Thursday, December 26, 2019

From Ian:

UNRWA’s ex-spokesman Chris Gunness glorifies Hamas hanging “collaborators”
In a December 23, 2019 tweet that was just deleted today, Chris Gunness, the spokesman of UNRWA from 2007 until his departure earlier this year, made light about the hanging of “collaborators” by Hamas:

Why is a former top UN official glorifying murder?

This latest rant by Gunness is hardly his first:

Gunness has previously justified the stabbing of Jews, even as he pretended that he didn’t:

Why do the EU, Germany, Britain and Canada give tens of millions of dollars annually to UNRWA, even though its leading officials glorify murder?

Jewish-Arab Cooperation Seen in Israel's Mixed Cities
In Israel's mixed Jewish-Arab cities in the last municipal elections, Arabs running on national party lists or as independent candidates were elected to city councils, and they all, without exception, joined the municipal coalition governments.

In every mixed-population city, one finds close cooperation between Jews and Arabs at every level of municipal activity.

A study by Dr. Hisham Jubran found that 81% of Jewish residents of mixed cities described relations with Arab residents as good, and 89% of the Arab residents described relations with Jewish residents as good.

Arabs - especially young couples and members of the middle class - are moving from Arab communities into mixed cities to improve their quality of life and enjoy better municipal services.
1989 and the rise of Hamas
The year 1989 is often remembered for momentous developments in the Cold War, from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the massacre in Tiananmen Square. Less widely recognized, both then and now, that year also marked the rise of Hamas, the terrorist group that today controls the Gaza Strip. Indeed, were it not for a series of events that took place three decades ago, it is unlikely that Hamas would have become the force in Islamist politics that it is today.

Hamas’s origins predate 1989. They even predate Israel’s 1948 statehood – a fact obscured by several anti-Israel academics and commentators at The Washington Post’s WorldViews blog, Al Jazeera and The Intercept, among others.

The group’s 1988 covenant explicitly states that it is “one of the wings of [the] Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine.” The Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna and expanded rapidly during the 1930s and 40s, aided in part by support from the Axis powers.

A September 22, 1947, US intelligence reports estimated that the Brotherhood’s branch in British-ruled Mandate Palestine had several thousand members, with a headquarters in Jerusalem where, as a neighbor reported, they read from the Koran, prepared for “a jihad,” and chanted “Allah Akbar” after messages from al-Banna were broadcast on a loudspeaker. After Israel’s 1948 War of Independence – in which a contingent of Brotherhood members, many trained by the Egyptian Army, fought in the South – Jordan occupied the West Bank and Egypt held the Gaza Strip. The result was that the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood was split into two separate geographic entities. It would take another war to bring them together.

The 1967 Six Day War ended with both an Israeli victory over the Arab armies and Israeli control of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Ironically, the latter helped unify the two Brotherhood branches. And the former led to a loss in popular support for the Arab nationalism embodied by Egyptian dictator Gamal Abdel Nasser. Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement gained influence at Arab nationalism’s expense.

But as Jonathan Schanzer noted in his 2008 book, Hamas vs. Fatah, “By the late 1970s, the Israelis believed that they had found Fatah’s Achilles’ heel... Fatah had become anxious over the growing influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza,” and arguments between the two movements “sometimes turned violent, spilling into the streets.”

Labour antisemitism whistleblowers reveal spike in cases after Corbyn election
Two whistleblowers who took part in the BBC Panorama exposé Is Labour Antisemitic? have recounted how the number of cases grew massively after Jeremy Corbyn took the leadership in 2015.

Speaking at Limmud Festival in Birmingham, Mike Creighton said that pre-2015, “while I do not have access to data bases, I cannot remember a single case of antisemitism.

“The sort of cases we dealt with were spats between two parliamentary candidates over leafletting. And even these were relatively few in number,” he told Luke Akehurst of We Believe In Israel.

However, Creighton noted, when Ed Miliband opened up the ranks by dropping the joining fee to £3, “people joined who did not share Labour’s values as a democratic socialist party. All sorts of people from the Socialist Workers’ Party and the Stop the War Coalition became members in order to elect their puppet.”

This, he added, “changed the world view of the party and there was an upscale in the number of cases”.

Fellow whistleblower Dan Hogan said that “despite an increase in resources, we never really cleared the backlog of complaints. And there were allegations that the complainants were Mossad agents and the journalists reporting the cases were secretly Jewish.”

Hogan, who like many had to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) after leaving the office where he investigated complaints, said he and others had suffered from mental stress.

He said: “Our team became a target for abuse because we didn’t fit in with the views of Corbyn and Jennie Formby [the General Secretary of the Labour Party], a Corbyn ally. One by one the staff left on sick leave, as did my boss, Sam Matthews [the party’s former head of disputes] who contemplated suicide.”
What Will Trump’s Executive Order on Antisemitism Mean for Jewish Students?
Since its announcement earlier this month, US President Donald Trump’s executive order on combating antisemitism has drawn both praise and criticism, underscoring the tensions that have surrounded efforts to protect Jewish students from a years-long escalation in campus hostility. The ensuing debate has raised valuable questions — foremost among them, whether the order will help those it was designed to protect, and at what cost.

The order itself does not mark the first time that Jews were guaranteed protections under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on “race, color or national origin” in federally-funded programs. Earlier readings of the law had already extended its protections to members of religious groups — including Jews, Muslims and Sikhs — who may face discrimination based on their actual or perceived shared ethnic characteristic.

But a specific definition of antisemitism had not previously been recommended to Title VI enforcement agencies, and the executive order’s embrace of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition and its contemporary examples is what set it apart. It is also what put free speech and anti-Zionist groups on alert, despite the order’s assurance that its enforcers “shall not diminish or infringe upon any right protected under Federal law or under the First Amendment.”

Through its listed examples, the IHRA definition recognizes that anti-Zionism — understood as the rejection of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination — is antisemitic, though it asserts that criticism of Israel “similar to that leveled against any other country” is decidedly not.

Supporters of the definition, among them major Jewish groups in the US and abroad, say it can help Title VI enforcers determine what antisemitism actually is, including when it’s cloaked as legitimate commentary on Israel — the most prominent type of antisemitism students report facing on many campuses, and the trickiest to tackle.
Israeli Student at Columbia Files First Violation of Title VI Lawsuit under Trump’s Executive Order
Jonathan Karten, 23, a senior at Columbia University, who served in the IDF with the rank of Sergeant, on Tuesday filed the first legal action since President Trump’s December 11 executive order applying Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to Jewish Americans.

Karten asserts that the university is in violation of Title VI for discrimination against Jews.

In the complaint, Karten alleges he was subjected to anti-Semitism on campus.

Attorney Brooke Goldstein, who represents Karten, said her client “has been ridiculed and embarrassed because of his religion and his national identity” on campus by members of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) – and by professors.

Goldstein is the executive director of The Lawfare Project – a Jewish civil rights advocacy group that provides legal assistance to Jews who have been targeted because of their faith.

She said Karten was called “a Zionist pig” and other names by members of SJP.

The Executive Order references the path-breaking International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism, which in the American Title VI context would protect Jews on campus from discrimination, including their right to support Jewish self-determination (Zionism) in the Land of Israel.

The complaint alleges that in April 2019, Karten attended an event for the Columbia chapter of Students Supporting Israel, when “a Columbia professor of Arabic literature … approached the table, interrupted the conversation, pointed at Jonathan and yelled, ‘Don’t believe a word he is saying. He is Mossad.’”
Sky News Arabia blames Israel for Jewish exodus from Arab lands
This is the fourth in a series of posts by CAMERA Arabic (part 1, part 2, part 3) showing how Arabic language news networks, including those affiliated with Western media outlets, frame the topic of Jews who originate from or live in the Middle East and North Africa, by attempting to distinguish between ‘loyal’ Jews and ‘treacherous’ Zionists. (All translations, emphasis and in-bracket remarks are by CAMERA Arabic unless otherwise specified. Almost all links lead to English websites, unless no reliable translation was found.)

In previous posts we sought to reveal how some Arabic-speaking journalists and commentators frame the existence (or more commonly, lack thereof) of Jewish communities in Arab states. Through an analysis of three news items, originating in Egypt and Tunisia, we demonstrated that they approached this volatile topic in the following ways:
- Labeling Jews from Arab states, in the pejorative, as “Zionists” or viewing them as eternal Zionist ‘suspects’
- Expressing joy over a new, “inevitable” choice these Jews face, to support either their homeland or Israel, suggesting that such a dilemma will “help” the Muslim majority that surrounds them to determine their “true” character;
- Glorifying the Jews that have stayed in their Arab country of origin as “true patriots”, maintaining that those Jews renounce Israel in a way that is “no different […] than…us” [Muslims], without providing any evidence that these remaining Jews actually do hate Israel.
- Ignoring the hundreds of thousands of Middle Eastern Jews who moved to Israel.
- Implying that the difference between the Jews who stayed in Arab states and those who emigrated to Israel is that the former resisted “the Israeli temptation” and the latter succumbed to it.

Of course, these can be considered neither acts of unbiased reporting nor attempts to honestly confront the conditions Middle Eastern Jews must face when residing in, or merely visiting, countries their families used to call home for hundreds (in some cases – thousands) of years. More than anything, they reflect the journalists’ own resentment towards Israel and Zionism, as well as their need to express this animosity whenever Judaism is discussed, even absent an Israel angle.
Guardian evokes analogy between Israel’s security fence and Soviet Iron Curtain
Of all the faulty political analogies used over the years by Guardian contributors to demonise Israel, an interview with acclaimed photographer Josef Koudelka, published on Dec. 24 (“Barriers, barbed wire and borders in the head: Josef Koudelka’s Holy Land”) evokes one that’s among the most historically illiterate we’ve come across.

The analogy is evoked early in the piece, when readers are told that the photographer grew up behind the Iron Curtain, in Czechoslovakia. And, it later adds:
Koudelka found himself deeply interested in the barrier built by Israel in the West Bank, which struck a chord because of his own experience of living behind the iron curtain.

Later, we’re told that Koudlka refused suggestions of who to meet to gain some knowledge about the region and the history of, and reasons for, the security fence, preferring instead to discover it “on his own terms”.
“When they offered me to meet a rabbi, some historians, and others, I told them, ‘Thank you, but no. I have this experience from Czechoslovakia. First of all I want to see by myself, and get to my knowledge through my eyes.”

The ignorance of such an analogy is almost incomprehensible.

Though the term “Iron Curtain”, symbolising the totalitarian Soviet Union’s efforts to block itself and its satellite states from contact with the democratic West, was popularized by Winston Churchill’s 1946 speech, it also refers to actual physical fences, such as the ones between Czechoslovakia and liberal Western European countries like West Germany and Austria.
No BBC News follow-up on incident it reported in November
The report told readers that:
“The missiles hit an open sandy area, obliterating what neighbours and relatives described to the BBC as flimsy tin-roofed buildings inhabited by 22 people – the families of two brothers.

There were conflicting local accounts about whether one of them may have been linked to Islamic Jihad.”

On December 24th the IDF published the results of that investigation.
“As part of the investigations, the strike which killed eight members of the A-Sawarkah family, including five children, were killed in the bombing of their home in Deir al-Balah was also investigated.

According to the investigation, the compound was approved by the Southern Command last June and vetted several times later (lastly just days prior to the operation) as an active military compound used by the PIJ with military activity being conducted in the compound in the past as well as during the two days of fighting during Operation Black Belt.

The investigation also stated that when planning and carrying out the attack, it was estimated that no civilians will be harmed as a result of it. Nevertheless, the investigation clarified that even though military activity was conducted in the compound, it was not a closed compound, and in reality civilians were present there.

According to the military, the investigation focused on actions “that could have brought
forward information about civilian activity in the compound, in addition to the military activity that was carried out in the compound.””

To date BBC audiences have not been informed of the findings of that investigation, including the use of the location for terrorist activity during that period of conflict. That means that – as has often been the case in the past – the BBC’s ‘permanent public record’ does not provide the public with the full range of information.
Interview With a Holocaust Denier: A Physics Conundrum
There’s generally a broad line between antisemitic conspiracy theorists and legitimate scientists, but this week, the gap got a little smaller in one particular instance.

On Monday, Dr. Sabine Hossenfelder, a respected physicist and periodic contributor to The New York Times, appeared in a YouTube video with US-born, Japan-based Holocaust denier and self-titled “geopolitical analyst” Ryan Dawson, who interviewed her on problems unrelated to her field during a livestream via his “Antineocon Report” program.

Dawson — who has been banned from platforms such as PayPal, Vimeo, and Google Adsense for his antisemitic, racist, and homophobic hate speech — is known for his highly offensive and extremely disturbing social media activities, including content denigrating noted academic Deborah Lipstadt and denying facts about the Holocaust in a video that lifts and modifies, without authorization, a TED Talk in which she spoke.

Additionally, Dawson has disseminated content on Bitchute — a video-focused website that attracts white supremacists because of its laissez-faire approach to moderation — that supports the ideologies of the terrorist known as the Unabomber, who murdered people by sending them explosive devices, by calling him “legit” and urging people to “read the Unabomber’s manifesto.”

Most disturbingly, Dawson uploaded a video to his YouTube channel that features him saying, “And now, for your moment of zen, an Israeli tank driver getting shot in the face,” followed by violent footage purporting to show exactly that.

The question remains then, why Hossenfelder — a research fellow at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies (FIAS) in Germany whose articles not only have appeared in the Times, but also in Scientific American , PBS’s NOVA blog, and other publications — would deign to appear with Dawson in any capacity, let alone a discussion of physics. Hossenfelder primarily generates opinions and other texts on her blog that don’t, in general, relate to any of Dawson’s ideologies, so it’s possible that she didn’t realize the nature of Dawson’s proclivities.
ADL offers reward to find attackers after 3rd antisemitic assault in a day
Following the recent antisemitic assault in the Brooklyn community of Crown Heights, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) offered a reward on Wednesday of up to $10,000 for information that would lead to the arrest and conviction of perpetrators.

According to the ADL, three violent incidents took place in the New York area within 24 hours, from Monday to Tuesday. The second assault was reported in Manhattan, and an aggravated harassment also took place in Brooklyn.

On Tuesday, police arrested 28-year-old Steven Jorge for assaulting a 65-year-old Orthodox Jew in Midtown Manhattan, the New York Post reported. According to the NYPD, the incident occurred the day before at around 11 a.m. on E. 41st Street near 3rd Avenue. Jorge reportedly approached the victim, who wore a noticeable black kippah, and shouted: “F**k you Jew bastard!” He then allegedly proceeded to assault the victim physically.

Evan Bernstein, regional director for ADL New York and New Jersey, said: “We are appalled at the sheer frequency and aggressive nature of these incidents... They’re made particularly heinous by the fact they are occurring during a time when society is supposed to come together in peace for the holidays, and as the Jewish community is particularly on edge as it’s reeling from the deadly attack in Jersey City on December 10th. Now is the time for society to come together in rejection of this hate, and for public officials and community leaders to speak up, lead by example, and demand meaningful change to protect the Jewish community.”
Mossad Photographer's Pictures on Display For First Time
A series of photos on display in Jerusalem are being shown to the public for the first time. Israeli photographer Sarah Ayal worked for the Mossad taking pictures undercover for defense establishment. Her captured moments provide an intimate look into Israel in the 1950s. i24NEWS Senior Producer Katie Pulverman takes us inside the exhibit.

Israel’s Eurovision show voted best of decade
Eurovision fans voted “Dare to Dream,” the 64th Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, the best Eurovision production of the decade.

Israel had won the privilege of hosting the 2019 Eurovision contest by virtue of Netta Barzilai winning the 2018 contest held in Lisbon.

An estimated 182 million people watched the three-day production last May, produced by Israeli public broadcasting company Kan. It was broadcast live from Tel Aviv to the 41 participating countries and across the rest of the world via YouTube.

The European Broadcasting Union, operator of the contest, asked social-media followers to vote for their favorite Eurovision show of the 2010s based on four categories: stage, songs, voting sequence and overall production value.

The result helps take the sting out of the fact that Israel’s contestant, Kobi Marimi, placed a disappointing 23rd in the 2019 contest. The winner was Duncan Laurence of The Netherlands. Accordingly, the 65th contest will take place next May in Rotterdam.

Over 64 years, the Eurovision Song Contest has grown to become the world’s biggest live music event. Israel has participated 41 times, won first place four times (1978, 1979, 1998, 2018) and hosted the contest three times (1979, 1999 and 2019).

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