Friday, June 19, 2020

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: No going wobbly now, Bibi
Considering that Obama's views are now the mainstream views of the Democratic Party, and given the depth of his hostility towards Israel, it is self-evident that a Biden administration will begin its treatment of Israel where Obama left off. So as far as US politics go, it is clear now that Democratic opposition to the sovereignty plan is not based on a studied assessment of the situation but of visceral hostility.

Which brings us to Saban's attempt to use the UAE ambassador to manipulate public opinion and pressure the prime minister.

The Democratic Party's turn against Israel placed Jewish Democrats in a wretched position. For generations, the party has not simply been their political preference at the ballot box. Being Democrats has been a way of life. Their party's rejection of Israel has had a dramatic impact on the pro-Israel Jewish Democrats' readiness to act on behalf of Israel and against anti-Semitism.

Saban is a case in point. Just three months after he co-founded the Maccabees on Campus with Adelson and worked with Adelson to build the IAC into a national organization, Saban pulled out of both ventures. Reports at the time of his withdrawal from both groups were speculative. But all the speculation zoned in on one conclusion. The shift in his party made Saban abandon his previous willingness to work across the partisan divide. By October 2015, he was no longer willing to be associated with organizations that could in any way be viewed as out of step with the Obama administration and the Democratic Party.

This brings us to AIPAC, the pro-Israel group Saban has continued funding. Last week it was reported AIPAC told lawmakers that it won't mind if they oppose Israel's sovereignty plan so long as their opposition isn't translated into efforts to curtail US military aid to the Jewish state.

Since its founding, AIPAC's policy has always been to support the policies of the governments of Israel no matter what they were. So it was that at the outset of the Rabin government's Oslo peace process with the PLO, AIPAC leaders ordered all of the group's employees to support Israel's policy even though just weeks before, AIPAC had opposed recognition of the PLO.

AIPAC lobbyists who were incapable of lobbying for US aid for the PLO or embracing Yasser Arafat as a peace partner were forced to resign. Considering AIPAC's sudden shift towards opposing the sovereignty plan despite the fact that it enjoys the support of a large majority of Israelis and is set to be implemented as a complement to President Trump's vision for peace, Jonathan Tobin wrote earlier this week, "If AIPAC is going to worry more about what the Democrats want rather than seeking to persuade them to back Israel's policies, then it has for all intents and purposes become one more liberal group, and not the reliable force it has always been."

More than a sign of hostility, AIPAC's unprecedented position and Saban's manipulative behavior appear to be signs of distress. Their party's hostility towards Israel has left Jewish Democrats with no easy way forward. They have four options.

Dore Gold: Why Is the Status of the West Bank Such a Charged Issue?
Why is the future of the West Bank (also known as Judea and Samaria) such a critical issue for Israel? Why does it engender debate, even strong debate, influencing even the language adopted for describing it?

In 1947, according to United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181, the area was called “the hill country of Samaria and Judea.” Jordan annexed the territory in 1950 and began to use the term “West Bank.” The battle over terminology reflects the stakes that were involved in this territorial dispute.

The first reason for the intensity of this dispute is the geo-strategic location of this territory. It is adjacent to Israel’s coastal plain, where 70% of our population and 80% of our industrial capacity are located. Moreover, it is only 40 miles wide at its maximum width. It would take a combat aircraft maybe three minutes to cross its airspace and attack Israel with little warning. Should the territory fall into hostile hands, it could pose a pressing threat to the State of Israel.

What were the reasons why this evolved into such an intense dispute, beyond the religious attachment of the parties to the land?

It was thought in the past that our territorial withdrawals would reduce the hostile intent of our adversaries, but we learned from the Gaza disengagement in 2005 that withdrawal can actually increase the hostility on the other side. Just look at the number of rocket launches from the Gaza Strip into Israel; they actually mushroomed in the year after we pulled out, shooting up from 179 to 946.

Now, what is the problem with the term “annexation” that is at the heart of the political debate today?
JCPA: Jordanian Tanks Crossed the Jordan Valley
Those insisting on Israel's retention of the strategically vital Jordan Valley say it serves as Israel's most important defense line against potential attacks from the east. The Jordan Valley showed its crucial importance in 1967, when the Jordanian army moved U.S.-supplied M-47 and M-48 Patton tanks, long-range "Long-Tom" artillery, and mechanized infantry (M-113 APCs) into the West Bank to face Israel, and the Iraqi army sent armored divisions toward the Jordan-Israel border.

According to Yitzhak Rabin's memoirs, Israel had dropped its objections to the U.S. provision of offensive weapons to Jordan after King Hussein pledged that the U.S.-supplied tanks to Jordan would not cross the Jordan River to threaten Israel. When the war broke out, Jordanian artillery and tanks blasted the Jewish side of Jerusalem and the Ramat David military airbase in Israel's north. Jordanian Hunter aircraft bombed Kfar Sirkin, Netanya, and Kfar Saba.

On June 5, 1967, Jordan dispatched its crack 40th Armored Brigade with 90 M-48 tanks across the Jordan Valley and into the West Bank. A major tank battle ensued in the Dothan Valley where the IDF, equipped with inferior Sherman tanks, lost 33 soldiers before the Israeli tankers and the Israeli air force won the day.

In another battle on June 6, the IDF's Duchifat Special Forces were sent to block Jordanian reinforcements with 30 Jordanian Patton tanks coming up toward Jerusalem from the Jordan Valley. Israeli ground and air forces stopped them at Tel el-Ful, where King Hussein was building a palace to overlook Jerusalem. The Jordanian armored unit was commanded by King Hussein's cousin, Brig. Sharif Zayd bin Shaker, a graduate of the U.S. Army Staff College.



Jpost Editorial: The importance of bipartisan support for annexation
This time, Israel has the principal green light of its closest ally, the White House. In Trump’s plan, which was presented last January, the Americans approved the annexation of the large blocs, even with no Palestinian consent (in the early stages). One of the most vocal supporters of this move is US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

However, it seems that when it comes to the annexation of summer 2020, Israel has only half of the support from its ally overseas. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has expressed his opposition to such move; In a webinar in late May, he said that he does not support annexation, adding that if he wins, he is “going to reverse Trump administration steps which I think significantly undercut the prospects of peace.”

In fact, almost the entire Democratic Party expressed its discontent from the move. A letter, signed by 60% of Democratic senators was sent last month, reading “a deep commitment to Israel’s security and a shared set of democratic values are foundational elements of the close relationship between our countries… We are therefore concerned that unilateral annexation puts both Israel’s security and democracy at risk.”
This should be a warning to all of us.

True, we should not allow our actions to be dictated for us by foreign forces, and should be free and independent to make our own choices regarding our country’s future.

But this move could have dramatic consequences for Israel, some that are good and some that are bad.

Bipartisan American support to a move like this is important. We cannot allow a scenario in which in January 2021 – or even in January 2025 – a Democratic president enters the White House and reverses such a move. It would not only put Israel in an embarrassing position in front of the world, it would be a devastating blow.

Israeli leaders always knew how to keep Israel above political conflict in the US. These days, US politics is polarizing and it is hard to juggle between both parties. However, our prime minister, despite his friendship and interest to support the current president, should find a
way to make it happen.

When we hear such strong opposition from the international community – from Europe and the Arab world – we need to make sure annexation is being done right.
With or without annexation, it's time to build like crazy – opinion
This change in regional and American calculations shocks some European and liberal leaders in the “international community,” which for the past 25 years have wedded themselves to a West Bank endgame formula that is based on maximal Palestinian demands alongside minimal regard for Israeli security needs and national-historic claims.

It is a trauma that they eventually will have to overcome, because Israel will not revert to negotiations based on the stale “Clinton Parameters” or former president Obama’s infamous last whack at Israel – the despicable UN Security Resolution No. 2234. The “international community” will have to learn that the 1949/1967 “Green Line” is obsolete. Palestinian demands aren’t sacrosanct. Israelis are not interlopers in Judea.

And thus, Israel will not freeze development of its strategic and historic heartland while waiting endlessly for a peaceful and democratic Palestinian political culture to miraculously emerge; while waiting for a compromise deal that the Palestinian leadership doesn’t want and repeatedly rejects. Israel cannot be held hostage to never-ending Palestinian vetoes.

In the past, over and over again, Israel has been told or warned, “This is not the right time to build.” It is a favorite refrain of the Israeli Left, too. “The times are too sensitive. Leave a horizon open. Don’t rock the boat now. Don’t torpedo a nascent negotiation by building.”

That no longer holds. There is no near negotiation because of Palestinian rejectionism. The settlement and security zones that always will remain Israeli are clear; usefully made clearer by the American peace plan. Israel even has the cover of some Arab states for asserting its essential rights. It has a national unity government. This is the right time to build.

Which brings us back to Netanyahu. The logjam starts and ends with him; no excuses accepted.

If Netanyahu truly believes in building in the areas mentioned above (again, settlement areas that are backed by an Israeli consensus) he should begin doing so, aggressively.

He should call his good friend Donald Trump and inform him that this building campaign is what Israel needs now, while embracing the American peace plan as a basis for talks with the Palestinians if and when they can bring themselves to the table. Build now, talk later.
Left's panic over sovereignty bid reminiscent of its 'diplomatic tsunami' threats
The Israeli government is facing a choice between realizing a dream or missing out on it, which will be something we regret for generations to come. The idea of ​​applying sovereignty in the Jordan Valley and in 30% of Judea and Samaria is a historic opportunity that has presented itself at this time, perhaps never to return again.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the alternative leader created following three election campaigns, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, must present a united front on this issue. As the saying goes, it takes two to tango – and also to implement the "deal of the century."

Failing to band together on the issue of sovereignty means only one thing – dissolving the unity government. Currently, Netanyahu and Gantz still have a say on the matter but sooner rather than later, this choice will fall to the Israeli public.

The distance between setting permanent borders and setting a date for the fourth elections is short. And if you believe the latest polls, Gantz's choice is quite clear: the Prime Minister's Office in 18 months – or the nearest unemployment office.

The "anti-annexation" campaign has many supporters in the international community. The United Nations, the European Union, liberal media, the Arab League, the Organization of African Unity – all will decry to high heaven the fact that Israel's borders will expand.

Under the auspices of the Israeli Left, the world has adopted a paradigm that states that only a diet that will keep Israel tiny and slim will lead to peace. The world has forgotten that this was the original plan devised by the UN, and even that met with a resounding and violent "NO!" by our neighbors. So it seems there is only one thing new under the sun: US President Donald Trump.
Don’t be fooled – American Jews support sovereignty – opinion
Petitions against Israel’s planned extension of sovereignty over Judea and Samaria (or as they put it: annexation of the West Bank) are all the rage these days. Last week we read that “Jewish Studies Scholars Oppose Annexation,” and the week before that “Gap-year alumni are against annexation.” At this pace, expect a petition by American Jewish Gerbil Owners Against Annexation some time next week.

No doubt the planned extension of sovereignty over 30% of Judea and Samaria is triggering hand-wringing in certain quarters of the American Jewish community. In an article in Ha’aretz last month – histrionically titled “Will Annexation Be a Death Blow for American-Jewish Support of Israel?” – one young American Jew was quoted as warning, “Annexation will push American Jews deeper into what has already been the trend, which has been to decide to not identify with the State of Israel because it is either way too complicated or because they fundamentally cannot have a relationship with a country that is behaving so counter to their values.”

In another opinion piece in Ha’aretz – titled “The Real Reason for ‘Mainstream’ Jewish America’s Appalling Silence on Annexation” – the head of Americans for Peace Now, Hadar Susskind, tried to marshal opposition to sovereignty by admonishing, “[W]e will fight for the vision that reflects both Israel’s founders and the view of the vast majority of American Jews. We call on all our colleagues to join us in protecting a Jewish and democratic Israel by clearly and forcefully opposing annexation.”

In the coming weeks we will be seeing even more headlines trumpeting polls and petitions that will seek to paint the planned move as being contrary to the wishes of American Jewry. No doubt the American Jewish establishment will lament that the proposed plan will be another “nail in the coffin” in the already strained relationship between American Jewry and the State of Israel, joining a long litany of examples of this supposed rift.
The settler leader who became an advocate for Trump’s peace plan
"Do you think they will ever give this back?” Tzvi Lipski asked, upon being shown his grandson Oded Revivi’s new home in the West Bank settlement of Efrat.

It was 1993, the year that the Oslo I Accord was signed in Washington. But it was economics, more than politics, that had brought Revivi, now the Efrat Council head, to the Gush Etzion hilltops, just outside of Jerusalem.

Revivi had just married his wife, Lisa. Priced out of Jerusalem, the young couple viewed Efrat as an ideal commuter suburb, which was just “15 minutes, door-to-door,” Revivi recalled, as he spoke with The Jerusalem Post in his office.

Politics was not at the top of his mind on that 1993 day, but it was on the mind of his grandfather, a Holocaust survivor who lost his wife and children in World War II.

“I was shocked by the question. It never even crossed my mind,” Revivi said.

The improved interest rates on their mortgage and the grants they received due to the home’s location gave him the sense the government was committed to the retention of the area.

Some 27 years later, Revivi stands in the heartbeat of the battle to ensure that his grandfather’s fears will never materialize, by advocating for the application of sovereignty to Efrat. All the settler leader support sovereignty, of course. But they are divided between those who think it should happen outside the contours of US President Donald Trump’s peace plan, and those, like Revivi, who hold that the plan is essential to the application of Israeli law to portions of the West Bank. He insists that the proper terminology is “the application of Israeli law.” Full sovereignty would occur only with the declaration of borders in the Trump peace process, he said.
Tent outside of Netanyahau’s home to say: No to Palestinian State
To show their support of annexing the Jordan Valley and 30% of the West Bank as part of the Deal of the Century US President Donald Trump pushes forward, activists will erect a tent to keep a three days vigil starting on Sunday.

The tent will host guests such as former justice minister Ayelet Shaked and former transportation minister Bezalel Smotrich who will present their views as well as activists who will engage in Hasbara, a term usually used to describe Israeli public relations efforts to non-Israelis but here used in the context of presenting a pro-annexation view to the general public.

The tent is to be erected facing the official residency of Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Sovereignty Movement and Sovereignty Youth activists, who support the annexation on the table, fiercely reject the implied notion that a Palestinian State will be created on the remaining 70% of West Bank lands.

It is this crucial element which makes it the Deal of the Century, as it is meant to eventually lead to a two-state solution of the century long conflict between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East.

This is why several settler leaders and extreme right-wing activists argue that Israel should take what’s on the table now, meaning the lands, but refuse to signal in any way that it concedes to having a new Arab state erected at its midst.
The man behind Trump’s peace plan
Jason Greenblatt, former Special Representative on Israel for President Trump, says that when he left his White House role last September, a former peace process advisor told him, “It’s like the Eagles’ song, Hotel California: you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave! I now realise exactly what he means”.

Mr. Greenblatt, who co-authored the “Peace to Prosperity” plan with Jared Kushner, President Trump‘s son-in-law, and David Friedman, US Ambassador to Israel, says that his “heart and soul were touched by the people of the region, Israelis, Palestinians and Arabs, both in leadership and ordinary people”.

This February he joined the board of Our Crowd, a crowdfunding platform aimed at investing in projects in the Middle East, but he remains in regular contact with diplomats, politicians and contacts built up during his years in Washington, “so I spend a lot of time still talking about the conflict with all my contacts and still trying to help where I can”.

Mr. Greenblatt, who lives with his wife Naomi and their six children in Teaneck, New Jersey, says his orthodox Judaism has helped in building bridges with potential peace partners. “I’m often asked if three Orthodox Jews were the right choice for this and I would argue it’s quite the opposite. Religion is so important in this region that my being a religious person is only enhanced and I was only shown tremendous respect.

“They found me a private place to pray and put on my tefillin, catering for my kosher dietary requirements — as, by the way, did the Palestinian Authority, who went out of their way to make sure that I was properly fed. I understand when they have to go pray as well. There’s an unspoken understanding about how important religion and family are, for that matter, what it means to us and why it’s important to solve this conflict, so I feel blessed that I had the opportunity.

“I think my being religious was not a negative but a positive, but that doesn’t mean that those who aren’t religious couldn’t also play a significant role or perhaps even solve it”.

Mr. Greenblatt outlines his vision to me in the plan: “It’s an opportunity for the next generation of everybody in the region. Israelis, Palestinians and all of the countries that surround them”.


The West Bank's Status Quo Is More Dangerous than Applying Sovereignty
Thinking that Israel's current strategic position in the West Bank is riskless and hence preferable to the partial application of sovereignty is a misrepresentation of reality. If Israel misses the opportunity presented by the U.S. peace plan to apply sovereignty, the risks to Israel multiply; they do not decrease.

The prime minister's plan to apply sovereignty would have no effect on the vast majority of Palestinians living in Areas A and B, which have been under PA control since January 1996.
Israel has been given an opportunity - one that may well never return - to promote the country's vital national interests and bolster its future. This is also an opportunity to reposition Israel as a nation that will dare to act on its own behalf even in the face of threats. That is the embodiment of sovereignty: political power and independence.
Jordan’s King Abdullah Lobbies Top US Lawmakers Against West Bank Annexation by Israel
Jordan’s king held a series of meetings with leading members of the US Congress on Wednesday, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, during which he expressed intense opposition to Israeli annexation of any part of the West Bank.

According to a statement issued by the Royal Hashemite Court of Jordan, King Abdullah II told American lawmakers that unilateral West Bank annexation by Israel was “unacceptable and undermines the prospects of achieving peace and stability in the Middle East.”

In addition, Abdullah emphasized Jordan’s commitment to a two-state solution and “a comprehensive and just peace” — calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Israel’s Channel 13 reported Thursday that it was told by Palestinian sources that Jordan was stepping up its international campaign against annexation and was doing so “in coordination with the leadership of the Palestinian Authority.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he will pursue annexation starting on July 1, but the extent of the territory to be annexed remains uncertain.
Abbas Understands His People Have No Appetite for Another Intifada
With the PA's decision to cut ties with Israel, Palestinians no longer have their authorities' help in securing permits to enter Israel. Workers, students, businessmen, medical patients, and others must now apply directly to Israel's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).

This is bad news for Hussein al-Sheikh, head of the General Authority of Civil Affairs of the Palestinian Authority, which had handled such affairs. Al-Sheikh's office used to get a commission on each permit handled. Now, his revenues have evaporated. The office also provided one of the best ways for PA leadership to settle scores with rivals in Hamas or Fatah - delaying or rejecting permits as a pressure tactic.

Dr. Michael Milstein, head of the Palestinian Studies Forum at the Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University, said, "Abbas has initiated processes that were supposed to jump-start something. But the public has not pitched in, and the international community is not there yet either. The threat of dissolving the Palestinian Authority is a gun with an empty chamber."

"Last Friday, only 5,000 people attended an anti-annexation protest in Az-Zubaidat in the Jordan Valley. When Abbas looks at the public, he realizes he has failed."
UNHRC set to condemn Israeli annexation, call for arms embargo
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is set late Friday afternoon to condemn Israeli plans to annex portions of the West Bank and to call on the international community to use all tools necessary to enforce an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines, including through an arms embargo.

On Friday afternoon, the 47-member body will vote on five pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli resolutions, as it wraps up its 43rd session.

Three of the resolutions take Israel to task for its military and civilian hold over the West Bank, one of the resolutions affirms the Palestinian right to self-determination and one calls on Israel to return the Golan Heights to Syria.

But with Israeli annexation pending, the thrust of the pro-Palestinian resolutions was to affirm Palestinian statehood, a two-state solution, the pre-1967 lines, to declare Israeli settlement activity to be illegal and to call the international community to talk for failing to hold Israel accountable.

The resolution on accountability “calls upon all States to promote compliance with international law and all High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention .. including by ensuring that they do not become involved in internationally unlawful conduct, and to assess the potential that arms could be used to commit or facilitate a serious violation of international humanitarian or human rights law.”

The resolution on settlements “condemns the declaration made by Israeli officials calling for the annexation of Palestinian land and reaffirms the prohibition of acquisition of territory resulting from the use of force.”

The resolution on self-determination calls on the international community not to recognize Israeli annexation. It “calls upon all States to ensure their obligations of non-recognition, non-aid or assistance with regard to the serious breaches of peremptory norms of international law by Israel.”
EU’s elder statesman: Annexation flouts biblical tenet ‘Thou shalt not steal’
Jean Asselborn is the closest thing Europe has to an elder statesman. He is the continent’s longest-serving top diplomat, having been Luxembourg’s foreign minister for the last 16 years; and he is widely respected in the European Union’s foreign affairs milieu, with an influence over its international relations in inverse proportion to his tiny country’s size.

He has long been a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause, and in recent weeks assumed the role of one of the EU’s most vocal opponents of Israel’s plan to unilaterally annex parts of the West Bank — second perhaps only to the bloc’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell.

Asselborn, 71, was behind an unsuccessful effort to issue a joint EU statement warning Israel against such a move, and has reportedly urged his colleagues to recognize a Palestinian state if Israel goes ahead with its plan to apply sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and all settlements across the West Bank — the 30 percent of territory allocated to Israel under the Trump administration peace plan.

He has also been a fixture in the media speaking out against annexation, including taking his case straight to the Israeli people with interviews in the Israeli press.

“An annexation would be contrary to the security interests of the whole region, including Israel,” Asselborn said Monday at a virtual meeting of EU foreign ministers with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “Now is the time for urgent concerted action to preserve the prospect of peace.”

In an interview with German news magazine Der Spiegel earlier this month, Asselborn didn’t just warn that annexation constitutes a violation of international law, but suggested that it may well be a violation of divine law.
Why is Germany criticizing Israel? – opinion
The news circulating about German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who, albeit without threatening sanctions, calls Israel’s annexation plans illegal, gives the impression that it is an act of grace not to be censured by the world’s moralizing imperial eagle. A high-ranking German politician opining on Israel’s self-determination and historical rights is an irony indeed.

Should Israel thank the Germans very much for generously withholding coercive consequences thus far? Or better, should it question the credibility of a doubtful tutor in international politics? No doubt, Berlin’s experience and wisdom may grant edifying insight into meteorology or climate-warming scenarios. But as a paradigm of integrity and respect for international law or frontiers, Germany decidedly comes in last.

Could Berlin simply empathize with besieged Arab countries, arguing for frontiers they lost to their own aggressions, as Germany did twice in the last century? One might say that a guy in his mid-50s is less familiar with the necessity for a State of Israel on the outskirts of Nazi-dominated Europe.

But as Germany’s foreign minister, Maas is well-briefed on the issues still prevailing regarding Berlin’s unwillingness to pay Poland, Greece or Romania WWII reparations or unsettled monetary claims. Apparently, Maas can only perceive international law when dealing with Israel’s peace, stability and neighbors.

The “Europe United” slogan Berlin frequently uses is a stopgap for facing legality when dealing with the country’s own past. Maas seems unable to understand that the positions Germany and Israel hold when it comes to frontiers and international law are diametrically opposed.

For the last 100 years, German policy has broadly interpreted international law to reduce its financial obligations arising from two world wars they launched to pursue their imperialist ambitions. Israel, however, has adopted its own reading of the law, striving to establish a plain existence and peace in a turbulent region.


Why Facebook Cut Trump’s ‘Nazi’ Ad and Why Obscure Referencing Is So Dangerous in a World Full of Idiots
OK, why is the triangle an Antifa symbol? Because the modern German antifascists borrowed it from the Nazi concentration camp index of badges, where a red triangle indicated that the camp inmate wearing it belonged to the category of political prisoners which included social democrats, socialists, communists, anarchists, gentiles who saved Jews; trade unionists; and Freemasons.

This is the full selection of Kennzeichen für Schutzhäftlinge in den Konzentrationslagern (the triangle marking system for prisoners in German concentration camps):
The triangle marking system for prisoners in German concentration camps. / United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington via Wikimedia

The red triangle has long since become a popular, hip if you will, fashion choice, as in this screenshot from the online vendor Red Bubble:
Antifascist Red Triangles (antifa left symbol). / A screenshot from the online vendor Red Bubble

So, to summarize: the Antifa folks appropriated the Nazi camps’ designation for leftist prisoners as a badge of honor, the Trump campaign used it as a mark of shame against them, and finally, the ultimate idiots in this dance, the Facebook arbiters, dropped the Trump ad because it used a “Nazi symbol.”

As the immortal Groucho Marx once said, in his role of Rufus T. Firefly in Duck Soup: “Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don’t let that fool you: he really is an idiot.”
Trump Retweets Antisemitic Author’s Attack on Former Adviser John Bolton
The list of controversial personalities retweeted by President Donald Trump gained one more name on Thursday, when the US leader shared a strident attack on his former National Security Adviser John Bolton that was posted to the social media platform by an antisemitic writer.

The tweet by Max Blumenthal — a far-left US-based journalist whose writings accuse American Jews of having conflicting dual loyalties and tar Israel as a Nazi-like state — described Bolton as “a notoriously mendacious enemy of all living beings on the planet.”

The tweet echoed one of Trump’s core rhetorical themes in its conclusion that “liberals will eagerly lap up any piece of hysterical Cold War propaganda if they think it can be leveraged against Trump.”

Bolton’s much-anticipated memoir of his 17 months as the president’s national security adviser before he was fired last September has been repeatedly denounced and ridiculed by Trump on his Twitter feed this week, while lawyers for the administration are attempting to block its release on June 23.

It is unclear whether Trump was aware that Max Blumenthal is the son of Sidney Blumenthal — a close confidante of his bitter rival in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton. In one of his pre-election debates with Clinton, Trump accused Sidney Blumenthal of having originated the discredited conspiracy theory that former President Barack Obama was born in Kenya, rather than the US.
Israel: The International Criminal Court Lack Jurisdiction over the "Situation in Palestine"
The Attorney General of Israel issued the following statement on June 17, 2020:
For several years now, the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been conducting a preliminary examination further to a request submitted by the Palestinians.

The principled legal position of the State of Israel, which is not a party to the ICC, is that the Court lacks jurisdiction in relation to Israel and that any Palestinian actions with respect to the Court are legally invalid.

Only sovereign states can delegate criminal jurisdiction to the Court. The Palestinian Authority clearly does not meet the criteria for statehood under international law.

Israel has valid legal claims over the same territory in relation to which the Palestinians are seeking to submit to the Court's jurisdiction.

Israel and the Palestinians agreed, with the support of the international community, to resolve their dispute over the future status of this territory in the framework of negotiations.

By approaching the ICC, the Palestinians are seeking to breach the framework agreed to by the parties and to push the Court to determine political issues that should be resolved by negotiations, and not by criminal proceedings.

The Court was not established for such purposes, nor does it have the authority or capacity to determine such matters, especially in the absence of the consent of the parties.


BBC News misrepresents 'previous US positions'
On the afternoon of June 16th a report headlined “Israel’s West Bank annexation plan condemned by UN experts” appeared on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page.

The subject of the report is a statement put out on the same day by a group of 47 people who are not UN employees but function as special rapporteurs, independent experts or members of working groups. The expertise of the majority of the signatories has nothing to do with the Arab-Israeli conflict. At the top of the list of signatories is Michael Lynk whose title is “Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967” and who was appointed to that role in 2016 despite his long record of anti-Israel activity.

The BBC’s opening portrayal of that overtly political statement included a link:
“Almost 50 UN human rights experts [sic] have condemned Israel’s plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, calling it a “vision of a 21st Century apartheid”.

Such a move would violate international law and leave what would amount to “a Palestinian Bantustan”, they warned.”


That none too subtle ‘apartheid’ analogy was repeated later on in the report under the sub-heading “What do the UN experts say?”.
“Israel has recently promised that it will maintain permanent security control between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. Thus, the morning after annexation would be the crystallisation of an already unjust reality: two peoples living in the same space, ruled by the same state, but with profoundly unequal rights. This is a vision of a 21st Century apartheid.”

Readers were not provided with any information in the BBC’s own words concerning the relevance of the expertise of the people it repeatedly described as “UN experts”. Instead, they found a link to an update at an Israeli news website.
How could the India-China standoff impact Israel?
A standoff between India and China over a disputed border region has seen at least 20 Indian soldiers killed. The dispute has potential regional and global implications because China and India are among the most populated countries on Earth, and they have nuclear weapons.

Even without an escalation, the issue is important because it brings into stark contrast the rising number of border disputes that threaten to spill over into conflict.

This matters to Israel. Israel has thrived economically and especially in the realm of defense technology in the last years. Israel has a strategic partnership with India, and Israel has been pressured in recent years by the US to reduce its warming relations with China.

The Israeli tendency to expand relations with India and China was brought about by the tectonic shifts that took place after the Cold War. Twenty-five years of relations with China were celebrated in 2017. Full relations with India were also established in 1992. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to Israel in 2017. China’s Vice President Wang Qishan came to Israel in 2018.

These relations are now part of the shifting global realities where economic power is rapidly shifting to Asia, and Western countries are becoming more chaotic and unstable. Israel’s key alliance is with the US, but Israel’s key relationships are also in Asia, and they will continue to be.
Germany accuses Iran, Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Russia, China of espionage
The intelligence service of the southern German state of Baden-Württemberg on Monday accused Iran, Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Russia, and China of espionage activities.

The Jerusalem Post’s review of the 181-page intelligence document authored by German officials shows that Syria’s regime is believed to have exploited migration waves to maximize its covert activities in Germany. Jordan, which has previously not appeared in prior intelligence documents, engaged in espionage in the federal republic.

“With the progressive stabilization of the regime in the civil war, the Syrian intelligence services are again able to work at home and abroad. The main task remains to research opponents of the regime. This includes Islamist groups as well as secular and Kurdish opposition groups. With the migration movements in recent years, both opponents and supporters of the regime have come to Germany. The number of references to spying attempts among Syrians living here has been increasing for years. It can be assumed that the Syrian services will also use the migration movement to infiltrate agents,” said the intelligence report.

The intelligence report wrote that “States such as India or Jordan, which previously had little or no focus on security agencies in Germany, also developed intelligence activities. In Russia and China in particular, the intelligence services are now increasingly turning their attention to people who are there for a long time, professionally or privately. These include, in particular, family members of diplomatic missions and government officials, company representatives, academics or students.”
This Ongoing War: Aljazeera on the Tamimi extradition: Our commentary
It's an intense time for us on multiple fronts. We've been doing a lot of tweeting and ZOOMing and Whatsapping. But somehow not much - and not enough - blogging. Time to do some catching up.

Over at Aljazeera, an English-language piece, "'Close the file': Jordan king urged to deny US extradition demand" by Ali Younes takes an inevitably sympathetic look at the efforts currently being made by a fugitive terrorist, Ahlam Tamimi, to stop certain pesky efforts by US law enforcement to call her to account. And put her in a US Federal prison for a very long time.

To the writer's credit, he offered Arnold Roth an opportunity to be heard on an issue that, it goes without saying, is at the very heart of our deepest concerns. In the end, and we'll get to this below, the article deals far more with viewpoints that we don't like and think are lacking in accuracy and logic than with ours.

Quote: Al-Tamimi - a Jordanian citizen who was convicted in Israel and sentenced to multiple life sentences after 15 people, including two Israeli-Americans, were killed in the blast - was released to Jordan in a prisoner swap between Hamas and Israel in 2011.

Comment: The "multiple" in that sentence is 16. Sixteen. Six. Teen. One for each of her victims. Think back to the last time you heard about a sentence anywhere as large as that. The "including two Israeli-Americans" isn't right. Two of the murdered were females with American citizenship: our daughter Malki who was 15 and had lived here in Jerusalem since she was two years old. And Shoshana Hayman Greenbaum who was a beloved school teacher in New Jersey, her parents' only child, and pregnant for the first time. Shoshana wasn't an Israeli-American but simply an American who was visiting Israel. A tourist who is buried a short walk away from our Malki. A third American female, the mother of a two year-old child who was with her in the pizzeria but survived uninjured, has been in a vegetative coma through all the years since the massacre. Tamimi doesn''t mention her. Nor do the news reports about how many people were murdered there that day. Because that lady is alive. Just comatose.


Poll: Factors Driving Migration of Palestinian Christians (PDF)
The PSR conducted a public opinion poll among 995 Palestinian Christians in the West Bank and Gaza between January 27 and February 23, 2020. Palestinian Christians are Greek Orthodox (48%), Latin Catholic (38%), Greek Catholic (6%), Evangelical, Episcopal and Lutheran Protestants (4%), Syriac Orthodox (2%), and Syriac Catholic (1%). Two-thirds (66%) live in an area with a Christian majority.

48% in Gaza and 35% in the West Bank are considering emigrating. 80-87% are worried about crime and theft in Palestinian areas from the absence of the rule of law, as well as corruption in the PA. 77% are worried about the presence of religious Salafist groups and 69% are worried about the presence of armed Palestinian factions such as Hamas. 2/3 said they are worried about the fact that the Palestinian Basic Law refers to the principles of the Islamic Sharia as a main source of legislation.

27% say that they have been exposed to racist curses and/or epithets like "kafir" or non-believer or Crusader. 43% feel that most Muslims do not wish to see them in this land. 44% believe there is discrimination against Christians when they seek jobs in the private sector. 70% believe that one cannot obtain a job without a "connection." 70% have heard a Muslim say that Christians will go to Hell.

2/3 say they do not trust or have little trust in the PA government. Trust in the judiciary and the courts stands at 16%, and in the PA police at 22%.
Khaled Abu Toameh: The Palestinians No One Tells You About
"The animals that live in European countries have a better life than us... [The] UNHCR lied a lot to us.... Even the [Israeli] enemy has not acted in this way." — Palestinians in Iraq, Al-Youm newspaper, May 28, 2020.

Before the downfall of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003, there were about 34,000 Palestinians living in Iraq. Only a few thousand Palestinians are now living there, and many face harassment, threats of deportation, media scapegoating, arbitrary detention, torture and murder.

The Arab states unremittingly subject Palestinians to apartheid and discriminatory measures. Yet the heads of the UN and its member states seem too busy with their obsession with Israel to attend to their pleas of these Palestinians, who are being deprived of basic rights in Iraq and throughout the Arab world.
Ha'aretz: "An Intifada Should Have Erupted Years Ago Against Corrupt PA Officials"
For many Palestinians, the idea of dismantling the PA has become a meaningless one which, if implemented, would mean doing away with the Palestinians' greatest achievement in the Oslo Accords. Dismantling the PA means firing tens of thousands of people, inflicting mortal economic damage on the West Bank and, mainly, losing the power of representation.

According to Jordanian journalist Ziyad Fahim al-Atari, there is little likelihood of a third intifada because the Palestinian public is preoccupied with more immediate, existential matters and with maintaining its economic achievements. And, at present, widespread public activities could be curtailed by fear of the coronavirus.

The PA is currently mired in a severe economic crisis following Abbas' announcement that he would refuse to accept tax revenues from Israel accruing to the Palestinians. As a result, the PA did not pay salaries last month. "The PA resembles a country that imposed sanctions on itself without examining their implications or creating an exit or rescue plan, and is now sitting on the window ledge and waiting for the world's mercy," says a Palestinian journalist.

Anyone concerned about an intifada is invited to be even more concerned about a revolt sparked by economic difficulties of the sort that erupted in Lebanon and Iraq. The journalist explains, "Even if someone wanted to initiate activity...who would lead it? The PA? An intifada of this kind should have erupted years ago - not against Israel, but against our corrupt officials."


ISIS Terrorists Cannot Be Allowed to Reclaim Iraq
Iraqi security officials say the number of ISIS fighters in Iraq is now between 2,000-3,000, which includes around 500 militants who have made their way to Iraq after escaping from prisons in Syria.

The upsurge in ISIS in activity in Iraq should certainly act as a wake-up call for the Trump administration as it reviews America's military commitment to Iraq following the recent appointment of former Iraqi intelligence chief Mustafa al-Kadhimi as the country's new pro-Western prime minister.

The reason Iraq is able to have elections in the first place is because of the enormous sacrifices made by American and other coalition forces to rebuild the country after the overthrow of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003, an achievement that the Trump administration cannot allow to be damaged by a resurgent ISIS.
UN watchdog presses Iran over nuke violations, Iran threatens retaliation
The IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) Board of Governors passed a resolution on Friday calling on Iran to grant access to two suspected former nuclear sites and answer questions about possible undeclared nuclear material.

The resolution, submitted by France, Germany and the United Kingdom, was adopted by a vote of 25 to 2 with 7 abstentions. Crucially, the two countries voting against the resolution were the highly influential countries Russia and China.

The resolution could pressure Iran to let inspectors into the two sites mentioned in the IAEA's March and early June reports and to clarify the origin of undeclared nuclear material which IAEA inspectors found at another site.

A statement from the IAEA said, "The resolution stressed the importance of States complying fully with their safeguards obligations and facilitating access as required when notified by the IAEA."

Iran’s permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna Kazem Gharib Abadi responded that Tehran completely rejects the resolution adopted by the IAEA Board of Governors.


CHARITY COMMISSION WARNS ISLAMIC CENTRE OF ENGLAND OVER SOLEIMANI VIGILS
The Charity Commission has issued a formal warning to the Islamic Centre of England following its support for, and honouring of terrorist Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone strike in January. Statements on the charity’s website offered both condolences and praise for the general, who was designated as a terrorist by the United States in 2005, and had his assets frozen by the UK in 2011 under the Terrorist Asset Freezing Act.

At least two events were held by the charity in honour of the terrorist. At one candlelit vigil, the speaker was filmed appearing to praise and call for support for Soleimani. The Charity Commssion concluded that the charity’s trustees failed to intervene or provide a counter-narrative.

Tim Hopkins, Assistant Director of Investigations and Inquiries at the Charity Commission said that “any charity being associated with terrorism is completely unacceptable and we are concerned by the corrosive effect this might have on public confidence”. Shouldn’t the Charity Commission insist that they stop supporting Soleimani or lose their charitable status? If they had said they supported Brexit they would have come down like a tonne of bricks…



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