Sunday, April 21, 2019

From Ian:

The American Jewish Left declares war on Israel
We have entered a dark period in American Jewish history. In a letter to US President Donald Trump, nine mainstream Jewish organizations have urged him to embrace a “two-state solution” that almost 85% of Israelis oppose as a lethal threat to national security.

While all the signatories are clearly aligned with the Left, they are hardly fringe groups. The Central Conference of American Rabbis and the Union for Reform Judaism represent the leadership of the Reform movement. Joining them were the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism; its Rabbinical Assembly; and Mercaz, the Conservative movement’s Zionist affiliate. The Anti-Defamation League possesses what is arguably the most valuable brand in organizational Jewry. Those groups, along with Ameinu and the National Council of Jewish Women, are members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

After years of spin and lies, it’s important to understand where Israel actually stands on the issue of a Palestinian state. In the newly elected Knesset, parties that campaigned on any form of a two-state paradigm will hold only 8% (10 of 120 seats), with an equal number going to radical separatist Arab parties. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Center-Right Likud and Benny Ganz’s Center-Left Blue and White – together accounting for 70 seats – advocated variations of the status quo, in which Israel exercises security control over the West Bank while granting broad autonomy to peaceful Arab cities and villages. The remaining 30 seats will go to parties even less willing than Likud to gamble with Israeli security.
Meanwhile, President Trump ran on a GOP platform trusting Israel to know what is necessary for its own security, refusing to force Israel to risk the lives of its citizens and rejecting the widely accepted fallacy that Israel is an occupying power. And he has governed accordingly. His protection of Israel against the depredations of the plainly antisemitic United Nations and International Criminal Court has been extraordinary. His recognition of Jerusalem, the Golan and the truth about both the Palestinian Authority and the so-called “Palestinian refugees” has been long overdue. Longstanding threats of catastrophic Arab eruptions have proved baseless; instead, under Trump, Arab states have become increasingly accepting of the Jewish state.

The signatory organizations have opposed and boycotted every one of President Trump’s pro-Israel successes, defaming and vilifying him at every turn – including accusing him of antisemitism. Likewise, they’ve savaged Israel’s prime minister. Now, they attack Israel’s democracy. They have no credibility, no influence in this White House and they’re not dumb. If they truly believed that they had something useful to offer, they’d work through quiet back channels. Their very public letter cannot plausibly be taken as any kind of good-faith overture. (h/t MtTB)
Moral and Intellectual Bankruptcy at NYU
President Hamilton, I suspected, would balk at now saying that SJP makes a “significant and positive contribution to the University.” I was wrong.

On Wednesday, SJP received the President’s Service Award.

That’s despite the best efforts of Judea Pearl, a major figure in the field of computer science and a winner of NYU’S Distinguished Alumna award. After his son, the journalist Daniel Pearl, was murdered by Islamic militants, Pearl and his family set up a foundation that, among other things, supports Muslim-Jewish dialogue. SJP stands against dialogue. At UCLA, where Pearl teaches, SJP has, in Pearl’s words, “resorted to intimidation tactics that have made me, my colleagues and my students unwelcome and unsafe on our own campus.” After NYU met his inquiries with “platitudes about free speech,” Pearl, according to the Algemeiner, “renounced his status as a distinguished alumnus.”

It’s worth dwelling for a moment on those platitudes about free speech. NYU spokesman John Beckman told Pearl that although “many in our university community disagree with the SJP, NYU will continue to defend the rights of our students and others to express their opposing views.” By conflating respecting free speech and rewarding discriminatory behavior, Beckman managed in one brief statement to declare NYU both morally and intellectually bankrupt.

Those looking to excuse President Hamilton and NYU can point to how the ceremony was handled. SJP complained that Hamilton didn’t show and that “they [were] also not calling out the names of the award recipients. Pathetic.”

Here, I must agree for the first time with Students for Justice in Palestine. Even if SJP is right that Hamilton and NYU were sending a message in the way they handled the ceremony, this coward’s mode of distancing is, indeed, pathetic.
Edgar Davidson: Kay Wilson's book: a very important read
Kay Wilson is the British Israeli tour guide who, in 2010, miraculously survived a brutal machete attack by two sadistic Palestinian terrorists (Aiad Fatfata and Kifah Ghanimat) while hiking in a forest near Jerusalem. The American tourist she was escorting - Kristine Luken - was murdered in the attack. The terrorists simply wanted to 'kill some Jews' (although Kristine was in fact a Christian). In this book Kay describes in detail the attack, how she survived, and her long road to recovery. The book is both harrowing and inspiring, and while it is a very personal account it also provides many insights into Israeli society. Once you start reading it you will find it difficult to put down. Yet, publishers refused to publish it because it does not fit the mainstream narrative of "Palestinians as victims".

Although it is not a point that Kay focuses on herself in the book, it is important to note that the terrorists who were convicted of the attack are held in the highest esteem in Palestinian society (receiving a monthly stipend of $3,410 as reward for being officially 'Heroes of Palestine') and also received full legal support from the Israeli state, while being housed in the relative luxury of an Israeli prison. This contrasts with the struggle Kay and her carers have to cope with the aftermath of the attack. As a further example of this contrast, the book describes how, during the trial, the Israeli court failed to provide an English translator for the Luken's victim statement, yet provided Arabic translators for the terrorists.

There are many other remarkable insights in the book, including Kay's first meeting with Kristin's parents, the fact that the terrorists did not know Kay had survived the attack until she stood up to testify at their trial (this caused them to argue between themselves); and also how Kay first heard about the arrest of the terrorists who attacked her, during a shared taxi journey in Jerusalem (when she was going to complete the forms needed to get a meagre disability allowance). The other passengers did not know it was Kay they were talking about.

From an unknown teenager to a Palestinian symbol – in just two weeks
Before March 17, 2019, Omar Abu Laila was just an ordinary unknown 19-year-old Palestinian.
Now he is a Palestinian symbol and hero. Why?

Because on that day, he stabbed and murdered Israeli soldier Gal Keidan, and shot and murdered Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger, a father of 12. And then, two days later during an exchange of gunfire with Israeli soldiers, he was killed and died as a “Martyr.”

This could have been the end of his story, but it wasn’t. Within just two weeks after he committed the murders, PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah had already turned murderer Omar Abu Laila into the newest symbol and role model for Palestinians.

This is how they did it.

Just three days after the terrorist was killed, Abbas’ deputy chairman in Fatah, Mahmoud Al-Aloul, publicly declared him the new role model for young Palestinians, “We are extremely proud. This is Omar Abu Laila, who implemented his choice... through which he represents all of you, represents all young Palestinians.” Fatah then posted the video of Al-Aloul on its official Facebook page to give it wide exposure, especially for Palestinian youth.

The next day, Fatah announced the decision by the municipality of Brukin to name a street and a square after the murderer. To highlight the importance of honoring the killer, Fatah posted on their Facebook page a photo of the decision and signatures of each of the members of the town council. The council’s declaration stated, “In order to glorify the heroism of Martyr Omar Amin Abu Laila, the town council has decided to name the main street leading to Omar Abu Laila Square… Omar Abu Laila Street.”
Polish crowd beats, burns Judas effigy with hat, sidelocks of ultra-Orthodox Jew
Residents of a small town in Poland on Friday marked Good Friday by making a large doll of Judas Iscariot featuring classic anti-Semitic tropes, beating it up, hanging it from a tree and then burning it.

The ritual is meant to symbolize a public trial for Judas, who according to Christian tradition betrayed Jesus and turned him in to the Romans, leading to his crucifixion. Good Friday marks the day when Jesus is believed to have been crucified.

The ceremony featured several anti-Semitic elements in the small town of Pruchnik in southeastern Poland, Israel’s Kan public broadcaster reported on Sunday.

The effigy was given a brimmed hat and sidelocks, making it resemble an ultra-Orthodox Jew, along with a long nose, a trope used by Nazi Germany and by anti-Semites worldwide to demonize and dehumanize Jews.

The words “Judas” and “traitor” were written on the doll’s chest.

The doll was featured in the town’s central square in the morning, with its “trial” beginning in the late afternoon.

Lapid slams ‘Polish hatred of Jews’ after Poles burn Jewish effigy
Blue and White co-leader Yair Lapid slammed “Polish hatred of Jews” on Sunday in response to reports that residents of the southeastern Polish town of Pruchnik created an effigy of a haredi Jew, beat it and burned it.

The Easter custom symbolizes the judgment of Judas Iscariot, who legend states was the apostle who betrayed Jesus. While Jesus and all his disciples were Jewish, Christianity in the Middle Ages associated Judas with the Jewish people in order to justify antisemitism.

Lapid wrote that the “hatred of Jews in Poland continues to poison the air,” adding that “Poles should fight antisemitism, not pass laws that deny their role in the Holocaust.”

Lapid is referring to recent laws passed in Poland by the conservative ruling party Law and Justice, which penalize those who say the Polish nation was involved with the mass murdering of Jews in occupied Poland.

The Polish perspective is that Poland, unlike France or Norway, never collaborated with the Germans, so it is misleading to claim the Polish nation took part in the destruction of the Jewish community. They argue that Poles who abused and murdered Jews were not representing the nation.

Lapid called on the Netanyahu-led government to condemn the incident.
US ambassador in Poland gets anti-Semitic responses to Passover wishes
The US ambassador to Poland on Friday wished Jews a happy Passover in Polish, and the reaction has been a wave of angry comments on Twitter.

Ambassador Georgette Mosbacher also wished Poles a happy Easter on Sunday. But by then, she was accused of offending the country with her Passover tweet and reminded that she is serving in a mostly Roman Catholic country.

Krystyna Pawlowicz, a lawmaker with Poland’s ruling right-wing party, called it a “provocation.”

Robert Bakiewicz, a far-right activist who organizes a yearly Independence Day march that government leaders joined last year, said “Christ died and was resurrected also for you, pagans and traitorous Jews.”

Kushner: UNRWA 'corrupt' and doesn't help peace
Jared Kushner, senior advisor and son-in-law to President Donald Trump, wrote in a confidential email that the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) is "corrupt" and "doesn't help peace."

UNRWA provides services, including education and health care, to Palestinian refugees and their descendants who reside in the Middle East. The Trump administration announced it would cut US funding to the agency on August 31, 2018.

Kushner's letter, sent January 11, 2018, was revealed on Friday by Foreign Policy magazine. Kushner forwarded it to various current and former government officials, including former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, former national security advisor H. R. McMaster, and Special Envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt.

"It's very important to have an honest and sincere effort to disrupt UNWRA [sic]," wrote Kushner. UNRWA "perpetuates a status quo, is corrupt, inefficient and doesn't help peace."
French envoy to US: Trump plan ‘very close to what Israel wants, 99% doomed’
France’s outgoing ambassador to the US, Gérard Araud, said US President Donald Trump is uniquely able to “push” Israel on his upcoming peace plan because he is extremely popular among Israelis and they “trust him.”

In an interview with The Atlantic magazine published on Friday, Araud said the White House plan, engineered by Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, will be “very close to what the Israelis want,” and is 99 percent “doomed to fail.”

“But 1 percent, you never forget the 1 percent. Trump is uniquely able to push the Israelis, because he is so popular in Israel,” he said.

Araud, who served as France’s ambassador to Israel from 2003 to 2006, positioned himself as “very close” to Kushner, whom he described as “extremely smart, but he has no guts.” Araud has served as French ambassador to Washington since 2014 and is retiring.

Kushner, Araud claimed, “doesn’t know the history” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, “and in a sense, it’s good — we are not here to say who is right, who is wrong; we are trying to find a way [toward a solution].”

“So in a sense, I like it, but at the same time he is so rational, and he is so pro-Israeli also, that he may neglect the point that if you offer the Palestinians the choice between surrendering and committing suicide, they may decide the latter. Somebody like Kushner doesn’t understand that,” he asserted.
Trump official: Unhelpful to use ‘two-state solution’ terminology in peace talks
A US official, widely reported to be Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt, warned both Israel and the Palestinians against rejecting US President Donald Trump’s upcoming peace plan and rejected the use of the term “two-state solution,” in comments reported Friday by Sky News Arabic.

There was no reason to use the term because each side understood it differently, the official said, according to Channel 12 news, which named Greenblatt as the official involved. (An English-language transcript of the comments was not made available.)

The official said both sides needed to be prepared for direct negotiations as each would have to make concessions, and there would be elements of the deal that each side would be satisfied with, and parts each would dislike.

The official also said both sides would miss an opportunity for peace if they did not accept the deal, but he issued a special warning to the Palestinians, noting they had already spoken out against the plan before seeing it, while suggesting that it could have a significant and positive impact on their future.

On Wednesday, on his twitter feed, Greenblatt had chided the new Palestinian Authority prime minister after the latter asserted that the “deal of the century” will be “born dead.”

“Why does the new PA Prime Minister hope for our plan to be ‘born dead’ & for peace to fail? By working with us, perhaps something wonderful can happen for Palestinians. We’ve repeatedly said this won’t just be an economic plan,” Greenblatt tweeted, referencing growing speculation that the initiative will be short on political incentives for the Palestinians.
US envoy denies reports peace plan includes giving Palestinians part of Sinai
US Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt on Friday denied rumors that the soon to be released Trump peace plan calls for the Palestinians to be given part of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula for an expanded Gaza.

“Hearing reports our plan includes the concept that we will give a portion of Sinai (which is Egypt’s) to Gaza. False!” tweeted Greenblatt.

With the Trump team keeping the details of the plan close to their chests (and with one report indicating that even US President Donald Trump has not seen the entire plan), rumors of its content have repeatedly swirled, particularly on social media.

“Please don’t believe everything you read. Surprising & sad to see how people who don’t know what’s in the plan make up & spread fake stories,” Greenblatt said.
At Arab League, Abbas accuses Netanyahu of not ‘believing in peace’
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told a meeting of Arab diplomats on Sunday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not believe in peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Abbas’s comments to a gathering of Arab foreign ministers and officials at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo came as speculation has ramped up over a US plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, expected to be unveiled in June at the earliest.

Reports have indicated the plan will not include Palestinian statehood, and Ramallah, which has vowed to reject the blueprint, has sought Arab backing for its position.

“[Netanyahu] does not believe in peace… We know—through his positions, statements and insinuations—that he does not believe in peace between us and them,” the PA president said shortly after meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi.

The Palestinians have long said that any peace must lead to the creation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. In late February, Netanyahu stated that a Palestinian state “will endanger our existence.”
Fatah official: Arab states pressuring us to accept ‘deal of the century’
A senior Fatah official has said that some Arab states have been exerting “immense pressure” on the Palestinians to accept Trump’s peace plan, also known as the “deal of the century.”

The unnamed official told Al-Khaleej Online news that Saudi Arabia was spearheading the campaign of pressure to force the Palestinians to positively respond to Trump’s upcoming plan.

“Some Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, are very interested in the deal of the century,” the official claimed. “They are using all means, including political and financial blackmail, to force the Palestinians to accept the deal of the century despite all the dangers it poses to the Palestinian cause.”

The Palestinian leadership, the official said, will not submit to any Arab, American or even Israeli pressure to accept the deal.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday that the US administration has nothing to offer the Palestinians after all the decisions it has taken since December 2017, including recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the transfer of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and the suspension of US financial aid to the Palestinians.

Abbas hinted that the Palestinians were close to making “decisive decisions” in wake of the policies and measures taken by Israel and the US administration. Palestinian key decision-making bodies have called for “revising” relations with Israel, revoking Palestinian recognition of Israel and suspending all agreements between the two sides.
Communication minister lauds UAE billionaire's comments on Israel
Communication Minister Ayoob Kara took to Twitter on Sunday to applaud recent statements by Khalaf Ahmad Al-Habtoor, one of the wealthiest men in the United Arab Emirates.

The Emirati billionaire posed a question on Twitter on Friday, asking "Why do the GCC countries not sign a peace treaty with Israel?"

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) consists of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Citing the example of Egypt and Jordan, which signed a peace accord with Israel, he suggested the nations should “work together and cooperate,” even going so far as to mention defense as one such possible field of cooperation.

Kara responded by inviting him to a visit in Israel, saying: “It is time to end the hypocrisy in the Middle East. Iran, and only it, is the enemy of the Saudi coalition and Israel, which is the true lover of peace.”
Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinian Affairs: Where do the Palestinians go from here?
The only card Abbas holds at this stage is the threat to revoke all agreements signed between the Palestinians and Israel, including the Oslo Accords. In the coming weeks, Abbas is planning to convene various forums of the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah to discuss the Palestinian measures in response to the “deal of the century.” These measures, according to Palestinian sources, include revoking PLO recognition of Israel and cutting all ties with Israel, including security coordination in the West Bank.

In the past two years, PLO and Fatah institutions have recommended suspending Palestinian ties with Israel. The Palestinian leadership, however, has thus far refrained from implementing the recommendations, out of fear that such a move would lead to the collapse of the PA and spark anarchy and lawlessness in the West Bank.

“In the next phase, we will study the implementation of these measures,” said Nabil Abu Rudaineh, spokesman for the PA presidency. “It has become necessary for the Arab states and the international community to bear full responsibility in the face of Israeli intransigence.”

At a recent meeting of the PLO leadership in Ramallah, Abbas, too, hinted that the Palestinians may take drastic measures in response to the “deal of the century.” The challenges the Palestinians will be facing in the coming weeks will be serious and dangerous, Abbas is reported to have cautioned.

“Any solution that is not based on the two-state solution will be unacceptable to the Palestinians and Arabs,” said Palestinian political analyst Mahmoud Hawwash. “If the Arabs reject the ‘deal of the century,’ that will ease the pressure on the Palestinians. That would also strengthen the Palestinian position, because it will be backed by the Arabs and the international community.”

The victory of the Israeli right-wing bloc in the April 9 election has exacerbated the sense of frustration among the Palestinian leaders in Ramallah, who are saying that the two-state solution is no longer feasible. Some Palestinian officials were hoping to at least see Netanyahu removed from power or the resurrection of the peace camp in Israel as a result of the vote. The mere thought of having to deal with Netanyahu and Trump in the next few years, let alone the “deal of the century,” is the Palestinian leadership’s worst nightmare come true.

Where do the Palestinians go from here?

“It looks like we’re headed towards another Nakba,” replied a top adviser to Abbas. “Our understanding is that they want to give us limited autonomy in the West Bank and a small state in the Gaza Strip. Let’s see how the Palestinian and Arab masses respond to this conspiracy to eliminate the Palestinian issue.”

UN Watch to Honor Stephen Harper, 22nd Prime Minister of Canada
Prime Minister Harper stands out as one of history’s greatest defenders of Israel and the Jewish people. Under his leadership, Canada was the only country in the world to consistently vote against anti-Israel resolutions at the UN Human Rights Council; the first to pull out of the UN’s antisemitic Durban II Racism Conference; and the only nation to stand up to the 61-nation Francophonie and prevent them from wrongly blaming Israel for the second Lebanon war. “On matters of Israel,” wrote Canada’s Maclean’s magazine, “the Prime Minister is utterly immovable.”

Pakistan arrests ‘last terrorist at large’ in Daniel Pearl killing
Counterterrorism officials in Islamabad have confirmed that the remaining terrorist sought in the 2002 murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl has been taken into custody. Azim Jan, a commander of the TTP, the Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan, an off-shoot of al-Qaeda, was apprehended on Friday in a joint operation headed by Pakistan Security Forces.

The mission was conducted in the hilly area of Mansehra, a district in the Khyber Pakhtoon Khwa Province, located about 100 miles north of the capital Islamabad.

Azim Jan was the final fugitive of the group that was involved in the abduction and murder of Daniel Pearl. A senior official speaking to The Media Line on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media, said Jan was the master trainer of suicide bombers and that he was running a militant training camp in the area of Pakistan-Afghani border when he was arrested.

Daniel Pearl was the South Asian bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal when he was kidnapped and beheaded by a self-proclaimed Islamist group in the southern city of Karachi in 2002. Counter-terrorism official Behram Khan told The Media Line that Jan is known as a deadly expert in improvised explosive devices. In addition to being the primary suspect in the Pearl murder, the “commander” built his reputation orchestrating the planned assassination of then-president General Pervez Musharraf in that year, the murder of Sind police superintendent Chaudhry Aslam, and an attack on the staff of the French Embassy in Karachi.

Jan is also the lead suspect in an attack on the Peshawar Bus Terminal and multiple murders of police officials. Intelligence official Junaid ul-Hassan told The Media Line that Jan is also accused in the 2011 terrorist attack on Pakistan’s Mehran Naval Air Base, and an attack on a security checkpost in Quetta’s Hazar Ganji area that killed more than 150 members of the Hazara Shia community.
German MP becomes first to urge banks to shut accounts of BDS group
Dr. Bijan Djir-Sarai became the first ever member of the German Bundestag to urge German banks to restrict access to organizations seeking to boycott the Jewish state.

Djir-Sarai, the foreign policy spokesman of the Free Democratic Party (FDP), wrote to The Jerusalem Post by email on Friday: “The Bank for Social Economy should close the accounts of the association Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East. Antisemitism must not be tolerated. Business relationships with such actors need to be reconsidered and their platforms limited.”

The Bank for Social Economy, whose headquarters is located in the city of Cologne in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, holds an account for the pro-BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) organization Jewish Voice.

Djir-Sarai, who is the chairman of the FDP state group in North Rhine-Westphalia, has gained a reputation as one of the Bundestag’s most pro-Israel MPs over the last six months for his work in seeking to change Germany’s anti-Israel voting record at the UN.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration voted 16 times against Israel last year at the UN.

The Green Party politician Volker Beck tweeted on April 8: “Hello Bank for Social Economy. Boycott the boycotts! Close the account of BDS supporters!”

Beck, who is also an expert on German antisemitism and a lecturer in Religious Sciences (CERES) at the Ruhr University in Bochum, sent a statement to the Post.
Comedian-turned-candidate Zelensky wins Ukraine presidency by landslide
A comedian with no political experience won a landslide victory in Ukraine’s presidential election on Sunday, exit polls showed, dealing a stunning rebuke to the country’s political establishment.

Volodymyr Zelensky, whose only previous political role was playing the president on television, trounced incumbent Petro Poroshenko by taking 73 percent of the vote, according to exit polls conducted by several think tanks.

Poroshenko lost to the television star across all regions of the country, including in the west, where he traditionally enjoyed strong support.

He swiftly conceded defeat and congratulated Zelkensky.

The win was an extraordinary outcome to a campaign that started as a joke, but struck a chord with voters frustrated by poverty, corruption, and a five-year war that has claimed some 13,000 lives.

The 41-year-old star of TV series “Servant of the People” will now take the helm of a country of 45 million people beset by challenges and having run on the vaguest of political platforms.

After taking the most votes in last month’s first-round election, Zelensky had enjoyed a strong lead over the 53-year-old Poroshenko, going into Sunday’s poll.
Gazan projectiles fired towards southern Israel - report
Residents in southern Israel have reported hearing sounds of an explosion after a projectile were fired from the northern Gaza Strip into southern Israel on Saturday.

The Red Alert incoming rocket siren was not activated and according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit one projectile landed in the Hamas-run coastal enclave.

On Friday, the IDF struck Hamas positions in the Strip after a gunshot was fired at IDF troops deployed along the Gaza border east of the city of Deir al-Balah during weekly border riots.

“An IDF aircraft and tank attacked two military positions belonging to the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip in response to a shot that was fired a short time ago at troops near the security fence,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement.

Local reports put the number of demonstrators as 6,000 Palestinians in five main spots along the fence with Israel, with some rioting along the border, throwing rocks and explosive devices.
Stabbing attack thwarted by Border Police force in the West Bank
Border police officers thwarted a stabbing attack at the Tapuah junction at the West Bank on Saturday, according to the Police Spokesperson's Unit.

A 20-years-old Palestinian arrived at a Border Police checkpoint at the junction, and raised the suspicion of the officers.

The officers opened in pursuit after the suspect who was in possession of a knife. An officer in a police car at the scene blocked his path, as the terrorist attempted to open the door and stab the driver.

The police officer in the vehicle opened fire and wounded the terrorist, who was later evacuated to the hospital.

No other injuries were sustained.

Sri Lanka: Bombs kill more than 200 in churches, hotels on Easter Sunday
More than 200 people were killed and at least 450 wounded in bomb blasts that ripped through churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, the first major attack on the Indian Ocean island since the end of a civil war 10 years ago.

Seven people were arrested and three police officers were killed during a security forces raid on a house in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo several hours after the attacks, many of which officials said were suicide bomb explosions.

The government declared a curfew in Colombo and blocked access to social media and messaging sites, including Facebook and WhatsApp. It is unclear when the curfew will be lifted.

“Altogether, we have information of 207 dead from all hospitals. According to the information as of now, we have 450 injured people admitted to hospitals,” police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera told reporters.

Three churches in various parts of the country and four hotels in Colombo were hit. At least 27 of the dead were foreigners, including five British people, two of whom had dual US citizenship, and three Indians, according to officials in those countries.

Also among the fatalities were three people from Denmark, two from Turkey, and one from Portugal, officials said. There were also Chinese and Dutch among the dead, according to media reports. No Israelis were among those killed.
Sri Lanka intel warned of Muslim attack on churches
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed “deep shock” at the terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka on Sunday that killed at least 207 people, and said Israel is ready to render assistance to the authorities in Sri Lanka “at this difficult hour.”

“The entire world must unite in the struggle against the plague of terrorism,” he said in a statement.

Israel’s ambassador to India Ron Malka, who serves as the country’s non-resident envoy to Sri Lanka as well, also offered assistance earlier in the day. So far, no requests for anything concrete has come from Colombo. National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat spoke about the matter with his Sri Lankan counterpart, Udaya Seneviratne.

President Reuven Rivlin said in a Twitter post that the attacks, including against worshipers on Easter Sunday, “are a despicable crime.”

“We are all children of God; an attack on one religion is an attack on us all,” he wrote. “Israel sends condolences to the families of the victims, and wishes for the recovery of the injured.”

The Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that no Israelis were involved in the attacks, and that an Israeli who died in the country on Sunday died from injuries suffered in the country in an unrelated accident last week.
Sri Lanka is an increasingly popular vacation destination for Israelis, particularly for surfing enthusiasts, and an estimated 8,000 Israelis visited the country last year, with the number expected to increase by more than 50% this year.
Netanyahu offers aid to Sri Lanka after Easter attack
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed “deep shock” at the terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka on Sunday that killed at least 207 people, and said Israel is ready to render assistance to the authorities in Sri Lanka “at this difficult hour.”

“The entire world must unite in the struggle against the plague of terrorism,” he said in a statement.

Israel’s ambassador to India Ron Malka, who serves as the country’s non-resident envoy to Sri Lanka as well, also offered assistance earlier in the day. So far, no requests for anything concrete has come from Colombo. National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat spoke about the matter with his Sri Lankan counterpart, Udaya Seneviratne.

President Reuven Rivlin said in a Twitter post that the attacks, including against worshipers on Easter Sunday, “are a despicable crime.”

“We are all children of God; an attack on one religion is an attack on us all,” he wrote. “Israel sends condolences to the families of the victims, and wishes for the recovery of the injured.”

The Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that no Israelis were involved in the attacks, and that an Israeli who died in the country on Sunday died from injuries suffered in the country in an unrelated accident last week.
Sri Lanka is an increasingly popular vacation destination for Israelis, particularly for surfing enthusiasts, and an estimated 8,000 Israelis visited the country last year, with the number expected to increase by more than 50% this year.
Sri Lanka intel warned of Muslim attack on churches
Intelligence officials in Sri Lanka warned that terrorist elements, including the radical Islamic organization NTJ, would carry out a suicide attack in certain churches during Easter.

In the terror attack this morning, at least 150 people were killed and more than 400 wounded during Easter Sunday prayers. Dozens of victims were evacuated to hospitals in the capital Colombo.

A source in the Sri Lankan security services, who spoke with the Associated Press, reported that six explosions occurred almost simultaneously. According to him, a suspicion that suicide bombers blew themselves up at the entrance to the churches is being investigated. About four hours later another blast was heard in Dehiwela, a suburb of the city of Colombo, in which at least two other people were killed.
How Israel helped Sri Lanka prepare for mega-attacks
Sri Lankan emergency teams responding to a string of deadly bombings across the island nation were trained in part by Israel, in a special program to prepare first responders in the Sri Lankan capital to handle a variety of large-scale disasters – including multiple terror attacks.

Explosions were reported at eight separate locations across Sri Lanka on Sunday, most of them targeting churches or hotels during the Christian holiday of Easter.

At least 207 people were killed in the mass attacks, including some 30 foreign nationals.

Hardest hit was the Sri Lankan capital city of Colombo, with at least three hotels and a church bombed.

Local emergency teams called upon to conduct search and rescue missions and to treat the victims received special training from Israeli first responder teams, preparing them for a variety of scenarios – including large-scale terror attacks.

According to a spokesman for the United Hatzalah emergency responder organization, earlier this year, Israeli rescue teams from United Hatzalah traveled to the Sri Lankan capital city of Colombo to train local teams to prepare them for possible mass-casualty incidents, including mega-terror attacks.

The program, a joint effort of the American Jewish Committee and United Hatzalah, began in December 2018 and continued into January, with training programs in both India and Sri Lanka.

Egypt Votes in Referendum That Could Keep Sisi in Power Until 2030
Egyptians voted on Saturday in a three-day referendum on constitutional changes that could allow President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to stay in office until 2030 and boost the role of the powerful military.

Sisi’s supporters say the changes are necessary to give him more time to complete major development projects and economic reforms. Critics say they concentrate more power in Sisi’s hands and return Egypt to an authoritarian model.

While the changes are expected to pass, observers say the turnout will be a test of Sisi’s popularity, which has been dented by austerity measures since 2016. He was reelected last year with 97 percent of the votes, on 41 percent turnout.

Polls closed at 1900 GMT and, at the time, the national election commission had not yet given official figures for the turnout on the first day.

The country’s small but vocal opposition called on supporters to vote against the changes instead of boycotting the polls like they did in the presidential election.

Former presidential candidates Hamdeen Sabahy and Khaled Ali both posted photos of themselves with ballot papers marked No.

People carrying flags and wearing T-shirts saying “do the right thing” — the slogan plastered on thousands of posters across the capital ahead of the referendum — meanwhile campaigned for a Yes vote.

A double-decker bus blasting patriotic music circled around polling stations close to Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the 2011 uprising that ended former President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.
Iran appoints fiery general who vows to destroy Israel as new IRGC head
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei shuffled the top ranks of the hard-line Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Sunday, appointing the deputy chief of the hardline force as its top leader.

Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami was made commander of the IRGC, replacing Maj. Gen. Mohammed Ali Jafari, who has headed the military force since 2007, according to Iranian media reports.

Salami has frequently vowed to destroy Israel and “break America.” Iran was “planning to break America, Israel, and their partners and allies. Our ground forces should cleanse the planet from the filth of their existence,” Salami said in February. The previous month, he vowed to wipe Israel off the “global political map,” and to unleash an “inferno” on the Jewish state.

He also said “Iran has warned the Zionist regime not to play with fire, because they will be destroyed before the US helps them.” Any new war, he said, “will result in Israel’s defeat within three days, in a way that they will not find enough graves to bury their dead.”

The IRGC shakeup comes weeks after the US designated the group a terror organization, the first time it has ever blacklisted an entire military branch under the rule.
Iranian chess champion forfeits match with Israeli in Germany
An Iranian chess champion, 15-year-old Alireza Firouzja, refused last week to play his Israeli opponent Or Bronstein during the Grenke Chess Open being held in Germany. Grenke is the biggest chess open event in Europe.

According to Firstpost, an online Indian news outlet, when the arbiters announced the start of the third round, it was noticed that Iranian Firouzja, one of the top Grandmasters in the event, was missing from his seat.

This could have major consequences for Firouzja in the tournament, which boasts €20,000 first prize and the opportunity to play in classic tournaments.

This is not the first time such an incident has occured. In January, another Iranian player Aryan Gholami refused to play Israeli Ariel Erenberg in the Rilton Cup in Sweden. Gholami forefeited his chance to win $10,000.

Hailed a hero in Iran, the 17-year-old met with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in February and praised the young man for his decision.

Gholami told Swedish chess website that he had no ill will towards the Israeli, but “if I were to play against an Israeli, it would have serious consequences for me.”
Corbyn's Shrew Misses the Passover Essence
In a clip I've seen, Tania Shew 'explains' Passover to Jeremy Corbyn.

Of course, what has been totally skipped over is that for the Jews to be able "never to oppress a stranger", they have to be in their own homeland. They have to be "home" where others are "strangers". If we're not in Eretz-Yisrael, that command is useless as everywhere else, we, too, are "strangers".

We're not truly "home" in the Disapora.

Vermont college professor on leave after Nazi gas chamber exam question
A chemistry professor whose exam question asked students to calculate the lethal dose of a poisonous gas used in Nazi gas chambers during the Holocaust has taken a leave of absence, Middlebury College said.

The Vermont liberal arts college said that it’s investigating under the terms of its faculty misconduct policy.

“This inexplicable failure of judgment trivializes one of the most horrific events in world history, violates core institutional values, and simply has no place on our campus,” wrote Middlebury President Laurie Patton last week.

“We expect our faculty to teach and lead with thoughtfulness, good judgment, and maturity. To say we have fallen short in this instance is an understatement.”

A review of past exams given by professor Jeff Byers found a second objectionable question making reference to the Ku Klux Klan in an exam given last year.
Dublin City University Students Pledge ‘Active Solidarity With Palestine,’ Endorse Israel Boycott
Students at Dublin City University voted to endorse the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel this week, committing their union to lobby against ties with Israeli institutions.

The referendum — which was voted on by 1,764 students, 80 percent of whom were in favor — called on the DCU Students’ Union to “adopt a stance in active solidarity with Palestine” through BDS.

According to DCU Students for Justice in Palestine, the referendum directed the Students’ Union to promote “the issue of Palestine” and lobby the university to cut ties with Israeli companies and institutions that were accused of complicity “in occupation and apartheid.”

The results of an earlier referendum held on BDS this semester were nixed following technical issues.

SJP chairperson Stephanie O’Toole, who said she formed the club eight months before the referendum, said the results came after “two semesters of mobilising and educating.”

“[W]e knew the odds were against us but israel’s apartheid is hard to defend when it’s laid out in plain facts,” she wrote on social media.

O’Toole, a self-described Marxist-Leninist, has in the past published multiple posts objecting to Israel’s existence.

“good morning what a beautiful day to turn israel into isn’treal,” she wrote in an October tweet that has since been deleted.
Twelve UC Berkeley Groups Condemn ‘Antisemitic Conspiracies’ Shared at Student Government Meeting
A dozen Jewish student groups at the University of California, Berkeley, said they were “appalled and deeply pained” by “antisemitic remarks” made during a Wednesday gathering of their student association, which conveyed “an attitude of hostility towards the Jewish people and a fundamental misunderstanding of who we are as a community.”

The meeting was held after the Judicial Council of the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) on Tuesday retroactively disqualified 14 candidates recently elected to serve from the Student Action slate, after the party received two censures for sending spam emails and three for failing to account for missing funds.

Some students at the meeting claimed the disqualification of the candidates disenfranchised voters, especially among “the transfer student and Pilipinx communities, both of which were unable to elect a community-endorsed candidate in the 2018 elections,” the student-run Daily Californian reported.

Several Jewish students also expressed concern about the disqualification of Jewish senator-elect Shelby Weiss, arguing “that the Jewish community lost essential representation in the ASUC,” according to a joint statement issued by the Berkeley Hillel Student Board, Chabad at UC Berkeley Student Board, the Jews of Color Collective, J Street U and eight other organizations.

“In the comments following, we were the only identity group whose desire to be represented was rebuked,” the statement read. “Several speakers used the opportunity to invoke antisemitic and anti-Zionist views as dog-whistles to target Jews, including specific Jewish students in the room.”
Jewish voice for Peace conflates Zionism and white supremacy
According to the most current FBI data on hate crimes, released in November 2018, hate crimes targeting Jews and Jewish institutions in the U.S. rose 37 percent between 2016 and 2017 . Although Jews account for just 2% of the population, the FBI data shows that attacks on Jewish people and institutions accounted for 58.1% of religious-based hate crime incidents.

The discussion on anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic attacks in America have taken on a new urgency since the massacre at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue. The proliferation of anti-semitic imagery and rhetoric in the media, and in public spaces comes from the both the far left, the far right.

Its a discussion we need to have. In particular, its a discussion that we need to have a UC Berkeley, where Jewish students have felt particularly besieged this week.

But not this way.

In a classic "fox guarding the hen-house" moment, The UC Berkeley branch of Jewish Voice for Peace oversaw a discussion on anti-semitism. Orwell would be spinning in this grave. The fringe organization that exists to create “a wedge” within the American Jewish community, "while working toward the goal of eliminating U.S. economic, military, and political aid to Israel." scheduled the event for erev Pesach, all but guaranteeing that Jews wouldn't attend.

At least 2 did.

WJC urges European lawmakers to ban neo-Nazi events marking Hitler birthday
The World Jewish Congress on Friday urged European governments and lawmakers to take measures against a series of planned neo-Nazi gatherings over the weekend to mark Adolf Hitler’s birthday.

The WJC statement said group events to commemorate 130 years since the birth of the Nazi leader (on April 20, 1889) were scheduled across the continent, including a two-day conference by a fascist group in Bulgarian capital Sofia, a hiking and picnic trip in Ukraine, a rock concert in Italy, two conventions in Germany and a handful of gatherings in France.

The group invited lawmakers and other to join its social media campaign raising awareness about the recent rise of neo-Nazi movements in Europe by highlighting their connection to WWII-era Nazi groups.

The organization’s CEO, Robert Singer, made a personal appeal to Bulgarian Interior Minister Mladen Marinov, asking him to do everything in his power to cancel the Bulgarian National Union’s conference scheduled to take place in Sofia on Friday and Saturday.

Previous BNU events have drawn nationalist supporters from other European countries. In February, hundreds of supporters walked through downtown Sofia holding torches and chanting nationalist slogans to honor a WWII general known for his anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi activities.
Berlin Sharp Rise in Violent Anti-Semitism
The left-wing politician, however, did not talk about the role played by the disastrous policies implemented by the successive socialist-leaning governments in Berlin. Since 2001, various socialist alliances comprising of the left-wing Social Democratic Party, the environmentalist Green Party, and Die Linke, the Successor of the East German communist party, has controlled Berlin.

The problem expands farther than Berlin. The nationwide figures on anti-Semitic attacks are just as gloomy. In 2018, Germany witnessed a ten percent surge in anti-Semitic hate crimes. Last year “there were 1,646 incidents recorded nationwide, compared to 1,504 in 2017,” the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported earlier this year. According to the local media reports, around 70 percent of German Jews have stopped wearing Jewish symbols in public to avoid violent attacks from “migrants of Turkish and Arab origin.”

While hate crime against Muslims receded during the same period, Germany’s Green party and the socialist Die Linke have clamored for an “Islamophobia” czar. Germany needed a Federal Commissioner to counter anti-Islamic hate as there was “less than sufficient attention” given to the issue “despite growing Islamophobia and hostility towards Muslims in Germany,” the Green Party spokesman Filiz Pola claimed.

But it’s not just the left-wing fringe. Germany’s mainstream parties have refused to counter the growing Muslim anti-Semitism. Their policy of open borders for Arab and Muslim immigrants has significantly added to the growing scourge of anti-Semitism in the country.

With the European ruling class engaged in meaningless virtue signaling, the anti-Semitism has grown in Germany. This should worry anyone concerned about the future of the Western civilization.
Russia’s largest yeshiva attacked with arson and swastikas ahead of Passover
Jewish officials said Friday an arson fire was set at the largest yeshiva in Russia just ahead of the Passover meal celebration. Swastikas were also sprayed on the seminary.

No one was reported injured in the early Friday fire at the Torat Chaim school in an eastern Moscow suburb.

Olga Esaulova, a spokeswoman for Moscow’s chief rabbi, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying the fire was set in a storage area for kosher meat and that swastikas were drawn at the yeshiva’s entrance.

There were about 60 students, rabbis and guests in the building at the time, the state news agency RIA-Novosti reported.

While Russia has a long history of anti-Semitism, it has noticeably declined under Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Putin has made considerable efforts to reach out to Russian Jewish communities, both within his state’s borders and in Israel. His country’s chief rabbi, Berel Lazar, is a close confidante.

He has encouraged the restoration of dozens of synagogues destroyed under communism and taken a hard-line on anti-Semitism.
Israel Museum to host Nazi-era art hoard held by German recluse
The Israel Museum is making plans to exhibit artworks from the controversial Gurlitt collection, many pieces of which are suspected to have been stolen from Jewish families by the Nazis during World War II.

The treasure trove of 1,500 art pieces found in the Munich, Germany, home of German recluse Cornelius Gurlitt, son of the late Nazi-era art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt, has until now been on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in Bern, Switzerland, with exhibitions in Bonn and Berlin in Germany. This will be the first time any part of the collection has come to Israel.

The Israel Museum exhibit, whose working title is “On Taste and Ideology: The Gurlitt Story,” will run from September 23, 2019, to June 19, 2020.

“In Israel, it needs a lot of Israeli context, and a slightly different narrative than the one we did here in Germany,” Rein Wolfs, director of the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn, who will work closely with Israel Museum curator Shlomit Steinberg, told The Times of Israel last week.

The 2012 discovery in the home of reclusive hoarder Cornelius Gurlitt, which included lost artworks by such artists as Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet and Wassily Kandinsky, was celebrated but tainted by the realization that the collection could include pieces that were looted or forcefully taken from families who suffered and died in Nazi concentration camps.
Famed Jewish-Indian general to be honored in Jerusalem
Israel will honor famed Jewish Indian general Jack Farj Rafael Jacob with a plaque on its Ammunition Hill memorial site later this month, Indian media reported Sunday.

Jacob, who died in 2016 at the age of 92, was one of the most prominent members of India’s relatively small Jewish community, serving as a lieutenant general in the Indian Army and later as a governor of two Indian states.

“Lt. Gen. Jacob will be honored by unveiling of a wall plaque on the wall of honor at Jerusalem Ammunition Hill for Jewish soldiers men, women and who served with distinction in foreign armies,” Samuel Marshall, a senior Jewish leader in India, told The Hindu news outlet.

According to Marshall, the ceremony will take place on April 30.

Jacob died of pneumonia at New Delhi’s Army Research and Referral Hospital on January 13, 2016. He was the highest ranking military officer in the history of the Indian Jewish community, achieving the position of chief of staff, and is considered a national hero throughout the country for his daring military campaigns.

Jacob is best known for commanding India’s Eastern Army during the liberation of Bangladesh from Pakistan in 1971 and negotiating the historic surrender of Pakistani troops after the war. His 1997 book “Surrender at Dacca: Birth of a Nation,” is considered the definitive account of the Bangladesh campaign.
Israel ranked as 8th most influential country in the world - annual report
US News & World Report has ranked Israel as the world’s eighth-most influential country in the magazine’s 2019 version of its annual list.

The report released this weekend describes Israel as “the only Jewish nation in the world... a small country on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea” that has had a large influence on global affairs.

“For its relatively small size, the country has played a large role in global affairs,” the article said. “The country has a strong economy, landmarks of significance to several religions and strained relationships with many of its Arab neighbors.”

The rankings for “Most Influential Country” are based on “a global perceptions-based survey,” the magazine said, “and countries are ranked based on the highest scores among more than 11,000 informed elites in a compilation of five country attributes: leader, connected to the rest of the world, influential culture, politically influential and strong international alliances.”

Israel came in ahead of several influential countries including Canada, Australia and India.

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