Wednesday, November 20, 2019

From Ian:

Jonathan Tobin: Why do American Jews oppose an Israeli consensus on settlements?
When Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced this week that the U.S. no longer considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be in violation of international law, most Israelis were clearly pleased. All the major Israeli political parties greeted the announcement with support. Both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his leading rival, Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz, agreed that America was right to scrap its old insistence that Jews had no right to live outside the 1949 armistice lines.

Labeling these Jewish communities as illegal renders negotiations over the territories effectively moot. As long as the world considers the territories to be stolen property that must be returned to the Arabs - rather than disputed land whose fate must be arrived at by give and take by both sides - there's nothing to negotiate.

Like Netanyahu, Gantz understands that Israel must maintain control of the Jordan River Valley and most of the settlements even in the theoretical event that the Palestinians eventually choose to make peace as opposed to continue holding onto their century-old war on Zionism.

What the U.S. has done is to put the Palestinians on notice that if they want an end to the status quo, then they will have to talk to the Israelis. They cannot sit back and wait for the international community to hand them Israeli concessions on a silver platter.
David Singer: European Union Bites Off More Than it Can Chew in Judea and Samaria
All this pompous gobbledy gook being required for labelling the source of products made in territory disputed between Jews and Arabs for the last 100 years is deeply disturbing. There is no appeal from this decision.

The European Union could be in a real political bind as a result. The labelling requirements introduced by the European Union in 2011 and interpreted in 2015 has led it down this disastrous path promising only ridicule and contempt.

To be consistent and not be subjected to charges that it is deliberately targeting Jews and inciting Jew-hatred – the European Union needs to insist on similar stringent labelling requirements being immediately applied on goods originating from more than 150 disputed territories around the world.

Alternatively – the European Union could get itself out of this embarrassing labelling war and PR disaster by simply requiring goods originating from Israeli settlements to state “Product of Judea” or“Product of Samaria”.

Judea and Samaria – the historic and geographic terms used for the disputed territories for the last 3000 years – were relabelled the “The West Bank” by Jordan in 1950 – and enthusiastically embraced by the European Union.

The chickens from Judea and Samaria have come home to roost. Truth in labelling by the feckless European Union is long overdue.

Dutch parliament passes motion against mandatory labeling of settlement products
The Dutch parliament on Tuesday approved a motion pushing back against a European Court of Justice decision that ordered the labeling of Israeli goods made in West Bank settlements.

The motion, approved 82-68, calls on the government to object to the ruling, unless similar standards are applied to all disputed territories around the world. It deems the singling out of Israel in such regard unfair and discriminatory.

Israel has heavily criticized the the court’s ruling last week, calling it discriminatory and noting that there are more than 200 territorial disputes across the world, but that the European court had never ruled on any of them.

The Dutch vote, supported by Christian groups in parliament and backed by the governing coalition, does not compel the government to act and is largely symbolic. However, diplomatic officials told the Ynet news site that the strong support from the coalition indicated it would guide government policy to an extent.

Israeli Ambassador to the Netherlands Naor Gilon thanked legislators for their support and expressed hope that if the court ruling stands, Dutch leaders “will adopt their own recommendation and not implement a discriminatory resolution.”

Palestinian Extremists Hate the United States — and Not Just Because of Israel
A year before his confirmation to the US Supreme Court in 1916, Louis D. Brandeis affirmed the compatibility of Zionism with American patriotism for “every American Jew who aids in advancing the Jewish settlement in Palestine, though he feels that neither he nor his descendants will ever live there.”

Brandeis’ fusion of Zionism with Americanism was critical in building US support for the creation of the new Jewish state that he did not live to see. Zionists in both Israel and the US easily adopted the American idiom of both countries as “new nations” rooted in Biblical values. After all, the New England Puritans had described their colony as “a New Canaan” or “a New Zion.” And Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams, tasked to recommend a national symbol for the nascent American republic, had initially suggested not a bald eagle — but Moses leading the Israelites through the Red Sea.

Less well known is how the US unintentionally helped spawn hostile Palestinian nationalism. The year was 1948, the same as President Harry Truman’s recognition of Israel’s independence. But the event was Sayyid Qutb’s hejira from Egypt to the US.

A then unknown, middle-aged Egyptian school teacher who was still ambivalent about the tensions between secularism and religion, Qutb enrolled in a Colorado teachers’ college for professional training. There, he experienced a culture shock that completed his transformation into a Muslim fundamentalist.

Qutb blamed the influence of the Americans’ “primitive artistic taste” and “Jazz music … the music that Negroes invented to satisfy their primitive inclinations,” for corrupting religious values and social norms.

Qutb’s infusion of his newly acquired anti-American cultural aversions with his militant doctrine of “offensive” jihad reinvigorated the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, though the regime eventually executed him for subversion. Of course, Qutb also hated Israel.
A Letter to Golda
Fifty years ago, the Soviet Zionist movement—which in America is known largely as a “refuseniks” movement—sparked a rebirth of identity unlike anything seen in recent Jewish history. Instead of letting themselves quietly fade away through assimilation—the fate that the Soviet government intended for its Jews—a small but mighty group of activists rediscovered a connection to Jewishness and brought the rest of Soviet Jewry along with it.

For those activists, a pivotal point in their movement came on Nov. 10, 1969. On that day, a number of them gathered secretly in Riga, Latvia, to plan their next steps. Gershon Ben-Oren, who came to the meeting from the republic of Georgia, remembers waking up in his Zionist friends’ apartment and reaching out for the shortwave radio next to his bed. As was his habit back home, he wanted to hear “the voices”—Voice of Israel, Voice of America, and other “hostile” broadcasts.

The news that poured into the apartment gave him a jolt. Eighteen religious Jewish families from the Soviet republic of Georgia, the announcer said, have appealed to the government of Israel and the United Nations with a group letter, asking them to prevail on the Soviet authorities to let them emigrate to Israel. Full names, addresses, and signatures of the heads of the 18 families accompanied the letter. Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir had read out excerpts from the letter to the Knesset and instructed Yosef Tekoa, Israel’s U.N. representative, to convey it to the U.N.’s Human Rights Commission.

The news sent shock waves throughout the Soviet Zionist movement and the Jewish world outside the USSR. It gave a black eye to the Soviet self-image as conveyed by the Soviet propaganda machine that was just then engaged in an elaborate effort to convince the world that Soviet Jews felt no connection to Israel or American Jews, and had no interest in leaving their beloved socialist motherland.

The move was brazen in a way that nearly defied comprehension. In a country where a gathering of three people could be viewed as an anti-Soviet conspiracy—and, in the case of Jews, of a Zionist, the most dangerous, variety—more than a dozen people wrote a group letter to a foreign government, and took the extra step of signing it with their real names and addresses. This in itself was chutzpah. But the text of the letter was no less extraordinary. In stirring, exalted Russian, the writers evoked the Torah, thousands of years of Jewish history, and the principles of human rights to make the case for repatriation.
The Story of a Sephardi Family, and the Transformation of the Middle East
In Family Papers: A Sephardic Journey through the Twentieth Century, Sarah Stein tells the story of the Levys, a Jewish family from Ottoman Salonika. Matti Friedman writes in his review:

Jews, [on the eve of World War I], made up most of [Salonika’s] population and ran its affairs. . . . [T]he young David Ben-Gurion, later the first prime minister of Israel, spent a year in Salonika and noted with amazement that a ship couldn’t leave on Saturday “because the Jewish workers at the port did not work on the Sabbath.” Salonika was, he declared, “the most Jewish city on earth.”

Sa’adi, the [Levy] family patriarch, died in 1903. By the time his grandchildren were adults, in the years after World War II, none could speak his language, the Judeo-Spanish dialect Ladino. His city Salonika, the Jewish port ruled by Muslim Turks, had become a Greek Christian city, Thessaloniki. The Jews were gone.

It’s hard to imagine a place like Salonika today, but its closest approximation in the present is not far away to the east, in Israel, a Mediterranean enclave that feels a lot like Greece and has a lively and fractious Jewish culture in constant contact with Islam. But unlike the working-class Salonika Jews who played a key role in the birth of Israeli ports and shipping, few members of [the Levy] family seem to have had much to do with the new state. They were creatures of a polyglot empire, and nationalism wasn’t their style. Their faith was in Western progress and good will.

After World War I, [Sa’adi Levy’s son] Sam, a journalist, had in fact written to the Versailles peace conference to propose that Salonika become “a free and neutral city administered by Jews” with a vote in the League of Nations: “a Jewish city-state that was neither Zionist nor Greek.” It was a great idea, and of course it was doomed along with the world he knew.
UN Event to Highlight Jewish Refugees Expelled From Arab Countries
An event will be held next month at the United Nations headquarters in New York to raise awareness in the international community about the nearly-one million Jewish refugees who were expelled from Arab countries around the time of the establishment of the State of Israel seven decades ago.

Former Miss Iraq Sarah Idan will be a keynote speaker at the gathering, which is being organized by Israel’s UN Mission and the Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa (JIMENA) organization.

Idan now lives in exile in the US after controversy erupted in her home country in 2017 when she posted a selfie with Miss Israel Adar Gandelsman.

Other speakers will include Israel’s UN envoy, Danny Danon, and the Trump administration’s special envoy for monitoring and combating antisemitism, Elan Carr.

Danon said in a statement on Monday, “The story of nearly a million Jews who were brutally expelled from their homes has so far received no UN attention, and has even been deliberately downplayed to focus solely on the Palestinian narrative. The State of Israel must voice support for Jewish refugees and correct this historical injustice.”
Face of UK Labour party campaign leaflet compared 'Israel to Nazi Germany'
A man disciplined by the UK Labour party for making anti-Semitic slurs is now the face of a new election campaign leaflet, The Sun publication revealed on Wednesday.

Kierin Offlands, who was "let off with a slap on the wrist" by the Labour party after he compared Israel to Nazi Germany online, is being featured on a Labour party campaign leaflet sent to thousands of households.

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The campaign literature is titled “Real Change for Young Workers” and also features Offlands' girlfriend.

The Labour party has yet to comment on the campaign flyer.

The Sun also reported that during his time as a Labour party officer for Southport, Offlands slandered Israeli soldiers as “storm troopers” and “Zio-Nazis.”

In now deleted posts from 2015, Offlands reportedly made a number of anti-Semitic statements, including one that read, "Remembering I need to hate Israeli Jews and people who think the State of Israel was/is a good idea.”

“I hate Zionism. I oppose the State of Israel," reads another. "It is one of the worst thing’s [sic] ever created. To some extensiveness, Zionism is Nazism.”
Corbyn Instagram Takeover Comic Has Links to Hamas
The comic who Jeremy Corbyn has chosen to take over his Instagram during the debate has gigged to raise money for Hamas. Tez Ilyas is the first name on the line up of a ‘Human Appeal‘ event this year. Human Appeal is an organisation with “a record of links with the terrorist group Hamas” according to the Telegraph, which notes that:

“Human Appeal was or is a member of the Union of Good, also known as the 101 Days Campaign, itself designated by the US Government (under both names) as a terrorist organisation created by the Hamas leadership “in order to facilitate the transfer of funds to Hamas.””

Human Appeal had “close links to Hamas” according to the FBI, and is banned by Israel as “part of Hamas’s fundraising network.” Ilyas fits right in with Corbyn’s friends…
Further Hamas Links of Corbyn's Insta Takeover Comic
Last night Guido revealed that the comic who Corbyn picked to take over and manage his Instagram account during ITV’s debate is gigging to raise money for Corbyn’s old friends, Hamas. Putting the “ha, ha” into Hamas…

Today, Guido can disclose that Tez Ilyas was also invited to speak at PalExpo by Friends of al-Aqsa, a group described by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center as “a pro-Hamas British organization based in Leicester which advocates Israel’s elimination.”

Tez Ilyas also just this month appeared on a Corbynista alt-left YouTube channel, where he joked that if Prince Andrew and Epstein were Pakistani, they’d be a grooming gang from Rotherham. Presumably that means they’d have got away with it for 20 years whilst Labour councils were too afraid to say anything about it…
PreOccupiedTerritory: ‘Vote Corbyn – Vote Palestine!’ Cry Britons Accusing Jews Of Dual Loyalties (satire)
Britain’s Opposition Leader in Parliament faces an uphill battle in the coming national elections, but one group of constituents hopes to overcome that hurdle by galvanizing his base and attracting new voters via a campaign that aims to raise the alarm over Jewish citizens prioritizing Israel’s needs over those of the UK when in fact voters ought to prioritize Palestine’s needs over those of the UK.

“Vote Corbyn, Vote Palestine,” volunteers chant, urging Britons to choose the Labour Party and its chairman, Jeremy Corbyn. Many Labour loyalists feel not only that their party holds the only promise of a brighter future for the UK, but that only a Labour-led government at Westminster will give proper emphasis to policies that favor the Palestinian national cause, with the latter more important than the former, as opposed to the country’s Jews, whom they accuse of harboring loyalties to a foreign state, Israel.

“It’s disingenuous to suggest that Britain’s and Israel’s interests dovetail on every important issue,” explained Labour activist Anne Teasemyte. “Yet we have in our midst hundreds of thousands of citizens whose ethnic or religious persuasion automatically links them with Zionist designs on Palestinian land. How can we be sure they do not choose their own international interests over Britain’s? We cannot, unless we counterbalance the threat they represent by favoring a a party under the leadership of the candidate most likely to replace loyalty to Israel above loyalty to Her Majesty with loyalty to Palestine above loyalty to Her Majesty.”
Jeremy Corbyn laughed at in ITV election debate as he lied about Labour’s handling of its antisemitism crisis
At ITV’s general election debate yesterday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was laughed at as he lied about his Party’s handling of its antisemitism crisis.

Asked about why Labour had become a “cesspit of antisemitism”, Mr Corbyn was met with ridicule from the audience as he insisted that antisemitism is “an absolute evil and scourge within our society”. He then appended his usual clarification that “racism in any form is a scourge in our society.”

The Labour leader then proceeded to claim: “I have taken action within my Party where anyone has committed any antisemitic acts or made any antisemitis statements. They are either suspended or expelled from the Party and we’ve investigated every single case. We do take this very very seriously indeed, because I do not want to live in a society where racism is rife. I understand and recognise the history – the desperate history – of the Jewish People in the twentieth century, which came about from an unrestriction [sic] of antisemitism in the 1920s. We’ve got to stand up against racism in any form in our society.”

However, despite Mr Corbyn’s absurd claim to the contrary, there in fact remain scores of cases, including some dating back years, that have not been dealt with at all, while numerous notorious cases have been processed slowly and reluctantly and in some cases the figures involved have remained within the Party or have only been removed due to public pressure. Indeed Mr Corbyn himself has yet to be disciplined for his own record of antisemitism.
Even with this very clap-friendly audience, they couldn’t drown out the derisive laughter…

Scottish Conservatives suspend general election candidate Ryan Houghton over online posts questioning evidence of Holocaust
The Scottish Conservative Party has reportedly suspended Ryan Houghton, their general election candidate for Aberdeen North, over social media posts questioning evidence of the Holocaust. Mr Houghton remains on the ballot because his nomination papers are already submitted but he no longer represents the Conservative Party, which has withdrawn support for him.

In a post on a martial arts forum seven years ago, Mr Houghton wrote under the username, Razgriz, that there was “no credible evidence to suggest the Holocaust did not happen” but revealed that “I do find some of the events fabricated, and exegarated [sic] in some cases.” He continued: “As history is written by the victors there is always going to be a bit of re-writing.” He also praised the “interesting” research of the antisemitic Holocaust-denier, David Irving. However, in a later post he said that he was “not defending David’s Irving’s views” and that he does not agree with “some of the stuff he says.”

According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust)” is an example of antisemitism.

Mr Houghton is also accused of having made homophobic and anti-Muslim statements online. In a statement, he said: “I apologise unreservedly for any hurt now caused by these comments and have been in contact with members of the Jewish community in Aberdeen.” Mr Houghton also said that he was a member of the Holocaust Education Trust (HET), had visited Auschwitz-Birkenau and has “never held antisemitic or intolerant views.”

As campus anti-Semitism morphs, bullied Jewish students counter-organize
The Graduate Student Union at University of Toronto wants Jewish students to know it’s sorry. On November 18 it was reported that the union — which in 2012 voted to support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) — said it wouldn’t make kosher food available on campus because such food is “pro-Israel.”

The Toronto graduate student union has since issued an apology, which the campus Hillel said fell short of addressing anti-Semitism. However, the incident was only one of several anti-Semitic events to occur on university campuses in recent weeks.

The Department of Education announced November 19 that it would investigate alleged anti-Semitic and anti-Israel incidents at Duke University that occurred earlier this year. One event, Conflict Over Gaza: People, Politics, and Possibilities, was sponsored by the Duke-UNC Middle East Consortium, and according to news reports was replete with anti-Israel and anti-Semitic references.

On November 14, pro-Israel activist Hen Mazzig gave a presentation at Vassar College in New York on indigenous Jews of the Middle East for the group Vassar Organizing Israel Conversations Effectively (VOICE). Outside the auditorium nearly 30 students with Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chanted, “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free.” They chanted so loudly Mazzig had to stop speaking until they left.

Although their protest didn’t end Mazzig’s talk, this kind of rhetoric can sometimes have a chilling effect on Jewish student life.

“The result is Jewish students shying away from Jewish life on campus, or feeling afraid of showing they’re Jewish. Jewish students are also afraid of joining clubs on campus because they worry about being singled out,” said David Goldenberg, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Midwest office.
Vassar President: It was anti-Semitic to shout at Israeli Jewish speaker “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free”
Vassar Turning a Page?

The fact that this comes from Vassar (of all places) magnifies the significance. As long-time readers may recall, LIF has a history at Vassar. Professor Jacobson spoke there in May 2014 on the issue of the anti-Israel boycott at Vassar, and only discovered during the Q&A portion of the lecture that one of the 39 Vassar professors who supported an academic boycott of Israel had also called for a boycott of Prof. Jacobson’s talk.

Then, there was the October 25, 2017 event, in which Professor Jacobson gave another speech at Vassar—this one on “An Examination of Hate Speech and Free Speech on College Campuses.” On that occasion,
Hundreds of students, faculty and staff on campus were whipped into a frenzy by false and malicious accusations, originating it appears with a student group Healing 2 Action, but also spread by the Vassar Student Association. In addition to maligning me personally, accusations were spread falsely claiming White Nationalist supporters might come to campus to target students of color, LGBT students, Jewish students and others.

But, as it transpired,
The turnout [for Prof. Jacobson’s free speech lecture] was excellent, approximately 200 students in the room (full capacity) plus overflow in the hallway. The students who attended, even the ones who showed up wearing black in protest, listened intently. I think they were expecting someone and something very different based on the campus hysteria. I addressed the hysteria in my lecture.

After my lecture, we had over an hour-long question and answer session, and almost all the students stayed to the very end. The questions were thoughtful and in many instances quite challenging, the students respectful, and I think we all learned something.

This SJP incident may be a turning point for Vassar in protecting free speech by drawing a clear red line as to attempts to shout down and disrupt speakers. Equally important, this is an important recognition that the genocidal demand to erase Israel using a chant embraced by Hamas and other Jew-hating groups is anti-Semitic.

IDF Officer Who Led Aid Effort to Syria Protested at UK Universities
An Israeli military veteran who helped oversee a humanitarian aid effort benefiting victims of the Syrian conflict was protested while speaking at two British universities this week.

As part of Operation Good Neighbor, Lt. Col. (Res.) Eyal Dror established and led a unit that brought in more than 4,000 wounded Syrians to Israeli hospitals, secured treatment for hundreds of chronically-ill children, oversaw the evacuation of the White Helmets rescue group, and delivered basic necessities including food, clothing, and diesel fuel to civilians.

Though his ongoing tour of the United Kingdom has attracted considerable interest, he has also faced demonstrators along the way, including while speaking at King’s College London (KCL) on Monday and the University of Warwick on Tuesday.

Albert Tamman, a third-year student and president of the KCL Israel Society, which hosted the sold-out talk with Dror, said some 40 protesters had gathered outside the building before attendees arrived, chanting slogans including “Zionism is a crime” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” The phrase is often used by Palestinian nationalists to call for the elimination of Israel as a Jewish nation-state.

David Collier, a Jewish blogger and activist, said he was attacked while documenting the demonstration, which was spearheaded by the KCL Action Palestine Society.

“I emerged relatively unscathed, but a demonstrator clearly intended to deprive me of my camera,” Collier wrote in an account published on Tuesday. “He rushed at me and tried to grab it and run. The force of the attack had left me with slight friction burns on my hands and a broken tripod.”
Supreme Court rejects appeal against deportation of HRW director
The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a request by Human Rights Watch to re-examine a government decision to deport its local director over his alleged support for the Israel boycott movement.

“Chief Justice of Israeli Supreme Court denies injunction that would allow me to stay while she considers our request to rehear @hrw’s challenge to my deportation by full Court, given its significant ramifications. I will be leaving in 6 days,” tweeted Omar Shakir.

A previous court ruling earlier in the month gave him until November 25 to leave the country.

In that hearing, a standard three-justice panel upheld an Interior Ministry decision not to renew Shakir’s work visa and ordered him to leave the country, saying his advocacy against Israel’s settlements in the West Bank amounted to support for the Palestinian-led boycott movement.
Chick-fil-A Begins Donating to Hezbollah in Effort to Please Far Left (satire)
After ending donations to two controversial Christian charities, fast food chain Chick-fil-A is looking to gain additional left-wing customers by instead giving the funds to Islamist militant group Hezbollah.

Officials from the Georgia-based fried chicken joint privately called the decision a win-win.

“These contributions have somehow increased our support among progressives, who see Hezbollah as a like-minded organization,” one Chick-fil-A executive told The Mideast Beast. “At the same time, we can continue doing what we love – giving money to virulently anti-gay organizations.”

As of press time, Chick-fil-A competitor Popeyes has seen its sales surge in Lebanon’s Christian and Sunni regions.

Gaza Rocket Reports: Israeli Injuries Routinely Downplayed
The purpose of journalism is to report the facts. In the case of an outbreak of violence, it is incumbent upon journalists to report who fired first, why, who was targeted on each side, who died on each side, and how many were injured as a result. While there will always be an element of interpretation and selectivity in deciding which facts are the most salient and worthy of attention, the core task remains the same: First report the facts.

In the recent spike in violence between Israel and terrorists in Gaza, numerous terrorists and civilians in Gaza were killed. This was worthy of reporting. Thanks in large part to the Iron Dome missile intercept system, however, not a single Israeli was killed, despite Islamic Jihad firing literally hundreds of rockets at Israeli towns and cities. This too was worthy of reporting.

Similarly, whether a rocket strikes its target or not, each missile induces genuine panic regardless, frequently leading to second-level injuries, including falls and stress-related symptoms.

Here, all too often, the media failed.

While it’s not reasonable to expect every single article to mention the injured — short pieces by nature skip details — there certainly should have been space to mention the different categories of Israelis requiring medical attention in the more extensive coverage.
BBC’s Plett Usher does ‘ode to a reasonable Hamas’
Plett Usher of course did not bother to explain to BBC audiences that what Hamas means by “Israeli occupation” is the existence of Israel itself or that Israel withdrew every last soldier and civilian from the Gaza Strip fourteen years ago.

She did mislead readers with the claim that “Israel tightened its blockade of the Gaza Strip when Hamas reinforced its power there in 2007…” while failing to clarify that the Israeli security cabinet declared the Gaza Strip “hostile territory” in September 2007 – three months after Hamas’ violent take-over – due to a severe increase in terror attacks.

Plett Usher whitewashed twenty months of weekly violent rioting that regularly includes border infiltrations, shooting attacks, IED attacks, grenade attacks and arson attacks which have caused serious damage to thousands of acres of farmland and nature reserves in Israel as “protest marches”. She portrayed restrictions on the import of dual use goods and weapons to the Gaza Strip as “crippling” while failing to clarify that Israel facilitates the entry of thousands of tons of goods including medical supplies, food, fuel and building materials to the Gaza strip every week.

“But the trade-off is for Hamas to lower the temperature of weekly protest marches along Gaza’s border with Israel, and for Israel to ease its crippling blockade.”

Notably however, readers of this transparent amplification of Hamas’ narrative learned nothing of the long-standing tensions between Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the former’s failure to rein in Baha Abu al Ata which is the background to the recent round of conflict.
Jerusalem to host largest-ever event on anti-Semitism; Putin, Macron to attend
President Reuven Rivlin said Wednesday that some 30 world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron, will be coming to Israel in January to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Jerusalem, in what is expected to be the largest-ever gathering focused on combating anti-Semitism.

Rivlin spoke at a press conference at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem ahead of the Fifth World Holocaust Forum, which will take place on January 23, 2020, at the Yad Vashem museum in the capital under the title “Remembering the Holocaust, Fighting Antisemitism.”

The president said that Putin, Macron and Germany President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen were among the leaders who had confirmed their attendance at the “one of a kind” event.

“In a few weeks I will be joined by heads of states and world leaders whom I have invited to be with me in Jerusalem to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau,” he said. “The presidents of Russia, Germany, France, Italy and Austria together with a representative of the United Kingdom, the king of Spain, the king of Belgium, and many other leaders will come to Jerusalem to discuss how we can fight anti-Semitism.

“We will come together to think about how to pass on Holocaust remembrance to generations who will live in a world without survivors, and what steps we must take to ensure the safety and security of Jews all around the world,” Rivlin added.
Orthodox Jewish Man Walking to Synagogue Brutally Stabbed in New York Town
A 30-year-old Orthodox Jew was in critical condition on Wednesday morning after he was stabbed by unknown assailants in the southern New York town of Monsey while making his way to morning services at a synagogue.

Local media reported that police received a call at 5:49 a.m. alerting them to a pedestrian who was apparently struck by a vehicle outside the synagogue located at 2 Howard Drive. However, when officers arrived at the scene, they discovered that the unconscious victim had been stabbed.

The man was immediately rushed to Westchester Medical Center by a Hatzolah ambulance for emergency surgery.

Early accounts of what took place suggested that he was subjected to multiple stab wounds. The Ramapo, NY police department is now investigating the incident with the assistance of the Rockland County Sheriffs BCI unit and Chaverim of Rockland County, a local volunteer organization.

Lifelong resident and community activist Rivkie Feiner told local news outlet that she could not recall a violent crime like this happening in Monsey.

“I grew up here my whole life, I never remember anything like this happening. Not here in Rockland,” she said.
76-Year-Old Berlin Pensioner Beaten Up in Broad Daylight by Antisemitic Assailant
An elderly man has been viciously beaten up in broad daylight on a Berlin street by a youth who showered him with antisemitic abuse.

According to the BZ online news outlet, the 76-year-old pensioner was walking along the Berliner Strasse in the Pankow district of the German capital at 9 a.m. on Monday when his passage was blocked by a 16-year-old youth and four of his friends.

When the man asked the group to let him pass, the youth aggressively responded, “What do you want, Jew?”

When the elderly man tried to make his way through the group, the 16-year-old punched him several times in the face, causing injuries to his forehead and nose. The assailant was eventually restrained by another passerby, 29-year-old Vincent Seidel, who was himself punched as he pinned the 16-year-old to the ground with his knee.

Police were called to the scene where they arrested the youth, releasing him later in the day into the custody of his father.

According to the police, who have launched an investigation into the incident, the assaulted pensioner was not Jewish.
Despite protests from Jewish groups, Hitler's items go on sale
European Jews are outraged over the auctioning of Nazi memorabilia that belonged to Adolf Hitler and other senior figures in the Third Reich.

Adolf Hitler's hat and his partner Eva Braun's dresses are among the items that were on sale, as were Hermann Göring’s cigarette box and a silver-covered edition of Hitler's Mein Kampf autobiography.

The European Jewish Association (EJA) failed to get the Munich-based Hermann Historica to stop the auction, and it was held as scheduled on Wednesday.

Ahead of the auction, EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin said in a letter that the sale was a disgrace. “You all say ‘Never Again’, make it so,” he wrote. “Selling such items should be no different than selling the personal items belonging to Osama Bin Laden, or Anders Breivik.”
House Hitler was born in will become a police station, Austria says
The house where Adolf Hitler was born will be turned into a police station, Austria's interior minister said, after years of debate over how best to prevent it becoming a pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis.

Having recently carried out a compulsory purchase of the house in Braunau am Inn, a town on the border with Germany, Austria will invite architects to submit plans for a redesign of the building. It will house the local police force's offices, the Interior Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The house's future use by the police should send an unmistakable signal that this building will never again evoke the memory of National Socialism," Interior Minister Wolfgang Peschorn, who serves in a provisional government of civil servants, said.

Local resident Rotraut Staiger said the house still attracted plenty of attention.

"Before, on his (Hitler's) birthday on April 20, lots of people used to come and light candles and place flowers. All of that stopped. Now people come to take pictures," Staiger, who has lived in Braunau for 53 years, said.
Jews in Denmark Report Steep Rise in Antisemitic Incidents Over Past Year
The small Jewish community in Denmark experienced a 50-percent increase in antisemitic attacks in 2018 over the previous year, a new report from the Scandinavian country’s Jewish representative organization has revealed.

Compiled by Det Jødiske Samfund (“The Jewish Community”) — the official body of Danish Jews — the report noted 45 incidents targeting Jews in 2018, compared with 30 incidents the year before. It concluded that after several years of relative peace and stability, an increase in antisemitic attacks had occurred in each of the years since 2015 — when one person was killed in a Feb. 14 terrorist attack against the Great Synagogue in Copenhagen, as a bat mitzvah ceremony was underway.

Denmark is home to between 6,400 and 8,500 Jews, according to the World Jewish Congress (WJC).

Henri Goldstein, the head of the Danish Jewish community, emphasized that the true scale of the antisemitism problem remained unknown, since many incidents went unreported to the police.

“From the incidents we have been able to record, it’s worrying,” Goldstein said in a statement. “The report depicts a negative development that must be taken very seriously.”
Neo-Nazi network member orchestrated Swastika graffiti operation
A prominent member of a neo-Nazi organization was reported to have directed other members to vandalize synagogues in Michigan and Wisconsin in September, according to a criminal complaint that was recently unsealed.

Richard Tobin, 18, from Brooklawn, New Jersey, admitted his role in organizing and directing members of the network’s “Great Lakes Cell” via online forums and encrypted messaging applications to vandalize the synagogues.

The members were told to paint the synagogues with neo-Nazi symbols and slogans as part of “Operation Kristallnacht,” referring to the infamous 1938 organized pogrom against Jews in Germany.

Some of the targets included Temple Jacob in Hancock, Michigan, which was defaced on September 21, followed by the Beth Israel Sinai Synagogue, located in Racine, Wisconsin.

The complaint also notes that the network, called the “The Base,” pushed for “the recruitment of prospective members, the creation of a white ethno-state, acts of violence against minorities (including African-Americans and Jewish Americans)… military training camps, and ways to make improvised explosive devices (IED).”
Prague will return pieces of Jewish gravestones used as cobblestones
Pieces of Jewish gravestones used to pave sidewalks in Prague will be given to the Jewish community to return to the city’s Old Jewish Cemetery.

Headstones from the 19th-century cemetery were cut into cobblestones during roadwork ahead of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s visit to Czechoslovakia in 1987, Radio Prague International reported. The cemetery is no longer used for burials.

The Czech Jewish community has called for the removal and return of the stones for years. Stones uncovered during future excavation work will be returned under the memorandum signed by Prague City Hall, according to Radio Prague International.

A project called Finding the Lost Face of Jewish Cemeteries will try to help identify the fragments, the station reported.
In 1918, the art of an Armenian genocide survivor changed Jerusalem forever
David Ohannessian, the man who almost single-handedly would change the face of Jerusalem, arrived in the city a near-destitute refugee in December 1918 after narrowly surviving the brutal death marches and genocide of the Armenians inflicted by the Turks.

Ohannessian, his wife, and their children were given a single room in the Armenian monastery in the Old City. With thousands of other shattered families taken into the Armenian Quarter, they wore clothes provided by charities and subsisted on food served at long communal tables.

Two years later, Ohannessian established the Dome of the Rock Tiles ceramic workshop and school in the Via Dolorosa. Within a decade, Armenian ceramics had started to change the face of the city, adorning its streets, buildings and many of its most famous landmarks with the distinctive glazed tilework of delicate blues, reds, and greens that became a Jerusalem trademark.

By the time of his death in Beirut in 1953, Ohannessian’s installations could be found in homes and public buildings in Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Britain, France, and even Hollywood — where he won a commission to create a tiled fountain for the mansion of movie mogul Louis B. Mayer.

A century after Ohannessian’s transformation from refugee to artistic visionary, his granddaughter Sato Moughalian releases a definitive and intimate biography, “Feast of Ashes: The Life and Art of David Ohannessian,” telling the life story of this extraordinary man for the first time.
With smart hydrants, faucets and pipes, Israel shows off its water tech
Fire hydrants exist to save lives in case of a conflagration, but they also moonlight — when they malfunction — as a source of gushing water for children to splash around and cool off in during the summer.

Israeli firm HydrantTech aims to stem that deluge, though, with a smart device it developed for fire hydrants that alerts authorities to leaks, water theft or malicious attempts to penetrate a water supply.

“In Chicago alone, some 5 million gallons of water daily” is lost to open fire hydrants or illegal use, said Dovik Barkay, the CEO of the Ramat Yishai-based firm, citing Commissioner Debra Shore of the Metropolitan Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. That costs the city some $9 million a year, he said.

The smart metal device developed by HydrantTech screws onto the mouth of a hydrant, surrounded by sensors. It collects data and sends it to the cloud, from where alerts get sent to control systems or to the phones of specific operatives, who can go fix the problem. The Israeli firm has just started selling its product to water authorities in Haifa, Petah Tikva and Tiberias, Barkay said, and is looking to expand its activities abroad.
Legendary Rock Group 'Deep Purple' Lands in Israel for Concert
Deep Purple plays in Israel and our Emily Frances sat down with the legendary band ahead of their concert.

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 18 years and 38,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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