Sunday, June 13, 2021

From Ian:

Richard Landes: Lethal, own-goal war journalism
The month of May 2021 taught us Israelis many unfortunate things—things we hoped were not true (and continue to hope are not true)—about the sad straights of Israeli democracy; the relentlessly authoritarian nature of Palestinian or, for that matter, Arab and Muslim political culture; the troubled relationship between Jews and Arabs in Israel; the rising strength of religious hatred in the region and the world; and, at least for me, the most senseless yet persistent phenomenon that crops up every time open conflict between Israelis and Arabs breaks out: namely the own-goal, lethal war journalism of the Western media and the wave of hatred it predictably unleashes around the world.

A brief preliminary discussion about the three types of unethical forms of “war journalism” is in order. There is patriotic war journalism: reporting as news your own side’s war propaganda; lethal war journalism: reporting as news a foreign belligerent’s war propaganda; and own-goal war journalism: reporting your enemy’s war propaganda as news.

Modern, professional journalism considers patriotic war journalism unethical, a prostitution of its high calling. While reporters sometimes sympathize with one “side” in a foreign war, lethal war journalists systematically give credence to one belligerent’s narratives, depicting the other side as an atrocious enemy. The third category seems wholly improbable, since why would anyone do something that stupid?

And yet, in the 21st century, the land “between the river and the sea” has given birth to a peculiarly virulent case of both lethal and own-goal journalism among Western news providers. From 2000-2002, a wave of the most ferocious and provocative lethal journalism in the history of modern, professional journalism came from Western journalists who published dishonest Palestinian claims about Israeli evil-doing (targeting kids, massacring civilians) and ran them as news.

When those claims were disproven, as they all were, these news outlets did nothing to correct their errors. In the spring of 2002, when lethal journalists filled the global public sphere with reports of Israeli massacres in Jenin (just like the Nazis in Poland), progressives in Europe protested by wearing mock suicide belts in solidarity with an enemy about to attack their own countries. Own-goal journalism scored a massive blow for an enemy whose viciousness was embodied in those very suicide belts that these demonstrators, inebriated with virtue, wore so proudly.
Democrats must require Palestinian leaders to do better
In early June, Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin wrote a letter to Sen. Jim Risch, the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, asking him to remove a temporary hold on restoring Palestinian aid. That hold was put in place only until the United States can verify, with any sense of certainty, that the recipients will not directly or indirectly funnel the money to terrorists. Releasing it before that happens would be a terrible mistake.

The letter, which was signed by a group of Raskin’s Democratic colleagues, was misleading and generally reflective of a failed Middle East approach that they desperately need to abandon.

The letter was misleading because it is full of partial omissions and false promises. For example, it notes that this “humanitarian and development aid was passed in FY20 with bipartisan support and signed by the former President,” but completely fails to mention that there was also overwhelming bipartisan and executive support for the very limitations that Risch is trying to uphold.

Raskin claims that the money “is to be provided in full accordance with U.S. law. It is administered and overseen by our government and by trusted and vetted partners …. Hamas and other terrorist groups will not benefit from our humanitarian assistance.” The truth, however, is that during a May 24 special briefing, a senior State Department official publicly admitted that while the U.S. would be “working in partnership with the United Nations and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to try and channel aid there,” at the end of the day “there are no guarantees” it would not end up with Hamas.

It is also problematic and unlawful even to pretend (while noticeably declining to mention them by name) that the PA has suddenly become a “trusted and vetted partner” that the U.S. can work with on distributing aid in the region.

Setting aside the fact that as recently as May 19, during the conflict in Israel, the PA released a public statement calling for a unity government with none other than Hamas, the PA itself consistently calls for violent uprisings and intifada. The PA also doesn’t stop at merely glorifying violence; it literally pays for it by guaranteeing convicted murderers a monthly salary for life, with amounts increased according to the number of victims and the severity of the harm. It spends hundreds of millions annually incentivizing terror, much of it from international aid. (h/t Yerushalimey)
David Collier: Gaza, Sky News and the Islamist march on London
In fact, I went back six months on the Sky Twitter feed and there is not a single tweet, not one, about the persecution of Christians.

Instead there is an endless stream of demonising, anti-Israel propaganda.

The BBC, the Guardian all have similar issues and a similar focus. When these news outlets publish a story against Israel, it goes viral. Their advertisers pay more, their subscriptions increase. But they are chiefly speaking to the Islamist crowd who use the material as fodder for new recruits and they are egged on by the same Islamist mob screaming ‘what about Palestine?’

Where is the front cover of the New York Times displaying rows of Nigerian children who have been lost? There isn’t one. Nobody cares.

Muslim footballers hold aloft the Palestinian flag and everyone takes this as a sign that ‘Palestine’ is the real humanitarian issue of our age. It is nothing of the kind and it is a disgrace that the FA took no action. This is people like Liverpool’s Sadio Mane turning it into a religious conflict and publicly using their fame and football clubs to do it. This isn’t about human rights – it is about their ‘brothers’, ‘Islam’ and the ‘Ummah’. Black Lives Matter is being co opted by the Palestinian cause – like the Palestinian cause co-opts every cause. But when it comes down to it – look at those people in Africa who are really suffering that nobody wants to talk about. Black lives don’t seem to matter at all.

People like the Sky News journalist Mark Stone get to feel important. His following increases, people begin speaking his name. The fool even thinks this somehow means he is doing the right thing- so he does it more often and more loudly. The growing applause confirms to him he is on the right track. After all, there are only 1.8 billion Muslims in the world and truth is a numbers game. The level of the man’s stupidity is only beaten by the size of his ego. A sad combination for a journalist.

We are being let down. There is no excuse for the Israel obsession – none. It is part of an Islamist narrative – and it is what these Islamists want to talk about – all the time. Our media have followed these Islamists down the anti-western, anti-Israel, rabbit hole. They run scared of the Islamists in the newsroom. Our police run scared of them on the street. The government knows that if it takes action – it will be labelled Islamophobic. This is a train heading for a crash – and the sooner we stop it – the less damaging the impact will be.

Jonathan Tobin: The Lessons Menachem Begin Left Us
The release of a new documentary film about one of Israel’s past prime ministers wasn’t timed to coincide with a historic change in power in Jerusalem, but the coincidence adds to the timeliness of Jonathan Gruber’s “Upheaval: The Journey of Menachem Begin,” which became available this week via virtual theaters for home viewing.

Partisans and detractors of outgoing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as the duo that will be replacing him — Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid — can no doubt use Begin’s example as ammunition to praise or snipe at the current generation of Israeli leadership. But tempting as that might be, such an exercise is pointless. Much as was the case with Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion — Begin’s bitter rival — there is no comparison between the founding generation of Israeli leaders and those who came after them.

In part, that is because both Ben-Gurion and Begin were larger-than-life characters whose life stories were epic journeys that illustrated the history of the Jewish people in the 20th century. But it is also a product of the times. Only one person could, as Ben-Gurion did, found the first sovereign Jewish state in the land of Israel in 2,000 years and help it survive a turbulent infancy. And only one person could be, as Begin was, the one responsible for helping Israel take the first steps beyond that infancy of ceaseless strife not only to make peace with its most formidable opponent but also help bring the country together in ways that Ben-Gurion did not.

As historian Daniel Gordis has pointed out in his 2014 biography, what makes Begin so important is the way he embraced Jewish tradition in a way that Ben-Gurion and the Israeli left, who had done so much to build Israel, never could. Rather than transcending the Jewish past, Begin sought to preserve it and the memory of the Holocaust, while also playing a pivotal role in both helping Israel gain independence and then ultimately leading it in a new direction.

A man of profound contradictions, he is associated with great violence as well as peace. He was a much-admired orator and public figure who belatedly reached the pinnacle of success, but also someone vulnerable to deep depression who spent the last years of his life in seclusion after suffering both political and personal losses.
Ragozin: Antisemitism, in all forms, needs to be fought globally
Scholars have been working to address this need. In the early 2000s, the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) published a working draft definition of antisemitism, including examples of anti-Israel antisemitism such as blaming Jews for the actions of Israel’s government, like we witnessed in May. Within the U.S., the Department of State under Secretary Hillary Clinton adopted this definition in 2010. This definition was also adopted in 2016 with minor modifications by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

Since then, dozens of UN member states, including the U.S. and a majority of EU member states, have adopted or endorsed the IHRA working definition of antisemitism, as have many prominent and prestigious universities; major international companies including Daimler AG and Volkswagen; the International Muslim clerical council known as the Global Imams Council; and even the English Premier League.

According to the Executive Order Combating Anti-Semitism, application of the IHRA definition in determining discrimination “shall not diminish or infringe upon any right protected under Federal law or under the First Amendment. As with all other Title VI complaints, inquiry into whether a particular act constitutes discrimination prohibited by Title VI will require a detailed analysis of the allegations.” The U.S. is a bastion for free speech, particularly political speech. What many western countries prohibit as hate speech, the Supreme Court has consistently protected as free speech.

The link between anti-Israel sentiment and antisemitism was made abundantly clear by the 75% increase in antisemitic incidents in America during the recent Israel-Hamas conflict. This is precisely why a definition of antisemitism, one that recognizes the reality that contemporary Jew hatred uses the terms “Jews,” “Zionist” and “Israel” interchangeably, is necessary. And it is why the IHRA definition is the internationally accepted gold standard.

Our actions today can help prevent the next Los Angeles, Brooklyn or Florida-style attack. Many nations, including Muslim-majority Albania, and groups like the Global Imams Council, have reached a consensus in the effort to define antisemitism. Moreover, within the Jewish community, 51 organizations across the religious and political spectrum, including the leading institutions of Reform, Conservative and Orthodox Judaism, have adopted the IHRA definition. Now is the time to unite behind the IHRA definition of antisemitism and address all manifestations of antisemitism. Now is the time to call on additional organizations, universities, countries and the United Nations to endorse the IHRA definition. United, we can effectively combat the world’s oldest hatred, domestically and internationally, in the years to come.
Nikki Haley: ‘Israelis deserve to be safe in their homes’
Former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley fell short of condemning US President Joe Biden’s reaction to the recent security escalation between Israel and Hamas, but told The Jerusalem Post that the president’s reaction was not one to be “appreciated.” Speaking during a visit to an Ashkelon home that was directly hit by a Hamas rocket during the May war, she said, “If you had 4,500 rockets that went into [Washington] DC, if any of our allies said they think we need to see restraint on both sides, I don’t think we would be very appreciative.”

Haley was responding directly to a question by the Post as to whether Biden did enough to support Israel during the escalation.

She also called out the United Nations when she looked around the tattered home and said, “this is a civilian area. Where is the [UN] Security Council? Where is every government that believes in democracy and freedom?”

She said that any country “that believes we need to get rid of terrorist organizations around the world” should stand up for Israel. Haley arrived in the country on Friday and she spent Shabbat in Jerusalem, including visiting the Western Wall.
Bennett plans to continue Netanyahu's Iran policies
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett indicated that he plans to continue former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies vis-à-vis Iran, in his address to the Knesset ahead of the vote to approve a new government under his leadership.

“Returning to the Iran Deal is a mistake that will once again give legitimacy to one of the most violent, darkest regimes in the world,” Bennett said. “Israel will not allow Iran to get nuclear weapons. Israel is not a party to the deal, and will maintain total freedom of action.”

Bennett said that the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action gave Iran international legitimacy and billions of dollars, which it spent on building “terrorist outposts in Syria, Gaza, Lebanon and Yemen.”

The US and Iran are currently engaged in indirect negotiations in Vienna to return to the JCPOA, which sought to limit Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon. The US under former president Donald Trump left the deal in 2018 and put massive sanctions on Iran, which Teheran demands Washington lift in exchange for their return to compliance, including lowering their uranium enrichment and stopping uranium metal development.

Israel’s main criticisms of the deal are that the restrictions on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program expire in 2030, and that it does not limit its regional aggression, including proxy warfare.
White House vows to hire Jewish liaison after key groups left out of Israel call
Since the call, the White House has told Jewish groups that announcements will come soon, according to a source close to the Biden administration. Biden’s nominations have been delayed in part by the exigencies of dealing with the coronavirus and rebuilding the economy devastated by the pandemic.

A White House spokesperson did not offer comment. A State Department spokesperson suggested that the department would be more comprehensive in organizing future calls.

“The Department of State, including the secretary, is fully committed to continuing to hear from a wide array of voices as the department moves forward on addressing challenges in the Middle East, as well as combating the scourge of antisemitism at home and around the world,” the spokesperson said. “Senior department officials will continue to speak on a regular basis with a variety of stakeholders, including community and religious organizations.”

An insider close to the administration said the likeliest candidate for the antisemitism monitor job among the 10 known in April to be in contention is Emory University historian Deborah Lipstadt.

The insider listed six possible candidates for the Jewish liaison job: Andrew Dolberg, who led Jewish outreach for the Biden campaign in Florida; Dan Siegel, who had the same job in Pennsylvania; Samantha Joseph, a senior adviser for Jewish engagement to the Biden campaign; Shelley Greenspan, a State Department official who helped launch the Jewish Women for Joe group during the campaign; Gabriel Barnett, the deputy director for the Jewish campaign for the Biden campaign; and Alex Goldman, the assistant Washington director for Bend the Arc, a Jewish social justice group.
Mansour Abbas' big gamble
Members of Israel’s new government, slated to be sworn in and assume control of parliament on June 13, has continued to finalize the numerous and complex agreements and contracts behind the patchwork, intricate coalition.

One of the most consequential and controversial deals remains the one reached between the Ra’am-United Arab List and the rest of the member parties. It was the final agreement struck last week, in general outlines, with just minutes remaining before the deadline to form a government expired.

It means Israel’s 36th government will be the first to incorporate a fully independent, all-Arab party in its ranks.

The coalition agreement, signed between Ra’am chair Mansour Abbas, Prime Minister-designate Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid, the Yesh Atid leader who will become PM in two years’ time, stipulates a series of policy changes and vast budgetary investments in the Arab and Bedouin societies in Israel.

Among the various government projects detailed in the pact, over $15 billion is pledged to infrastructure, education and initiatives to reduce crime.

Israel will also immediately recognize three unauthorized Bedouin villages in the southern Negev desert, extend by three years the freeze already placed by the outgoing government on the demolition of illegal housing in the Arab community, and present within nine months a proposal to legalize all unlawful Bedouin villages.

“Abbas promised his voters, who come mostly from the Negev, to make their problems his top priority, and he has. The question now is whether he’ll succeed in actually following through with it,” says Dr. Thabet Abu Rass, co-executive director of The Abraham Initiatives organization. “Recognizing these unauthorized villages is a long process, governments in the past have tried to deal with it. They’ve come and gone but this has remained an issue. It’s a very powerful apparatus that operates extremely slowly,” he says. “This time, symbolic declarations simply won’t do. Bedouins want a legislative package that will transform their lives in the desert,” Abu Rass said.

Palestinian Standard Health Indexes Tell an Unknown Story
A number of progressive publications and social media influencers have spent the past few weeks accusing Israel of “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing.” One prestigious magazine, The New Republic, branded Israel as a “settler colonial” state engaged in a “never-ending war against Palestinian health,” a kind of updated version of the old European charge that Jewish intruders poison their neighbors’ wells. But if all that were true, then wouldn’t these crimes be reflected in the standard health indexes used worldwide to measure a people’s overall physical well-being—such as in Palestinian life expectancy, infant mortality, population growth, and so on? Let’s look at the data.

Life Expectancy
In 1967, the year Israel took over the West Bank and Gaza Strip from Jordan and Egypt, the average Palestinian could expect to live only 49 years, according to a United Nations report by Dr. Wael Ennab of An-Najah National University in the West Bank. Once Israel entered the scene, that expectation climbed to 56 years in 1975, jumped to 66 years in 1984, and has since hovered around 75 years, which is higher than the global average. It is also higher than in Iran, Pakistan, and many Arab countries, including Egypt. It is even higher than several countries in the Americas. Israeli presence in the land, while bemoaned by many Palestinians, nevertheless corresponded with major leaps forward in human longevity.

Infant Mortality
Here again we find improvements in Palestinian well-being since 1967. The Palestinian infant mortality ratio in 1967 was between 152 and 162 per 1,000 births, dropping to 132 per 1,000 in 1974, and plummeting to 53-63 per 1,000 in 1985. Happily, the number has now plunged to 15.6 per 1000, making Palestinian babies safer than those in many other countries. A pregnant woman’s baby stands a better chance of survival in the West Bank and Gaza Strip than in Brazil, Turkey, Egypt, and numerous other nations around the world.
PMW: PA continues its “Pay-for-Slay” policy in breach of the US Taylor Force Act
While the administration of United States President Biden has announced the renewal of US aid to the Palestinian Authority, the PA continues unabated its “Pay-for-Slay” in breach of the Taylor Force Act.

The PA’s “Pay-for-Slay” policy is divided into two broad categories – monthly salary payments to imprisoned terrorists and released terrorists; and monthly allowances to wounded terrorists and the families of dead terrorists, or so-called “Martyrs”.

In April 2020, Palestinian Media Watch sent a warning letter to all the banks operating in the PA-controlled areas, cautioning them that new Israeli anti-terror legislation prohibited the payment of the terror rewards and that if the banks continued to aid and abet the PA to reward terror they would be subject to potential criminal and civil liability. The banks heeded the warning and ordered the closure of 35,000 bank accounts of terrorists.

Since the PA could no longer pay the salaries to the terrorist prisoners and released prisoners through the commercial banks, it decided to pay them through the PA postal service. The decision was met with great anger among the terrorists and their families, who complained it was “humiliating.”

Responding to the criticism, the Head of the PA-funded PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Qadri Abu Bakr said:
“Three months ago we refused paying the salaries of the prisoners and released prisoners through the post office, and we demanded to find another mechanism that is clear and practical for their payment. We were promised that the payment through the post office would be a one-time thing, but that did not happen. For three months there was foot-dragging, [and it was said] that the prisoners’ salaries would be paid through ATMs and smart cards. The matter can be completed within a week or two – but that did not happen. We criticized this and demanded that they fulfill their duty and role in the best way possible.”
[Al-Hadath, independent Palestinian weekly paper, May 26, 2021
Palestinians call for day of rage to protest rescheduled J'lem flag
Palestinians have called for a day of rage in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem in protest at the rescheduled Jerusalem Day flag march that is set to take place on Tuesday, Ynet has reported. The traditional Jerusalem Day march was cancelled on May 11 amid rising tensions on Temple Mount and at the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood that led to hostilities with Gaza terrorists that began when Hamas fired rockets toward Jerusalem on that day. For the rescheduled march, Hamas has called on its supporters to come to the Temple Mount and the streets of Jerusalem's Old City and its organizers have asked resistance parties in Lebanon and Gaza announce their intentions to protect the Temple Mount.
Hamas slams UAE foreign minister over terrorism label
Palestinian resistance group Hamas has rejected statements by United Arab Emirates (UAE) Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed linking the group to terrorism.

“Bin Zayed’s call for the western countries to designate Hamas as a terrorist group runs counter to Arab values,” Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasim said on Twitter.

These statements, the spokesman said, fall in line with “the failed Zionist propaganda and contradict the Arab public support to the resistance in Palestine."

Last week, bin Zayed criticized the failure to designate Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist organizations.

"It is unfortunate that some countries do not act more clearly in classifying some organizations, such as Hamas, Hezbollah or the Muslim Brotherhood," he said during a speech to the American Jewish Committee.

"It is ridiculous that some governments only call the military branch of an organization terrorist and go beyond its political branch, while there is no difference between them," bin Zayed added.
Palestinian businessman: PA wants to arrest me because of a Facebook post
A Palestinian businessman has been forced to go into hiding after Palestinian Authority security forces raided his home in the West Bank in an attempt to arrest him over a social-media post.

Badran Jbara, 60, from the town of Turmus Aiya, north of Ramallah, told The Jerusalem Post he was afraid for his life and would not attend his daughter’s wedding. Several Palestinian intelligence officers raided his home in Turmus Aiya early Sunday morning in an attempt to arrest him, he said.

Jbara, who mostly lives in Panama and holds Panamanian citizenship, was not in the house at the time.

The officers questioned Jbara’s daughter, Suha, about his whereabouts before leaving the house. They left a summons for him to immediately report to the PA General Intelligence Service.

“The Palestinian intelligence officers came to arrest me because of a post on Facebook,” Jbara told the Post. “In the post, which I published three weeks ago, I criticized a senior Palestinian official without mentioning his name.”

Turkey tries to use hospital bombing for propaganda
Turkey appears to be trying to create a pretense to launch new attacks against the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in Syria on the eve of a private meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Joe Biden in Brussels on June 14.

Turkish media reported on Saturday that there was a “terrorist attack” on a hospital in Turkish-occupied Afrin, an area of Syria that Turkey ethnically cleansed of Kurds in 2018. Local reports indicate rockets and artillery struck Afrin city, appearing similar to previous Russian-backed Syrian regime shelling. However, Ankara has sought to blame others for the attack.

Without any evidence, Turkey immediately blamed the “YPG/PKK” for the attack, claiming that “missile and artillery” fire from an area called Tel Rifaat had hit the Shifa hospital “in the center of Afrin.” Turkey claims 13 civilians were killed.

Turkey often invents mythical links between the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, and various bombings in areas of Syria illegally occupied by Turkey. Most of the attacks appear to be the result of fighting between various militias backed by Turkey, or to be the result of Syrian regime and Russian shelling or airstrikes.

There’s no evidence that the YPG has carried out long range rocket attacks, or has ever targeted hospitals. Turkey appears to have simply invented this narrative without an investigation to try to put pressure on the Biden administration. In 2018, Turkey claimed the US was training “terrorists” in Syria as an excuse to invade and ethnically cleanse Afrin of 170,000 Kurds. Many of those people now live near Tel Rifaat and other areas, and they are frequently shelled by Turkey.
Family of murdered Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari beaten and arrested
Iran’s regime on Saturday intensified its persecution of the family of the murdered champion wrestler, Navid Afkari, whose family members faced brutal beatings and arrests in the city of Shiraz for their protest against the reported wrongful imprisonment of Navid’s brothers, Vahid and Habib.

Navid’s brother, Saeed, tweeted “Two female officers beat my mother so that her head was hit on the asphalt. 20 people beat Navid, 5 people [beat] Elham and 2 people [beat] my mother, who is a 55-year-old woman. You give meaning to the word filth, you cowards.”

The clerical regime executed the champion Greco-Roman wrestler Navid Afkari in September 2020 for his role in 2018 protests against the worsening economic situation in the Islamic Republic.

Saeed wrote that “Today… my family and some of the relatives gathered in front of Adelabad Prison to protest against my brothers' 280 days in solitary confinement. Plainclothes officers severely beat my mother, my sister, my father, my aunts and others. They confiscated the cell phones, arrested my sister and one of the women and released them an hour later.”

Vahid and Habib participated in demonstrations against Iranian regime political and economic corruption in 2018. For their peaceful protests, Iran sentenced Vahid to 54 years and six months imprisonment and Habib to 27 years and three months, as well as 74 lashes each. Both brothers have endured torture and isolation in prison.
Seth Frantzman: Questions raised after US State Dept. tweet about Shi’ite charity
“Al-Khoe’i Foundation is a well-regarded international charitable and educational organization that has been doing good work since its establishment in 1989,” read an unusual tweet, without context or explanation, posted by the US State Department Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs on Saturday.

A search on Twitter for some background left many perplexed.

Journalist Mina Al-Oraibi said she was “not sure why the State Dept. felt the need to tweet this out.”

One response pointed to a recent report from the Alma Research and Education Center alleging the foundation is linked to Iran. “The civilian infrastructures in the form of Shi’ite religious, cultural and social centers consist of umbrella organizations that control branches in various countries around the world,” the report said. “Both the umbrella ‘Al-Ghadir’ Association and the charitable institution association named after the ‘Imam Al Khoei’ retain branches in France.”

It was unclear if the tweet was a response to this report. But no other recent reports could be found mentioning the foundation.

Amidst antisemitism surge, Guardian warns of pro-Palestinian voices being silenced
A Guardian op-ed (“The conflict in the Middle East is sustained by the silencing of Palestinians”, June 10) by Ghada Karmi, an academic and pro-Palestinian activist, which rests on the premise that the space for Palestinian and pro-Palestinian voices is shrinking, included the following:
In Britain the space that had briefly opened for the Palestinian narrative is shrinking. New attempts at deliberately silencing the Palestinian voice are in train, using the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. The UK government and 28 other countries have adopted the IHRA definition, and the US may incorporate it into federal law. Its coercive adoption by British universities, although a survey conducted last September suggested that only 29 out of 133 had adopted it, has already had a chilling effect on free speech about the Palestinian issue.

First, in addressing the “stifling of free speech” argument directly, CST’s Dave Rich wrote, in a piece at Fathom eviscerating accusations that the non-legally binding IHRA is an attack on free expression or academic freedom, that “it is hard to see how a non-legal definition with no legal authority could undermine legally-guaranteed rights to free expression and academic freedom” in the UK. In fact, Karmi’s accusation has been contradicted by Palestine Solidarity Campaign – the group to which she’s a patron – in their own Legal guide for Student Activists, which admitted that “there is no known case of any university directly citing the IHRA definition to close down an event that is legitimately critical of Israel”.

Karmi’s warnings that the pro-Israel lobby stifles free speech in fact goes back years, and, as we’ll demonstrate, her concerns over IHRA may have less to do with free speech than with her fear of being held accountable for her own history of evoking racist tropes about Jews.

In 2003, she praised and echoed, on her website, the vile comments of an MP who literally warned of a “Jewish cabal”:
Thousands march in London urging G7 support for Palestinian cause
Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered in London on Saturday to urge the G7 group of industrial powers, meeting in the UK, to back Palestinian rights and the return of Palestinian refugees to areas now comprising the State of Israel.

The protesters marched to Downing Street, the seat of the British government.

Labour lawmaker and former party leader Jeremy Corbyn addressed the crowd in the protest organized by the Resist G7 Coalition, Reuters reported.

Corbyn urged G7 leaders to use their summit to take note of the challenges faced by the Palestinian people, along with other topics such as global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are coming together because we are united in our support for the Palestinian people,” Corbyn told the crowd.

“We are here to support the Palestinian people whether we are Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Christian or no faith — our unity is a human unity,” he said, calling on the G7 to strive “to end the human rights abuses” all over the world.

Corbyn said the demands by pro-Palestinian activists were to “end the occupation of the West Bank, the withdrawal of all the settlements and an end to the siege of Gaza.”
Jeremy Corbyn addresses another antisemitism-infested rally, organised by Palestine Solidarity Campaign, as second ‘Free Palestine’ convoy passes without incident thanks to heavy policing
Yesterday’s protestors were joined by participants in a second ‘Free Palestine’ convoy that drove down to London from cities in the North and Midlands. The returning convoy included some 35 cars (a considerably smaller number than the previous convoy). At one point, police pulled over two cars to prevent them from entering Jewish neighbourhoods in the north of London.

On Friday, the Metropolitan Police Service declined a request by Campaign Against Antisemitism, supported by legal representations from our lawyers, to prohibit the convoy, particularly after the previous ‘Free Palestine’ convoy drove through a Jewish neighbourhood shouting “F*** the Jews…rape their daughters” through megaphones, and a vehicle, believed to be from the convoy, chased a Jewish mother down a London street and rammed her car whilst she was driving her four-year-old child. Four men were arrested and bailed over the former incident and an alleged antisemitic incident committed in Manchester before the convoy arrived in London.

In the event, the Metropolitan Police Service is understood to have placed conditions on the returning convoy and monitored its progress, leading to its intervention to prevent the two cars diverging.

A protest was also held yesterday in Manchester, bringing the city centre to a standstill.

A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “Another weekend, another antisemitism-infested demonstration on the streets of Britain’s capital. Heavy policing ensured the safety of the Jewish community as another convoy was permitted to pass through London. Nevertheless, it is extraordinary that, unlike with any other minority, week after week open displays of anti-Jewish racism in the nation’s capital are deemed acceptable. If the authorities will not bring antisemitic criminals to justice, we intend to use all legal and regulatory avenues to defend our community and force the authorities to act.

Omar forces Jewish Democrats to make a tough choice
Considering that Omar has already trafficked in anti-Semitic tropes, is an open supporter of the anti-Semitic BDS movement and had promoted a narrative about Israel's birth on the floor of the House last month that made it clear she thought one Jewish state on the planet was one too many, it can be argued that a call for her to "clarify her words" was a rather restrained response. Indeed, if she were a Republican who was guilty of the same offenses, there's little doubt that Jewish Democrats would demand that, like former Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) or current right-wing piñata Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-Ga.), that Omar should be officially censored and stripped of her committee assignments.

But it was better than nothing. Moreover, by making it clear that what she said "reflects deep-seated prejudice" and that such "false equivalencies give cover to terrorist groups," it correctly identified the stakes in the debate.

Yet while the 12 signees did the right thing, the fact that the other 13 Jewish Democrats – a majority of the caucus – refused to do so is an equally clear indication that even among Jews, support for Israel among Democrats is on the decline.

Omar subsequently issued what she said was a clarification, claiming that her remarks were taken out of context. It was true that what she said was part of a series of questions to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that revolved around her support for the International Criminal Court. Omar had thanked the Biden administration for dropping the sanctions that former President Donald Trump had slapped on those responsible for what it had correctly labeled as an anti-Semitic attack on Israel, while at the same time criticizing it for opposing the ICC's attempts to single out both Israel and the United States for committing "war crimes" during the course of anti-terror operations.

But this is a distinction without a difference. Omar's support for the ICC's attempts to criminalize Israel's self-defense against Hamas terrorism and treat the Jewish state as equally guilty as Hamas is just as appalling in context as it is when seen on its own.

What followed was to some extent a replay of the last House dustup over Omar's anti-Semitic bombast in 2019. The House Democratic leadership led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi did rebuke Omar for her initial statement, but in the same breath also accepted her clarification, putting an end to the controversy as far as they were concerned, with no thought to throwing her off her pivotal seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the way they've done to Republicans who make extremist statements.
HonestReporting: Hamas Thanks Ilhan Omar for Supporting Palestinians..But Expresses Outrage Over Comparison to Israel
The US-designated terrorist organization Hamas thanked Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) for supporting the "just rights of the Palestinian people." Last week, Omar grouped the US and Israel together with the Taliban and Hamas, asserting that all sides have committed "unthinkable atrocities."

Hamas – whose charter calls for the murder of Jews worldwide – said it "highly appreciates" Omar’s stances, but at the same time called its comparison to the Jewish state "unfair."

After pushback from fellow House Democrats, Omar backtracked, saying that she was "in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries." All the while, some mainstream media were seemingly keen to jump to Omar's defense.

Comparison to Taliban and Hamas was a Compliment, Ilhan Omar Clarifies (satire)
Facing criticism from within her own party after comparing the US and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban, Rep. Ilhan Omar clarified that the comments were meant as a compliment of America and its ally.

“I was trying to point out how much progress both the US and Israel have made,” the Minnesota Democrat told The Mideast Beast. “Hamas and the Taliban are literally my two favorite governments, now that ISIS is gone. I don’t get why everyone is so upset.”

Omar pointed to the entrance of an Islamist party, Ra’am, into the Israeli government.

“They’re a little moderate for my taste, but at least it’s a step in the right direction,” she explained. “Now, if they renounced democracy, launched a violent coup and enforced strict Sharia law, then I’d recognize Israel as a real country.”
No novelties in BBC’s periodic ‘Operation Opera’ portrayal
Over the past decade and a half, the BBC has repeatedly used the date June 7th to promote the notion that prior to 1981, the Iraqi Osirak nuclear reactor was only being used for peaceful purposes:

2006: Osirak: Threats real and imagined BBC News website
2011: Attack on the Osirak reactor BBC World Service radio, ‘Witness History’
2016: Iraq’s Secret Nuclear Programme BBC World Service radio, ‘Witness History’
On June 7th 2021, the ‘Witness History’ programme returned to that topic in a programme titled ‘When Israel destroyed Iraq’s nuclear reactor’.
“On 7 June 1981 Israeli fighter jets launched a surprise attack on the Osirak nuclear reactor located outside Baghdad, killing 11 people. The French-built reactor was still under construction and there was no leakage of nuclear material, but the bombing was widely condemned internationally. Israel argued that it had effectively slowed down Saddam Hussein’s nuclear programme by ten years, while the Iraqis insisted that the reactor was being built for purely scientific research. Mike Lanchin has been speaking to Dr Fadhil Muslim al Janabi, a former consultant for Iraq’s nuclear agency and one of the first people to see the damaged reactor site.”

Presenter Mike Lanchin tells listeners that:
“France and Iraq always insisted that the Osirak plant was for peaceful nuclear research and not part of a wider nuclear weapons programme.”

No effort is made to examine the veracity of those claims or to explain what led Israel to reach different conclusions.

Swastika found painted on Torah ark in Frankfurt Airport prayer room
The Jewish prayer room at the Frankfurt International Airport was desecrated by antisemitic vandals, who painted a swastika on the ark inside the room, the German daily Bild reported Saturday.

The vandalism, revealed by the Frankfurt Jewish community on Friday, only extended to the ark, and did not damage the Torah scrolls inside the ark itself.

However, it is unclear when the vandalism itself took place. According to AP, citing the German news agency dpa, the room had been closed for a considerably long period of time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Jewish community is in touch with Fraport AG Frankfurt Airport Services Worldwide, the transportation company responsible for operating the airport, which has promised to conduct a full, detailed investigation of the incident, Bild reported.

The vandalism was highly criticized by Germany's Orthodox Rabbinical Conference, one of the country's leading Jewish organizations.

“It is simply sad. This hatred of Jews must finally stop,” the organization said in a statement, according to AP.

Pixellot partners with Supersport to broadcast South African sports
Israel’s Pixellot, a provider of AI-automated sports production solutions, has signed an agreement with Supersport, a provider of pay-television sports coverage across Africa, and Nashua, a provider of integrated business solutions. The purpose of the agreement is to establish a high-school sports network to serve athletes, coaches, and scouts across Africa.

"As the leaders in AI-Automated video and analytics solution providers for sports, we are certain that many families’ sports experience will never be the same,” said Pixellot CEO Alon Werber. “In the U.S, we have already outfitted thousands of high schools and universities giving young athletes the ability to keep playing, providing coaches with the tools to keep improving, and affording communities with the opportunity to keep involved.”

Pixellot systems can help with high-quality coverage of team sports without the need for camera operators or producers. Its system automatically captures, produces, and streams games and their highlights to any device, live or on-demand.

“I remember when I was young all I wanted was exposure to be seen,” added Lukhanyo Am, a player from the South African national rugby team and brand ambassador for SuperSport schools. “But back in the day, unfortunately, I missed that opportunity. For me, as a rugby player who wanted a future in sport as a professional athlete, it took me quite a long route to get where I wanted to. I think being spotted at a young age and given the opportunity will play a huge role in developing our future champions. Fortunately or unfortunately, I was in a small school that wasn’t recognized as a rugby school. I know how it feels to be unseen and not getting the opportunity to have a stage to display your talents. So, giving opportunities and grooming young talents will change their lives.”
10 extraordinary places to stay in Israel
Now that you can once again plan an Israel vacation, the question is where you prefer to stay.

The choices include five-star luxury properties, cozy capsule hotels, small boutique inns, apartment hotels, beachfront hotels, camping and glamping sites, kibbutz hotels, youth hostels and bed-and-breakfasts for all kinds of budgets.

Several new hotels recently opened, too.

But if you are seeking an offbeat place to spend a night or two, check out ISRAEL21c’s list of 10 truly extraordinary places to stay in Israel.

10. Fit for royalty
Scotland may come to mind when you think of lodging in a former castle, but this one is in Tiberias overlooking the Sea of Galilee. An authentic restored castle built in 1745 by the son of the Bedouin ruler of the Galilee, Dona Castle Boutique Hotel is located on a colorful street named for Dona Gracia Mendes Nasi, a 16th century Portuguese Jewish businesswoman who helped build up Tiberias.

Originally, the citadel was connected to the Ottoman-era wall that surrounded the city. In 1837, an earthquake damaged the castle, which was later rebuilt to house a Spanish school in 1925 and, more recently, an art gallery.

In 2007, the castle was converted into a boutique hotel and artist workshops. Its six suites are furnished in a hybrid ancient and modern style. You can have your breakfast served at the swimming pool or rooftop bar.
Israeli gymnast Linoy Ashram scoops gold, 2 silvers at European championships
Israeli rhythmic gymnast Linoy Ashram scored a slew of medals within a few hours on Sunday, winning a gold, two silvers, and a bronze at the European Championships in Rhythmic Gymnastics in Varna, Bulgaria.

Meanwhile, Israel’s team at the contest won a gold medal and two bronzes.

Ashram took medals in three out of the four rhythmic gymnast disciplines, which are clubs, ball, hoop, and ribbons.

Her routine with a pair of clubs scored Ashram 28.500 points and the gold medal.

For her ball routine, she scored 28.600, putting her behind Russian Dina Averian, who scored a winning 28.850. Fellow Israeli competitor Nicol Zelikmann came in fifth with 26.775 points.

In the hoops, Ashram scored 27.850, and was again denied the gold by Averian with 28.350.

According to the official Olympic website, it was the first time that a non-Russian gymnast had won a gold in the individual apparatus events since 2011. Russia did not compete in the 2020 event due to the coronavirus pandemic.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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


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