Sunday, October 24, 2021

From Ian:

Jonathan Tobin: Is There Still Room for Zionist Jews on the American Left?
Though the Jewish groups it targeted were clearly shocked by the broadside, Sunrise DC’s attack on Jews is hardly surprising. That’s because they come straight from the same intersectional and critical race theory playbook that most on the left have now adopted as their political catechism. Despite being a pack of lies, the notion that all of Israel is a “colonial project” oppressing the supposedly indigenous black and brown people of “Palestine,” where Jews are privileged white settlers, is in line with the ideological frame of reference used by many left-wing activists these days.

Liberal Jews who are fine with applying that kind of rhetorical excess to their political opponents on the Israeli right are slowly realizing that their comrades in arms on American domestic issues make no such distinctions between “good” Israelis and Jews, and the supposedly “bad” ones.

Once they get over their shock at this incident and the failure of their coalition partners to unequivocally condemn this latest outbreak of left-wing antisemitism, mainstream liberal Jewish groups will console themselves by saying that Sunrise DC is marginal and doesn’t speak for most Democrats. To some extent, that will be true. The problem is that, as with “The Squad,” it’s clear that the growing influence of critical race theory and intersectionality are making incidents like this commonplace. Moreover, the divide on this issue seems to be as much generational as it is ideological, guaranteeing that the ranks of the anti-Zionists among Democrats will grow even more numerous.

For now, Jewish liberals can claim that they are still at home amid rallies like this one. But the time will come soon when they will no longer be able to pretend that a Jew who embraces Israel will be welcomed in an increasingly antisemitic American left.
Dragging out consulate reopening, Biden does Israel a favor, but not himself
A senior Israeli official told ToI last month that while Jerusalem might vehemently oppose the consulate reopening, eventually it will have to concede to Washington, given the significant military aid and diplomatic backing the US gives Israel.

In the meantime, though, Jerusalem is working to “drive up the price” for Biden to fulfill his campaign promise, said the US source familiar with the matter.

Blinken’s reported willingness to negotiate the matter with Lapid via a joint task force indicates that the US is willing to reach some sort of compromise with Israel on the matter, meaning Jerusalem expects to get something in return.

“They’re spending all of this political capital on a move that’s largely symbolic, and even if they manage to go through with it, the next ask from Israel on more important matters such as settlements and steps to actually improve Palestinian lives will be that much more difficult to achieve,” said one senior Democratic congressional aide.

“[Prime Minister Naftali] Bennett will be able to say, ‘Look, I already gave you the consulate, you can’t keep making such big asks,” the aide speculated.

“All [the Biden administration] had to do was change the sign on the door,” the staffer said, referring to the rather simple procedure that would be required to transform the mission on Agron street from a US embassy branch office back to a consulate. (Some measure of Israeli buy-in is required, though, since Jerusalem would need to credential whoever is tapped to head the consulate.)

Meanwhile, huddling on a matter that ultimately has to do with the Palestinians without including a representative from the Palestinian Authority is likely to further irk Ramallah, which believes the consulate reopening is a “done deal.”

“By waiting, we allowed the issue to snowball,” the staffer said.
Israeli Official Says Reopening of US Palestinian Mission in Jerusalem May Not Happen
Israel’s deputy foreign minister said on Sunday that the Biden administration may shelve its plan to reopen a US diplomatic mission for Palestinians in Jerusalem after Israel voiced opposition to such a move.

The Jerusalem consulate was subsumed into the US Embassy that was moved to the city from Tel Aviv in 2018 by the administration of former President Donald Trump.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken this month reiterated Washington’s plan to reopen the consulate as part of efforts to repair ties with the Palestinians. He did not give timelines.

“I believe that I have good reason to think this will not happen,” Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll told Israel’s Ynet.

“The Americans understand the political complexity,” Roll said. “We have very good relations. … We don’t believe in surprising them. I don’t think they will try to surprise us.”

US Embassy spokespeople could not be immediately reached for comment.

Israel deems all Jerusalem its undivided capital and says it will not consent to reopening the consulate. The Palestinians want the city’s east for their own future state.


Ruthie Blum: The government’s assassination of Israel’s character
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid outdid himself on Monday evening. Yes, the “alternate” premier slated to replace Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the helm in September 2023, took the opportunity of a special parliamentary session commemorating the 26th anniversary of the assassination of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin to insult the national camp.

“There is a [direct] line between Rabin’s murder and the past year,” he said. “Both are part of Israel’s great struggle, not between Right and Left, but between those who believe in democracy and those who are trying to destroy it.”

Rabin, he continued, “wasn’t murdered by the Right – the true right wing is democratic – but by anyone who isn’t willing to accept Israeli democracy. Anyone who tells himself that the majority doesn’t rule isn’t really in the national camp; he’s a dangerous, nationalist extremist. Instead of loving the country, he hates anyone who doesn’t think the way he does.”

He went on to claim that the “ideological heirs” of Yigal Amir – Rabin’s assassin, who is justifiably in prison for life – “are sitting in the Knesset today, and if not for the miracle of the change government, they’d be sitting in the government.”

Here, he was forced to pause by angry shouts from the plenum.

“Do you mean the Joint [Arab] List?” heckled Religious Zionist Party leader MK Bezalel Smotrich, referring to the members of Knesset who openly oppose the Jewish state.

“Aren’t you ashamed?” added Smotrich, who knew full well that Lapid had been pointing a finger at him and his political allies. When he and a few other MKs from Shas and Likud exited the premises, Lapid resumed his inexcusable tirade.
The Caroline Glick Show: Ep23: Will Israel Act on Washington's Betrayal? | Guest: David Wurmser
In Episode 23 of the Caroline Glick Mideast News Hour, Caroline war joined by special guest Dr. David Wurmser, her colleague at the Center for Security Policy. Caroline and David reviewed the 50 year history of U.S. military support for Israel in light of the Biden administration refusal to work with Israel to block Iran’s path to a nuclear arsenal.

They then switched gears and discussed Israel Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai’s decision to participate in a forum hosted by BDS and anti-Zionist activist Peter Beinart. David and Caroline discussed the intellectual roots of anti-Zionism and what it means that American Jews are taking leading roles in delegitimizing Israel’s existence, and what it means that the Israeli government is now empowering them.


Should News Be Reported With Balance? The Answer May Surprise You.
From the Data to the Truth
Israel has stated that it is acting on classified information and declined to give further details, which does not give much for a journalist to go on. However, much like checking the winner of last night’s baseball game, it would have taken only a modest amount of research to confirm that the relevant NGOs are indeed closely connected with terrorism, based on publicly available data.

For example:
- An investigation commissioned by the United States Agency of International Development describes the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC) as the “women’s organization” of the PFLP.
- The same USAID commissioned investigation describes the Union of Agricultural Work Committees as being the agricultural arm of the PFLP. - On August 23, 2019, two UAWC employees carried out a particularly brutal terror attack in which they injured Rabbi Eitan Shnerb (46) and his son, Dvir (19), and murdered his daughter, Rina (17). The UAWC employees were closely linked to the PFLP.
- On August 30, 2020, the PFLP released a statement confirming that former Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) director, Samer Arbid, is also a PFLP commander and was involved in the terror attack that murdered Rina Shnerb.
- The United Nations refused Addameer Rights Group’s request for Special Consultative Status due to the group’s relationship to the PFLP. - The government of the Netherlands, one of UAWC’s European sponsors, in 2020 admitted that part of the Dutch aid was used to pay the salaries of two UAWC employees who were charged with murdering Rina Shnerb.
- In May 2018, Visa, Mastercard, and American Express shut down online credit card donations to Al-Haq due to the group’s ties to the PFLP. In fact, the group was founded by PFLP members.

In addition to the above, many of the figures in these organizations have been arrested for acts of terror, in some cases multiple times, and numerous cases were ruled upon by Israel’s independent judiciary.

The PFLP did not deny its affiliations to the various NGOs. To the contrary, a spokesman for the terror group, Kayed al-Ghoul, stated that Palestinians are “proud of the affiliation of any of their sons with any national faction that resists the occupation, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.”

Beyond Balance: Journalism and Ethics
There are places in the world where dictatorships and tyrants really do use police powers to shut down legitimate human rights organizations. To lump such organizations in with the likes of the PFLP and its affiliates harms the cause of human rights the world over.

In a world of 24-hour news and rapid deadlines, journalists work under significant time and resource constraints. Yet it took HonestReporting less than two hours to conduct this research, and we completed it well in advance of our own publication deadline. (And at the risk of stating the obvious, our budget is far less than a typical mainstream news agency!)

Ethics require more than mere “balance,” they require a journalist to come as close as possible to the truth.
NGO Monitor: Analysis: Israel Designates 6 PFLP-linked NGOs as Terrorist Organizations
On October 22, 2021, the Israeli Ministry of Defense (MoD) designated 6 Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organizations. According to the MoD, Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P), Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Al-Haq, Addameer, Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC), and Bisan were included on Israel’s list of terrorist organizations because they are operated by and for the benefit of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), designated as a terrorist organization by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel.1 (A seventh PFLP-linked organization – Health Workers Committee (HWC) – was designated in January 2020)

The MoD repeated the ISA (Shabak) May 2021 press release in explaining that these NGOs diverted humanitarian funds from European donors to the PFLP and recruited members into the terror group. Relatedly, a security official told Israel’s N12 news site on October 23 that these NGOs provided a funding “lifeline” for the PFLP, employed PFLP terrorists, and that PFLP terror operatives used NGO offices for meetings.

In addition, since 2007, NGO Monitor has published numerous reports, based on open sources, documenting the close connections between these and other Palestinian NGOs and the PFLP.

These links were further highlighted following the arrest of PFLP officials charged with the August 26, 2019 bombing that murdered Israeli 17 year-old Rina Shnerb, and wounded her father and brother. Samer Arbid- who served as UAWC’s accountant at the time of his 2019 arrests and as Addameer’s accountant until at least 2015 was indicted on 21 counts, including for commanding the cell that carried out the attack.


Reviewing BBC promotion of PFLP linked NGOs
The six organisations are: Addameer, Al Haq, Bisan Center, DCI – Palestine, UAWC and UPWC.

Despite the links between the PFLP and some civil society organisations having been known for several years, past BBC content (most recently just last month) has promoted some of those NGOs or featured contributors connected to them.

Nearly nine years ago a BBC News website report about a raid on the offices of two of the six NGOs now designated by Israel stated:
“The Israeli military said the NGOs were linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which Israel considers a terrorist group.”

As was noted here at the time:
“Some thorough investigative reporting on the part of the BBC into the subject of Palestinian NGOs would do much to advance its audience’s (and its own) understanding of the fact that in the Middle East, “human rights defenders” are not always all they claim to be.”

Nevertheless, we see that BBC journalists have continued to uncritically quote and promote representatives of some of those terror linked NGOs regardless.


Associated Press Advancing Partisanship in Israel Coverage
The Associated Press has once again trampled over its lofty mission to provide “world-class journalism” in pursuit of “advancing the power of facts.” Instead of reporting the facts in favor of Israel’s designation of six Palestinian NGOs as fronts for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian terror organization, AP’s Joseph Krauss advanced partisanship.

The opening sentence of Joseph Krauss’ Oct. 22 article by AP (“Israel outlaws Palestinian rights groups, alleging terrorism“) egregiously editorializes:
Israel on Friday effectively outlawed six prominent Palestinian human rights groups by declaring them terrorist organizations, a major escalation of its decades-long crackdown on political activism in the occupied territories.

The notion that Israel has been carrying out a decades-long crackdown on political activism in the Palestinian territories is a baseless, partisan allegation put forward by the very same organizations now blacklisted by Israel as terror organizations. There is simply no evidence to support the gross smear. It is not a fact, although AP’s Krauss states it as fact, without any attribution. In order to establish Israel’s designation of the six Palestinian NGO’s “a major escalation” in the purported “decades-long crackdown on political activism,” Krauss must omit all information which, in fact, points to the terror activity of these groups.

And that’s exactly what he does. Instead of harnessing the power of facts, Krauss obscures the facts that don’t fit his fallacious frame.


Guardian downplays PFLP terror, dismisses their ties to 'human rights' NGOs
The Guardian’s former Jerusalem correspondent Harriet Sherwood reported on Israel’s recent designation of six Palestinian NGOs as terror organisations (“Israel labels Palestinian human rights groups as terrorist organisations”, Oct. 22). The report begins by noting the NGOs in question, Al-Haq, Addameer, Defence for Children International – Palestine, the Bisan Center for Research and Development, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, but then downplays the terror group their affiliated with:
The Israeli defence ministry said they were linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a secular political movement with an armed wing that in the past carried out attacks against Israel.

The (Iranian backed) PFLP seeks Israel’s destruction, a fact the Guardian doesn’t mention, and is designated by most Western nations as a terror group – a fact only alluded to in the last sentence of the article. The group has carried out scores of deadly attacks on Israeli civilians over the years – including suicide bombings and the murder of an Israeli minister in 2001.

And, these attacks weren’t just “in the past”, to quote Sherwood’s odd formulation. The PFLP was one of the Gaza terror groups firing rockets into Israel during the Gaza conflict this past May. They also claimed responsibility for a fatal 2019 West Bank bombing which killed 17 year-old Israeli, Rina Shnerb.

In fact, the PFLP terrorists accused of carrying out that attack, Samer Arbid and Abdul Razeq Farraj, worked for one of the proscribed NGOs, Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC). The Netherlands also suspended their funding of UAWC after it was reported that the group used aid money to pay salaries to the two suspected terrorists.


Jordan blasts Israel after 1,300 apartments approved for sale in West Bank settlements
Jordan slammed Israel on Sunday saying that it “rejects and condemns” plans to build 1,355 housing units in the West Bank. Last week, the US expressed concern about Israeli plans to build 3,000 new homes in settlements as well as the legalization of two illegal outposts. Marketing tenders for the housing units were published on Sunday by the Israel Land Authority and Housing Minister Ze’ev Elkin. The announcement comes amid reports that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is under US pressure to freeze such plans.

The announcement includes 729 units in Ariel, 346 units in Beit El, 102 in Elkana, 90 in Geva Binyamin, 57 in Emanuel, 22 in Karnei Shomron and one in Beitar Illit.

Jordanian Foreign Ministry spokesman Haitham Abu al-Foul “warned against building new settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories,” according to a statement published by Jordan’s news agency Petra.

He described the Israeli move as “a violation of international law and relevant Security Council resolutions.”
UK government pulls funding to Palestinian education
The British government announced on Thursday that it has stopped funneling direct funding to Palestinian education, as revealed by the NGO IMPACT-se.

The announcement was made in response to an inquiry by Labour MP Andrew Gwynne and Secretary of State for Middle East and North Africa James Cleverly to review UK funds allocated to Palestinian education.

This comes following a report from the European Union regarding the content in Palestinian textbooks, which was found to include examples of antisemitism and encouraging Palestinian students to commit terrorist acts of martyrdom.

Cleverly did not link the cutting of UK funds to this report, but stated that the funding of education and health workers in the Palestinian Authority would both be suspended.

In the past, however, Cleverly and other members of the UK government had expressed concern regarding the EU report that Palestinian textbooks were rife with incitement.
Sweden rethinking aid to Palestinian Authority; what about U.S.?
Last week, the United States took a step closer to giving the Palestinian Arabs $225-million, regardless of Palestinian behavior. Also last week, Sweden said it will not go forward with its aid to the Palestinian Authority if Palestinian corruption continues.

How can this be?

In Washington, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved language giving the Palestinian Arabs $225-million, which is $40-million more than the Biden administration requested at this stage. The committee’s action follows an identical step by the House of Representatives.

You may wonder how such aid can forward, when the Taylor Force Act of 2018 prohibits U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority until the PA stops paying salaries and rewards to imprisoned terrorists and the families of dead terrorists.

American Jewish organizations need to speak out against the proposed $225-million U.S. aid package to the Palestinian Arabs. The answer is simple—they will elude the law by routing the funds through non-governmental agencies. But that’s just sleight-of-hand. Make no mistake about it: this is American money for the PA in another form. Aid is fungible. That $225-million will mean the PA has to spend $225-million less of its own money.

U.S. Senator Christopher Coons said the U.S. aid “reflects America’s core values.” I beg to differ. Terrorism, authoritarianism, and corruption are not American values. They are the values of the Palestinian Authority, a regime that deserves no American support.

Sweden, by contrast, seems to be having second thoughts about the $49-million that it gave to the Palestinian Arabs last year. During her visit to Israel last week, Swedish foreign minister Ann Linde indicated that Sweden may be rethinking whether to continue that aid. She said that “corruption at such a level as exists in Palestine” has to end “if we are to be able to fully support” the PA.
Iran’s Khamenei urges reversing ‘sin’ of Arab-Israeli normalizations
Arab nations that normalized ties with Israel last year have “sinned” and should reverse the moves, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said on Sunday.

The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco all agreed to normalize ties with Israel in 2020, as Washington under the administration of then-US president Donald Trump made Arab-Israeli rapprochement a foreign policy priority.

“Some governments have unfortunately made errors — have made big errors and have sinned in normalizing (their relations) with the usurping and oppressive Zionist regime,” Khamenei said, referring to Israel.

“It is an act against Islamic unity. They must return from this path and make up for this big mistake,” Khamenei added, in a speech marking a public holiday honoring the birth of the Prophet Mohammed.

Iran has in the four decades since the 1979 Islamic revolution positioned itself as a strong defender of the Palestinian cause and regularly threatens to annihilate the Jewish state.

Egypt and Jordan were until last year the only two Arab countries to maintain normalized relations with Israel.

“If the unity of Muslims is achieved, the Palestinian question would definitely be resolved in the best fashion,” Khamenei said.
PMW: Campaign prevents Arab athletes’ progress in Israeli sport
Sports not only promotes health and wellbeing but also can further peace building and constitute a bridge between people. However, in the PA, anti-Israel political goals are again being prioritized ahead of the welfare of individual Arab athletes and Arab children as well, as a new campaign prohibits building peaceful relations.

Many Arabs have been successful in Israeli national sports. For example, many play football on Israeli national league teams and a number play on the national team. The team captain, Bibras Nathko, is from a Circassian-Israeli Muslim family. An Israeli Arab Paralympic swimmer, Iyad Shalabi, recently won a gold medal for Israel in Tokyo.

As part of a news story about two Arab athletes who refused offers to represent and play for Israeli teams, official PA TV showed posters from the campaign that is shaming successful Arab athletes who have a chance to advance and have sports careers on Israeli teams, under the slogan: “When you play with a team of the occupation you become like it”:
Official PA TV newsreader: “’No to normalization in sports.’ The Jerusalem residents have begun an information campaign against the attempts to attract athletes to the Israeli clubs.”

[Official PA TV News, Oct. 10, 2021]


PA TV showed two posters from the campaign, one features a football player:
Text in upper right: “No to normalization in sports”

Text on right: “When you play with a team of the occupation you become like it”
9,000 additional Palestinian workers to be allowed into Israel
Israel will grant 9,000 more Palestinians work permits this week, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories announced on Sunday.

The Palestinians from Judea and Samaria working in the construction industry will be allowed to work in sovereign Israel pursuant to a government decision this year to increase the quota of Palestinian workers by 15,000.

COGAT said the additional Palestinians will be permitted to work in Israel “shortly, in accordance with the decision of the political echelon.” Israelis licensed to employ Palestinians can file applications for permits for more workers this week.

The cabinet decision, made in August, to increase the number of Palestinians working in Israel came in light of the government’s aim to strengthen the Palestinian Authority’s economy and the quality of life for Palestinians in Judea and Samaria.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz tweeted at the time that “this is an important step that will strengthen the Palestinian and Israeli economies and our shared interests.”

COGAT Maj.-Gen. Rassan Alian said in August that “economic stability is the key to preserve the security in the region.”
The US Must Stop Falling Prey to Iranian Extortion
Even a former senior intelligence official in the Obama administration said that much of the $1.7 billion in cash was used explicitly to fund terrorism as an additional “screw you” from the leaders of Iran, including Soleimani, who ran Iran’s terror operations. Despite the exorbitant “ransom” that the Obama administration paid Iran, the main hostage, Robert Levinson, was not released.

Levinson was a former FBI official who was taken hostage in Iran in 2007. He is believed to have died in March 2020 in an Iranian prison. His daughter was quoted as saying, “We were never given the chance to say goodbye. To touch him one more time and tell him we love him. To bury him and properly grieve — to have real closure and finality. After all the Iranians did to us and to him, they owe that to us.”

In addition to Levinson, the Iranians have held American citizens father and son Baquer (aged 84, in need of immediate medical care) and Siamak Namazi (aged 50, held since 2015).

Two other Americans, Emad Shargi (56-year-old businessman) and Morad Tahbaz (co-founder of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, held since 2018), have been jailed. The daughters of Emad Shargi insist that their father was taken hostage to gain leverage over the Biden administration.

Iran has used hostage-taking as a means of extorting the United States. It is clear that Iran will be asking a very high price for the release of American citizens held in its jails on trumped-up charges.

America must stay strong. President Reagan showed the way. “Peace through Strength” was his motto. As I mentioned above, it was not a coincidence that Iran released the 52 American hostages on the day that he was inaugurated. This is the America I remember. We should all take note.
IAEA chief admits ability to monitor key Iranian nuclear site compromised
The International Atomic Energy Agency's ability to properly monitor Iran's nuclear sites has been compromised, Director-General Rafael Grossi said Saturday.

In an interview with NBC News, Grossi said that Tehran has consistently refused to allow the IAEA to repair surveillance equipment damaged during a drone attack on a key nuclear facility.

He noted Iran has cited its ongoing investigation into the incident that crippled the facility run by Iran's Centrifuge Technology Company in Karaj, northwest of Tehran, as the reason for denying IAEA inspectors to replace the damaged cameras on the site.

Iran accused Israel of sabotaging the site. The agency said that the blast destroyed one of its cameras and heavily damaged another, but it has not disclosed how many cameras it mounted at the site.

Last month, Iran acknowledged that it had removed several damaged surveillance cameras installed by the IAEA at the Karaj site.

Grossi warned that Tehran's refusal to cooperate with the IAEA on the matter means it cannot account for what the Iranians have been doing there.

Iran's refusal to allow IAEA inspectors back to the Karaj site was peculiar given that it has allowed the IAEA to service cameras placed in other sites, he noted.

Without access to the TESA site, the IAEA's monitoring program in Iran is "no longer intact. ... It hasn't paralyzed what we are doing there, but damage that has been done, with a potential of us not being able to reconstruct the picture, the jigsaw puzzle," Grossi says.
Massive fire breaks out at Iranian power plant
An explosion occurred at an Iranian power plant in the port city of Bandar Abbas in southern Iran that led to a massive fire, local media reported Saturday.

According to sources, a substation of the city's major power plant went up in flames, causing a power outage in more than a quarter of the city. Smoke from the fire engulfed large parts of Bandar Abbas, but no casualties were reported.

Spokesperson for the local electrical company said the incident was caused by a nearby brushfire and was not the result of malicious intent.

In the past, Iran's electrical infrastructure – which is already outdated – was targeted by activists who oppose the regime. Southern Iran, in particular, has been the center stage of activity by rebel groups from the Ahvaz and Balochistan districts.
Top Iran official: If Israel attacks, response will cause trillions in damage
One of Iran’s most senior leaders threatened on Sunday that if Israel attacked its nuclear program, Tehran’s response would require the Jewish state to spend “tens of thousands of billion dollars” to reconstruct the country.

Tweeting in English, Hebrew, Arabic and Persian, Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran, commented on reports last week that Israel has approved a budget of some NIS 5 billion ($1.5 billion) to be used to prepare the military for a potential strike against Iran’s nuclear program.

“Instead of allocating 1.5 billion dollars budget for atrocities against #Iran, the Zionist regime should focus on providing tens of thousands of billion dollars funding to repair the damage that is going to be caused by Iran’s shocking response,” said Shamkhani in his English tweet. The Hebrew tweet bore the same message.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz appeared before the Knesset’s powerful Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday to justify the government’s requested budget increase for the military, warning that the additional funds are necessary in order to prepare for a potential strike on Iran’s nuclear program.


UK police probing banner criticizing Saudi takeover of Newcastle soccer team
A banner held up by Crystal Palace supporters protesting the Saudi takeover of Newcastle is being investigated by Metropolitan Police on suspicion of racism.

The graphic banner was held up before the 1-1 draw between the sides at Selhurst Park, questioning the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test and listing some of the human rights issues in Saudi Arabia.

The banner depicted a man dressed in Saudi garb holding a bloody machete next to a business executive standing over a bag of money dripping with blood and a checklist listing “terrorism,” “beheadings,” and “murder” along with other crimes alleged to have been carried out by Saudi Arabia.

The Premier League gave the go-ahead for a £305 million ($420 million) takeover earlier this month despite the Saudi sovereign wealth fund being the majority financer of the takeover.

A post from the official Croydon Metropolitan Police Service Twitter account read: “On Saturday 23 October police received a report of an offensive banner displayed by Crystal Palace fans.


German antisemitism, real and perceived
There were more than 2,000 reported antisemitic incidents in Germany in 2020 and just under 2,000 the previous year. That's around or five or six incidents, some of them involving violence or verbal abuse, every day.

If that number is sobering, bear in mind that it is definitely an underestimate because so many antisemitic outrages go unreported. Studies of this particular problem reveal different motives among victims for not reporting their ordeals. Some don't believe that what they experienced would warrant police time, some feel a sense of shame or embarrassment, and many fear that going to the police would lead to them becoming victims of further reprisals.

Against this background, it's ironic that the most discussed antisemitic incident in Germany of late – at least since the 2019 attack by a neo-Nazi gunman on a synagogue in the city of Halle during Yom Kippur – is one that might not have happened. I say "might" since the police are still investigating the incident, though evidence published in the German media over the last week certainly raises questions over the original complaint of antisemitic discrimination.

The individual at the center of the controversy, Gil Ofarim, is a well-known Jewish musician in Germany whose father is an Israeli. As was reported in myriad news outlets around the world, earlier this month he was in Leipzig, where he'd reserved a room at the city's Westin hotel. As an ashen-faced Ofarim explained in an Instagram video that went viral, moments earlier he had been told by a hotel employee to "pack up your star" if he wanted to get checked in. Throughout the video, he displayed the Star of David pendant around his neck that sparked the employee's alleged remark, telling viewers that he wore it all the time.
How Nazi sympathizers in WWII Cape Town spied on the Allies and evaded justice
In one of the more improbable Nazi operations during World War II, a South African boxer named Robey Leibbrandt traveled back home from the Reich aboard a German yacht with a mission to sow domestic discord. A competitor in the 1936 Summer Olympics hosted by Nazi Germany, Leibbrandt was ready to use weapons beyond his fists.

The mission to stir the political pot wasn’t as foolhardy as it sounds. There already existed links between the Nazis and a South African pro-German antiwar organization called the Ossewabrandwag — “oxcart sentinels” in Afrikaans — that reflected wider sympathies for Germany within the Afrikaner population.

Yet Leibbrandt’s tempestuousness proved his undoing. He argued with his German handler, who refused to land ashore with him. Eventually, the boxer was betrayed by the Ossewabrandwag and sent to prison.

Leibbrandt ended up being a minor character in the story of clandestine Nazi activity within South Africa. His saga is part of the larger, and largely untold, story of intelligence networks in the country operating on behalf of the Reich chronicled in a new book, “Hitler’s South African Spies,” by Stellenbosch University military historian Evert Kleynhans.

“[The] whole intelligence aspect of the war, everything that happened within the country, for different reasons has never really been written about in our history,” Kleynhans told The Times of Israel via Zoom. “Bits and pieces have been analyzed, certain elements of it. I think a lot of it was suppressed for a long time because one couldn’t get across some of the materials.”
Texas woman reunites with descendants of Holocaust survivors freed with her dad
Anna Salton Eisen found the old pictures of Jewish prisoners who survived the Holocaust in a folder her late father, George Lucius Salton, kept most of his life.

The Texas woman recognized the names of some of the teens and young men from stories her father told. For three years, the baby-faced captives lived among the dead and dying in barracks and boxcars as Nazi captors moved them from Poland to France to Germany.

But suddenly, the familiar names had faces.

“Seeing the faces of all of them really brought the story to life,” said Eisen, who discovered the photos while moving her mother, Ruth Salton, 99, from Florida to the Dallas area this past summer.

Eisen, 62, said she felt compelled to learn more about the confidants who had meant so much to her father, who died at age 88 in 2016.

George Salton was 17 when the United States Army liberated the Wobbelin concentration camp in Germany on May 2, 1945. Over the next few years, the survivors scattered around the world. Most lost touch with each other.

But 76 years after American soldiers cut down the barbed wire and fulfilled the prisoners’ impossible dream of freedom, Eisen set out to bring together the survivors’ loved ones. Thanks to the speed of modern technology, she succeeded.

As Eisen began her research, she relied on names written in pencil on the picture backs or mentioned repeatedly in Salton’s 2002 book, “The 23rd Psalm: A Holocaust Memoir.”
Move over Tenenbaums, ‘French Dispatch’ is Wes Anderson’s most Jewish film yet
Jewishness has been at the fringes of several of Wes Anderson’s movies, but the famed director has never had an explicitly Jewish main character — until now.

In “Rushmore,” one of the non-Jewish director’s breakout works, the lead role is played by Jewish actor Jason Schwartzman, while the Tenenbaums of “The Royal Tenenbaums” is heavily inspired by the (likely) Jewish Glass family members, who show up throughout Jewish author J.D. Salinger’s stories.

Though the Whitmans, another wealthy and disaffected New York clan who feature in “The Darjeeling Limited,” aren’t Jewish, two of the Whitman brothers are played by Jewish actors — Schwartzman and Adrien Brody. Then there was “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” which was based on the writings of Stefan Zweig, a Jewish novelist who fled Europe during the Holocaust.

Anderson’s latest film, “The French Dispatch” — which hit theaters Friday, over a year after its originally planned release date thanks to the pandemic — is his most Jewish work to date.

The movie, openly inspired by Anderson’s nearly lifelong love of The New Yorker magazine, concerns the European outpost of a fictional Kansas-based newspaper, whose American expat writers channel the New Yorker’s highbrow sensibility (often in very humorous fashion). The film is split into four sections, each following a different writer in pursuit of a different story for The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun.

One of the chapters focuses on an explicitly Jewish character. Another features a protagonist loosely based on a Jewish student who helped lead the widespread protests in France in May 1968. And some of Anderson’s imagined journalists throughout the film are based at least in part on real Jewish ones who wrote for The New Yorker.

Taken as a whole, Jewishness and Jewish intellectual history is woven intricately throughout the film, on the fringes no more.


Teddy Roosevelt, one of America’s earliest Zionist presidents - opinion
President Theodore Roosevelt is known for a life of remarkable accomplishments, achieved at a speed that would give most whiplash. He went from New York City Police commissioner to assistant secretary of the US Navy, led some of the famous Rough Riders that helped win the Spanish–American War, earned the status of Colonel in the US Army, was elected governor of New York, vice president of the United States, president of the United States, and was the first American to win the Nobel Peace Prize – all before the age of 50.

However, what is often left off his incredible resume is having been one of America’s earliest Zionist presidents.

“It seems to me that it is entirely proper to start a Zionist state around Jerusalem,” Roosevelt said in 1918, a decade after leaving the presidency and a year following the Balfour Declaration. This statement should come as no surprise to those who have followed Teddy throughout his career.

A New York City native, Roosevelt was very familiar with its Jewish neighborhoods and people. He cared deeply for this community, and carried that into his role as New York City Police commissioner.

“Experience after experience of the excellent service done – an excellent work of what I might call Maccabee-type in the police department under me by police officers of Jewish extraction,” Roosevelt wrote in his autobiography.

He once famously forced an antisemitic preacher requesting security for a rally to accept a Jewish security detail to show how ridiculous his actions were.











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