Sunday, May 24, 2020

From Ian:

Amb. Alan Baker: Undermining the International Criminal Court
As early as the late 1950s, following the Holocaust of the Jewish People by Nazi Germany and its collaborators, Israel was one of the founding fathers of the post-Second World War vision of a permanent international criminal tribunal.

The vision was to establish a juridical body to adjudge the “most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole.” As such, from the early 1950s and up to the adoption of the International Criminal Court’s Statute at the Rome Conference in 1998, Israel took an active and central part in the process of negotiating and drafting the court’s founding documents.

The preambular provisions of the Statute indeed stressed the noble and solemn determination of the States parties “for the sake of present and future generations, to establish an independent, permanent international Criminal Court.”

The very nature and purpose of such a central, independent and vital juridical body to adjudge the most serious crimes of international concern would imply that such a body would be completely independent of pressures and influence, and immune from politicization. One might have assumed that the international community would not permit any attempt to prejudice the Court’s integrity, credibility and authority through political abuse and manipulation.

However, for several years, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has been deluged with complaints by the Palestinian leadership, purporting to represent a non-existent “State of Palestine.” Such a huge volume of complaints are part of the ongoing Palestinian attempts to delegitimize the State of Israel in the institutions of the international community, including the ICC, through the cynical abuse and manipulation of those institutions. Download pdf
StandWithUs: The Jew Always Fits The Crime
WATCH: Antisemites will always find a rationale for their particular brand of Jew-hatred, but none of their explanations hold up. Yet throughout history, people who want to marginalize and demonize Jews continue to find ways to make sure that the Jew always “fits the crime.”

Suddenly, Human Rights Watch Discovers Antisemitism
In essence, while HRW understands that antisemitism is a core element of the extreme right’s worldview, it sees its appearance in other contexts as a marginal aberration. In a May 2019 briefing that purported to explain the “wrong way to combat antisemitism,” HRW analyst Wenzel Michalski took to task a vast swathe of the German parliament — from the left-wing Greens to the conservative Christian Social Union — for agreeing on a resolution that deemed the movement to boycott Israel as antisemitic.

“In Germany, the term ‘boycott’ evokes memories of the boycott of Jewish-owned shops in the 1930s,” wrote Michalski. “To equate that dark chapter with boycotts of Israel over its rights abuses is to trivialize our history. Activists worldwide use boycotts to challenge rights abuses and seek political change. Boycotts played key roles in the US struggle for African-American rights and in international campaigns against apartheid in South Africa and atrocities in Darfur.”

Michalski’s overarching argument — that a small number of antisemites muttering darkly about “Zionists” should not sully the boycott movement’s honorable goal of securing independence for the Palestinians — exemplifies the denial among progressives in Europe and the United States that the Palestine solidarity movement is itself an incubator of antisemitism. Nowhere does Michalski recognize what the movement to boycott Israel has no problem recognizing: that subjecting Israel and its people to isolation is a necessary condition of bringing about the Jewish state’s replacement with a unitary State of Palestine, in which Jews would, at best, revert to being a religious minority ruled by others.

In the minds of most Jews (and quite a few non-Jews as well), promoting the elimination of the world’s only Jewish state as a just solution to the Palestinian issue is unquestionably antisemitic. Now in its second decade of existence, the BDS movement has been a key contributor to the antisemitic atmosphere in Europe — specifically, by portraying Jews as oppressors and violators of human rights, it helped remove the taboo on blatant antisemitic rhetoric in society more generally.

I don’t believe that HRW’s inability, or refusal, to grasp the diverse nature of modern antisemitism is a reason to shun its solidarity in combating the far-right. But as long as HRW remains blind towards these other forms of Jew-hatred, its solidarity will only run skin-deep — and no more.
How the EU skirted the ban on funding terrorist groups
A letter sent by a representative of the European Union to the Palestinian Authority, which includes a promise to find a way around new EU instructions that prohibit the transfer of any financial aid to civil groups that are directly or indirectly linked to terrorism has aroused strong criticism in Israel as well as the EU.

On March 30, German diplomat Sven Kuhn von Burgsdorff sent the letter to the umbrella organization that represents Palestinian civil groups, announcing continued funding for their activities, even if their members include individuals who are linked to terrorist groups.

The main paragraph in contention states: "It is understood that a natural person affiliated to, sympathizing with, or supporting any of the groups or entities mentioned in the EU restrictive list is not excluded from benefiting from EU-funded activities unless his/her exact name and surname (confirming his/her identity) corresponds to any of the natural persons on the EU restrictive lists."

After the letter was made public, members of the EU Parliament have demanded an investigation into the EU representatives in the PA for allegedly violating EU policy. The parliament wants to determine whether the EU Commission knew about the step he was taking.

Now the American Jewish Committee's Transatlantic Institute in Brussels has revealed that Von Burgsdorff 's letter was preceded by two other similar commitments from senior EU functionaries to the Palestinians, which would appear to indicate a consistent policy of skirting the ban on funding organizations with ties to terrorism, rather than a rogue move by one official.

According to the American Jewish Committee, a few days after the EU adopted the ban on funding groups whose members and/or activity is linked to terrorism, Von Burgsdorff 's predecessor, Thomas Nicholson, promised Palestinian groups that the new regulation did not apply to them.

Yisrael Medad: 1920 - The year the conflict commenced
The Arab world's conflict with Israel and Zionism did not begin with a supposed conquest and occupation in 1967 nor did it begin in 1948, the year of the creation of the state of Israel. Neither was it 1929 as claimed by Hillel Cohen, for example, when three weeks of murderous riots swept the Palestine Mandate and Arabs killed and raped hundreds of Jews.

And by `conflict` I mean not only an ideological confrontation which the PLO Charter marks as the year 1917 when the Balfour Declaration was issued, or the first instances of violence over property and land purchaes, as in Jerusalem in 1851 or Petah Tikva in 1886, among many cases of clashes which led to the murder or injuring of Jews, some of which I have listed here.

My intention is to point out the critical moment when the aspirations of Jews, the intentions of the British and the wishes of the Arabs came together - and the result made it quite obvious that from this moment on there would be continued tensions of a political, economic, diplomatic and security character, with only one winner.

The conflict commenced in 1920 when the three main actors, the Jews, the Arabs and the British clashed during the Passover holiday in the streets and alleyways of Jerusalem. Present were British military government commanders such as Ronald Storrs and Louis Bols; Arabs such as the future Mufti Amin Al-Husseini and Zionists including Pinchas Rutenberg and Ze`ev Jabotinsky.

While the claim is heard that the McMahon-Hussei Correspondence that began in July 1915, pointed to a British willingness to allot the area of Palestine to become part of a grand Arab State, the fact is that already at the end of June, British policy as contained in the De Bunsen Report was firm that Palestine was a special case and needed to be treated as a separate issue with regard to post-War negotiations if Turkey were defeated. In fact, Gt. Britain needed to retain Palestine in its sphere.

On December 1917, a month after the publication of the Balfour Declaration and the establishment of the Jewish Legion, General Edmund Allenby entered Jerusalem, ending four centuries of Moslem Ottoman Empire rule, although military actions continued into September including in the area of Transjordan in which Jabotinsky and the Jewish Legion participated when they captured E-Salt.
Inside Israel’s War on the Coronavirus
The Israelis are known for their preparation. Threatened each day by a bevy of terror groups, the Jewish state has had contingency plans in place for most circumstances. Except one: the coronavirus pandemic that wrecked economies and sickened millions.

Israel, like many other smaller nations, had not developed plans to confront a global pandemic. But as the coronavirus swept across the world, Israeli society mobilized in a fashion only seen in times of war. Hotels, for instance, were converted into makeshift hospitals and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) deployed across the country to help communities test for the illness and enact quarantines. Military technologies typically employed in times of combat were quickly converted to facilitate communications needed to keep the country running.

Israeli military officials told the Washington Free Beacon that this quick response—which included the entire government and military—helped to stave off the virus and potentially save many lives. In a country of nearly 9 million people, Israel has had just more than 16,000 confirmed cases of the virus, with 277 dying from it. As infections continue to increase across the globe, Israel's numbers have remained relatively flat, even as its Arab neighbors continue to struggle with the illness. Nearly half a million cases are centered in the Middle East in countries such as Iran and Turkey (with 120,000 and 150,000 cases, respectively), where the governments have struggled to contain the virus.

Israeli technological innovation, long a centerpiece of the country's economy, is helping the world combat the coronavirus. In addition to its work on new types of ventilator systems, Israel's military, government, and private sectors are developing new tools for detection and treatment. Israeli technology also is powering software that can help detect the virus from a safe distance.

In one clear sign of the country's success, the U.S. State Department chose Israel as the location of its first foreign trip in more than a month. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed there last week and discussed, among other things, lessons the United States could learn from Israel's response to the virus.
Israel’s Control of Judea and Samaria: A Prerequisite for Security
The mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) constitute the “Golan Heights” of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ben-Gurion Airport, the key north-south transportation artery Highway 6, critical commercial and defense infrastructures, and 80% of Israel’s population.

The eastern mountain ridge — facing Jordan and Iraq — is the most effective tank barrier in the war-ridden region. The western mountain ridge could become a platform for intensified Palestinian terrorism, targeting Israel’s nine-to-15-mile soft belly along the Mediterranean, and dooming this congested area to worse terrorism than that inflicted by the Gaza-based Hamas.

Israel’s control of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria is a pivotal national security prerequisite in view of the 14-century-old intra-Arab Middle East reality: extreme volatility, violent intolerance, lack of peaceful coexistence, repressive tenuous regimes, shifty policies, and precarious agreements.

Israel’s national security cannot be based on peace accords, which can be as fragile as the regimes that conclude them. Israel’s national security must be based on the capabilities to withstand unforeseeable and violent regime change (e.g., Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, and Iraq), and the potential abrogation of peace accords. In 1979, Iran was transformed from an ally of the US and Israel to their most ferocious enemy. Similar turbulence in Jordan — which must be avoided with the assistance of the US and Israel — could transform Jordan into a chaotic platform of regional and global terrorism, which would critically upgrade the significance of the dominant mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria.

Moreover, secure boundaries must generate a posture of deterrence while providing Israel with the time required — upon a surprise attack, as in the 1973 war — to deploy the country’s reserve units, which amount to 70% of Israel’s military corps. The critical reliance on reserve combat units highlights the strategic difference between the Sinai Peninsula (22,000 square miles and bordering the sparsely populated high grounds of the Negev, providing Israel with 50 hours to mobilize the reservists) and Judea and Samaria (2,200 square miles and adjacent to Israel’s major population centers, providing Israel with five to 10 hours). Therefore, Israel could afford to retreat from the Sinai Peninsula, but cannot afford to give up control of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria.
Jordan, the West Bank, and Unbearable Hypocrisy
On May 5, King Abdullah II of Jordan told Der Spiegel that, “If Israel really annexed the West Bank valley in July, it would lead to a massive conflict with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.” When pressed to explain what steps Jordan would take, Abdullah did not specify whether his country would cancel the 1994 peace treaty with Israel, but said that all options would be considered.

The agenda of the newly-minted Israeli government includes a potential vote in July to apply sovereignty to portions of the West Bank that would become part of Israel under the Trump administration’s 2020 peace plan. Although this is an unresolved issue both in timing and content, it appears that King Abdullah wants to threaten his nation’s peace with Israel.

Perhaps the primary audience for the king’s comments is not Israel, but rather Palestinians who live in Jordan and make up a majority of the country’s population. Maintaining stability and control over his country is no doubt a top priority for the king, and will likely be a factor in Israel’s decision-making as well. Still, considering Jordan’s history with the West Bank, the king’s position is almost the definition of hypocrisy.

To create context and highlight Jordan’s hypocritical behavior, it is essential to review the history. In 1920, the League of Nations (a predecessor to the UN), created the British Mandate for Palestine in what is now Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, and Jordan (Jordan was cut off in 1922). The British were charged with facilitating Jewish immigration and the creation of a “Jewish national home.” In 1947, hoping to resolve the escalating conflict between Jews and Arabs in the Mandate, the UN proposed a division of the territory into a Jewish state and an Arab state. Most of what is today called the West Bank is in the area that would have been part of the Arab state. However, the UN’s plan never came to fruition.
Quartet talks Israeli-Palestinian peace, PA push to stop Trump plan
The Palestinian Authority’s push to replace the US as the sole broker for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process failed to yield immediate results as a Quartet video conference on the matter ended without any conclusions.

Quartet representatives discussed Israeli plans to annex portions of the West Bank, including the July 1 deadline for Israel to begin to apply such sovereignty as laid out in the coalition agreement between the Likud and Blue and White parties, according to a person familiar with the discussion.

The US was represented on Friday’s call by Avi Berkowitz, who is an assistant to US President Donald Trump and a special envoy for international negotiations.

While the US did not clarify what its intentions were with regard to the July 1 date, Berkowitz did remind the Quartet that the US is proud of the Vision for Peace, which it unveiled in January of this year, the source said.

The US explained that the PA can engage with its peace process without agreeing to the plan as it is currently written. The authority can suggest “realistic edits, and meaningful compromises,” the source added.
Peace Now petitions court to halt Efrat E2 settler building project
The left-wing group Peace Now has petitioned the High Court of Justice to halt the pending 7,000 unit project in the West Bank settlement of Efrat over the issue of land discrimination.

The project, one of the largest in the last decades, will be located on Efrat’s Givat Ha'eitam and would transform the Jewish community of over 11,000 people located on Jerusalem’s outskirts into a city.

Palestinians and the Israeli Left have objected to the project, which they fear will prevent the expansion of the neighboring Palestinian city of Bethlehem. They have dubbed it E2, because much like the Ma’aleh Adumim’s E1 project they argue that it threatens Palestinian contiguity and the viability of a future state.

In petitioning the court, however, Peace Now has argued that the property spread over 1,200 dunes of land, which was classified as state land in 2004, should be allocated for Palestinian housing, even though technically it falls within the municipal boundaries of the Efrat community.
Palestinians hold that the portions of the land are private Palestinian property and should never have been allocated as state land.

But the petition itself, doesn’t contest the classification, rather the allocation of the property for settlement use. Peace Now argued in its petition that the issue here is a discriminatory land practice by which state land in the West Bank is almost always designated – 99.76% of the time – for Jewish settlement development and is not made available to Palestinians to develop Area C of the West Bank.
Can Israel expand its sovereignty while France’s shrinks?
France has presented itself as the leader of those countries that want the European Union to punish Israel if it annexes part of the West Bank. Yet the meeting of EU foreign ministers on May 15 did not even reach agreement on a mild motion.

This attempt at French anti-Israel leadership comes at a low point in that country’s history. By May 17, France had more than 27,000 deaths from COVID-19, placing it among the worst-hit European nations.

Economic problems are sizable.

Already before the pandemic, France’s ratio of gross domestic product to debt was poor, at close to 100%. The EU tells its member states to strive for a ratio of around 60%, with a budget deficit not to exceed 3%. By mid-April, French ministers were forecasting a 9% deficit for 2020 and a GDP/debt ratio of 115%. This may well be optimistic.

President Emanuel Macron’s popularity is declining. Toward the end of April he was polling at 38%, although it increased at the onset of the pandemic.

For a long time the EU was steered by a German-French axis. For decades the Germans were willing to give France a larger role in the EU than it merited due to its political and economic weight.
The Netanyahu Trial and Israel’s Rule of Law
Those who follow Israeli news closely will have noticed the ongoing protests involving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trial, the new unity government and the rule of law.

The political ruckus surrounding Netanyahu’s indictment on charges of bribery, corruption and breach of trust has been brewing for years. Popular on the right, vilified on the left, Netanyahu has for decades been the subject of intensive scrutiny.

Protesters generally aligned with the left-wing have been demonstrating outside the Knesset and the Attorney General’s house, claiming Israeli democracy is being eroded by a prime minister serving while under indictment. Counter-protesters generally aligned with the right-wing have also been demonstrating at the same time, claiming Israeli democracy is being threatened by trying to force out an elected prime minister who is innocent until proven guilty.

No doubt, Israel’s critics will spin the trial as an indication that Israeli democracy holds no luster.

With all the accusations and counter-accusations, it’s worth our while to step back and see how to cut through the noise and check what is going on with democracy and the rule of law.

After a prolonged police investigation, Netanyahu was charged in November 2019 with fraud, bribery and breach of trust. Netanyahu has consistently and vehemently denied the charges, claiming a witch-hunt against him.
Netanyahu's trial 'criminalizes positive coverage'
For the first time in Israel, an incumbent prime minister is facing criminal charges, and his trial could stretch across several years.

Join Israel Hayom's Editor-in-Chief Boaz Bismuth and award-winning columnist Caroline Glick as they discuss what this high-profile trial may entail.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing corruption charges in three cases: Case 1,000, which centers on gifts Netanyahu allegedly received from Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer; Case 2,000, which focuses on an illicit deal Netanyahu allegedly tried to strike with Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes so as to ensure positive coverage; and Case 4,000, which centers on an alleged deal by which Shaul Elovitch, the controlling shareholder of Israeli telecom corporation Bezeq, ensured positive coverage of the Netanyahu family by the Walla news website, which Bezeq owns, in exchange for the prime minister promoting government regulations worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the company.

PA’s Eid lockdown provokes Palestinian protests, tensions across West Bank
Protests broke out in Hebron Saturday night as hundreds of residents violated a coronavirus curfew put in place by the Palestinian Authority and demanded the right to pray in city mosques in observance of the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

“The people want to observe the holiday prayer,” marchers chanted in front of the PA’s headquarters in the city, videos circulating on Palestinian social media showed.

The Palestinian Authority has temporarily banned prayer in mosques and churches throughout the West Bank as part of the general curfew through the end of Eid al-Fitr.

On May 16, PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh announced that the West Bank would be under total lockdown throughout the holiday, with all movement restricted from Friday, May 22, until the evening of Monday, May 25. All businesses — with the exception of bakeries and pharmacies — have been ordered to close so as to block the spread of the novel coronavirus. West Bank residents were ordered not to leave their homes.

Eid al-Fitr is one of the holiest dates in the Islamic calendar, and congregational prayer is among the main religious obligations of the holiday. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, Jerusalem’s Grand Mufti Mohammad Hussein issued a fatwa permitting Muslims to perform Eid prayers in their homes.
Khaled Abu Toameh: UAE activists rail against Palestinians for rejecting medical supplies
United Arab Emirates (UAE) political activists, academics and social media users have expressed outrage over the Palestinian Authority’s reported refusal to accept medical supplies from the Gulf state because they were delivered through Ben-Gurion Airport.
PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said last week that the UAE did not coordinate the delivery of the medical supplies with the Palestinians.

“We have heard in the news that there is a United Arab Emirates plane carrying medical supplies to the Palestinians,” Shtayyeh said. “This issue has never been coordinated with us and we have never been notified about it.”

Palestinians have accused the UAE of spearheading efforts to normalize relations between Arab states and Israel.

The controversy surrounding the medical supplies has exacerbated tensions between the PA and UAE. Relations between the two sides have been tense since deposed Fatah official Mohammed Dahlan, an arch-rival of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, moved to the UAE in 2011. The PA has accused Dahlan of financial corruption and plotting to overthrow Abbas.

A senior PA official told The Jerusalem Post that the UAE medical supplies incident was a “set-up” designed to embarrass and defame Abbas and the Palestinian leadership. The official accused the UAE and Dahlan of “fabrications” and “lies” and said the medical supplies were intended for the Gaza Strip, and not the West Bank.
PMW: Salaries to terrorists and murderers are “a sacred matter,” says Palestinian PM
[Facebook page of PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh, May 11, 2020]
PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh: Israel surprised us with a decision by the military governor regarding the monetary allowances of the prisoners and their accounts in the banks. Last year [2019], Israel deducted from our monetary rights more than 700 million [Israeli] shekels, which is the amount of the allowances for the prisoners, the Martyrs, and their relatives. Now Israel is launching a campaign of intimidation, in a so-called ‘‘legal’’ framework, against the banks. I emphasize: In our point of view, the prisoners’ allowances are a sacred matter, and Israel’s measures against them do not intimidate us… We and the banks are making a general appeal and searching for solutions that will protect the prisoners’ allowances on the one hand, and protect the banks from the occupation’s threats on the other.

Application of Israel's Anti-Terror Law to the West Bank - Israeli army legislation which applies parts of Israel's 2016 Anti-Terror Law to the West Bank (taking effect on May 9, 2020). The law prohibits numerous terror related offenses, including terror funding/rewarding and holds heads of terror organizations responsible for murder committed by members of the organization. The law criminalizes the provision of funds for or the payment of rewards for the commission of terrorist offenses, such as the salaries the PA pays to terrorist prisoners and released prisoners.
The provision also applies to any person or body - such as a bank - that facilitates such funding or rewarding of terror offenses. Based on this last provision, PMW sent letters in April 2020 to the heads of banks in the PA areas warning them that they must freeze the accounts of terrorists and their proxies and transfer them to the Israeli army or face legal consequences. In response, several banks operating in the PA areas - among them the Cairo Amman Bank - began closing the accounts in early May 2020. Palestinians reacted with protests, including firing shots at the Cairo Amman Bank branch in Jenin and throwing Molotov cocktails at its branch in Jericho on May 7, 2020.

Israel's Anti "Pay-for-Slay" Law - Israeli law stating that the PA payments to terrorists and the families of dead terrorists is a financial incentive to terror. The law instructs the state to deduct and freeze the amount of money the PA pays in salaries to imprisoned terrorists and families of "Martyrs" from the tax money Israel collects for the PA. Should the PA stop these payments for a full year, the Israeli government would have the option of giving all or part of the frozen money to the PA.

The Supreme Leader's New Tom and Jerry Sequence
The mullahs have threatened "dire consequences" if the US does try to stop the tankers. Since the Islamic Republic lacks the naval power to escort the tankers right down to Venezuelan ports, the "dire consequences" would not come in the form of a naval battle in the Caribbean. Instead, as the daily Kayhan, expressing "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenei's views, said in an editorial Monday, retaliation may come in the form of a seizure of one or more US oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. Another option is targeting all oil tankers in the waterway for a fixed period as Iran did in 1988.

Last week, the ayatollah called for the formation of a "young Hezbollahi government", serving notice that President Hassan Rouhani and his "New York Boys", now old and not Hezbollahi enough, are moving towards the exit.

Khamenei has compared his struggle with the American "Great Satan" with the Tom and Jerry conflicts in the word of Hollywood cartoons. On many occasions viewers think that the playful mouse is done for, only for him to dodge the cat and bounce back with a new trick.

Four decades of Tom & Jerry Iranian-style was made possible by the gullibility and impatience of Americans who always wanted quick results, took their wishes for reality, and allowed the mischievous/playful mouse to live another day for another adventure.
Analysis: Iran’s propaganda game inside Iraq
Several new Shia militias have emerged in Iraq since March that claim to have targeted American forces and American-contracted companies. Most of these groups, however, have produced claims with scare, inconsistent, or incorrect details – and little to no visual evidence to corroborate them.

This influx in supposed militias inside Iraq is likely a propaganda game being played by Iran and its allies to create political cover for anti-American activities in the country for more established groups. It also may serve to create a narrative of a far-reaching movement that is opposed to the presence of American troops.

In March, the first of these groups emerged to claim responsibility for a rocket barrage of Camp Taji, an Iraqi military base that hosts American and other coalition troops. This outfit, League of the Revolutionaries (LoR), would go on to directly threaten US forces in Iraq and threaten attacks on the US Embassy in Baghdad.

Ostensibly the most legitimate of the newly created groups, LoR released one of these messages as a video statement from its spokesman while another video utilized footage taken from a commercial drone. But since early April, the group has been dormant.

On April 9, another militia called “The People of the Cave” published a statement and video claiming responsibility for attacking a logistics convoy supplying American forces in the country in Salahaddin Governorate the day prior.

In the video, a vehicle was seen driving at night alongside what appears to be a military convoy. Moments later, an explosion occurred against one of the semi-trailers.

But researching the date and location given in the video, only attacks attributed to ISIS were reported that day, which throws into question the validity of the group’s claim.

BBC’s Bowen makes inaccurate claim in Lebanon withdrawal Tweets
Did the Israeli army really claim that Bowen and his crew “were terrorists”? Of course not.

As we have documented here in the past, early on the morning of Tuesday May 23rd 2000 – the day before the completion of the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon – a tank crew stationed on the border fence near Kibbutz Menara received an intelligence alert concerning the likelihood of terrorists firing anti-tank missiles at IDF tanks and armoured vehicles. Later in the day, the crew spotted a Lebanese vehicle transporting men in civilian clothing and suspected that these were Hizballah terrorists carrying equipment for firing an anti-tank missile. The tank crew was given permission to fire at the suspected terrorists.

Later it emerged that the men were actually a BBC film crew headed by Jeremy Bowen and that driver Abed Takkoush had been killed. The IDF investigated the incident and issued an apology. Understandably, that tragic incident appears to be still very much at the forefront of Bowen’s mind, although he clearly still does not accept that it was possible to mistake three men travelling in a war zone in a car with Lebanese plates, and carrying camera equipment, for Hizballah terrorists dressed – as was very often the case – in civilian clothing.

Bowen’s account of the trauma he experienced 20 years ago must of course be considered within the framework of the position of Middle East editor which he chose to accept a few years later. That role makes him the gatekeeper of all “accurate and impartial” BBC reporting from the Middle East.

Yet as we see, in his fairly frequent accounts of that day in May 2000 Bowen continues to promote inaccurate allegations.
BBC News misleads on Ethiopia-born MKs
On May 15th a report headlined “Israel gets first Ethiopia-born minister, in Pnina Tamano-Shata” was published on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page.

The caption to the main image illustrating that otherwise reasonable report reads “Pnina Tamano-Shata, a former journalist, was the first Israeli MP born in Ethiopia”.

As the GPO pointed out two days later, Ms Tamano Shata is not “the first Israeli MP born in Ethiopia”.

To date eight MKs born in Ethiopia have served in the Knesset. Prior to Ms Tamano-Shata becoming an MK in 2013, four other Ethiopia-born MKs served in the Knesset: Adisu Massala (1996), Shlomo Molla (2008), Rabbi Mazor Bahaina (2008) and Alali Adamso (2012).

CAMERA UK has contacted the BBC regarding the inaccurate claim in that photo caption.
Reuters’ Muhammad Shtayyeh Profile Omits Unflattering Details
Reuters’ profile full of praise for Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh’s Covid-19 response misses a less flattering look: his demonization of Israeli soldiers, falsely accusing them of spitting on Palestinian vehicles. According to an analysis by Ali Sawafta and Nidal al-Mughrabi Sawafta and Mughrabi, Shtayyeh “[is] spearheading,” or “has become the face of,” the Palestinian response to the virus due to his “prominence in tackling” it and the fact that he “has taken the podium each week to reassure Palestinians” (“Pandemic boosts Palestinian PM as potential Abbas successor,” May 6 in English and Arabic). Their glowing profile ignores the fact that the “face” of the Palestinian Authority’s coronavirus response has taken on a distinctly antisemitic hue.

The two reporters also maintain that for Shtayyeh, “the urgency of the Palestinian Authority (PA) efforts to curb the virus have helped reinvigorate the domestic image of a body long viewed by some as corrupt and unproductive.” Based on the reported 96 percent support rate that Reuters cites for Shtayyeh’s health policies among West Bank Palestinians, this assessment appears to be correct.

The analysis, however, omits one crucial element about Shtayyeh’s response to Covid-19 that, although unflattering, is important nonetheless: he falsely accused Israeli soldiers of attempting to spread the virus by spitting on car handles. Following a viral video of a single IDF soldier spitting on the ground as he was walking by a car in a Palestinian village, Shtayyeh issued the following statement on March 29: “We were exposed to testimonies that some of the (Israeli) soldiers are trying to spread the virus on car handles. This is racism and hatred on behalf of people who long for the death of the other. We will record this in the list of crimes.”

As CAMERA’s Ricki Hollander reported at the time, Shtayyeh was the most senior figure participating in a large-scale Palestinian libel campaign at the end of March. Using the soldier’s video as a launching point, additional Palestinian Authority and Fatah officials, including chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, Fatah spokesman Osama al-Qawasmi and PA spokesman Ibrahim Melhem, also took part in the anti-Israel incitement campaign.

According to Palestinian Media Watch, the official PA daily paper al-Hayat al-Jadida published at least three reports on March 30 suggesting that “dozens of occupation soldiers spit on cars of [Palestinian] residents and the door handles of the homes,” that others were “passing their hands over ATM machines,” or, alternatively, “attempting to approach our laborers and mingle with them in order to transfer the disease to them.” Similarly, Fatah’s official Facebook page claimed on March 29 that “Israel launched a biological war against Palestine.”
Congress needs to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism
When it comes to laws, policies and guidelines, definitions and language mean everything.

However, if definitions are poorly worded, they can mean nothing at all.

Take for example America’s Bill of Rights, which was passed into law in 1791. Nearly 230 years later, lawmakers still argue about what many of the phrases mean.

For example, there is a never-ending debate about the Second Amendment’s phrase, “The right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Laws require definitions, and as the US deals with the surge of antisemitic crimes, Congress needs to adapt a clear and binding definition of what antisemitism means.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), an inter-government organization with more than 30 member countries, including the US, UK, Germany and Israel, developed and adopted the following definition of antisemitism in 2016: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/ or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

Along with this definition the IHRA provided 11 useful examples of what constitutes antisemitism. The full list of examples can be found on the website of the US State Department (, which uses the IHRA wording as its working definition of antisemitism.
In its explanation of the above definition, the IHRA says, “Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity.”
Police investigating after Holocaust survivor told “we will then kill more of you” in Arabic threats over Twitter
Police are investigating after a Holocaust survivor was told “we will then kill more of you” in messages on Twitter.

The tweets, sent by a user calling himself Ahmed Bassam using a now-deleted Twitter handle called @AHMEDBA84169776, were written in Arabic and translated by Campaign Against Antisemitism. The user sent five threatening tweets to Agnes Grunwald-Spier, a Holocaust survivor.

The first tweet read: “Warning [you]: we haven’t finished with you yet. We will cut your heads off or blow them up into (bloodied) shreds until you leave our land.”

The second tweet read: “You are rapists [forceful grabbers of our land], and my Mother Ahlam Al Tamimi defended us and our land only, and if you don’t leave our land Palestine we will then kill more of you, and even if my mother Ahlam Al Tamimi were deported or jailed or was martyred [sic] then definitely thousands will be born [and come forward] like my mother Ahlam Al-Tamimi.”

Ahlam Al-Tamimi is a Jordanian terrorist convicted by Israel for her involvement in the Sbarro restaurant suicide bombing. Although she received multiple life sentences, she was released in an exchange to free a kidnapped Israeli soldier.

The other three tweets were similarly threatening.

Dr Grunwald-Spier said: “As a single woman living alone, I found it quite scary. I immediately reported all five tweets to Twitter and they acted remarkably quickly to suspend the account because of the abusive and violent nature of the tweets. I think it’s important to take action against people who seem to think it is okay to send these sort of messages in the public domain. People need to understand that such behaviour, which breaches the International Definition of Antisemitism, is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. I don’t know if he lives in the United Kingdom but if he does he should be prosecuted with maximum publicity to ensure that a message of no-tolerance is spread widely.”
ASOS, Adidas switch to Israeli tech to model clothes online
A few months ago, British fashion retailer ASOS started using Switch Model augmented reality (AR) from Israel’s Zeekit to show customers how each item looks on 16 models – not avatars — of different shapes, ages and ethnicities.

ASOS calls this feature See My Fit, and it was a hit. “It got a lot of love from customers from the moment it came out,” Zeekit CEO and cofounder Yael Vizel tells ISRAEL21c.

Then, when coronavirus rules kept models from coming to the ASOS studio for daily shoots of new merchandise, ASOS realized it could use the sophisticated Israeli AR instead.

All that’s required is a picture of the model. The patented image-processing technology maps the image into thousands of segments. Clothing is processed in a similar manner and the equivalent points of the two are re-mapped into one final simulation.

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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