Sunday, April 04, 2021

From Ian:

Bret Stephens: Can We Really Picture Auschwitz?
Nine days before the Red Army liberated Auschwitz, Buba and her sister were among the 56,000 prisoners forced to march 35 miles in the dead of winter. As many as 15,000 of those who began the journey from Auschwitz died. The rest, along with Buba and Icu, were put on trains to Germany.

Even with the war all but lost, the Nazi determination to kill Jews didn’t stop.

“The SS had us form a single file,” Buba said of the march. “They eliminated one out of every 10 women. I ran toward Icu so that the same fate would befall us.”

It didn’t. She and Icu were liberated, from Bergen-Belsen, on April 15 by the British Army. No painting of Buba’s haunts me more than the one of her alone, her head in her emaciated arms, the barbed wire still in front, the chimney, still burning, not far behind. Image

“I wondered what to do with my newly granted freedom,” Buba thought. “My world had been demolished.” What better way than this image to help me understand how little life could mean to someone who had lost so much?

Buba put down her paint brushes a few years ago. She is now 95, one of only 2,000 or so Auschwitz survivors still living. Her husband, Luis, who survived Mauthausen, is 99. Both of them embody what, for me, it means to be Jewish: a member of a religion that cherishes life and memory alike, and believes that we live best, and understand best, when we remember well.

In this month of Holocaust remembrance, it’s worth pausing to consider how one brave woman’s memory, and art, help us to see what we must never forget.
US scraps Trump’s sanctions against ICC prosecutor who is probing Israel
US President Joe Biden has revoked sanctions on top officials at the International Criminal Court that were imposed under the Trump administration, the State Department announced Friday.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the economic sanctions imposed on ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and a top aide in 2019 “were inappropriate and ineffective,” and were therefore lifted.

The Hague-based court is probing alleged war crimes in Afghanistan by Afghan forces, the Taliban and US military. It also recently opened a probe into alleged war crimes by US ally Israel and Palestinian terror groups. Neither the US nor Israel are members of the ICC.

“We continue to disagree strongly with the ICC’s actions relating to the Afghanistan and Palestinian situations. We maintain our longstanding objection to the court’s efforts to assert jurisdiction over personnel of non-states parties such as the United States and Israel,” Blinken said.

He added: “We believe, however, that our concerns about these cases would be better addressed through engagement with all stakeholders in the ICC process rather than through the imposition of sanctions.”
ICC hopes for ‘new phase’ as Biden lifts sanctions on prosecutor probing Israel
The International Criminal Court welcomed US President Joe Biden’s lifting of sanctions imposed by former US president Donald Trump on the tribunal’s prosecutor, saying it signalled a new era of cooperation with Washington.

The Trump administration imposed the financial sanctions and a visa ban on Fatou Bensouda and another senior court official last year after she launched an investigation into alleged war crimes by US military personnel in Afghanistan.

The head of the group representing The Hague-based court’s member countries expressed “deep appreciation” for the Biden administration move Friday, which comes as the administration seeks a more cooperative approach on a dispute that has alienated allies.

“I welcome this decision which contributes to strengthening the work of the court and, more generally, to promoting a rules-based international order,” Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi, head of the Association of States Parties to the ICC, said in a statement.
House Republicans urge Biden to curb ties with PA over ICC complaint
A group of 25 House Republicans sent a letter to President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, urging them to curb ties with the Palestinian Authority over its complaint against Israel at the International Criminal Court.

“We are writing to implore the White House and the State Department to uphold longstanding law regarding the threat posed to American soldiers and our allies by the misuse of the International Criminal Court,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter, spearheaded by Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina.

When Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, it included language forbidding funding assistance for the PA if it were to initiate an ICC judicially authorized investigation, or if it were to actively support such an investigation into alleged crimes committed against the Palestinians by Israel, the letter said.

“We believe that this type of unilateral lawfare flies in the face of American objectives to help both parties achieve a negotiated, lasting, and comprehensive peace,” the lawmakers wrote. “Such language clearly warned of the ramifications should such action be taken and has been a part of our appropriations process since 2014, with massive bipartisan consensus every year.”

Moreover, “the PA has unequivocally violated the first condition of that provision by, among other things, submitting a formal referral to the ICC in 2018,” they wrote, adding that it also violated the second condition by “repeated submission of purported evidence and materiel to the ICC, and official visits and communications with the ICC Prosecutor and staff, actively in support of the Court’s investigation.”

PMW: EU shamefully “inspired” by Palestinian supporter of terror
To mark International Women’s Day, the section of the European Union that works with the Palestinians created a number of videos focusing on prominent Palestinian women. One of the women featured under the EU’s hashtag “#InspiredByHer” was Ramallah and El-Bireh District Governor Laila Ghannam . While highlighting the achievements of women is indeed a worthy enterprise, the EU’s choice of Ghannam as role model is simply outrageous.

Alongside her other activities, Ghannam constantly hails and glorifies Palestinian terrorists, including mass murderers.

Among those celebrated by Ghannam are terrorist Dalal Mughrabi – murder of 37; Jewish baby murderers; murderers of Jewish female teenagers; and many others.

In the past, as a result of her support for terror and in response to a comprehensive report prepared by Palestinian Media Watch, Ghannam was even stripped of an award given to her by the Philadelphia City Council.

Given her extensive support for terror and terrorists, PMW is calling on the EU to immediately remove the video it created, and erase all EU support for Ghannam.

The following are just a few examples of the terror glorification by the woman who “inspires” the EU:

Glorifying mass murderer Dalal Mughrabi

Dalal Mughrabi led the most lethal terror attack in Israel’s history, known as the Coastal Road massacre, when she and other Fatah terrorists hijacked a bus on Israel's Coastal Highway in 1978, killing 37 civilians, 12 of them children, and wounding over 70.
Capitol Hill ramming attacker member of antisemitic Nation of Islam org.
Noah Green, 25, of Newport News, Virginia, was named as the suspect in the ramming attack at the northern barricade of Capitol Hill on Friday night, multiple media organizations reported, citing police.

Green spoke on Facebook about the "end times," the anti-Christ and government "mind control," according to the reports. He also said he was unemployed after leaving his job, "partly due to afflictions," and praised the antisemitic black nationalist Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

Farrakhan has a long history of promoting antisemitic conspiracy theories such as Jewish and Israeli involvement in the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US, claiming that Jews controlled the trans-Atlantic slave trade and calling Judaism a "gutter religion." He had previously compared Jews to termites on social media.

In screenshots obtained by multiple sources, Green could be seen calling himself "Noah X" in the style of Malcolm X, a known ex-leader within the Nation of Islam movement from 70 years prior.

"My faith is one of the only things that has been able to carry me through these times and my faith is centered on the belief of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan as Jesus, the Messiah, the final divine reminder in our midst," Green wrote in a Facebook post obtained by the Stop Antisemitism movement. "I consider him my spiritual father."
We tracked antisemitic incidents in Australia over four years. This is when they are most likely to occur Pt1
Antisemitism — hatred towards Jews — can be expressed in many forms. It often takes the form of a hate crime, such as violence against people (including murder or assault) and damage to property (vandalism).

It can also take the form of an incident regulated by civil law or not regulated at all. For example, antisemitism can be expressed in verbal and non-verbal displays of aggression, threatening posters, stickers, leaflets or other displays of hate.

Recently, for example, a Jewish woman in her 60s was spat at and called “Jewish scum” on the eve of Passover in a Melbourne street.

What if we could predict when antisemitic incidents are most likely to occur? Is it possible to identify patterns linking these incidents to particular dates or events — and therefore be better prepared to counter them?

How we researched antisemitic incidents
In new research under peer review at a scientific journal, we set out to discover more about what triggers these specific acts of hate in Australia.

Our team of researchers analysed 673 incidents of antisemitism across Australia from 2013–17 to determine if they were more likely to occur — or if they were more serious in nature — during specific events.

Among the events we looked at were:
- the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict
- during and after the establishment of the neo-Nazi group Antipodean Resistance in October 2016
- during weeks when there are Jewish religious celebrations (such as Passover this week).

Swastika symbols defacing a bus stop in Bondi Beach, NSW, in 2016. NSW police/PR Handout Image

We used data collected by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), which include incidents reported to the group or other Jewish state-based organisations across Australia, and published in ECAJ’s annual Report on Antisemitism in Australia.

Data collected by community organisations like ECAJ are usually more detailed and complete than police statistics, due to the under-reporting of antisemitic and other hate crimes to the authorities.
UK-Australian jailed by Iran as Israeli spy describes prof’s harassment campaign
A British-Australian academic imprisoned by Iran on false charges of spying for Israel said Saturday that since her release, she has suffered a campaign of abuse by an academic who was fired by Sydney University in 2019 after he showed students a picture of a swastika superimposed on the Israeli flag.

Tim Anderson was also convicted of ordering the 1978 Sydney Hilton Hotel bombing, but later acquitted. Three people were killed and 11 injured in the attack.

Kylie Moore-Gilbert, 33, returned to Australia in December after serving 804 days of a 10-year sentence. She was freed in exchange for the release of three Iranians who were held in Thailand.

Moore-Gilbert told The Australian newspaper that she has suffered online abuse from Anderson, who in February called her an “Israeli zealot,” and claimed she had “military and leadership training in Israel.”

Anderson, who has frequently expounded pro-Syrian regime views, and according to the Daily Mail has met with Bashar Assad on a number of occasion, also said Moore-Gilbert spied on the Iranian nuclear program and helped with the organization of “repeated terrorist murders.”

Moore-Gilbert told The Australian that Anderson was “a mouthpiece for these regimes.”

“It’s not just him; there’s quite a few useful idiots in Western countries who are happy to do a deal with these guys,” she said. “I honestly don’t see any logical explanation for his fixation on me, that months after my release he’s still tweeting about me the same propagandistic stuff that was released by the regime.”
Australian on Mavi Marmara charged with aiding Syrian terrorist
Counterterrorism agents in Australia arrested Ahmed Luqman Talib, an alleged jihadi facilitator who was on board the Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara in 2010, in late March for reportedly aiding a Syrian terrorist.

Talib “was accused of helping a terrorist arrange to travel to Syria to fight against government forces in 2013,” according to a report in the Brisbane Times.

According to The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), Talib, his wife and sister “were the only Australians on board” the Mavi Marmara – a Turkish vessel operated by the Islamic organization IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation.

The IHH caused international violence on the high seas when it sought to break Israel’s legal naval blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip in 2010. The IHH has links to the US and EU-designated terrorist organization Hamas.

Talib is alleged to have provided support to Jabhat al-Nusra (also known as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham) – the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda, an entity proscribed as a terrorist organization by the Australian government.

The website of the governmental Australian National Security wrote that “Jabhat Fatah al-Sham adheres to a violent extremist ideology that is anti-Western, and encourages violence as a key element of pursuing its goals. The group ultimately aims to overthrow the Syrian regime and create a Salafist-oriented Islamist state in Syria under its own rule.”

The Brisbane Times reported that prosecutor Clare O’Connor said Talib allegedly provided “information and advice for the safe passage of witness 1 into Syria”.

“Witness 1 provided direct evidence of the applicant meeting him and introducing him to another person who could help with travel to Syria,” O’Connor said.

The counterterrorism spanned a number of years, and included an “analysis of movements and communications” among the parties involved in the plot, reported the paper.
Norwegian Broadcaster Includes Antisemitic Blood Libel About Matzah in Easter, Passover Quiz
The Norwegian government-owned broadcasting company NRK featured an antisemitic blood libel in a quiz about Easter and Passover published on its website on Thursday.

The eighth question in the quiz, entitled “a very special bread,” shows a picture of young boy holding pieces of matzah. Readers are asked “What was special about the bread Jesus and the disciples ate during the Passover meal?” and can choose from three answers. The third options says “there was blood in it,” a reference to the blood libel that accused Jews of using the blood of Christian children to make matzah.

Twitter users said NRK including the blood libel in its quiz is “absolutely disgusting.” Conrad Myrland, CEO of Med Israel for fred (MIFF) — Europe’s largest pro-Israel membership organization — said that NRK “decided to test how many people believe in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories in their Easter quiz.”

In February, the state-owned network drew criticism from Norway’s Jewish community after a program host on the NRK P13 radio channel launched into an antisemitic tirade, saying that Israel’s success of Israel’s COVID-19 inoculation drive made him “almost wish” the vaccine had failed.
Houston Synagogue Files Federal Lawsuit Claiming City Violating its Religious Rights
A synagogue in Houston has filed a federal lawsuit against the city claiming that it is violating its right to free exercise of religion by denying the right to worship in a residential neighborhood.

In a court filing last week, TORCH: Torah Outreach Resource Center of Houston, also doing business as Heimish of Houston with a separate building, and property owner Michael Winkler alleges the city is trying to enforce a “residential-use deed restriction” on the property, which would force the synagogue to close.

The use of such a designation over a property being utilized as a house of worship, say the plaintiffs, would violate the Federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. Commonly referred to as RLUIPA, the act states that governments cannot enforce land-use regulations and zoning laws on different terms for houses of worship than for nonreligious institutions.

In July 2020, the local homeowners association contacted the property owner and said that a house of worship may violate the terms of the property’s deed restriction. After meeting with the HOA board, no further action was taken.

A few weeks later, according to the lawsuit, the City of Houston sent the congregation a letter “asserting its right to enforce the deed restriction and demanded Heimish of Houston stop all activities or face further actions.”
Blinken tells Israel: Palestinians should enjoy same rights, freedoms as you do
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Friday on Israel to ensure “equal” treatment of the Palestinians as the new US administration cautiously steps up efforts for a two-state solution.

In a telephone call with Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, Blinken “emphasized the administration’s belief that Israelis and Palestinians should enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity and democracy,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

Blinken also committed to Israel’s security, the “strengthening all aspects of the US-Israel partnership” and voiced support for the Jewish state’s agreements over the past year to normalize relations with four more Arab nations.

The call came amid another spell of political uncertainty in Israel, after last week’s inconclusive election, Israel’s fourth in two years.

US President Joe Biden, while stressing his support for Israel, has also signaled he will back away from the unwavering support of the right-wing Netanyahu by his predecessor Donald Trump.

The administration has stepped up humanitarian aid to the Palestinians and in recent days made clear that it believes that Israel’s control of the West Bank is “occupation.”

“We believe when it comes to settlement activity that Israel should refrain from unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions and that undercut efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution,” Price said Thursday.

Blinken’s predecessor Mike Pompeo broke precedent by saying he did not consider Israeli construction on land seized in 1967 to be illegal and he visited a settlement in the West Bank last year.
‘We Cannot Take for Granted’ Support for US-Israel Ties, Argues Progressive Congressman Torres in Interview
Despite a history of left-wing Zionism in the United States, a growing strand of anti-Israel sentiment among progressives is cause for concern, according to US Congressman Ritchie Torres, who joined Algemeiner supporters for a March 22 conversation with editor-in-chief Dovid Efune.

A rising star in the Democratic party, Rep. Torres pushed back on the notion that his posture as a pro-Israel progressive was an anomaly. “I think there’s a long tradition of Zionism on the left; the most notable example was Dr. Martin Luther King, a supporter of the Jewish state,” he said. “I would argue that anti-Zionism on the left is a recent development — and it’s an anomaly by historical standards.”

Born and raised to a single mother in the Bronx, Torres became New York City’s youngest elected official in in 2014, at 25 years old, after winning a City Council seat on a platform of better public housing. In 2020, he was elected to the House, where he represents New York’s 15th Congressional district.

His first trip out of the country, he said during the March 22 event, was as a council member during a delegation to Israel — a trip that also prompted an early encounter with advocates of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign.

“They were BDS activists who were specifically targeting me because I was a person of color and because I was LGBTQ, accusing me of ‘pink-washing’ — which is a term I had never heard before,” he said, recounting a protest against him on the steps of City Hall. “That left an impression on me … the intensity of the vitriol directed toward Israel and toward me for attending a delegation to Israel was unlike anything I had ever experienced before.”
Azeri FM: Partnership with Israel is strong, multidimensional
The relationship between Israel and Azerbaijan is one of Jerusalem's most unique achievements: close ties with a Shiite-majority country that sees Israel as one of its oldest allies, and certainly one of its most strategic partners.

The scope of the two nations' deep friendship was revealed during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war, in which Azerbaijan marked a resounding victory in part with the help of Israeli weapons.

One must also remember that Azerbaijan borders Iran on its south and Baku has been able to successfully navigate relations with Jerusalem and Tehran.

Successfully steering Azerbaijan's diplomatic course is 47-year-old Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, who previously served as the country's education minister.

In an exclusive interview with Israel Hayom, he talks about his country's special relationship with Israel, his gratitude to Jerusalem for its assistance during and after the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, his appreciation for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and also touches on the possibility that Baku will mediate between Jerusalem and Tehran.

"Azerbaijan and Israel enjoy strong bilateral relations and good friendship. Israel was one of the first countries that recognized the independence of Azerbaijan, and we highly appreciate it. Our cooperation is close and mutually beneficial, and it covers political, economic, military, and other fields," Bayramov said.
Netanyahu as president supported by Knesset majority - Likud source
A majority of the MKs who will be sworn in to the Knesset on Tuesday would vote for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be Israel’s next president, a senior Likud source close to Netanyahu told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

By law, the election for president must be held between April 9 and June 9, before President Reuven Rivlin’s seven-year term expires on July 9. The politician closest to Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin, will set the date for the vote in the Knesset, which must be held at least three weeks after the date is announced.

“I know for a fact that most of the MKs would vote for him if he decides he wants to be president,” the senior Likud source said. “It’s all in Netanyahu’s hands.”

The source revealed that there is also a majority in the new Knesset to change the law and switch the vote from a secret ballot to an open one, which could significantly increase the chances of Netanyahu’s election.

It would also help Netanyahu’s election chances because leaving the Prime Minister’s Residence on Balfour Street for the President’s Residence three blocks away could help end the two-and-a-half-year political stalemate.

If Netanyahu is no longer leader of the Likud, the party would hold a snap primary among its members, and whoever wins could easily form a stable, center-right coalition comprised of the 73 MKs of Likud, Shas, Blue and White, United Torah Judaism, Yamina, New Hope and the Religious Zionist Party.

New Hope leader Gideon Sa’ar has vowed to never sit under Netanyahu. But last week he said he would join a government led by a new Likud leader, singling out Finance Minister Israel Katz, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein and MK Nir Barkat, who would all be candidates for Likud leader in the post-Netanyahu era.

One complication that could prevent Netanyahu from running is that it is legally unclear whether the law preventing a president from being prosecuted would apply to a new president who is already under indictment and on trial for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
Ra’am’s guiding charter backs Palestinian right of return, calls Zionism racist
The charter that guides Ra’am, the Islamist party being wooed by the mainstream parties competing to form Israel’s next government, urges a right of return for Palestinian refugees, says “there can be no allegiance” to Israel, and deems Zionism a “racist, occupying project,” according to a current version of the document provided to The Times of Israel by a senior figure in Ra’am.

Ra’am is the political wing of the Southern Islamic Movement, an organization inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood. Updated in 2018 and reviewed at a 2019 conference in Nazareth which was reportedly chaired by Ra’am leader Mansour Abbas, the Southern Islamic Movement’s charter takes positions considered anathema by most Jewish Israelis.

“The State of Israel was born of the racist, occupying Zionist project; iniquitous Western and British imperialism; and the debasement and feebleness of the Arab and Islamic [nations]. We do not absolve ourselves, the Palestinian people, of our responsibility and our failure to confront this project,” the charter says.

It calls for the so-called right of return for Palestinian refugees who left or were expelled in 1948, widely seen as a red line by most Zionist Israelis, who view an influx of potentially millions of Palestinians to Israel as spelling the demographic end of the Jewish state. The cover of the 2018 charter of the Southern Islamic Movement, whose political wing, Ra’am, is led by Mansour Abbas (courtesy)

The 80-page charter, which covers all aspects of the movement’s positions and activities, from its charity work to its religious worldview, embraces a two-state solution as a possible framework, declaring that a Palestinian state ought to be established “alongside Israel” in the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem. But it notes that a right of return for Palestinians must be part of that kind of accommodation.
AP Dubs Palestinian Arch-Terrorist ‘Popular, Charismatic Leader’
How would you describe a man convicted of terror attacks that murdered five people and is accused of orchestrating dozens of other shootings and suicide bombings? One would think that he would be referred to correctly: as a terrorist. But apparently not when the perpetrator is a Palestinian and his victims are Israeli.

Associated Press (AP) recently ran a story about Marwan Barghouti’s last-minute shake-up of the upcoming Palestinian parliamentary elections. The imprisoned former Fatah military commander last week registered a slate of candidates for the May 22 vote, mere hours before the deadline. According to recent surveys, Barghouti’s plans are liable to severely weaken Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah ruling faction.

This development prompted AP to publish a background piece on Barghouti, who is currently serving multiple life sentences in an Israeli prison for his role in planning deadly terror attacks against Israelis during the Second Intifada. The story describes the arch-terrorist as “popular and charismatic,” someone who is viewed by many Palestinians as a “revolutionary leader in the mold of Nelson Mandela or Fidel Castro.”

In an attempt to present Barghouti as a man of peace, the article glosses over his conviction for killing civilians. Instead, AP writes that “Israel considers Barghouti and other Palestinians jailed for security offenses to be terrorists,” and that the Jewish state “may refuse to engage with a leader it views as a terrorist.” The story was reprinted by major media outlets like The Washington Post and NBC News, leaving millions of readers in the dark about who Barghouti really is and what he has really done.

Leading A Murderous Terrorist Group
Take the following paragraph, for example:
Barghouti, 61, a former Fatah militant commander, is serving five life sentences in Israel following a 2004 terrorism conviction. But he remains a popular and charismatic leader…. Israel is unlikely to release Barghouti regardless of his political fortunes, and may refuse to engage with a leader it views as a terrorist.”

Israel doesn’t just “view Barghouti as a terrorist.” Prior to his arrest, he co-founded and headed the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. Under Barghouti’s leadership, the group murdered dozens of Israelis in suicide bombings and shooting attacks during the Second Intifada (2000-2005). Barghouti also served as the leader of Fatah’s Tanzim armed wing, which likewise carried out attacks during that period.

Israeli authorities arrested Barghouti on April 14, 2002, and subsequently charged the terror mastermind with ordering at least 37 attacks, in which 26 people were killed and many more wounded. Eventually, in 2004, a court found him guilty of organizing a March 2002 attack on a restaurant, in which three people were murdered. He was also convicted for a June 2001 attack in Ma’ale Adumim, in which a Greek monk was murdered, a January 2002 terror attack on a gas station in Givat Zeev, and a car bomb attack in Jerusalem.

Jordan nabs ex-palace officials for ‘security reasons,’ denies coup plot report
Jordan’s state news agency said Saturday evening that two former senior palace officials “and others” have been arrested for “security reasons.”

The Petra news agency denied initial reports that said Prince Hamzah, the half-brother of Jordan’s King Abdullah II, had been detained or placed under house arrest. The Washington Post had quoted an unnamed Middle East intelligence official claiming Hamzeh and 20 others had been arrested for allegedly plotting a coup.

Hamzah was warned, however, to cease “movements and activities that are used to target” the security and stability of Jordan, according to Petra. The request was made as part of an investigation by security services, Petra said.

The chief of staff of Jordan’s armed forces, Maj. Gen. Yousef Huneiti, said the investigation was ongoing and that all measures have been lawful and followed extensive probes.

“No one is above the law,” he said, adding, “Jordan’s security and stability take precedence over any consideration.”

The Petra report said Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, the former royal envoy to Saudi Arabia, and Bassem Ibrahim Awadallah, the former head of the royal court, were detained. Awadallah also previously served as planning minister and finance minister.

The agency did not provide further details or name the others who were arrested.

Jordan informed Israel “the situation is under control” and there was no danger to the stability of the Hashemite kingdom, the Walla news site reported.
Jordan's King Abdullah clips the wings of a rival to the crown prince
Jordan's foreign minister tried on Sunday to shed some light on the circumstances surrounding the nighttime arrests of certain senior officials following a failed coup attempt. But his comments created the impression that the main grounds for the drama were, at the most, conversations and plans that might have been cooked up secretly, rather than concrete actions. No tanks were rolling toward the royal palace in Amman, and King Abdullah's throne was never in any real danger.

We can assume that if the king had had any real evidence that his half-brother Prince Hamzah was planning to overthrow him, he would have put him in prison rather than under house arrest, and possibly could have denied shutting him in the palace, if it hadn't been for a leaked video that Hamzah managed to smuggle out.

Over 50 years ago, Professor Manfred Halpern, one of the most important Middle East researchers of all time, predicted that the fate of the kings in the region had been clinched, and they would disappear within a few years. Of course, he was wrong. The Arab Spring, which deposed long-reigning tyrants like Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, miraculously skipped over the monarchies and left all the kings on their thrones, from the king of Morocco in the west to the king of Saudi Arabia and the Emirate princes in the east.

But that same Arab Spring, or winter, left the surviving kings more worried and anxious about their reign than ever. They commanded their intelligence services to keep an eye open for any suspicious chatter or undesirable gatherings.

At least some of them are convinced that the main danger to their rule comes not from their militaries and security apparatuses, but closer to home. A year ago, Mohammad bin Salman, son of King Salman of Saudi Arabia, ordered the arrests of three members of the royal family, including two high-ranking princes, on charges of attempting a coup. On Saturday, King Abdullah took exactly the same action when he ordered Hamzah to be placed under house arrest.

The kings' fear of being betrayed by members of their own extended families overlaps with their natural desire for their sons, rather than other family members, to inherit their crowns. There are plenty of examples. Less than four years ago, King Salman ousted his nephew, Mohammed bin Naif, to name his son, Mohammad bin Salman, heir to the throne. Jordan's former King Hussein, on his deathbed, passed over his brother Hassan to name his own son Abdullah his heir.

And following the tradition of giving his son preference over other relatives, King Abdullah II took care to ensure that not Hamzah but his own eldest son Hussein would become king. Only last month, Hussein tried to anchor his status by sparking a spat with Israel about the number of security guards who would accompany him on a visit to the Temple Mount.
Israeli who offered to help Jordanian prince denies ever serving in Mossad
Roy Shaposhnik, the man Jordanian media reports is an ex-Mossad official who tried to get Prince Hamzah’s wife out of the country, tells Walla News’ Barak Ravid that he was never a member of Mossad.

However, he does confirm that he is a close personal friend of the prince.

“During the weekend, Prince Hamza told me about what happened in Jordan and I proposed that he send his wife and kids to stay in my house,” he says.

“I don’t have any knowledge of the events that took place in Jordan or of the people involved. The proposal I gave Prince Hamzah was done on the basis of our personal friendship and out of a wish to help the princess and their kids at this difficult moment.”
Jordan: A family dispute or a foreign-backed plot?
Was Jordan’s former Crown Prince Hamzah bin Hussein placed under house arrest on trumped-up charges because of a personal dispute with his half-brother King Abdullah, or was he indeed plotting to stage a coup with the backing of foreign parties?

Many Jordanians were still grappling for answers on Sunday in the aftermath of reports that Jordanian security forces foiled an attempt by Hamzah and some of his associates to topple the regime of King Abdullah.

Several Jordanians expressed disappointment with their government for not sharing enough information about the security crackdown. “We have to rely on the foreign media to learn about events in Jordan,” complained Amman-based journalist Ahmed Suleiman.

The official media in Jordan has stopped short of calling the dramatic developments in the kingdom an attempted coup. Instead, the media and government officials continued to talk about the thwarting of a plot to “undermine Jordan’s security.”
Jordan's allies voice support for King Abdullah after alleged coup
Jordanian King Abdullah's half-brother and former Crown Prince Hamza bin Hussein was told to halt actions used to target the country's "security and stability," the military said on Saturday.

In a statement published on the state news agency, it said this was part of a broader, ongoing security investigation in which a former minister, a member of the royal family and unnamed others were detained.

Here are reactions from different countries and groups:
"We are closely following the reports and in touch with Jordanian officials. King Abdullah is a key partner of the United States, and he has our full support," US State Department spokesman Ned Price said in an email.

"The kingdom affirms its full support, with all its capabilities, to all decisions and measures taken by King Abdullah and His Highness Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II, the Crown Prince, to maintain security and stability," said a statement from the Saudi royal court.

Egypt voiced its support for Jordan's King Abdullah and his efforts "to maintain the security and stability of the kingdom against any attempts to undermine it," Egypt's presidency spokesman wrote on Facebook.

"His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa affirmed full support to the decisions and measures taken by HM King Abdulla II Ibn Al Hussein of Jordan to maintain his country's security and stability and defuse all disruptive attempts," state news agency BNA reported.
JPost Editorial: Israel should be wary of Turkey - editorial
This is why Israel must always be wary of the press reports – usually fed to media from the highest levels in Ankara – about reconciliation. Turkey’s sole goal under Erdogan over the last decade has been to isolate Israel and empower Hamas terrorists and Israel’s enemies. Turkey has done this quietly through funding of Islamic organizations and attempts to take leadership of anti-Israel voices globally. Even as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf have moderated and rapidly improved relations with Israel, Turkey has become a leader – along with Iran – of anti-Israel propaganda. The hosting of Hamas has included terror plots hatched from Turkey. Turkey’s Erdogan has compared Israel to Nazi Germany on numerous occasions, a mix of genocidal antisemitism that has no place in international relations.

Erdogan must make amends for calling Israel a Nazi country if Ankara ever hopes to improve relations. Ankara must also expel Hamas members and stop the flirtation with anti-Israel extremist groups, whether those groups may be in Iran or Gaza. Turkey’s drift towards Iran is worrying for the region. It prefers to work with Iran and Russia to discuss Syria, rather than the US. This is despite Ankara’s media sometimes claiming that Turkey might be willing to work with Israel against Iran.

The real Turkish regime agenda was set out in an article in Turkey’s state-run Turkish Radio and Television Corporation that reflects Turkey’s government thinking. In it, the author denied that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and claimed that “Israel needs Turkey” and that Israel must “compromise.” Turkey never has to compromise. Turkey never does anything for Israel. This is the real agenda. Turkey wants Israel to beg and come to Ankara on a bended knee and this attitude has always underpinned Ankara’s recent treatment of Israel. It thinks that it can host Hamas terrorists, host plans to murder Israelis, give a red carpet to the Hamas commanders who have blood on their hands, who are welcomed with hugs by Erdogan, and also threaten Gulf countries against normalization with Israel, try to destroy Israel’s links to Greece and Cyprus and then order Israel to “compromise.”

Israel’s government has a long history of this abuse from Turkey and no evidence that Turkey does anything to mend ties. Turkey could start by stating that Israel is not like Nazi Germany. Otherwise, there is nothing to talk about.

Israel has friends in the Gulf who illustrate what real alliances are like, appointing ambassadors and teaching tolerance and interfaith respect. Turkey can learn from them.
Turkey Records 44,756 New Coronavirus Cases, Highest Level Yet
Turkey recorded 44,756 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed on Saturday, the highest level since the beginning of the pandemic.

Turkey currently ranks fifth globally for most daily cases based on a seven-day average, according to a Reuters tally.

Cases have surged since the government eased measures to curb the pandemic in early March, hitting new record highs over the past consecutive five days.

On Monday, President Tayyip Erdogan announced a tightening of measures, including the return of full nationwide weekend lockdowns for the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, which starts on April 13.

The total number of cases stands at 3.445 million as of Saturday, the data showed. The latest daily death toll was 186, bringing the cumulative toll to 32,078.
Israel, in first comment, says troubled by US position ahead of Iran talks
Malley repeatedly spoke of equivalence between the US and Iran in their behavior, referring to “mutual distrust” between the countries.

“It’s not a matter of who has the greater weight,” he said. “It’s whether both sides are prepared to carry the burden that they have to come back into compliance.”

Malley warned against the US or Iran being too firm in their stances.

“If either side takes a maximalist position and says that the other side has to do everything first before it’s going to move one inch, I think it’s hard to see how this succeeds,” he said.

Malley acknowledged that Iranian nuclear scientists have more information and experience than in 2015 due to their continued violations of the JCPOA. But he did not suggest any solutions, saying only that there will be “difficult discussions about what we need to do so that we and others… are satisfied that Iran is back in compliance with the commitments that it made.”

A senior Israeli official said: “If this is American policy, we are concerned.”

The interview “raised eyebrows” at the highest echelons in Israel, the source said, because “in the past, the Biden administration talked about a ‘longer and stronger’ deal – like they were looking for something else – and that’s not [in the Malley interview]. It’s all about returning to the 2015 deal.”

“Nowhere in the entire interview does Malley say the goal is to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons,” the source said. “Nowhere does he accuse the Iranians of any bad behavior… Nowhere in the interview does he talk about the importance of consultations with American allies in the region.”

“In the old deal, snapback sanctions disappear in 2025,” the source added. “In 2030, all nuclear restrictions end. Even the Europeans say it’s terrible that Iran is developing uranium metal. That becomes legal in 2030. Is that the deal they want to go back to?”

As for the equivalence Malley drew between the US and Iran, the official scoffed: “He’s acting like he’s from the UN, saying both sides have distrust of each other.”
Biden Administration and Iran: Secret Deals and Appeasement Back on the Table?
"The Biden administration appears to be using loopholes when dealing with the Iranian regime. I am again asking direct, yes or no questions on the United States' involvement in facilitating a South Korean ransom payment to Iran. If the Biden administration is involved in transferring funds to Iran, Congress and the American people must be informed. Biden administration officials continue to deflect and refuse to answer questions from members of Congress regarding this issue." — Congressman Bryan Steil (R-WI), letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, March 25, 2021.

When President Biden was vice president during the Obama administration, the administration was all too eager to grant concessions to the Iranian regime and, it turns out, made multiple secret deals with the mullahs..... These secret deals meant that when sanctions against Iranian banks were lifted and permission given to the leaders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to resume conducting business, there was no longer any mechanism to check or stop Iran's illegal activities such as advancing its ballistic missile program.

The Obama administration also helped swiftly to lift all four rounds of UN sanctions against Iran -- sanctions it had taken decades to put in place. Iran's military sites also were exempted from inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency; other inspections were only to be at the times and places of Iran's choosing -- if ever.

Another concession, usually overlooked, is that Iran never even signed the JCPOA deal -- what sort of deal, then, is that?

Appeasement policies, secret deals and generous concessions to predatory regimes do not work, as history has repeatedly shown. They only empower and embolden leaders whose record reveals that they have no intention of honoring whatever they agreed to in the first place, and for whom commitments have been mainly a means of buying time to accomplish the goals they really want.

Ahead of Vienna summit, Iran rejects ‘step-by-step’ return to nuclear accord
With the United States and Iran set to open indirect talks next week in Vienna as part of efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, Tehran on Saturday appeared to reject an approach that would see both sides take gradual mutual steps to build trust and return to the accord.

“No step-by-step plan is being considered,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told Iran’s Press TV.

“The definitive policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is the lifting of all US sanctions, whether those which [former US president Donald] Trump reimposed after withdrawing from the JCPOA or those which he initiated, as well as sanctions imposed under any other heading,” he added.

The European Union is spearheading efforts to bring US President Joe Biden’s administration back into the accord.

Participants in the deal over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions — including China, France, Germany, Russia, and Britain — will meet in person on Tuesday in the Austrian capital, the European Union said after a video conference.

The United States will not take part directly but, for the first time since former leader Donald Trump pulled out of the agreement in 2018, a US delegation will be present.

The European Union said its mediator will hold “separate contacts” with the United States in Vienna.

Australian neo-Nazis call to ‘breed out the Jewish race’
An Australian neo-Nazi group has called for its followers to “breed out” the Jewish population by sleeping with Jewish women, a local watchdog said Saturday.

On Gab, a social media platform that has become a haven for the far-right, the National Socialist Network urged “every honorable White man, national socialist, klansman, skinhead, racist” to take part in “Operation Ashkenazi Strange,” according to the Melbourne-based Anti-Defamation Commission.

The aim of the neo-Nazis’ mission was to “breed out the Jewish race with Alpha Aryan Australian POWER,” according to a screenshot of the Gab post shared by the Anti-Defamation Commission.

The post included a picture of a masked man holding up a whiteboard with instructions.

“Run so many Nazi trains on a Jewbitch, her nickname will be Auschwitz,” read one “tip,” using a slang term for group sex.

The next line said “DONALD TRUMP WHITE POWER.”

The sign also said “You need consent, rape doesn’t count (also illegal).”

Thomas Sowell, the leader of the neo-Nazi group, also shared a photo of himself performing a Nazi salute in front of a graphic depicting Anti-Defamation Commission head Dvir Abramovich in a gas chamber with a yellow Star of David on his forehead. The accompanying caption reads “fuck you Dvir.”
Israeli, Moroccan embassies in Washington to hold Mimouna celebration
The Israeli and Moroccan embassies in Washington are hosting the first-ever joint Mimouna celebration in partnership with Sephardic Heritage International in Washington (SHIN-DC) and the Smithsonian Institution.

The holiday of Mimouna is a tradition among many North African Jewish communities, and is especially associated with Moroccan Jewry. Held the day after Passover, the holiday marks the return to being able to eat leavened bread after it was forbidden throughout the weeklong holiday.

“Occurring just before Holocaust Remembrance Day, Mimouna is a festival of good neighbors that encapsulates the spirit of the normalization of the Morocco-Israel relationship, as well as the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and other neighbors under the Abraham Accords,” Sephardic Heritage International director Afraim Katzir said in a statement.

“Mimouna not only marks the end of Passover, but is inspired by the Moroccan Jewish and interfaith narratives of unity, commemoration, goodwill and neighborliness," the statement said. "During Mimouna, Jewish families would open up their homes to each other and to non-Jews, who brought the leavened foods needed for a neighborly celebration.”

The celebration will also feature musical performances by Moroccan national and Washington resident Ismail Bouzidoune, who will play Gnawa religious music, and Moroccan-Israeli Mor Karbasi, who will play Andalusi music, on which flamenco is based.
Yad Vashem opens exhibition 80 years since Operation Barbarossa
A new online exhibition commemorating 80 years since the beginning of the large-scale mass murder of Jews during the Holocaust has been created by Yad Vashem ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day this Wednesday night and Thursday.

The exhibition, entitled “The Onset of Mass Murder – The Fate of Jewish Families in 1941,” highlights the stories of 12 Jewish families who were caught in the fury of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa in June 1941.

Following this invasion, mass shootings committed by the Einsatzgruppen, other German soldiers and police forces and local collaborators began across Eastern Europe and continued into 1943, during which some 1.5 million Jews were murdered.

Jews were also murdered in similar operations in German-occupied Yugoslav territory and by the Antonescu regime on Romanian-occupied land. The new exhibition tells the stories of Jewish families in the wake of Operation Barbarossa and their ultimate fate in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Eastern Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Romania and Yugoslavia.

Personal letters, works of art, photographs, documents, testimonies and Pages of Testimony submitted to Yad Vashem are used in the 12 entries to portray the families who lived through these times and describe what happened to them.


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