Sunday, January 20, 2019

From Ian:

JPost Editorial: Antisemitic swimming
Sadly, the response so far from International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has been weak. On Monday, AFP quoted the IPC as saying that it was “disappointed” with Malaysia’s decision to bar Israeli swimmers from entering the country and that it hoped to find a solution to the matter.

“While we continue dialogue with the Local Organizing Committee and the National Paralympic Committee, the IPC Governing Board will be discussing this matter at its meeting in London next week,” the IPC said in a statement. “World Championships should be open to all eligible nations and athletes. We will explore all options open to us to try and ensure the full participation of all eligible athletes.”

We do not understand what the IPC needs to wait a week to “discuss” and have a “dialogue” about. When facing an act of antisemitism and discrimination, the solution is a simple one and should be implemented as soon as possible: the IPC should rescind its decision to hold the tournament in Malaysia, choose another venue, and then – in response to the Malaysian decision against Israeli athletes – impose punitive sanctions on Malaysia, including the banning and even expulsion of the country from future tournaments.

Such a decision will send a clear message to other countries that might, on the one hand, want to host sporting events, but on the other hand not allow Israelis inside their borders. This is the policy for multinational organizations like the World Trade Organization, which a few years ago, for example, held its annual gathering in Indonesia, which – to host the event – had no choice but to allow Israeli government officials to attend.

As its mission statement reads, the IPC was established 30 years ago to allow disabled athletes to “achieve sporting excellence and inspire and excite the world.” What Malaysia is doing is the exact opposite of inspiring or exciting the world. Letting it get away with blatant antisemitism undermines the IPC and the purpose for which it was established. Take action now, IPC, before it is too late.

PMW: Fatah and PA journalists forbid peace-building
Fatah official: "Normalization with the Zionist entity is the greatest danger to our Arab nation." (Jan. 20, 2019)

Fatah official: "Normalization with the Zionist entity is the greatest danger to our Arab nation"

The Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate called on all media outlets "to settle accounts with anyone who has participated in a visit to and any activity of normalization with the occupying entity"

Fatah official repeated PA libel that Israel was established to steal the resources of the Arab region: "The Palestinian people, through its struggle, has always constituted an impregnable wall against the colonialist Zionist project that wants to take over the resources of the Arab peoples, and against the spread of Zionism towards the Arab region"

Op-ed in official PA daily: "Western colonialism in general, and British colonialism in particular - in cooperation with the Zionist movement, and later with its physical base, the colonialist State of Israel - attempted... to erase the Palestinian identity, history, and existence, and to establish the rogue state [Israel]. This was in order to serve the goals of the capitalist West at the expense of the Jews, who were misled in the name of religion"
Caroline Glick: The Palestinians Are a Superpower at the UN But a Weak Mess in Reality
The disconnect between the events in the hall and the outside world – in terms of the member states’ bilateral relations with Israel; the Palestinian public’s rejection of Abbas; and Abbas’s role as terror sponsor and financier – points to a basic truth about the Palestinians and the nature of international relations.

International support for the Palestinians grows with the level of abstraction. The more concrete one’s relations are with the Palestinian Authority – whether as Palestinians who live under its jackboot, or Israelis who are the target of its aggression – the less legitimate Abbas is, and the smaller the octogenarian with no legitimate claim to power appears.

The more symbolic one’s relations with the Palestinians, the more fervent support for “Palestine” becomes. The G-77 isn’t elevating the “State of Palestine” because it cares about the Palestinians. The G-77 is elevating the “State of Palestine” because it doesn’t care about the Palestinians.

Although India, for example, rarely votes against the “State of Palestine” at the UN, its bilateral ties with Israel have expanded exponentially in recent years.

Netanyahu has worked assiduously to leverage the ties he has developed with states like Kenya, Rwanda, Brazil, and India into diminished support for the Palestinians at the UN. His efforts have brought about only a marginal change in behavior.

By and large, the Palestinians can continue to expect support from the vast majority of UN member states for any initiative they launch against Israel. Indeed, long after Abbas, his successors and their PLO are ousted from power, they will remain in senior leadership positions at the UN.

But as the recent massive growth of Israel’s bilateral ties to the nations of the world makes clear, there is often little connection between support for “Palestine” at the UN and animosity for Israel.

Michelle Alexander’s Call to ‘Break the Silence’ Is NY Times’ Latest Anti-Israel Smear
Reflecting a total lack of self-awareness, the trite headline to Michelle Alexander’s 2281-word Op-Ed yesterday in The New York Times says it all: “Time to Break the Silence on Palestine.” The notion that the Palestinian issue is ignored, that a “silence” currently surrounds it, or has surrounded it in years past, and that pro-Israel advocates muzzle opposing views, is a common canard of anti-Israel activists.

For example, veteran Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy, who regularly accuses Israel of war crimes and apartheid in the pages of his own newspaper and in international forums, recently charged that “it’s getting more and more difficult, more often than not, impossible” to publish articles critical of Israel in the mainstream press. But the facts say otherwise. At The Times for instance, in the six months prior to Levy’s column, The Times had published 10 Op-Eds showing explicit support of Israel in general, or of a specific Israeli policy, presenting Israel in a positive light, or defending Israel from criticism. In the same time period, the paper published 15 Times Op-Eds criticizing or condemning Israeli policies.

The Times’ disproportionate focus on criticism of Israel, including its very existence, is hardly a new phenomenon, despite Alexander’s assertion to the contrary. In her Op-Ed, The Times’ columnist argues. “Not so long ago, it was fairly rare to hear this perspective,” ie that Israel is committing “horrific human rights abuses” and “legalized discrimination.” (Her position seems to contradict Levy’s, who argues that “it’s getting more difficult” to publish such views.) In fact, CAMERA’s comprehensive study (“Indicting Israel: New York Times Coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict”), found that in the period July 2011 through March 2012, six of seven editorials, five of six columns and four of seven Op-Eds about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict predominantly criticized Israel. None predominantly criticized the Palestinians.

Indeed, particularly at The Times, the suggestion that Michelle Alexander is breaking a “silence” regarding bad Israeli behavior is laughable. One only has to recall the stunning 2014 admission of then New York Times Op-Ed editor Matt Seaton after a series of Op-Eds charging Israelis, but not Palestinians, with racism. He acknowledged that the paper holds a lower standard for Palestinian wrongdoings, exempting them from scrutiny due to their stateless existence.
New York Times Columnist Cheers for a Boycott of Israeli Banks
“Time to break the silence on Palestine,” is the headline over New York Times opinion columnist Michelle Alexander’s article, and a pretty good indication of where it’s going, because there’s no “silence” to break on the issue, and because “Palestine” isn’t a country and never has been.

Alexander uses the approaching Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday to accuse Israel of having “adopted some practices reminiscent of apartheid in South Africa and Jim Crow segregation in the United States.”

Alexander’s analysis is so far off the deep end that it almost doesn’t merit a response.

She refers to “[o]ur elected representatives, who operate in a political environment where Israel’s political lobby holds well-documented power,” hyperlinking to The Washington Post home page rather than to any actual documentation of such power. Is her innuendo that Israel controls The Washington Post? Never mind that the lobby isn’t “Israel’s” but America’s, consisting of American Jews and Christians who support Israel for many excellent reasons.

Alexander trades in double negatives: “This is not to say that anti-Semitism is not real.” She can’t quite bring herself to say that antisemitism is real. Anyone wondering about that, however, might examine Alexander’s own column, which obsesses, using a classically antisemitic trope, about Jewish financial power. “Many civil rights activists and organizations have remained silent as well, not because they lack concern or sympathy for the Palestinian people, but because they fear loss of funding from foundations,” she writes. As if pro-Israel Jews control the big foundations? Alexander also cheers, for Times readers, as an example of “moral clarity,” the United Methodist Church pension fund’s boycott of the five largest Israeli banks. Alexander concedes that “while criticism of Israel is not inherently anti-Semitic, it can slide there.” She seems not even the slightest bit aware that her own column is a demonstration of precisely that phenomenon.
New York Times Abuses Martin Luther King’s Legacy to Attack Israel
Silence on Palestine

Michelle Alexander’s piece is very much silent on Palestine. Nowhere is there any criticism of Palestinians.

  • Nothing on Palestinian terrorism that necessitates Israeli security measures.
  • Nothing on the corruption of the Palestinian Authority that prefers to pay Palestinian prisoners and their families for carrying out acts of terrorism rather than improving the housing, schools and hospitals that Alexander laments.
  • Nothing about the antisemitism and rejectionism of Hamas and no criticism of rockets fired from Gaza, which Alexander refers to as “occupied,” towards Israeli towns and villages.
  • No criticism of the fact that PA President Mahmoud Abbas has just entered the fifteenth year of his four year term in office.

Just Michelle Alexander’s silence on Palestine.

Ultimately, Michelle Alexander has sullied the legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. with her assault on Israel, aided and abetted by the New York Times, which continues to up the ante in its efforts to single out Israel for crude special treatment.

No amount of opinion pieces by credible writers such as Bret Stephens, Bari Weiss and Matti Friedman can mitigate the obsessive behavior that the New York Times is showing towards the Jewish state. The newspaper has added its anti-Israel poison to the already toxic mix of divisive American identity politics. Would MLK approve?
‘Only the strong survive’: Gantz’s new campaign videos laud his IDF bona fides
Israel Resilience party leader Benny Gantz on Sunday released a series of campaign videos titled “Only the strong survive,” mostly highlighting successful IDF operations in the Gaza Strip during his time as chief of staff.

The videos were released with much of the country trying to figure out where the laconic Gantz stands. They indicate that he’s positioning himself firmly in the center with a tough on terror message, but also a willingness to try and make peace.

One video takes credit for the IDF’s destruction of 6,231 Hamas targets in the 2014 Gaza war under Gantz’s command, boasting that “parts of Gaza were sent back to the Stone Age.”

Another shows footage from funerals of Hamas members with a counter on the screen from 0 to 1,364, the number of terrorists the IDF said it killed in Defensive Edge. It said the “three and a half years of quiet” in the Palestinian enclave in the years that followed were thanks to Gantz.

A third video showed footage of a 2012 Israeli airstrike that Gantz ordered targeting Ahmed Jabari, the acting head of Hamas’s military wing and mastermind of the Gilad Shalit kidnapping in 2012.
Netanyahu suggests Israel behind daylight strike on Syria
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested Israel was behind an attack Sunday in Syria, hours after the Syrian regime and its ally Russia said the Israeli military carried out the rare daylight strike.

“We have a permanent policy to hurt the Iranian entrenchment in Syria, and everyone who is trying to hurt us,” Netanyahu told reporters in the Chadian capital of N’Djamena before returning to Israel.

“This policy doesn’t change, whether I am in Israel or on a historic visit in Chad. It’s permanent,” he said.

While Israel had in the past refused to comment on strikes in Syria, it has recently acknowledged carrying out hundreds of sorties and Netanyahu’s comments, along with the daylight nature of the raid, appear to suggest the efforts are now becoming even more open.

Repeating Syrian claims, the Russian military said the incoming attack had been blocked by the country’s air defenses.
If IDF hit Syria, are daytime strikes army chief Kochavi's new strategy?
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi may be a vegetarian, but if reports are correct his first act against Iranian targets in Syria show he’s just as hungry as his predecessor Gadi Eisenkot who first interrupted Tehran’s dream to build a large military power in Syria.

As reported, the strikes on Sunday morning struck familiar targets, sites at Damascus International Airport and a Hezbollah/Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) base in the Al-Kiswah area.

IAF jets are believed to have carried out dozens of attacks in al-Kiswah and Damascus International Airport as part of its effort to prevent Iranian entrenchment in the war-torn country.

But the Jewish State, which recently come out in the open about its activity against Iran in the war-torn country, rarely strikes during the day, preferring to wait until the late hours of the night to attack Iranian targets.

While it could be that the Israeli jets were ordered to strike targets which posed an immediate threat to Israel, Kochavi - who took the reins as top officer just last week - is known for changing the rules of the game to the IDF’s advantage.
Rocket Downed by Iron Dome Over Golan, After Syria Claims to Repel Israeli Air Strike
Syrian military air defenses thwarted an Israeli attack on Sunday, shooting down seven missiles targeting an airport in southeastern Damascus, Russia’s National Defense Control Center was cited by RIA news agency as saying.

The attack, launched by four Israeli F-16 jets, did not damage the airport and there were no casualties, the control center was cited as saying.

Syrian state media also reported the attack.

“Our air defense systems thwarted … an Israeli air aggression … and prevented it from achieving any of its goals,” a military source told state news agency SANA. It gave no further details.

An Israeli military spokeswoman declined to comment.

The Israeli military later said its Iron Dome interceptor system shot down a rocket fired at the northern part of the Golan Heights on the Syria frontier.

The military’s statement did not immediately specify where the rocket was launched from. The northern Golan is also close to Lebanese territory.
Rabbi Nicole Guzik: Why I Left the Women’s March L.A.
To Emiliana Guereca and Deena Katz, Co-founders Women’s March L.A.

Dear Emiliana and Deena,

There’s a rabbinic dictum, Dan lkaf zchut, give every person the benefit of the doubt. And that is what I did this past week and today. I booked a hotel room from Friday to Sunday in order to observe Shabbat downtown and stand for equality and the ability for women and men to join together to give voice to those unable to speak. However, I was assured by you, the founders of this March, countlessly in a private meeting, that this March was different. That in Los Angeles (unlike the National March) Israel would not be attacked, labeling Israel as an apartheid state would be unwelcome on the stage and if a speaker went off script, the managers of the program would raise the music. In the very first hour of the Women’s March L.A. program at Pershing Square, all those promises were broken.

Marwa Rifahie, representing the Council on American-Islamic Relations used her allotted time to focus on the Palestinian agenda, a conversation that I was told would not be a focus. I waited. When she called Israel an apartheid state…I waited. Where was the music? Where was someone asking her to remain on script? Who vetted this speaker? Why was I assured that anti-Semitic statements would not be permitted or tolerated in this anti-hate arena? Why was someone allowed to defend the organizers of the march in Washington? I used my voice, opinion and reputation to defend you, the founders that assured me, a Jewish woman was welcome and needed. I know I’m needed but today, I was not welcomed.
Anti-Israel Activist Linda Sarsour Touts BDS in Speech at Women’s March in Washington
Prominent anti-Israel activist and Women’s March co-leader Linda Sarsour used an address to thousands of demonstrators in Washington, DC, on Saturday to advocate on behalf of the BDS movement against the Jewish state.

Sarsour called on protesters to stand up for “free speech and our constitutional right to boycott, divestment and sanctions in these United States of America.”

Fellow Women’s March co-leader Tamika Mallory — who just a few days earlier declined to affirm that the Jewish people were native to the Middle East — stood next to Sarsour and nodded as the pro-BDS remark was made.

IsraellyCool: Daughter of Blues Legend Muddy Waters Rips “Antisemite” Linda Sarsour
Mercy Morganfield is the daughter of famous American blues singer-songwriter Muddy Waters.

But her new claim to fame may be something else entirely, after this epic post ripping Linda Sarsour for her Jew hatred.

This is How Shit Gets Started
This is what Linda Sarsour posted yesterday. The Jewish community is not waging war on black people. Linda Sarsour is an antisemite and even when she is apologizing to the Jewish community on the one hand she is condemning it on the other. She can’t help it. This is who she is and as long as the five board members are in power you will continue to see these sharp divisions they themselves foster. During this entire fiasco who has continually attacked whom? Jewish people asking you to condemn an antisemite and antisemitism is not an attack. Writing that Jewish people are waging war on black people is an attack. It is vicious. It is vile. And it is not true. They are their own worst enemy. An appalling lack of judgment on Linda’s part. On this day, during this ongoing controversy. SMH

Talk about music to my ears.

By the way, Muddy Waters is the only musician with the surname of Waters you should be listening to!
Rep. Tlaib Requests Taxpayers Fund Her Anti-Semitism
Newly-inaugurated Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib just requested taxpayer money to fund a Congressional delegation to the Palestinian Authority-controlled territories in Israel. At the same time, her equally new colleague from Rep. Ilhan Omar was just appointed by her fellow Democrats to the prestigious House Foreign Affairs Committee.

What do these events have in common and, more importantly, what do they portend for the Democratic Party?

Both Tlaib (D-MI) and Omar (D-MN) are open supporters of the boycott, divest and sanction (BDS) movement against Israel.

The BDS movement aims to strangle the Jewish state economically while at the same time calls for the flooding of Palestinians into Israel to destroy the Jewish character of the state.

According to the definition of anti-Semitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and officially adopted by the U.S. (and 31 other nations), the BDS movement has been deemed at its core an anti-Semitic movement.

This is because the movement “[applies] double standards by requiring of [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of by any other democratic nation.” For example, there are at least 100 land disputes across the globe that are not subject to “BDS” movements.
Ocasio-Cortez Embraces Anti-Semitic Women's March After DNC, Top Dems Cut Ties
On Saturday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) embraced the anti-Semitic Women's March just days after the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and other left-wing organizations cut ties with the movement over blatant anti-Semitism.

The anti-Semitism and racism within the Women's March is so pervasive that the group's founder, Theresa Shook, called on all the co-chairs to step down for allowing "anti-Semitism, anti-LBGTQIA sentiment and hateful, racist rhetoric to become a part of the platform."

Women's March co-president Tamika Mallory recently defended calling Louis Farrakhan the "greatest of all time," and refused to affirm Israel's right to exist in two separate interviews.

Anti-Semitism within the Women's March is so blatant that the DNC and far-left Emily's List cut ties with the organization last week.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) also cut ties with the Women's March this week over its anti-Semitism, writing: "I cannot associate with the national march’s leaders and principles, which refuse to completely repudiate anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry. I cannot walk shoulder to shoulder with leaders who lock arms with outspoken peddlers of hate."

Hamas Distances Itself from Women’s March Over Anti-Semitism Concerns (satire)
The Palestinian militant movement Hamas is the latest group to disavow its support for the Women’s March over concerns of anti-Semitism, declining to take part in this weekend’s protests.

The decision came after Tamika Mallory refused to condemn remarks by Louis Farrakhan comparing Jews to Satan.

“We hate Jews too, but we still think there is such thing as going overboard,” Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh told The Mideast Beast. “Just because they both have horns, it doesn’t make the Jews Satan.”

Hamas had supported the Women’s March in previous years, saying that it was both thrilled and a bit baffled that a movement nominally committed to Women’s Rights was now embracing their values. But after prominent groups like the NAACP and the Democratic National Committee pulled their support, Hamas felt it must also pull out or risk alienating its base.

“Even for radical jihadis, there is such thing as too much hatred,” one Hamas official explained. “Also, a lot of the guys were a little creeped out over how obsessed with us Linda Sarsour is.”
Report: In Letter to Pompeo, Palestinian Authority Forgoes All US Aid, Fearing New Anti-Terror Law
The Palestinian Authority has reportedly informed the United States government that it is waiving all American financial aid due to a recent anti-terror law that could open PA officials to lawsuits.

According to Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah informed the US of the decision in a letter sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in December. The letter directly connected the PA’s decision to the 2018 Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA), which would expand the jurisdiction of American anti-terror laws, giving victims of terrorism the ability to sue any entity responsible for providing funds for terrorist activity.

The law applies in particular to countries that receive aid from the US, making the PA vulnerable to potentially huge financial damages.

A number of lawsuits against the PA brought by terror victims and their families are currently pending. Damages have not been claimed so far because the US lacked jurisdiction over the PA. The ATCA is deliberately intended to change this.
Democratic Congressman Urges US to Recognize Israeli Sovereignty of Golan Heights
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) sent a letter to US President Donald Trump on Friday calling on him to implement a “comprehensive strategy” to combat Iran amid the administration’s planned withdrawal of American troops from Syria, in addition to officially recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

Jewish Insider first reported this development.

In addition to calling for the United States to follow through on the 10-year Memorandum of Understanding between it and Israel, with the former providing the latter $3.8 billion in security and defense assistance, Gottheimer wrote: “I also urge your Administration to adopt a comprehensive strategy to halt the march of Iranian-backed forces across the Middle East via a land bridge stretching from Tehran to the Mediterranean, including right up to Israel’s border. Iranian forces must not be permitted to gain a foothold or permanent presence in Syria, or to help Hezbollah construct factories there to build precision-guided missiles with which to threaten our ally Israel.”
PM: Renewal of Chad ties is proof of Israel’s ‘rising standing’ in Muslim world
Jerusalem’s increasingly robust ties with the Arab world help Israel break the ice with Muslim-majority states in Africa, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday, as he wrapped a whirlwind visit to Chad during which the resumption of bilateral ties were declared.

Speaking to reporters moments before he boarded his Boeing 767 en route to Tel Aviv, Netanyahu also said the Palestinians and Iran actively tried to prevent Chad from re-establishing formal diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.

“This visit first and foremost teaches us about our standing in the Arab world,” Netanyahu said. “Not only that there wasn’t any opposition, but also, I said this unofficially, there was some support.”

He declined to say which countries expressed support for the reestablishment of ties between the northern-central African nation of 15 million and Israel nearly 50 years after they were severed.

“Two countries views this process with great anger: Iran and the Palestinians,” he said. “But the others: either they are passive or they actively support it. This testifies to our quickly rising standing in the Arab, and in Muslim, countries across world.”

Iran had made “strenuous efforts” to derail Sunday’s renewal of ties, he said, including by sending delegations to N’Djamena in a bid to pressure the government.

Chad and other Muslim countries have asked Israel to help them establish or improve ties with other countries, he added.

“It’s indeed a breakthrough into the heart of the Muslim world,” he declared, sitting in a room at the N’Djamena airport.

Chad’s willingness to renew diplomatic ties with Israel did not come suddenly but rather was the “fruit of many years of work” by the Foreign Ministry, Mossad and other Israeli government agencies, he said.
Moldova Endorses Accepted Definition of Antisemitism
Moldova endorsed the widely accepted definition of antisemitism from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance on Friday, in addition to committing the country’s authorities to fight hatred against Jews and others.

According to the IHRA, “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

“Moldova has taken a laudable step in recognizing clearly the resurgent cancer of antisemitism and mobilizing to effectively combat it,” said American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris, who has visited the country several times. “We commend the Jewish Community of Moldova, an AJC international partner, for working with their government to achieve this important policy decision.”

Fewer than 4,000 Jews reside in Moldova (as of 2012), which was party to pogroms and other persecution against Jews during the 19th and 20th centuries.
IDF troops to be indicted for beating Palestinian detainees
Five IDF soldiers suspected of seriously beating two Palestinian detainees will be indicted by Israel’s military prosecutor, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit announced on Sunday.

The five soldiers, who serve in the ultra-Orthodox Netzah Yehuda Battalion, were arrested on January 10 and had their detention extended until now by the military court. The prosecution is expected to request an extension of the arrest until the end of the proceedings.

The five soldiers were arrested on suspicion of beating the two detainees while they were handcuffed and blindfolded, leaving them severely injured as a result of the beating.

According to the military they will be charged with committing aggravated offenses, causing severe injury under aggravated circumstances and some of them on suspicion of attempting to disrupt the interrogation.

While the military did not give a date of the beating, the two Palestinians had been arrested in the Ramallah area as part of the army’s efforts to locate Asam Barghouti, who killed two soldiers from the Netzah Yehuda Battalion outside the West Bank outpost of Givat Assaf.

In addition to the soldiers, their commanding officer who holds the rank of lieutenant was also arrested. A court hearing on his case will take place later on Sunday.

The military is investigating whether the soldiers had been motivated by revenge for their comrades killed in the deadly attack.
Report: Israel to shut UNRWA schools in East Jerusalem
Israeli officials are reportedly set to revoke permits for schools in East Jerusalem run by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.

The move would come as the latest strike against the UN Relief and Works Agency, which has seen its budget slashed by the US and its activities in East Jerusalem increasingly curtailed by Israel.

Israel’s National Security Council decided to revoke permits allowing UNRWA schools in the city’s Palestinian neighborhood to operate, starting next school year, Israel’s Hadashot TV news reported Saturday.

According to the report, the UNRWA schools will be replaced by schools run by the Jerusalem municipality and under the aegis of the Israeli Education Ministry.

The network said the decision was reached during a National Security Council meeting last month to discuss expelling UNRWA from East Jerusalem following US President Donald Trump’s decision to end American funding for the agency.

According to UNRWA, the group runs seven schools in two refugee camps that sit within Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries, serving over 3,000 students.
PA panned for freeing Palestinian-American convicted of selling to Jews
The Palestinian Authority is facing sharp criticism from Palestinians following reports that it has released a Palestinian-American man who was recently sentenced to life in prison for his role in the sale of an Arab-owned house in Jerusalem to a Jewish organization.

A Palestinian security source confirmed to the Qatari-owned Al-Araby Al-Jadeed online news website that Isaam Akel, a resident of east Jerusalem who was arrested by the PA security forces in October 2018, was released from prison last week.

According to the report, Akel was handed over to US officials at the headquarters of the PA’s General Intelligence Service on January 15.

The arrest of Akel was first reported by The Jerusalem Post.

“We came under heavy pressure from the Israeli occupation and the US to hand over Akel,” the source said. “There was a serious threat to storm the place where he was being held.”

In late December, a PA court in Ramallah sentenced the 53-year-old Akel to life in prison with hard labor for his role in the real estate transaction with a Jewish organization.

Palestinians first became aware of the release of Akel from a report by Gal Berger, Palestinian affairs Correspondent for the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation KAN. Berger reported last week that Akel was released as part of a secret agreement between between the PA and the US.
Report: Hamas threatens Gaza escalation as Qatari money transfer delayed
Hamas threatened Israel through western and regional mediators on Sunday because of the delay of the Qatari money transfer, according to Hadashot News.

"If Israel does not transfer the Qatari money, Hamas will escalate the situation on the ground," a report from Asharq Al-Awsat, an Arabic international newspaper located in London, quoted Hamas as saying. The terrorist organization also demanded that the fishing area be expanded and the blockade on prohibiting goods into Gaza be stopped.

After delaying the third installment of the $15 million, the payment was scheduled to be delivered to Hamas on Sunday or Monday.

Former defense minister and chairman of the Yisrael Beytenu party MK Avigdor Liberman bashed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for leaving to Chad as the Qatari money is scheduled to be transferred to Hamas.

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went tonight for an important political visit to Chad. And who comes in his place? The Qatari envoy, who brings in an additional $15 million in cash earmarked for Hamas," Liberman said. "This is the continuation of the process of surrendering to terrorists and Hamas, and no political visit to Africa can cover that up.

"The government of Israel must stop the transfer of Qatari money, fuel and any additional equipment to Gaza and make sure every concession to Gaza is only in return for the release of our soldiers and citizens who are held by Hamas!"
Report: Nasrallah embezzled millions from Hezbollah funds
Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah is suspected of embezzling millions of dollars from the terrorist organization's coffers, the Saudi website Al-Watan Online reported Saturday.

According to Al-Watan, Nasrallah is under house arrest, guarded by Iranian forces, and is reportedly receiving medical treatment.

The Al-Watan report painted a dim picture of Nasrallah's situation, saying that the Iranian forces guarding him were pressuring him to divulge what had happened to tens of millions of dollars that Iran had deposited into Hezbollah's accounts. Nasrallah and his associates are suspected of taking the missing money for personal use.

There has not been any independent confirmation of the Al-Watan report. Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran are arch enemies and are waging several proxy battles across the region.

Observers confirmed to Al-Watan that Hezbollah was in an "unusual" situation, with its leaders in worse shape than they have been since Iran founded the Lebanese Shiite proxy. The report said that Nasrallah's recent media absence was directly related to the missing millions.
Netta faces BDS protesters on French live TV
A group of anti-Israel protesters disrupted Israeli Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai during a live performance on French TV Saturday night.

Barzilai made a special appearance Saturday during the semi-final of Destination Eurovision, the French television show that selects the country's contestant for the international singing competition. Barzilai performed her winning song, "Toy," for the appreciative audience.

After she finished singing - but while Barzilai was still on stage - a group of protesters jumped on the stage holding signs. The protesters were removed by security within 30 seconds.

The signs, written in French, read: "No to the Eurovision 2019 in Israel." The BDS France movement took credit for the stunt on its Twitter page, using the hashtags "#DestinationApartheid" and "#BoycottEurovision2019."

France 2, the network which airs Destination Eurovision, released a statement Saturday, according to Le Parisien, saying: "Eurovision is above all entertainment on a unique international scale and open to great artistic diversity. Music, which has no borders, represents a universal ambition of dialogue between peoples, openness and living together."

Barzilai appeared briefly uncomfortable on stage as the protesters were being removed, but recovered quickly to wish the competitors luck.
Stop Antisemitism! Support Manny's!
A Jewish cafe owner in San Francisco is being attacked by protesters. Why? Because he believes in Israel's right to exist. Stop Antisemitism, Support Manny's.

Two attacks on Jews in Brooklyn in two days roils Crown Heights neighborhood
A Jewish woman walking in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn was punched by a black male who then ran off.

It is the second such attack on the same street in less than 48 hours.

The woman was walking on Friday afternoon on Kingston Avenue, a main thoroughfare in the neighborhood, when she was approached by the black male who was dressed all in black, who punched her with force in the arm before fleeing, the COLive news website reported. The attack was witnessed by other women who encouraged the victim to file a report with police.

The Anti-Defamation League on Friday offered a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of attacker.

“This is the second alleged unprovoked assault of a member of the Jewish community in Crown Heights in the past week alone. We remain deeply concerned about these alleged acts of violence and the escalating climate of tension and fear that has followed,” said Evan R. Bernstein, Regional Director of ADL New York / New Jersey.

On Wednesday, a black male approached an identifiably Jewish man in his 20s and punched him in the chest in an unprovoked attack. The assailant kept on walking after the attack, which was caught on video by a surveillance camera from a nearby store.

The NYPD Hate Crimes unit is investigating the attack.
Roseanne Barr calls Natalie Portman 'repulsive' for Israel award snub
Roseanne Barr slammed actress Natalie Portman in a recent interview, calling her “repulsive” for refusing to attend an award ceremony in her honor because she didn't want to appear to endorse the Israeli prime minister.

Speaking to Israel Hayom, an Israeli national newspaper, the comedian criticized Portman over her action. Last year, the "Black Swan" star declined to accept the Genesis Prize because she “did not want to appear as endorsing” Benjamin Netanyahu, who was attending the event, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“I am not part of the BDS movement and do not endorse it,” she said, last year in The Times of Israel, referring to a Palestinian-led global movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. “Like many Israelis and Jews around the world, I can be critical of the leadership in Israel without wanting to boycott the entire nation. I treasure my Israeli friends and family, Israeli food, books, art, cinema, and dance.”

The award, commonly referred to as the “Jewish Nobel” prize, is given every year to an individual in recognition of his or her philanthropy and commitment to combating anti-Semitism.

“It was really sickening, I find her repulsive," Barr said of Portman, who was born in Jerusalem. “She was raised in incredible privilege of safety in the Jewish state and knows nothing about anti-Semitism.”
Airport honoring Ilan and Assaf Ramon ready for take off
In a salute to the Ramon family, Israel Police announced Sunday that it has completed its preparations for the opening of the Ramon Airport and the opening of the police station on its premises, scheduled to take place on Monday morning.

The airport was named for father and son, Ilan and Asaf Ramon, who were both killed in separate air disasters in 2003 and 2009, respectively.

Israel’s first astronaut Ilan, perished in the 2003 Columbia Space Shuttle disaster, while his son Asaf died six years later when his F-16 fighter jet crashed.

The Ramon Airport is set to handle up to two million passengers a year upon opening with expansion allowing capacity of up to 4.2 million passengers by the year 2030. The airport is located 18 km north of Eilat.

Once opened, all domestic flights to the old Eilat City Airport from Tel Aviv and Haifa, will move to the new Eilat Ramon Airport, whilst the airport will also begin handling low-cost and charter flights from Europe which currently land in Ovda Airport. This includes flights from Ryanair, WizzAir, easyJet, Transavia, SAS, Finnair, Edelweiss, and Ural Airlines.
Israel Unveils Memorial to Argentine Prosecutor Killed Seeking Justice for Bombing
Jewish and Israeli leaders on Friday marked the fourth anniversary of Argentine federal prosecutor Alberto Nisman’s murder by unveiling a monument in his memory at the Ben Shemen forest in central Israel.

The monument in memory of Alberto Nisman was built by Keren Kayemet L’Israel-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) and KKL Argentina in the Israel-Argentina Friendship Park, next to the memorial built to remember those killed in the 1994 car bombing of the AMIA building in Buenos Aires that left 85 people dead and wounded more than 300 others, and the 1992 suicide-bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Argentina that killed 30 people and injured 242 others.

Nisman’s body was discovered in the early morning of Jan. 19, 2015, just hours before he was expected to announce a complaint against the government of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner over its alleged cooperation with Iran to cover up the regime’s responsibility for the 1994 bombing.

In attendance at the memorial ceremony were Nisman’s mother, Sara Garfunkel; Knesset Chairman Yuli Edelstein; Argentinean Ambassador to Israel H.E. Mr. Mariano Caucino; KKL-JNF vice chairman Hernán Felman; AMIA president Agustin Zbar; and Jorge Knoblovits, president of DAIA, the umbrella organization of Argentina’s Jewish community.

“I would like to warmly thank the Keren Kayemet for establishing this monument, I needed this honor for my son,” said Nisman’s mother, Sara Garfunkel. “I thank the State of Israel, KKL-JNF, Argentina’s ambassador in Israel and everyone else that contributed to making this memorial possible.”

“There are those that are afraid of the truth. Those that will do everything to hide it, but the truth is rooted deeply in the ground,” said Edelstein. “Just like the trees we planted today, it has deep roots. Nisman was a brilliant attorney, dedicated to his family, and more than anything he was a man of truth.

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