Sunday, June 21, 2020

From Ian:

Why Black Lives Matter protests are a catalyst for anti-Semitism
A few weeks ago, rioting in Los Angeles following the murder of George Floyd saw a number of Jewish shops destroyed, synagogues vandalised with “Free Palestine” grafitti, and a statue of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews being murdered by the Nazis, daubed in anti-semitic slogans.

It goes on. Last week, at an anti-racism rally in Paris inspired by Black Lives Matter, placards and stickers read such jewels as “Israel, laboratory of police violence”, “Who is the terrorist?”, “Palestine to the Palestinians! Boycott Israel!’’, and “Stop collaboration with Israeli State terrorism.” Protesters wore T-shirts reading “Justice for Palestine” and waved Palestinian flags.

Fair enough, you say. Except to go with the slogans, the Place de la République was soon ringing with mass chants of “dirty Jews” – howls that the leader of the French far-Left, member of parliament Jean-Luc Mélenchon, managed to deny were anti-semitic.

Back in America, Ice Cube, the iconic rapper, chose to advance the cause of George Floyd by posting a caricature of Jewish figures with the caption: “All we have to do is stand up [against them] and their little game is over.” The image was nearly identical to one used by Nazis in the 1930s to incite hatred and violence against Jews.

Ice Cube also praised Nation of Islam founder Louis Farrakhan, one of the world’s most rabid anti-semites. All in the name of racial justice, naturally.

One is reminded of the Gilets Jaunes movement of 2019 – another far-Left cause with a mass following (this time for “economic justice”). At one rally in Paris, in February 2019, the Franco-Jewish philosopher Alain Finkielkraut was set upon by demonstrators yelling “dirty Zionist’’ and “filthy race” at him.

Anti-semitism became a major feature of the protests. The far Right has traditionally fostered vile racism and anti-semitism, while the Left has always staked its soul on being better, kinder, fairer. But now – as its outer reaches gather mainstream force – it can be hard to tell the difference between them.

Who’s Afraid of Israeli Food?
n February, the Washington Post published a broadside attack on Israeli food by the Palestinian food writer Reem Kassis. Kassis did not object to the flavors, textures, or aromas of Israeli food but to the very idea that it exists at all. Her piece might be the most visible example of this bizarre food fight targeting Israel. But it’s hardly the first one.

A few years ago, for example, after television food-show host Rachel Ray wrote about her “Israeli nite” dinner of hummus, eggplant, and other Middle Eastern dips, pollster James Zogby responded on Twitter with hashtags of fury: “Damn it @rachaelray. This is cultural #genocide. It’s not #Israeli food.”

Likewise, in 2017, when Conan O’Brien made the mistake of describing shakshuka as “Israeli,” he was accosted on camera by anti-Israel activists who insisted that the eggs-and-tomato dish is really Palestinian. (It isn’t. As Libyan food writer Sara Elmusrati has explained, Sephardic Jews brought the dish from its original home in North Africa to Israel, where it’s been “showcased in a way it has never been in the Maghreb states.”)

Kassis’s piece in the Washington Post uses more measured tones in an attempt to explain the angry reactions to a straightforward phrase. “As it is for many Palestinians, the term ‘Israeli cuisine’ is hard for me to swallow,” she writes.

After being introduced to an Israeli restaurant in Philadelphia that serves Levantine food, she explains, her eyes were opened to the gravity of the problem:

It’s not that I am opposed to the idea or can’t tolerate cultural diversity and fusion. To the contrary, I know full well that our Palestinian cuisine, like every other, is a byproduct of evolution and diffusion. In fact, the concept of national cuisine is a relatively recent construct, appearing in the late 18th and early 19th centuries following the rise of the nation-state.

But cultural diffusion is different from cultural appropriation. Diffusion is the result of people from different cultures living in close quarters and interacting with or learning from one another. Cultural appropriation, on the other hand, relies on exploitation and consequent erasure, followed by the willful denying of those actions. Food, after all, is an expression of history, culture, and tradition. By this token, presenting dishes of Palestinian provenance as “Israeli” not only denies the Palestinian contribution to Israeli cuisine, but it erases our very history and existence.

Israeli food is bad, in other words, because Israelis are bad. Those who talk about, celebrate, and serve the cuisine aim to exploit and erase Palestinians. And to suggest otherwise isn’t just disagreement, it is “willful denial.” The evidence of all this bad faith? Well, Kassis just knows it.

David Collier: So you think you know the Israelis?
There is so much ignorance about Israel and Israelis. So many lies are told by anti-Israel haters, yet sometimes the truth is so simple and staring everyone in the face.

Who are the Israelis? I like the personal touch so I thought I would take you on a bit of a tour to meet some:
Gil Hovav
Gil Hovav was born in Israel in 1962. His great grandfather Eliezer Ben-Yehuda came to Ottoman Jerusalem in 1881 from the Russian Empire, decades before the British conquered the area. Ben-Yehuda was the father of modern Hebrew and Gil’s great-great uncle, Itamar Ben-Zion Ben-Avi, was the first native speaker of Hebrew in modern times.

Eli Marom
Eli Maron was born on a Moshav in Israel. His mother was Chinese. His father a refugee fleeing the Nazis. Eli Maron was the Commander of the Israeli Navy between 2007-2011.

Sabrin Saadi
Sabrina Saadi is a religious Muslim from Basmat Tab’un, a predominantly Bedouin town in the North of Israel. Sabrina is a Major in the Israeli police force and works as a Senior Investigator in the youth division at Kafr Kanna. She focuses on violent and internet crimes.

Yitzhak Yosef
Yitzhak Yosef was born in Israel in 1952. He is the Sephardi Chief Rabbi. Yitzhak is the son of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the former Chief Rabbi of Israel. Rabbi Ovadia was born in Iraq. There are over a million Haredim (ultra-Orthodox) in Israel.

Miriam Halibi
Miriam Halibi (name changed to protect identity) was born in Aleppo, Syria. Along with her two daughters Miriam was smuggled out of Aleppo in 2015 as ISIS were closing in. The Halibi family join 150,000 Israelis, whose families escaped earlier persecutions in Syria during the 20th century.

Jonathan Elkhoury
Jonathan Elkhoury was born in Lebanon. He is gay Christian Lebanese refugee. Jonathan and his family were forced to flee Lebanon – running from Hezbollah retribution. Now an Israeli, Jonathan tours campuses in the west, debunking lies about Israel that haters tell.

It was possible to keep going. There are Israeli Jews of Libyan, Turkish and Lebanese descent. They fled persecution everywhere, even from places like tiny Bahrain. Jewish refugees came from all over the world. 100k+ from Latin America. A million from the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Arab lands.

Additionally, as Jewish people have always lived in the area, there are ancient communities who have lived in the land since forever.

But the point has been made. Who are the Israelis? Now you know the truth.
Conversations with friends about their lives and world affairs: Jonathan Freedland with Tom Gross
Award-winning Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland, in conversation with Tom Gross about the state of the world, the Trump presidency (and whether some of his policies might be good), Britain’s coronavirus failures, early Zionism, whether Britain can still learn from the American constitution and system of government -- and as a teenager how Jonathan was a mentor to Sasha Baron Cohen before he became Ali G and Borat.

Should statues of antisemites come down? Jonathan Freedland & Tom Gross discuss left-wing antisemitism, and English antisemitism

John Hagee: America, Keep Your Word. Don’t Delay Israel’s Sovereignty Over Judea and Samaria
Ten years ago I authored an op-ed published by Haaretz which stated unequivocally that Christians United for Israel (CUFI) "would never presume to tell Jerusalem how to conduct its foreign or domestic affairs." That position has not and will not change. We stand with the decisions of the democratically elected government of Israel.

Christian support for Israel is founded in theology, but it does not end there. Israel is a democracy and a U.S. ally, as such, Americans respect the Jewish state’s sovereignty. The people of Israel, not their friends nor their detractors, must live with the consequences of Jerusalem’s decisions therefore, those decisions are theirs alone to make.

From a Biblical, historical and legal perspective, Israel owns, and does not occupy, the Holy Land. And one cannot be an occupier on land it owns. Nevertheless, an all or nothing approach – as the Palestinian leadership insists upon – often results in getting nothing at all. It is therefore unsurprising that since its founding, Israel has repeatedly offered to make painful compromises in pursuit of peace with its neighbors to no avail.

With all of this in mind, CUFI and its more than eight million members, supported and continues to support the Trump Peace Proposal in its entirety. This includes Israel’s exercising its sovereignty over portions of Judea and Samaria and once again offering the Palestinians an opportunity to have a prosperous and independent existence.

For any side in the Arab-Israeli conflict, perfect is the enemy of good. Pragmatism must reign, and the Trump plan is the most realistic effort ever offered by an American administration to end hostilities in the region.

It is now up to the Palestinians to make a decision. They are unquestionably the masters of their own destiny. Haaretz editor-in-chief Aluf Benn was right when he wrote that to delay a unilateral Israeli move, "All [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] needs to do is call, text or email the White House to request a meeting with President Donald Trump at which he announces his willingness to resume peace talks with Israel on the basis of the ‘deal of the century.’"

Israel cannot be expected to acquiesce to the demands of a Palestinian leader who refuses to talk about peace but has no problem talking about the supposed evils of the Jewish state. Likewise, Israel’s Middle Eastern neighbors should focus less on making threats and more on offering solutions.
So, Luxembourg thinks it can give Israel a Torah lesson
I’ve been reading up on the history of Luxembourg. That tiny landlocked country is not usually on my list of topics of interest. But this week, the former foreign minister of Luxembourg decided to give Israel a Bible lesson. That made me curious.

Jean Asselborn, a veteran political leader from Luxembourg who is currently the European Union’s Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, declared that if Israel annexes—or more accurately, reunites with—any part of Judea- Samaria, it will be “violating the seventh of the Ten Commandments: Thou shalt not steal.”

So, I decided I should read up a bit on his country before commenting. It turned out to be a lot more interesting than I thought.

To begin with, it turns out that Luxembourg came into being in the year 963 CE. By that time, Judea and Samaria had been the heart of the Land of Israel for well over two thousand years. Hmm.

Here’s another fascinating aspect of Luxembourgish (Note to editor: yes, that’s the word) history: Other countries have been stealing territory from Luxembourg since the 1600s. No wonder it’s so small!

In 1659, France seized 410 square miles of Luxembourg’s territory. That was one-tenth of the entire country.

So why isn’t Jean Asselborn complaining about France stealing part of his homeland?

Then came the 1814 Treaty of Paris. That agreement took 880 square miles of Luxembourg —24% of the country— and handed it to Prussia. Today Germany still rules it, except for a piece that it gave to Belgium at the 1919 under the Treaty of Versailles.

So why isn’t Jean Asselborn accusing Germany and Belgium of stealing parts of his country?
Honest Reporting: The Law of Annexation: What’s Right and What’s Wrong?
Is it Right or Wrong?

Whether Israel may annex and whether Israel should are two different questions, with the latter being hotly debated even among Israelis. Surprisingly, opponents of the plan include not only left leaning Israelis but also a section of right-wing Israelis who fear that this process will lead to a Palestinian state, including some Jewish settlers who worry that their homes may actually end up inside such a Palestinian state. Meanwhile, the annexation plan has some surprising support from niches of Palestinians who expect to end up receiving Israeli citizenship: they are currently citizens of the Palestinian Authority government, which many Palestinians find to be oppressive, corrupt and not a true democracy.

One misconception is that Israel is planning to annex the entire West Bank, thus foreclosing the possibility of a future Palestinian State. In fact, the specific areas that Israel is considering annexing are already primarily Jewish, and already under Israeli control. Indeed, the Oslo Accords were signed 25 years ago with the expectation that these particular areas would eventually become a part of Israel under any future peace agreement.

Some proponents feel that by moving annexation forward, Palestinian leadership will finally feel pressure to come to the negotiating table and cease its long standing practice of refusing peace offers. Meanwhile, some annexation opponents feel that this process is merely political pandering to parts of Israel’s right wing, and is not worth the cost in international condemnation and diplomatic penalties that Israel may suffer.

Whatever your opinion, you have the right to form it with a full and fair understanding of the facts, the law and the overall situation. And journalists have a professional duty to give you that opportunity.

Former Advisor to President Trump Responds to UAE Diplomat
Former Assistant to US President Donald Trump, Jason Greenblatt, responds to UAE diplomat on Israel ties.

Washington Post Amnesia on Israel and ‘Annexation’
“History,” the late historian Bernard Lewis wrote, “is the collective memory and if we think of the social body in terms of the human body, no history means amnesia and distorted history means neurosis.” When it comes to its coverage of Israel, The Washington Post is very sick indeed. A June 16, 2020 column titled “For Israel, annexation is saying the quiet part out loud” provides the means for diagnosis.

In a 997-word dispatch, the Post’s World Views columnist, Ishaan Tharoor, engages in heavy-handed historical revisionism, omitting key facts and details about Israel, Palestinians, international law, and the so-called “peace process.” Tharoor darkly warns, “Israeli authorities may cross the geopolitical Rubicon” as “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu still appears bent on beginning the annexation of territory in the West Bank.”

But Tharoor’s terminology is inaccurate. As the renowned international law scholar Eugene Kontorovich has noted: “Annexation in international law specifically means taking the territory of a foreign sovereign country.” And neither the Jordan Valley nor the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) belongs to a “foreign sovereign country.”

Elsewhere, Tharoor refers to the land in question as “Palestinian territories.” But this is also inaccurate. No sovereign Palestinian Arab state has ever existed. Indeed, as The Wall Street Journal, among others, noted in a May 16, 2020 correction that was prompted by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA): “Under the Oslo accords, sovereignty over the West Bank is disputed, pending a final peace settlement.”

No final peace settlement has occurred, as Palestinian Arab leaders have rejected numerous US and Israeli offers for statehood in exchange for peace, in 2000 at Camp David, 2001 at Taba, and 2008 after the Annapolis Conference, among other instances. More recently, the Palestinian Authority, which rules the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), has rejected US proposals to restart negotiations in 2014, 2016, and 2019.

Sebastian Kurz has totally shifted Austria’s treatment of Israel. Is it because of a bromance with Benjamin Netanyahu?
Austria is led by one of the country’s most remarkable politicians in recent decades: Sebastian Kurz, who was elected chancellor in 2017 at just 31 years old.

Kurz is immediately striking for a world leader — he’s tall and boyishly handsome, with a mane of slicked-back hair. Since taking the reins, his conservative People’s Party has commanded Austrian politics with force, legislating a slew of new economic policies and cracking down on immigration.

Following a scandal in an allied party last year that collapsed Kurz’s parliament coalition and forced a new election, the People’s Party came back even stronger, winning nine new parliament seats.

Davidi Hermelin, who heads the International Centre for Public Diplomacy in Israel, is a friend of Kurz and has observed his rise up the ladder of Austrian politics.

“He has a quiet charisma that makes people instinctively notice him. It’s indescribable but you notice its effect on a room: People go quiet when he opens his mouth,” said Hermelin, a former president of the Young Likud division of Israel’s ruling party. “He’s courteous, friendly but not gushing. He behaves like what you would expect from a prince.”

One of the fellow world leaders Kurz feels closest to is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. That could help explain why Kurz has reversed his country’s stance toward Israel during his tenure from very critical to very supportive.

Austria is the only Western European nation whose government is actively shielding the Jewish state from sanctions by the European Union over Netanyahu’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank. New sanctions would require complete consensus among its 27 members.
NGO pushes for UN adoption of IHRA definition of antisemitism
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has submitted a report to the office of the UN's special rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief, calling on the world body to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism.

The report was submitted after special rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed called for NGOs to submit reports on discrimination in law and practice against minority religious and belief communities, as well as on the effects of such discrimination and recommendations for solutions. This comes as Shaheed is preparing a report on the progress towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG 16) – the elimination of intolerance and discrimination on religion or belief – which he will submit to the 75th UN General Assembly.

Shaheed has previously spoken out against antisemitism before, including in his 2019 report to the General Assembly titled “violence, discrimination and expressions of hostility motivated by antisemitism as a serious obstacle to the enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion or belief.”

“The purpose of our report is to urge the UN to adopt the IHRA's working definition of antisemitism,” the ACLJ said in a statement.

In May 2016, the 31 member countries of the IHRA adopted the working definition of antisemitism, which states: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
Israeli UN envoy slams body's 'systematic mechanism of discrimination'
Israel's Ambassador to the UN headquarters in Geneva, Aviva Raz Shechter, delivered a strong rebuke of the United Nations Human Rights Council on Sunday in her farewell address to the organization.

In a speech marked blunt truths, Shechter accused the council of unfairly targeting Israel and attempting to foster "institutionalized ant-Semitism" through the notorious Agenda Item 7.

Agenda item 7 is the only permanent item on the Council's agenda against a particular country. It targets Israel and Israel only. That agenda item requires Israel's record on human rights to be debated in practically every meeting of the council, essentially creating a platform to bash the Jewish state to a degree not shared by any other country.

In her speech before the UNHRC Shechter called it "nothing but a systematic mechanism of discrimination against Israel and Israelis, one deeply rooted in the culture of this council and of some of its member states."

Accusing the UNHRC of aiding and abetting Palestinian recalcitrance in accepting any peace plan, previous or upcoming, Shechter reminded the council of an important historical fact and the subsequent reality: "Let me remind you today, as I am reaching my end of term here, that the United Nations called for the creation of two states in November 1947. The UN resolution was accepted by the Jewish side and rejected by the Arab side. The Arab effort to deny and destroy the Jewish State started immediately – and for some, has never ceased... But the fact is – demonstrated over and over at the UN Human Rights Council and across the UN system – Palestinian leadership and its representatives prefer victimhood to peace, PR stunts to truth, blame games to taking responsibility either for what has been or what could be."
UN Watch: Israeli Ambassador Aviva Raz Shechter Addresses United Nations on Anti-Israel Bias

Clifford D. May: The US Finally Begins to Stand Up to the ICC
Wars are contests of wills, and Americans have long had enemies who use guns and bombs in an attempt to force us to submit to their will. But some adversaries take more creative approaches.

Earlier this month, the United States began to defend itself against an impending attack from an international organization. It will take me just a few paragraphs to get you up to speed.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) was set up toward the end of the last century for what sounds like a noble purpose: to bring to justice perpetrators of such heinous crimes as genocide, in particular those beyond the reach of a credible national judicial system.

Nevertheless, the United States declined to ratify the treaty establishing the ICC, largely because it was unclear who would serve as judge and jury, and to whom, if anyone, this court would be accountable.

So America is not a member of the ICC, does not accept its jurisdiction and is under no obligation to abide by its rulings. And there is a basic principle of international law: Treaties cannot bind nations without their consent.

Over the 18 years since the court evolved from an idea to a brick-and-mortar bureaucracy in The Hague with a staff of nearly 1,000, it has spent more than $1.5 billion securing a total of four convictions for major crimes, plus four convictions for lesser crimes.

Now, the ICC has fixed its sights on what may seem a softer and sexier target: It intends to investigate, prosecute and, if it can, convict American military personnel for “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” allegedly committed while fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2003-4. Once branded as criminals, such Americans could be imprisoned in foreign countries, including those of America’s allies.

In May, 262 House members and 69 senators, Democrats and Republicans alike, wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, urging that he “call on the ICC to cease its politically motivated investigations.” Earlier this month, The Military Coalition, which has more than 5.5 million members, sent a letter to the president and congressional leaders asking them to “protect America’s service members, veterans, and families from the politically-motivated and inappropriate actions of the ICC.”

The US government has asked the ICC to please back off, to abide by its own charter which authorizes investigations only when national justice systems are “unwilling or unable” to perform competently.
Ben-Dror Yemini: The lie behind the Jaffa riots
The "al-Aqsa conspiracy" has been floating around the Muslim world for a century and has claimed hundreds of lives, perhaps even thousands.

According to this tale, first told by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin al-Husseini some 100 years ago, the Jews are intent on destroying the Temple Mount mosques.

Now, we see a similar phenomenon in Jaffa, and once again, it’s the mufti who is behind all this – but we'll get back to him later.

According to this latest plot, the Jews are planning to desecrate an ancient Muslim cemetery with their bulldozers and build a hostel for the homeless on top of it. The secular and liberal Tel Aviv Municipality wasn't aware of the "inherently evil" nature of its plan, but here we are.

Most of Jaffa's Arab public oppose violence, but there's always this thuggish minority trying to stir controversy.

Evidence dating back to the late 18th century shows that there was, in fact, a Muslim cemetery on the site in question.

The thing is, the remains of this cemetery were relocated to the cemetery of the Arab village of Summayl back in 1915, to zhuzh up the face of the city before the visit of the governor of Syria, Djemal Pasha.

The remains of this cemetery can still be found to this day in what is now Independence Park in Tel Aviv, one of Israel's most valuable real estate locations - because when it comes to real cemeteries, Israel acts with the utmost respect.
Anchor suspended for saying Likud voters would back PM even if he was a rapist
Channel 12 news suspended anchor Rina Matsliah for one week on Sunday after she claimed during a broadcast that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s supporters have said during interviews that “even if he raped my daughter I would still vote for him.”

The decision was announced after Matsliah left the office of the network’s CEO Avi Weiss, who had summoned the veteran anchor for a meeting after she made the remark Saturday night, drawing fury from Netanyahu and his allies.

Netanyahu, who has regularly clashed with Matsliah, denounced the comments on Twitter, saying that her “disgusting hatred for Likud voters and me has reached new lows” and that the anchor was an “absolute disgrace.”

Matsliah appeared to apologize at the end of the “Meet the Press” show she hosts, saying “it’s possible that the [example] I gave was not very good.” Channel 12 put out a statement saying it “disapproves of the harsh statement voiced earlier this evening.”

Lawmakers from Netanyahu’s Likud party slammed Matsliah and called for her ouster.

“This evening you raped the honor of a million Likud voters,” Transportation Minister Miri Regev wrote on Twitter. “You keep striking at the right-wing camp and prime minister in a terrible and despicable manner and this evening all lines have been crossed.”
PMW: PA reaches a new low – honors murderer of mom and three toddlers
It's hard for the Palestinian Authority that has been rewarding, glorifying and honoring terrorists since the day it was established in 1994 to reach a new low. But it did.

Just last week, the PA chose to honor the terrorist who murdered a mother and her three toddlers. Official PA TV Live broadcast a short filler honoring terrorist Jum’a Adam who in 1988 threw a Molotov cocktail at a Israeli bus. He murdered 26-year-old Rachel Weiss and her three sons Netanel, Refael, and Efraim aged 3, 2, and 1. Also murdered was David Delrosa, a soldier who attempted to save Rachel and her three children.

The short PA TV filler opens with the words ”Our Prisoners” on the screen, and ends with the words ”Freedom for our Prisoners.” In between, is the picture of the terrorist murderer with a short bio:

Text on screen: “Prisoner Jum’a Ibrahim Jum’a Adam.

Born in 1969 in the Jordanian city of Sweileh. He grew up and was educated in the town of Al-Duyouk in northwest Jericho, and his ethnic origin is in the Republic of Niger in Africa. He was arrested in 1988 and he suffers from a number of illnesses. He registered at Al-Quds University for master’s degree studies with a specialization in Israeli affairs. His mother died and the occupation did not let him see her. He was sentenced to life.”

[Official PA TV Live, June 15, 2020]

In addition to honoring the murderer, the Palestinian Authority has already rewarded him and one of his accomplices 1,426,200 shekels each since their arrest.

In the last week, the PA has used the same filler opening with the words ”Our Prisoners” and ending with the words ”Freedom for our Prisoners” to honor at least five other murderers.

Once again the PA is showing the world that it always was and stills remains a terror organization.
Senior Palestinian official calls for protests despite coronavirus restrictions
Senior Fatah official Jibril Rajoub said Sunday that protests against Israel’s bid to annex parts of the West Bank will take place as planned on Monday in Jericho, saying “national assemblies” are exempt from the strict coronavirus regulations placed on the area over the weekend.

The annexation, which the Israeli government says could begin as early as July 1, has set off a confrontation between Jerusalem and the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority. The PA has tried to organize popular resistance and international pressure to prevent Israel from proceeding with the plan.

“I fervently hope to see participation by all Palestinians, whether in the West Bank or in the Gaza Strip or in Jerusalem, and in the Palestinian diaspora — each according to his circumstances,” Fatah Secretary-General Rajoub said in remarks delivered at a press conference.

A previous attempt by the PA to organize a popular protest in Ramallah against Israel’s planned annexation was something of a flop. Despite heavy media coverage and nearly two hours of speeches by officials, only a couple hundred protesters showed up at the demonstration in the Palestinian capital.

Moreover, the announcement of the latest protest comes amid wide-ranging lockdowns imposed to combat an emerging second wave of coronavirus in the West Bank.
ToI Corrects Inflated Figure for Palestinian COVID-19 Deaths
CAMERA’s Israel office today prompted correction of a Times of Israel article which grossly overstated the number of Palestinians who died as a result of coronavirus. The June 19 article (“Israel records nearly 350 new coronavirus cases in one day, in first since April“) had erred:
Palestinian officials said the total number of cases stood at 795, of which 220 are active. Thirty-four people have died. Officials said new restrictions had been placed upon Hebron.

According to the World Health Organization, five Palestinians living in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem have died from coronavirus. According to Haaretz today:
In the West Bank and East Jerusalem, 810 people tested positive; two people have died. In the Gaza Strip, 72 people were diagnosed and one person has died.

The disparity in the figures is due to the fact that in addition to the three Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza who died, there were another two Palestinian fatalities in Jerusalem, Israel, ie, not in the Palestinian-controlled territories.
Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah calls for closer ties to China
During a June 17 speech eulogizing former Palestinian Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ramadan Shalah and Hezbollah commander Hajj Abu Ali Farhat, Hassan Nasrallah called for a realignment with China in an attempt to end Lebanon’s dependence on western aid during its economic crises.

“I have information that is absolutely definite, if I am not sure about something, I wouldn’t talk about it. Chinese companies are ready to bring in money, and without any of the complications that we talk about in Lebanon. We don’t have to give them money, they will bring money into the country,” Nasrallah stated.

Nasrallah was referring to a series of letters sent by Chinese companies, including one by China Machinery Engineering Company (CMEC), to Lebanese Prime Minister Dr. Hassan Diab.

“As the government of Lebanon will be undertaking Beirut to Bekaa Express Way, Train and Tunnel project in Lebanon, we would like by this letter to express our serious interest to participate in said project as well as any other Railway and Infrastructure Projects,” the CMEC statement read.

Lebanon has been suffering from years of fiscal mismanagement, corruption, political crisis and social unrest – which has factored into the Lebanese pound losing more than half of its value. Other factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the Syrian war have contributed to the current crises the country finds itself in.

It is worth noting the newly enacted U.S. Caesar Law, which targets foreign entities who deal with the Assad regime’s military, aviation, gas and oil facilities, could add more instability to Lebanon’s current crisis due to any future business deals with Syria being scuttled due to the threat of U.S. sanctions.

From listening to Nasrallah’s speech, it is evident there is concern about the crises in Lebanon and the pressure campaign the Trump administration is placing on Syria’s allies, chiefly among them, Hezbollah.
Hezbollah warns: We can precisely strike anywhere in Israel
Hassan Nasrallah and his Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorist organization continued to threaten Israel on Saturday, saying in a video released with Hebrew subtitles: "We can now not only hit the city of Tel Aviv, but God willing and with his help, also hit very precise targets anywhere in occupied Palestine."

The video was shared on various social media accounts associated with Iran and its proxies. It was also posted on YouTube but later removed for violating its standards.

At the end of the video, which showed satellite images of various parts of Israel and the alleged coordinates of Israeli military sites, text in Hebrew and Arabic appeared saying: "Whatever you do to block the way – it's over. Mission Accomplished."

Last May, Hezbollah also released a video of its Radwan Force, the organization's special operations force, training for a future war with Israel. That video was published to mark the 20th anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon.

According to foreign reports, in recent years Israel has acted both overtly and covertly to stymie Hezbollah's precision missile project, including airstrikes on facilities and targeted assassinations, attributed to Israel, in Syria and Lebanon.

The Shiite terrorist organization has a broad missile arsenal, from the short-range Katyusha to the "Fateh 110," along with Scud B and C missiles that can carry warheads weighing between 600-985 kilograms (1,323-2,172 pounds) up to distances of 300-550 kilometers (186-341 miles). The group also has anti-tank missiles and surface-to-sea missiles such as the Russian-made Yakhont, a supersonic anti-ship cruise missile.

Iran warns Arab states not to normalize ties with Israel
Iran lashed out over the weekend against the reportedly warming ties between Israel and the Sunni Arab states in the Gulf, advising key regional players to resist a rapprochement with Israel and comparing it to "playing with fire."

Special Aide to the President of the Islamic Parliament of Iran in International Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said the comments at a memorial service on Saturday for former secretary general of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Ramadan Shalah.

He further said that "normalization with the Zionist regime will not help the security of Bahrain or Saudi Arabia."

According to Knights News Agency he also said that "if the Zionists repeat the mistakes of the past, they will face a greater defeat."
Netanyahu: World is realizing what we said about Iran nuclear threat
The International Atomic Energy Agency has begun to realize that Iran is lying about its nuclear ambitions, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the opening of Sunday’s cabinet meeting.

“Iran continues to lie to the international community in order to attain nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu warned. “Today, the IAEA understands…what we have said for years.”

Netanyahu referred to the UN nuclear watchdog’s resolution adopted over the weekend, which he said “speaks for itself,” calling on Iran to cooperate with the agency and grant it access to suspected former nuclear sites.

Defense Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz said “Iran is first of all a problem for the world, then a regional problem, undermining the stability of the whole Middle East, and it is also a challenge for Israel.”

Gantz said “the security matters that stand out less in light of the challenges of coronavirus have not disappeared and they will return.”

The IAEA resolution, adopted by its 35-nation Board of Governors on Friday in a vote called after China expressed opposition to it, raised pressure on Iran to let inspectors into the sites mentioned in two International Atomic Energy Agency reports because they could still host undeclared nuclear material or traces of it.
Trump was prepared to back Israeli strike on Iran, Bolton says
US President Donald Trump expressed willingness to support Israeli strikes on Iran, according to his former national security advisor John Bolton.

In Bolton’s book The Room Where it Happened, expected to be released this week, he describes a 2017 meeting in which Trump made the comments.

Bolton, who was not yet a member of the Trump administration, was brought in to meet with the US president in 2017, and Israel was one of the topics that came up.

“I warned Trump against wasting political capital in an elusive search to solve the Arab-Israeli dispute and strongly supported moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, thereby recognizing it as Israel’s capital,” Bolton wrote. “On Iran, I urged that he press ahead to withdraw from the nuclear agreement and explained why the use of force against Iran’s nuclear program might be the only lasting solution.”

Though Bolton did not mention Israel using force, Trump responded by saying that he would support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doing so.
“You tell Bibi [Netanyahu] that if he uses force, I will back him. I told him that, but you tell him again,” Trump told Bolton.

Bolton also said that in an October 2018 meeting in the Kremlin, Russian President Vladimir Putin doubted that Israel could attack Iran.

“Israel, he said, could not conduct military action against Iran alone because it didn’t have the resources or capabilities, especially if the Arabs united behind Iran, which was preposterous,” Bolton wrote.
Bolton reveals type of nuke material Mossad found in Iran
The nuclear material which Iran was trying to conceal, but the Mossad discovered during its 2018 operation seizing Tehran’s nuclear secrets, was probably “yellowcake,” former US National Security Adviser reveals in his new book.

To date, no official source had confirmed what the nuclear material was, which has now even brought the IAEA into conflict with the Ayatollahs, demanding clarification about the concealed nuclear material.

Yellowcake is human-processed uranium oxide in a solid form, usually the more stable form uranium is present when it is transported around to different locations.

Bolton describes the nuclear material when recalling a visit to Israel in 2018.

He said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “and his team focused on the latest information gleaned from Israel’s daring raid on Iran’s nuclear archives, and the subsequent IAEA inspection of the Turquzabad site, which revealed human-processed uranium.”

“It was not enriched uranium, but perhaps yellowcake (uranium oxide in solid form), and certainly evidence contradicting Tehran’s repeated assertions it had never had a nuclear weapons program,” continued the former national security adviser.

BDS victory in Spain overturned in court two years later
Nearly two years after Israel's national women’s water polo team was left without a venue for a game against the Spanish team due to a municipal BDS ordinance, an administrative court in the Spanish region of Catalonia has ruled that the boycott motion was illegal.

In November 2018, Israel’s national women’s water polo team was set to play the Spanish team in a venue in the town of Molins de Rei, a short distance from Barcelona in the Catalonia region.

The Molins de Rei municipal council had however passed a law in 2013, similar to dozens of other municipal laws across Spain, banning the municipality or local authority from entering into contracts and agreements with Israeli companies and entities, and even banning business ties and agreements with Spanish citizens who are associated with Israel or Israeli organizations and companies.

This led Molins de Rei to deny the water polo venue in the town to the Israeli national team.

An administrative court in the province of Barcelona has now struck down Molins de Rei’s 2013 law as discriminatory.

President of the ACOM anti-BDS organization Angel Mas said the specific decision against Molins de Rei was significant since the incident refuted the frequent claim of BDS activists groups in Spain that the mass of municipal BDS laws around the country are merely political declarations.
Community leader criticises The Guardian for agreeing to host director Ken Loach
Community leaders have criticised The Guardian for agreeing to host left-wing film producer Ken Loach.

The award-winning director, who has been accused of playing down antisemitism during the row over racism in the Labour Party, is due to speak at an event on 24 June.

Vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Amanda Bowman, said: “Why would the Guardian give a platform to such a prominent actor in the epic that is Labour’s antisemitism problem?”

Over the years, Ken Loach’s approach to this has been dismissive to the point of denial. In a time when we are rightly focused on closing down the spaces where different kinds of racism can flourish, we hope the Guardian will reconsider this misplaced honour.”

The paid-for Guardian Live event will feature the filmmaker with critic Peter Bradshaw for an online 60-minute discussion about his career and “his thoughts on deep rifts of inequality cutting through British society today.”

Loach drew controversy in the spring of 2018 when he called on the Labour Party to suspend MPs who appeared at the Enough is Enough rally against antisemitism in the party. He denounced the Panorama documentary into Labour antisemitism, writing to Bafta urging it to reconsider the decision to nominate it for an award.

He also drew anger in 2017 at a fringe event, after a speaker reportedly questioned whether the Holocaust could be discussed, and when asked if it was acceptable, he said: “I think history is for us all to discuss, wouldn’t you?”
Melbourne kindergarten defaced with ‘fourth reich,’ Star of David graffiti
A KINDERGARTEN in Melbourne’s Albert Park has been defaced with the words “4th Reich” along with a Star of David, in what has been described as a “senseless” and “sickening” incident of neo-Nazi graffiti.

The incident at the Middle Park Kindergarten was reported to the Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) on Saturday by a shocked non-Jewish man who was walking in the area.

ADC chairman Dvir Abramovich said to defile a place where children play and learn with neo-Nazi vandalism is “beyond words and beyond contempt”.

“This senseless defacement is a vile attack on the core values and spirit of the kindergarten, a place where students, family and staff of all ethnic and religious backgrounds are welcomed,” Abramovich told The AJN on Sunday.

Describing the graffiti as “despicable”, Abramovich said, “Let’s remember that 1.5 million children were murdered in the Holocaust by the Nazis, and this graffiti is a death threat which should be taken seriously.”

Stating, “I hope that those cowards who committed this sickening outrage are identified and prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” he added, “Melbourne is a city of strength and pluralism, and united we will fight back against this filth which is invading our neighbourhood.”
Universal becomes first major music label to open Israel branch
Universal Music Group, one of the largest music corporations in the United States, has become the first major American music company to open a branch in Israel.

Called Universal Music Israel (UMI), this new branch will be based in Tel Aviv and be led by attorney Yoram Mokady, while the local distribution will still be done by Helicon Music, who have been licensing and distributing Universal Music locally since 1994, and will continue to collaborate on future projects.

While Mokady lacks any experience in the music industry, he has years of experience working in the fields of content creation and management in Israeli entertainment. He most recently worked for HOT Telecommunications as the vice president of content. In this capacity, he was responsible for managing all of HOT's content activities including original productions, video on demand (VOD), purchased series, purchased linear channels and HOT's unique own linear channels. He also served as the company's vice president of strategy and regulation from 2008-2010.

Before this, Mokady served as chairman of Israel’s Council for Cable TV and Satellite Broadcasting, as well as executive director of the Israeli Broadcasting Regulatory Administration.
Startup hopes to use its IVF-predictive software against coronavirus
An early-stage Israeli startup that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to help fertility specialists select the best embryos for implantation into the womb, and develops personalized hormonal treatments for in vitro fertilization (IVF) patients, is now hoping that a similar technology can be used to help diagnose and treat COVID-19 patients.

“We want to see if we can use our technology to help with the treatment, the diagnosis and progress of COVID-19 patients and other diseases,” said Yael Zamir, the co-founder and CEO of Embryonics, a startup she set up with partners in 2018. COVID-19 is the illness caused by the coronavirus, which has killed over 400,000 people worldwide.

The startup has developed two algorithms. One is a commercially available patented AI-technology that enables trawling through healthcare databases, studying tens of thousands of embryos and their implant-success rate, and then predicting which embryos will be the most likely to succeed.

The other analyzes clinical data using newly invented geometric deep learning technology to personalize hormonal treatments for IVF patients.

Geometric deep learning is a new field of machine learning that can gain insights from complex data, like graphs and multi-dimensional points, and, according to the company, “has shown big promise in other areas as it outperforms the classical widely used AI algorithms.”

Embryonics now wants to use geometric deep learning to predict which COVID-19 patients will need to be put on ventilators, which needs to be kept in the hospital, and which can be treated at home.
Air Force cadets, including 3 women, to get their wings Thursday
Forty Air Force cadets from the prestigious 180th flight course, including three women, will get their wings on Thursday.

The ceremony will be attended by President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz and Air Force Commander Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin.

Of the approximately 600 cadets who passed the preliminary tests into the prestigious pilot’s course, about two-thirds drop out in the first year of the three-year-long intensive program and only 30-40 of those who remain will successfully complete the course.

During the course, cadets specialize in various aircraft, and in addition to pilot training and other official duties, the 40 graduates of the course – 37 men and three women – receive a Bachelor’s degree from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and receive the rank of lieutenant.

Due to the continued spread of the coronavirus, the graduation ceremony will be held this year in a limited fashion, with only the immediate families of graduates in attendance. The ceremony will be broadcast live on IDF and IAF platforms to allow relatives of graduates to watch the ceremony remotely.

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