Thursday, November 26, 2020

  • Thursday, November 26, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
I don't even know how to wrap my head around this.

Earlier this week it was revealed that, in blatant disregard for COVID guidelines and of people's lives, a Satmar Chassidic group in Brooklyn had held a massive wedding with 7,000 maskless participants.

Mayor DeBlasio decided to give a hefty $15,000 fine to the synagogue that hosts the social hall, Yetev Lev D’Satmar.

Last year we reported about the blatantly antisemitic TruNews network, whose leader, Rick Wiles, said on his show that "Jews ...are deceivers, they plot, they lie, they do whatever they have to do to accomplish their political agenda....People are going to be forced, possibly by this Christmas, to take a stand because of this Jew coup in the United States. ...You have been taken over by a Jewish cabal. The church of Jesus Christ, you’re next. Get it through your head! They’re coming for you. There will be a purge. That’s the next thing that happens when Jews take over a country, they kill millions of Christians."

Earlier this year, Wiles said that COVID was a punishment from God to Jews who don't accept Jesus.

That same Rick Wiles offered to pay the  fine for the Satmar shul - and the Satmars are happy to accept  the cash from the antisemite who wants to incite a religious war in American between Jews and Christians.
Another Satmar account claimed that HQSatmar was fake:
But HQSatmar seems legit to my untrained eye, with far more followers and a feed that seems more in sync with the Satmar community's public political positions. (UPDATE: I'm told that this account does not speak for any segment of Satmar.)

Naturally, people started tweeting to TruNews about their blatant antisemitism, wondering how they can donate money to a synagogue. TruNews' response is mind-blowing:
Suddenly, the Jew-haters at TruNews are claiming that they love Jews - and only hate Zionism! 

The far-Right antisemites are now issuing talking points that are identical to far-Left antisemites! 

And how does the far-Left respond to this?

JewishWorker, a socialist account and website, followed the TruNews/Satmar story with the proper level of astonishment. But then, in response to the far-Right using a far-Left talking point, the anti-Zionist Leftists used a Zionist talking point!

His account name is "Zionism is Goyish" - which sounds exactly like Satmar. But when TruNews befriends Satmar, suddenly the openly anti-Zionist Jewish Worker turns his back on his fellow socialist Left anti-Zionists - who indeed hate 90% of Jews - and effectively calls them antisemites. 

My head is spinning.

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From Ian:

Obama’s revisionist ‘Promised Land’
I have never criticized former U.S. President Barack Obama publicly—neither during my time in the Knesset nor anywhere else—despite my having disagreed with many of his policies. I am of the strong opinion that Israelis should not engage in or interfere with American politics, and I regularly offer a blanket thank you to all American presidents, including Obama, for their economic and military support for Israel.

However, his memoir, A Promised Land, is filled with historical inaccuracies that I feel the need to address. His telling of Israel’s story (at the beginning of Chapter 25) not only exhibits a flawed understanding of the region—which clearly impacted his policies as president—but misleads readers in a way that will forever shape their negative perspective of the Jewish state.

Obama relates, for example, how the British were “occupying Palestine” when they issued the Balfour Declaration calling for a Jewish state. But labeling Great Britain as an “occupier” clearly casts doubt on its legitimacy to determine anything about the future of the Holy Land—and that wasn’t the situation.

While it is true that England had no legal rights in Palestine when the Balfour Declaration was issued in 1917, that changed just five years later. The League of Nations, precursor to the United Nations, gave the British legal rights over Palestine in its 1922 “Mandate for Palestine,” which specifically mentions “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

The League also said that “recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.”

The former president’s noted omission of the internationally agreed-upon mandate for the British to establish a home for the Jews in Palestine misinforms the reader, who will conclude that the movement for a Jewish state in Palestine had no legitimacy or international consent.

“Over the next 20 years, Zionist leaders mobilized a surge of Jewish migration to Palestine,” Obama writes, creating the image that once the British illegally began the process of forming a Jewish state in Palestine, Jews suddenly started flocking there.

Supreme Court Blocks Cuomo’s Limits On Synagogues, Churches in Thanksgiving Ruling
The Supreme Court sided with a coalition of Orthodox Jewish groups and the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn Thursday in an emergency appeal that alleged New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D.) COVID-related worship restrictions discriminate against Jews and violate the First Amendment.

The vote in the early Thanksgiving morning ruling was five to four, with Chief Justice John Roberts and the liberal trio in dissent. "Statements made in connection with the challenged rules can be viewed as targeting the ‘ultra-Orthodox Jewish' community. But even if we put those comments aside, the regulations cannot be viewed as neutral because they single out houses of worship for especially harsh treatment," the majority wrote in an unsigned opinion.

Cuomo's contested regulations establish three kinds of hotspot zones with corresponding restrictions. In red zones, where transmission is highest, church attendance is capped at 10. In less severe orange zones, that number is 25, while houses of worship in yellow zones may open at 50 percent attendance. A portion of Brooklyn and about half of Queens are currently in yellow zones.

"It is time—past time—to make plain that, while the pandemic poses many grave challenges, there is no world in which the Constitution tolerates color-coded executive edicts that reopen liquor stores and bike shops but shutter churches, synagogues, and mosques," Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in defense of the ruling.

Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory.

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brownies2Bat-Yam, November 26 - Sources close to the father of a local family reported today that he has yet to receive an explanation from the social media giant Twitter as to its failure to date to indicate his wife's mother's post last week asserting that her baked chocolate snack food has proved superior to all others, even as the company rushes to append such disclaimers to other, less manifestly-false tweets, notably those surrounding the recent US presidential election results.

Boris Gurevich, 34, voiced exasperation and confusion Thursday upon discovering that despite his reporting it on the day she posted, Twitter has yet to append a 'This claim is disputed' alert to his mother-in-law Iris Mandel's tweet last weekend to the effect that her brownie recipe remains far and away the best on the planet. Mr. Gurevich noted that Twitter's alacrity in combating misinformation in some contexts makes this omission all the more glaring and damaging.

"Twitter can't take half measures here," insisted the father of three. "Once the company started down the road of plying arbiter of what's reliable and what's not reliable among its users' content, anything it doesn't label a 'disputed' or 'official sources called the results of this differently' by default enjoys the imprimatur of credibility. I know for sure that's just not the case. My own mother's brownies are far superior to Iris's in every possible way. I even offered to send [Twitter CEO] Jack Dorsey samples to prove it, but nothing. Zero. It's almost as if Twitter only cares about certain perspectives."

"In terms of flaky top, chewiness, richness, sweetness, salt, and of course chocolatiness, there's objectively, demonstrably, manifestly no question whose product is better," he continued, his voice rising. "I know it. My whole side of the family knows it. Even some folks on my wife's side of the family acknowledge it. My wife and kids claim not to notice or care, but I know they don't want to be seen as taking sides, and I respect that. Even though I know they agree with me. And you know what? It's fine for Iris to make that claim. People make all sorts of exaggerations in everyday communication. But for Twitter to assume the mantle of fact-checker and then fail to do its due diligence when faced with such a flagrant flouting of objective, measurable fact, well, that calls into question the whole enterprise of that fact-checking. Next you're going to tell me they also haven't labeled any propaganda tweets by Palestinian leaders, either."

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By Daled Amos

Following the news of Israel's peace agreement with the UAE and Bahrain, we had a laugh at John Kerry's expense when we watched the 2016 video of Kerry assuring his audience that peace between Israel and the Arab world without first resolving the Palestinian question just wasn't possible.

And Kerry knew this because he had, even a week earlier, spoken to "leaders of the Arab community."

It would be interesting to know just what Kerry said to those Arab leaders -- and what exactly they said to him in response.

Did he misinterpret what they said to him?
Did those leaders intentionally mislead Kerry?

It certainly wouldn't be the first incident of an apparent 'miscommunication" between Arab leaders and a member of the US government.

In a recent post, Judean Rose asks: Joe Biden’s First Meeting with Golda Meir: Did it Lead to the Yom Kippur War? The basis for the question is a Twitter thread by Nadav Eyal, Chief International Correspondent for Reshet News.

Once again, Arab officials apparently misled a US politician as to what they were thinking about Israel.

Joe Biden (YouTube screencap)

But apparently, this is not limited to US politicians.
As a matter of fact, Arab leaders have been known to mislead other Arab leaders as well.

In his book The Arab Mind, Raphael Patai tells a story from the eve of the 1948 Israeli War of Independence:
Musa Alami, the well-known Palestinian Arab leader, made a tour of the Arab capitals to sound out the leaders with whom he was well acquainted. In Damascus, the President of Syria told him:
I am happy to tell you that our Army and its equipment are of the highest order and well able to deal with a few Jews; and I can tell you in confidence that we even have an atomic bomb...Yes, it was made locally; we fortunately found a very clever fellow, a tinsmith...(p. 53-54) [emphasis added]
Patai gives another example, this one from the Six Day War, when on the first day (June 5, 1967) the commander of the Egyptian forces in Cairo sent a message to the Jordanian front:
that the Israeli air offensive was continuing. But at the same time, he insisted that the Egyptians had put 75 per cent of the Israeli air force out of action. The same message said that U.A.R. bombers had destroyed the Israeli bases in a counter-attack, and that the ground forces of the Egyptian army had penetrated into Israel by way of the Negev! (p. 109)
If Egypt had been honest with Jordan from day 1, Hussein might not have entered the war, and Jordan would have retained control of Judea and Samaria -- and the Kotel.

But behind these examples of miscommunication, there are issues of Arab culture. 

For example, the story about the tinsmith is pure exaggeration, what Patai refers to as the "spell of (Arabic) language," namely the "prediliction for exaggeration and overemphasis  [which] is anchored in the Arabic language itself" (p. 55)

As for Egypt's deception of Jordan, Patai describes it as wajh, or an attempt to avoid loss of face. In fact, Patai blames King Hussein's years in England for his failure to see this for what it was:
Had Hussein not lost, during his formative years spent in England, the ear for catching the meaning behind the words which is an indispensable prerequisite of true communication among Arabs, he would have understood that a real victory over Israel would have been announced by Amer and Nasser in a long tirade of repetitious and emphatic assertions, and that the brief and for Arabs, totally unusual factual form of the statement betrayed it for what it actually was: a face-saving device, a reference not to a real, but to an entirely imaginary victory. [emphasis in original] (p. 112-3)
But what about Biden and Kerry?

Again, without knowing what each side actually said, it is impossible to know what went on.
But their misunderstanding of their Arab hosts might be due to the Arab concept of shame.

Patai distinguishes between shame, which is "a matter between a person and his society," and guilt which is "a matter between a person and his conscience" -- or as he puts it: "A hermit in a desert can feel guilt; he cannot feel shame."
One of the important differences between the Arab and the Western personality is that in the Arab culture, shame is more pronounced than guilt...What pressures the Arab to behave in an honorable manner is not guilt but shame, or, more precisely, the psychological drive to escape or prevent negative judgement by others. [p. 113]
We tend to associate the Arab concept of shame/honor with of 'honor killings,' but there are implications on a national level too.

In his preface to the 1976 edition of his book, Patai writes that although Egypt lost the Yom Kippur War, the fact that they caught Israel by surprise and were able to initially gain the upper hand, allowed the Egyptians to perceive the war as a victory, and cleared the way for peace negotiations:
A manifestation of this new Arab self-confidence is the willingness to enter into disengagement agreements with Israel. It is, in this connection, characteristic that it is precisely Egypt, the country that won what it considers a victory over Israel, which has embarked on the road of negotiation with her....It is quite clear that the feeling of having demonstrated strengh is for an Arab state a psychological prerequisite of discussing adjustments and reaching understanding with an enemy. [emphasis added] (xxiii - xxv)
How would shame/honor manifest itself in discussions between Arabs and Westerners?

In his 1989 book, The Closed Circle: An Interpretation of the Arabs, David Pryce-Jones writes about
Kenneth Pendar, an American intelligence officer whose task it was to persuade Moroccans to side with the Allies during the last war, expressed the difficulties of conducting a negotiation in which he expected a yes or a no from people unable to commit themselves to either, because they could not tell who would win the war and acquire honor or who would lose and be shamed. [emphasis added] (p. 45)

 Pryce-Jones goes on to quote Henry Kissinger, who complained of the difficulty of negotiating with the Saudis because of their style that was "at once oblique and persistent, reticent and assertive" based on the allocation of honor or shame.

Based on this, one can imagine that Kerry and Biden could each have easily misinterpreted what they heard in accordance with what they wanted to pass on to their respective audiences.

Interestingly, when Patai writes about the confidence the Yom Kippur Was instilled into the Arab world in 1973, he contrasts Egypt -- which considers the Yom Kippur War a victory -- with other Arab countries that either cannot make such a claim or have never fought Israel, and are therefore opposed to negotiation.

That would seem to rule out Jordan and Sudan, on the one hand, and the UAE and Bahrain on the other.

But King Hussein making peace with Israel is not surprising, considering his tenuous control over his country, the majority of whom are Palestinian Arabs. There was leverage the US could apply, even if the peace treaty itself could cause trouble for Hussein at home.

Considering the leverage that the US applied to Sudan, that country also had a lot to gain. But both Egypt and Jordan have a cold peace with Israel and the Arabs in both countries have expressed their hatred of Jews and Israel. It's not clear that the situation in Sudan is any better.

What about UAE and Bahrain?

Some have belittled the Abraham Accords because those 2 countries have never actually been involved in a war with Israel.

But maybe that is the point.

Egypt and Jordan fought against Israel, and whatever the considerations on the government level -- on a national level, Israel remains an enemy in the eyes of the Egyptian and Jordanian people, regardless of the benefits Israel has to offer and are nowhere near normalizing relations. There is an absence of a state of war, but the mood of belligerence persists.

Not so with UAE and Bahrain, which has never fought Israel. 

The intent of the Abraham Accords is not to bring peace in order to end a state of war -- instead the point is to normalize relations, a goal that is conceivable for UAE and Bahrain, but not for Egypt and Jordan, which still cannot go beyond a 'cold peace,' let alone a full, real peace.

In November 2017, Mordechai Kedar wrote The Ten Commandments for Israeli negotiations with Saudi Arabia, which he described as "immutable principles" for negotiating with Saudi Arabia "and any other Arab nations who wish to live in peace with the Jewish State."

One of those principles is the need for normalizing relations as opposed to just making peace:
10. Peace with the Saudis must entail more than just a ceasefire with an attached document ("Salaam" in Arabic) . Israel agreed to that in the case of Egypt and Jordan as a result of the ignorance of those running the negotiations on Israel's side.

Israel must insist on complete normalization ("sulh" in Arabic), which includes cultural, tourist, business, industrial, art, aeronautical, scientific, technological, athletic and academic ties and exchanges, etc. If Israel participates in international events taking place in Saudi Arabia, the Israeli flag will wave along with those of other countries, and if Israel is the victor in any sports competition in Saudi Arabia, the Hatikva anthem will be played, as it is when other countries win medals. Israeli books will be shown at book fairs, and Israeli products officially displayed at international exhibitions taking place in Saudi Arabia.

An economic document, whose details I am not in a position to elaborate, but which must be an addendum to the agreement, is to be based on mutual investments and acquisitions as well as a commitment to non- participation in boycotts. [emphasis added]
This is what we are seeing now.

A foreshadowing for what is possible is in another comment by Patai, where he addresses the "Arab street" that today we are told is supposedly ready at any moment to rise up in protest, yet whose anger Trump has somehow been able to avoid these past 4 years:
The volatility of Arab reaction to the October War was paralleled four years later by the rapid evaporation of Arab wrath over President Satat's initiative in establishing direct contact with Israel. This was observed by Fuad Moughrabi, professor of political science and co-editor of the Arab Studies Quarterly, in 1980:
The Arab world reacted strongly and passionately to Sadat's visit to Jerusalem. But contrary to what many had expected, the intensity of the reaction was not followed by any concrete, effective steps to neutralize the conseqauences of the visit. Sadat did the unthinkable and got away with it. (p. 339)
Moughrabi wrote this in 1980.
Sadat was assassinated in 1981 -- by the extremist Muslim Brotherhood.

Back then, Arab opposition to Sadat was not directed against the idea of peace, but against the Camp David Accords themselves, which removed Egypt as a participant in the war against Israel -- a war which was supposed to benefit the cause of the Palestinian Arabs.

Today, with the Arab support for the Palestinian Arab cause at its lowest ebb, there are genuine prospects for continuing what the Trump administration started.

That is, assuming that this time around Biden actually listens to what the Arab leaders are saying.

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From Ian:

Al Arabiy: Fight against Islamist terror must begin with opposing extremist ideas
Look at who were the top figures in the Muslim world from different countries that came out and issued provocative and reprehensible statements subtly or overtly justifying the terrorists in the recent weeks. All of them belonged to one ideological spectrum, albeit minor differences between them – political Islam. While religion as faith always elevated human beings to heights of nobility and grace, religion as ideology unleashed mindless violence on a genocidal scale.

We stand with the victims of all terror attacks. We disagree with the controversial cartoons, and, as a Muslim, I am offended by them but I can realize the underlying politics, ongoing exploitation and manipulation that are pursued behind this issue for political purposes. Linking the Prophet Muhammad, who represents a great sanctity amongst Muslims and is far too great to have his name and status exploited in cheap politicized campaigns, to violence and politicization is unacceptable.

Terrorist attacks are not Islam, they are the Islamist interpretation of Islam, and will always deserve our unqualified condemnation, and whole-hearted support in uprooting its terror.

That is precisely the spirit with which our Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan participated at the unity rally where hundreds of thousands of the French people and tens of world leaders gathered in Paris in 2015 to condemn terror attacks on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo killing of hostages in a restaurant and a Jewish supermarket.

The sad truth, however, is that we are exactly where we were five years ago because nothing was done to curb the murderous Islamist propaganda in Europe. It is high time European authorities paid closer and urgent attention to the tumor spreading far and wide in their midst. As for the UAE, we are clear-headed in our opposition to extremism and terrorism in all forms and speak out against them without the ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ customary in some circles. We believe that opposition to extremist ideas, alongside promotion of cultural and religious tolerance and harmonious coexistence, is the only way to root out the scourge of terrorism.

Khaled Abu Toameh: Why Palestinians Owe Arabs an Apology
The Palestinian decision to renew ties with Israel comes at a time when the Palestinian media is continuing to condemn other Arabs for engaging in normalization with Israel.

"They [the Palestinians] were trampling on the pictures of our leaders. But we have not seen them trampling on the pictures of Abbas." — Emirati social media user BintUAE1900, Twitter, November 18, 2020.

Several Palestinians and Arabs took to social media to demand sarcastically that the PA withdraw its ambassador from Ramallah to protest its own decision to "normalize" relations with Israel.

The PA leadership's decision to restore ties with Israel and return the Palestinian ambassadors to the UAE and Bahrain is viewed by some Palestinians as an apparent attempt to cozy up to a possible new US administration under the presumptive new President-elect Joe Biden. Abbas is also likely hoping that in return, the US and some Gulf states will resume pouring money into the PA coffers -- for a start.
Alan Baker: Belgium Supports Illegal Construction in the West Bank and Then Demands Compensation
Belgium is providing financial and political support and sponsorship to illegal Palestinian construction projects in Area C of the West Bank and is demanding compensation for Israel’s dismantling of these illegally constructed buildings.

The Oslo Accords between the PLO and Israel provide that Area C is under the sole administration and control of Israel, pending negotiation of a permanent status agreement between them.

In supporting and financing such illegal construction, Belgium openly admits to undermining the internationally accepted Oslo Accords, to which, as a member of the European Union, Belgium is a signatory as a witness. As such, Belgium is openly supporting endeavors by the Palestinian leadership and hostile organizations aimed at undermining and obstructing Israel’s legal and security control in Area C with a view to influencing the outcome of any future negotiation between the parties.

Belgium’s own national legislation prohibits illegal building in violation of its Belgian planning and zoning regulations and enables the destruction of structures built without the requisite permits.

In openly supporting and encouraging illegal building in Area C, in condemning Israel’s actions to prevent such illegal building, and in its demand for compensation, Belgium is acting with audacity and hypocrisy.

Belgium has a sad history of political and legal activity aimed at undermining the legitimacy of Israel’s security policies, including active support for organizations acting against the legitimacy of Israel and a failed attempt in its courts to accuse a former Israeli defense minister and senior military officials of involvement in war crimes.
Oxfam put out this infographic:

Is the olive harvest season essential to the Palestinian economy?

Let's look at some of the statistics.

How important is agriculture to the Palestinian economy? 

In 2016, agriculture contributed 3.16% of the Palestinian GDP. Which means that the olive harvest contributes less than one percent of the Palestinian economy.

If Oxfam cares about the Palestinian economy so much, they should be insisting that the PA stops paying terrorists and their families - an amount that is more than double the total olive oil revenue!

Let's do the math. 

This means that each family's income from olive harvest is on $1480 a year. 

The average Palestinian income for one worker is over $20,000 a year. 

Which means that these 100,000 families are either starving or they make most of their money doing other jobs, and the olive harvest is a sideline that they only work on a small amount of the year. (In most cases, the husband has a regular job and the wife will spend a few weeks a year on the olive harvest to supplement their main income.) 

At any rate, olive oil isn't the critical economic powerhouse that Oxfam pretends.

Now, what about the supposed huge number of vandalized trees by "settlers?" Oxfam claims 1475 trees damaged this year. 

There are about 8 million fruit bearing olive trees in the territories. If 1475 of them were destroyed completely, that would come out to total damage worth of about $27,000. 

The research and design for this poster probably cost Oxfam more than $27,000!

If you look at the categories of damage listed, you can see that most of the alleged damages still would allow harvesting of some olives, so the real damage is even less. The number of fruit bearing trees cut down completely is probably zero, since olive trees are extraordinarily difficult to cut down or uproot.

And Oxfam is relying on lies to even come up with these figures. In tiny, tiny type, it says - absurdly:

No, Oxfam, the actual incidents are definitely lower. The Palestinian Authority deliberately lies about the attacks by settlers - for example, often claiming that religious Jewish settlers are cutting down olive trees on Shabbat, or showing photos of obviously pruned olive trees and pretending that they were cut down by Jews. 

The number 1475 is highly exaggerated, which means that the total damage from "settlers" is minuscule compared to the total yield.

And one more thing: even with all the terrible Israeli restrictions and settler violence alleged, somehow the olive crop last year broke all records

This poster is a perfect example of lying with facts. Oxfam doesn't say anything that is not truthful here, but it gives an impression of widespread, massive damage to the Palestinian economy by "settlers" and Israel that is completely false.

(h/t Tomer Ilan)

UPDATE: There is no doubt that the dollar value of damage from Gaza firebomb balloons this year far outstrips the damage to olive trees. How much effort has Oxfam made against the firebombs?

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  • Thursday, November 26, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

EU High Representative Joseph Borrell made statements about the Abraham Accords. In general he is OK with them, but there is always a "however...."

Madame President, Honourable Members, thank you very much for having this opportunity to address you today on a very important issue, the geopolitical implications of the recent agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and, recently, Sudan. And maybe many more in the future.

On behalf of the European Union, I have welcomed these announcements...

However, although these agreements bring positive developments, it is clear that they all focus on the broader regional picture.... As we have always said, there will not be sustainable peace and stability in the region without a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict and, in particular, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, on the basis of a negotiated and viable two-state solution, built upon the internationally agreed parameters.
The implication is that there is still something wrong with agreements between Israel and Arab nations that do not end the Israel/Palestinian conflict.

The idea of "linkage," that everything in the Middle East depends on Israel making Palestinians happy, is so ingrained in the EU that even when agreements prove it is not true, they want it to be true. Which means that they are unhappy with a Jewish state being accepted as a permanent feature of the Middle East unless the impossible happens first.

Later on, Borell again shows he is less than enthusiastic about these agreements, trying to downplay them as much as he can:

This normalisation of the relations has to be considered within the complex reality in the region. The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have never been technically at war with Israel. So, to call that a peace agreement without having had a war may be an exaggeration.

Normalization is much, much more significant than a technical peace agreement - but Borell wants to pretend that it is no big deal.

But, as I said, in any case it is a positive approach that reflects a somewhat transactional rather than transformative approach....
It is clear that this normalisation comes after other strategic considerations, such as gaining military [advantages] – F35 fighters for the Emirates - or economic advantages - economic deals with Emirates and Bahrain - or for Sudan, a major gain to get out of its international isolation, by taking it off from the States Sponsors of Terrorism list, which is a major win for Sudan and its economy is on the verge of collapse and baldy needs outside investment. All these things, for sure, are being taken into consideration in these kind of agreements.
This also mimics the responses of anti-Israel pundits towards the accords. And it is false, at least for the UAE. While the F-35s were a factor, the enthusiasm shown by the UAE and its citizens for the agreements is transformational not only for the Gulf but for the entire Middle East. Arabic media across the board has shown more openness to Israel and Jews than ever before. There are discussions in public about Iraq and Lebanon eventually normalizing, as unlikely as that seems - but even the topic was off limits a few months ago. 

Not only that, but Arab nations that still cannot trade with Israel directly can trade through the UAE, increasing significantly Israel's trade with the entire Arab world, not just the UAE and Bahrain.

Also, didn't Egypt receive billions of dollars in aid - plus control over the Sinai - for making peace with Israel? Didn't Jordan receive land and aid as well? Is that not also "transactional?" Does that in any way take away from how important those deals were?

Saying it is not transformative reveals Borell's own wishful thinking, not reality.  It shows that he is really uncomfortable with peace happening in ways that the EU wasn't involved in, using a paradigm that the EU still rejects. 

(h/t Irene)

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  • Thursday, November 26, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

Talk about evergreen headlines!

The Palestine Information Center has screaming headlines every day - in English -  that Jews visit the Temple Mount, almost invariably saying that the Jews are "defiling" the holiest Jewish spot.

These are only 10 of the headlines - from November alone!

Sometimes is it "scores of settlers," sometimes "hordes." Always "settlers." Always "defiling." 

This is every month - hundreds of these headlines.

And the photos show how terribly those Jews are acting.

How disgusting these defiling Jews are!

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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Vic Rosenthal's weekly column

Binyamin Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by prize recipient Lord David Trimble, who got it in 1998. Trimble was honored for his part in negotiations leading to the Good Friday Agreement that brought relative peace to Northern Ireland.

In my opinion, the Abraham Accords represent the first ray of light in the darkness of the Arab-Israeli conflict since 1948, and if I were a Nobel recipient I would have nominated Donald Trump and Jared Kushner as well.

Of course the chances of Netanyahu receiving anything but abuse from the “international community” of which the Nobel committee is a pillar, are close to zero. The United Nations and the human rights industry, much of it set up in direct response to the industrial murder of European Jewry by the Nazis and their enthusiastic helpers over almost all of Europe, have ironically embraced the would-be genocidaires of the PLO, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the revolutionary Iranian regime. Especially since the year 2000 (see this brilliant analysis by Mark Pickles and Richard Landes), international institutions and NGOs have picked up and carried the flags of misoziony and Judenhass relinquished by the Soviets and the Nazis.

The USA was more or less neutral with respect to Israel (although its Jewish community strongly supported her) until the 1973 war, when it adopted Israel as its Cold War proxy. But soon after, thanks to OPEC’s devastatingly effective “oil weapon,” US policy became ambivalent. Henry Kissinger negotiated multifaceted agreements with the Arabs which resulted in ending the oil boycott; but one of the conditions was that the US would work to restore all territory conquered by Israel in 1967 to Arab control. Until Trump’s presidency, this was firm American policy, followed by relatively pro-Israel presidents like Clinton and Bush II, less friendly ones like Bush I, and anti-Israel ones like Carter and Obama alike.

The policy required a certain degree of cognitive dissonance from American politicians (not to mention the liberal Jews that supported them). It was necessary for them to advocate the transfer of strategically essential territory from Israeli to Arab control, while still at least appearing to support Israel’s continued survival. This they did by providing military aid. A master stroke, the massive aid package for Israel and Egypt that began with the Camp David agreement got Israel out of the Sinai, provided the US with leverage to control Israel’s behavior, and enriched American defense contractors. Later, it served as a fig leaf to hide the dangers of withdrawal inherent in demands for Israel to leave Gaza, the Golan, and Judea and Samaria.

Anti-Israel politicians like Barack Obama had less of an internal struggle than friendly ones. With the help of the Israeli Left, he argued counterfactually that security would come from territorial concessions. His policy was to weaken Israel while pretending to help her, for example by phasing out the portion of the military aid that could be used to buy from Israel’s own military industry. No matter what he did to damage Israel’s strategic position, he could always point to those billions of dollars in military hardware as proof of his support for the Jewish state. But whether an administration was friendly or not, the policy was always fundamentally incoherent. It also distorted internal Israeli politics, leading to disasters like the Oslo Accords.

Trump turned everything upside down. New technology that increased oil production in North America and various other developments had defused the oil weapon. In addition, some of the important Middle Eastern oil producers were worried about Iranian expansionism and its nuclear program, and realized that Israel could be an indispensable ally in opposing it. American interests were now seen to lie with a strong Israel, in truth and not just in rhetoric.

So for the first time since 1973, Trump’s administration was able to introduce a reality-based policy, affirming the rationality of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and Jerusalem, and ending the obsequious treatment of the frankly terrorist PLO and its dictatorial Palestinian Authority. Under the Trump plan, the Palestinians would be required to give up their maximalist demands and make real compromises, if they wanted a state of any kind.

But as almost everyone finally admits, the clock has run out. There will not be a second Trump Administration. The new one, depressingly, seems firmly wedded to the old paradigm. Although most (not all!) of his appointments do not appear to be overt enemies of the Jewish state, Biden seems likely to restore the traditional deference (and funding) to the Palestinians, as well as to try to reopen negotiations about the JCPOA with Iran, which at the very least implies that sanctions on Iran will be reduced.

This is not because Biden and his people are idiots. They are fully aware that things have changed, and that the oil weapon no longer threatens America. But now the pressure comes from the home front. They can’t afford to alienate the misozionist left wing of the Democratic party, which has grown stronger in Congress. They don’t worry about American Jews, for whom Israel has little weight when they vote. They can ignore the Evangelicals, who will support Republicans anyway over social issues like abortion and LGBTx rights. And of course, they want to wipe out any traces of Trumpism. Staying in power and achieving domestic objectives is more important to them than logical consistency, or the negative consequences for America’s allies in the Middle East.

So we will go back to hearing platitudes about the “unbreakable” US-Israel relationship, while the administration complains about Israel building apartments in Jewish neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem. What appeared to be a real possibility that Israel would extend sovereignty to the Jordan Valley – an area of extreme strategic importance – will fade away. We’ll watch as the US goes back to pretending that the failed and antisemitic United Nations can play a positive role in any sphere, and that the PLO can be made into a peace partner. Sanctions on Iran will be relaxed, emboldening the regime to push ahead on the ground and with its nuclear and missile programs.

A dark picture. Israel has a difficult four or eight years ahead of her, at least. There will be little room for mistakes and missed opportunities. It looks like we will shortly go through yet another round of elections. Is it too much to ask that we end up with a government equal to the task?

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
From Ian:

Ruthie Blum: Can anti-Semites combat anti-Semitism?
If George Orwell is spinning in his grave these days, he's likely rolling so hard with laughter that it's bringing him and the rest of us to tears. An upcoming webinar on Jew-hatred is but one of many recent examples of phenomena that even the prescient social critic, whose essays and novels predicted with chilling accuracy the world that has unfolded since World War II, couldn't have anticipated.

The Dec. 15 event – called "Dismantling Antisemitism, Winning Justice" – is being hosted by the left-wing, anti-Israel NGO Jewish Voice for Peace, and moderated by JVP and JVP Action deputy director Rabbi Alissa Wise.

Its equally radical co-sponsors are JVP Action, If Not Now, United Against Hate, Jewish Currents, Foundation for Middle East Peace, Arab American Institute, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, the Jewish Vote, and the People's Collective for Justice and Liberation.

According to JVP, anti-Semitism "is used to manufacture division and fear, [and] while anyone can fuel it, [it] always benefits the politicians who rely on division and fear for their power."

The group didn't have to specify which "politicians" it has in mind, but it's obvious that they are in the camp of US President Donald Trump. The stated aim of the online happening is to "explore how to fight back against anti-Semitism and against those that seek to wield charges of antisemitism to undermine progressive movements for justice."

Again, the reference is clear: Trump's team and voters are simultaneously guilty of anti-Semitism and of hurling false allegations of anti-Semitism at innocent progressives, whose only wrongdoing is to seek peace and justice.

To engage in this "discussion," whose purpose is to reach a foregone conclusion – namely, that anti-Semitism is spread by the Republican right – the sponsors of the conference enlisted four apt anti-Israel panelists: Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), columnist Peter Beinart, Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill and the University of Illinois at Chicago academic Barbara Ransby.
When Anti-Zionism becomes Anti-Semitism
Context provides one clue. Political attitudes and statements do not take place in a vacuum. And over the past few years there is no doubt that there has been a palpable rise in overtly threatening anti-Semitic sentiment, a rise that by no means has been limited to college campuses. This sentiment has also, alarmingly, metamorphosed into action.

This is the context, a fraught atmosphere, in which anti-Semitism is becoming increasingly acceptable and, for some, easily translated into virulent anti-Israel attitudes. Israel becomes the easily available vessel into which long-repressed, traditional, anti-Jewish attitudes can be poured.

This applies to the question of double standards. Some consistently portray Israel in demonic, evil terms ignoring its democratic parliamentary system and the increasing integration of its Arab citizens into the life of the country. It is a lie to accuse Israel of engaging in apartheid, racism and ethnic cleansing. It is this special venom, this single-minded animus, this double-standard that masks an anti-Zionism that is no less than an anti-Semitism repackaged.

The best way to address anti-Semitism is to understand it. In order to understand it one needs to be able to define it. Adoption of the complete International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition and examples of anti-Semitism is a critical first step to stopping Jew hatred in its tracks. If the United Nations, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates can do it, so too should any American institution be able to.

All this is taking place in a self-righteous, moralistically indignant “cancel culture’” intent on demonizing and delegitimizing the other. Thankfully, the First Amendment permits free speech, which also permits hateful speech, whether racist or anti-Semitic. The answer to hate speech is more speech, not silencing other viewpoints or excluding individuals because of their race, ethnicity or religion.

Universities properly condemn all forms of injustice and they need to begin to condemn anti-Semitism, especially when it denies the right of self-determination, a right of all peoples. No student should feel that there is a conflict between standing up for social and racial justice and compromising their identity; no Jewish student should feel that they should conceal their identity because they feel a connection to the State of Israel (or out of fear abandon that connection).

Both faith and their historical experience have rendered Jews particularly sensitive to discrimination of all kinds. Either when it is explicit or when it is in the form of dog whistles, these exclusionary measures are unacceptable. As Lauren Nesher, a senior at UIUC said: “The answer to anti-Semitic speech is never to do nothing. Just like the answer to racist speech is never to do nothing.”

Shirley Kopelman Meyers, January 10, 1927-November 8, 2020

I like to tell people I made aliyah when I was young and stupid and that that’s the way to do it. When I made aliyah at the age of 18, I wasn’t thinking about what it would be like to have an aging parent far away, and not be able to help. I didn’t think about how, someday, in middle age, I would long to care for my mother, as I only I would have cared for her had I been there. But I was not there, except in fits and starts, two-week visits that were somehow never enough for either of us. And now she’s gone.

In the middle of the morning, the message came: “Our mother went to the true world this morning.”

I was not even surprised. I had seen it coming. She was 93. She was fading. This was Sunday morning, and she had fallen asleep in the middle of our last phone call, on Thursday night.

I watched her funeral on Zoom. Which was a blessing. I always knew I would not be going to the States for her funeral, as she had forbidden me to do so, some years ago.

A child of the Great Depression, my mother was practical. She didn’t see the point of me spending all that money on a ticket when she wouldn’t even be there to see me. Never mind that in some respects, the rituals are for those who remain. My mother had made her wishes clear, and I was stuck with respecting those wishes, and her.

Because of the Depression, she couldn't go to college. But at age 46, widowed with 4 children, she became a student at the University of Pittsburgh. It took her 8 years, but she got her degree in journalism. 

Had there not been a pandemic, perhaps no one would have thought to set up that Zoom funeral I got to see, so at least I had that: the beautiful chill autumn day, some red and gold leaves still on the trees in the Beth Shalom Cemetery, in Millvale, Pa. 

We visited my dad a few years ago. Now she is next to him.

On the other hand, had there not been a pandemic, I might have been able to see her one last time. But I was terrified at the thought of picking up the virus during my travels and that I might somehow, unwittingly, bring it to her, when I loved her almost as much as life itself. The thought of making her sick was paralyzing, in its most literal meaning. That thought kept me here in place in Israel, and far away from her.

And I think that was difficult for her. Knowing that I wasn’t going to be there that one more time. Perhaps—at least a little—she gave up hope that I would ever come again. It was not going to happen: a thing that made life worth living when she could no longer walk, see or hear, a visit from her baby.

It hurts that I hurt her that way. And it hurts that I lost my mom. But in spite of the terrible pain of losing my mother—of missing out on being able to care for her as only I would have cared for her—in spite of depriving her of my presence at the end, and missing her funeral, I do not regret making aliyah. “Non, je ne regrette rien.”

I regret nothing.

Is aliyah a selfish act? In some ways, no doubt, it is.

There’s no doubt it was excruciating for my mother not to have me with her all these years, when she loved and needed me so. It was I who picked up and left Pittsburgh to make aliyah to Israel. I who made the decision, and simply did it—made aliyah—when I was young and stupid, and unaware of what the future held. It was painful for my mother to not be close by my children, her grandchildren, whom she loved so dearly.

I put out photos of my mother in the shiva house, and there was one photo where you could see just the edge of her face, and she was glowing with love for a newborn grandchild she held, and you could see it, that love, though much of the picture was in shadow, including the object of her love, obscured. How it must have hurt her, to be so far away from them, her grandchildren, whom she would have loved to have cuddled and loved and known.

As evening fell on the day my mother died, Z”L, my rabbi’s wife came to my house to help me do kria, to help me tear my shirt just over the heart, as one does for a mother. “This is the price of aliyah,” I said to her, and she knew what I meant: that I hadn’t been there to care for my mother or be with her at the end, that I was observing the rituals from a distance: that I wasn’t there.

It was all a part of the price: the price of aliyah.

She issued no bromides or platitudes, my rabbi’s wife. My rabbi’s wife, who is wise, said something I’ve held onto, during the past two weeks, through my shiva and the days that followed. “Look,” she said in her quiet voice. “That’s Lech Lecha. You did Lech Lecha.”

This was a reference to the Torah portion not long past, Lech Lecha, in which God directs Abram to leave his native land and all that he knew, for a “land that I will show thee.”

Now the LORD said unto Abram: 'Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land that I will show thee.’ Genesis 12:1

One can only imagine the depth of Abram’s faith, leaving his father’s house like that with no second thoughts. But I was no Abram. The repercussions of the act were not clear to me at the time of the act: It is not an easy thing to leave a mother, or to leave all that I knew. I gave up one life for another, yet the shock and the pain of it all, came on only over time. It was a gradual sinking in.

And now that I’ve experienced this loss, I think that had I known how painful this all would be—the not being there—the enormity of this thing, I might not have made aliyah, at all.

I don’t think I could have done it, though I regret nothing, “Non, je ne regrette rien.”

It was the right thing to do, to make aliyah, and I’m glad, every day, that I did.

I didn’t know what I was doing at the time. I only longed and yearned to be here in Israel and I made it happen. But there was a cost to aliyah that makes Israel and my living here, all the more dear to my heart. I put my people ahead of myself, and even my own dearest mother, z"l, by moving to Israel. And how can I regret the chance to play a part in this noble project, the building of our national home, making Israel stronger, just by dint of being here?

“Non, je ne regrette rien.”

I wish that things had been different. I wish that my mother hadn’t fit into Pittsburgh the way I wished I fit Israel: like a glove. Because then she might have come here and I could have taken care of her. She would have had the chance to really know her Israeli grandchildren and great grandchildren, growing up under a different sun, proud and free in the Jewish State. 

Instead of snatching a few weeks here, a few weeks there, for a birth or a bar mitzvah.

But it was understood: my mother was a Pittsburgher, born and bred, and she would never live anywhere else. It was who she was.

And the truth is, it is who I was, and the last several times I visited there, I found myself touching the trees, and the buildings, the low walls and soaring yellow street lights, and would shed a tear or two as I said goodbye, over and over again. The smells of that place! The sight of that curb, that hill, this tree! A sensory experience that reached down to me, toward some primal place, an essence.

But Israel had called, had always called, that nobler cause from afar, from when I was little. This too, was me. Perhaps the ultimate me, the place I had to grow into. The place I had to earn.

Yes, I was young and stupid when I made aliyah. I hadn’t seen the cost. But no. From afar, from this distance, I regret nothing.

“Non, je ne regrette rien.”

I regret nothing in part because I live in a wonderful community that embraced me in my sorrow, came to sit with me, talk with me, cook for me. The people here know they are my family, since my family cannot be here. And they try hard to fill the breach. They know that I gave up my real family to be here with them in our land. And that makes them my family, in some ways more even than the real family I knew as a girl.

But community cannot replace my mother. It is hard to lose a mother. It hurts: another one more installment on the price of aliyah, which I continue to pay in ways and amounts I never anticipated, back when I was 18, young, and stupid. I think I never could have done it—made aliyah—if I’d known the price, how much it would cost, how much it would hurt.

It’s the kind of knowledge—well, it’s better not to know, to be young and stupid: to dare to just do the thing without knowing what’s ahead, the repercussions of the act. Did Abram know what was ahead, the trials and tribulations? Can anyone really make an informed aliyah, for instance know loss of this sort without having been in it, away from a mother they love, so far away?

Now I can say I’ve been there. I’ve dwelt in the country of my loss and I know the price of aliyah.

And still, I am here.

Today, and hopefully for a long time, I am here in Israel. And I do not and will not regret that.

“Non, je ne regrette rien.”

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

  • Wednesday, November 25, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
A really good Arabic article in Al Hurra by Nervana Mahmoud:

Like most Egyptians, I never met a Jew, until I moved to Britain.

My first experience was when I was a doctor under training in an area with a high proportion of the Jewish population, and of course it did not take long until I received my first Jewish patient from the religiously observant Orthodox community.

I froze in my place when I saw her and remembered all the Egyptian TV series about Jews, from "Tears in Shameless Eyes" to "Raafat Al-Hagan", and I feared for a moment that I was facing the Israeli Mossad that was stalking me as an Egyptian.

But I quickly woke up from my delusions to the patient's voice as she was in pain, and her husband was trying to calm her down.

I noticed in his eyes that he was afraid of me, perhaps guessing that I was an Arab, but he listened to me carefully and agreed, albeit apprehensively, to my plan to treat her condition.

The next day, I saw the husband jogging towards me while I was going up the stairs outside the ward. For the second time, all the negative obsessions passed in my mind, and I imagined that this Jew, with his long beard and energy, would try to attack me, but I was surprised by his smile as he politely thanked me for treating his wife and relieving her pain.

Years passed and my job progressed, until I was appointed to the committees for selecting jobs for doctors under training, in one of them, my colleague in the same committee was an Orthodox Jew, working in the same area that I worked in at the time, but in a different hospital.

As usual, I began to think like any Egyptian, and I did not expect him to do justice to any Muslim doctor or female doctor, and I deliberately did not disclose my Egyptian roots in order to see how he deals with applicants, especially those with Muslim names.

Indeed, a Muslim doctor of Indian origin entered, and was surprised that my Jewish colleague gave her a higher score than the one that I gave her.

I asked him later why he gave generous evaluation even though the girl did not answer the questions we asked her as well. He smiled and said to me that he is always keen to help the new doctors because they have a long way ahead and many difficulties.

Gradually, I learned not to judge anyone based on their religion or race. 

So the Jews, whether they carry Israeli citizenship or not, are like other people, including the good and the bad, the polite and impolite, the lover of peace, and the one who rejects it. And that the personality characteristics of any Jew have no relationship to his nationality, whether Israeli or other.

There are Jews who defend Israel, even if they do not reside inside it, and there are also Jews who criticize Israel daily, even though they live there.

The culture of rejection of normalization and demonization of the Jews flourished in Egypt during the era of former President Mubarak, despite the Mubarak regime's insistence on preserving the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel, and restoring the entire Sinai from Israel.

The rejection of normalization has become not only a political issue in support of the Palestinian people, but a means of outbidding against any opponent, and a lethal weapon for moral assassination and tarnishing reputations. 

Those who reject normalization in Egypt claim that there is a difference between peace agreements signed by governments and normalization between peoples. That is, the state apparatus has the right to deal with Israel on the basis of the peace agreement signed between the two states, but no Egyptian has the right to conform to the state's policy towards Israel and the Israelis.

The case of the Egyptian actor Mohamed Ramadan, who was recently suspended from work by his syndicate on charges of normalization, is the best example of this intellectual anomaly.

Social networking sites were buzzing with a picture of the Egyptian artist Mohamed Ramadan, showing him hugging the well-known Israeli singer Omar Adam in Dubai.

Egyptians poured out their anger on Muhammad Ramadan, under the pretext that filming with an Israeli and holding a concert attended by Israelis is a total betrayal of the Palestinian cause. Indeed, the Representative Professions Syndicate hastened to suspend him from work, as if preventing him from acting would liberate Jerusalem and establish the Palestinian state.

The funny thing is that most Egyptians angry with Muhammad Ramadan have mercy on Sadat and praise his shrewdness, and also support the state’s decision to close the Rafah crossing and destroy the tunnels between Egypt and Gaza, under the pretext that peace is a strategic choice, and that Egypt's national security is the priority for all Egyptians.

The Egyptian people chose realism to deal with the security and political reality, and emotional populism in dealing with personal and social situations - and this is simply absurd. 

The most dangerous thing is that this absurdity is not only reduced in dealing with Israel, but with Gulf countries, its brothers, such as the UAE and the Kingdom of Bahrain, and stood with Egypt in hardship and ease.

There are many questions that those angry at normalization have not answered:

How will Egyptians residing in the UAE and Bahrain deal with visiting Israeli citizens or working there after signing the Abrahamic Peace Agreement?

Will the Egyptian people rise up whenever a picture of an Egyptian citizen appears with an Israeli in Dubai or Manama? Or is the sword of suspension and punishment only for the well-known people whose moral assassination is? 

Is the rejection of normalization really in support of the Palestinian cause, or is it an absurd weapon aimed at satisfying Egyptian pride and easing our shortcomings?

Unfortunately, we are living like cavemen, prisoners of outdated beliefs and concepts that are not in line with the reality in which we live. 

The reality says that the Jews are people whether they carry Israeli citizenship or not, just like other peoples, including the good and the bad, the polite and the impolite, the one who loves peace, and the one who rejects it. And that the personality characteristics of any Jew have no relationship to his nationality, whether Israeli or other.

The Egyptian illusion, on the other hand, insists on demonizing the Jews and exaggerates the importance and impact of the Egyptian rejection of normalization, although this is the last concern of the Israelis, especially after the breakthrough in relations with many Gulf states.

I hope that Egyptians will see how the Emirati people deal with maturity and reason with their cause of peace with Israel, and how their wise leadership left the freedom for individuals to deal with the Israelis or avoid them if they wanted.

The Egyptian people are not a herd of sheep who follow a guide.

The Egyptian people are made up of individuals, each of whom has the right to agree or disagree in his convictions, as long as it does not harm the interests of the nation.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 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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