Saturday, June 20, 2020

From Ian:

Ron Dermer: We must stop pursuing a two-state illusion and commit to a realistic two-state solution
Determined to advance a realistic solution to the conflict with the Palestinians, Israel’s prime minister laid out his vision of peace in a speech to the Knesset. The Palestinians, he said, would have “less than a state,” Israel would retain security control over the Jordan Valley “in the broadest meaning of that term,” Jerusalem would remain united under Israel’s sovereignty, and settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria would become part of lsrael.

Those words were not spoken recently by Benjamin Netanyahu but by then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, when he defended the Oslo peace process he had initiated two years earlier with President Bill Clinton and Yasser Arafat and for which he would be assassinated one month later.

Twenty-five years later, a gulf has emerged between the positions Rabin staked out and what is increasingly believed to be the gold standard for a potential Israeli-Palestinian peace. The result has been the emergence of a two-state illusion that will never happen rather than a two-state solution that might advance peace.

The extension of Israeli sovereignty to certain territories in Judea and Samaria will not, as many critics suggest, destroy the two-state solution. But it will shatter the two-state illusion. And in doing so, it will open the door to a realistic two-state solution and get the peace process out of the cul-de-sac it has been stuck in for two decades.

Let me explain why.

For 20 years, successive Israeli prime ministers have tried to advance peace with the Palestinians. In 2000, Ehud Barak offered sweeping concessions at Camp David. In 2005, Ariel Sharon unilaterally withdrew Israel from the Gaza Strip. In 2008, Ehud Olmert offered even more concessions. In 2009, Benjamin Netanyahu called for a two-state solution in which a demilitarized Palestinian state would recognize the Jewish state and agreed to a 10-month settlement freeze. And earlier this year, both Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, Israel’s alternate prime minister, committed to negotiate based on President Trump’s peace plan.

All along, Palestinian leaders have rejected every Israeli peace overture while systematically promoting a culture that rejects peace and glorifies terrorism, including by providing a lifetime of financial support for terrorists who murder Jews.

The rejectionism of Palestinian leaders has been no surprise to those who understand that this century-old conflict has never been about establishing a Palestinian state. It has always been about rejecting the Jewish state.


Sudden Annexation of the West Bank Not on Wary Netanyahu's Agenda
In the subsequent 1½ decades, a single major operation into Gaza has taken place (in 2014). There has been diplomatic and military action, to be sure, but it has been of the quiet and discreet kind intended to chip away at enemy capacities, to shift perceptions slowly or quietly to draw former enemies closer via shared interests. That is Netanyahu's way in government. A major lunge at sovereignty in 30 per cent of the West Bank, apparently against the partial or total opposition of the US, the Europeans, coalition partners, tacit Arab allies and even (for different reasons) the West Bank settlers would be out of character.

Some Israeli media reports have noted that as a result of his managerial and incremental style, Netanyahu lacks a major "legacy" policy move.

In this telling, an effort at setting Israel's permanent eastern border could fill the gap. The great Israeli prime ministers — David Ben-Gurion, Menachem Begin — are each associated with a series of major policy initiatives.

The declaration of statehood, the management of the war of independence, the gathering of more than a million immigrants and the acquisition of a nuclear capacity are the legacy of the former. The insurgency against British rule, the achievement of peace with Israel's largest Arab neighbour, ensuring the integration of immigrants from North Africa and West Asia and destroying Saddam Hussein's nuclear ambitions were among the major achievements of the latter.

Netanyahu's record reveals a cautious, incremental, managerial approach to governance.

This, however, seems to misunderstand the incumbent Israeli premier. Netanyahu's moves are not devoid of a strategic conception. He regards Zionism and Israel as engaged in a long war to establish and solidify the structures of Jewish sovereignty against a protracted Arab and pan-Islamic counter-effort to destroy them. The Palestinians, in this view, are only a relatively minor or subaltern element of the larger effort. This is a conflict not fought out only, or primarily, by kinetic means. Rather, it is one in which the full resources of each society are engaged — economic, diplomatic, cultural and military.

Victory comes in such a contest not through a single diplomatic masterstroke or a deva­stating blow. Rather, it is gained in careful, incremental steps.

Bold tactical moves are certainly part of Netanyahu's repertoire. Sudden strategic moves seeking to change the picture overnight, however, in the face of international and domestic opposition, would be quite out of character.
British experts, leaders respond to Israel’s sovereignty plan
Ahead of Israel’s planned application of sovereignty in Judea and Samaria starting on July 1, British experts and Jewish leaders spoke out about their support for Israel’s claim and right of sovereignty in the land, and the Jewish state’s democratic decision to carry out its policies.

Retired British army officer Col. Richard Kemp challenged the assertion that Israel’s proposed action would be a violation of international law, which was made by Member of Parliament Crispin Blunt, and other British MPs and members of the House of Lords, in a letter addressed to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the foreign secretary.

Based on Kemp’s lengthy experience working on the Israel-Palestinian issue at the UK’s Joint Intelligence Committee, as well as many years observing, monitoring and studying the situation on the ground in Israel, the Palestinian territories and elsewhere in the Middle East, he assessed in the letter “that the U.S. Administration’s current peace proposals, including sovereignty implementation, represent the best chance for a lasting peace between the two sides, as well as a future two-state solution.”

“I believe that this plan also has the potential to bring much-needed prosperity for the Palestinian people, as well as greater stability to the region,” he wrote.

Kemp further claimed that Blunt’s proposed sanctions against Israel if sovereignty is applied is harmful to Britain’s trade relationship with Israel and the United States. “The security of British citizens at home and overseas relies heavily on the continued strong intelligence, defence and technology relationship with Israel,” he wrote in the letter.

In the midst of economic uncertainty from coronavirus and Brexit, he told JNS, “the last thing we need is to damage relationship with U.S. and Israel, our important trading partners that share a mutual benefit in our security relationship.”

Israel’s application of sovereignty, which will infuse the Palestinian economy with massive investments and Israeli cooperation, will urge the Palestinians to “act more constructively”—an encouraging new idea in the context of “trying to achieve the same thing for decades and achieving nothing.”

The typical route to pursuing a two-state solution, he explained in the letter, has “proven not only fruitless but has also increased suffering for the Palestinian people and heightened danger for Israeli citizens and the Jewish diaspora.”



The Oldest Hatred Rears Its Head
It's been more than two days now since the New York Times opinion page, policed closely by the paper's readers and employees for evidence of bigotry, published an op-ed that approvingly cites the black anti-Semitism explained away in a 50-year-old essay by the writer James Baldwin.

We've been waiting for the reference to spark some sort of backlash and outcry from the paper’s reporters, for the Twitter hashtag decrying the insensitivity, for the internal finger pointing about who dropped the ball and allowed the publication of a piece that could make American Jews feel so unsafe.

Are you surprised to hear it never came?

The piece, by Brooklyn College professor Moustafa Bayoumi, asked why a Minnesota convenience store called the police on George Floyd. Midway through, Bayoumi casually invoked the historical tensions between blacks and Jews.

"In Harlem in the 1960s, most such stores were Jewish-owned," Bayoumi writes, offering as evidence James Baldwin’s 1967 essay, also published in the Times, titled "Negroes Are Anti-Semitic Because They're Anti-White." In that essay, Baldwin writes, "It is bitter to watch the Jewish storekeeper locking up his store for the night, and going home."

"Today, many of these stores in major cities around the country are run by Arab-American and South-Asian-American merchants," Bayoumi writes, "but the justifiable resentments remain the same."

The argument: The resentment of Jews was justifiable then and the sordid legacy persists. "In the American context," Baldwin wrote, "the most ironical thing about Negro anti-Semitism is that the Negro is really condemning the Jew for having become an American white man—for having become, in effect, a Christian. The Jew profits from his status in America, and he must expect Negroes to distrust him for it. The Jew does not realize that the credential he offers, the fact that he has been despised and slaughtered, does not increase the Negro's understanding. It increases the Negro's rage."

And while Jews no longer own many of the corner stores about which Bayoumi and Baldwin wrote, anti-Semitism among African Americans persists. A 2013 survey conducted by the Anti-Defamation League, the most recent that tracked the views of African Americans, found that 12 percent of Americans—but 20 percent of African Americans—hold "strongly anti-Semitic views."

MSNBC's employees and viewers aren't any more concerned than the Times about offending Jewish sensibilities. There has been no public outcry since a seven-minute diatribe on Wednesday from Joe Scarborough, who—channeling his best Colonel Jessup—railed about the greed and malice of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg. Scarborough accused the pair, both Jews, of making "billions of dollars off of spreading lies."
I am the architect of the U.S.-Israel police exchange. Don’t believe the lies
Despite suggestions to the contrary, there is no field training involved in either the conferences or trips, and no training on holds or arrest mechanics. The exchanges, which are hosted by the Israel National Police, focus on effective counterterrorism techniques.

Participants learn how Israeli law enforcement deters, disrupts, and responds to terrorist attacks. They explore the ideology of suicide bombers and other attackers, ways to de-escalate an ongoing incident, and the intelligence-gathering and -sharing process.

Trip participants have discussed efforts to build trust with minority communities, visited hospital trauma units and crime scenes, and spoken with terrorists serving life sentences for murder. One year, JINSA organized a specialized trip for American bomb squad commanders which focused on topics such as post-blast forensics and the materials used in explosive devices.

There is a unique value to learning from Israel’s unfortunately extensive experience in the counterterrorism field. In 2002, the year that JINSA’s first HSP trip took place, hundreds of civilians were killed by Palestinian terrorists, including senior citizens at a Passover Seder, students at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, schoolchildren on buses, and families eating lunch. The victims included Holocaust survivors, young fathers, pregnant mothers, kids, and infants.

It is the tragic reality that these heinous attacks have taught Israeli officials lessons that no nation ever wants to learn first-hand. Nearly two decades after 9/11, and following more recent attacks in San Bernardino, Orlando, and New York, these lessons unfortunately remain pertinent to the U.S. law enforcement community. The U.S. Intelligence Community warned in 2019 that terrorist groups “remain intent on striking the U.S. homeland.” The threat of homegrown violent extremists and domestic terrorists persists as well.

Importantly, both American and Israeli police agencies operate under similar conditions, with judicial and public oversight and an aggressive free press. There is value in learning how Israel fights terrorism while preserving its democratic institutions and the individual rights of citizens — challenges facing all democratic societies.

Many HSP participants have recognized the program’s great value, with the National Sheriffs’ Association endorsing the exchange in a 2019 resolution. One chief of police, for instance, credited what he learned in Israel with assisting him in deescalating and resolving an armed hostage-taking incident. I have heard many similar testimonies over the years.

Nonetheless, opponents of these exchanges seek to prevent Israeli experts from imparting lessons learned while facing a slew of attacks. Instead, they scapegoat Israel and American Jewish organizations in their obsessive quest to turn American public opinion, especially among political liberals, against Israel.

If they succeed, the American people will lose a valuable tool in enhancing their safety, all in service of the same objective that animates anti-Israel organizations globally: the Jewish state’s isolation and ultimate destruction.

That desire is rightly rejected by Americans. This pernicious campaign should be rejected as well.
Pompeo Accuses UN Body of Hypocrisy After Condemnation of US Police Brutality
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused the United Nations Human Rights Council of hypocrisy on Saturday after the organization condemned racism and police brutality in the United States following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month.

Pompeo said the 47-member-state forum’s unanimous resolution on Friday on policing and race was a new low for the Council and reaffirmed the United States’ decision to withdraw from the organization in 2018.

“The United Nations Human Rights Council, now comprised of Venezuela and recently Cuba and China, has long been and remains a haven for dictators and democracies that indulge them,” Pompeo said in a statement. “It is a grave disappointment to those genuinely seeking to advance human dignity.”

The death of Floyd, a 46-year old black man who died on May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, has led to widespread demonstrations in the United States and across the globe against police brutality and racial injustice. Pompeo said the civil discourse was a sign of the United States’ democracy, strength, and maturity.

“If the Council were serious about protecting human rights, there are plenty of legitimate needs for its attention, such as the systemic racial disparities in places like Cuba, China, and Iran,” he said.

“If the Council were honest, it would recognize the strengths of American democracy and urge authoritarian regimes around the world to model American democracy and to hold their nations to the same high standards of accountability and transparency that we Americans apply to ourselves.”


Palestinians Accuse CHAZ/CHOP of Cultural Appropriation (satire)
Palestinian activists are accusing the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone of appropriating Palestinian culture after they made up their own country in six square blocks of Seattle. “It’s not fair” one Palestinian in Ramallah said, “these white people steal everything: hummus, rioting, and now making up their own countries in random places?”

For nearly two weeks, six city blocks of Seattle have been taken over and declared no longer part of the United States. Some see the action as harmless, but others find it troubling: Palestinian scholars say that the invention of new countries on a whim, just to piss off other countries, is a threat to Palestinian heritage. Scholars also point out that a recent name change of the area to the “Capitol Hill Organized Protest” (CHOP) does further disservice to Palestinian heritage by not sticking with their story, no matter the facts. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the protestors saying, “What kind of a name is CHAZ anyway? Sounds like some white punk who lives in his parent’s basement covered in Cheetos; and CHOP? Is this an insurrection against a fascist and racist state or a salad bar?”

The residents of the CHOP weren’t the only ones to attract the Palestinians ire. There were multiple reports of injuries from car ramming attacks which the Palestinian representative to the United Nations said was “an outrage” and filed a complaint with UNESCO against the appropriation of a cultural heritage by White Supremacists.
Williamsburg’s Jewish Liberated Zone Declares War on Clown Mayor de Blasio
Williamsburg is an immensely cohesive and successful community, in part because it is careful not to draw too much attention to itself. In any case, its members all voted for Mayor de Blasio, who was once viewed as friendly on a number of issues, mostly around religious practice and educational autonomy. But the discontent at Middleton was hard to miss, even if it was expressed with the community’s usual caution.

Were the Jews being picked on? I asked Indig. “We don’t know,” said the rabbi. A nearby man, who identified himself as Abe, broke in: “Without a doubt.” Who could deny that de Blasio had it in for the local Jewish community? “He didn’t show up to anybody else’s funeral, but he showed up to the Williamsburg funeral,” Abe noted, in reference to a now-notorious incident on April 28, in which the mayor personally attempted to break up a semi-authorized large crowd in the neighborhood, and then tweeted a “message to the Jewish community” that “the time for warnings has passed.” One needn’t exaggerate about Egypt or Germany-like oppression; the Satmar community’s historical memory stretches all the way back to six weeks ago.

Although it was a Borough Parker who pried open the playground gates, the scene on Monday afternoon resulted from local factors. At the playground, I spoke to a woman who recalled her 14-year-old daughter’s mood swings over the course of a now three-month-long quarantine. For weeks she had been cooped up with six children in a tenement apartment. “Doing nothing brings no good,” was the woman’s verdict on the experience.

In an interview on Wednesday, Rabbi Niederman eschewed the language of organized dissent. “This was a rally and cry out for help, for relief,” he said of Monday’s gathering. “That’s what it is. I don’t know why it’s called ‘protest.’”

Still, Niederman said that the disaffection within the community could no longer be contained. “I think the government sees that the community is unable, and unwilling, to continue to be quarantined, in the sense that our kids have no outlet. Summer schools, day camps, sleep-away camps have to open for the future of our communities to be able to exist. And I hope the government will see that, and will start to act responsibly towards safety precautions, but at the same time also act responsibly towards the mental health and abilities for our families to return to work so that we can put bread on our table ourselves.” Rabbi Niederman cautioned that “we shouldn’t mix politics with emergency situations,” but he would not discuss de Blasio or any other political leader on record.

Indig was less circumspect in talking about New York City’s often baffling chief executive. “I’m not saying he’s an anti-Semite. He’s a friend. He’s not an anti-Semite,” the rabbi said of de Blasio. “We considered him somebody who knew the culture, and who understands the community. I have no idea what’s going on now, and not only us—a lot of people are saying the same.”

The leaders of the Williamsburg Jewish community are often stereotyped as being masters of political transaction who can command an enormous voting bloc in exchange for nearly anything they ask for. In a give-and-take that somehow both vindicates and undermines the idea of democratic self-governance, the Satmars are said to vote for candidates who support, for instance, same-sex marriage, and the progressives they elect and often befriend then dedicate themselves to sustaining the self-governing ethno-religious enclave. But reality is always a little messier. At Middleton, Lentol seemed less like a hostage than like someone who was honestly and righteously furious. “They’re good people,” Lentol told me of his Hasidic constituents, “and they don’t get treated the same way as others as a result of being good.”

While Niederman would not comment on any political leaders on record, he did offer a theory of politics, an ever-shifting playing field in which your friends can both love you and scapegoat you, and where Hasidic rabbis can suddenly become bolder in denouncing the state of things than nearly anyone else in the Jewish community, or really any community in the city. “We commit two sins that everybody commits: That’s democracy,” he explained. The sins, as I understood it, were those of entrusting one’s hopes, dreams, and very existence to worldly leadership, and of then daring to expect anything in return.

“Democracy is that you support somebody who you believe will not interfere with your religious practices—that’s why our country was created,” Niederman explained. “And you want safe streets, and to have your garbage be picked up, and social needs met.”
PM said seeking to renew Shin Bet tracking, as 294 virus cases found in past day
Ahead of an emergency meeting of ministry chiefs Sunday to discuss the steady rise in coronavirus infection rates, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly seeking to renew a controversial program allowing the Shin Bet security agency to use sensitive personal data to track coronavirus carriers and those who were exposed to them.

Source in the Prime Minister’s Office told Haaretz on Saturday that “If illness rates continue to rise, the premier will ask to reevaluate the use of digital means.”

The report came after Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kisch, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, called earlier in the day for the swift passage of a law authorizing the tracking program, which ended earlier this month after the government declined to advance legislation anchoring it in law.

Meanwhile the Ynet news site reported that another measure that may be discussed at Sunday’s meeting of top officials is raising fines for Israelis caught not wearing masks in public.

Currently, authorities can hit people with a NIS 200 ($58) fine for not donning a mask in public areas.

The Health Ministry on Saturday night said 294 virus cases had been diagnosed since Friday afternoon, continuing the trend of some 300 new cases a day over the past few days.

The number of active cases stood at 4,668. Forty patients were in serious condition, of which 27 were on ventilators. Meanwhile, 49 people were in moderate condition while the rest had only mild symptoms.

Among the latest cases were 16 residents of an elderly living facility in Jerusalem.
Jewish men in UK are twice as likely to die from coronavirus - study
In a statistical analysis of deaths from the coronavirus in England, Jewish males were shown to have double the risk of dying from COVID-19 than the general population.

The report published Friday by the United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistics looks at the breakdown of deaths according to religion in England and Wales. Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs also were more at risk than Christians or those with no stated religion, according to the report.

A “substantial part of the difference in mortality” between religious groups, the report says, owes to “the different circumstances in which members of these groups are known to live; for example living in areas with higher levels of socioeconomic deprivation and differences in ethnic makeup.”

The report means that “Jewish males are at twice the risk of Christian males, and Jewish women are also at higher risk,” The Jewish Chronicle of London quoted Nick Stripe, head of a department at the kingdom’s Office for National Statistics, as saying.

Jewish males had a mortality rate of 187.9 deaths per 100,000 compared to 92.6 deaths overall per 100,000 in the general population, which is primarily Christian. For Jewish females, the rate was 94.3 deaths per 100,000 compared with 54.6 overall.
Chuck Schumer, 2 other key pro-Israel Democrats warn Israel against annexation
Three of Israel’s most stalwart boosters among Democrats in Congress are warning the country against annexing parts of the West Bank.

Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, and Sens. Ben Cardin of Maryland and Robert Menendez of New Jersey released a statement Friday saying they were “compelled to express opposition to the proposed unilateral annexation of territory in the West Bank.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to launch the process to annex parts of the West Bank on July 1.

The three senators are only the latest Democrats in Congress to warn Israel against the proposed annexation, but they may be the most significant, not only because Schumer leads the party but because they are often at the forefront of pro-Israel legislation.

Menendez has been a leader on Iran sanctions and Cardin is the lead author of a bill that would penalize Israel boycotters. The three were among only four Democrats in the Senate who opposed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, a key foreign policy priority of then-President Barack Obama. (The fourth was Joe Manchin of Virginia.) Cardin and Schumer are Jewish.

“A sustainable peace deal that ensures the long-term security of Israel and self-determination for Palestinians must be negotiated directly between the two parties,” the statement said. “Unilateral annexation runs counter to those longstanding policies and could undermine regional stability and broader US national security interests in the region.”

A letter circulating among House Democrats issuing a similar warning has garnered over 120 signatures, including Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., the majority leader, who is considered the congressman closest to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. AIPAC opposes the letter.

If the letter organizers reach 200 or more of the 235 Democrats in the House, it will set up AIPAC and Israel for tensions with Democrats on a par with 2015, when the party was furious with Netanyahu for accepting a GOP invitation to use Congress as a podium to lash out against Obama’s Iran policies. At that time, however, Netanyahu had the support of many of the pro-Israel Democrats who now are speaking out against annexation.




Missing soldier found dead outside base in southern Israel
A soldier missing for the past two days was found dead outside his base in southern Israel on Saturday, the military said.

The soldier was identified as Staff Sgt. Adiel Fishler who served in the military’s Shizafon Base.

His body was found by soldiers from his unit, the 460th Armored Brigade. There were no immediate indications of foul play.

The Israel Defense Forces said the Military Police had launched an investigation into the soldier’s death.

Fishler, 21, was reported missing on Thursday night.

“Over the past two days, IDF troops — including commanders and soldiers of the 460th Armored Brigade, as well as hundreds of soldiers from different field units — along with Military Police, the Manpower Directorate’s Missing Person Division and the Air Force worked together with the Israel Police to find the soldier,” the military said.

Fishler, who is from Jerusalem, was last seen exiting the Shizafon base around 9 p.m. on Thursday night, wearing an army work uniform and armed with an M-16 rifle.

A few hours after he left base, his absence was noted, and searches started Friday morning.
PA orders lockdowns of Hebron, Nablus amid record high infection numbers
At a press conference Saturday evening, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said the cities of Hebron and Nablus will be locked down in response to what he called “a dangerous increase in coronavirus infections” in the West Bank.

Speaking after Palestinian officials held an emergency meeting in Ramallah, Shtayyeh also called to halt worker movement between Israel and the West Bank for the next two weeks. It was not immediately clear if this was an order or merely a recommendation.

With 108 new virus cases confirmed across the West Bank Saturday — a record-high number — amid a trend of rising infections, Shtayyeh said no one and nothing will be let in or out of the Hebron governorate except for supplies and food. A five-day curfew is also to be put in place within the governorate, with only bakeries, pharmacies, supermarkets, and some factories to remain open.

Hebron, the West Bank’s largest governorate, has emerged as the center of the new wave of coronavirus infections in the West Bank.

Nablus will also be ordered into lockdown for two days to prevent the spread of the virus, Shtayyeh said. The city’s governor said people were to stay within 150 meters of their house.

All social gatherings were now banned throughout the West Bank, although some restaurants and coffee shops will remain open for now, Shtayyeh said.




Celtics' Enes Kanter says father released from Turkish prison
Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter tweeted Friday morning that his father had been released from prison in his native Turkey seven years after he was arrested by the country's authoritarian government.

"Wow! I could cry," Kanter wrote. "Today I found out that 7 years after arresting my dad, taking him through a Kangaroo court and accusing him of being a criminal just because he is my dad."

"MY DAD HAS BEEN RELEASED! This is due to the pressure we have put on the Turkish regime."

Kanter, who has been an outspoken critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, went on to post two more tweets about it.

He declined to comment further, saying he is still gathering information about what happened.

Kanter has clashed with the Turkish government for years, to the point where his Turkish passport was canceled in 2017 and he fears leaving America over the prospect of being deported to Turkey. He played his first game outside the country in years on Christmas Day, when the Celtics won in Toronto against the defending champion Raptors.

Turkish prosecutors have previously sought an international arrest warrant for Kanter, citing his ties to exiled Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the country's government blames for a failed coup in 2016.

In October, Kanter tweeted that he and Celtics rookie Tacko Fall were harassed outside of a mosque in Boston, which he said at the time was being done by supporters of Erdogan.
IAEA: Iran Engaged in Secret Nuclear Work
Iran engaged in covert nuclear work that breached international accords as recently as 2019, according to nuclear inspectors who have been blocked from accessing these contested military sites.

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) board of governors officially reprimanded Iran on Friday for denying inspectors access to at least two sites now known to have been part of Tehran’s secretive atomic weapons program.

The two locations have remained off limits to the IAEA despite evidence they were used for illicit nuclear operations in the last year. At least one of these sites contained a secret high-explosives testing site that could have been used to advance Tehran’s nuclear know-how.

The resolution was forwarded by France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, all of which are still party to the nuclear accord with Tehran. While these nations have sought to preserve the accord, their willingness to publicly reprimand Iran is a new sign of mounting frustration with the country's behavior. In addition to blocking IAEA access, Iran has ramped up its development of advanced missiles and enrichment of uranium, the key component in a nuclear weapon, to levels needed for a bomb.

The resolution highlights what these nations described as a "continued lack of clarification regarding Agency questions related to possible undeclared nuclear material and nuclear related activities in Iran."

The move was met with anger by Iranian officials, who said they will continue to block access until the international community offers greater concessions, particularly relief from biting economic sanctions that have crippled the country’s economy.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Iran’s behavior is proof that it continues to lie to the world about its development of nuclear arms and has no intention of curtailing its nuclear program.

"Iran’s denial of access to IAEA inspectors and refusal to cooperate with the IAEA’s investigation is deeply troubling and raises serious questions about what Iran is trying to hide," Pompeo said in a statement.
Iran’s currency hits record low amid sanctions, virus, international pressure
Iran’s currency has dropped to its lowest value ever at 190,000 rial for each dollar amid severe US sanctions against the country, new international pressure over its nuclear and weapons programs and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Iranian currency has tumbled from a rate of 32,000 rials to $1 at the time of Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Since US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose crippling trade sanctions over two years ago, Iran’s oil exports, the country’s main source of income, have fallen sharply.

Last week, Senior Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri said that Iran’s oil revenues have plummeted to $8 billion from $100 billion in 2011.

Iran recently sent five tankers with at least $45.5 million worth of gasoline and similar products to Venezuela.

It was a way to bring money into cash-starved Iran and put Venezuela’s own pressure on the US, which under Trump has pursued maximalist campaigns against both nations.

On Friday the UN’s nuclear watchdog censured Tehran and three European powers said they backed extending an arms embargo against the country.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) passed a resolution put forward by European states, urging Tehran to provide inspectors access to two sites in Iran to help clarify whether undeclared nuclear activity took place there in the early 2000s.

It called on Iran to fully cooperate with the IAEA and satisfy its requests without delay, including by providing prompt access to the sites. Iran has been blocking access to the sites for months, prompting a growing diplomatic row.






Israeli author prevails over German ‘antisemite’ in legal dispute
Bernstein sought to compel Shalicar‘s publisher Hentrich und Hentrich Verlag Berlin Leipzig to delete ten statements he wrote about him.

The court concluded that “Due to the sufficient connection of facts, there is also no abusive criticism that vilifies [Bernstein]."

The court’s judges who affirmed Shalicar‘s free speech rights are Tucholski, Schneider and Schönberg.Bernstein is required to pay 40,000 euro in costs associated with his legal defeat.

Shalicar wrote the Post that “I call him [Bernstein] someone who is full of hatred for the Jews and especially the Jewish state and actually covers up his deep antisemitism with his ‘criticism of Israel."’

Shalicar , an expert in the field of German antisemitism, stressed that Bernstein disguises his problem with Jews by attacking Israel and seeking to disguise his “modern antisemitism.”

The Post sent a press query to Bernstein.

Retired German academic Micha Brumlik defended Bernstein on Monday in the Frankfurter Rundschau paper—a left-wing daily that was embroiled in an antisemitism scandal because it compared last year Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the 1940 Nazi antisemitic movie "The Eternal Jew."
Brumlik said the court decision “disavows academic antisemitism research and opens the door to any hate crime.”

In 2012, Brumlik moderated a panel with the pro-BDS academic Judith Butler who has argued that ”Understanding Hamas/Hezbollah as social movements that are progressive, that are on the Left, that are part of a global Left, is extremely important.”
Shoah distortion - how the narrative of the Holocaust is being rewritten
There are currently two dangerous phenomena which threaten Holocaust remembrance and education in many countries all over the world. The first is Holocaust denial, which needs no explanation, and already began in the course of World War II.

The second is that of Holocaust distortion, which does not deny that the Shoah took place, but seeks to alter its narrative for political reasons. It began after World War II in Communist countries, which purposely refused to accurately identify some of the perpetrators and the primary victims, and has become increasingly more dangerous with the fall of the Soviet Union.

The former is in large measure in remission in the Western world, having been effectively refuted by numerous scholars and defeated in very important court cases, especially that of David Irving, but is still a severe problem in the Arab and Muslim world. The latter, on the other hand, has for many years been for the most part ignored and allowed to flourish unhindered in post-Communist Eastern Europe.

It was only in wake of the controversy over the Polish Holocaust bill in 2018, that the issue received wide exposure, but almost exclusively regarding Poland and not about any of the other major offenders such as Lithuania, Ukraine, Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Belarus, Romania and Estonia. And that is why this book is important and despite numerous historical mistakes and a few significant flaws, should be required reading for all Western government leaders, Foreign Ministry officials, and anyone interested in issues concerning Holocaust commemoration and education.

After presenting a very detailed description of the historical, political and ideological roots of Holocaust distortion, which help explain its success since 1990, and the dangers it poses to European unity and the future of the European Union, Suboti, a professor of political science at Georgia State University at Atlanta, focuses on how this problem has developed in Serbia, Croatia and Lithuania.
Top US Jewish Group Hails Serbia’s Adoption of International Antisemitism Definition
A top US Jewish group praised Serbia on Friday for its recent adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

Arthur Stark, chairman, William Daroff, CEO, and Malcolm Hoenlein, vice chair, of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (CoP), stated, “We commend the Republic of Serbia for joining the 33 countries around the world that adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.”

“Serbia’s commitment to fighting antisemitism represents another important step in the fight against the global resurgence of Jew-hatred,” they added.

“We are heartened by the progress in combating this scourge, but recognize there is still a long road ahead,” the CoP leaders noted. “We encourage all countries, organizations, and institutions to join in adopting the definition, and to strengthen education, legislation, and programs to combat antisemitism, along with all forms of racism.”

Before World War II, Serbia had a Jewish population of over 30,000 people. The community was decimated by the Holocaust, with 2/3 of its members murdered by the Nazis.

After the war, most of the survivors emigrated from the country, largely to Israel.

Fewer than 1,000 Jews live in Serbia today.
Poland says Putin falsifies World War II history to weaken Western allies
The Polish government has said Russian President Vladimir Putin is manipulating World War II-era history in a way that whitewashes Soviet crimes and accuses him of doing it as part of an “information war” against the West.

The statement Friday from the government in Warsaw came a day after Putin in a lengthy article in a US journal insisted on recognizing the Soviet Union as the prime defeater of Nazi Germany and suggested that Poland — a nation that was carved up by the German and Soviet forces and which lost 6 million citizens — bears some blame for the start of World War II.

Stanislaw Zaryn, the spokesman for the head of Poland’s security services, called Putin’s op-ed “an element of an ongoing, persistent information war Russia wages against the West.”

The article, titled “The Real Lessons of the 75th Anniversary of World War II,” appeared in the National Interest journal six days before a huge military parade in Red Square to commemorate the end of World War II in Europe.

Sergey Radchenko, a historian of the Cold War at Cardiff University, called Putin’s article “a piece of crude propaganda” and described it on Twitter as a “historical narrative that would support his shallow claims to greatness as he seeks to perpetuate his rule.”

The war, in which the Soviet Union lost an estimated 27 million people, is a linchpin of Russia’s national identity and Russian officials bristle at any questioning of the USSR’s role.

On the same day as the parade in Moscow, US President Donald Trump will receive Polish President Andzej Duda at the White House for talks on defense and economic cooperation. Trump has promised to deploy more US troops to NATO ally Poland, and details of those plans are expected.

Zaryn accused Putin of pushing a false narrative about history in order to “undermine” the West and weaken the bonds among allies.
Belgian Court Jails Man for Sending Antisemitic Death Threats to Jewish MP
A court in Belgium on Friday sentenced a man to two years in prison and a fine of 800 euros for subjecting a Jewish member of parliament to a campaign of antisemitic harassment.

The conviction came following a complaint filed by Viviane Teitelbaum — a parliamentary representative from the capital Brussels — against the unnamed man, who leveled death threats against her amidst a stream of anti-Jewish invective. The harassment occurred during 2018.

Accusing Teitelbaum of involvement in outlandish conspiracies that connected Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency with the diamond industry in the Belgian city of Antwerp, the man presented her with a series of “deadlines,” warning that she would be assassinated if she did not comply.

One message read: “After this deadline, Ms. Teitelbaum, I promise you that nothing will be left !!! Neither from your stalls, nor from your constructions made with our programs, nor from your network, nor therefore from your money, nor from your cities, nor from your diamonds…!”

Teitelbaum welcomed the sentence on Friday, although she expressed regret that the judge did not chose to apply the maximum prison sentence of four years.

She praised the court for sending the message that “antisemitic death threats cannot be overlooked and must be tried and severely condemned.”
German church covers anti-Semitic ‘Jew pig’ sculpture it was forced to keep
A church in Germany was forced to keep an anti-Semitic sculpture of a Jew kissing a pig’s rear end, so it did the next best thing: covered it up.

The Stephan Church in Calbe, a city situated some 80 miles southwest of Berlin, reinstalled the relief on its façade this week after it had been dismantled earlier in the year for restoration work, the Volksstimme newspaper reported Friday.

The evangelical church’s pastor, Jürgen Kohtz, said his church didn’t want the relief to be reinstalled at all, but it was required because of legislation that forbids the removal of any element in the building housing the church, which is a registered monument.

“This sculpture was meant as an insult to Jewish citizens,” Kohtz said.

The statue, which is believed to have been installed in the 15th century, was covered amid ongoing efforts to have it dismantled, the report said.

Dozens of anti-Semitic reliefs can be found in churches across Germany. One recurrent theme is the “Judensau,” or “Jew pig,” featuring a female swine with Jews suckling from her udders.

German Jews and others have campaigned to have the anti-Semitic imagery removed, with limited success.
‘Defiance’ is the best Jews vs. Nazis inspiration that Netflix offers
The Bielski partisans were led by four brothers of that name: Tuvia (Craig), Zus (Liev Schreiber), Asael (Jamie Bell) and Aron (George MacKay, from “1917”). The cast also included Mark Feuerstein, Iben Hjejle (from “High Fidelity”) and a very young Mia Wasikowska.

It’s a story of triumph among a great deal of tragedy. Characters are frequently given the news that loved ones have died, while there’s also a great deal of bickering and even physical fighting among the brothers and others in the camp. The partisans also reference their biblical forebears.

“To you, this is not a gun,” Asael (Bell) says at one point. “To you, it is Bar Kochba’s spear. It is Samson’s jawbone. It is Ehud’s sword. It is the slingshot young David used to bring down the monster Goliath.”

At one point, footage of a Jewish wedding celebration is intercut with that of a firefight, a much better execution of a similar idea that Spielberg used at the end of “Munich.”

The Bielskis are mostly played by non-Jewish actors; of the four, only Liev Schrieber — whose mother is Jewish — has any Jewish ancestry. Another ironic aspect of the “Jews kicking ass” subgenre was that both “Defiance” and “Munich” cast Daniel Craig, who is not exactly the most intuitive choice to play a Jewish character.

“He joked about that, actually, during the film,” Zwick, the director of “Defiance,” said in an interview last year. “The funny thing about Daniel [is], Daniel’s father was a Tommy in World War II, in the British Army, and was involved in the liberation of Bergen-Belsen. So he might have had a particular affinity for it.”

“Defiance” wasn’t a big critical or box office hit. The film’s lone Academy Award nomination was for James Newton Howard’s original score, which was also recognized by the Golden Globes. But it has endured as a compelling and exciting story of historical Jewish heroism.

While Tarantino took flack for depicting Jews as brutal, R-rated killers, “Defiance” is remembered as a kind of foil to “Inglourious Basterds” — the “realistic” Jews-killing-Nazis movie, one that stuck much closer to actual history, while also adding an element of familial dynamics and biblical inspiration.

But if you’re also just in the mood for some guilt-free footage of Jews shooting back at their oppressors while in quarantine, Netflix is waiting.
How a faked typhus outbreak spared 8,000 Poles from the Nazis
In one small region of Nazi-occupied Poland, a faked typhus outbreak helped save thousands of people from forced labor or death.

The “epidemic” was caused by physician Eugene Lazowski in and around the town Rozwadow, 150 miles (240 kilometers) south of Warsaw. By forcing the Nazis to quarantine a dozen surrounding villages, the faux plague kept 8,000 villagers — including a small number of Jews in hiding — relatively safe for more than two years.

Lazowski was 26 years old when Germany invaded Poland, serving as a second lieutenant in his country’s army. After being captured by the Nazis, the Warsaw-educated doctor was imprisoned in a POW camp, from which he escaped.

After his escape, Lazowski moved to Rozwadow to work for the Polish Red Cross. By that time, Jewish ghettos had been set up throughout Poland, including a ghetto for 400 Jews that was adjacent to Lazowski’s backyard. The practicing Catholic shared a house with his wife and baby daughter.

During the final months of the ghetto’s existence, Lazowski secretly treated Jews and provided medical supplies. White rags tied to his backyard fence were used for communication. He was also active in the Home Army, Poland’s resistance movement.

In July of 1942, the Rozwadow ghetto was liquidated by the Germans. Many Jews were killed in the main square and others murdered in surrounding forests. Some were taken for forced labor, with a concentration camp set up in town.

‘Protein stimulation therapy’
Around the time of the ghetto’s liquidation, a medical school friend of Lazowski’s — physician Stanislaw Matulewicz — stumbled upon a way to make someone test positive for typhus without having the disease.
Methuselah: The Tree That Defied Time
When the Roman Empire invaded ancient Judea, thick forests of date palms covered the valley from the Galilee in the north to the Dead Sea in the south. One of the earliest domesticated tree crops, the palms were later grown in plantations in the area. Over the centuries the Judean palm was decimated by years of war and foreign conquest. The crowning blow came some 800 years ago, when Crusaders destroyed the last remaining specimens, rendering the plant extinct.

But then came Methuselah. The seeds found at Masada were preserved and stored at Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv. More than 40 years after they were discovered, agriculture expert Elaine Solowey, from the Center for Sustainable Agriculture at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, decided to try to resurrect three of the seeds. She first soaked them in hot water to activate absorption, then immersed them in a nutrient-rich solution and fertilizer made from seaweed. On January 25, 2005, Solowey planted the seeds. In a few months, a crack in the soil appeared, and then a single sprout. The first leaves looked sickly, but the sprout continued to grow.

By 2010, Methuselah had reached a height of six-and-a-half feet. But it was not clear then whether the palm was a male or female. In November 2011, Solowey planted the tree at Kibbutz Ketura. When it flowered that year, it was determined to be a male—destined to bear pollen but not fruit. By 2015, Methuselah had produced pollen that was used to pollinate contemporary female date palms. Recently, Solowey and her colleague Sarah Sallon, a doctor at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital Medical Center, have grown more Judean date palms from other ancient seeds found near the Dead Sea. (The low elevation of the sea provides a thick layer of atmosphere that protects seeds from potential damage from cosmic radiation.)

Sallon is interested in determining if the ancient date palm has unique medicinal properties not found in today’s varieties, and Solowey is intent on finding Methuselah, now a prolific pollinator, an age-appropriate mate. As of 2019, they had planted 32 seeds found in the area of the Dead Sea. Six Judean date palm saplings have survived and have joined Methuselah at Kibbutz Ketura. Because several of the saplings are female, it is hoped that Methuselah’s pollen can be used to successfully pollinate one or more of them. In defiance of time, Methuselah, now 2,000 years old, may yet become a father.


From the avant-garde to a Crusader castle: A guide to Israel’s sculpture gardens
It all began in 1907, when a small group of young immigrants from Eastern Europe and Russia met for a festive dinner at the Jaffa apartment of Yitzhak Ben Zvi (later to become the State of Israel’s second President).

That was the night that they founded “Bar Giora,” named for the fearless zealot who had headed Jerusalem’s defense during the Great Revolt against Rome. They had two goals: to guard defenseless Jewish communities that were being victimized by neighboring Arabs — and to settle the land.

Theft and murder were commonplace in those days, and powerless Jewish settlers were forced to hire Arab guards for protection. Jewish farmers rejected the overtures of Bar Giora because they were afraid of creating even more problems with the Arabs than they already had.

Then one day in 1909, the group heard rumors that an Arab gang was planning an attack on one of the settlements. Bar Giora, and its leader Israel Giladi, held off the attackers and frightened them so badly that they never returned. Suddenly everyone wanted guards from Bar Giora, which eventually became an organized unit known as HaShomer (The Watchmen).

By 1916 the Watchmen realized they needed roots, and were anxious for land of their own. They chose a beautiful Galilee hill where they founded the kibbutz Kfar Giladi, bringing with them the wives and orphans of fallen members.

Kfar Giladi today boasts a Roaring Lion memorial to Joseph Trumpeldor, killed while defending the adjacent settlement of Tel Hai in 1920. It has another monument as well, this one a reminder of a terrible day during the Second Lebanon War, when 12 Israel Defense Forces reservists were killed by rockets fired into the Upper Eastern Galilee.
A stone sculpture in Kibbutz Kfar Giladi. (Shmuel Bar-am)

But there is also a marvelous sculpture garden at Kfar Giladi. It was created in its entirety by Asaf Ben-Zvi, born and raised in the kibbutz. For nearly two decades as manager of the kibbutz quarry, he utilized rocks and metals to produce a stunning testament to the region’s glorious landscape.




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