminalization in national law of bribery of foreign public officials.

Israel was also deemed to have made the greatest improvement in enforcement during the last three years, from little or no enforcement to active enforcement.

Countries were evaluated according to the number of investigations commenced, charges filed and cases concluded with sanctions between 2014 and 2017. They were then placed into four enforcement categories: “Active,” “moderate,” “limited” and “little or no” enforcement.

Countries party to the convention are expected to strengthen their legal frameworks and enforcement systems against money laundering, and tax and accounting violations, as well as ensure adequate standards of due process in bribery case settlements, and publish annual data regarding foreign bribery enforcement processes.
Archaeologists Unearth 13,000-Year-Old Brewery in Israel
Brewing beer existed in Israel more than 5,000 years before the first known evidence discovered in China.

As part of a joint-project between Stanford University and the University of Haifa, archeologists examined three stone mortars from a 13,000-year-old Natufian burial cave site in the country. Their analysis, the culmination of five seasons of excavating, confirmed that these mortars were used for brewing of wheat and barley, in addition to storing food, according to a press release.

The earliest evidence of cereal-based beer-brewing derives from the Natufians, who were semi-stationary hunters living in the Eastern Levant between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic eras, succeeding the last Ice Age.

“Alcohol making and food storage were among the major technological innovations that eventually led to the development of civilizations in the world, and archaeological science is a powerful means to help reveal their origins and decode their contents,” said Li Liu, a professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures, in the press release. “We are excited to have the opportunity to present our findings, which shed new light on a deeper history of human society.”
Yngwie Malmsteen shreds Tel Aviv in no-holds-barred guitar spree
They say you should never revisit your childhood heroes. But in the case of Yngwie Malmsteen I’ll have to disagree. I well remember the 1984 release of the Swedish guitar icon’s debut solo album, “Rising Force,” which I listened to obsessively. Yet, even all these years later, his show on Wednesday night in Tel Aviv was amazing.

That first album was a tour de force (though at first it looked like just another heavy metal record) that sent guitarists the world over back to the drawing board — nobody could believe how fast he could play, and without any of that newfangled tapping technique popularized by Eddie Van Halen (who by that time was playing keyboards on pop songs like “Jump” and, though commercially successful, no longer terrified six-string slingers as he had back in 1978).

Yngwie burst onto the cover of all the guitar magazines with an unpronounceable name (rhymes with “oy vey”), lots of tight black leather and tons of jewelry, sporting a new Bach- and Paganini-inspired neo-classical sound that inspired a slew of faster-than-fright guitarists racing through harmonic minor scales and diminished seventh arpeggios up and down the guitar neck.

Of course everyone soon realized that Malmsteen was basically playing Ritchie Blackmore (of Deep Purple and Rainbow fame) riffs, but about a million times faster and taking them to a brand new place. The obvious clue (apart from the black clothes) was that while everyone else was playing and (posing with) pointy-headed axes, Malmsteen stuck to a blond Fender Stratocaster with a scalloped fretboard — exactly the same as Blackmore had been using since about 1969.

Now, 34 years later, almost all of the neo-classical guitarists from Mike Varney’s Shrapnel Records label and those they inspired have moved on to other things.
Eurovision 2019 to be held in Tel Aviv after months of speculation
The 2019 Eurovision song contest will be held in Tel Aviv.

The European Broadcasting Union announced on Thursday that next year's competition will be hosted in the coastal city - at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds complex, with the grand finale event to be held on May 18. The two semifinals will be held on May 14 and May 16.

"We'd like to thank all the Israeli cities that bid to host the Eurovision song contest in 2019," Jon Ola Sand, the executive supervisor of the Eurovision, said in a video message. "In the end we decided that Tel Aviv has the overall best setup to host the biggest entertainment show in the world. We are excited to bring the Eurovision song contest to a brand new city, and are looking forward to working together with KAN to make 2019’s Eurovision Song Contest the most spectacular one yet.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that next year's contest "will be an excellent Eurovision. Tel Aviv is an international city, it's a vibrant city, and the whole world will see this, and Israel."

The decision, which was originally slated to be announced last week, was delayed several times. Many speculated that the delay was due to a dispute between the Israeli government and the EBU over demands that all visitors and participants be allowed entry to the country regardless of their political views.
I agree with Helen Razer. The Eurovision Song Contest should not be held next year in Israel.

I also agree that Eurovision should be held in “Palestine”, wherever or whatever that it is:

My agreement isn’t because, as Helen claims, Israel is an apartheid state. It’s because Eurovision is an abomination, and any camp ironic fun derived from this sub-pop atrocity timed out decades ago.

Israel does not deserve such brutal mistreatment. Let Eurovision be held in this “Palestine” joint, maybe inside one of those nice UN schools where all the weapons are hidden.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.


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