Tuesday, May 11, 2021

From Ian:

Michael Doran: The Realignment
It is impossible to exaggerate the value to the United States of a full-blown Saudi-Israeli peace agreement or even of significant steps in that direction. The 9/11 attacks announced that a doctrine of radical intolerance had taken deeper root inside the Muslim world than we had realized—a doctrine that seeks to wall off Muslim societies from non-Muslim influences. The Emiratis, the lead players in the Abraham Accords, see peace with Israel as part of a multipronged effort to refute this intolerant view of Islam and Muslim history. Saudi Arabia is the most powerful Arab country and, thanks to its guardianship of Mecca and Medina, one of the most influential countries in the entire Muslim world. It has also long been the fortress of conservative Islamic jurisprudence and Quranic literalism. If the country toward which all Muslims pray five times a day, and to which some 2 million make annual pilgrimages, develops openly friendly relations with the Jewish state, the implications for relations between Muslims and non-Muslims everywhere would be profound.

Yet the Biden administration has forbidden its officials from even using the term “Abraham Accords,” which, under the influence of the Realignment, it abhors. Because the accords are politically popular, even in Democratic circles, the administration will refrain from expressing its abhorrence frankly, and will look for every opportunity to claim that it looks favorably on the normalization of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

In reality, however, the Biden team has no intention to expand the Abraham Accords, whose very existence is a blot on the Democrats’ record. It refutes the dogma preached by the Obama administration that peace between Israel and the Arab world must begin with a Palestinian-Israeli agreement.

More importantly, the accords are also a threat to the Realignment itself. The Saudi-Israeli thaw resulted in part from the sense of threat they share about the rise of Iran, and the increasing unreliability of the American security guarantee. A strong partnership between Riyadh and Jerusalem would inevitably become the primary node of opposition to the Realignment from within the American alliance system. A desire to end any unsupervised discussion of expanding the Abraham Accords is probably an additional reason why the Biden administration devoted its first days in office to publicly disparaging Mohammed bin Salman and privately pressing him to kowtow to Tehran. “Do not dare assist Israel” was another implicit command that the Khashoggi values barrage delivered to Riyadh.

When Biden took office, he faced a fork in the road. On one path stood a multilateral alliance designed to contain Iran. It had a proven track record of success and plans of even better things to come, as the recent act of sabotage at Natanz demonstrated. The alliance’s leading members were beckoning Biden to work against a common foe, but also to promote greater cooperation and possibly even an official peace agreement between Saudi Arabia and Israel. On the other path stood the Islamic Republic, hated by its own people and, indeed, by most people in the Middle East. It offered nothing but the same vile message it had always espoused. Standing with it were all of the most malignant forces in the Middle East, who either look directly to Tehran for leadership or thrive on the chaos it sows.

Biden chose Iran, fracturing the U.S. alliance system and setting back the cause of peace. His choice also delivered a victory to China and Russia, who are working with Iran, each in its own way, toward America’s undoing. In a perverse effort to liberate itself from its allies, the United States is soiling its own nest.
Caroline Glick: Washington's agenda is completely wrong – and incendiary
As Israel Hayom's Ariel Kahana reported, Ben-Shabbat didn't take Sullivan's hostile dressing down in silence. He responded appropriately, "As the sovereign, Israel is handing the events responsibly and in a measured way despite the provocations."

Ben-Shabbat added, "International intervention serves as a prize to the rioters and their dispatchers that had hoped that international pressure would be exerted against Israel."

Less than 24 hours after their phone call, Hamas proved Ben-Shabbat was right. With a tailwind from the White House, Hamas gave Israel an ultimatum: Remove your security forces from the Temple Mount and Sheikh Jarrah by 6 p.m. or you'll live to regret it. In other words: Give up your sovereignty over Jerusalem by six or else.

Lo and behold, shortly after 6 p.m., the air raid sirens sounded throughout Jerusalem and its environs as Hamas attacked the capital with rockets from Gaza. As the evening progressed Arab Israelis in Ramle and Lod and other mixed cities carried out what can only be called a pogrom against their Jewish neighbors. They burned yeshivot, schools and apartment buildings and beat and tried to lynch Jews that fell in their paths. After they were done, they went to the local hospital emergency room, threw rocks at the medical staff and patients and tried to kill the Arab Israeli doctors and nurses on the scene for "collaboration" with the Jews.

The medical staff had to evacuate with the patients to protected areas while the police dispersed the attackers with stun grenades – in the ER.

The official readout of Biden's national security adviser concluded by mentioning that Sullivan, "expressed the Administration's commitment to Israel's security."

A bit more "commitment" like this and Israel will find itself in short order fighting a regional war.
Emily Schrader: How Palestinians lost Jerusalem to Israel - opinion
Since Israel’s establishment, Palestinian leaders have missed countless opportunities to make peace and secure a state because of their rejectionist attitude. From a purely political standpoint, their adamant refusal to accept Israel costs them more in negotiating power every year. For example, the negotiating standpoint after the UN’s Partition Plan would have been far more advantageous for the Palestinians than where it stands today – and in almost every single subsequent peace offer, the Palestinians chose to sabotage their own future in terms of land, self-determination, cooperation with Israel and, yes, Jerusalem.

While the Palestinians never had Jerusalem – even east Jerusalem, which was under occupation by Jordan – their actions today demonstrate why they never will. For that, they have only themselves to blame.

The recent uptick in violence began at the start of Ramadan with a disturbing TikTok trend of Arabs assaulting Jews and filming it. The response was an equally disturbing pushback of far-right Israeli Jews who rioted in Jerusalem, even chanting “death to Arabs.” But neither of these activities came from nowhere. The Kahanist Right in Israel has been emboldened by vile racist leaders like Itamar Ben-Gvir, who maneuvered their way into the Knesset to the great shame of our entire nation.

Yet on the other side, we have entire generations raised on glorifying violence against Jews. Most recently, we see Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority all ramping up their incitement to violence, with the world’s largest sponsor of terrorism, Iran, dousing the entire situation with kerosene and lighting the match.

Iran-allied Palestinians even recently put up billboards with Iran’s slogan for Jerusalem Day at the entrance to Kalandiya in the West Bank. This is far from the first time Palestinians have promoted Iranian propaganda, but it is a clear and continued indicator of where Palestinian alliances lie – and they aren’t with their fellow Arab states.

Young US Jews increasingly detached from Jewish people - Pew report
A landmark study of US Jews by the Pew Research Center has demonstrated that young American Jews are increasingly likely to say they do not identify with the Jewish religion, participate less in Jewish customs, and have less attachment to the Jewish people.

At the same time, intermarriage is rising rapidly, with Jews who got married in the last decade significantly more likely to be married to a non-Jew than a Jew and the rate of intermarriage increasing significantly over the previous decade.

At the same time, the US Orthodox community suffers from virtually no intermarriage, has double the birthrate of non-Orthodox Jews, and demonstrates much higher levels of attachment to the Jewish religion and the Jewish people than the rest of of American Jews.

The Pew Research Center’s new survey was conducted from Nov. 19, 2019, to June 3, 2020, among 4,718 Jews across the country who were identified through 68,398 screening interviews conducted by mail and online.

The last Pew survey on US Jews was conducted in 2013, although due to a different methodological approach for conducting interviews the organization says that to a large degree direct comparisons between the results of 2020 and 2013 studies are not possible.

According to the new study, the Jewish population of America numbers some 5.8 million people, including 4.2 million who identify simply as being of the Jewish religion and another 1.5 million who are classified as Jews of no religion, those who consider themselves to be Jewish ethnically, culturally or by family background and have a Jewish parent or were raised Jewish but when asked about their religion state they are atheist, agnostic, or nothing in particular.

Of the total Jewish population, 37% of say they are Reform, 17% say they are Conservative, 9% say they are Orthodox, 32% say they have no denominational affiliation, and 4% identify with smaller branches – such as Reconstructionist or Humanist Judaism – or say they are connected with multiple streams of US Judaism.
10 key takeaways from the new Pew survey of American Jews
4. Some 10% of Jews support the boycott of Israel — but half of young adults haven’t heard much about it.
As in 2013, the survey asked American Jews how they feel about Israel, and the results provide fodder for Israel’s advocates as well as its critics. On one hand, more than 80% of Jews say that caring about Israel is an important or essential part of being Jewish. Nearly half of American Jews have been to Israel, and a quarter have been there more than once.

But the survey also found that the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, or BDS, has made inroads into the American Jewish community. One in 10 American Jews — and a slightly higher proportion of young adults — said they either “strongly support” or “somewhat support” the BDS movement. Some 43% of Jews oppose BDS, and another 43% haven’t heard much about it.

(The survey did not define BDS — due to debates over its scope and aims — but instead asked people how much they had heard about it. Only those who had heard “some” or “a lot” were then asked if they supported or opposed the movement.)

In that vein, the survey found that college campuses appear to be far from the hotbeds of BDS support that some have warned. While Jewish organizations have fretted about BDS activism on campus for over a decade, the survey found that nearly half of Jewish adults under 30 had heard little or nothing about the boycott movement.

7. Most Jews have experienced antisemitism in the past year.
Like a range of other recent surveys, this one asked Jews about antisemitism — something that was largely absent from the 2013 study. This one said that in the wake of antisemitic events from the Charlottesville neo-Nazi rally in 2017 to the deadly attacks on Jews in Pittsburgh in 2018 and Poway, California, in 2019, antisemitism appears to be a larger part of American Jewish life now than it was at that time.

Like other studies, the 2021 Pew survey found that most Jews believe antisemitism in America has increased in recent years and said they feel less safe now than they once did. Five percent of American Jews said they have stayed away from a Jewish event or observance because of safety concerns.

Over the past 12 months, the survey found, 51% of Jews have experienced antisemitism — either by seeing anti-Jewish graffiti, being harassed online, being physically attacked or through another form of discrimination.
Pew study: 75% of US Orthodox Jews identify as Republicans, up from 57% in 2013
Among the findings of the Pew Research Center’s new survey of American Jews is one that has become increasingly self-evident in recent years: Orthodox Jews in the US overwhelmingly affiliate with the Republican Party.

According to the newest study, 75% of Orthodox Jews surveyed said they were Republicans or leaned Republican. In 2013, the last year in which Pew conducted a survey of American Jews, 57% of Orthodox Jews said they were Republicans or leaned Republican.

The Pew survey was conducted between November 19, 2019 and June 3, 2020, a period of dramatic polarization across America in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election. It found a large political polarization by denomination in American Jewry: Among all Jews, 71% are or lean Democratic, and 26% identify more with Republicans.

While Orthodox Jews have been moving rightward politically for years, the data from Pew suggest that politically progressive Orthodox Jews are not just outnumbered but are a shrinking minority within their communities. And it demonstrates the strikingly different ways that Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews viewed Donald Trump’s presidency.

While non-Orthodox Jews largely disapproved of Trump’s handling of nearly every aspect of the role, Orthodox Jews were the only ones to overwhelmingly approve of his job performance, particularly on Israel. Among Orthodox Jews, 86% rated Trump’s handling of policy on Israel as “excellent” or “good,” compared to 40% overall of respondents who rated his handling of Israel policy as good or excellent.
Canada is right to boycott Durban IV and its anti-Semitic supporters
If the word “chutzpah” had another name it would be the now infamous UN World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. A laughable name for a sham of a conference that was first held in Durban, South Africa, in 2001, ostensibly to set policy against global hatred. Instead, it became a watershed moment that launched a new wave of radical anti-Semitism and terrorism around the globe. Even though the conference was weaponized against Israel and the Jewish people, the United Nations shockingly plans on celebrating its 20th anniversary on Sept. 22.

On Thursday, Canada took the moral high ground by announcing it will not participate. “Canada remains committed, at home and abroad, including at the UN, to advancing human rights, inclusion and combating anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and systemic racism in all its forms,” Global Affairs Canada spokesman Grantly Franklin said. “Canada opposes initiatives at the United Nations and in other multilateral forums that unfairly single out and target Israel for criticism.‎”

The decision came after both the U.S. and Australia voted against the UN General Assembly resolution that called for the one-day conference to reaffirm the 2001 fiasco that saw many nations — including Canada — walk out in protest of the obvious anti-Israel bias.

Copies of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a notorious anti-Semitic forgery, were sold on the grounds of the 2001 conference. Leaflets saying “Hitler should have finished the job” were also reportedly circulated and Jewish participants had to endure chants like “Zionism is racism, Israel is apartheid.” The Jewish Centre in Durban was forced to close down because of threats of violence. All of these hostile and newly energized anti-Semitic activists were then defused into the world to spread their venom. And that they did.

The conference’s final declaration legitimized the global ideological attack on Israel. Only the Palestinians were listed as victims of racism and Israel was portrayed as the world’s leading purveyor of hate and intolerance. Israel was singled out and designated for boycott and endless campaigns, which are still being embraced to this day by UN bodies, including most recently the International Criminal Court.

A wave of new anti-Semitism began under cover of the 2001 Durban conference. Almost immediately after, anti-Israel agitators around the world began a defamation campaign falsely connecting the South African apartheid model to the modern state of Israel. They used both the location of the conference and its extreme anti-Israel sentiment to launch campaigns, particularly on university campuses, referring to Israel as an “apartheid state.” In fact, the University of Toronto-made “Israeli Apartheid Week” was a direct manifestation of this framework and resulted in some 20 years of hostility and victimization of Jewish students as it infected campuses all over the world.
Peers and Jewish groups call on UK to boycott event commemorating ‘antisemitic’ Durban conference
Several peers and Jewish groups have called on the UK to boycott an upcoming event commemorating a 2001 anti-racism conference in South Africa tainted by antisemitism claims.

Both the US and Israel walked out of the 2001 meeting in Durban, South Africa, over antisemitism concerns and amid attempts to label Zionism as racist.

The UN will be marking the 20th anniversary of the event and its outcome - the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action - in New York in September.

Several countries, including the US, boycotted revivals of the conference in 2009 and 2011.

A US State Department spokesperson told the Jerusalem Post this week Washington would not be attending commemorative events. Australia followed suit, the Israeli outlet reported.

In exclusive comments to the JC, peers Baroness Deech and Lord Turnberg called on the UK to “unequivocally” condemn and boycott the September commemoration.

“The inaugural 2001 UN anti-racism conference in Durban, South Africa degenerated into a hate-filled, antisemitic meeting vociferously critical of Israel to the detriment of legitimate anti-racism efforts.

“The parallel conference of NGOs hijacked the anti-racism agenda, using it as a forum to harass Israeli and Jewish participants, distribute antisemitic materials, including the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and relentlessly condemn Israel. Attendees at the conference compared its anti-Jewish hysteria to ‘1930s Germany’.

“The NGOs were not alone. The governmental side of the conference resulted in the notorious ‘Durban Declaration’ which cast the Jewish state as a racist state and singled out Israel as the only country for specific condemnation,” they said.
Joel Pollak: Palestinian Attacks Prevent Left-wing Government from Taking Over in Israel -- For Now
Palestinian attacks interrupted efforts by Israel’s opposition parties Monday to declare a governing coalition to replace incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after a small Arab party, Ra’am, suspended its participation in talks.

The Times of Israel reported that the “change” bloc — a group of left-wing parties, plus a few conservative opponents of Netanyahu — had been preparing to announce their agreement when the outbreak of violence provoked Ra’am to pause.

The Times of Israel reported:
The Islamist Ra’am party on Monday announced it was suspending coalition talks with the “change bloc” of anti-Netanyahu parties after Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired a barrage of rockets toward Jerusalem and southern Israeli border communities, in a potentially major blow to the efforts by parties opposed to Netanyahu to form a government.

A Ra’am source told the Kan public broadcaster that it was unclear if the party would again hold talks with Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid — who is currently tasked with forming a government — before his mandate to assemble a coalition ends on June 2, as the resumption of negotiations would depend on the scope of the violence.

Netanyahu’s Likud Party was the largest, by far, in the March elections — Israel’s fourth in two years — but he could not put together enough votes from other parties to form a governing coalition before the 28-day deadline last week. The mandate to form a government then passed to the opposition, which had been counting on Ra’am and its four seats to secure the majority.
Stacey Abrams Declares Self Israeli Prime Minister (satire)
With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failing to form his right-wing government, former Georgia state legislator Stacey Abrams has declared herself the new premiere and has started to form her cabinet.

Abrams, who was not on any ballot and has never been to Israel, insisted that she would have been unanimously elected if not for blatant voter suppression.

“These Israelis would have voted for me if not for all these racists laws that kept me off the ballot,” Abrams explained. “Not only does Israel require a photo ID to vote, but to run for office in Israel, you have to live in or be a citizen of the county. Talk about Jim Crow!”

Abrams said that she had called Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and pre-emptively accepted his mandate to start putting together a coalition.

“It’s going to be tough to serve as Prime Minister of Israel when I’m already busy as governor of Georgia,” Abrams said. “But I believe I will be an effective leader and will successfully negotiate a peace deal with Palestinian leadership. Unless, in the highly unlikely event, they rig their elections too.”
Why the Jerusalem Violence and Cancellation of PA Elections Are Closely Linked
Some of the recent violence seen in Jerusalem and the West Bank can be traced back to the fallout from the recent cancellation of the Palestinian elections — and more trouble could be on the way.

The Palestinian elections hit a dead end, when Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree on April 21st “delaying” them.

Abbas conveniently blamed the decision on Israel’s refusal to allow elections to be held in eastern Jerusalem. His decree was signed by the PLO’s Executive Committee, the Fatah Central Committee, and the heads of various Palestinian factions.

With his announcement, Abbas deliberately avoided promoting a creative workaround solution to the issue of eastern Jerusalem, such as online voting, or the placement of ballots in mosques, churches, foreign consulates, postal voting (as was done in the 2006 elections, with Israeli approval), or Palestinian neighborhoods beyond the security fence in eastern Jerusalem.

His de facto cancellation of the elections was highly predictable, despite the advanced stage that the elections process was in. The writing had been on the wall for a long time.

Abbas had been searching for an escape hatch and a ladder to climb down from elections — because going ahead with them would have placed his ruling Fatah movement at great risk.
Jewish teen seriously hurt in Beersheba stabbing; Arab Israeli suspect arrested
A Jewish teenager was seriously wounded in a stabbing outside the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba on Tuesday, amid a clash between Arab and Jewish student protesters.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators had been rallying outside the southern city’s Ben Gurion University over the pending evictions in East Jerusalem, as Jewish students organized a counter-protest across the street, outside the hospital.

As police attempted to separate the sides, a suspect, said to be an Arab Israeli, stabbed an 18-year-old man in the chest, leaving him in moderate-to-serious condition.

The suspected assailant was chased by the counter-protesters and hospital security guards, one of which fired into the air from his handgun. The man fled into the hospital grounds, where he was arrested.

The clashes between the demonstrators began after right-wing extremists joined the pro-Israel crowd, Gili Oren, a student who was at the scene, told The Times of Israel on Tuesday.

“Both sides were acting violently, throwing stones at each other, cursing and yelling,” he said.

The pro-Palestinian demonstrators were apparently protesting against the pending evictions in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, eyewitnesses told The Times of Israel.
IDF says it thwarted West Bank shooting, would-be Palestinian gunman killed
Two Palestinian suspects were shot near the Tapuah Junction in the West Bank on Tuesday after they apparently attempted to open fire toward Israeli soldiers stationed in the area, the military said.

The two suspects arrived at the junction in a car, opened the window, as one pulled out a handgun, the Ynet news site reported. The soldiers opened fire toward the suspects, killing one and seriously wounding the other.

The wounded suspect was taken to a hospital in serious condition, Rescuers Without Borders, a Jewish emergency service operating in the West Bank, said.

Both were members of Palestinian intelligence services, a Palestinian security source told AFP, without giving further details.

Last week, a Palestinian terrorist opened fire toward Israeli civilians at the junction, resulting in the death of 19-year-old yeshiva student Yehuda Guetta, and the injury of two others.
MEMRI: Saudi Journalist Hussein Al-Shobokshi: Recent Developments Spark Cautious Hope That Middle East Is Heading Towards Peace
In an April 29, 2021 article titled 'Can There Be Peace in the Middle East,' Saudi journalist and businessman Hussein Shobokshi notes that several hopeful developments have sparked cautious optimism in the region. The first of these developments is the recent reconciliation between the Gulf states and Qatar. Another is the turnaround in Turkey's position towards its longtime rival Egypt – manifest in a series of positive statements as well as practical measures – and the softening of Turkey's tone towards the Gulf states. Further positive signs, writes Shobokshi, are Saudi Arabia's moves towards ending the war in Yemen, and the recent interview given by Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman in which he said he seeks a good relationship with Iran.

Shobokshi concludes that, if peace between Israel and Arab countries is possible, a warming of the Arabs' relations with Turkey and Iran should certainly be possible, but warns that the positive statements and gestures must be accompanied by actual policies and concrete moves.

The following are excerpts from the English version of the article published in the international edition of the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat.[1]

"The Middle East has been known traditionally for being a region of various conflicts, disputes and wars. For this reason, its people don't think it unlikely to see worrying developments between regional rivals unfolding over time. However, very cautious optimism has begun to spread throughout the region. This sentiment stems from several factors and developments. Perhaps the first and most important of them is the AlUla Summit in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in which reconciliation was realized, as a positive shift was witnessed in the relationship between Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Arab Republic of Egypt with the State of Qatar, after a schism that had gone on for years, with diplomatic relations gradually being resumed. The summit was a pleasant surprise to observers and those who follow politics, as well as the peoples of the region, because introductions or leaks did not precede the great reconciliation.

"Very shortly after that, the Turkish government's tone with the Arab Republic of Egypt began to change, and the former began sending various positive messages through Turkish officials' statements. That was followed by crucial steps, like the release of an official Turkish statement announcing the shutdown of media programs that attack Egypt, which had been broadcast from Turkish soil, and recognizing that the revolution of January 30 expressed the Egyptian people's desire for change and that Turkey hadn't understood this sufficiently at the time. Ankara then went on to express its absolute willingness to engage 'fully' in security, political and diplomatic collaboration with Cairo.

"Ankara continued to cozy up to Egypt in an astounding and perplexing manner, especially when compared to its preceding statements and stances on Egypt. One cannot describe the new Turkish position as anything but a total, 180-degree shift from that which had it previously adopted.
Saudi journalist named editor of Israeli news site
Editor-in-chief of the independent Saudi news site Elaph, Mahmood al-Awadi, announced on his personal Twitter account on Thursday that he has been hired to manage a new online Israeli Arabic-language platform.

Awadi didn't name the site, but according to associates of the senior Emirati journalist, the site's name is Midar Net, which is a news content platform focusing primarily on business, economic and financial news.

Awadi, who is in his 40s, was born in the United Arab Emirates and is considered one of the more prominent journalists in the Gulf region. Elaph is one of the most popular Arabic-language new sites in the world and has hundreds of millions of readers.

Awadi's close friend and colleague at Elaph these past few years, Israeli journalist Majdi Halabi, told Israel Hayom that Awadi was among the most influential journalists in the Arab media.

"Mahmood is a prominent journalist and veteran media figure, a good friend and a great believer in peace and partnership with Israel," said Halabi.
Egyptian press takes down interview with Jewish leader
An interview with Yves Fedida of the Nebi Daniel Association has been taken down from the website of the Egyptian medium Akhbar el Yom after just two days. Mr Fedida criticised the few Jews still in Egypt for not supporting international efforts to preserve international heritage. He accused the Egyptian government of excluding Jews from the official re-opening of the restored Eliyahu Hanavi synagogue and for not permitting access to Jewish records. It seems that the Egyptian authorities are not quite ready to listen. Here is the original:

No Jews were invited to the official re-opening of the Eliyahu Hanavi synagogue in 2020.

How do you see Egyptian policy towards its neighbours and Israel?

Our wish is obviously that peace should reign in the whole region and among all peoples. We are sad to see that the peace signed over 41 years ago is still a cold peace, far from the warmth normally present in the genes of both peoples. Still, al hamdoulilah it is peace.

- How do you see the measures taken by President Sisi to approve the coexistence between people of religion in Egypt?

I would not be so bold as to comment on the measures taken by President Sisi; but it seems normal to me that people of different religions should coexist peacefully, whatever the country. The opposite is shocking. Therefore any step in this direction can only be applauded.
Lawmakers Demand State Dept. Revoke Security Clearance for Appointee Tied to Iranian Regime
Several lawmakers are demanding the State Department revoke the security clearance of and launch an investigation into a Biden administration appointee who they say has troubling ties to Iran’s hardline, anti-American government.

Reps. Jeff Van Drew (R., N.J.), Scott Perry (R., Pa.), and Yvette Herrell (R., N.M.) say the Biden administration made a serious mistake when it hired Ariane Tabatabai as a senior adviser to the Office of the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, a high-level position that requires security clearance. Tabatabai’s hiring first sparked controversy in March, when a group of Iranian dissidents outed her as an Iranian regime sympathizer whose family has close ties to the ruling theocratic regime, as the Washington Free Beacon first reported in March.

The lawmakers, in a letter sent late last month to the White House, demand Tabatabai’s security clearance be revoked until a proper investigation is launched into her "allegiance to the Iranian regime," which the lawmakers say poses "a security threat to the United States," according to a copy of that communication. They also request the Biden administration provide them with a classified briefing on the security screening process that permitted Tabatabai to obtain a government clearance. As the United States engages in negotiations with Iran aimed at inking a revamped nuclear deal, Tabatabai’s purported ties to the regime and high-level State Department posting are generating serious concerns, the lawmakers say.

"We respectfully ask for a classified briefing on Ariane Tabatabai’s connection to the Iranian Regime, as well as an additional background check to closely examine her ties to it," they write in the April 23 letter.

Tabatabai’s critics—including the lawmakers and Iranian dissident groups who oppose the hardline government—outlined multiple public appearances in which she parroted Iranian regime propaganda and downplayed the import of democratic protests that threaten to topple Iran’s clerical leadership. They see the administration’s decision to hire Tabatabai as a sign the State Department intends to appease Iran and offer it significant concessions as part of any revamped nuclear deal.

Ahmadinejad to Host SNL after Outcry over Musk Appearance (satire)
Looking to appease cast members traumatized by Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s appearance as guest host, Saturday Night Live has invited former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to host next week’s episode.

The actors had demanded SNL producer Lorne Michaels bring on a committed progressive to make up for bringing Musk, who has refused to list his preferred pronouns in his Twitter profile, onto the show. The choice of Ahmadinejad, who has thrilled American Leftists with tweets celebrating Colin Kaepernick, and the Black Panthers, immediately won the support of SNL’s cast members.

“It is about time we had a true social justice warrior like Ahmadinejad representing our show,” cast member Michael Che tweeted. “Iran has been a true leader in transgender rights, and President Ahmadinejad has vowed that there are no gay people facing discrimination or oppression in his country. If only America had such forward-looking leadership!”

As of press time, Ahmadinejad has agreed to host the show on the condition that all female cast members and Pete Davidson wear a burka for the duration of the filming.
Actor Mark Ruffalo Calls for Sanctions on Israel, Echoes Claims of ‘Apartheid’
American actor Mark Ruffalo urged on Tuesday for sanctions to be imposed on Israel amid clashes in Jerusalem and the ongoing conflict with the Hamas terrorist group in Gaza.

“The Avengers” star, who previously accused Israel of apartheid and engaging in “asymmetrical warfare” on Palestinians, wrote on Twitter: “1500 Palestinians face expulsion in #Jerusalem. 200 protesters have been injured. 9 children have been killed. Sanctions on South Africa helped free its black people – it’s time for sanctions on Israel to free Palestinians. Join the call. #SheikhJarrah.”

He also linked a petition that calls for “sanctions on key Israeli industries until Palestinians are granted full and equal civil rights.” The petition claims that Israel is “is responding with maximum cruelty” to Palestinian protests, and taking part in “racist brutality” and “military occupation over Palestinians.” The petition was launched by Avaaz, a US-based non-profit organization, and already has over 1.5 million signatures.

Days earlier, on May 6, he retweeted a post by former Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters, in which the latter called Israel an apartheid state because of the pending eviction of several Arab families from homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem.

America's Jewish communities are under attack — Here are 3 things Congress can do
This weekend, the New York Police Department arrested 29-year-old Jordan Burnette, accused of perpetrating a three-day spree of attacks against four synagogues in New York City’s Riverdale neighborhood. He was charged with 42 criminal counts including several hate crimes.

For three straight days last month, Burnette is alleged to have smashed doors and windows at these houses of prayer and invaded their sacred spaces, leaving behind a wake of strewn prayer books.

The violence against these pillars of Jewish life came days before a new report documenting that — despite almost an entire year of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic — anti-Semitism remains at near historically high levels in the United States. In fact, 2020 marked the third-highest year for incidents against America’s Jews in more than 40 years.

In the face of this, Congress must do more to protect America’s Jewish communities.

While Jews have faced discrimination in this country since its founding, it wasn’t typically of a violent nature. However, during the past year alone, 2,024 anti-Semitic incidents ranging from harassment to vandalism and assault were recorded — a mere 4 percent decrease from the all-time high of 2019. During COVID-19, far from dissipating, the assaults often shifted online: 114 schools, synagogues and other Jewish institutions were the targets of anti-Semitic “Zoom bombing,” with perpetrators using Nazi symbols, other anti-Semitic messages and verbal assaults to disrupt live video conferences and intimidate participants.

The FBI’s most recent hate crimes report affirms these findings and notes that Jews remain by far the religious group most targeted for hate crimes, comprising 60 percent of them. Muslims, the second-most targeted group, faced 13 percent of such crimes.

Cisco to buy Israeli startup Sedona for reported $100 million
Cisco Systems Inc., a US maker of networking software and hardware, said in a blog post on Tuesday that it will acquire Israel’s Sedona Systems, a maker of communication technologies.

No financial details were provided, but Calcalist financial website estimated the deal at $100 million.

Sedona’s NetFusion Platform automatically discovers, aggregates, and analyzes network data from multiple online systems and optical and IP sources, providing unified, real-time, and accurate network-wide data that is then used by different NetFusion products. These products reduce the complexity, cost, time, and resources needed to plan, forecast, and operate the optimal network infrastructure, according to Sedona.

“With Sedona NetFusion joining the Cisco Crosswork portfolio, we will deliver the most advanced network automation platform,” wrote Kevin Wollenweber, vice president and general manager of MassScale Infrastructure Routing and Automation at Cisco, in a blog post.

Sedona was founded in 2014 by Ori Gerstel and Yossi Wellingstein. The company has raised $13.6 million to date from investors including Intel Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, and NexStar Partners, according to the database of Start-Up Nation Central.
Jerusalem During the War of Independence—Now in Color!
It was the early days of Israel’s War of Independence, and Jerusalem was under blockade. The city had been placed under siege many times before. First came the Assyrians, then the Babylonians, followed by the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Muslims, the Crusaders, the Ottomans, and that’s not even a complete list . Yet, this time, things were a bit different. For example, Jerusalem by this time had finally grown beyond the walls of the Old City. Another difference was the existence of the camera.

At first, it was just the Old City’s Jewish Quarter that was cut off from the rest of the city, but very soon, the Arab forces realized that all of Jewish Jerusalem was entirely dependent on the road to Tel Aviv and the coastal plain remaining open – this was the only route for bringing in critical food and supplies. In fact, a November 30th, 1947 attack on a bus traveling from Netanya to Jerusalem is often seen as the opening shot that set off the War of Independence. Later, the situation grew more severe when Jordan’s British-trained Arab Legion force took command of the campaign, following Israel’s declaration of statehood in May 1948. In late May, following a siege of several months, the Jewish Quarter in the Old City finally surrendered to the Jordanian forces, while the blockade of the road leading to Jerusalem remained in place. The convoys that struggled to reach the city (and also the nearby Etzion Bloc), the Israeli military operations which aimed to lift the blockade, the Battle of the Castel and the construction of the alternative “Burma Road” route to the coast—all these remain symbols of the War of Independence to this day.

As fate would have it, a man by the name of Moshe (Marlin) Levin was living in the city during the blockade period of 1947/48. Levin, born and raised in the United States, arrived in Mandatory Palestine with his wife in 1947. He quickly got a job as an assistant editor at the Palestine Post (which eventually became the Jerusalem Post), and later became the newspaper’s Jerusalem correspondent. During the War of Independence, he covered the war for the United Press news agency. Later, he founded and managed the offices of Time-Life Magazine in Israel, and worked there until he retired in the 1990s.

While the battles raged for control of the city and its access roads, Jerusalem’s Jewish residents—numbering nearly one hundred thousand at the time—got on with their daily lives. At least they attempted to keep up some semblance of routine. After all, they had to continue making a living. Levin’s camera gives us an extraordinary glimpse into those moments—and in color!


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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