Tuesday, April 30, 2019

From Ian:

Rabbi Goldstein: A Terrorist Tried to Kill Me Because I Am a Jew. I Will Never Back Down.
I do not know why God spared my life in my Poway synagogue. All I can do is make this borrowed time matter.

From here on in I am going to be more brazen. I am going to be even more proud about walking down the street wearing my tzitzit and kippah, acknowledging God’s presence. And I’m going to use my voice until I am hoarse to urge my fellow Jews to do Jewish. To light candles before Shabbat. To put up mezuzas on their doorposts. To do acts of kindness. And to show up in synagogue — especially this coming Shabbat.

I am a proud emissary of Chabad-Lubavitch, a movement of Hasidic Judaism. Our leader, the great Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, famously taught that a little light expels a lot of darkness. That is why Chabad rabbis travel all over the world to set up Jewish communities: I have colleagues in Kathmandu, in Ghana, as well as in Paris and Sydney. We believe that helping any human being tap into their divine spark is a step toward fixing this broken world and bringing closer the redemption of humanity. It is why 33 years ago my wife and I came to this corner of California to build a house of light.

Because we are obviously Jewish, identifiable by our black hats and beards, it has also meant that some of us have been targets before. Eleven years ago, my colleagues Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, who ran the Chabad of Mumbai, India, were murdered with four of their guests. They were targeted by the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba because they were Jewish. And over the years people I know have been harassed and assaulted by thugs in the neighborhood where I grew up, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, in incidents that typically go unreported by the press.

In his vile manifesto, the terrorist who shot up my synagogue called my people, the Jewish people, a “squalid and parasitic race.” No. We are a people divinely commanded to bring God’s light into the world.

Technology has made our lives easier. But it also means that your data is no longer your own. We'll examine who is hoarding your information — and give you a guide for what you can do about it.

So it is with this country. America is unique in world history. Never before was a country founded on the ideals that all people are created in God’s image and that all people deserve freedom and liberty. We fought a war to make that promise real.

And I believe we can make it real again. That is what I pledge to do with my borrowed time.
John Podhoretz: Caricaturing Jews, Hating Jews, Killing Jews
Last Thursday, the international edition of the New York Times published a cartoon depicting Benjamin Netanyahu, in the form of a dachshund wearing a Star-of-David necklace, leading a blind and be-yarmulked Donald Trump. Two days later, a white supremacist—who shares the cartoonist’s belief that the U.S. president is a “Jew-lover” subject to “Zionist” control—entered a Chabad house in Poway, California and opened fire, killing one and wounding three others. John Podhoretz comments:

It likely did not occur to the editor [who approved the cartoon for publication] that he was acting as the unwitting reincarnation of Julius Streicher. It is, rather, likely that this editor has not had a conversation in years with anyone who did not think Benjamin Netanyahu was a monster and therefore fair game. The idea that exactly such imagery was part and parcel of the conscious effort to gas and to incinerate the Jewish people was unknown to him. Indeed, the very idea that the Jewish people are only a few generations removed from near-destruction and that a certain degree of sensitivity is required in depicting them may not ever have occurred to him. Indeed, perhaps something close to the opposite is at work in his understanding of the world.

We know about the selective expectations involved in the unique criticism of Israel for behaving in ways that dozens of other countries behave when it comes to contested territories. The constantly harping critics of the world’s only Jewish state say disingenuously that they are doing it for Israel’s own good or to hold Israel to the standards of its own prophets when they tend to hold no other state in the world to any standards. We are told we are not to consider this anti-Semitic because criticizing a country isn’t the same as criticizing a people. Well, . . . while it is true that criticizing a country can be different from criticizing a people, it is also true that it can be, and often is, exactly the same.

Yisroel Goldstein, the rabbi of Chabad of Poway, emerged from surgery, [having been shot in the hand], and issued a statement—a beautiful, defiant, eloquent, and life-affirming declaration at the end of Passover—that while, as we say in the Haggadah, “in every generation they rise up to destroy us,” we will not be destroyed.

A Hatred Of Israel Is The One Thing All Anti-Semites Have In Common
The only anti-Semitism still widely used in public discourse is the kind masquerading as “anti-Zionism.” That is why there was warranted outrage when The New York Times’s international edition publishes a Der Sturmer-style cartoon and when members of Congress protect a woman who has persistently smeared Americans Jews as money-grubbing interlopers and when progressive activists march behind those who embrace the most noxious anti-Semitic notions imaginable.

Now, a Jew-baiting cartoon or an ugly tweet isn’t going to shoot you. But anti-Israel rhetoric doesn’t just hurt feelings, it leads to policy that puts people in danger. It is why, whatever the intentions were behind the Iran deal, many Jews were rightly disturbed when the antagonist Obama administration made a sweetheart agreement and sent pallets of cash to a Holocaust-denying terror state that openly threatens to throw six million Jews into an “inferno.” It’s a bit on-the-nose.

Since Israel is increasingly detested by the American left—often for the very same reasons the United States is detested—progressives have also been increasingly comfortable attacking Jews or defending those who do. And no, these people aren’t merely being “critical of Israel.” The New York Times cartoon depicting Trump as a blind man being led by the Star of David-bedecked Benjamin Netanyahu was a pictorial interpretation of a paranoid grievance that many anti-Israel progressives and paleocons have been peddling for years: that Jews control the U.S. government.

Claiming that Americans are dying to protect Jewish interests isn’t only a lie, it’s a fresh iteration of an old slur. Whereas once there were “bankers” and “money lenders,” today there are “Zionists.” I see this smear every day, and not merely from randos on Twitter.

Some progressives, in fact, argue that the concept of “Zionism” is itself a form of white supremacy. Liberal editors of major publications now contend that the democratically elected prime minister of this Jewish state is one of “global anti-semitism’s greatest allies.” Writers for major magazines breezily blame Jews who support Israel for their own massacres. Among them are a small number of progressives, who defraud the public by falsely using their abandoned Jewish heritage to promote their leftist ideology.

Hundreds gather to mourn Chabad hero Lori Gilbert-Kaye
A standing-room-only crowd of about 700 came to the funeral service at Chabad of Poway synagogue on Monday for Lori Gilbert-Kaye, the 60-year-old congregant murdered on Saturday during an attack on the house of prayer north of San Diego that also left Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein and two worshipers wounded.

Witnesses said that Gilbert-Kaye, jumped in front of the congregation’s rabbi as John Earnest, 19, opened fire.
Three congregants, including Rabbi Goldstein, an eight-year-old girl and her 31-year-old uncle were also wounded in the shooting.

Gilbert-Kaye’s husband, Dr. Howard Kaye, recalled how his “wife was a person who did so much good in her life. Whatever I did that might not have been good, she repaired. She had a soul that was greater than any of us ever could believe.”

The physician recalled how he performed CPR on his wife after she took the bullet. “There was no blood,” he said. “She went very quickly. And she did not suffer. She went straight up” to heaven.

He had a strong message for his wife’s murderer, calling on him to turn his life around, “come back to the real world, which is the world of Lori, which is peace and love on Earth.”
Poway Rabbi Goes on MSNBC to Thank Trump for his Support and Comfort
Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, who was injured in the attack on the Chabad synagogue in Poway, Ca. On Saturday, told MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt Monday that he was grateful to President Donald Trump, and described how Trump had been “so gracious and generous” in a phone call to him.

“He was so gracious and generous with his words; exceedingly comforting to me, to my community, and he spoke to me like a friend,” Goldstein said. “I’m talking to the president of the United States. He was just exceedingly kind and sensitive, and we spoke for close to 15 minutes.”

Rabbi Goldstein told Hunt, “I thought to myself, for the president of the United States of America to take 15 minutes to talk to me about the issues at hand was just absolutely incredible and admirable. And we spoke about anti-Semitism.”

The gunman, John Earnest, was a Trump hater, and called him in a post he entered an hour before his attack, “that Zionist, Jew-loving, anti-White, traitorous [expletive].”

Uncle reenacts rush for safety in Chabad attack as girls recover from nightmare
Eight-year-old Noya Dahan had finished praying and gone to play with other children at her Poway, California synagogue when gunshots rang out out Saturday.

“I was scared, really, really scared,” said Noya, recalling how the group of children cried out of fear after a gunman entered Chabad of Poway on Saturday morning and started shooting. “I didn’t see my dad. I thought he was dead.”

Dahan was one of three people injured in a shooting rampage at the Chabad synagogue near San Diego, along with her uncle, and the rabbi of the congregation. Another woman, Lori Gilbert-Kaye was killed in the attack.

with barely a day having passed since the attack, Dahan and others in her family recalled the moments that the synagogue where she would attend services and play with friends turned into a blood-filled nightmare.

“I saw the rabbi shout and scream and run towards the man who shot, then a bullet hit him and I saw two of his fingers were cut off, it was so scary,” she recounted.

FBI got tips about threat minutes before synagogue shooting
The FBI said Monday that it received tips on a threatening social media post about five minutes before a gunman burst into a Southern California synagogue and opened fire with an assault-style rifle, killing a woman and wounding a rabbi and two Israelis.

The tips to the FBI’s website and phone number included a link to the anonymous post but did not offer specific information about its author or location of the threat. The FBI said employees immediately tried to determine who wrote the post, but the shooting occurred before they could establish his identity.

“The FBI thanks the alert citizens who saw and reported the post,” the agency said.

One of the tipsters told The Associated Press that he called the FBI tip line at 11:15 a.m. Saturday because the post linked to a manifesto that said the author was responsible for a mosque arson in the city of Escondido last month. He says he found online that the mosque attack had happened and feared the new threat was real.

The tipster, who refused to provide his name because of security concerns, said the call with the FBI lasted four or five minutes and the shooting happened soon after. He described the FBI as quick and professional and said he doesn’t know what they could have done.

The shooting happened around 11:30 a.m. Moments afterward, police arrested 19-year-old John T. Earnest of San Diego. He is being held on suspicion of murder and attempted murder.
Poway shooter’s family denounces son as part of ‘history of evil’ against Jews
The parents of a 19-year-old college student suspected of attacking a Southern California synagogue said Monday that they are shocked and saddened that “he is now part of the history of evil that has been perpetrated on Jewish people for centuries.”

John T. Earnest’s parents said they raised him and his five siblings in a family, faith and community that rejected hate.

“Our son’s actions were informed by people we do not know, and ideas we do not hold,” the parents said in a statement, which did not include their names.

A gunman on Saturday burst into the Chabad of Poway near San Diego on the last day of Passover and opened fire with an assault-style rifle, killing a woman and wounding a rabbi and two others.

“How our son was attracted to such darkness is a terrifying mystery to us, though we are confident that law enforcement will uncover many details of the path that he took to this evil and despicable act,” the statement said.

Earnest’s parents, who are cooperating with investigators, said their sadness “pales in comparison to the grief and anguish our son has caused for so many innocent people.”
Poway, the NY Times Cartoon and Rising Anti-Semitism

Confronting Anti-Semitism in the United States

Trump Administration: 'We Are at War' Against Antisemitism
Noting the recent spate of attacks on Jews, including the murder of eleven Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue exactly six months before, and the rise of hate speech on campuses, Carr declared: “These hate-filled movements have no place on earth, and no place in the United States of America.”

“America was built on freedom and redemption — just like Passover is the holiday of freedom and redemption,” he noted.

Carr added, forcefully: “And so I am here to say: we are at war with these people. We are at war with the antisemites who don’t conceal the antisemitism — the unvarnished, naked antisemitism of the supremacists — and we are at war also with the hidden, concealed antisemitism of those who hate the State of Israel and dress up their antisemitism under the fig leaf of anti-Zionism.”

At that point, Carr was interrupted by applause.

He continued: “We will in every city in the United States, we will fight it on every campus, and we will fight it in every capital of the world throughout the world. Because it is the policy of the United States to combat this ‘vile poison,’ as President Trump so correctly called it.”

After more applause, Carr continued, quoting the Psalm: “May God grants strength to His people; may God bless His people with peace.”

He noted that without strength, there could be no peace.

“First we must ask for courage and strength and might, because only then do we have peace.”

He vowed to do “everything in our power to confront and fight and vanquish evil from our midst.”

Patience, Rather Than Rushing to Failure with Grand Solutions, Is the Best U.S. Approach to the Israel-Palestinian Conflict
Examining the current situation in the Middle East, and arguing that the U.S. cannot afford to ignore the region, James Jay Carafano outlines some principles to guide its policy over the next few years, among them:

Iran remains the chief threat to U.S. interests, U.S. allies, and stability in the Middle East. Economic sanctions have . . . severely undermined Iran’s state-dominated economy, [but] Washington also needs to maintain strong military forces in the region to deter Iranian aggression and work with its allies to strengthen missile defenses to offset the potential threat of Iran’s arsenal of ballistic missiles, the largest in the Middle East.

[In addition], U.S. intelligence, reconnaissance, and air-strike capabilities are still needed to aid Iraqi and local Syrian forces against Islamic State (IS). Washington also should press the Iraqi government to fight corruption and be more respectful of the needs of Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority to convince them they are better off supporting the government rather than IS. . . .

[Concerning the Israel-Palestinian conflict], the time is not ripe for a comprehensive peace settlement. . . . Washington should revert to an incremental, long-term approach to peace negotiations, based on the realistic assessment that a genuine peace is not possible until Hamas has been squeezed out of power in Gaza. Two pillars should undergird the U.S. approach: strong support for Israel, and credible, effective means to advance good governance in Gaza and the West Bank. Until that has happened, Washington should try to manage the consequences of the . . . conflict, rather than rush to failure on a comprehensive settlement. It is never too late for peace. The United States should continue to lay the groundwork, even if it is years in the making.
Dore Gold: The Israeli Public Supports a Strong Position on National Security
Just prior to his election victory, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to consider annexing Israeli communities in the West Bank. Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN and now president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, told Newsweek: "Since Israel put up its first string of settlements in the Jordan Valley under the Labor government after the 1967 war, there has always been a view in Israel that the settlements have a link to Israel's future security. So if we ever get to a point where we are asked to lay out our vital interests in the West Bank, they will include settlements. They will include Israel retaining vital territories for its defense and because it has also historical right."

"In a certain sense, the position the prime minister took is not terribly surprising if you understand Israel's history." The Israeli public "has moved in a direction where they are very sympathetic with a strong position on national security....I think that has to do with the fact that, first of all, the past negotiating efforts with the Palestinians led to nothing, led nowhere. And frankly the Middle East is moving in a dangerous direction with the rise of Iranian power across the Arab world. You put those two things together and you get a position that Israel has to be very careful about what its future borders will look like."
JCAP: Israel and the Gulf States: On the Way to Open Normalization
Despite the resolutions of the Arab Summit and Palestinian opposition, the United Arab Emirates has agreed to host Israel at the Expo 2020 exhibition in October.

The Gulf States no longer fear normalization with Israel and are promoting it in a slow process in tandem with the crafting of President Trump’s “Deal of the Century.”

The news about Israel’s participation in the Expo 2020 international exhibition, to be held in Dubai this October, has spread like wildfire in the Arab world as the unveiling of details of President Trump’s “Deal of the Century” draws near.

At the exhibition, Israel will present its achievements in the fields of water, medicine, technology, and information, highlighting the spirit of Israeli innovation.

Opponents of the new U.S. plan – with the Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority, and Hamas at the forefront – are tracking every sign of open normalization between Israel and the moderate Arab states in order to condemn it. It is now the United Arab Emirates’ turn for their opprobrium.

Israel has been openly and proudly publicizing its upcoming participation in the Dubai event. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement lauding Israel’s participation, noting: “This is another expression of Israel’s rising status in the world and in the region.”

In response, Hamas issued a statement calling Israel’s participation in Dubai a “dangerous development.” Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zohari, demanded that the UAE not allow it because “it encourages the Israeli crimes and constitutes a violation of the resolutions of the recent Arab Summit in Tunisia.”
Lebanese Druze leader: Disputed Shebaa Farms not part of our country
The political leader of Lebanon’s Druze minority Walid Jumblatt said in a Thursday interview that the disputed Shebaa Farms on the border with Israel is not Lebanese land.

“Following the liberation of South Lebanon in 2000, the Lebanese maps were altered by Lebanese officers, who collaborated with the Syrians. That is when we theoretically ‘occupied’ the Shebaa Farms and Wadi Al-Asal. This was a geographical modification on paper, not on the ground,” Jumblatt said in an interview with Russia Today TV, according to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

“The purpose was to keep the Syrian pretext, which was upheld by others too. That the Shebaa Farms constitute Lebanese land that must be liberated by all possible means, and this is what happened,” he said.

Shebaa Farms, known in Hebrew as Mount Dov, and the adjacent Kfar Chouba hills are small patches of land captured by Israel from Syria during the Six Day War in 1967 and kept under Israel’s control since. Lebanon maintains that the strip of land is its territory, though it was under Syrian control from the 1950s until it was captured in 1967 along with the Golan Heights.
PMW: Palestinian peace-seekers?
Abbas’ representative on stage with armed masked men at Fatah event honoring terrorists. (April 30, 2019)

PA Chairman Abbas always claims to international audiences that he seeks peace. Yet on Palestinian “Prisoner’s Day,” Abbas sent Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki to represent him at an event arranged by Fatah in Bethlehem to honor the relatives of the “heroic” terrorist prisoners.

On stage with Abbas’ representative were several masked men wearing military uniforms, armed with automatic rifles.

Do they look like peace-seekers?

Posters at the event displayed pictures of numerous terrorist prisoners including at least two terrorist murderers: Marwan Barghouti who planned attacks in which 5 Israelis were murdered and Khalil Jabarin who murdered Ari Fuld, a father of 4, last year.

Were they peace-seekers?

Palestinian Media Watch has reported on other statements by Zaki, which document that he is the opposite of a peace-seeker.
Abbas: ‘Europe invented Zionism and Israel… let’s not fool ourselves’
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas claimed on Monday that Europe created Zionism and Israel.

Abbas made the comments at a meeting of the PA cabinet in Ramallah, where he delivered a short speech, much of which focused on the Palestinians’ finances.

“The European position — I don’t want to say it is 100 percent just — but it is has started to [show] understanding. Therefore, Ms. Mogherini [Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign policy chief] told the Arab League summit in Tunisia that ‘we support the two-state solution and we are against moving [embassies to] Jerusalem’ and other matters,” he said.

“Of course, everything is not in our favor, but such a position coming from Europe is a good thing. This is what we have historically become used to, because you all know Europe is the one that invented — this slightly annoys our neighbors — Zionism and Israel. It is the one that invented it. Let’s not fool ourselves. This is what history says. Whoever has something that refutes this history, go ahead.”

At the Arab League summit in Tunisia in late March, Mogherini had said: “We need… to get back to meaningful negotiations toward the two-state solution, which is the only viable, realistic solution.”

Abbas did not explain how he believes Europe created Zionism and Israel. However, he has previously made similar comments.
Palestinians on verge of financial collapse
The Palestinian Authority is facing imminent financial collapse over its refusal on principle to accept any tax revenues from Israel, and its dire call for help to the Arab world is mostly going unheeded.

If financial aid is not immediately forthcoming, the whole PA enterprise that has been in place since 1994 is likely to collapse.

The issue is the Israeli decision to withhold the sum of money that the PA gives monthly to terrorists in Israeli jails and their family members.

The PA feels so strongly about continuing payments to the people it holds to be martyrs on behalf of its cause, that it is willing to risk financial collapse.

“In the end, Israel will return our money in our way, and not in its way,” PA President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday during a meeting of his government in Ramallah.

Abbas accused Israel of “stealing or deducting the money belonging to martyrs, the wounded and security prisoners.”
Can Palestinians Keep Rejecting Israel Tax Transfer?

Saudi Arabia offered Abbas $10 billion to accept Trump’s peace plan - report
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has offered Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas $10 billion if he accepts US President Donald Trump’s plan for peace in the Middle East, also known as the “deal of the century,” the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar reported on Tuesday.

Salman’s offer also included the establishment of a Palestinian embassy in Abu Dis, a West Bank village located on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, the newspaper said.

A senior Palestinian official in Ramallah refused to comment on the report.

Referring to meetings between the Saudi crown prince and Abbas in, the newspaper said: “According to information obtained by Al-Akhbar, Salman briefed Abbas about the details of the deal of the century and asked him to accept it. According to the information, Salman asked Abbas: What is the annual budget of your entourage? Abbas replied: I’m not a prince to have my own entourage.”

At the stage, according to the newspaper, the Saudi crown prince asked Abbas: “How much money does the Palestinian Authority and its ministers and employees need?”

Abbas replied that the Palestinians need $1 billion each year, the report said. “I will give you $10 billion over 10 years if you accept the deal of the century,” Salman was quoted as telling Abbas.

Abbas, however, rejected the offer and said it would “mean the end of my political life,” the report added.

Seth J Frantzman: French envoy summoned after ambassador to US calls Israel 'apartheid state'
Israel on Monday summoned France's ambassador to Israel, Helene Le Gal, to the Foreign Ministry to protest comments by outgoing French Ambassador to the US Gerard Araud, who said that Israel is an apartheid state.

“Israel adamantly protested those remarks,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman said. Senior officials have also reportedly been instructed not to meet Araud, who served from 2003 to 2006 as France's ambassador to Israel, on an upcoming visit.

Earlier in the month, Araud said in an interview with The Atlantic that Israel was already an apartheid state.

“The status quo is extremely comfortable for Israel; they [can] have the[ir] cake and eat it [too]. They have the West Bank, but at the same time they don’t have to make the painful decision about the Palestinians - really making them really, totally stateless or making them citizens of Israel.

"They won’t make them citizens of Israel, so they will have to make it official - which is - we know the situation, which is an apartheid. There will be officially an apartheid state. They are, in fact, already,” Araud said.

The French embassy had no comment on Le Gal’s meeting in the Foreign Ministry.

Araud, however, clarified in various tweets on Tuesday that he was referring to the West Bank.

“In 52 years of occupation, what has been incrementally imposed on the West Bank through the colonization is: two people, two laws on the same territory with one people dominating the other. No, Israel itself is obviously not an apartheid state,” he wrote in one tweet.
German NGO disinvites Israeli writer for criticizing pro-Iran policies
The think tank of Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) disinvited the distinguished Israeli writer Chaim (Hans) Noll in late April from a talk at the Ariowitsch House in Leipzig, Saxony because he wrote articles critical of the German government’s pro-Iranian regime policies that jeopardize the security of the Jewish state.

The Friedrich Ebert Foundation, which is the ideas organization for the SPD, pulled the plug on Noll’s talk at its branch in the state of Saxony because he previously wrote: “German politicians of the ruling parties – like no one else – are trying to strengthen the mullah regime in Iran, which is preparing for Israel’s liquidation, and destroying and expelling the Jews living there.”

Noll, who grew up in Berlin, East Germany, fled the Communist and antisemitic regime in 1984, and moved to Israel in 1995, said: “‘Never again!,’ they [German politicians] declare, sitting with concerned expressions in celebration hours, creating a show business of memorial sites and Jewish museums, commemoration sites and former torture chambers where photo-ops are given. The same politicians are making sure that money is constantly flowing to the mullahs, to terrorists in the Middle East, to organizations that boycott Israel. It is a hypocrisy that makes you speechless. It has long since become mainstreamed and has become ‘normal’ as it was then, because life in German cities was ‘normal’ when they deported the Jews.”

Noll wrote on the pro-Israel and pro-American website “The Axis of Good” on Sunday in connection with the cancellation of his event:” Recently, I have criticized the Middle East policy led by SPD [foreign] minister Heiko Maas’s foreign office several times. Written and verbally. I have reminded that this antiquated, ideology-driven, unsuccessful policy costs German taxpayers millions every year. I have referred to the embarrassment of Maas’s commitment to Auschwitz as an inspiration to his political career and to his persistently anti-Israeli policies. That Maas, as stated recently by the Israeli ambassador, basically sided with the enemies of Israel in the UN, ‘In November, Germany voted 16 times in 21 resolutions against Israel,’ I have criticized German arms deliveries and other help to the belligerent regimes of the region, for example Iran and Saudi Arabia.”
Finland Cozies Up to Iran
Just a little more than ten years ago, Finland's flagship telecommunications company, Nokia, was found to have sold to Tehran surveillance technology, which was used a year later to suppress dissident demonstrators' use of social media.

"[T]here are two documented instances where [the Finnish company] Cargotec-tied cranes have been used for public executions." — United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) press release.

How Finland behaves today is eerily reminiscent of its behavior with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. During that time, Finnish politicians, academics and journalists practiced self-censorship. They knew whom not to talk about, let alone criticize. Today it is criticism of Islam that is aggressively prosecuted under the guise of combating "hate-speech" or "disparaging of religious groups". It is the same M.O., just a different place and time.
US army vet accused of plotting terror attacks on Nazis, Jews in California
A terror plot by an Army veteran who converted to Islam and planned to bomb a white supremacist rally in Southern California as retribution for the New Zealand mosque attacks was thwarted, federal prosecutors said Monday.

Mark Domingo, 26, an infantryman who served a combat stint in Afghanistan, was arrested by federal agents Friday, while finalizing plans to plant a bomb at a Nazi rally that had been scheduled on Sunday in Long Beach.

Court papers show that Domingo discussed with an informant different types of attacks that included targeting Jews, churches and police officers.

Domingo was arrested on a charge of providing material support to terrorists and a criminal complaint said he had been planning since March to “manufacture and use a weapon of mass destruction in order to commit mass murder.”

Domingo allegedly said he wanted revenge for attacks on mosques in New Zealand that killed 50 people last month.

According to prosecutors cited by NBC News, Domingo wrote on a private online group in March that “there must be retribution” for the mosque shootings.

“I feel like I should make a christians life miserable tomorrow for our fallen bros n sis in [N]ew Zealand…maybe a jews life…they shed our blood…no Muslim should have to experience this, a message needs to be sent.”
Report: Israel to release more prisoners for remains of more IDF soldiers
Israel will release more Syrian prisoners in return for the remains of other fallen Israeli soldiers recovered by Russian soldiers in Syria, Asharq al-Awsat reported on Tuesday.

The report by the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat comes after Israel released two Syrians held in Israeli jails following the repatriation of the remains of fallen IDF soldier Sgt. Zachary Baumel after close to 40 years.

Israel holds several pro-Syrian Druze activists in prison, and according to the report the initial prisoner exchange was the first stage of a broader prisoner swap and two more Syrian prisoners currently held in Israel-Sidqi al-Maqt and Amal Abu Salah- were told by Syrian officials that they will be freed in the next round.

Al-Maqt, was the longest-serving Syrian in Israeli jails after he served 27 years in prison for various security violations. He was released in 2012 and was re-arrested in 2015 and was convicted of spying for Syria and sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2017.

Abu Saleh was convicted of manslaughter after residents of Majdal Shams blocked an Israeli ambulance that was trying to transport two wounded Syrians to hospital and killed one of the wounded.

The report, which quoted sources in their hometown of Majdal Shams in Israel’s Golan Heights, said their families protested to the Syrian authorities as well as to the Russians.
Israel to offer grants to build hotels in West Bank settlements
For first time in the history of the settlement movement, the Tourism Ministry has made monetary grants available for the construction of hotels in Area C of the West Bank.

In the past, such grants could be received only with governmental approval. But grants worth 20%-33% of the project’s cost were available for the construction of hotels within sovereign Israel.

Hotel projects in Judea and Samaria could not receive the grants because the law that provided for their distribution was not applicable to the West Bank.

The ministry has now created a different mechanism exclusively for Judea and Samaria that will allow for automatic application for the grants without the need for special governmental approval, the spokesman for Tourism Minister Yariv Levin told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

Tourists who want to stay overnight in West Bank settlements currently rely on private homeowners to rent out rooms through Internet services like AirBnb or with small bed and breakfasts.

The construction of hotels is needed to allow for increased tourism to the area.
IDF accuses Islamic Jihad of Gaza rocket fire, cuts fishing zone as punishment
The Israeli military on Tuesday accused the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group of firing a rocket from the Gaza Strip that landed in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Israel late Monday night.

In response, Israel scaled back Gaza’s permitted fishing zone from 15 nautical miles to six “until further notice,” Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) liaison unit said.

The Israel Defense Forces said the Palestinian Islamic Jihad “intentionally fired” the rocket from the northern Gaza Strip in an effort to derail ongoing efforts to maintain a ceasefire between Israel and the terrorist groups in the coastal enclave.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad is considered the second-most powerful terror group in the Gaza Strip, after the coastal enclave’s de facto rulers, Hamas, despite having a slightly larger arsenal of rockets and mortar shells, mostly locally manufactured varieties based on Iranian designs.

The IDF specifically named Baha Abu al-Ata, an Islamic Jihad commander responsible for the group’s activities in northern Gaza, as having given the order to fire the rocket. The military said the rocket was fired from the al-Attra neighborhood of Beit Lahiya.

Identifying al-Ata by name can be seen as a tacit threat by the military. The IDF also tweeted out a photograph of the Islamic Jihad commander. Al-Ata has been targeted by the IDF in the past, both in the 2014 Gaza war and in the 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense.
U.S. working to designate Muslim Brotherhood as terror group
The Trump administration is working to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organization, the White House said on Tuesday, which would bring sanctions against Egypt's oldest Islamist movement.

"The president has consulted with his national security team and leaders in the region who share his concern, and this designation is working its way through the internal process,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in an email.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi asked President Donald Trump to make the designation, which Egypt has already done, in a private meeting during a visit to Washington on April 9, a senior U.S. official said, confirming a report in the New York Times on Tuesday.

After the meeting, Trump praised Sisi as a "great president" while a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers raised concerns about Sisi’s record on human rights, efforts to keep him in office for many years and planned Russian arms purchases.

Sisi, who ousted President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013 and was elected president the following year, has overseen a crackdown on Islamists as well as liberal opposition in Egypt.

White House national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo support the designation but officials at the Pentagon and elsewhere have been opposed and have been seeking more limited action, the senior official said.
MEMRI: Children's Indoctrination: Jordanian Boy Pledges To Be Martyred For Jerusalem In Viral Video
On April 7, 2019, the Gaza TV Media YouTube account posted a video of a small Jordanian boy volunteering to go to Jerusalem and die as a martyr. In the video, the boy, Amir Al-Khasawne, is seen marching with a slingshot and a toy rifle. When his mother asks him where he is going, he says: "I'm going on a journey far away. I might not come back." Later in the video Amir tells his mother that he is going to Jerusalem, to "the martyr Omar Abu Laila and his friends." On March 19, 2019, Omar Abu Laila, fatally stabbed Sgt. Gal Keidan, grabbed his gun and shot to death Rabbi Achiad Ettinger. The boy Al-Khasawne continued: "I will shoot the Jews who shot Omar." When his mother warns him that he would be killed, the boy says: "It's no big deal, mommy. I will die for the sake of Jerusalem. Isn't Jerusalem worth dying for? Isn't Al-Aqsa worth dying for?" In tears, Amir calls out: "For the sake of Allah, oh Arabs! This is Jerusalem! It is the destination of the Prophet's Night Journey! They sold out Jerusalem!" He concluded by calling upon Saladin to "wake up." The video was produced by Mays Alreem for Television Photography.

"I'm Going On A Journey Far Away – I Might Not Come Back"
Amir's mother: "My darling Amir, where are you going?"
Amir Al-Khasawneh: "I'm going on a journey far away. I might not come back."
Amir's mother: "My darling, your father has been looking for you."
Amir Al-Khasawneh: "Send him my regards, ask him to forgive me, and pray for me."
Amir's mother: "You are frightening me. Where are you going?"
Amir Al-Khasawneh: "To Jerusalem."

West Bank city to name a street after late Jewish member of Fatah
In a move initiated by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, al-Bireh Municipality in the central West Bank announced that it has decided to name a street after Ilan Halevi, a late Jewish member of Fatah.

Halevi, who was born in Nazi-occupied Lyon, France but moved to Israel in his twenties, died in 2013 at 69. He was a member of leftist and anti-Zionist groups in Israel before he joined Fatah following the 1967 Six-Day War.

Halevi also served in the PA Foreign Ministry, participated in the Madrid Conference in 1991 on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and described himself as “one-hundred percent Jewish and one-hundred percent Palestinian.”

Members of al-Bireh Municipality unanimously supported a proposal to name a street after Halevi, al-Bireh Mayor Azzam Ismail told Nabil Shaath, an adviser to Abbas, according to a statement posted Saturday on the local governing body’s official Facebook page.

Shaath met members of al-Bireh Municipality last Wednesday and presented them with a proposal formulated by Abbas to name one of the town’s streets after Halevi, an individual “who was committed to defending the Palestinian issue and Fatah without hesitation,” the statement said.

Ismail spoke highly of Halevi and said the Palestinians admire Jews who support the Palestinian issue.
IS chief Baghdadi emerges on video for first time in five years
The elusive chief of the Islamic State group Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appeared for the first time in five years in a propaganda video released Monday by the jihadist organization.

The video released by Al-Furqan on Monday shows Baghdadi with a bushy grey and red beard, wearing a black robe with a beige vest and seated on the floor with what appears to be a machine gun propped up next to him. He is speaking with three men seated opposite him whose faces were covered and blotted out.

It is unclear when the footage was filmed, but Baghdadi referred in the past tense to the months-long fight for Baghouz, IS’s final bastion in eastern Syria, which ended last month.

“The battle for Baghouz is over,” he said.

But he insisted that IS’s operations against the West were part of a “long battle,” and that IS would “take revenge” on members who had been killed.

“There will be more to come after this battle,” he said.

He claimed the Easter Day bombings in Sri Lanka, which killed over 250 people and have been claimed by Islamic State, were “part of the revenge” that awaits the West.

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