Saturday, August 29, 2020

From Ian:

Caroline B. Glick: The Israel-Sunni Arab bloc – the new sheriff
In Pompeo's shuttle diplomacy we see the enormity of the administration's achievement.

After the Cold War, Israeli leftists and anti-Israel foreign policy analysts in America claimed that with the superpower contest settled, Israel was no longer a strategic asset to America. The Israeli Left argued that to retain its relevance to America, Israel had to sue for peace with Yasser Arafat on his terms.

Arguably the saddest man in Jerusalem this week was British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab. Blind to the seismic shifts that have occurred, Raab arrived uninvited in Israel's capital, (which Britain still refuses to recognize) to mediate peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

After Britain exited the European Union following the Brexit vote, the Trump administration expected Britain would renew its special alliance with the US and ditch Brussels' anti-American and anti-Israel unified foreign policy. But Prime Minister Boris Johnson didn't get the memo.

Much to Washington's disappointment, the Johnson government has continued to act as a loyal member (or vassal) of the EU. The Johnson government opposes the administration's maximum pressure strategy for dealing with Iran, and even abstained from supporting the US at the Security Council last week.

The British Foreign Office, like the EU and the UN, reacted coldly to the news that Israel and the UAE are normalizing their relations, insisting that the Palestinians must not be ignored, the chimerical "two-state solution" must be upheld at all costs.

Raab met with Pompeo in Jerusalem. While the details of their meeting were not reported, Netanyahu made clear Israel's displeasure at Britain's pro-Iran policies and expressed no interest in Britain's offer to pressure Israel to make unreciprocated concessions to the Palestinians.

The Israeli-Sunni Arab bloc is a stabilizing force in the region because it is an organic alliance. It was not the product of superpower rivalry. It was borne out of common interests that are likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future. The existence of this bloc has enabled Washington rebuild its credibility as a superpower and an ally in the Middle East and advance its Iran policies with or without UN Security Council support.

If Trump is re-elected in November, this stabilizing bloc whose members stand against both Sunni and Shiite jihadists will expand and the circle of formal ties between Israel and the Gulf States will grow. If Trump loses, just as the bloc protected its members against the hostile Obama administration, so it is likely to survive and shield its members from the vagaries of a Biden administration.
UAE formally abolishes Israel boycott law ahead of delegation’s arrival
The president of the United Arab Emirates on Saturday issued a decree abolishing a law boycotting Israel and allowing trade and financial agreements between the two nations, two days before a delegation from Jerusalem was due to arrive in Abu Dhabi in the wake of August 13’s normalization agreement.

The state-run WAM news agency said the move formally ending the boycott came on the orders of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the ruler of Abu Dhabi and the Emirates’ leader.

WAM said the new decree allows Israelis and Israeli firms to do business in the UAE, a federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula. It also allows for the purchase and trade of Israeli goods.

“The decree of the new law comes within the UAE’s efforts to expand diplomatic and commercial cooperation with Israel,” WAM said. It lays out “a roadmap toward launching joint cooperation, leading to bilateral relations by stimulating economic growth and promoting technological innovation.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the move as “an important step in promoting prosperity and peace in the region.”

Already, some Israeli firms had signed deals with Emirati counterparts. But the repeal of the law widens the likelihood of other joint ventures, such as in aviation, banking, and finance.

The decree formally eliminates a 1972 law on the UAE’s books since just after the country’s formation. That law mirrored the widely held stance by Arab nations at that time that recognition of Israel would only come after the Palestinians had an independent state of their own.

Israel to declare UAE a 'green state' - report
Israel is expected to declare the Untied Arab Emirates a "green state," meaning that Israelis who return from the country will not need to enter home isolation, according to Walla! News.

On Monday, an Israeli delegation led by Meir Ben Shabbat, Head of the National Security Council, will leave for the UAE.
El Al said to ask permission for Israel-UAE flight to cross Saudi airspace
El Al has reportedly asked Saudi Arabia to use its airspace when one of its planes on Monday makes the first-ever commercial passenger flight from Israel to the United Arab Emirates, following the countries’ US-brokered agreement to normalize ties.

According to the Israeli news site Ynet on Saturday, the request was relayed on El Al’s behalf by way of the National Security Council and other unspecified mediators. The Saudis have yet to respond.

Earlier this week, The Times of Israel reported that the Foreign Ministry was conducting talks with Saudi Arabia about the flight potentially passing over Saudi airspace, but the matter wasn’t final, according to a source with knowledge of the talks.

On Friday, Israel listed the El Al flight taking off on Monday for Abu Dhabi on the Israel Airports Authority website.

It said the flight would be numbered LY971, a nod to the UAE’s international calling code number. A return flight to Ben Gurion International Airport on Tuesday will be numbered LY972, Israel’s international calling code.

Among those set to be on the flight are White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and several other senior Trump administration officials, who are scheduled to arrive in Israel over the weekend.

New book 'Titus, Trump and the Triumph of Israel' breaks pre-sale record Josh Reinstein, the author, said that he is “not surprised by the success."
Titus, Trump and the Triumph of Israel, Josh Reinstein’s new book which is set to be released on September 1, has already broken its publisher’s pre-sale record. Reinstein, who is the President of the Israel Allies Foundation and Director of the Knesset Christian Caucus, wrote the book after “many years of witnessing the transformational power of Christian support for Israel,” according to a statement from Gefen Publishing.

Ilan Greenfield, the owner of Gefen Publishing, which has been publishing English-language books in Israel, hailed the book as a “global phenomenon.”

“I am not surprised by the success of the book,” said Reinstein. “There are many books written from a political perspective on Israel and also many written from a Biblical perspective but this is the first to mesh the two. Anyone who truly knows Israel understands that you cannot have one without the other.”

The book covers changing attitudes towards Israel from Titus, the Roman emperor who destroyed Jerusalem, to US Donald Trump who moved the US embassy to the city in 2018. Reinstein not only writes about increased support for Israel from “people of faith,” he also discusses the rise in antisemitism across the globe. He explains this through a discussion of a “faith-based diplomacy,” the publishing company says.

“The only path to peace comes from following the Biblical guidelines – recognizing the Jewish people’s connection to the land of Israel and ensuring the safety of its citizens,” Reinstein writes.
Erdogan’s Schoolboy Response to the Israel-UAE Deal
Turkey is protesting the UAE for establishing diplomatic relations with Israel—even though Ankara has had diplomatic relations with Israel for the past 71 years. If the UAE, as Ankara argues, has betrayed the “Palestinian cause” just by having diplomatic relations with Israel, then Turkey has been betraying the “Palestinian cause” since 1949.

These days, Turkey’s foreign policy calculus, especially when it involves matters surrounding Israel, appears to reflect the thinking of a fifth-grade schoolboy. I don’t like David anymore and you, Bassam, want to play with him. So I don’t like you anymore either.

That is exactly how the 97-year-old Turkish republic behaved when Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced they are normalizing diplomatic relations. Not a word has been uttered to explain how a country that has had diplomatic relations with Israel for 71 years could logically protest another country’s decision to establish diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.

Turkey remained neutral during the Arab-Israeli war of 1948. At its conclusion, the then young Turkish republic became the first Muslim country to recognize the infant state of Israel on March 28, 1949.

In January 1950, Ankara sent a career diplomat, Seyfullah Esin, to Tel Aviv as the first Turkish chargé d’affaires in Israel. In 1951, Turkey joined the Western bloc of countries that protested Cairo’s decision to deny Israeli ships passage through the Suez Canal. The Mossad opened a station on Turkish soil in the early 1950s. In 1954, Turkish PM Adnan Menderes, while on a visit to the US, called on Arab states to recognize Israel.

In 1958, an El Al airliner requested an emergency landing at Istanbul’s Yeşilköy Airport due to mechanical problems. As it transpired, the passengers aboard were David Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir, and the IDF Chief of Staff, who were on a secret mission. The purpose of the visit, which was welcomed by the Turkish government, was to establish and enhance cultural and intelligence cooperation.
Israel records 15 new coronavirus deaths, more than 1,800 cases over weekend
The Health Ministry reported Saturday evening that 1,831 people tested positive for the coronavirus over the course of Friday, and 15 more people died of the disease, according to the ministry’s tallies between Friday and Saturday.

Israel’s cumulative death toll from the coronavirus stood at 906, the Health Ministry’s figures showed on Saturday evening.

Of the 20,331 active cases in Israel as of Saturday, 438 patients were in serious condition, with 116 of them on ventilators, and 191 people were in moderate condition. The remainder had mild or no symptoms.

Israel’s daily infection rate has remained at between roughly 1,800-1,900 daily confirmed cases over the past few days, with a peak on Thursday of 2,068. It was the highest seen in Israel since the end of July.

There have now been 113,337 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Israel since the start of the pandemic.

The ministry said 23,263 coronavirus tests were performed on Friday, a number considered high for a non-weekday.
BBC report on fatal stabbing attack sticks to editorial policy on terrorism
Shortly before 9 p.m. on the evening of August 26th the BBC News website published a report concerning a terror attack which had taken place some seven hours earlier.

Both the presentation on the website’s ‘Middle East’ page – “Rabbi stabbed to death in Israeli city” – and the report’s headline – ‘Israeli rabbi killed in Petah Tikva knife attack’ – failed to clarify to the corporation’s audiences that the incident was a terror attack.

In line with BBC’s selectively applied editorial policy, the only description of the attack as terrorism – which appeared in the fourth paragraph of the report – was attributed to a non-BBC source.

“Investigators said they were treating the incident as a terrorist attack.”

Readers were told that:

“Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Netanyahu shared an article on Facebook that said no Israeli civilian had been killed in a terrorist attack for 12 months for the first time in 56 years, the Jerusalem Post reported.”

They were not however informed that an Israeli soldier was murdered in May in an attack that the BBC failed to report at the time or that in September 2019 a 74-year-old woman who had been seriously injured in a rocket attack on Ashkelon the previous November passed away.
Arson balloons from Gaza spark 23 fires in southern Israel
Airborne incendiary devices launched from the Gaza Strip sparked at least 23 fires in southern Israel on Saturday, a majority of them minor, according to Israel’s Fire and Rescue Services.

Fire investigators told Channel 13 that all of the fires were sparked by waves of arson balloons, where flammable or explosive devices are lofted into Israel from Gaza on actual helium balloons. Most landed in open fields, sparking brush fires that were put out by firefighters.

The fires came as Qatar’s envoy to the Hamas-run coastal enclave was in the Strip this week seeking to deescalate ongoing tensions between the terror group and Israel that have led to daily arson balloon and rocket attacks on Israel, and to IDF reprisal strikes. Mohammed al-Emadi is said to have left the territory briefly on Saturday afternoon to speak with Israeli officials before returning, according to Hamas-linked media.

Al-Emadi arrived in Gaza on Tuesday with $30 million in cash. The money is earmarked to help the territory of two million people, half of whom live under the poverty line, sources close to the envoy told AFP this week.

Palestinians in the Strip have, in recent weeks, sent waves of arson balloons across the border, sparking scores of wildfires in southern Israel.
FDD: Hamas Proxy Launches Incendiary Balloons at Israel, Again
The Hamas proxy Humat al-Aqsa (HAA) published a video this week claiming responsibility for sending incendiary balloons into Israel from Gaza. HAA openly acknowledges its arson attacks as part of a campaign to terrorize Israeli civilians and cause fires across the border.

The attacks marked a resumption of incendiary balloon attacks after a six-month hiatus. The renewed attacks caused 161 fires in Israel between August 22 and August 26. In response, Israel has deployed Lahav Or, a laser system designed to counter incendiary balloons, which reportedly has a 90 percent success rate in the limited areas it can cover.

With Hamas’ approval, HAA and other militant groups reportedly resumed the attacks to pressure Israel to improve conditions in the Gaza Strip. Hamas seeks to extend Gaza’s fishing zone from 15 to 20 nautical miles, relax the blockade on the Gaza Strip, and increase work permits for Gazans to enter Israel. Israel has maintained severe restrictions on the coastal enclave following Hamas’ violent takeover of Gaza in 2007.

Palestinians in Gaza first deployed explosive balloons in April 2018 under the cover of the “March of Return” protests. That year, the incendiary devices sparked approximately 2,000 fires and destroyed about 8,400 acres of land in southern Israel. Additionally, between January 2019 and shortly after the 2019 June ceasefire agreement, Israel reported an average of two arson attacks per day.

In January and February 2020, Hamas violated its ceasefire and ordered the renewal of incendiary and explosive-laden balloons by militant groups, including HAA. It is unlikely that HAA or others would carry out these operations without explicit approval from Hamas. In fact, HAA boasted of its role in the arson campaign, publishing a video in February featuring men holding a banner with the group’s logo and name, filling condoms with helium, and sending them into Israel.

According to Israel’s Shin Bet security agency, Fathi Hamad, a senior Hamas official subject to U.S. sanctions, established and funded HAA in 2006. As a Hamas proxy, HAA enables Gaza’s rulers to carry out terrorist attacks while maintaining plausible deniability.
Qatari envoy, security officials met over escalating Gaza viollence
Qatari envoy Mohammed al-Emadi met Saturday with Israeli security officials in an attempt to quell the escalating violence between the IDF and Hamas, a source confirmed to The Jerusalem Post.

Emadi entered Israel from Gaza through the Erez checkpoint and met with representatives from the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), the Office of the Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories and the Southern Command, according to the Arabic Al-Quds website. He returned to Gaza where he has been holding talks with Hamas for a number of days.

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov on Friday took to twitter to warn that an escalation in Gaza is imminent unless both Israelis and Hamas exercise restraint and pull back from the brink.

“I am VERY concerned that escalation is imminent,” he tweeted.

He spoke in the aftermath of an exchange of fire between Palestinian terrorists in Gaza and the IDF. Over the last weeks Palestinians have launched incendiary balloons and rockets against southern Israel, and the IDF in turn has conducted nightly aerial raids against military targets.

This included Friday morning, when the IDF struck Hamas facilities, after six rockets were launched at Israel. Over the weekend Israeli firefighters battled over 45 blazes in southern Israel due to incendiary balloons.

IDF remains on high alert amid fears of Hezbollah attack
The IDF remained on high alert along the northern border with Lebanon over the weekend amid expectations that Hezbollah will continue trying to attack Israeli soldiers deployed nearby.

On Wednesday, Israeli attack helicopters and fighter jets struck posts belonging to Hezbollah along the in response to sniper fire against IDF troops near Kibbutz Menara in the Upper Galilee.

It was the third failed attack by Hezbollah since the group’s leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah vowed to avenge the death of one of his operatives killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike in Syria in July.

The high alert continues as the the UN Security Council (UNSC) decided Friday to extend the mandate of the UNIFIL peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon by another year but slightly reduced its number of troops.

The council added several demands from the government of Lebanon to allow UNIFIL to operate more efficiently after efforts from Israel and the US to strengthen to force's authority in the face of Hezbollah activity.

These new demands include an enhanced reporting mechanism to the UN for violent incidents and violations; a call for the Secretary-General to create a detailed action plan to optimize the force’s effectiveness; and a strong condemnation of attempts to hamper the force’s freedom of movement and of threats posed to UNIFIL troops.
Video shows dummy of IDF soldier meant to fool Hezbollah, broadcaster says
The Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Mayadeen broadcaster aired footage on Saturday showing what appears to be a mannequin of an IDF soldier being operated by a robotic device, along the border fence between Israel and Lebanon.

The video briefly showed the mannequin moving before it is engulfed by smoke from smoke grenades lobbed from the Israeli side of the fence, as a pair of IDF tanks are stationed next to it.

Al-Mayadeen claimed the mannequin was an Israeli ploy to have Hezbollah believe it was a real target and “lure” it into “a trap,” according to the network’s written report.

Hezbollah has repeatedly vowed to avenge the death of one of its fighters, killed in an airstrike outside Damascus on July 20 that was attributed to Israel, heightening tensions along the border.

On Tuesday, the Israel Defense Forces said Hezbollah snipers fired at Israeli troops operating near an Israeli community along the border, prompting Israeli airstrikes on a number of the terror group’s observation posts. The Hezbollah force, according to Israel, was situated right in between two UN posts, barely 110 yards away from the closer one.

The IDF released aerial footage from the border showing the location from which the sniper cell opened fire at the soldiers, between two UN posts belonging to UNIFIL, the peacekeeping force in Lebanon.

The photo “shows UNIFIL’s powerlessness and the fact that it is not fulfilling its purpose,” Israel’s UN mission said Thursday.
UN to Renew Southern Lebanon Peacekeeping Mandate, but Will Reduce Number of Troops
The UN Security Council will extend the mandate for a peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon for another year later on Friday, but will reduce the number of troops amid US and Israeli criticism over the mission’s efficiency, diplomats said.

The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) ‐‐ established in 1978 ‐‐ patrols Lebanon’s southern border, known as the Blue Line, with Israel. Washington regards Iran-backed Hezbollah, which supports the Syrian government and has a strong presence in south Lebanon, as a terrorist organisation.

The United States and Israel have argued that the force needs to be smaller but with more powers and more access to areas controlled by Hezbollah. They have pointed to recent incidents on the border in areas monitored by UNIFIL as examples of why the force should be bolstered. Israel struck Hezbollah targets on Wednesday after it said it had come under attack.

The renewal of the UN mission comes as Lebanon grapples with a financial crisis, political deadlock and the aftermath of a blast that killed 180 people.

France, overseeing the resolution’s progress at the United Nations, circulated a final compromise draft on Thursday, which will be put to a vote on Friday afternoon.

The troop ceiling was lowered from 15,000 to 13,000 to meet a key US demand, though one diplomat called that a symbolic change as only 10,500 troops are currently deployed.

A French presidential official said the renewal was now certain.

“It’s important for Lebanon and Israel,” the official said. “What’s expected from Hezbollah is that it doesn’t do anything that could lead to an escalation.”

A second Western diplomat said also said the mandate would be renewed. The United States was satisfied because it called for a detailed plan to improve the efficiency of the mission and report back to the council within 60 days, the diplomat said.
UN Votes to Extend Lebanon Peacekeeping Force: “You Can’t Spell ‘Fail’ Without UNIFIL” (satire)
The United Nations voted this week to extend the mandate of its peacekeeping force in Lebanon. There was some concern for the fate of UNIFIL, and that the failure to carry out its mission would reflect poorly on the force but UN Security Council representatives said that that has never been a consideration for Middle East policies. A spokesperson commented that “failure in the Middle East is neither an option, nor a consideration”.

The resolution was criticized by Israel and the United States as renewing a force that has failed in its goals to keep the peace on Lebanon’s southern border and has also failed to implement UN resolutions to disarm Hezbollah. The French, who drafted the resolution countered that it is part of their new peacekeeping doctrine of “Retreating-Forwards”, which goes hand-in-hand with their military doctrine “Failing-Upwards”. Criticism centered around concern that peacekeepers were too restricted in their ability to monitor and fight groups like Hezbollah, Last week a Hezbollah cell fired upon Israeli troops barely 110 yards from a United Nations outpost in Southern Lebanon. A UNIFIL soldier, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that in their defense, “we probably would have let them do it regardless”.

Officially, the United Nations condemned in “the strongest possible terms” the attack as well as Hezbollah’s consistent attacks on Israel. The UN assured both Israel and the United States that the entire grammatical arsenal of UNIFIL would be brought to bear against any forces that violated United Nations agreements.

Al Jazeera host promotes conspiracy that Israel, US tricked Arabs into fearing Iran
A prominent host of the Qatar-based Al Jazeera Media Network promoted a conspiracy theory that the US and Israel were involved in spreading the idea of exporting the 1979 Iranian Revolution to the Arab world to allegedly benefit Israel.

Al Jazeera presenter Faisal al-Qassim said on Twitter that the US and Israel had exported the idea that similar revolutions could occur in Arab states, which had led Arab leaders to partner with Israel against Iran.

Al-Qassim’s comments come in the wake of a historic peace deal signed by the UAE and Israel earlier this month, bringing to end a decades-long boycott and opening the door to a full normalization of relations. On Saturday, the UAE abolished its official Israel boycott law, allowing commercial deals to occur with Israelis.

In return for signing the peace agreement, Israel has agreed to cease its plans to annex a vast majority of the West Bank.

While many, including the US and Bahrain, have come out in support of the agreement, Doha-based Al Jazeera has been accused of bias in its coverage of the deal, and chosen not to contextualize Qatar’s own track record of ties with Israel.

Despite the channel’s slogan being “The Opinion and The Other’s Opinion,” Al Jazeera has recently covered peace talks and efforts with Israel in a negative light, ignoring its own history of hosting Israeli officials both on air and in Qatar.
Iran’s regime to execute wrestling champion for his peaceful protest
The Islamic Republic of Iran's Supreme Court confirmed the death sentence of national wrestling champion Navid Afkari for his 2018 protest against the regime in Tehran. The news website Iran International reported on Saturday that Iran’s clerical regime imposed two death sentences, six years and six months in prison, and 74 lashes on Afkari. His brother, Vahid Afkari, received a prison sentence of 54 years and six months in prison and 74 lashes. The third brother, Habib, was slapped with a prison term of 27 years and three months and 74 lashes.

Prominent American-Iranians urged the Islamic Republic not to execute the brothers. The actress Nazanin Boniadi tweeted: “Champion wrestler Navid Afkari has been sentenced to death for participating in anti-government protests in Iran. Those close to him have said he was subjected to a forced confession under torture. Stop Executions In Iran.”

Reza Pahlavi, the son of the late Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, tweeted “Navid Afkari, a champion wrestler, joined his compatriots in protest to demand a better future. For that, the criminal regime in Iran has sentenced him to death. The international community must act to prevent the murder of another young, innocent Iranian. Stop Executions in Iran.”

Iran International reported that “Navid and Vahid Afkari were severely tortured to give confessions, and the testimony of witnesses about their beatings and torture are even referenced in the case, but the court has ignored it.”

An “informed source," according to Iran International, said the case is filled with baseless accusations including many mentions of “producing tools for criminal activity” which refers to carrying a nail clipper, a screwdriver and masks.
10-page summary of new Movement for Black Lives platform contains no mention of Israel, 4 years after divisive condemnation
Four years ago, the Movement for Black Lives put out a platform that, among a long list of detailed policy recommendations, accused Israel of genocide.

Several major Jewish organizations expressed their outrage and put out statements condemning the platform.

On Friday, the Movement for Black Lives is convening a Black National Convention, where it’s going to unveil another policy platform. A 10-page summary of the 2020 platform obtained by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency contains no mention of Israel, Zionism, Palestinian rights or the movement to boycott Israel.

A representative of the Movement for Black Lives who spoke with JTA could not say for certain whether the full platform would include any mention of Israel.

But to hundreds of Jewish organizations across the country, that question doesn’t seem to matter as much as it used to. On Friday morning, a Jewish statement in support of Black Lives Matter appeared in a full-page New York Times ad, signed by more than 600 national and local Jewish groups and synagogues, including a major umbrella body and three of the four major Jewish religious movements.

“We speak with one voice when we say, unequivocally: Black Lives Matter,” said the statement, which was first published in June. “The Black Lives Matter movement is the current day Civil Rights movement in this country, and it is our best chance at equity and justice.”
‘Black Lives Matter,’ declare groups representing majority of US Jews in NYT ad
Over 600 Jewish organizations, representing the majority of American Jews, signed a letter in support of the Black Lives Matter movement that was published in a full-page New York Times ad on Friday.

“We support the Black-led movement in this country that is calling for accountability and transparency from the government and law enforcement. We know that freedom and safety for any of us depends on the freedom and safety of all of us,” reads the letter, which was published on page A17 of the print edition of The New York Times.

“As Jews, we know how dangerous this is: when politicians target Jewish people and blame us for problems, it leads directly to violence against us. When Black movements are undermined, it leads to more violence against Black people, including Black Jews,” the letter says.

The 627 groups that signed the letter included the Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist denominational movements, which make up 35 percent, 18% and 1% of American Jewry, respectively, according to a 2013 Pew Research Center study.

The list also includes several Orthodox groups such as the Uri L’Tzedek social justice organization and Yaffed, an advocacy group that seeks to improve secular education in Hasidic schools.

The letter’s signatories include ardently Zionist, mainstream organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League and Jewish Federations of North America local chapters, along with several groups that support the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, including Jewish Voice for Peace and Anti-Zionist Shabbat.
Sarsour Says ‘Right-Wing Zionists’ Are Aligning With White Nationalists to Smear Her
Former Women’s March, Inc. leader Linda Sarsour said in an Aug. 26 appearance on a YouTube channel that “right-wing Zionists” have allied with white nationalists to smear her.

Nomiki Konst, host of “The Nomiki Show,” argued that “there is a powerful arm of right-wing AIPAC interests” that have worked to smear Sarsour, former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

“This is coming from the right wing,” Konst said to Sarsour. “This is not coming from normal Jewish Americans — even Israelis, frankly — this is from the right wing. So can you clarify just like, where you actually stand?”

Sarsour replied: “Where this comes from is the alignment of right-wing Zionists with the white nationalists, and it’s such an unlikely allyship because the white nationalists are in fact very unapologetically anti-Semitic and … the root of white nationalism is anti-Semitism. That’s why, for a lot of people, they get confused when they see the very staunch pro-Israel folks align with white nationalists, with the Republican Party, with Donald Trump.”

Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action Agenda at the Simon Wiesenthal Center Rabbi Abraham Cooper said in a statement to the Journal, “I am always amazed by the level of chutzpah when anti-Semites want to tell the Jewish community what constitutes an anti-Semite and anti-Semitism. Hypocrite Sarsour says that right wing Zionists hate her but she is the self anointed gatekeeper who bars left wing Zionists from the Women’s movement.”

Sarsour also said that “new groups have emerged as a front for AIPAC, like the Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI) and others that are trying to rebrand themselves as Democrats who are progressive on other issues except for this issue of Israel-Palestine and we’re onto them.”

DMFI President and CEO Mark Mellman said in a statement to the Journal, “These fact-free allegations from Sarsour are outrageous lies, but they are far less important than the vile antisemitic statements for which she is infamous.”

Far-Left Jewish Group IfNotNow Walks Back Condemnation of ‘Free Palestine’ Graffiti at Wisconsin Synagogue
A far‐left Jewish group has walked back its labeling of the vandalization of a synagogue during racial unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, as “antisemitic.”

The words “Free Palestine” were spray‐painted on the driveway of the Beth Hillel Temple during this week’s angry protests following last Sunday’s shooting by a white police officer of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old black man.

Mainstream Jewish organizations denounced the vandalism, with the American Jewish Committee tweeting, “This is antisemitism. Full stop. If you don’t understand why, you need to educate yourself. If you try to justify or explain this in any way, you are part of the problem.”

The far‐left group IfNotNow initially added its voice to the denunciations, with a Twitter post calling the act “antisemitic.”

Said the group: “Spraying this on a synagogue implies that all Jews and Israel are the same ‐‐ which is antisemitic ‐‐ or that all Jews support Israel (factually incorrect). Individual actions like this have no place in our movements and give the Right even more chances to smear #BlackLivesMatter.”

But within 24 hours, IfNotNow reversed itself following a flurry of criticism from left-wing activists on Twitter.

“After hearing from friends in and outside the movement, we’d like to do teshuvah (repentance) for the ways in which our tweet’s phrasing fell short and contributed to distracting from the most urgent issues facing our country today: police violence and anti-Black racism,” it announced, drawing a slew of sarcastic responses.

Antisemitism Watchdog Exposes Extreme Dangers Online For American Children During Lockdown
In some instances, other minority groups in the United States are behind the racist tropes and memes against Jews and the state of Israel, like some factions of the Black Hebrew Israelites and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. In other instances, it’s the more recognized groups like the neo-Confederate, neo-Nazi, racist skinheads.

It’s not always racist tropes but ideological indoctrination that reveres Marxist, socialist values. What about the hundreds fo TikTok, Instagram and Twitter videos depicting police officers as pigs and threatening our communities.

“I’m not on TikTok, you’re not on TikTok, our kids are,” Rez told me. “And they don’t have the type of reasoning skills to sit back and say, you know what, this is not okay. You know, wait a minute, maybe we should question why.”

“You know, a group of people such as police officers, or first responders are being vilified,” she said. “So the fact that these social justice movements, and these hate movements are being targeted to children. And then the children, you know, they don’t know what’s right or wrong, they take it for what it is right? They’re not able to see that this is completely off the wall. They’re not going to go to their parents and say, you know, the police should be dismantled. They’re subliminally being shown that the police are there to hurt you, not protect you.”

Many times the messaging is not overt but subversive, she said. For example, there is no group associated with the video, but the messages are intended to push the “anti-American, racist, antisemitic” ideology, she added.

She told me that her goal after acquiring a large following on social media sites was to use her platform to expose the dangers online. It has not been easy for her. Many times she has become the target of the social media giants for exposing the growing antisemitic behavior on their platforms. Many times, companies like Twitter, TikTok, Instagram and Facebook fail to appropriately monitor or remove the messaging targeting the Jewish community.

For example, Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan, a known and overt antisemite, has a platform on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and many times has posted antisemitic statements that have been allowed to exist on the platform for weeks before any action is taken.

Another interesting example is an algorithm discovered on Facebook that “actively promotes” Holocaust denial content. This is based on an investigation by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), a UK-based counter-extremist organization, that discovered the issue. It found that typing “holocaust” in the Facebook search function brought up suggestions for denial pages. Moreover, it actually linked to recommended publishers and books that sell revisionist and denial literature, according to The Guardian, which first published the findings.

Rez is not surprised. An allied group of her, known as @StopAntisemites, has been jailed by Twitter for actually “exposing a physical threat against harming a Rabbi.”
Anti-Semitic site behind LA Jewish ‘race war’ banner removed, but soon replaced
Goyim TV, an anti-Semitic video-sharing website that was promoted with a “banner drop” from a Los Angeles freeway overpass on Saturday, has been taken down by its domain host under a flood of complaints.

Jon Minadeo Jr., 37, was behind both the website and the banner drop, J. the Jewish News of Northern California reported earlier this week, as were a handful of Minadeo cronies known as the “Goyim Defense League.”

However, just days after Goyim TV was taken offline, Minadeo directed his followers to a similar site — disseminating the same hateful ideology — on BitChute, a UK-based company described by a London-based Jewish security firm as a “cesspool” of racist and anti-Semitic content. It reportedly solicits financial support via cryptocurrency.

The rapid resurfacing of Minadeo’s videos, on a different but similar channel, reflects the challenge of controlling hate-spewing websites on the internet, and the whack-a-mole-like effort it can take by anti-hate groups and concerned members of the public to confront them.

“It is similar to what happened with the Daily Stormer website and other bad actors,” said Seth Brysk, the San Francisco-based director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Central Pacific region.

The neo-Nazi Daily Stormer was rejected by a number of domain registrars after the highly anti-Semitic 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, but ultimately found a new host in the Canadian-based company BitMitigate, whose founder at the time cited “a commitment to liberty.”

“The norms, rules and laws for online behavior are still evolving,” Brysk added. “So the public can and should continue to play a role in pushing back against harassment, lies and extremism.”

It appears that is exactly what happened with Goyim TV, which had been hosted since December by Epik, a domain registrar with more than 560,000 websites, according to DomainState.
Man Who Shouted Antisemitic Rant at Jewish Family on London Underground Pleads Not Guilty to Abuse Charges
A British man who harangued a Jewish family with antisemitic invective as they traveled on the London Underground last year entered a not guilty plea at his court trial on Friday.

Isher Campbell — a 34-year-old resident of the city of Birmingham — denied that he had engaged in “racially aggravated abusive behavior” toward the Brand family, a husband and wife traveling with their three young children last November.

Campbell also denied haranguing a Muslim mother of two children, Asma Shuweikh, who was on the same train carriage as the Brand family.

The court was told that Campbell was facing further charges of being abusive toward another Jewish man, Sholom Toron, on the same part of the Underground in August 2019, which he also denied.

Campbell will next appear at the Inner London Crown Court in September.

The incident with the Brand family was recorded by a fellow passenger and drew public outcry on social media.

In the video, Campbell was seen loudly reading a passage from the New Testament that addresses “them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not,” while pointing to the kippahs worn by Mr. Brand and his two sons.

After threatening another passenger who interceded to “get out of my face or I will smack you right in your nose,” the man began engaging with Ms. Shuweikh.
‘No Jews or sluts allowed’ daubed on French street named for Holocaust survivor
Police in France are looking for men who allegedly assaulted a painter for wearing a shirt with an Israel inscription and using his paint to write “no Jews or sluts allowed” on a Strasbourg street.

The incident occurred Wednesday afternoon, Les Dernieres Nouvelles d’Alsace newspaper reported. The artist, who was not named, did not sustain any serious injuries in the attack.

The alleged victim is a graffiti artist that the municipality hired on a freelance basis to decorate electricity boxes near Leon Blum Street, which is named for a former French prime minister who was Jewish and a Holocaust survivor.

After the artist fled, the assailants used the paint to write the slur on the pavement of the intersection of Leon Blum and Vauban streets.
New Castle, New York condemns antisemitic, racist graffiti
Officials from the town of New Castle, New York state, condemned antisemitic and racist graffiti that was recently found at a train station in the area, according to a report in the local news site Journal News on Friday.

The antisemitic and racist graffiti was found after a resident who was cycling with his children discovered statements written in chalk on a sidewalk, which included lines such as "Ann (sic) Frank should have worn a TAC mask," and the word "Nigeria" with the drawing of a penis. Black Lives Matter (BLM) signs were also stolen from a local church.

Police responded to calls from the local Presbyterian Church of Mount Kisco, where the BLM signs were stolen to investigate the incident. The case also comes following another incident earlier that month in which a BLM banner hung by the Chappaqua Quakers was set ablaze and vandalized.

In response to the latest incident, the town's official Facebook page issued a statement, saying "While it pains us to continue to report on these hate crimes, and we fear giving them oxygen, we will not allow antisemitic and racist incidents in our community to be swept under the rug or covered up."

"Not only will we continue to say 'Hate Has No Home Here,' 'Love thy Neighbor,' 'Black Lives Matter,' and 'All are Welcome Here,' but we will back up our words with actions. If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that the future requires substantial changes and a 'new normal,'" the statement added.
Tour de France kicks off, with Israeli team and cyclist competing for 1st time
The 107th edition of the Tour de France got underway on the French Riviera on Saturday, two months later than planned and under the shadow of a coronavirus pandemic which could still shatter hopes of the world’s greatest bike race making it to the Paris finish line in three weeks’ time.

Competing for the first time was Israel Start-Up Nation, with a team that includes the first Israeli to ride the Tour, Guy Niv.

“I am honored and privileged to represent my country and team in the biggest race in cycling,” the 26-year-old Niv said in a team press release. “And to be the first Israeli to do so? It might sound cliche, but my dream of a lifetime has now been realized.”

Niv is a devoted mountain cyclist and only took up road racing three years ago under the tutelage of the Israel Cycling Academy. The academy co-founder Ron Baron said in a team statement, “When we founded the team five years ago, we dreamed of this moment. But we strive for more than just the glory of racing in the Tour de France. We want every kid in Israel to say, ‘I can be Guy Niv one day. I can get to the Tour.'”

Niv is the only Israeli on the team, which also includes Ireland’s Dan Martin, André Greipel and Nils Politt from Germany, Ben Hermans and Tom Van Asbroeck from Belgium, France’s Hugo Hofstetter and Latvian cyclist Krists Neilands.
Bestselling author’s new YA novel stars teenage Sephardic Jew under Inquisition
Gail Carson Levine has transported young readers to fantasy realms for decades with her popular novels. Now, the prolific author best known for her Newbery Medal-winning “Ella Enchanted,” goes to a very real place and time in her latest book.

Set during the Inquisition and the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in the late 15th century, “A Ceiling Made of Eggshells” is Levine’s 25th book for children, and her second historical young adult novel. It was a highly personal book for Levine to write, and one that was a long time in coming.

“It took me a long time to tackle the subject. I worried about how little I knew about it,” the author told The Times of Israel in a recent video interview from her home north of New York City.

Levine, 72, had wanted to write something related to her father David Carasso’s Sephardic heritage, but she had little to go on. All she knew was that her father had immigrated as child with his family to New York from Salonika, which was within Ottoman Turkey when he was born in 1912, but was later annexed by Greece and became known as Thessalonki. The 50,000-strong Jewish community of Salonika was later almost entirely wiped out in the Holocaust.

Levine eventually learned that her family must have immigrated to Turkey from the kingdom of Naples, where they had temporarily found safe harbor after being expelled from Spain.

Both of Carasso’s parents died when he was very young, and he was placed in New York’s Hebrew Orphan Society (the inspiration for the author’s first historical young adult novel, “Dave at Night.”) Growing up away from family in a mainly Ashkenazi Jewish environment at the orphanage, Levine’s father lost touch with his Sephardic heritage. He also changed his name to the more American sounding Carson.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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