Saturday, June 05, 2021

From Ian:

Six Day War: When Israel reclaimed Jerusalem, its eternal capital
It was Begin who set in motion the final act. He had been overruled in the cabinet the night before when he called for an immediate attack on the Old City. Waking from a troubled sleep, he tuned into the BBC. The lead news item was about a Middle East ceasefire that the Security Council was planning to call this day. Begin telephoned Dayan and said “we can’t wait anymore.”

Dayan agreed. At 5:30 a.m. Narkiss was contacted by Dayan’s deputy, Gen. Haim Bar-Lev. The paratroopers were to attack the Old City as soon as possible. The cabinet had not yet approved, he said, but there was no doubt that it would in a telephone poll. Any lingering ambiguity had been cast aside by the fast-moving developments.

The departure of Haza’a’s force spared the paratroopers who broke through Lion’s Gate at 10 a.m. a bloody fight. (Two Israelis would be killed inside the walls in skirmishes with a scattering of Jordanian soldiers who had remained behind.)

When Dayan arrived on the Temple Mount he ordered that an Israeli flag raised by soldiers on the Dome of the Rock be taken down. He would shortly order de facto control of the Temple Mount returned to the Muslim religious authorities.

At the Western Wall, Dayan read a statement to the press: “We have returned to the holiest of our sites and will never again be separated from it. To our Arab neighbors, Israel extends the hand of peace; and to the peoples of all faiths we guarantee full freedom of worship and of religious rights. We have come not to conquer the holy places of others, nor to diminish their religious rights, but to ensure the unity of the city and to live in it with others in harmony.”

Though generous and statesmanlike, Dayan’s words meant that the Old City would not be relinquished.

A committee consisting of senior civil servants and a general was appointed to draw up Jerusalem’s new eastern boundary. Three weeks after the war, the Knesset adopted their recommendations, annexing 28 square miles that included land belonging to two dozen Arab villages.

Overnight, Israeli Jerusalem tripled in size and Jordanian Jerusalem ceased to exist. The annexed area was carved out primarily on the basis of security, not sanctity. Choosing high ground, the planners created a buffer to serve – militarily and demographically – should war threaten again from the east.

What had been Jordanian Jerusalem, including the half-mile square Old City and the Mount of Olives, constituted only 6% of the land taken. But the walled entity, with its ramparts and holy places, would remain the heart of Jerusalem, harboring narratives capable of inspiring both sublime contemplation and rocket wars. Jerusalem’s Arabs and Jews would begin praying in proximity while jostling for position at the gateway to heaven.


Israel’s raid on Osirak, 40 years on
The pilots, along with Israel Air Force Maj.-Gen. David Ivri and IDF chief of staff Rafael “Raful” Eitan, clustered at Etzion Air Base prior to the strike, dubbed Operation Babylon (also known as Operation Opera). It was the eve of Shavuot. The pilots were briefed. The six F-15s and eight F-16s flew the complex mission over Saudi Arabia, entering Iraq from the miles of open desert that form the boundary between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. They had to fly low, some 100-150 feet from the desert landscape. While the F-15s used radar and electronic counter-measures, the F-16s continued their bomb run to the reactor southwest of Baghdad.

There were other obstacles as well. Jordan’s King Hussein, according to reports, saw the F-16s pass over and a warning was sent to Iraq according to a 2012 Air Force Magazine report. It was just after 4 p.m. and the reactor was to be struck at sunset. Radio silence had to be maintained and the pilots had to avoid Saudi early warning systems operating to the south. There was a larger context here. At the time, controversy had grown in the US over sales of F-15 enhancements to Saudi Arabia and AWACS radar planes. Such advanced aircraft were not in the hands of Riyadh yet.

The mission’s success not only gave Israeli additional military respect around the world, it also aided deterrence. It once again proved its capabilities for using the latest aircraft. Ford notes that “the IAF used the F-15, designed for long-range detection and air superiority, in its optimal role: protecting strikers as they dropped their munitions. Similarly, the IAF used the F-16 in its optimal role as a strike fighter against heavily defended targets. Israel was the only nation in the region that possessed these aircraft and tactical knowledge about their optimal use.”

Today Israel is pioneering uses for the F-35, having received two dozen of the aircraft in two squadrons, with the plan to acquire up to 75 of the planes.

The raid on Osirak was a watershed moment. It changed the region and ushered in a new era of Israeli dominance. Where once Israel’s military abilities were contested by conventional militaries like Egypt and Syria, by the 1980s and 1990s Israel would possess the strongest most capable military in the region.

But that hasn’t changed the equation when it comes to non-conventional weapons, such as nuclear weapons or Iran’s missiles and drones, the kind Hamas has used recently. Israel’s use of advanced warplanes, such as the F-15 and F-16 and now F-35, isn’t a magic wand to win wars.

Dangerous facilities, such as Syria’s nuclear reactor that was destroyed in 2007, can be stopped – but more threats will emerge.
Apartheid libel is a cover to target Jews
WHAT DOES it mean when someone libels Israel by comparing it to the abject evil of South African apartheid? It does a few things simultaneously: it legitimizes opinions hostile toward Israel’s existence that would otherwise be unacceptable in popular discourse regarding other liberal democracies, appropriates actual oppression under apartheid in South Africa, whitewashes and justifies violence against Israelis in the name of “self-defense,” and contributes to the widespread sense of perpetual victimhood found throughout Palestinian communities.

This claim to violence as a defensive measure is particularly dubious. The legitimacy of violence as a form of protest has long been disputed as it undermines democracy at the altar of the mob. In some contexts, it’s been used to justify attacks on police in the US, in others, to weaponize children against Israel. Of course, the immorality of indiscriminate violence poses a big problem for proponents of this kind of political expression, but in the context of Palestinian “armed resistance,” something else is at play. If a group justifies its use of violence as an act of defense, but lies about what prompted said defense, all that’s left is the violence.

One example of such a false claim belongs to Khulood Badawi, one of the researchers who contributed to the currently circulating HRW document. In 2012, Badawi, a staff member of the Jerusalem branch of the UN Office of Coordinated Humanitarian Affairs at the time, posted a picture on social media of a deceased and bloodied Palestinian six-year-old girl being held by her father accompanied by a caption: “Palestine is bleeding. Another child killed by Israel.” As it turned out, the picture was taken six years earlier than claimed, and the cause of the heart-wrenching tragedy was an accident entirely unrelated to any Israeli military action.

However, this type of dishonesty did not stop Mohammed Merah from murdering three Jewish children under the age of 10, and their father at Ozar Hatorah school in France a week later. He claimed to have been partially motivated by the fact that “the Jews have killed our brothers and sisters in Palestine.” While there’s no exact causal link between Badawi’s lie and Merah’s actions, Merah’s chilling words underscore that incitement can be a motivating factor for violence in the context of the Israeli-Arab conflict. This tragedy epitomizes most, if not all, lies told about Israel. It’s no surprise that Badawi has found a home at HRW and had a hand in crafting their piece about Israel’s non-existent apartheid.

THIS KIND of dishonesty was not lost on me as I attended a Students for Justice in Palestine rally at Colorado College. It was May 15, the same day Hamas was raining down its many murder-attempt rockets at dense population centers on and around Tel Aviv. For 40 minutes, I listened to SJP members parrot the apartheid libel and others like Badawi’s to a small, enthusiastically empathetic crowd of students and professors. I was given a QR code to a resource page filled not only with links to organizations that have been unmasked as dishonest instigators of violence against Jewish people inside Israel and out, and a handful of organizations that have a history of working with US-designated terrorist groups like the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), but also encourages activists to proclaim that “There is only one solution: Intifada, Revolution.”

All this while the frequency of attacks on Jewish people from self-proclaimed “pro-Palestine” activists worldwide in places like NYC, Toronto, and basically all of Europe have risen dramatically in the past few weeks. I’m reminded of the push to have a plane hijacker speak directly to students at SFSU last year and the effect that such an environment has on its Jewish students. I wonder how long it will be until Jewish Coloradoans are targeted, considering SJP promulgates violent ideologies on their campuses unabated. Colorado College, is this what you want for your Jewish students?


Stephen Daisley: Does Google really understand racism?
Bobb is no longer Google's head of diversity, not because he has been fired but because, in response to finding out he has a problem with the old anti-Semitism, Google reassigned him elsewhere in the company. Now, I’m not suggesting Google ought to have dismissed Bobb altogether — it’s not as though he did something truly heinous like write a memo — but its disparate responses to racism are telling.

Last summer’s protests and riots in the wake of George Floyd’s killing saw Google issue a 1,700-word statement about racism and pledge millions of spending within the company and in donations to outside groups. Yet Google has hitherto been silent on rising anti-Semitism and street violence against Jews in the United States and elsewhere. In Big Tech, as in the mainstream media, as on university campuses, racism is seen as something other than anti-Semitism and anti-Semitism as something other than racism.

Speaking of the campus, it is not coincidental that, according to the Beacon, Bobb penned this blog while he was a research associate at a leading university. It’s so much easier to be an anti-Semite on a university campus because on a university campus anti-Semitism is more commonly referred to as ‘the required reading list’.

All this is depressingly familiar from the Labour anti-Semitism scandal. But while British anti-Semites were kept out of power in 2017 and 2019, their US counterparts are more powerful because, even in the space of just a few years, the American consensus against anti-Semitism has crumbled in both main political parties and beyond. As with the Labour party, those who should have known better, not least in the Democrats, have ratcheted down their commitment to fighting Jew-hatred for reasons of party management, conflict-avoidance and white-hot terror of the fanatical grassroots. The Democrats’ problem is particularly dangerous because, even more so than Labour in Britain, as goes the Democrat party, so goes much of blue-state and national civil society.

If I were a Jew, I would wonder why progressives can discern racism in almost anything except anti-Semitism. If I were a Jew, I would ask how badly Jews in New York have to be beaten up, or how many 'rape their daughters' convoys have to drive through London, or how many rockets have to rain down on children in Ashkelon, Ashdod and Sderot before progressives understand that anti-Semitism is not caused by settlements or checkpoints or the absence of a Palestinian state but simply racism. If I were a Jew, when their belated and equivocal statements about anti-Semitism eventually come, I would tell these people to go to hell.
New York Senate candidate encourages Americans to protest Hamas
Khaled Salem, a US Senate candidate for the State of New York, encouraged Americans on Tuesday to protest against the terrorist group Hamas, according to a report by PR Newswire.

Salem, as a dual Egyptian-American citizen and CEO of American Human Rights, supports the elimination of terror tunnels from Gaza to Israel as well as supporting a worldwide protest against Hamas and the Lebanese-terrorist group Hezbollah.

"I am extremely concerned that Hamas will divert a substantial portion of the $75 million dollars of American aid money, while terrorists hide among civilian infrastructure, including in schools, hospitals and residences," Salem stated, "The terrorists use civilians as human shields, which is a humanitarian war crime."

Salem stresses that any humanitarian or financial aid that enters Gaza will manifest into weapons to fire upon Israel. He believes that one of the US's biggest problems is treating Hamas "as an equal to Israel."

As a candidate for US Senate, Salem is planning to unseat current Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer. Salem's policy positions include free university education, implementing laws to decrease domestic violence throughout the US, free medical insurance, and more.
Hamas apologists slander Israel at Rutgers ‘teach-in’
Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi starred in a May 20 anti-Israel online “teach-in” named after his blatantly biased 2020 book, The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917–2017. Hosted by Rutgers University’s Center for Security, Race and Rights (CSRR), the panelists’ Israel-bashing was so clichéd that it might well have been 100 years old itself.

CSRR director and Rutgers law-school professor Sahar Aziz set the panel’s tone in her introduction with her cohost, Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) director Sarah Leah Whitson. She noted that murdered journalist and Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, an anti-Israel Islamist and Qatari asset, founded DAWN, while Aziz stated that she is a DAWN board member. From its launch last September, DAWN has been an “Islamist support” organization, some of whose officials have “connections to Al-Qaeda and Hamas networks.”

The anti-Israel, pro-Hamas propaganda that followed was therefore predictable. Israel’s image today has a “very clear focus on the apartheid, on the ethnic cleansing, on the land theft, on the war crimes, and over the past 10 days the indiscriminate and deliberate bombardment of the population in Gaza,” said Whitson. From America “billions in annual military aid directly goes to contribute to Israeli war crimes” under a “systematically abusive government,” Whitson added during her panel comments, a theme reiterated by Aziz and Khalidi.

Aziz condemned that Israel needed to “bomb entire buildings that are 13 stories high and include international media among civilians” in order to strike Hamas targets embedded among such human shields. “In any other country or any other context there would be international outcry, and there would be no question whether this was a violation of the law of war,” she added, contrary to standard laws of warfare. She accordingly decried what she falsely deemed the “murder of over 227 Gazans, most of whom are civilians.”

Khalidi grudgingly conceded that Hamas’s massed indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israel “very likely is” a war crime, yet astonishingly concluded that, compared with Hamas, Israel commits “war crimes on a much larger scale.” “Israel is targeting civilians” with “extreme violence,” he said, notwithstanding the extraordinary efforts Israel undertakes to minimize civilian casualties. “Israel has succeeded in painting Palestinian resistance as terror,” he claimed, as if this “resistance” were anything but terror. Khalidi invoked grotesquely skewed casualty figures from Israel’s 2014 “Operation Protective Edge” against Hamas to state that “killing 2,200 civilians in Gaza in 2014 is not terror. Killing a dozen Israeli civilians is terror.”

In stark contrast, the two professors whitewashed Hamas’s lethal actions. “There is a lot of talk about Hamas, and this is in some way a diversionary tactic to just focus on this one group within a very complicated ecosystem of political groups,” said Aziz, as if Hamas’s jihadist ideology were not rampant among Palestinians. Khalidi chided that European countries, Israel and the United States refused “to deal with an elected representative” in Hamas terrorists committed to Israel’s destruction and counterfactually concluded that “Hamas supports a two-state solution.”
Rutgers Hosted Professor Who Compared Israel Supporters To Rats As University Struggles With Israel-Palestine PR Nightmare
Rutgers University recently hosted a pro-Palestine professor who once compared supporters of Israel to vermin, another hit for the university as it struggles in a public relations nightmare concerning its statements on the current Israel-Palestine conflict.

On May 20, Rutgers held an event featuring Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi, who spoke about his book, “The 100 Years’ War on Palestine,” The College Fix reported. Khalidi “started by talking about the ‘extreme violence’ between Israel and Palestine,” the outlet reported.

As noted by the Fix, Khalidi in 2017 warned that supporters of Israel would gain influence in then-incoming President Donald Trump’s administration.

“These people in fact infest the Trump transition team, these people are going to infest our government as of January 20, and they are hand in glove with a similar group within the Israeli government,” Khalidi said in an interview with WBEZ Chicago.

Eugene Kontorovich, a Northwestern law professor who is now at George Mason, responded to Khalidi’s remarks by saying they were “a very manifestly Semitic rhetoric — Jews as vermin — for a supposedly refined albeit pro-Palestinian Columbia prof and Pres. Obama’s former mentor. This kind of statement deserves attention.”
Scientific American Breaks 176-Year Legacy to Shill for Terrorists and Promote BDS
Founded in 1845, Scientific American is a venerable, American popular science magazine, published for the last 13 years by the Springer Nature group – an amalgam of the Nature, Macmillan and Springer Science & Business media. But for the past year since coming under the helm of science journalist Laura Helmuth, it has veered in a political direction.

On June 2, 2021, the newspaper published a petition that is currently being circulated by anti-Israel BDS activists on social media. Although the popular science magazine presented it as “an opinion and analysis article,” it is actually a pastiche of clichéd, anti-Israel libels and pro-terrorist propaganda devoid of truth that urges adherence to the antisemitic BDS campaign. The brazenness of its demands is shocking!

The authors introduce themselves as “health care workers and faculty from around the world who stand with the Palestinian people in their struggle for freedom and liberation.” They are mostly young, Palestinian BDS activists who are clearly far more passionately involved in anti-Israel incitement than in promoting good healthcare and medicine around the world.

The question is why would the publication’s editors cast aside the scientific tradition of fact-based inquiry in order to present pro-terrorist propaganda and a BDS agenda disguised as an analytic article?

The anti-Israel screed parroting Palestinian terror groups’ lies and incitement against Israel notably ignores the war crimes of Hamas and Palestinian terror groups under its auspices.
Baltimore police charge 3 teens with murder of Israeli man
Baltimore police have charged three teenagers with first-degree murder, alleging that they were involved in the fatal shooting of a 31-year-old Israeli man in Northwest Baltimore last month.

William Clinton III, 18, and a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old are being held without bail, police said.

Police said video footage and physical evidence led them to Clinton and the two minors.

Efraim Gordon was fatally shot multiple times May 3 in what police said appeared to be a robbery. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died.

On the same day, police say, Clinton also stole a vehicle. He is charged with theft and unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, according to online court records.

An attorney for Clinton is not listed.

Gordon had traveled from Israel to Baltimore for a week’s visit to attend his cousin’s wedding. When he was shot in the Glen neighborhood, he was walking back to his aunt and uncle’s house, Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schliefer previously said.

Law enforcement and “the cooperation of the community ... made these arrests possible,“ Schliefer wrote in a Facebook post after police announced the arrests.

Gordon’s family raised $61,000 to return Gordon’s body to Israel and to offer a $30,000 reward for tips leading to an arrest.

In an update on the fundraising campaign page, organizers said Gordon “has been buried respectfully.”


LA Police Arrest Suspect Who Threw Concrete Slab at Synagogue, Kosher Steakhouse
Los Angeles police have arrested a man suspected of a series of vandalism incidents in recent days, including two in which he threw pieces of concrete at a West LA synagogue and kosher steakhouse.

Jon Knight Prince was arrested Thursday for 13 acts of vandalism between May 26 and Wednesday, according to the Los Angeles Police Department, and was being held on $325,000 bail.

At around 1 a.m. on May 28, Prince attacked the Young Israel of Century City synagogue on Pico Boulevard with a concrete slab several times, failing to break its windows. He then succeeded in smashing a window at Pat’s Restaurant, a nearby kosher steakhouse.

“We will not be frightened by any act by anyone,” Elazar Muskin, leader of the Young Israel, said later that day. “There’s no place in our society, and this country created and built on the principles of freedom of religion, for such acts of vandalism and of hate.”

A police spokesperson could not confirm whether Prince’s charges included the attack on the steakhouse, or whether the synagogue incident was being investigated as a hate crime, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The vandalism came amid a national spike in antisemitic attacks, including in Los Angeles. Two men have been arrested for a May 18 attack on diners outside a Beverly Grove sushi restaurant in which assailants shouted “death to Jews,” while on Saturday, two young Jewish boys were shot at with a paintball gun from a passing car after synagogue services.


State Department Shuns Term ‘Abraham Accords’
The Biden State Department discourages employees from referring to the historic peace agreements signed by Israel and its Arab neighbors by its official name, the Abraham Accords, according to one source with direct knowledge of the Biden administration’s internal decision-making process and emails reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon. The name has also been erased from a wide array of official State Department communications as the new administration presses officials to refer to the Trump-era deals as "normalization agreements."

The Abraham Accords were brokered last year by the outgoing Trump administration and paved the way for Israel to make peace with traditional Arab foes, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and, later, other Muslim nations. The agreements were a capstone of former president Donald Trump’s foreign policy legacy and created a shift in the region that brought leading Arab nations closer to the Jewish state and further from Iran.

The Free Beacon reviewed two internal State Department emails detailing to employees that the agreements will no longer be referred to as the Abraham Accords but only as "normalization agreements." No reason was given for the policy, the source said. The department also purged the term "Abraham Accords" from its talking points, documents, statements, and official communications, the source said, adding that senior department officials have been very "cagey" about explaining the policy decision and have sought to keep it quiet.

Following inquiries to the State Department about the emails and the source’s information, a spokesman told the Free Beacon, "the Department would refer to the Abraham Accords as such." The department declined to comment on the emails in question or make clear whether its statement represents another shift in policy. A State Department official, speaking only on background, said, "This administration is not focused on what these agreements are called but what they mean."

It is unclear what impact the Biden administration believes the change will have. The State Department declined to explain its position. "It's a name the Trump administration came up with, a branding they came up with, and they prefer not to use it because it's associated with President Trump. For the U.S. to shy away from that term, it's absurd, petty, and silly." Team Biden, the source said, further saw the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas terror groups "as an, ‘Ah-ha!’ moment to shit on the Abraham Accords."
Suggested Gaza solution
What is the solution? Here is what the Mayor of Sderot, Alon Davidi said following the Guardian of the Walls war. “The ceasefire agreed upon between Israel and the terrorist organizations in Gaza, mediated by the Egyptians without conditions, proves that despite the backing and patience and heroism that residents of the south have shown for 20 years, Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli government do not really want to overthrow Hamas and prefer temporary quiet for the residents of central Israel at the expense of the residents of the Gaza envelope and the south who will continue to suffer from terrorism,”

An analogy? You can treat an infection in your foot and treat it so it no longer hurts or does not get worse, but the infection is still there and not eradicated and it will again in time become a problem. Is the solution to allow the infection to remain and deal with it over and over or to eliminate the infection altogether?

Does it not make sense that the hundreds of thousands of Gazans who want to leave their deplorable living conditions - that are only getting worse - are offered the solution of resettlement of civilians in other countries (mainly Arab,but not only) where there is plenty of room for them to start a better life?

There is no reason why people should have to live in those conditions especially when there are plenty of Arab countries with plenty of land for these people to live. This might sound radical or nearly impossible, but it would solve the issue of civilians not supporting Hamas being killed during the bombing of Hamas.

Dr. Martin Sherman, founder and CEO of Institute of Strategic Studies has for a long time advocated for the removal of Gazan civilians and resettling them in another country similar to what Prime Minister Levi Eshkol suggested in 1967. In May of 2018 Dr. Sherman said that continuation of humanitarian aid does not stop the conflict, but instead perpetuates it. Palestinian Arabs have a huge desire to leave the Gaza Strip and at least half of them are willing to leave if they could. He points out that to fly a family to another country and provide them with enough money to buy a home and get settled would cost the Israeli government less that all that is being spent to deter more rockets.

Here is some related information taken from an ILTV news program August 19, 2019. Thousands of Gazans want to leave the Gaza Strip as soon as possible. Israel has been trying to help their dreams come true by having talks with other nations, mostly Arab, to be willing to absorb them. Some 35,000 left Gaza in 2019 through the Sinai and flying out of Cairo. Israel is willing to cover the cost and use Israeli airfields. The biggest problem is that few Middle East countries have agreed to take in Gazans even though they have plenty of land to spare and some have highly successful economies.

If Gaza were empty of all civilians not wanting to be under Hamas or associated with Hamas, then that would solve the problem of killing civilians when bombing Hamas. The terrorist organization could be finally destroyed eliminating any more rockets, balloons, or terrorist attacks. There would be no Gaza Strip, but instead only Israel which would develop that coastal area into the Singapore of the Middle East for any Arabs willing to live in peace with the Jewish state.

If the world really cared about Gazans, that is the solution they would be supporting.
Belfast calls for Israeli ambassadors to be expelled from UK, Ireland
The City Council of Belfast in Northern Ireland passed a motion calling on the governments of the United Kingdom and Ireland to expel Israel’s ambassadors to those countries.

In addition to the vote in Belfast, the capital of the British region of Northern Ireland, pro-Palestinian students and activists staged a sit-in protest on Thursday in front of the Foreign Ministry of Ireland in Dublin. They blocked the entrance for hours, waving signs urging Ireland to expel the Israeli ambassador.

“I think the expulsion of ambassadors is a first step – a preliminary step – to greater action, but it’s an incredibly important and symbolic step,” Fiona Ferguson, a far-left politician who initiated the voting, said during the voting session, the Jewish Chronicle of London reported. The motion calls on the municipality to urge Ireland and the U.K. “to expel from office Israeli ambassadors, with immediate effect.” It passed with votes from left-wing parties including Sinn Fein, the council’s largest party with 18 seats out of 60.

But opposition parties voiced their disapproval of the motion.

“The Jews are the original indigenous inhabitants of Palestine and as such have the right to exist as a nation state,” said John Kyle of the Progressive Unionist Party of Northern Ireland. “Israel is confronted by organizations which do not recognize its right to exist … and this is antisemitism.”
PA envoy to Ireland denies meeting Israeli counterpart
The Palestinian ambassador to Ireland, Jilan Wahba, denied on Saturday that she had met with her Israeli counterpart, Ophir Kariv. The denial came after The Irish Times revealed on June 2 that the Palestinian and Israeli ambassadors appeared together at a joint forum in Dublin for the first time.

The report triggered protests and condemnations from some Palestinians who took to social media platforms to express outrage over the alleged meeting.

Palestinian political activists regularly attack Palestinians who meet with Israelis and accuse them of “promoting normalization with the Israeli occupation.”

Wahba and Kariv both spoke at the event organized by the Sonar Diplomacy, a nonprofit which promotes multiculturalism and diplomacy, in Trinity College, the newspaper reported.
Switzerland adopts IHRA definition of antisemitism
The government of Switzerland has adopted the definition of antisemitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, making the Alpine nation the 36th country to do so.

“This definition can serve as an additional guide for identifying antisemitic incidents within the framework of the various measures to combat antisemitism in Switzerland,” the Federal Council, the country’s highest executive authority, said in a statement Friday.

The IHRA working definition describes various forms of antisemitism, including hatred and discrimination against Jews and Holocaust denial. It also lists examples of anti-Israel criticism that it says in certain context can be defined as antisemitic, including comparing the country’s policies to those of Nazi Germany, denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination and “applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”

Criticism of Israel similar to that leveled at any other country is not antisemitic, the definition also states.

IHRA introduced the definition in 2016, three years after the European Union’s anti-racism agency removed a very similar text from its website amid protests over the text by pro-Palestinian activists who argued it limits free speech.
Gantz demands cancellation of flag march in Jerusalem
Gantz held a meeting on Saturday to discuss the the Jerusalem Day flag march which has been rescheduled for Thursday in the Old City. Both Israeli politicians and Hamas have been warning against allowing the Jerusalem Day flag march.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz held a meeting today (Saturday) with IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Aviv Kochavi, police Inspector-General and additional security authorities to discuss the march. After he was given the assessment of the security situation and the operational efforts required of the police and the IDF, the Minister of Defense concluded the meeting with the demand not to hold a flag parade in Jerusalem this week because it could lead to complications in ongoing political processes.

Originally, a briefing by police officials was scheduled for Sunday to approve the march and its exact route, which is again scheduled to pass through the Damascus Gate near the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. A final decision may not be made until later in the week, Kan News reported. A post on social media over the weekend invited people to join Thursday’s march, saying: “The flag march is returning big time!... Returning to march in the streets of Jerusalem with our heads held high and with Israeli flags.”

The traditional Jerusalem Day march was postponed May 11 amid rising tension on the Temple Mount and nearby Sheikh Jarrah, as well as the outbreak of war with Hamas and the onset of Operation Guardian of the Walls after Hamas fired rockets toward Jerusalem that day.

Various Israeli politicians called on Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai to prevent the march from taking place, claiming that it has a political agenda behind it and may lead to more violence.


Abbas: Talking with Netanyahu first legitimized Ra’am across political spectrum
A day after his Islamist party agreed to join the coalition of parties backing the “change government,” Ra’am leader Mansour Abbas said Thursday that he had preferred to conduct his initial negotiations with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, enabling him to gain legitimacy not only on the right, but among the center and left that are now positioned to unseat Israel’s longest-serving premier with his help.

Ra’am, a local branch of the Muslim Brotherhood movement whose charter calls Zionism “racist” and backs a right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants, has never been part of a governing coalition.

But in recent months, Abbas took major steps toward recognition from mainstream Israeli parties, softening his rhetoric and conducting extensive negotiations over political cooperation with Netanyahu’s Likud. However, after the premier’s far-right ally Bezalel Smotrich vetoed a Ra’am-backed right-wing government, Abbas went on to sign an unprecedented coalition deal with the “change bloc.”

“It was more perfect to take this step with the full-blown right — because in these matters, when you do the process with the right you also get the center and the left,” Abbas told the Kan public broadcaster, adding his move led to “recognition in the entire political and social spectrum in Israel.”

In an interview at his home in the northern town of Maghar, Abbas said the relations with his new partners, “particularly Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett… developed well, positively, as well as an understanding of the needs of each side.”

“There were ups and downs and at a certain stage Naftali Bennett was in the direction of a right-wing government, but afterward he went back and again the change government was back on the table,” Abbas said.


Joe Truzman: Analysis: 17 Palestinian militant factions identified in recent Gaza conflict
The recent conflict in Gaza was primarily fought between Hamas’ military wing, al-Qassam Brigades, and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). However, a total of 17 Palestinian militant groups have been identified by FDD’s Long War Journal as active participants in the eleven day conflict.

The conflict began May 10 when the spokesperson of al-Qassam Brigades, Abu Obeida, published a statement saying Israel had until 6:00 pm local time to withdraw its forces from al-Aqsa Mosque and to release those who were arrested in clashes with Israeli police. Israel did not fulfill the demand and subsequently the militant group fired rockets towards Jerusalem.

FDD’s Long War Journal was able to identify militant activity during the conflict through previously established media channels operated by the various Palestinian factions.

Al-Qassam Brigades, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Saraya al-Quds were the most active groups in publishing evidence of their attacks. Both groups also used their online platforms to unveil rockets and drones not seen in previous clashes.

Smaller factions such as Humat al-Aqsa and Jihad Jibril Brigades also published footage depicting their militants launching rockets and mortars towards Israeli communities near the Gaza border.

Furthermore, salifist-jihadist groups such as Jaysh al-Umma and Katibat al-Sheikh al-Emireen published claims of responsibility and footage of attacks against Israel.

Other notable groups involved in the conflict were, Mujahideen Brigades, Abdul al-Qadir al-Husseini Brigades and two splinter groups from al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.


Good time for a timeout in the Iran nuclear talks
With the U.S. moving at an astonishingly fast pace to re-enter the complex 2015 Iran nuclear deal, it is time for wiser heads to prevail. As negotiators hit pause on the talks this week, over unresolved points of contention, it is time for the American negotiators in Vienna to take a timeout to evaluate recent European intelligence findings about the Islamic Republic’s illicit atomic weapons activities.

It is unclear whether the U.S. Special Envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, has examined the intelligence from the European agencies. Malley has been criticized for his concessionary bargaining that will release tens of billions of dollars into the Tehran regime’s coffers without any effort to permanently halt its drive to build nuclear weapons.

The intelligence gathered by European countries is significant, and alarming. Even as EU countries push for a U.S. return to the nuclear deal, reports by their agencies make it clear that Tehran sought technology in 2020 for constructing nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction.

“Iran also conducts industrial espionage, which is mainly targeted against Swedish hi-tech industry and Swedish products, which can be used in nuclear weapons programs,” Sweden’s Security Service declared. “Iran is investing heavy resources in this area and some of the resources are used in Sweden.”

The Netherlands’ General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) reported that Iran’s regime sought technology for nuclear and possibly other WMD weaponry. According to the Dutch intelligence agency, “The joint Counter-Proliferation Unit of the AIVD and the MIVD [the country’s Military Intelligence and Security Service] is investigating how countries try to obtain the knowledge and goods they need to make weapons of mass destruction. Countries such as Syria, Pakistan, Iran and North Korea also tried to acquire such goods and technology in Europe and the Netherlands last year.”

Dutch intelligence services “investigated networks that tried to obtain the knowledge and materials to develop weapons of mass destruction. Multiple acquisition attempts have been frustrated by the intervention of the services,” the document noted.

Meanwhile, in Germany, each of the country’s 16 states has its own intelligence agency and publishes an annual report that documents threats to its democratic, constitutional system. Two of these outlined Tehran’s efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction material on German soil in 2020.
Western Powers Avoid Resolution Against Iran at IAEA Board – Diplomats
Britain, France, Germany and the United States will not push for a resolution against Iran at next week’s meeting of the UN nuclear watchdog’s board despite Tehran’s failure to explain uranium traces found at three sites, diplomats said on Friday.

A resolution could have prompted an escalation between Tehran and the West that would have jeopardized talks on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal taking place in Vienna, where the atomic watchdog is also based.

At the last quarterly meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 35-nation Board of Governors, the three European powers, with U.S. backing, prepared a draft resolution criticizing Iran but did not formally submit it as IAEA chief Rafael Grossi announced new talks.

Those talks – aimed at breathing new life into efforts to get Iran to explain the origin of the traces, which are believed to be linked to activities long predating the deal – failed to produce new explanations, the IAEA reported on Monday. That raised the question of whether the resolution would be revived.

“The May 31 report can’t be ignored just because the JCPOA talks are ongoing, but a resolution is not likely now,” one diplomat said, referring to the 2015 deal by its official name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Five other diplomats said there would not be a resolution but simply statements by countries on the board.

“There need to be strong statements,” said one diplomat from a country that backed a resolution at the last board meeting. “They (Iran) have obligations and they need to fulfil them.”

It remains unclear whether a resolution would have had the necessary support to be adopted by the board, the IAEA’s main decision-making body that meets more than once a year.
NY college petitioned against by ACF for antisemitic comments on Israel
Alums for Campus Fairness (ACF) have launched a petition in response to vehemently anti-Israel statements being circulated and endorsed by faculty members of Vassar College in New York.

The statement, which has been shared on Vassar's Google Apps for Education platform, called Israel an "apartheid" state that is guilty of "ethnic cleansing" and "settler colonialism."

Despite vilifying Israel for the defense system used during Operation Guardian of the Walls, when over 4000 rockets were fired into the country from the Gaza Strip, the statement made no mention of Hamas.

The petition released by ACF has called on the Vassar administration to issue a statement making clear that the “Vassar Community Stands with the Palestinians” statement is not endorsed by the college itself, and has requested that faculty engaging in such partisan activism do so on their own platform, not Vassar’s Google app.

In addition to the above demands, they have called on the college to release a statement similar to the one that it released in response to the recent surge in Asian hate crimes, one that acknowledges the alarming spike in antisemitic incidents across the country and reassures its Jewish students in the strongest possible terms that Vassar condemns all forms of antisemitism.


Why Nicholas Kristof is (Still) Wrong on Israel and Hamas
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof followed his televised exchange on Bill Maher’s show with a column meant to push back on one of the points made by the host. “Gaza fired 4,000 rockets into Israel,” Maher told Kristof. “What would you say Israel should have done instead of what they did?”

Again later, Maher asked his guest: “What if Canada fired 4,000 rockets into America?”

Kristof didn’t directly answer the questions. “How do we avoid a war when someone is shelling– your neighbor is shelling you? That’s hard,” Kristof responded. But he tried to do better in his New York Times piece.

The columnist probably should have left it at “That’s hard.”

In his column, Kristof acknowledged that the U.S. has indeed responded militarily to attacks on the country—he named the Pancho Villa Expedition and the post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, arguing that in retaliation in these cases “didn’t work out” for America. (He might have also considered the Barbary Wars, the U.S. response to Pearl Harbor, the 1986 strike on Libya, or the international community’s response to Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait for a more rounded look at when military retaliation is effective).

Kristof then promised readers a list of other countries that “have dealt with attacks far more judiciously.”

Apologia for Hamas Violence
Before that, though, Kristof offered what amounted to a justification of Hamas’s war crimes. “The question of how the U.S. would respond reflects a myopia about the origins of Hamas shelling,” he wrote. (Does the columnist really believe that an attacker’s pretext or purported grievances should determine how to handle illegal and deadly attacks on civilians? It’s hard to imagine police officers asking to read a mass shooter’s manifesto before deciding whether to take decisive action to stop the shooting.)


New Zealand still not opening files on ‘resettled’ alleged former Nazi emigres
The widely reported death in New Zealand last year of former Waffen-SS soldier Willi Huber served to awaken the consciousness of New Zealanders to the reality that Nazi war criminals and sympathizers live, or have lived, among them.

Huber, who migrated to New Zealand in 1953, was a keen skier. Often referred to as “a heartland hero” and “the founding father” of the South Island’s Mt. Hutt ski field, he achieved near-legendary status in the skiing fraternity and was lauded by some media. He died never having publicly expressed any remorse for his wartime activities.

Since the end of World War II, New Zealand, like Australia, has served as a sanctuary for war refugees and other displaced persons (DPs), mainly from Europe. But not all, it seems, were honest about their background.

Huber, for example, denied that he had knowledge of any of the atrocities carried out by the Waffen-SS or of the equally well-documented persecution of Jews during the Holocaust. That denial is scorned by prominent members of the Holocaust and Antisemitism Foundation of Aotearoa New Zealand (HAFANZ) who point out that the Nazis’ Waffen-SS was a killing unit that operated outside the legalities of war. They insist that any member of the notorious organization would have been very aware of its modus operandi.

Those sentiments are echoed by HAFANZ International Council member Dr. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem. A distinguished historian, Zuroff insists that “the unrepentant Huber would have been very aware of the SS atrocities.” He also pointed out reported comments by the Austrian emigre that Hitler was “very clever” and “offered [Austrians] a way out” of the hardships they suffered after World War I.
German police search for suspect in attempted arson attack on synagogue
Police appealed for witnesses after a man allegedly tried to set fire to a synagogue in the southern city of Ulm early Saturday.

Ulm police said the man was spotted pouring a bottle of liquid onto a synagogue wall and setting it alight. A witness immediately called firefighters, who were able to extinguish the fire within minutes.

Police said the suspected arsonist fled before officers arrived. He was described as being about 1.8 meters (6 feet) tall and wearing a black hoodie and a white protective mask.

The fire reportedly caused no structural damage to the building.

According to official figures, police in Germany registered 2,428 antisemitic crimes last year.
Louis Vuitton pulls $705 blue and white ‘keffiyeh stole’ after backlash
Fashion brand Louis Vuitton has pulled a $705 scarf from sale on its website after the famed luxury brand was accused of culturally appropriating the keffiyeh, the scarf often used as a symbol of Palestinian nationalism.

Louis Vuitton was accused of causing further offense with the decision to make its “Monogram Keffieh Stole” in blue and white — Israel’s national colors.

According to the Independent newspaper, the scarf was described on the fashion firm’s website as: “inspired by the classic Keffieh and enriched with House signatures.”

“A jacquard weave technique is used to create the intricate Monogram patterns on its base of blended cotton, wool and silk. Soft and lightweight with fringed edges, this timeless accessory creates an easygoing mood,” the website said.

The furor began after the clothing item was spotted by fashion blogger Diet Prada, with a post on Instagram reading: “So LVMH’s stance on politics is “neutral,” but they’re still making a $705 logo-emblazoned keffiyeh, which is a traditional Arab headdress that’s become a symbol of Palestinian nationalism.”

The reference to the fashion house remaining “neutral” apparently referred to rumors that Louis Vuitton considered dropping supermodel Bella Hadid, whose father is Palestinian, after she posted a picture on Instagram with a series of images of two illustrated women talking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
It’s time for the Middle East to work together on climate change, afforestation
Can Israel play a part in this process? Over the past few decades, Israel has played a key role internationally in dry-land forestry and combating desertification thanks to an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to afforestation, watershed management and soil conservation in arid and semi-arid regions.

Extensive research and development processes have enabled KKL-JNF (a sustainable development NGO and Israel’s Forest Service and Land Development Authority) to implement forest management practices for its natural and planted forests. To date, KKL-JNF has planted over 245 million trees throughout Israel.

KKL-JNF has become an international expert in afforestation in arid and semi-arid regions, and regularly participates in international forums and joint forestry projects. The necessary valuable expertise was acquired through 70 years of KKL-JNF's investment in research and development. This research enabled the development of tree improvement programs for drought and pest resistance, watershed management related to landscape level and rainwater harvesting techniques, soil conservation methods and integrated biological pest control.

Israel has invested extensively in sustainable development and in almost every aspect has unique examples of technological development and techniques. One of the most fascinating is the development of desert agriculture. In the dry lands of the Negev Desert, researchers at Ramat HaNegev Desert Agriculture Center have cultivated a desert called Terfezia Leonis fungus, a popular delicacy throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Researchers successfully decoded the intricate relationship between the fungus and its host plant, the Desert Trap. Last year, prices for these truffles reached $120 per pound.

Another example is the success that Israeli desert wineries have enjoyed globally, thanks to the quality of the wine and unique techniques for growing grapes in arid and semi-arid regions. In addition, Israeli researchers are working on rediscovering the secrets of ancient wines. The strain of grapes used for these wines are showing remarkable resilience to drought in desert regions. Due to the need for combatting global desertification, the demand for this strain is growing even among European growers.

With the many positive developments emerging from the Abraham Accords Peace Agreement, joint initiatives between the countries partner to this agreement have yet to even begin realizing their full potential.

In order to accelerate the benefits of all the signees, we should ascribe to the vision that the boundaries of the social, environmental and economic triangle have blurred. It’s worth paying attention to the social and environmental problems we face, as they are fertile ground for lucrative business opportunities. Governments and the social sector have realized that relying on people's goodwill to volunteer does not work in the long term. The significant players in the arena - Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Israel – have internalized this principle and each country has set internal goals to direct their economies towards investment in accordance with this trend. The time has come to set regional goals together.

Promoting afforestation is not just about quantity, it is also about quality. While the initial motivation of Israel's vast afforestation program that began nearly a century ago was to green a desolate landscape, today’s afforestation efforts aim to improve the landscape and preserve open space, increase biodiversity, provide leisure and recreation for the population, and promote ecosystem services. Whereas initial efforts focused on planting large expanses of fast-growing conifers, today’s forest management is based on a more ecologically oriented approach, with greater emphasis on woodland biodiversity and heterogeneity, along with more sustainable methods of planting, rehabilitation, and management.











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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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