Sunday, November 14, 2021

From Ian:

Peace-Processing Like Its 1993
The Palestinian Authority incites against Jews and Israelis, pays “salaries” to terrorists in violation of US law, and in an ultimatum in September, PA strongman Mahmoud Abbas told Israel: “Our patience and the patience of our people have limits. This is our land, our Jerusalem, our Palestinian identity, and we shall defend it until the occupier leaves.” Hamas fired more than 4,000 rockets into Israeli towns and villages.

And yet, according to Ross, the onus is on Israel. It is incumbent on the government in Jerusalem to “show it is doing its part to reduce friction, make life better, enhance movement, and preserve an outcome other than a single, binational state.”

And Israel had better get on with it — for its own sake, of course — lest it face the rise of left-wing anti-Israelism in Congress and pressure from the administration.

A more worthwhile approach would recognize that the world has changed since the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993. Since then, the Palestinians have proven themselves corrupt, incompetent, and dictatorial in the governance of their own people in the Gaza Strip and in Judea and Samaria. They have taught their children that Israel will disappear and that the land will be liberated by brave Palestinian children, many of whom will die in the effort — but that’s OK with their parents. Hamas fires its weapons into civilian centers in Israel (a war crime) and places its weapons amid its own civilian population to maximize Palestinian casualties that can be blamed on Israel (another war crime). They have maintained a state of war against Israel, even as Israel permits 130,000 Palestinians to work in Israel every day.

But still, Israel has to do something, says Ross.

But it did. The actual genius of the Abraham Accords is that Israel allows countries with a progressive attitude towards their own people’s health and well-being to operate freely and remove the artificial barrier to Arab-Israeli cooperation in fields from tourism to defense to scientific endeavor. All the Palestinians have to do is be as forward-thinking as the United Arab Emirates, as open-minded as Morocco, as welcoming as Bahrain, and as realistic as Sudan.

Then we can peace process like its 2021.
Biden’s Israel Policy and America’s ‘Course Correction’
Biden’s persistent and inappropriate pressure on Israel to open a consulate in Jerusalem for Palestinians will also be a wedge issue. Such a move would not only be a violation of American law; it would be a waste of the American taxpayers’ money, since the US embassy in Jerusalem already performs all the functions that the proposed consulate is supposed to perform.

It would also divide Jerusalem — something that, for the past 50 years, Biden has said he’d never do. He also had his State Department criticize Israel for giving the green light to building 3,140 housing units in Judea and Samaria. His administration also gave Israel a hard time over designating six Palestinian NGOs that are fronts for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine as terrorist organizations.

Biden will find out that all of the above factors will hurt him significantly in the midterm elections. This reality is coming into sharper focus with each passing day.
Did US cover up airstrikes in Syria? What does it mean for Israel, ICC? - analysis
The dust still has not settled following the stunning New York Times exposure this weekend of a series of US airstrikes on an ISIS camp in Baghuz, Syria on March 18, 2019, which may have killed dozens of civilians.

But the smell is awful and allegations of war crimes and a cover-up are in the air.

Of course, there are major differences between emotional reactions and legal analysis when it comes to the tragic killing of civilians in the midst of the fog of war.

If the narrative provided by official US spokespeople regarding the incident is accurate, there may not have been any war crimes.

According to US defense establishment claims, there was an imminent attack on Syrian Democratic Forces allies who desperately needed aircover. ISIS had unleashed a counter-attack from its camp including a mix of armed attackers and mobile suicide bombers.

Moreover, large numbers of civilians had fled in anticipation of further US attacks on one of ISIS’s few remaining strongholds. So those who remained were viewed as very hardcore.
PM on Israelis detained in Turkey: ‘Innocent citizens, we are doing all we can’
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said at the opening of Sunday’s cabinet meeting that he was working to secure the release of an Israeli couple detained in Turkey for taking photographs of the president’s palace.

“They are two innocent citizens who accidentally got into a complicated situation,” Bennett said. “I spoke with the family yesterday and we are doing everything we can to resolve the issue. I ask the family, despite the great difficulty, to be strong. We are with you. Beyond that, it wouldn’t be right to expand [on the matter] at the moment.”

Turkish authorities detained Natali and Mordy Oknin, residents of Modiin, on Thursday for photographing Erdogan’s palace in Istanbul. The couple and their family insist they did not know it was illegal to do so.

Earlier on Sunday, Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid held urgent consultations on the issue.

Bennett and Lapid reviewed the efforts made over the weekend and agreed to continue to work to find a solution as soon as possible. Foreign Ministry Director General Alon Ushpiz, National Security Council head Eyal Hulata and other officials participated in the talks.

Lapid is leading the effort to secure the couple’s release and is in talks with Israel’s consular representative in Ankara.
Turkey considers charges against Israeli tourist couple
Interview with Amb. Alon Liel, former Head of Israeli Diplomatic Mission to Turkey.

Prosecutors considering espionage charges against Israeli nationals for taking photos of presidential palace

Prosecutors in Turkey say that they are weighing charges of espionage against an Israeli couple detained in Istanbul for taking photographs of the president's palace.

The couple could still face the lesser charge of engaging in acts that harm the country's national security, according to Israeli TV reports.

Republican Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Designate Muslim Brotherhood as Terror Group
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) have reintroduced legislation that urges the U.S. State Department to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization.

The measure, which was introduced in the Senate by Cruz with a companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives by Diaz-Balart, requires the State Department to report to Congress about whether the Muslim Brotherhood meets the legal criteria for designation, and if so, will enable the United States to take action that could stifle the funding they receive to promote their malign activities.

The Senate bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). The House bill is cosponsored by Reps. Kay Granger (R-Texas), Chuck Fleishmann (R-Tenn.), Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.), John H. Rutherford (R-Fla.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Mike Bost (R-Ill.), Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.), Kat Cammack (R-Fla.) and Pat Fallon (R-Texas).

Several U.S. allies, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, have designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terror group. Hamas, which is a Palestinian offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, is designated a terrorist organization by the State Department.

Cruz said in a statement that “it’s high time we join our allies in the Arab world in formally recognizing the Muslim Brotherhood for what they truly are—a terrorist organization. We have a duty to hold the Muslim Brotherhood accountable for their role in financing and promoting terrorism across the Middle East.”

He introduced similar bills in 2015, 2017 and 2020.
Israel Advocacy Movement: Owen Jones attacks Israeli ambassador Tzipi Hotovely
The Israeli and Palestinian ambassadors, Tzipi Hotovely and Husam Zomlot, recently spoke at LSE. After her excellency Tzipi Hotovely finished her talk she was chased off campus by anti-Zionist protesters. Instead of condemning the mob, leftist pundit Owen Jones made a shameless video condemning the ambassador!

We decided to point out his hypocrisy and correct the lies told about the Israeli ambassador.

UPDATE: Zomlot's talk was postponed, so Owen Jones still has time to make a video condemning the Palestinian ambassador… we're waiting with bated breath

Jonathan S. Tobin: Did Bennett’s J Street Meeting Help Israel’s Efforts to Hold on to Democratic Support?
In its 15 years of existence, the left-wing lobby J Street has won many public-relations victories and almost none when it came to policy. Its impact in Washington has, for the most part, been more symbolic than real. Indeed, it could be argued that its main achievement was to live rent-free in the heads of centrist and right-wing groups that work for Israel rather than against it, as J Street does, and to inspire anger that was often disproportionate to its lack of influence on Capitol Hill as well as in Jerusalem. Since it advocates policies towards the Palestinians and Iran that are out of touch with the beliefs of the vast majority of Israelis, it could be argued that it was largely irrelevant to the realities of the Middle East, even if it could always count on favorable coverage in publications like the New York Times.

The formation of an Israeli government that included marginal left-wing parties like Labor and Meretz, which agree with J Street’s stands, had everything to do with the desire of a majority of Israelis to rid themselves of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and nothing to do with policy. But it did represent a major opening for J Street, and the organization has taken full advantage of the situation. The meetings of congressional delegations organized by the group this week with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid were an important milestone in its long-running effort to elbow its way into the conversation as a rival to the far larger and vastly more influential AIPAC.

After so many years of being snubbed by Netanyahu, in addition to Israeli ambassadors to the United States during this period, J Street’s ability to pull off something that would be considered merely routine by AIPAC or any number of other pro-Israel organizations should not be dismissed as entirely meaningless.

While both Bennett and Lapid had their own motives for agreeing to the meetings, it’s impossible to pretend that J Street hasn’t been given a stamp of legitimacy that it was heretofore denied. One question that this raises is what, if anything, this will mean for the group’s ability to influence American policy regarding Israel. But just as, if not more important is what this will mean for the debate among Democrats about their attitude towards the Jewish state, in which an increasingly loud left-wing faction is seeking to drive both the party and the United States away from the alliance.
Rep. Jamaal Bowman’s ‘Thought Crime’ on Israel and the Palestinians
“Sanction.” “Boycott.” “Cancel.” “Expel.” “Reject.”

These five words encapsulate the methods and approach of the Palestinian solidarity movement in Western countries. Theirs is the politics of snarling censure and immovable doctrine, in which softer notions like peace, inclusivity, compromise and diversity have no place. If you don’t agree that the Palestinians are the victims of a wrong unprecedented in history, if you don’t believe that every act of violence is a positive expression of their national struggle, or if you advocate for anything less than the liberation of Palestine in its entirety — “from the river to the sea,” as the slogan has it — then there is no place in that solidarity movement for you either.

Here is a telling illustration of what I mean. At the end of last month, the chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) in Madison, Wisconsin, called on the national organization to expel a progressive congressman from its ranks for being insufficiently anti-Zionist.

It’s grimly amusing that the congressman to spark the ire of the DSA’s Wisconsin chapter — New York Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman — is a member of “The Squad” of left-wing Democratic legislators in the US House of Representatives, as well as the man who won a shock victory over Eliot Engel, the staunchly pro-Israel Democrat who represented New York’s 16th District for more than 30 years, in the June 2020 primary. During his campaign against Engel, Bowman even touted his pro-Palestinian credentials, telling a local newspaper: “One stark contrast between myself and Congressman Engel is I’ve been critical of occupation, annexation and detaining Palestinian children — where Congressman Engel has not.”

But Bowman is decidedly not an eliminationist — someone who believes in the erasure of Israel as a sovereign entity. “That doesn’t mean I’m not pro-Israel,” he clarified in the same interview.

Many pro-Israel activists might disagree with that self-classification, given that Bowman has accused Israel of abusing the rights of children and swallowing up land that rightfully belongs to the Palestinians. Last month, however, Bowman demonstrated that he really does take Israel’s right to exist seriously when he voted in favor of additional funding for Iron Dome, Israel’s revolutionary anti-missile system that protects its civilian population centers from rocket and missile attacks. (Earlier in the spring, however, he publically had said he would not support the legislation.)
India, UAE, US and Israel 'West Asian Quad' meet in next few weeks: EAM Jaishankar
External affairs minister Dr. S Jaishankar has said that India, UAE, US, and Israel--also termed as West Asian Quad--will be meeting in the coming week.

In response to a question at the India Pavilion at the Dubai Expo, EAM said, "you know, we had the initial meeting a month ago...that was hybrid meeting...we had to have follow up session on that. We agree on exactly how we go...that follow up meeting will take place in coming weeks probably in Dubai."

The West Asian Quad met on October 18, during EAM's Israel visit, with, United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed and US Secretary of state Antony Blinken joining virtually. Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Indian EAM were together in person. One of the key focuses of the quad meet was issues like trade, climate, and maritime security.

The Quad meeting is seen as one of the key dividends of the Abraham accords that saw the normalisation of ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. UAE was the first country in the Persian Gulf to normalize ties with Israel.

India has strong ties with both Israel and UAE in West Asia and since the accords were signed, they have worked in a trilateral arrangement. In May, the three countries signed the first-ever pact that involves producing robotic solar cleaning technology in India for a project in UAE by an Israel-based company Ecoppia. The trilateral partnership was initiated by the International Federation of Indo-Israel Chambers of Commerce (IFIICC).
India’s Army Chief in Israel to Talk Defense Ties
India’s Chief of Army Staff Gen. Manoj Mukund Naravane arrived to Israel on Sunday for a five-day visit “to further strengthen strategic defense cooperation between both countries,” the Indian Army said in a Twitter post.

The visit to the Jewish state to meet with senior military officials is the first since Naravane took office in 2019.

He is scheduled to meet with Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi and visit the IDF’s Ground Forces headquarters.

“The Army Chief will take forward the excellent bilateral defense cooperation between Israel and India through multiple meetings with senior officials of the security establishment and exchange views on various defense-related issues,” the Indian military said in a statement

The visit comes after two other high-profile visits from Israel’s South Asian ally: Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Indian Defense Secretary Ajay Kumar.

During Kumar’s visit, Israel and India agreed to set up a task force to build a comprehensive 10-year plan to identify new areas of defense collaboration.
Israel Air Force commander meets air chiefs from Jordan, UAE in Dubai
Israel Air Force Commander Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin traveled to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday to participate in the Dubai International Air Chiefs’ Conference as part of the Dubai Airshow.

It is the first time that Israel is participating in the show, which kicked off on Sunday, following the signing of the Abraham Accords in August 2020 that normalized relations between the UAE and Israel.

During his visit, Norkin, who unlike the other officers was not in uniform, met with the Commander of UAE’s Air Force Maj.-Gen. Ibrahim Nasser Mohammed al-Alawi, senior Jordanian Air Force officer Gen. Mohammad Fathi Hiyasat, German Air Force chief Lt.-Gen. Ingo Gerhartz and other regional military officers.

It was Norkin’s first visit to the UAE and “is part of the deepening of the ties and cooperation between the State of Israel and the United Arab Emirates” the IDF said in a statement. The visit “indicated the continued development and strengthening of the relationship between the IDF and foreign militaries, at the national and strategic level, as well as an example of the growing cooperation in the Middle East.”

Norkin previously met with Alawi in October, after he landed in Israel for the first time during the large-scale international Blue Flag aerial exercise to take part in a conference for countries flying the F-35.
Israel shows off defense tech at Dubai Air Show for first time
The Defense Ministry sent an official delegation of Israeli defense contractors to the Dubai Air Show this month in a sign of the growing military ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates after the two countries normalized relations last year.

Seven Israeli firms, most of them state-owned, went to the defense exhibition in the Emirati capital, one of the premier weapons shows in the world. The delegation was led by Brig. Gen. (res.) Yair Kulas, the head of the Defense Ministry’s weapons exports department, Sibat.

“Opening a national Israeli booth in Dubai represents a new and historic element in the strengthening of ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. We are pleased with the opportunity to take part in this important exhibition and to present Israeli defense contractors’ advanced technological capabilities,” Kulas said in a statement.

“During the exhibition, we plan to hold many meetings and discuss advancing new partnerships,” he added.

The contractors that went to Dubai were Elbit Systems, the Israel Aerospace Industries, Rafael, Astronautics, Nir-Or, UVision and Tomer, which manufactures rockets.

The state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries showed off a range of manned and unmanned naval and aerial drones.

B’Tselem accuses Israel of using settler violence as ‘tool’ to oust Palestinians
On Friday, a group of settlers from the hardline Yitzhar settlement in the northern West Bank attacked Palestinians harvesting olives who were accompanied by Israeli activists. Two Israelis, including a prominent rabbi and peace activist, were injured in the incident.

Neta Ben Porat, one of the injured activists, said she suffered injuries to her head and arm. She said the entire area is video monitored by the army, and soldiers chose not to come to their aid.

The military said in a statement to Army Radio that troops “separated between the sides and dispersed the confrontation” and arrested three settlers.

Rabbis for Human Rights in Israel said in a statement Friday that “the state and its enforcement agencies are failing time after time to ensure the safety of farmers and activists in the harvest, and the blood spilled today is also on their hands.”

Last month, Defense Minister Benny Gantz called on the military to combat rising settler attacks against Palestinians and Israeli troops in the West Bank and respond “systematically, aggressively and uncompromisingly” to such behavior.
(Non-existent) Headline: Palestinian Authority Rewards Antisemitic Rioters With US-funded $25K Arafat Prize
The Palestinian Authority-controlled Yasser Arafat Foundation during a ceremony at the Ramallah Cultural Palace presented its annual prize to the West Bank village of Beita. Explaining the decision, Endowment Committee Chair Ola Awad praised the residents of Beita for their “popular resistance” against Israel, echoing earlier calls by the PA’s ruling Fatah faction to export the “Beita model” to “all Palestinian towns.”

As HonestReporting has repeatedly highlighted (see here, here, here, here, here and here), this “model” involves violent riots, ecoterrorism, setting off powerful explosive devices and burning swastikas.

According to its website, the Yasser Arafat Achievement Award aims to encourage “serious and exceptional work and to recognize real achievements in national, cultural, social, economic, scientific, or academic areas of work.”

Other 2021 nominees included NGOs, youth groups and a charity serving disabled Palestinians.

But the Beita residents were deemed most worthy.

By signing the US-brokered Oslo Accords in the 1990s, the Palestinian Authority formally vowed to “apprehend, investigate and prosecute” those involved in “acts of terrorism, violence and incitement.”

To this day, Palestinian terrorists are rewarded by by the PA with Oscar-like prizes.

Few, if any, English-language news outlets have deemed this newsworthy.

Hamas elated by large turnout at funeral of top official in Jenin
Hamas leaders have expressed deep satisfaction over the participation of thousands of Palestinians at the funeral of one of the group’s West Bank officials who died of COVID-19 last week.

According to the Hamas leaders, the large turnout at the funeral of Wasfi Kabaha, a former Palestinian Authority minister of prisoners affairs, is a vote of confidence in the Islamist movement and its “resistance” against Israel.

In 2007, Kabaha briefly served as a minister in the Palestinian national unity government headed by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

Dozens of masked gunmen belonging to the armed wings of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Izaddin al-Qassam and Al-Quds Brigades participated Friday in the Kabaha's funeral in Jenin, which is controlled by the PA.

The mass funeral is seen by Palestinians as a show of force and a direct challenge to the PA by Hamas and PIJ supporters in the West Bank. The two groups have a strong presence in Jenin and its surroundings.

Seth Frantzman: Iran and Hezbollah analyze Israel’s ‘war between the wars’
IRAN'S REPORT goes on to note that Israel's Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi had warned about the “narrowing of the Israeli military's superiority gap with Lebanon's Hezbollah and resistance in the Gaza Strip, noting that the IDF should take the initiative to regain its strength and increase that distance.”

"This indicates that the development capabilities of Hezbollah and the resistance axis have increased,” Iran says, and that Hezbollah is a major concern for Israel. It is a “major challenge for the [Israel] regime's intelligence, military and political institutions; the results of the recent conflicts that the Zionist regime has experienced in its surroundings, especially the Battle of the Sword of Jerusalem [May 2021 Gaza conflict], prove this fact.”

Iran has concluded that Israel may be “incapable of engaging in a war or escalating tensions to the point of exploding the situation in the region.” The report says that Israel is trying to maintain its qualitative military edge (QME) but that it has always faced a threat since the 1950s and will “not be able to solve its geographical and demographic weakness.” The report indicates that despite advanced weapons, the concern won’t change.

The report examines Israel’s strategy since the time of Ben-Gurion, as well as US policy, which has sought to guarantee the QME. “A practical example of this is that under former US presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, two 10-year agreements were signed between the United States and the Zionist regime, according to which the United States is obliged to enter into any arms deals with other countries. The Middle East must respect the principle of not harming Israel's military superiority.”

SO WHAT does Iran think will happen?

The report says that “the Islamic Republic of Iran, despite the siege and the numerous wars imposed on it, has succeeded in several areas of military and missile technology to an advanced level of capability and development.” This has created a new “regional reality” that “challenges Israel's military superiority and dangerous scenarios for this."

It claims that “after the defeat of the war strategy between the wars [campaign between the wars] – in the light of the information and evaluations of the Israeli institutions of the resistance [i.e Hezbollah] capabilities – the Zionist regime has carried out extensive maneuvers in different periods.

Spectator (perhaps caught in a time warp) claims Israel is now 'totally isolated'
A Spectator article by Rian Malan (“F.W. de Klerk was a hero of our time”, Nov. 11) commented on the death and legacy of the last president of apartheid South Africa. Malan characterised de Klerk’s announcement, in 1990, that he would begin transitioning the country from apartheid to a constitutional democracy, as an “an act of heroism almost unparalleled in the history of humankind”.

After eight more paragraphs praising de Klerk’s “heroic” decision to end the country’s system of white supremacy, Malan decided, for some reason, to pivot to Israel, framed as the anti-hero.

Anyone who has doubts on this score should consider what’s happened to Israel over the past 20 years. On the day de Klerk stepped up to the microphone to make his historic speech, God’s other chosen people were also contemplating the opportunities created by the end of the Cold War. They too were presented with a fleeting chance to make peace from a position of power, but the risks were too great, so they dug in their heels, refusing to make the painful concessions necessary to break their ancient stalemate with Palestine. Now they’re totally isolated, totally reliant on the protection of a declining America, and facing a deadly fundamentalist enemy interested only in their eradication.

The falsehoods and deceptions in this solitary paragraph are extraordinary.

To begin with, Malan’s pejorative reference to Israel as “God’s chosen people” is a pure act of malice: First, it’s a way to falsely suggest that Israel, like apartheid South Africa, is a country built on the idea of racial ‘supremacy’ – an antisemitic trope which traces its roots back to the former Soviet Union’s anti-Zionist propaganda. It also of course grossly distorts the very Jewish concept of chosenenss – a term used traditionally as a reminder to Jews that they should hold themselves to a higher moral standard.
BBC Sport coy on ‘inappropriate flag’
As reported by the Jewish Chronicle, the offending item was in fact a Palestinian flag. BBC audiences however were told nothing of the opportunistic demonstration that was pre-planned by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign with the aim of politicising an international sporting event or of the disrespectful behaviour of some of the crowd.

“Anti-Zionist activism reached fever pitch during the Israel-Scotland World Cup qualifier recently. Twitter lit up. Boorish Scottish fans threw food missiles at Israeli players on the pitch and jeered and heckled when the Hatikvah was played. The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) had a lovely day out screaming ‘apartheid’. A touch incongruous that, because one of Israel’s two goals was scored by an Arab-Muslim Israeli, Mu’nas Dabbur.”

In other words, BBC Sport’s opaque report on FIFA’s decision to fine the Scottish Football Association fails to provide its funding public with the information needed to fully understand the story and – not for the first time – whitewashes the agitprop of a fringe group of anti-Israel activists.
Documentary on worst antisemitic attack in US shows courage under fire
SWAT teams rushing to a synagogue to save people from a shooting? That was something most people thought they'd never see. But that's what happened at the Tree of Life Or L'Simcha Synagogue when Gregory Bowers opened fire on Oct. 27, 2018 in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, killing 11 Jews, most of them seniors, while they sat in Saturday-morning services in what has been the deadliest attack on Jews in American history.

Making a documentary on such a subject isn't simple for any director, as there are so many questions to consider. To what extent should the shooter be mentioned? Too little, and it's ignoring history. Too much, and it could inspire copycats and give overdue power to an evil coward. What about the political links? Some cast blame on former President Donald Trump for causing an environment where white supremacists felt emboldened and say it's also a problem of weak gun-control laws, while others argue that isn't the case since the alleged shooter was highly critical of Trump, and criminals can obviously get guns illegally so laws don't really stop someone intent on getting them.

In A Tree of Life, set to premiere at DOC NYC at Manhattan's SVA Theater on Nov. 14, director Trish Adlesic mostly does a great job at providing balance in this powerful film, and nearly every choice is the right one.

Adlesic shows people blaming Trump and saying he's not welcome there, though counters that with someone saying he can visit their synagogue. When it comes to gun control, a former Marine and FBI agent laments that as there were no changes after the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Ct., on Dec. 14, 2012, he doubts they will occur after this, either. A gun seller says he would quit his occupation if it would make a difference in saving lives, in the same breath noting that logic dictates that criminals can get guns illegally. According to The New York Times, Bowers got the guns he allegedly used in the shooting legally, although this was not mentioned in the film. Police officers guard the Tree of Life synagogue following the shooting on Oct. 28, 2018 (Reuters/Aaron Josefczyk/File)

Bowers isn't mentioned until 30 minutes in and gets almost no screen time. Adlesic lets CNN's Brian Stelter do some of the talking using a clip the network aired. In "Emanuel," a documentary about the 2015 shooting and murder of nine African-American church-goers at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC, we don't see the convicted killer Dylan Roof until 25 minutes in. He is shown shooting at targets in his backyard and chillingly entering the church in footage caught on security video cameras. If similar footage exists of Bowers, it's not pictured here.
Polish president denounces antisemitism at nationalist rally as ‘treason’
Polish President Andrzej Duda on Sunday denounced displays of antisemitism at a nationalist rally last week on Poland’s Independence Day that included chants of “Death to Jews” and a symbolic burning of a historical text on Jewish rights.

His remarks joined those of Israeli and Polish government officials who have slammed the public expression of hatred to Jews that occurred in the central Polish city of Kalisz on Thursday amid holiday celebrations across Poland.

“The barbarism carried out by a group of hooligans in Kalisz is contrary to the values on which the Republic of Poland is based,” Duda wrote on his Twitter account.

Noting the current crisis on Poland’s border with Belarus, Duda added that the acts were “even an act of treason.”

Participants at the gathering burned a copy of a medieval document that offered Jews protection and rights in Polish lands. The leaders of the event also referred to the LGBT community and Zionists as “enemies of Poland” who need to be expelled.

Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski said Saturday that he hoped “the people who organized the shameful and scandalous assembly in Kalisz on November 11 will suffer legal consequences.”

Foreign ministry spokesman Lukasz Jasina said Poland’s national holiday had been “used to propagate hate, antisemitism and religious intolerance.”
Poland: 'Death to Jews,' chant heard at nationalist rally
Interview and analysis by Daniel Shek, former Israel's ambassador to France.

Incident widely condemned; Polish police looking into footage of the 'disturbing' rally

Chanting "death to Jews," Polish far-right nationalists burned the replica of a historical document enshrining the legal status of Jews in Poland, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reported on Saturday.

The extremist rally was held on in the city of Kalisz on November 11, Poland’s Independence Day, which has in recent years become one of the largest annual gatherings of the European far right.

Man badly hurt falling off slab at Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial
A young man was severely injured Sunday when he fell off a slab that’s part of the German capital’s memorial to the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust.

The 21-year-old tourist, whose name was not released in line with German privacy rules, fell several meters (yards) early Sunday and was taken to the hospital with head injuries, the German news agency dpa reported.

Police were still investigating the cause of the accident, dpa reported. Local Berlin media said the young man was an Italian tourist who had underestimated the height when jumping off the slab, which was in an unlit part of the memorial.

The memorial, a field of 2,700 gray concrete slabs near the Brandenburg Gate that opened in 2005, is open around the clock. Visitors are supposed to refrain from activities such as running and jumping from one slab to another.

Earlier this month, Berlin’s police chief apologized for an incident in which officers were pictured practicing push-ups on part of the memorial.
Pfizer’s Covid Pill to Arrive in Israel After FDA Approval
Israel has reached an agreement with Pfizer to ship tens of thousands of doses of the pharmaceutical company’s Covid-19 pill immediately after US regulators give the greenlight, Channel 12 News reported Saturday evening.

The antiviral drug, which will be sold under the brand name paxlovid, was shown in early trials to cut by 89% the chances of hospitalization or death for adults at risk of developing severe disease.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz reached the agreement a week after the Health Ministry Director-General Nachman Ash said that Pfizer would be contacted “in the coming days” to discuss an agreement.

Ash said that the treatment “sounds promising” but that more information is needed.

Now it has been revealed that as soon as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves the pill, shipments to Israel will begin.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said earlier this month that the company was in discussions with 90 governments, including some that had already signed agreements.
Oh deer! Archaeologists reveal culinary taste of prehistoric Israelis
Hundreds of thousands of years ago, early humans living in the area of the modern State of Israel were aware that what animals ate influenced the taste of their meat of the quality of their hide, and chose their hunting grounds based of their culinary preferences and needs for supplies, new research based on remains uncovered at the site of Qesem Cave has suggested.

A group of Israeli and Spanish experts analyzed hundreds of animal remains uncovered in the cave, especially teeth, and understood that different areas of the site were devoted to different activities – such as butchering, extracting bone marrow or treating the skins. In addition, they were surprised to find out that the animals processed in these areas, despite belonging to the same species, were characterized by different diets, according to Tel Aviv University Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology Ran Barkai.

“Qesem Cave was visited by early humans beginning around 400,000 years ago and up to 200,000 years ago,” he said. “It was a very interesting period in terms of human cultural and biological evolution because we are talking about a human type that came right after Homo Erectus, the common ancestor of Sapiens and Neanderthal, and just before them.

“This period was characterized by many technological innovations, including the beginning of the use of fire,” he said.

Located in the Samaria Hills, the cave remained sealed and not accessed until the year 2000 when it was uncovered by chance. It, therefore, offers a range of very well-preserved artifacts and traces of Paleolithic life distributed through 11 meters of archaeological layers.
20 of the best FREE things to do in Israel
When planning your visit to Israel, it’s really nice to include some activities that don’t cost money.

Below we’ve listed five places in each of the three largest cities – Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa – as well as in other parts of Israel where you can be entertained and educated without reaching for your wallet.

Have you come across other great free destinations in your travels around Israel? Please share them in the comments section.

Free guided tours of the Knesset (Parliament) and Supreme Court ordinarily would top our list, but they have been suspended during the pandemic. For now, visitors can enjoy many other free activities including these.

The Old City
The most visited (and most Instagrammed) free tourist spot in Israel is the Old City’s Western Wall (Kotel), a remnant of the retaining wall of the Herodian Second Temple complex.

Other famous holy sites inside the Old City walls include, to name just a few, the Temple Mount, Dome of the Rock (Al-Aqsa Mosque), Hurva Synagogue, Church of the Holy Sepulcher and Via Dolorosa.

Each quarter of the Old City – Armenian, Jewish, Christian, Muslim – has its own ambiance and vibe. As there’s a story behind practically every stone of the Old City, this is the place to get familiar with history, theology and archeology.

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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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