Sunday, May 30, 2021

From Ian:

Seth Frantzman: How the international community sought to create an endless Israel-Palestinian war
Ridiculous obsession with Israel at the UN led everything to be warped just to attack Israel from the WHO to Women and Human Rights groups, to UNESCO. Every rule that applies to every country in the world was shifted regarding Israel being singled out. And now human rights groups have done the same regarding accusations of “apartheid.” There is no commonality between Israel’s system and apartheid, but the term had to be changed just to attack Israel. The term “settler state” was shifted from its original meaning relating to the New World states to apply to Israel, a country that is not made up of “settlers.” The supposed “two state” solution has now been tossed aside in favor of what the anti-Israel voices call “one state” and “from the river to the sea.” The accusations that all of Israel is “apartheid” is designed to cater to this alliance of Hamas and the progressive left against Israel. It doesn’t matter what Israel does, just defending itself with Iron Dome is now considered a reason to attack it. Similarly the use of the term “settler” to describe Israel, asserting that this gives it less rights, when numerous other states in North America and other places were created by “settlers.” Only in Israel’s case are migrants and refugees called “settlers.”

Even when Israel tried to do what the international community has asked, withdraw from Gaza, the same community that made sure that failed chaotic Palestinian Authority elections would enable Hamas to take over Gaza. Then they say that Israel still “occupies” Gaza, when Israel left. Hamas is said to have a “right” to “resist occupation” and attack Israel with rockets, and if Israel blockades Hamas then it is said to be evidence of “occupation.” Similarly even though Israel left Lebanon in 2000, Hezbollah is permitted to claim it must keep a massive arsenal to “resist” Israel because Israel “occupies” Lebanon, even though it doesn’t. This shows no matter how much Israel withdraws from the “occupation” will never end and the need for “resistance” will never end. The doctrine is “one state” and a “binational” state. Under no circumstance to international organizations say they won’t fund Palestinian groups that use maps showing all of historic Palestine as theirs, and no Israel. Even terms like “’48 Arabs” or “48 lands” are used. To deny the existence of Israel. No other country is subjected to this. No one says that India is “48 lands”.

Only Israel is subjected to non-recognition by numerous countries, based often on religious hatred. Even as the Cold War ended and other disputes ended there was no push by the international community to recognize Israel. It is a conflict that began in 1948 and which many in the international community will use forever. Iran’s regime uses the conflict to excuse spreading chaos in the region and arming illegal extrajudicial groups. Why does Iran threaten Israel? That question is never asked. Why does the regime get to continually use the Palestinian issue to threaten? No other country randomly adopts a cause far away to threaten to destroy some other other country. For instance Burma may be accused of suppressing Rohingya, but Iran or Turkey don’t threaten the country’s destruction. Only with Israel.

The international community has done nothing to try to create peace in the Middle East and prevent the stockpiling of rockets by Hezbollah, Iran’s brazen nuclear program and other issues. As long as these countries say they will “destroy” Israel, they get a pass. If they threaten any other country they are held to account. Even Jewish history is neatly removed, UNESCO declaring Hebron a heritage site but purposely focusing on the Mamluk and Ottoman period to remove any need to mention Jewish heritage in Hebron. The whole of world history changed just to ignore Jewish rights and role in historic Israel.

This is not about Palestinian rights and a state. Because the nature of the argument, the “river to the sea” talk now said at western Universities, it all about ethnic cleansing of Israel. It is the only state in the world the western left leaning progressive will seek to ethnically-cleanse of its diverse population. It’s the only state they say that it has to provide full and equal rights to “all its citizens” and change its flag and anthem, but no other state in the Middle East must do so. It’s the only state where 4,000 rockets can be fired at it without condemnation or even mention of Hamas. It’s the only state where when there is a war there is a huge rise in attacks on Jews all around the world by the same people who claim “anti-Zionism” is not antisemitism. This is the reality in the wake of the Hamas war.


Jake Wallis Simons: How London became a hub for Hamas
It is important to view all this in the context of the bigger picture. This is not a distant problem, confined to a small triangle of land in the Middle East. Jeremy Corbyn and his fellow travellers may call Hamas ‘friends’, but terrorist murderers over there want to carry out terrorist murders over here. Corbyn famously said: ‘The idea that an organisation that is dedicated towards the good of the Palestinian people and bringing about peace and social justice and political justice should be labelled as a terrorist organisation is a big, big historical mistake.’ About this and many other things, Jeremy Corbyn was, shall we say, incorrect.

The difference between Hamas and Isis does not lie in their intentions and theology so much as their tactics. Isis carries out staged beheadings; Hamas ties people to the back of motorbikes and drags them through the streets. Both lust after a vision of a caliphate. But while Isis goes blasting through the front door, trampling international law and conquering territory, Hamas straps on its suicide belt and rings on the doorbell of democracy. That is the way of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas’ parent organisation. The theory is simple: by the time you realise what is happening, you’re living in an Islamist state.

The Muslim Brotherhood has had limited success in infiltrating political systems in the Middle East. According to intelligence sources, in recent years it has quietly turned to softer targets in Europe, pushing on the open door that is official tolerance of its ‘political wing’. In Britain and across the continent, analysts say, we are seeing parallel social systems developing that run on Muslim Brotherhood lines. Do British policymakers really believe that giving the group’s ‘political wing’ free rein on our soil has no impact on terrorism, both over there and over here?

It’s high time Whitehall opened its eyes to the terror threat that has been acting with impunity on these shores, and took concrete steps to quash it. After all the death and destruction of recent weeks, that would be a lesson worth learning.


Caroline Glick on RT!: Blood of Jews on Hands of Progressives And Media
While the media blames Israel for their now paused war with Hamas, a top UN official praises Israel's sophistication and precise strikes at Gaza, and then suddenly takes it back. Senior columnist at Israel Hayom, Caroline Glick, joins Steve to discuss.




Equity and the “All Lives Matter-ing” of the Fight Against Antisemitism
There are many ingredients that led to the creation of a recipe for illiberal liberal pie, and I will discuss a few. First, the rampant and unquestioning adoption of ideology that claims to be woke and progressive without any real critical and analytical thinking allowed for discouraging of counter-ideology. When any and all questioning is discouraged and even defined as racist, it is unsurprising that there are few with the courage to launch an opposing viewpoint. I’m not saying that I blame those who do not openly question the unwavering support and blind faith that this ideology demands out of fear of being classified as racist.

Second, identity politics has been embraced by both fringes of the political spectrum. Unfortunately, Jewish Americans, specifically Zionists, have become a political football. Those who hold social, economic, and political progressive opinions are being forced to prioritize their values, placing their Jewish and Zionist identities last. Those who are socially, economically and politically conservative are being compelled to emphasize their support for Jewish self-determination in our ancestral homeland and ignore competing values and identities. This game of identity politics is not only costing individual and community agency, it is costing lives.

The final ingredients are historical revisionism and mass brainwashing. When anti-Semites began framing their bigotry as opposition to the actions of the Israeli government and started floating the ideology that Zionists are White European settler-colonialists, the misinformation campaign left the gates. And what fertile ground they had to plant those seeds since history and social studies have rarely been prioritized in American education. The number of people who have no idea about the history of the region is astounding. The amount of individuals who are unaware that Jewish people have had a continuous presence in Eretz Yisrael for millennia is shameful. The ones who never question why the people in North Africa and the Middle East speak Arabic, but weaponize gender diversity within the Spanish language in the Americas are displaying their privilege and ignorance proudly.

So, we end up with academics, social justice warriors, and so-called allies accepting antisemitic attacks against Jewish people, siding with terrorists and descendants of the Arab settler colonial invaders who conquered the Maghreb, all under the guise of progressivism.
Biden denounces rise in 'despicable, un-American' antisemitic attacks
US President Joe Biden on Friday denounced the recent rise in "despicable, unconscionable, un-American" antisemitic attacks across the United States.

"We have seen a brick thrown through window of a Jewish-owned business in Manhattan, a swastika carved into the door of a synagogue in Salt Lake City, families threatened outside a restaurant in Los Angeles, and museums in Florida and Alaska, dedicated to celebrating Jewish life and culture and remembering the Holocaust, vandalized with anti-Jewish messages," the statement read.

All of the incident listed in the statement took place during or after the latest escalation of violence between Israel and Hamas, during which the Gaza Strip-based terrorists of Hamas and the Palestinians Islamic Jihad launched over 4,000 rockets at the Israeli home front.

"I will not allow our fellow Americans to be intimidated or attacked because of who they are or the faith they practice," Biden said.

"May is Jewish American Heritage Month, when we honor Jewish Americans who have inextricably woven their experience and their accomplishments into the fabric of our national identity; overcoming the pain of history, and helping lead our struggle for a more fair, just, and tolerant society," the president added.

Last week, Jewish groups reached out to Biden to ask him to take steps to curb growing antisemitism and antisemitic attacks.

In the letter, the signatories wrote: "We fear that the way the conflict has been used to amplify antisemitic rhetoric, embolden dangerous actors, and attack Jews and Jewish communities will have ramifications far beyond these past two weeks."
Rabbis laud Democratic 'lone voices' condemning anti-Semitism
The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), representing over 1,500 traditional, Orthodox rabbis in American public policy, today commended four House Democrats—Reps. Josh Gottheimer (NJ), Kathy Manning (NC), Dean Phillips (MN), and Elaine Luria (VA)—for rejecting the silence of Democratic House leadership to call for action against antisemitism.

In a letter sent last week to President Biden, the four signatories both stated the need for an “all-of-government effort to combat rising antisemitism,” and repudiated accusations of “apartheid” or “terrorism” leveled against Israel as “antisemitic at their core.”

“Hateful rhetoric against Jews has increased since the ‘The Squad’—Reps. Ilhan Omar (MN), Rashida Tlaib (MI), Ayanna Pressley (MA), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) first arrived in Congress in 2019,” said CJV Western Regional Vice President Rabbi Dov Fischer. “What we see now is a Republican leadership anxious to condemn statements that lack sensitivity, while their Democratic counterparts are giving blatant hatred a pass. An ‘all-of-government effort’ will require Democrats to expunge the bigotry that has been permitted to fester within their ranks, and these four Representatives should be commended for speaking out.”

CJV expressed understanding of the letter’s attempt at bipartisan criticism, but dismissed insensitive Holocaust analogies, whether regarding mask and vaccination requirements or otherwise, as sharing none of the obvious bigotry of the remarks against Jews and Israel also documented in the letter. It is the hateful bias shared both by The Squad and at “pro-Palestinian” demonstrations, the rabbis observed, which now motivates violent attacks against Jews in American cities and creates the “climate… hostile to many Jews” the letter decries.
Prof. Phyllis Chesler: The New York Times is more demonic every day- and Haaretz is no different
Not a single word about the children in Ashdod, Ashkelon, Sderot who also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder given that they have 15 seconds to get to a bomb shelter after being warned; not a word about the children in Lod, Haifa, Ramle, the suburbs of Tel Aviv who experienced the sounds of rockets and rampaging Arab neighbor-mobs which burned down buildings and synagogues.

The fact that too few Jews were killed and that the Jewish state has the power to defend itself against terrorists is what has absolutely enraged the New York Times, the European Union, the United Nations, and the American government.

The Times has been issuing this same narrative day after day all during Hamas’s attack on Israel so that by now, those who’ve begun to attack Jews in the streets of America and Europe are all riled up.

And, in this same issue, Tzipi Livni is again calling for a two state solution—one that the Palestinian Arab leadership, both on the "West Bank" and in Gaza, have continually rejected. Her piece is a “reasonable” one, it will appeal to “reasonable” people, but not to terrorists who are determined to ethnically cleanse the Jews from the Holy Land.
Who lit the match that started the fire?
To review, in order to deescalate the situation and maintain calm:
1.) Israel’s reacted with restraint to volleys of Hamas missiles two weeks before the blowup.
2.) The Israeli government closed the Temple Mount to Jews
3.) MK Ben-Gvir vacated his office from Sheikh Jarrah
4.) The Supreme Court hearing on the Sheikh Jarrah case was postponed

After all this, Hamas made it clear that it would use the postponement of the Palestinian elections to “open a popular campaign against Israel in Jerusalem,” and on that day of May 10th, Hamas launched a heavy barrage of rockets on Jerusalem.

Immediately after, the Arab anti-Jewish violence in Jerusalem spread throughout the country. In mixed Jewish-Arab towns such as Lod, Acre, Jaffa and others, hundreds of Arabs gathered to attack Jewish passers-by, throw rocks at driving cars, vandalizing and burning Jewish-owned businesses, houses, vehicles and synagogues. Several cases of lynching also occurred.

Despite several incidents of reprehensible anti-Arab Jewish violence, the data from Israel’s Fire and rescue services for May 16th shows a clear picture: 10 burned synagogues compared to 0 burned mosques, 28 mosques that were used to organize for violent riots compared to 0 synagogues, 112 burned Jewish houses compared to one burned Arab house (by Arabs), 673 damaged Jewish houses compared to 13 Arab houses, 849 burnt Jewish-owned cars compared to Arab-owned 13 cars. All these and more point to the fact that almost all of the violence and rioting was carried out by Israeli Arabs against Israeli Jews.
When Haaretz Obliterated the Israeli Dead From New York Times’ Toxic Libel
Haaretz’s obliteration of the Israeli children was total. Editors not only deleted the text reproduced above, but also their names and photographs.

Out of the total of 68 children, Haaretz eliminated only the two Israeli children.

When asked on Twitter why his newspaper deleted only the Israeli children, Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken answered that an earlier report covered the death of Ido Avigal.

But, of course, an earlier story on Avigal does not give the paper license to selectively translate a New York Times piece which covered all of the children killed.

Furthermore, when Avigal was killed, Haaretz wasn’t particularly empathetic for the six-year-old child’s death. This is how the paper’s first page looked the day after. A laconic subheadline on the top right of the page, stated: “Five-year-old killed by rocket fire in shelter in Sderot; Father and daughter killed by rocket fire in village with no shelter.” The front page includes neither Avigal’s picture nor his name. The same goes for Awad.

Other Israeli papers, in contrast, did give front-page attention to tragedy the day after Avigal was killed, including both his name and picture.

When questioned regarding the gross omission, Haaretz‘s Schocken deflected, accusing this Presspectiva writer of his “regular crookery.”

But the facts are clear: The New York Times counted 68 children, including two Israelis, about whom the paper provided extensive detail. In Haaretz‘s translation of the story, only 66 children appeared. You already know who they were.

Only later today, Schocken admitted:
The omission of the two Israeli children who were killed in the war from The New York Times story is a severe mistake of an editor who justified it by the fact that we already reported about those children, at length and in real time. Nonetheless, he harmed The Times’ depiction of what happened in the war to children on both sides. I apologize to the readers, and we will correct the digital version.

Haaretz, by the way, has yet to correct the photograph misidentified as Rafal al-Masri’s.


As Hamas Fired Rockets, the New York Times Joined the Assault on Israel
Beyond trying to steer people toward the Palestinian narrative, though, Times opinion editors are guilty of curating a lack of empathy for Israeli Jews. Even as Israeli families were traumatized by emergency runs to bomb shelters as Hamas strove to kill them, their experiences and emotions were largely missing from the paper’s opinion pages.

In the 12 Guest Essays about the conflict published since the start of the rocket attacks, readers got to know to Refaat Alareer’s wife, Nusayba, and their children, including six-year-old Amal and eight-year-old Lina. They were intimately introduced to Laila al-Arian’s grandfather, Abdul Kareem, and her grandmother, Inaam. They were told of Diana Buttu’s 82-year-old father and her seven-year-old son.

Israelis, on the other hand, had no ages and no faces. No brothers or sisters. No Holocaust-surviving grandparents. They were doctors for a moment. Nameless victims for a paragraph or two. But mostly oppressors, attackers, shooters, racists — and generally heartless. While a Palestinian told readers not to pay attention to Hamas, an Israeli told them (wrongly) that Israelis are adept at coping with rocket fire.

That the newspaper encourages lack of empathy for Israeli Jews is bad enough. Their safety, their children, matter. But the empathy deficit doesn’t stop at Israel’s border. A majority of Jews across the world care about Israel. They are more inclined, then, to care about the Hamas rockets, which readers of the country’s most influential paper learn are “legitimate”; or to support Israel’s efforts to stop that rocket fire, which readers are told isn’t really an effort to stop the attacks, but rather to arbitrarily oppress Palestinians. Their opposition to terrorism by Hamas and other antisemitic groups in Gaza is also being demonized on the pages of the New York Times.

So vocal supporters of Israel are bullied online. And worse. As the New York Times news section noted this week, the recent surge in antisemitic violence in the United States has mostly been at the hands of “perpetrators expressing support for the Palestinian cause.” Opinion editors might consider what their role is in cultivating an atmosphere in which attacks on innocent Israeli Jews, and on innocent American Jews, are viewed as justified.


CAA applauds Education Secretary for demanding schools act against antisemitism and politicisation of classrooms
Campaign Against Antisemitism applauds the Education Secretary’s decision to demand that schools act against antisemitism and the politicisation of classrooms.

Campaign Against Antisemitism has, in recent days, held urgent meetings with multiple Cabinet ministers, including the Prime Minister, to seek immediate intervention against surging antisemitism.

Gavin Williamson has told schools to ensure that they maintain “political impartiality” after the recent surge in antisemitism in the wake of the conflict between Israel and Gaza.

Mr Williamson, noting the recent victimisation of many Jewish students and teachers, said: “Schools should ensure that political expression by senior pupils is conducted sensitively, avoiding disruption for other pupils and staff.

“It is unacceptable to allow some pupils to create an atmosphere of intimidation or fear for other students and teachers.

“School leaders and staff have a responsibility to ensure that they act appropriately, particularly in the political views they express.”

Mr Williamson added that schools should not work with organisations which do not recognise Israel’s right to exist.


Blinken and a Repeat of 'Eyeless in Gaza' Saga
Ali Khamenei asserts that he has received "a divine pledge that total victory is on the way", and demands that the two groups continue the fight until "our holy land is cleansed of the existence of the usurper".

The daily Kayhan, reputed to reflect Khamenei's views, claims that Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets and missiles could now reach 75 percent of the Israeli territory. The aim now is to increase that to 100 percent which, if combined with the Lebanese Hezbollah's rocket and missile arsenals, could pave the way for the "total victory" that Khamenei demands.

In other words, at least part of the misery that Gazans suffer is due to the no-holds-barred civil war between Fatah and Islamist Jihadis led by Hamas.

The "urgent aid package" that Khamenei promises includes none of those things. The "Supreme Guide" couldn't care less how Gazans live or die; he is only interested in how many rockets and missiles they can launch against Israel, providing him with a bunker to boast about and hide the fundamental weakness of his shaky regime.

What if Gazans don't want their tiny chunk of God's earth to be a bunker for foreign potentates in search of cut-price glory...?

Blinken should not throw money where it ends up in the hands of Hamas, which pursues jihad as part of a global terror organization.
Senate GOP reintroduces 'Palestinian Int'l Terror Support Prevention Act'
A group of 16 Republican Senators led by Marco Rubio (R-FL) reintroduced the “Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act” on Friday which is aimed “to prevent Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or any affiliate or successor thereof from accessing its international support networks.”

The bill aimed to oppose Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad from attempting to use goods, “including medicine and dual use items, to smuggle weapons and other materials to further acts of terrorism.”

The bill would impose sanctions “against foreign individuals, entities, and governments that provide support to Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other Palestinian terrorist groups that just spent weeks launching more than 4,000 rockets at Israeli civilians,” the lawmakers said in a statement. “The legislation also requires the President to submit to Congress an assessment of whether critical foreign countries are doing enough to counter the fundraising, financing, and money laundering activities of Palestinian terrorist groups.”

“As these terrorist groups continue to show zero regard for the loss of innocent lives and threaten our ally, Israel, I’m proud to reintroduce this bill which seeks to impose sanctions against foreign nationals and governments who are actively providing material support to these groups,” Rubio said. “We must hold accountable the individuals who are aiding the terrorist activities of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.” USAID Administrator, Samantha Power, testified before the House Appropriations subcommittee on Thursday, and addressed a question about the US assistance to the Palestinians. “We know we have to be faithful to the taxpayer above all and that we need to prevent these resources from falling into the wrong hands,” she said. “Right now we’re working with the Catholic Relief Services and the world food program to provide more than $50 million in immediate medical supplies.”
Ethical Danish Pension Fund Considers Excluding Israel Over Human Rights
A Danish pension fund, which prides itself on being the world’s strictest on human rights violations, says it is considering adding Israel to a long list of countries it excludes following this month’s conflict with Palestinians.

The $22 billion Akademiker looks after the pensions of Denmark’s teachers and university lecturers and has received growing attention over the last year for ditching China’s government bonds, and Saudi Arabia’s following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

It holds about 190 million Danish crowns worth ($31 million) of Israeli government and quasi-government bonds but has growing concerns – as it does about Russia, Qatar, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, which are also not on its banned list.

“We are concerned about the human rights record (of Israel), but also have to acknowledge that our members are deeply divided on this topic,” the fund’s chief executive, Jens Munch Holst, told Reuters.

The UN Human Rights Council voted on Thursday to launch an international investigation into allegations of crimes committed in the 11 days of hostilities this month between Israel and the Hamas Islamist group in Gaza.

Michelle Bachelet, the UN high commissioner for human rights, told the council that deadly Israeli strikes on Gaza may constitute war crimes and that Hamas had violated international humanitarian law by firing rockets into Israel.
Bennett Informs Yamina Party Members He’s Joining Lapid in ‘Government of Change’
Yamina leader Naftali Bennett on Sunday informed party members that he has decided to join Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid to form a “government of change” and unseat Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

The right-wing Yamina said in a statement that it “unanimously supports Bennett in his efforts to form a government and prevent a fifth general election”; however, local media reported that Amichai Chikli, one of Yamina’s seven elected Knesset (Israeli parliament) members, was not in attendance and it is understood that Bennett could not count on his vote to ratify the coalition deal with Lapid.

The “change bloc” government would include elements from both sides of Israel’s political spectrum. A rotating premiership would see Bennett serving as prime minister first until September 2023 followed by Lapid until November 2025.

Lapid, who set out to resolve Israel’s long-brewing coalition crisis, is expected later on Sunday to inform President Reuven Rivlin that he has succeeded in forming a unity government.

While Bennett is prime minister, Lapid would handle the portfolio of foreign minister and alternate prime minister. Incumbent Defense Minister Benny Gantz would hold on to his current position.
Caroline Glick: The strategic consequences of Bennett's megalomania
The leftist government that Bennett and Shaked are now forming will guarantee that the Palestinian Authority will complete its seizure of Area C, endangering Israel's strategic interests and imperiling its communities in Judea and Samaria. Most of the members of the government object to any steps to secure Israel's rights and strategic interests in the areas. Not only are they themselves ideologically committed to undermining Israel's rights in Judea and Samaria. They will never dare to defy the Biden administration, which supports Palestinian land theft.

Under the leftist government, Hamas will rebuild its military capabilities in a matter of months. With the economic and political support from the Biden administration, the EU and the UN, Hamas will be able to import all the building materials and other dual use products it requires without limitations. Any chance that Israel will object to this state of affairs will dissipate with the formation of the government. Here too, a majority of the cabinet members support the US plan to "rebuild Gaza" for "humanitarian" reasons.

And if Hamas – as can be expected – renews its campaign against Israel, the government will not dare to fight back because it will be dependent on the support of the Muslim Brotherhood-aligned United Arab List to survive. The UAL will bring down the government if it even thinks about lifting a finger to protect Israel against Hamas. Beyond the diplomatic and military catastrophe that the leftist government will foment, there's also the issue of Israeli democracy. A large majority of the ministers in the leftist government now being formed support eternalizing the legal fraternity's seizure of power over the Knesset and the government.

The radical justices of the Supreme Court and attorneys in the Attorney General's office and state prosecution will exercise unchallenged authority over all aspects of public life. All chance of restoring the powers of Israel's elected leaders and returning sovereignty to the people will disappear the minute this government is sworn into office.

It doesn't matter what "Prime Minister" Bennett and his chorus of "advisers," say in defense of their betrayal of their voters, their political camp, and their word of honor. The facts are what they are. Bennett, Shaked, and their lackeys are poised to form the most radical and weakest government Israel has ever known. You don't need to be a prophet to understand the consequences of their actions.
Ashkenazi in Cairo for first visit by Israeli FM in 13 years
Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi is expected to fly to Cairo on Monday for a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Choukri. This was the first visit by an Israeli Foreign Minister to Cairo since 2008 and focused on Egypt's efforts to broker a longtime ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the terrorist group controlling the Gaza Strip, in the wake of recent hostilities.

In a tweet posted after he arrived in Cairo, Ashkenazi said that "during the visit, we will discuss regional issues as well as ways and means to strengthen our bilateral relations. We will discuss establishing a permanent ceasefire with Hamas, a mechanism for providing humanitarian aid, and the reconstruction of Gaza with a pivotal role played by the international community."

Israel, he stressed, is firest and foremost "fully committed to returning our MIA's held by the Hamas."

According to Arab and Israeli media, Head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate Maj. Gen. Abbas Kamel is expected to visit Israel on Sunday for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and senior security officials.
How data and AI drove the IDF operation in Gaza
A small rocket lands on the roof of a house in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, at the height of the fighting earlier this month.

Fired from an Israeli military aircraft, it is designed to serve as a warning to the residents and neighbors of the house that an airstrike was on the way.

The targeted house belongs to Muhammad Bawab, leader of Hamas' East Rafah Brigade.

His home is being used as a command post from which he was overseeing all of his unit's operations. He himself is in a tunnel in the area and his family moved to a different location.

Several members of the Israeli security forces, including reservists from the Intelligence Directorate and Shin Bet operatives, crowd together in a room, monitoring video footage filmed by an IDF drone hovering over the house.

The room is an "attack cell." In the 11 days of fighting in the Gaza Strip, the IDF operated dozens of these cells, an operational innovation, that coordinated efforts by the IDF and Shin Bet.

For many senior Israeli officials, this coordination between branches of the security establishment played a crucial role in the fighting – analyzing massive amounts of data collected in the field and using it to guide attacks.
On this day: Japanese terrorists kill 26 in Israel's Lod Airport Massacre
May 30 marks the 49th anniversary of the Lod Airport Massacre, when terrorists from the Japanese Red Army carried out a brutal shooting that killed 26 people and wounded 80 others.

The shooting took place when three Japanese men in business suits disembarked at Lod Airport (known today as Ben-Gurion Airport) and took machine guns and grenades from their luggage, opening fire indiscriminately throughout the airport.

The incident was carried out in cooperation with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

Two of the shooters died during the incident but one, Kozo Okamoto, survived and was taken into custody.

After pleading guilty to avoid the death penalty, Okamoto was given a life sentence. But 13 years later, he was released in a prisoner exchange with the Palestinians in what was later known as the Jibril Agreement. He later moved to Lebanon and was given refugee status due to participating in "resistance operations against Israel." Now 73 years old, Okamoto is reported to still be living in Lebanon to this day, though he remains wanted by Japan.

In a rare interview given by Okamoto to Japanese daily The Mainichi Shimbun in 2017, Okamoto said he felt sorry for the victims but maintained it was not terrorism. Rather, the massacre was an armed struggle started jointly with the PFLP. Now, like in the past, armed struggles become the best propaganda."


PMW: Fatah: “Palestine from the Sea to the River” – will be liberated
Toward the end of the recent Fatah/Hamas riot and rocket war, a Fatah official repeated what Palestinian Media Watch has pointed out repeatedly over the last two and a half decades: Fatah - like Hamas - tells Palestinians that Fatah’s ultimate goal is Israel's destruction.

Using the well-known Palestinian slogan “from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea” to define the area of “Palestine,” the Deputy Secretary of Fatah’s Shuafat and Beit Hanina branch, Musa Al-Rajabi, vowed that Palestinians will continue to fight Israel until “the liberation of Palestine”:
Fatah Shuafat and Beit Hanina Branch Deputy Secretary Musa Al-Rajabi: “We are remaining here. Jerusalem won’t agree to being divided in two. Jerusalem is ours. Jerusalem is Arab, Islamic, and Christian… We’ll protect Sheikh Jarrah as we’re protecting the Al-Aqsa Mosque. We’ll protect the Damascus Gate as we’re protecting the Lions’ Gate. We’ll rise up every day against this tyrannical occupation that is heavily armed … We’ll continue to confront it with bare chests until the liberation of Palestine – Palestine from the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River, Palestine which is Arab and Islamic. It will remain ours.”

[Official PA TV, May 18, 2021]


This message was reinforced by Fatah and the PLO in this year’s Nakba logo – The Nakba being “the catastrophe” of the establishment of the State of Israel:

The logo shows the PA map of “Palestine” that presents all of Israel together with the PA areas as “Palestine,” with “73 [years since] the Nakba” written on it. To the left of the map is a Palestinian flag, and to the right of it is an upraised fist holding a key symbolizing the Palestinian refugees’ “right of return.”




Mob boss: Turkey diverted aid for Turkmen to 'Nusra' linked extremists
In Turkey’s latest scandal the country’s leadership is accused of conspiring with a pro-government paramilitary force to divert aid intended for the Turkish minority in Syria, to extremist groups linked to al-Qaeda and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.

The revelations came out in the eighth video that Sedat Peker, reputed crime boss and fugitive, has released slamming the government for corruption and failings.

The story of how Peker, who has been described as an ultra-nationalist once close to the ruling AK Party of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had fallen out with the regime is complex. It is one of many instances where the ruling party’s quest for absolute power in Turkey has alienated many of those once close to it.

To understand what is happening in modern Turkey is to watch how one political party was able to achieve absolute power and then worked to remove a series of “enemies” in a Stalin-like purge of Turkish society.

The AK Party began with targeting secular and left-wing protesters. After crushing the Gezi Park demonstrations, the party set its sights on destroying the Kurdish HDP opposition, using two elections in 2015 to provoke the end of the ceasefire with the militant PKK.
Syria Elected to WHO Executive Board, Activists Outraged
Syria was elected to the World Health Organization’s executive board on Friday, sparking outrage among human rights activists worldwide.

“Syria’s election is a travesty,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, an independent non-governmental human rights group based in Switzerland. “It’s like appointing a pyromaniac to be the town fire chief.”

“Syria’s Assad regime, with the help of its allies Russia and Iran, systematically bombs hospitals and clinics, killing doctors, nurses, and others as they care for the sick and injured. Health professionals have also been arrested, disappeared, imprisoned, tortured and executed. Electing this murderous regime to govern the world’s top health body is an insult to Assad’s millions of victims, and sends a terrible message,” said Neuer.

White Helmets, the Syrian civil defense group of emergency medical workers, also condemned the election. “We are appalled by the WHO’s decision to reward the Assad regime for destroying hospitals and killing doctors and refusing to provide medical assistance to Syrians by electing it as a member of its executive board,” tweeted the group.

Neuer called on UN chief Antonio Guterres and WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to denounce Syria’s election.

Over the past 10 years in Syria, there were 598 attacks on health care facilities and personnel, 350 health care facilities were targeted, and 930 medical professionals were killed, according to Physicians For Human Rights.


Let’s talk about concrete, Hamas and the BBC
The BBC’s avoidance of any significant reporting on that tunnel system is especially notable in light of the fact that it did produce reports on civilian casualties which – as BBC journalists know – resulted from the collapse of buildings above the tunnels that Hamas had constructed in recent years.

It is also noteworthy because following the 2014 conflict, the BBC ignored Hamas’ previous misappropriation of construction materials for the purpose of tunnel building and the related failure of supervisory international bodies to ensure that those materials went solely to civilian construction projects.

Despite a UN monitored mechanism to prevent building supplies being hijacked for terror purposes having been introduced in October 2014, there was plenty of evidence that that was exactly what was happening and yet the BBC chose to repeatedly close its eyes to that story and its outcome.

With attentions now focused on yet another Gaza reconstruction project, BBC audiences’ (including politicians) understanding of that topic would of course be enhanced were they at long last informed not only how and why the previous supervisory mechanisms failed to prevent Hamas from rehabilitating and expanding its terrorism infrastructure but also what such infrastructure entails and why it guarantees that the next round of conflict is merely a matter of time.
Those fishy reports on ancient Israelites eating non-kosher seafood
We have a bone to pick — a fishbone, to be more precise.

Last week media attention focused on a new study by archaeologists Dr. Yonatan Adler and Prof. Omri Lernau. They examined fishbones from ancient Israel and found that – despite clear Torah prohibitions, remains of non-kosher scaleless fish were found in ancient Israel in areas where Jews and gentiles lived. The wider media got hooked on the bait of what seemed a scoop: “Bad Judeans? Despite biblical ban, non-kosher fish were eaten in ancient Israel” ran the title of the Times of Israel feature coverage. In the published study, the authors claimed that the consumption of non-kosher fish during the period of the First Temple was ubiquitous: “All the fish assemblages from Judah available for analysis contained significant numbers of scaleless fish remains, especially catfish.” Moreover, the authors claimed that outside of the Torah there is no direct reference to these prohibitions until the first century BCE.

In his Times of Israel podcast, Adler offered that for him, the importance of the study went well beyond the history of diet; that, indeed, he has much larger fish to fry. These findings, he claimed, support his larger thesis: “We do not have any evidence that the Judean masses prior to the middle of the second century BCE had any knowledge of the Torah or observed the rules of the Torah.”

We believe that these assertions are not supported by the evidence and that the media portrayal of this study as “a scoop” is unwarranted. Bad Judeans, indeed!

The fact that there is evidence that many Jews in ancient Israel consumed non-kosher fish should come as a surprise to no one – certainly not anyone familiar with the Bible. We know from the Bible’s own testimony that although intermarriage is proscribed by the Torah, intermarriage was rampant during the period of Ezra and Nehemiah. And although the Torah proscribes idol worship, the prophets censure Israel for doing just this, and indeed we find many dozens of figurines in Israelite sites during that time, including locations near where some of these non-kosher fishbones were found. Not dozens, but hundreds of chapters of the Bible chronicle Israel’s failure to observe the words of the covenant with God. “Bad Judeans” – the title of the Times of Israel coverage – could well substitute as a title for the Bible itself. The Israelite cultures that brought us the destruction of the First Temple, it now turns out, also were not fully observant of the laws of kashrut. There is nothing surprising about this.


German military to get chief rabbi for first time in 100 years
For the first time since World War I, the German military is set to appoint a chief rabbi. The move, an initiative of German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, is aimed at both serving the hundreds of Jews in the German military's ranks as well as fighting antisemitism. The appointment of a Jewish German to a significant role will also be highly symbolic given the German military's participation in the genocide of the Jewish people in the Holocaust.

Rabbi Zsolt Balla has been selected to fill the position. He will continue his current roles as chief rabbi of Saxony and its capital, Leipzig, while serving as the chief military rabbi.

Around 300 German Jews currently serve in the country's military. Balla will head the military rabbinate that will be established in Berlin and will be responsible for the work of 10 religious figures in the military. Alongside the provision of religious services to Jewish soldiers, the military rabbinate will take part in the education of all German soldiers to prevent antisemitism.

Balla will officially enter the role at a ceremony at a Leipzeig synagogue to be held in a few weeks. The ceremony will be broadcast live on German TV channel ARD. Among those set to attend are Kramp-Karrenbauer, Saxon Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer, Central Council of Jews in Germany Josef Schuster, as well as representatives of the Conference of European Rabbis, of which Balla is a member.

Conference of European Rabbis and Moscow Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt welcomed the appointment.


Israeli company uses AI to detect breast cancer, gets EU authorization
Israeli technology employing artificial intelligence to detect breast cancer has obtained European Union approval, Ibex Medical Analytics announced Wednesday.

Tel Aviv-based Ibex was established in 2016 and is focused on developing AI solutions to cancer diagnosis.

“Breast cancer is the most common cancer malignant disease in women, with several million cases per year,” Ibex chief scientific officer Dr. Daphna Laifenfeld said. “For this reason, both timely and accurate diagnosis is really critical.”

Over the past few years, an increase of breast cancer cases, as well as the development of personalized medicine, has led to an increased complexity in diagnosis, reducing the number of pathologists who are able to read biopsies, she said.

“This results in an increased workload on labs and healthcare systems, and this essentially means that there are more mistakes in the data,” Laifenfeld said. “Considering how serious and prevalent the disease is, it’s really important to have an application that can actually be used as an automated solution and a decision support tool for pathologists.”

Ibex’s Galen Breast solution aims to assist physicians in the task.


America and Israel: A Tale of Two Memorial Days
In America, we mostly associate Memorial Day commemorations with Washington, D.C. (including one at Arlington National Cemetery). But because it’s such a small country, everything in Israel is national.

I wish more Americans would watch videos of Israel’s Yom Ha’Zikaron siren; they give me the chills because the sound is so shrill, almost reminding me of sirens I heard outside my house during the Iran-Iraq War. But simply watching videos of people immobilized by the sirens is deeply powerful. I hope that any Americans who watch these videos won’t be tempted to think that Israel is one big, incessant war zone. Forty-eight hours in Tel Aviv (or twenty-four hours at a winery in the Golan) should banish that misconception from their minds.

But here’s a radical idea: perhaps sirens should blare all over America on Memorial Day. Maybe we’re not ready for two sirens—one at night and one the following day—but at least one siren would be a deeply powerful reminder that, as Americans, we’re all in this together. Yes, there are those who wouldn’t stop and stand, especially given the country’s current civil unrest. Of course, they would be free to do so. But the blare of that siren might penetrate even the most hardened heart. America is 448 times bigger than Israel, so the geographical logistics of such sirens would be difficult, but not impossible.

Search engines aren’t great barometers of anything, but try Googling “Memorial Day 2021, Los Angeles,” and you’ll find music and comedy shows at the top of the list, followed by a list of Memorial Day parties on Eventbrite. Add the word, “ceremony” to the search results and you’ll find three local events.

I also believe that every American who has not lost a loved one who served should visit a website that randomly assigns the name of a fallen American soldier, whether it’s one who gave their life during the Revolutionary War, the Iraq War, a training accident in Fort Bragg, or any other military conflict in our nation’s history. We could keep this person in our thoughts throughout the day. And since we’re Americans, we could toast his or her memory and sacrifice over a cold beer on Memorial Day. It’s truly the least we could do.

I’m one of those odd people who, on Memorial Day, thinks about soldiers from the Revolutionary War. If they hadn’t fought for the miraculous vision of men I now consider my American forefathers, I and millions of grateful refugees and immigrants would have lived very different lives. I’m also prone to think of soldiers who lost their lives in World War II, when they saved the world from the clutches of genocidal tyranny. And, as an Iranian American, I can’t help but think of every American soldier who has fallen in the Middle East.

As for Israel, a part of me wishes that rampant commercialism would take hold there on Remembrance Day, not as a sign of disrespect toward fallen soldiers or victims of terror, but as proof that Israel finally has found peace. Of course, all victims of the past must still be honored on Yom Ha’Zikaron (and every day). Sadly, this year’s list now includes the ten Israelis who were killed by Hamas rocket or missile attacks in the past few weeks (including Israeli Arabs).

But how lovely it would be if next year there were no new names to add to the list of the fallen in America or Israel. A long list of discounted appliances or a grocery list of barbeque staples wouldn’t look so bad, after all.











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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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