Thursday, August 20, 2020

From Ian:

Einat Wilf and Oren Gross: Jews Without Israel
America is a country where anyone arriving on its shores could become fully and completely American. This idea of the universal America is as inspiring as it is exceptional. The U.S. is the only country that was purposefully built on universal ideals.

The rest of the world's countries are not universal nations, and almost none of them aspire or even pretend to be so. Ever since the 20th-century collapse of empires, the Earth is divided between nation-states - almost all based on a single dominant national, ethnic, linguistic, or religious group, often with some other national, ethnic, linguistic, or religious minorities.

Israel, as the nation-state of the Jewish people, with an Arab national, ethnic, linguistic minority, is well within the global norm.
When Israel is measured by the EU guidelines on how nation-states should treat their national, ethnic, and linguistic minorities - for example, in providing schooling, government services, and road signs in the minority's language and providing the ability to celebrate holidays - Israel emerges with strong marks.

This achievement is especially impressive since Israel operates in the rare situation that its minority belongs to the dominant national, ethnic, linguistic majority in the region - most of which is still officially at war with it, and continues to deny the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in any borders. In fact, the status of the Arab minority in Israel during wartime is better than that of minorities in many countries which are at peace.

Most Jews in America still believe that Zionism is deeply entwined both with their Jewish and American identities, and that Zionism incorporates both the particular and the universal. Jews in Israel will continue to celebrate the fact that they finally live in the sovereign nation-state of the Jewish people and can therefore walk this Earth knowing that someone has their back.

The End of Jewish Yemen is Imminent
A precarious existence for country’s last 100 Jews

Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels have ordered at least some of the country’s remaining Jews to leave, according to sources in the Amran Governorate, north of the capital Sanaa, who spoke recently with The Media Line.

According to Ali Qudair, a tribal chief in the governorate, soldiers surrounded a village in mid-July to question members of at least one Jewish family living there about its contacts with people abroad.

“A group of military vehicles arrived in the area, taking up positions at the entrances to the village and establishing checkpoints,” Qudair told The Media Line.

“The soldiers entered the house of a Jewish family in the village and questioned members about their correspondence with the State of Israel, their property in the village and other areas, and whether or not they were in contact with relatives residing in other countries.

Qudair added that some of those questioned were taken to an unknown location and held for 48 hours.

“During the past few years,” he said, “the Jews have been denied many of their rights. They no longer can travel except with prior permission from the Houthi-appointed area supervisor.”

Qudair’s version of events was corroborated by Saeed Ahmad (not his real name), a resident of the nearby town of Kharef who says he enjoys strong friendships with many Jews in the area.

“On July 12, the Houthis arrested seven individuals from the Jewish community after questioning them and searching some of their homes,” he told The Media Line.

Ahmad adds that the Shi’ite Houthis, who have taken over most of Yemen’s main population centers, ordered these Jews to leave the country, imposing certain conditions on them regarding their property, most notably that they could sell it only to residents of the area or to the state – meaning to the Houthis themselves.

Ahmad said Houthi authorities were now arranging for their exit from Yemen, giving them a specific mechanism for traveling, communicating and conducting business.

Yemen’s Jewish community is estimated to have reached about 200,000 before members began leaving early in the last century, the exodus reaching a pinnacle in 1949 and 1950 with Operation Magic Carpet, a mission of the Israeli government, which brought some 50,000 people from Yemen to the Jewish state. Scores more were flown to Israel, reportedly in 2013 and 2016, in two flights that were kept secret for fear of disrupting sensitive channels of movement. (h/t Zvi)
The mystery of the persecuted Yemenite Jews unravelled
Saeed al-Nati, his disabled mother and three daughters lived in Amram in northern Yemen. The Houthis, who had invaded the area in 2004, began to harass Saaed in order to make him leave.

He was jailed in May for one month, but was released after committing to sell his home. He and his family left for the capital Sana'a, where 33 Jews live in a compound, and then on to Aden, where he hoped to catch a flight out of the country.

Saaed was told that there were no flights out of the country because of the coronavirus crisis. In any case, he was told that the only country that would take him would be Israel, as Yemeni passport holders could not obtain a visa for any other Arab country.

Enter Abu Dhabi to the rescue. Photos clearly show the disabled mother in a wheelchair and Saeed's sons, wives and grandchildren from London embracing their sisters. Mindful of the impending announcing of the UAE peace deal with Israel, Abu Dhabi must have seen a golden photo-op to advertise the emirate's tolerance and pluralism.

According to the Sparabia report, the departure of the al-Nati family leaves just five Jews - aold woman, her crazed brother and three others - in Amram province, where the market was once dominated by Jews. Together with the 33 Jews still in San'a that makes a total of 38 Jews in Yemen altogether.

Violence in Amran made the remaining Jews leave in waves. In 2016, 17 members of one family arrived in Israel in a blaze of publicity carrying a Torah scroll which they claimed was a family heirloom.

The Houthis arrested two Jews and two Muslims for facilitating the smuggling of a 'national' treasure. One Jew was released after three months, but they kept the other, Levi Salem Musa Marhabi, in jail.

A court of first instance acquitted Levi Marhabi and the Muslims, but eighteen months later, Levi Marhabi is still in jail.

Marbahi suffered a stroke that caused paralysis in half his body. His deteriorating health prompted Elan Carr, US antisemitism tsar, to appeal for his release.

Nevertheless, the Houthi-run prosecution has refused to accept all the guarantees provided to them for his release until such time as the case is heard by the Court of Appeal.

NY Times Praises Ilhan Omar’s Book While Glossing Over Her Antisemitism
A recent New York Times book review boosts Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN) autobiography while glossing over her antisemitism. In the paper’s Aug. 16, 2020 edition, NYT reporter Christina Cauterucci writes:
The memoir offers breathing room for Omar, who has been the target of racist attacks and whose history-making tenure in Congress has been marked by disputes with colleagues, especially over their support for Israel, in the claustrophobic confines of Twitter threads. Her efforts to deter further outrage are evident throughout the book, which barely touches topics that have inflamed her critics... But, with unrepentant recollections of schoolyard brawls with bullies, Omar bolsters her image as a scrapper constitutionally incapable of backing down. “Fighting didn’t feel like a choice,” she writes. “It was a part of me.”

Yet Omar supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. As CAMERA has noted, "BDS seeks the end of the Jewish state, singles out Israel for opprobrium, has been declared antisemitic by various legislative bodies, and is endorsed by terrorist organizations like Hamas."

Ilhan Omar's problems with Jews and Israel
• In July 2020, an Omar campaign mailer accused her congressional opponent of being “in the pocket of Wall Street” and mentions three Jewish donors by name. The mailer references only the three donors, plus “Michael, a donor from Scarsdale, New York.” This echoes the anti-Semitic trope that Jews exercise excessive political influence through use of outsize wealth.
• In February 2019, Omar employed the anti-Semitic dual loyalty trope while referring to American Jewish supporters of Israel: “[There is] the political influence in this country that says it is okay to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”
• In February 2019 Omar tweeted, “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby!” in response to a report about AIPAC, a pro-Israel organization. Omar’s tweet echoed a longstanding anti-Semitic trope — the implication that Jewish political influence operates entirely (“all about”) through money as well as the implication that Jews exercise undue political influence. The tweet refers to the fact that a representation of Benjamin Franklin is on the $100 bill, the largest U.S. dollar bill in circulation.
• In March 2019 Omar stated: “some people [who] did something” — in describing the Islamist terrorists who killed thousands of Americans on Sept. 11, 2001.
• In a November 2012 tweet, Omar accused Israel of “hypnotizing the world,” while insinuating that her fellow lawmakers are purchased by Jewish money, and that the Jewish Americans among them have dual loyalties. Her comments meet the widely accepted International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, used by the U.S. State Department and others.
Democrats Adopt Platform at Convention Supporting Two-State Solution, Opposing BDS
Democratic National Committee members approved the party’s platform on Tuesday at the virtual Democratic National Convention.

The Democratic platform includes language that expresses support for the US-Israel relationship, a pledge to maintain security funding for Israel and backing for a two-state solution “that ensures Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state with recognized borders and upholds the right of Palestinians to live in freedom and security in a viable state of their own.”

Regarding the status of Jerusalem, the platform states: “We believe that while Jerusalem is a matter for final-status negotiations, it should remain the capital of Israel, an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.”

This reflects the stance of 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, that the US embassy, which US President Donald Trump moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May 2018, five months after recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, should remain in place.

It also expresses opposition to “any effort to unfairly single out and delegitimize Israel, including at the United Nations or through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] movement, while protecting the constitutional right of our citizens to free speech.”

Asia Times: The Palestinian People Cannot Expect Their Arab Allies to Suspend Their Needs Forever
The late Egyptian president Anwar Sadat fought Israel with valor and signed a peace agreement with it with honor. Dignity and bravery can as well be attributed to the actions of the late Jordanian King Hussein. Now, the United Arab Emirates joins them.

Perhaps soon other Arab governments also will realize that for every policy there is a time and a place, and that after 72 years of conflict with Israel, the only path forward is peace. Will Oman and Bahrain be next to normalize relations with Israel? Much more important, will Saudi Arabia?

As Jared Kushner, a White House special adviser, Israeli-Arab peace-plan architect and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, put it, “You can’t turn a battleship around overnight.” The strained metaphor aside, he has a point.

Ever since the founding of Israel in 1948, Saudi Arabia has led the region in reaction to it. Riyadh funded wars, mitigated the economic fallouts that these caused and leveraged its clout in 1973 by leading in the Arab oil embargo, forcing people all over to focus on the Palestinian cause.

It took a while but these efforts eventually paid off. In 1993, a peace process began that gave Palestinians a national government and an elected assembly. Arab governments, especially affluent ones in the Persian Gulf region, invested heavily in jumpstarting a Palestinian proto-state, giving Yasser Arafat an airport and other infrastructure that helped him build vestiges of sovereignty.

Two obstacles, however, obstructed a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conundrum. The first was Arafat’s mercurial character and his refusal to commit to negotiations. (That Palestinian assembly, furthermore, exists today in name only.)

The second was the rise of Iran, and, with it, Islamist militias such as Hamas, whose radical rhetoric and action make peace impossible. And not only in the Gaza Strip, but also in post-Saddam Iraq, in a Lebanon where Hezbollah calls the shots and in Yemen where the Houthis have lobbed missiles at Saudi Arabia.
Gulf News: Erdogan needs to be reined in as a matter of urgency
It seems as if Turkey is intent on ignoring the rule of international law, the European Union and its allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation when it comes to its illegal oil and gas exploration efforts off the coast of Cyprus.

Once more, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is displaying his inordinate arrogance and ignorance of historical and economic boundaries by insisting that a drilling ship from his nation can effectively act as a modern-day pirate ship scouring for energy sources in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The reality is that since the 1974 invasion by Turkish paratroopers to carve off a rump state of the north of Cyprus, Turkey is the only state to recognise the integrity of its vassal state.

This crisis is no longer just a localised spat between neighbours in a quiet backwater of the Mediterranean. Turkey, as a long-standing member of Nato, has a responsibility to abide by the rule of law and diplomatic channels — and the arrogance displayed under President Erdogan’s rule fails to meet those standards of behaviour and decorum
- Gulf News

As such, it has no standing in international law — and to base a drilling claim on its military occupation of a corner of the island does how hold water. Simply put, it’s stretching credulity to suggest it has the right to explore in waters that are Cypriot.

Tensions have been running high in the area for several years and the states were raised even more when Greece put its military and naval forces on alert. France too has moved naval assets into the area in a clear sign that Ankara’s interference and blatant disregard for the rule of law will not be tolerated. Nor should it.
Foreign Policy: How Did the Eastern Mediterranean Become the Eye of a Geopolitical Storm?
What’s Next?

There are strong incentives for most of the parties in the region and the European Union to contain the current escalation and find an off-ramp to the crisis. Despite backing Greece, neither Egypt nor Israel can afford to be drawn into a war with Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean. The EU has expressed its unequivocal support for members Greece and Cyprus, but the bloc is divided on how to handle the current crisis. The six Mediterranean EU countries are evenly split. Greece, Cyprus, and France advocate strong action against Turkey while Italy, Malta, and Spain—which all share significant commercial interests with Turkey in the central and western Mediterranean—have refrained.

Germany, holding the EU presidency since July, could break the deadlock.

Although Berlin typically defers to Paris on Mediterranean policy, it is keen to keep Ankara as close to the EU as possible. Still, Turkey is playing close to the edge. If it pushes too far, the European Union, as well as the United States, will swing fully over to the side of Greece. The red line that Turkey cannot cross is Crete, whose southern waters are thought to contain significant volumes of oil or natural gas. Although internationally recognized as Greek territorial waters, the Ankara-Tripoli map assigns the area to Libya. If Turkey sends its energy exploration ship near the southern shores of Crete, then all bets are off.

So far, Turkey has not crossed that line. Ankara may be holding exploration in Crete’s waters as a negotiating card. Any serious deescalation process between Turkey and Greece requires a third party with sufficient sway to push Ankara and Athens into serious talks. In that respect, perhaps the most hopeful sign for the region is the recent constructive efforts of the United States to achieve a cease-fire and buffer zone in Libya. The de-linking of the various regional conflicts creates an opening for a pragmatic dialogue on Mediterranean maritime boundaries. There is a window for an off-ramp. That opportunity will require the United States, perhaps in concert with Germany, to act with diplomatic skill and commitment.
Border Police release video of laser shooting down Gaza arson balloons
Israel’s Border Police released a video on Thursday showing a laser system intercepting balloon clusters carrying incendiary objects toward Israel from the Gaza Strip.

The “Lahav Or” (Blade of Light) system on Wednesday shot down 32 balloon-borne incendiary objects, and effectively stops 90 percent of the clusters in its range, the Border Police said in a statement.

The system has been operational for several months, the statement said.

Security forces first unveiled the laser system in December. It was developed for police and the Israel Defense Forces by three engineers from the private sector who worked with Ben Gurion University researchers and technological departments of the Israel Police and the IDF.

Channel 12 news reported at the time that the laser is capable of engaging targets day or night with an effective range of two kilometers (1.6 miles). It can be moved around on a small trailer or installed on a truck.

Reports at the time said that only one working system had been built at a cost of around a million dollars.

No Security Coordination, No New IDs for Palestinians
After the PA cut ties with Israel in May, more than 25,000 Palestinian babies have been born in the West Bank, but their information has not been forwarded to the Israeli side, leaving these children without identification documents or passports.

The issue also prevents the issuance of new documents for those who reach adulthood. This has prevented Palestinians from traveling overseas.
Gad Shimron, an Israeli political analyst, says the PA is to blame as the Oslo Accords include a protocol, in place for 25 years, for Palestinian identification documents.

"The PA can't wake up one day and decide that it doesn't want to implement the agreements....I'm afraid now that the Palestinians have missed the train again, and it's unfortunate that these babies will pay the price."
PA's Grand Mufti issues fatwa banning Muslims from praying at al-Aqsa
The Palestinian Authority's Grand Mufti has issued a fatwa banning Muslims from praying at al-Aqsa Mosque within the framework of the UAE-Israel peace deal.

Muslims from outside Israel and the Palestinian territories are now able to visit the mosque to pray, under the conditions of the recent deal normalizing relations between Israel and the UAE. However, the Palestinian Authority considers the deal a betrayal of its cause, and religious leaders have declared that any Muslim visiting the site, considered the third holiest in Islam, is a traitor.

“We absolutely won’t accept the [UAE’s] treason. One grain of sand from the soil of pure Palestine and from the soil of Al-Aqsa Mosque is more precious than our blood and our lives," Supreme Sharia Judge Mahmoud al-Habbash said on official PA TV on Saturday, according to a translation by Palestinian Media Watch.

He continued: "Whoever wants to come visit the Aqsa Mosque through the gate of Palestine: Welcome, and we will rejoice over him. But whoever wants to come through the Israeli gate is unwanted, and he will find nothing but the shoes of the people of Jerusalem and the spit of the people of Jerusalem in his face."
PA: Jews “broke into the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” which is “for Muslims only”

PMW: PA to all Muslims: Jews are defiling Jerusalem, invading Al-Aqsa Mosque
When Jews prayed on the Temple Mount last month to commemorate the destruction of both Temples in Jerusalem - by Babylon in 586 BCE and by Rome in 70 CE – the PA reacted with vicious antisemitic messages. The Jewish worshippers on the Temple Mount were said to have “defiled” and “invaded” Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Addressing the Arab nation as “O, brother,” the PA demonized Israelis and Jews, claiming they commit “despicable acts” and “fake history.” Regarding anything related to the Temples in Jerusalem, the PA uses the terms "fake history," "alleged" and "so-called" as part of their rewriting of history denying the thousands of years of Jewish presence in the land:

Official PA TV host: ”Dozens of settlers invaded the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque’s plazas in occupied Jerusalem, this morning, for the alleged memorial day of the so-called Destruction of the Temple (i.e., Tisha B’Av).”

Song: “Brother, the oppressors have gone too far”

Official PA TV reporter: “O brother, you see them committing all the despicable acts in our land, and creating a fake history in the land of the history, the present, and the future. This is our mosque, and they have come to defile it with all the racism that they carry with them. Hundreds of them defiled the Muslims’ first direction of prayer (i.e., Jerusalem) in the days of the Hajj (i.e., Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca). They defiled Jerusalem... O brother, the oppressors have gone too far in their occupation of a land that is not theirs.”
[Official PA TV News, twice on July 31, 2020]
PA to Muslims worldwide: Jews are defiling Jerusalem, invading Al-Aqsa

Gaza Sewage Overflows into Israel
On Wednesday, the Hanun stream, which flows from northern Gaza into Israel, overflowed with sewage water in Israeli territory.
The Gaza sewage treatment plant has stopped working due to a power shortage.

Israel stopped providing Gaza with fuel for its power plant due to the recent escalation in incendiary balloons launched from Gaza against Israel.
Hezbollah bought explosive material during time of port storage — report
Hezbollah purchased a large amount of ammonium nitrate that was linked to the storage of the same chemical that was being stored at Beirut Port and led to a massive explosion in early August, German daily Die Welt reported Wednesday.

“Welt has exclusive information from Western secret services. Accordingly, the [Hezbollah] militia bought large quantities of the dangerous substance... After the disaster in the Port of Beirut, Hezbollah was suspected of having been involved in the storage of the explosive ammonium nitrate,” the report said.

“According to information from Western secret services that is available to Welt, Hezbollah in Lebanon received large deliveries of ammonium nitrate, which are closely related to the material detonated in Beirut,” Die Welt reported.

It is not certain if the ammonium nitrate at the port was the same that was shipped around the same time to Hezbollah in 2013 and 2014, according to the report. Some of the Lebanese terrorist group’s purchase was shipped through the port, and some was imported via airport or overland through Syria, the report said.

The Jerusalem Post could not verify the unnamed Western intelligence sources mentioned in the report.
Bahaa Hariri (Arab News): There is no role for Hezbollah in Lebanon's future
I shouldn’t be writing this article. My father, Rafik Hariri, should be the author. As prime minister, he led Lebanon out of the chaos of civil war and rebuilt the country. But, 15 years ago, terrorists from Hezbollah — the very people who control the Port of Beirut where the Aug. 4 explosion took place — assassinated him.

The people of Lebanon are once again dealing with unimaginable loss and devastation. The tragic deaths, horrific injuries and the total destruction caused by the blast have turned the attention of the world on to my country.

As I join those demanding an independent investigation to determine not only what happened, but how it happened, there is another investigation ending. On Tuesday, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon delivered the results of its years-long investigation into and prosecution of those responsible for the 2005 bombing that killed my father and 21 others.

Taken together, these events underscore the need for Lebanon to move forward without Hezbollah. In fact, Lebanon will never be able to become the nation its people need with the continued involvement of this corrupt terrorist organization.

In the past week since the bombing, the people of Lebanon have risen up and are speaking with one voice. They are demanding change. They are calling out the current failing and compromised political system, railing against warlords and corrupt elites, government inertia and the system that supports all of them. They are also calling for an end to the role Hezbollah has played in governing parts of Beirut and Lebanon. Terrorist organizations and warlords cannot build countries — they only know how to tear them down.

The current regime is calling for early parliamentary elections in the hope that they will quell those calling for real democracy, but the people know better.

Lebanon’s economy is in freefall. Investment has vanished. Food prices are rising, and a collapsing currency has made savings worthless. Add in the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the Lebanese people are in the midst of a financial and humanitarian catastrophe. Importantly, given the central role of religion in Lebanon, these views are not unique to any one faith or confession; these are universal problems that every Lebanese faces every day. The protests are a uniting factor capable of forming a nation from a disunited country.

Lebanon can only subsidize basic goods for 3 more months
Lebanon's central bank will only subsidize fuel, wheat and medicine for three more months, an official source said on Thursday, as critically low foreign currency reserves dwindle.

A central bank official was not immediately available for comment, and the caretaker economy minister referred questions on the matter to the central bank.

The source told Reuters the bank had informed the government it would end the subsidies then in order to prevent reserves from falling below $17.5 billion.

Other sources had in July estimated that the reserves stood at some $18 billion, before this month's massive Beirut port blast that killed 179 people and wrecked swathes of the city.

The explosion and its aftermath compounded a financial crisis that, since late last year, has slashed the value of the Lebanese pound on the parallel market, hitting imports as dollars grow ever more scarce. Inflation and poverty have soared.

Still, the official pegged rate of 1,507.5 Lebanese pounds to the dollar, in place since 1997, has remained available to subsidize the key imports of fuel, wheat and medicine - keeping their prices stable.
Trump confirms US will seek ‘snapback’ of international sanctions on Iran
US President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will activate a controversial mechanism aimed at reimposing UN sanctions on Iran, escalating a row with European allies that has huge repercussions for the Iranian nuclear deal.

Pompeo will travel to New York on Thursday to notify the United Nations Security Council that the US is triggering the so-called “snapback” procedure, which Britain, France and Germany say it doesn’t have the right to do.

“It’s a snapback, not uncommon,” Trump told reporters, despite the contested measure having never been used before.

The move comes after the United States suffered a humiliating defeat at the Security Council last week when it failed to muster support for a resolution to extend a conventional arms embargo on Iran.

“Snapback” aims to restore all international sanctions against Iran that were lifted as part of the 2015 accord with Tehran that sought to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons.

But it also threatens to torpedo the historic Iran nuclear deal that the US, China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany signed with Tehran in 2015.
English-Language Animation Aired by Iranian Media Company Depicts Destruction of Capitol Building
On June 30, 2020, an animated video of a spoken word poem titled “People Everywhere Are Chanting ‘Death to America’” was uploaded to the Islamic Pulse YouTube channel, which is based in Qom, Iran. The narrator recited that she chanted “Death to America!” when “U.S. troops showered bombs on Iraq”, when the U.S. helped “Saudi Arabia bomb starving Yemenis”, when the U.S. helped Israel “exterminate Palestinians”, when IRGC Qods Force Commander Qasem Soleimani was “murdered,” and when Iran-sponsored Press TV anchor Marzieh Hashemi was arrested and “tortured” by the FBI. The narrator said that she continues to chant “Death to America!” today in solidarity with the protests in the United States. She then explained that the slogan is a warning to the people of America that the “capitalistic, militarized, racist, barbaric, Satanic system called America” is a danger, and that the world’s problems will be solved if the institution of America is destroyed. The animation then depicted the Washington Monument crumbling down, the Capitol Building being destroyed in an explosion, and an American flag being riddled with bullets.

Sen. Cruz Applauds President Trump’s Move to Invoke Snapback Sanctions and Maintain Arms Embargo on Iran
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement after President Trump announced the U.S. will invoke the snapback mechanism in UN Security Council Resolution 2231, restoring international sanctions and preventing the upcoming expiration of the United Nations arms embargo on Iran:

"I applaud the Trump administration for taking this final step to terminate the catastrophic Obama-Biden Iran nuclear deal. Iran’s tyrannical and evil regime continues to finance and export terror, endangering the lives of Americans and the national security of us and our allies. Had President Trump not ordered this step, in just a few short weeks the arms embargo on Iran would have been lifted, and then after that the ballistic missile ban, and ultimately Iran would be left with an unlimited civilian nuclear program endorsed by the U.N. Last week our European partners senselessly and fecklessly refused to take sides as we sought to extend just the arms embargo, and China and Russia, who intend to send billions of dollars of weapons to Iran, opposed our resolution. The U.S. was left with only one option. By using our existing authority to invoke the snapback sanctions mechanism, we have taken a necessary step to counter Iran’s aggression, deny the regime resources, and slow significantly the development and deployment of Iran’s nuclear program. The United States will be carefully watching, and remembering, which of our partners and allies stand with us."

Sen. Cruz earlier this week condemned the fecklessness of our European allies and called on the U.S. to invoke the snapback mechanism to prevent China and Russia from arming Iran. Sen. Cruz also made his case for this move in a recent op-ed he penned for Newsweek.

Mysterious Iranian ‘Ghost Ships’ Reappear in Persian Gulf After Months of Darkness

Op-Ed Promotes Lie That Israel Is a ‘White’ Country
The basic premise of a 3,100 word op-ed in the Independent (“‘No one talks about this’: The plight of black people in the Middle East”) — that most Israelis are “white” and that racism in the country, therefore, mirrors that in the US — is flatly untrue.

The op-ed (paywall), by David Swift and Michal Huss (the latter of whom is associated with the fringe group Na’amod, British Jews Against the Occupation) focuses on Israeli racism in the context of the “global debate on anti-black racism.” The op-ed repeatedly contrasts the treatment of black Israelis with that of “white Israelis.”

However, as we documented in response to a previous Independent op-ed making a similar assertion, most Israeli citizens are in fact people of color — in that they are either Mizrahi (Jews of Middle Eastern or North African descent), Ethiopian, or Arab. And, even if we were to focus only on Jews, a strong plurality of Jewish citizens are Mizrahi, not Ashkenazi (Jews from Europe).

Israel is not a “white” nation. Indeed, those who live here know that the average Israeli looks a lot more like Kamala Harris than Joe Biden.

Though the op-ed devotes some space to discussing discrimination against African asylum seekers, it largely addresses the Ethiopian-Israeli experience — and, in doing so, promotes several misleading or false claims.
Report: Facebook Doesn’t ‘Recognize Holocaust Denial’ as Anti-Jewish Hate Speech
Facebook, according to an Aug. 10 report, “actively promotes further Holocaust-denial content to that user” and “has been unwilling to recognize Holocaust denial as a form of hate speech against Jews.”

“Hosting the Holohoax: A Snapshot of Holocaust Denial Across Social Media,” was released by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), a think tank in the United Kingdom.

The findings show that not only is Holocaust-denial content available on Facebook, but the social media network actively lists it through the site’s algorithm.

Through a “snowball” method that allows content that starts out with little visibility to become viral, “when a user follows public pages containing Holocaust-denial content, Facebook actively promotes further Holocaust-denial content to that user.”

ISD found 415 posts across 283 pages and groups, with an overall user engagement of 32,650, including 10,291 shares.

The report also mentions that Twitter has acted against Holocaust denial on its platform, but only in “instances where individuals were using images of Holocaust victims to explicitly attack Jewish people, rather than individuals denying the Holocaust’s occurrence or severity.”

Finally, the report lauds YouTube and Reddit for limiting Holocaust-denial content on their platforms.
Hacktivist group Anonymous posts antisemitic mural defended by Jeremy Corbyn on social media and Facebook declines to act
Earlier this week, the hacktivist group known as Anonymous posted a picture of an antisemitic mural on Facebook, but when a member of the public brought it to the attention of the social media company, it declined to take any action.

The mural originated on a wall in London’s East End in October 2012 after the Los Angeles-based street artist Mear One painted the image, which featured apparently-Jewish bankers beneath a pyramid often used by conspiracy theorists playing Monopoly on a board carried by straining, oppressed workers, several of whom had dark or black skin. The mural, called Freedom for Humanity, was widely perceived as antisemitic, and was eventually removed.

Former Leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn was heavily criticised when it transpired that he had defended the mural. More recently, the same image was approvingly tweeted by the rapper Ice Cube who refused to remove it, and it was used by the Oxford branch of Black Lives Matter to promote an event, but the group retracted the advertisement and apologised.

A concerned member of the public reported the Anonymous post to Facebook, which apparently replied: “Thanks for your report – you did the right thing by letting us know about this. The post was reviewed, and although it doesn’t go against one of our specific Community Standards, we understand that it may still be offensive to you and others. No one should have to see posts they consider hateful on Facebook, so we want to help you avoid things like this in the future.”
FBI Expresses ‘Regret’ for Tweet Referencing Antisemitic Fabrication ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’
On Wednesday afternoon, the FBI Records Vault tweeted links to a slew of newly-released files — including the one concerned with the “Protocols,” an antisemitic fabrication first published in 1903 by the Tsar’s secret police in Russia, and purporting to an reveal a secret cabal of Jewish elders planning to take over the world.

The agency’s file on the “Protocols” includes several letters sent by US citizens during the 1960s and 1970s to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover urging him to study the document.

Some of Hoover’s responses to these missives were also included — typically, a short, polite note thanking the correspondent and informing them that information in the FBI’s files was classified.

Other records tweeted by the FBI on Wednesday included its file on Ernst Zundel, a notorious German Holocaust denier who died in 2017.

A note to Hoover from the FBI’s office in Midland, Texas, dated May 9, 1965 described Zundel as “persuasive” and “highly intellectual,” concluding that “for these reasons, he is extremely dangerous.”
Jewish Civil Rights Group Demands Walmart Stop Selling Books Promoting Holocaust Revisionism
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has called on Walmart to remove from its website books that promote Holocaust revisionism and claim Jews are “pernicious, conniving, shifty liars” who incite war, The Jewish Chronicle reported on Tuesday.

A number of books by an author named Thomas Dalton are available for sale on the retailer’s website, including Debating the Holocaust: A New Look at Both Sides, as well as Eternal Strangers: Critical Views of Jews and Judaism Through the Ages and The Jewish Hand in the World Wars.

According to his website, Dalton is a “professor of humanities at a major American university” who has “also conducted extensive research on historical and contemporary Jewish relations.”

Thomas Dalton could also be a pseudonym.

The books were previously removed from sale by Amazon in February following criticism, The Jewish Chronicle noted.

“Thomas Dalton’s books are wildly antisemitic and have no historical significance, so it is shocking that Walmart is stocking and making these titles available online,” an ADL spokesperson said. “Amazon recently made the right and responsible decision to discontinue the sale of certain neo-Nazi and antisemitic titles in its online bookstore. We hope that Walmart will follow suit.”

The books were published by Castle Hill Publishing, which was established by Germar Rudolf, who served jail time in Germany for Holocaust denial.
Paris synagogue neighbor smashes mezuzah ‘to restore religious neutrality’
A mezuzah was torn off the doorframe of a Paris synagogue in a suspected anti-Semitic incident.

Meanwhile, in Lyon, France, graffiti praising Adolf Hitler and featuring the word “Jews” was painted on a wall.

In the Paris incident, Marc Dayan, the president of the Yismah Moché Synagogue in the 18th district, discovered the vandalism on Aug. 14 after returning from a vacation, according to a statement by the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA.

Dayan asked a neighbor if he had seen anything, the neighbor, whom BNVCA did not identity, said he had done it to “restore religious neutrality” to the building. The mezuzah had been affixed to the doorframe for decades, Dayan said.

He filed a complaint for an anti-Semitic hate crime with police. BNVCA said the incident was “an act of anti-Jewish hatred.”

In Lyon, a graffiti reading “Heil Hitler” and “Juden,” the German-language word for Jews, was discovered Tuesday on a wall on a street. Police are investigating the incident in eastern France as a case of anti-Semitic hate speech, BFMTV reported.
Second fire in 5 days burns Chabad Jewish Center in Portland, Ore.
Firefighters put out a large fire Wednesday at the Chabad Jewish Center in Portland, Oregon — the second at the building in five days.

The building suffered extensive damage from the blaze, which broke out in the early morning, according to local news reports.

“The arson team is currently investigating the Chabad House and we don’t have access nor are we able to comment as to motives or causes at this time,” according to a post Wednesday afternoon on the Chabad of Oregon Facebook page.

A post following a fire Friday night at the building said “it seems it was caused by an electrical issue and no foul play is suspected.”

The center’s Torah scrolls were removed from the building “a few months back” due to COVID-19, according to the post.

Both fires started in the upper floor of the building and the causes are under investigation.
Demonstrators Rally Behind Jewish Owner of Berlin Bar Following Suspected Neo-Nazi Arson Attack
Hundreds of demonstrators turned out in Berlin this week in solidarity with the Jewish owner of a bar that was destroyed in arson attack by suspected neo-Nazis.

The attack on the “Morgen Wird Besser” (“Tomorrow Will Be Better”) pub in the Lichtenberg district of the German capital occurred last weekend. Antisemitic symbols were allegedly found on the inside of the burned-out bar and the cash register had been stolen.

The bar’s owner, an Israeli Jewish man, had reported harassment by neo-Nazi thugs on several previous occasions to the Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Antisemitism (JFDA), a monitoring organization in Berlin.

On five separate occasions, his premises were broken into, while there were “multiple” instances of verbal threats, the JFDA said. One time, a group of neo-Nazis told him in person, “We will get you out of here.”

Depicting his bar as a neighborhood institution, the owner remarked, “We all celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas here.”

German Jewish leaders expressed shock over the attack.

“The burning of Jewish shops in Germany evokes in the hearts of all Jews terrible memories of what took place on German soil some 87 years ago,” Rabbi Akiva Weingarten — who heads the Jewish community of Dresden — said. “We expect that slogans like ‘never again’ will not be meaningless.”
Apple’s $2 trillion means opportunity for Israel
Israeli startups and hi-tech members are rejoicing over Apple’s newly reached record market cap of $2 trillion. The technology and goods company that has led the industry for more than a decade has proven itself as a winner amidst the challenges of 2020’s first and second quarters.

Posting modest year-over-year revenue gains of 11%, Apple advanced nearly 60% in share value in 2020. More impressively yet, Apple’s earnings-per-share increased 18% in the same quarter, pairing fantastically with the company’s liquid assets situation.

Israeli investors have seen excellent returns on investments in tech stocks over the past quarter as companies providing SaaS and virtual/digital solutions have amassed enormous equity values. The rule that “cash must go somewhere” has been a source of this swelling, matched with the provision of real value during a shifting economy.

The proof of this explosion in tech-stock values can be seen on the Nasdaq Composite, which has set all-time highs this year reaching more than 11,000 points in recent days. Israeli investors who find themselves positioned in these markets are benefiting from this diversification as they hedge against potential local-losses on real estate, tourism, and brick and mortar businesses.
Apple said to have secretively bought Israel’s Camerai, a maker of camera tech
US tech giant Apple Inc. has acquired Israeli startup Camerai, a maker of camera technology. The acquisition, totaling some tens of millions of dollars, was kept under wraps, Calcalist financial website reported on Thursday, without providing its information source.

Apple acquired the firm more than a year ago, and the technologies developed by the startup have already been integrated into Apple’s smartphone cameras, Calcalist said.

Formerly known as Tipit, the startup uses artificial intelligence to enable cameras to better understand scenes and build AR graphics which interface with those technologies in real time.
The Tel Aviv based firm, set up in 2014, has four founders Moty Kosharovsky, Erez Tal, Yehonatan Rimon, and Aaron Wetzler, and had raised some $2.5 from investors including Israeli VC fund ATOORO, according to the database of Start-Up Nation Central, which tracks the industry. Angel investors had also injected funds into the startup, Calcalist said.

Most of Camerai’s employees have joined Apple’s R&D team in Herzliya, the website said.

A spokesman for Apple in Israel declined to comment.
2,500-year-old pottery shows close ties between ancient Israel and Turkey
In the 7th century BCE, Greek pottery and tableware were a must of sophisticated houses around the Levant, including ancient Israel. Shortly after, the Babylonian expansion brought destruction and change around the region, creating major disruption also in its trade and customs.

A group of Israeli and German archaeologists have recently shed new light on the following chapter of the history of the area and its commercial development: in the 5th century BCE trade routes in Eastern Mediterranean experienced a revival as did Greek style pottery. In a paper recently published in the journal Levant said there was one difference: the popular band-painted bowls, plates, jugs and table amphorae all came from a specific location, Kelenderis in Cilicia (modern Turkey).

“In the case of the Late Iron Age, stylistic and fabric analyses have shown that pottery in ‘true’ East Greek styles was manufactured at various sites in Ionia,” wrote the authors of the paper, who, along with others, include Gunnar Lehmann from Ben-Gurion University, Yiftah Shalev from the Israel Antiquities Authority and University of Haifa, David Ben-Shlomo from Ariel University and Ayelet Gilboa from the University of Haifa. “The abundance of East Greek pottery in the Levant, however, came to an abrupt end at the beginning of the 6th century BCE, after which such pottery becomes extremely rare in the northern Levant and does not occur at all in the southern Levant.”

“This rather abrupt end is the result of the Babylonian destruction. Most of the consumer sites, both in the northern and southern Levant, such as Al Mina, Tell Keisan, Ashkelon, and many more, were destroyed and abandoned, causing a near-total collapse of demographic and economic structures for many decades,” they added.

When the situation improved again around 500 to 480 BCE, the products that were traded had changed.
Archaeologists propose new identification for biblical Tel Rosh
“Joshua cast lots for them at Shiloh before the LORD, and there Joshua apportioned the land among the Israelites according to their divisions,” reads the 18th chapter of the book of Joshua. Over the next few chapters, the biblical text clearly describes the boundaries of the territories assigned to each tribe, including their borders and their cities and villages.

Over the decades, archaeologists and researchers of biblical historical geography have used these passages in their work, often as useful elements to identify sites but also to cast doubts on their accuracy when they felt that they did not reflect the reality they uncovered on the ground.

In a paper recently published in the journal Palestine Exploration Quarterly, two Israeli researchers have looked at the border between Naphtali and Asher suggesting that Tel Rosh, a site that had previously been identified with the city of Beit Shemesh included in the territory of the former, is in fact the forgotten Rehob listed in the region of the latter. Another city called Beit Shemesh also stood in Judah.

“The fifth lot fell to the tribe of the Asherites, by their clans. Their boundary ran along Helkath, Hali, Beten, Achshaph, Allammelech, Amad, and Mishal; and it touched Carmel on the west, and Shihor-libnath… Ebron, Rehob, Hammon, and Kanah, up to Great Sidon. The boundary turned to Ramah and on to the fortified city of Tyre; then the boundary turned to Hosah and it ran on westward to Mehebel, Achzib, Ummah, Aphek, and Rehob: 22 towns, with their villages. That was the portion of the tribe of the Asherites, by their clans—those towns, with their villages. The sixth lot fell to the Naphtalites, the Naphtalites by their clans. Their boundary ran from Heleph, Elon-bezaanannim, Adaminekeb, and Jabneel to Lakkum, and it ended at the Jordan… Iron, Migdal-el, Horem, Beth-anath, and Beth-shemesh: 19 towns, with their villages. That was the portion of the tribe of the Naphtalites, by their clans—the towns, with their villages,” (Joshua 19: 24-39).
Chemical ‘time-machine’ to tie Israel’s ancient people with modern land
Rocks and soil collected all over Israel will help researchers shed light on the mysteries of its remote past, thanks to a specific chemical element that will act as the equivalent of a time-machine, connecting its ancient inhabitants with the modern land.

Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, announced Monday that a group of international Earth scientists have completed the mapping of samples from across the country.

“Israel has many archaeological sites which are really important for understanding human evolution,” Flinders University Research Associate Dr Rachel Rudd and a co-author of a paper recently published in the journal Earth System Science Data told The Jerusalem Post via email. “The results of this study will allow archaeologists to better understand these sites by adding another method of analysis.”

The crucial element that the scientists considered is strontium, which is found in many natural materials in a variety of form called isotopes and makes its way to the body through water and food.

The goal is therefore to be able to compare strontium isotopes found in the ancient remains with those in rocks and soil.

“Strontium isotope mapping has uses in many fields as a geochemical tracer, including archaeology, forensic science, ecology and food sciences,” Rudd pointed out. “In archaeology, we can look at research questions involving landscape movement. The analysis of animal remains may give us an insight into the hunting behavior of the hominin groups occupying these sites – were they hunting locally or further away?”

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