Friday, November 26, 2021

From Ian:

Mark Regev: Anti-Zionism, antisemitism does nothing to help Palestinians
THERE IS a lesson here for all the militant “friends” of the Palestinians worldwide. Demonization of Israel, unequivocal backing of maximalist demands and fervent opposition to any concessions, does nothing to help the Palestinians. Such positions only support the perpetuation of the futile hardline approach that created the Nakba in the first place.

From Dublin to Durban to Detroit, those urging the Palestinians to remain steadfast and unbending, proclaiming their belief in ultimate victory, are peddling a lie. Every vector points in the opposite direction. With each passing year Israel is stronger; more powerful militarily, more influential diplomatically, more integrated regionally, more consequential economically, more sizable demographically and more advanced technologically.

There is no evidence that Palestinians will somehow be able to dictate terms, and by promoting a maximalist stance divorced from the strategic realities these “friends” are emboldening the intransigence that can only lead the Palestinian people to a political dead end.

Such an untenable position can have no logic unless the militants’ publicly professed solidarity with the Palestinians is merely a veil for the oldest of hatreds. Of course, charges of antisemitism often face a knee-jerk rejection, portrayed as an attempt to silence criticism of Israel. But to refute the connection between radical pro-Palestinianism and antisemitism is to disavow reality.

First, on the substantive level, anti-Zionist activists deny Jewish peoplehood and reject the Jews’ right to national self-determination. This while championing the very same right for others, the Palestinians. When you uphold a universal principle, but oppose it for the Jews, what is that called?

Second, there have been a series of documented cases where groups ostensibly established to support Palestinian rights have been exposed for being awash with antisemitic bigotry, Holocaust revisionism and Jewish conspiracy theories. David Collier’s 2017 report on the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign is but one of numerous such examples. This is not a new phenomenon. In his autobiographical Once Upon a Country, acclaimed Palestinian intellectual Sari Nusseibeh describes being in London on the eve of the 1967 Six Day War, searching for a pro-Palestinian event among what he perceived as being wall-to-wall British public support for Israel. When finally coming across such a meeting Nusseibeh discovers it is being hosted by neo-Nazis.

Finally, social scientists have found a clear statistical correlation between anti-Israel activism and antisemitism. When surveyed, hardcore pro-Palestinian activists are more likely than others to hold strong antisemitic prejudices, soft pro-Palestinian activists are more likely than others to be mild antisemites (see Jewish Policy Research’s 2017 “Antisemitism in contemporary Great Britain: A study of attitudes towards Jews and Israel”).
Melanie Phillips: Israel needs a narrative strategy. This is why
Israel needs to develop a strategy that shapes the narrative rather than – as at present – trying to defend itself on ground chosen by its enemies. Rather than merely responding to the onslaught, it should be constantly placing essential but rarely stated truths into the public domain.

It should be pointing out, for example, that there is nothing illegal about its "settlements" that are underpinned by international law. It should be calling out Western governments for misrepresenting the Geneva conventions in the false claim of "illegal occupation."

It should constantly be driving home the fact that that the Jews are the only extant indigenous people of the land. It should be publicizing the Palestinian Authority's Nazi-style portrayal of the Jewish people as bloodsuckers controlling the world – and pointing out that this vile agenda is actively supported and promoted by supposed "anti-racists" in the West. And so on.

Yet Israel has no such proactive strategy.

Understandably, it is preoccupied with the need to fight off the immediate threats to Israeli lives from its genocidal enemies bristling with weapons on its borders and on its streets. It's also frightened of not playing by the diplomatic rules and thus upsetting its friends in the west, however false they may be.

More fundamentally, it believes that trying to influence Britain or Europe, with their terrible histories of endemic antisemitism, is a useless endeavor.

This is a bad mistake. In Britain at least, many support the Palestinian narrative of lies simply because they haven't the faintest idea of the truth. And that's because Israel doesn't provide it for them.

America and the West ignore the reality about Iran or the Palestinians or the Muslim Brotherhood because they take refuge in the fantasy that the world is shaped in their own image.

Israel is in the unique position of being both of the West and at the same time of the Middle East. It is therefore uniquely equipped to educate the West out of this dangerous fantasy. That it chooses not to do so is a tragic mistake, both for Israel itself and for the world.


UN Watch: Protecting Human Rights
On Thursday, November 25, at 12 pm EST, UN Watch’s Fundraising Campaign continues. Hillel Neuer will speak about how we protect human rights, fight dictatorships, and answer your questions on the subject.

Mark your calendars and send your questions in advance to: campaign@unwatch.org

About the Campaign:
UN Watch needs to raise $500,000 by the end of November to ensure the continuation of its vital work. We are turning to our social media community to help us reach our goal.

We are only 1 week away and still need to raise $335,000!

To take part in the campaign, all you have to do is make a $5 donation and inspire 5 friends to do the same so that we can reach our $500,000 target by the end of November. It might not sound like much, but if every one of our social media followers gives $5 and asks 5 friends to do the same, we will surely hit our goal.

Donate now, visit: www.unwatch.org/2021-donate

As part of the Campaign, Hillel Neuer, the Executive Director of UN Watch, will be holding a series of exclusive Live events, during which he will talk about the main pillars of our work and answer your questions.


Houda Nonoo: Jewish communities thriving in the Arabian Gulf
This past year, we have made wonderful steps in changing perceptions of how comfortable and safe it is to be a Jewish person in the Arab world. Since I was appointed Bahrain’s ambassador to the United States in 2008, I have been asked hundreds of times about my experience being Jewish in the Arab world. There was always the same follow-up question: “is it safe?”

In the past, people expressed surprise at how well we have been treated. When I rejoined Twitter in January, I wanted to show just how accepted we are here. I was inspired to create the Shabbat Shalom series where each Friday, I bring traditionally Jewish items, like my Shabbat candles and kiddush cup – and the now famous Kedem bottle of grape juice – and take a picture of them with Bahraini landmarks such as the Manama skyline, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain Bay, Bahrain National Museum, Isa Cultural Centre, King Fahad Causeway, Bab Al Bahrain and more.

In less than one year, these tweets have reached more the 5.5 million people and it’s even more exciting to see others share their Shabbat photos from around the GCC, from other Muslim countries such as Kazakhstan, and from all over the world – including the United States, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Hong Kong, Japan, Israel, Cyprus and more. We’ve created an online community and at the same time, we have seen how it is not just accepted, but celebrated, when we showcase our Jewish heritage, culture, religion and rituals in the Arab countries where we reside.

Someone recently shared with me a beautiful thought from the Ramban (Nachmanides) where he used an example from the Torah in Parashat Bo to say that the purpose of all great miracles is really to show us that a miracle doesn’t need to be supernatural to be considered a miracle. There are miracles that happen every day and we need to recognize them equally because they are extraordinary on their own. When I reflect on these eight examples from this past year, some may seem more extraordinary than others but truthfully, they are all equally miraculous.
'More Muslim nations are expected to join Abraham Accords'
Former public security minister Gilad Erdan served as Israel's ambassador to Washington for 10 months. At the same time, he also served as Israel's ambassador at the United Nations in New York – a role he still holds. Taking on both roles brings with it complexities and ramifications.

Erdan left for the United States in the summer of 2020 after being appointed by the Netanyahu-Gantz government. His agreement with former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was that as long as the latter remained prime minister, Erdan would hold on to the position of ambassador in Washington. As a senior minister in the government, Erdan's departure was fraught with political danger. He knew that the position in Washington, which is the more important of the two ambassadorships, could be short-lived, as indeed turned out to be the case.

But Erdan is someone who aims high, and if he decides to challenge Netanyahu for the leadership of Likud, and he will, he will want to present to the party members not just with his decade of his ministerial experience, but also substantial diplomatic experience. And while his term in Washington ended quickly, it included a number of significant milestones: The transition from the Trump administration to the administration of Joe Biden; the formation of a new government in Israel, the first after 12 years not led by Netanyahu; and a development that will influence the lives of all Israelis – a visa waiver for Israelis visiting the United States. Erdan made a significant contribution to the last of these milestones.


'For Hamas to lose the next war, Israel needs to panic less'
Head of the IDF's Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Eliezer Toledano, spent this week on an extensive drill for a future war on the Palestinian front. The drill sought to prepare the command for the next war against terrorists in the Gaza Strip, although no one knows when it will erupt.

Toledano does not speak a lot. In his first long interview since taking over as GOC of the command last March, he tells Israel Hayom that the IDF is seeking an offensive solution to rocket fire from Gaza after it managed to strike a major blow to Hamas' underground network during Operation Guardian of the Walls in May. "It's a matter of time, but we'll get there," he says.

Toledano also makes it clear that Gaza must be handled delicately, that its 2 million residents cannot be "strangled." He says it is in Israel's interest to find solutions that will improve their quality of life. However, as far as he is concerned, Hamas leaders are living on borrowed time.

He rejects the claims about the death of Barel Hadaria Shmueli, a Border Police sniper killed by Hamas fire, saying, "There is a price for our existence here. Soldiers will be killed, and so will civilians." When it comes to Israel's captive fallen soldiers and civilians, Toledano says Israel must leave no stone unturned to bring them back, but "Hamas needs to realize that Israel has changed its approach." 'Looking a decade ahead'

Toledano, 48, wears a kippa. He is married, a father of five, and lives on Moshav Gamliel near Yavne. He was born and raised in Kiryat Motzkin and grew up in the modern Orthodox youth movement Bnei Akiva.

He joined the army as a paratrooper with the 101st Brigade and earned promotion until he was assigned command of the brigade, the position he held during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014. During the 2006 Second Lebanon War, he was commander of the Maglan Unit. He also served as former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's military secretary and as commander of the IDF's Gaza Division.
Israel bows to US pressure, won't advance east Jerusalem Atarot project
Israel has assured the United States that the controversial east Jerusalem project of 9,000 new homes won't be advanced at this time, despite the boost it received Wednesday from a local planning committee.

This marks the first time since Prime Minister Naftali Bennett took office in May that he has appeared to acquiesce to US pressure to hold off on Jewish construction over the pre-1967 lines.

The project was next scheduled to go before the Interior Ministry District Planning Committee, which on December 6th is set to decide whether or not the plan can be deposited.

But the bureaucratic process is a protracted one.

News of Israel's decision to tell the US the project would not move forward was first reported by The Jerusalem Post's sister site Walla and confirmed by the Post.

A diplomatic official said that once the District Planning Committee approves the project, "it won't reach the upper echelon for another year."
Jordanians protest against water-for-energy deal with Israel
Several thousand Jordanians protested on Friday against a water-for-energy deal with Israel and the United Emirates, calling on their government to scrap its peace agreement with Israel and saying any normalization was a humiliating submission.

Police were deployed heavily around a downtown area of the capital Amman leading to the Husseini mosque where demonstrators marched after Friday prayers.

"No to the agreement of shame," protesters chanted, some carrying banners such as "Normalization is Treason" in a protest organized by a mix of opposition parties including Islamists and leftists as well as tribal groups and unions.

Jordan, Israel and the UAE signed the deal last Monday in the presence of US climate envoy John Kerry.

Under the agreement, Jordan would install 600 megawatts of solar power generating capacity to be exported to Israel, while Israel would provide water-scarce Jordan with 200 million cubic metres of desalinated water.

The UAE, which became the first Gulf state to normalize relations with Israel last year, was expected build the solar plant in Jordan.
Israel Bans Arrivals From Most of Africa After New Coronavirus Variant Detected
Israel on Friday imposed a travel ban covering most of Africa after the detection of a new variant of the coronavirus in South Africa that could be more contagious than the Delta strain.

“We are currently on the verge of a state of emergency,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said, according to a statement from his office, before expanding a ban he announced on Thursday on the entry of foreigners from seven African countries and Israelis’ travel to them.

Under the broader restrictions, all African nations, except those in North Africa, were added to Israel’s “red list” of high-risk countries.

Bennett, who met Israeli health experts before the edicts were announced, said there were a few cases of the new variant reported in Israel.
Is terrorism on the rise in Jerusalem?
Is terrorism on the rise in Israel? This is a question that Diplomatic Correspondent Lahav Harkov and Editor-in-chief Yaakov Katz tackle on this week’s Jerusalem Post Podcast. They reflect on the recent murder by a Hamas terrorist of a young South African immigrant right outside the Western Wall plaza.

“It was a real tragedy, and it raises some questions, like is terrorism on the rise in Jerusalem and across Israel,” Katz says.

The terrorist was a teacher at an Islamist school in east Jerusalem. After the event, one of the news stations interviewed a student who said, “he was the nicest teacher, he never cursed anyone except for the Jews.”

They also discuss international negotiations about re-joining the Iran deal and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s comments this week that Israel is not obligated to whatever outcome there is of the negotiations. He said that since Israel is not a party to the Iran deal, the country will maintain freedom of action.

He said Israel will continue to be prepared.

Finally, they also talk with Jerusalem Post correspondent Yonah Jeremy Bob about former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trial, which continued this week at the Jerusalem District Court.
Hamas terrorist who murdered Israeli reportedly traveled to Turkey multiple times
The Hamas terrorist who shot and killed an Israeli civilian in Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday visited Turkey multiple times before his attack, Kan News reported.

Schoolteacher Fadi Abu Shkaydam, 42, a member of the political wing of Hamas, murdered 25-year-old Israeli civilian Eliyahu (“Eli”) Kay and injured four others before being shot dead by police.

According to the report, Israeli security forces suspect that Abu Shkaydam met with Hamas members in Turkey who provided him with instructions on carrying out the attack.

The report added that Abu Shkaydam’s family members were questioned by the Shin Bet intelligence agency in recent days, and that they claimed he had been visiting his son who was studying in the country, as well as visiting a property that he owns in Turkey, alongside other investments.

In the past, it has been reported the Hamas deputy chief Salah Al-Arouri resided in Turkey. Al-Arouri is responsible for orchestrating terrorism in the West Bank.

Meanwhile, Abu Shkaydam’s wife, who traveled to Jordan prior to the attack, returned to Israel on Monday and was arrested, according to Kan. During questioning, she claimed she knew nothing of her husband’s intentions.


The Israel Guys: Jerusalem Teacher Opens Fire in the Old City
A Jerusalem Hamas leader smuggled a machine gun inside his coat and opened fire in the Old City streets this week. He murdered one young Jewish man and injured four others. The twist to this story is that the terrorist was on the Jerusalem Municipality payroll, and was an Israeli resident.

Also on today’s show, we show footage from a rock throwing in Samaria that Joshua happened to drive up on, not once, but twice in one day.


IDF exposes Syrian officer aiding Hezbollah in Golan Heights
The Israel Defense Forces has exposed a Syrian military officer who is assisting Hezbollah in the Golan Heights, the IDF reported Thursday.

Posting on Twitter, the IDF's Arabic-language Spokesperson Lt. Col. Avichay Adraee said Naqib Bashar al-Hussein, a commanding officer in charge of reconnaissance, "serves as the main liaison between Hezbollah's southern headquarters and the 1st Division of the Syrian [Arab] Army."

According to Adraee, Al-Hussein accompanies various Hezbollah members, and even overlooks the maintenance and repair of Hezbollah's observation posts, and sometimes, even posts belonging to Iran. In one of the photos posted on Twitter, he can be seen on the border next to Hezbollah commander Jawad Hashem, observing Israeli troops.

The post also reported that Al-Hussein operated inside the demilitarized zone between Israel and Syria, which according to the 1974 ceasefire agreement reached after the Yom Kippur War, is off-limits for Syrian troops.

Adraee warned that the IDF was "monitoring the developments on the other side of the border and anyone who tries to harm the security of Israel and its citizens," stressing that Syria was "responsible for all activities carried out from its territory against the State of Israel."
Hamas urges Hebron unrest in reaction to Israeli president’s planned Hanukkah visit
The Hamas terror group on Friday warned that President Isaac Herzog’s plan to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah on Sunday at a shrine in the West Bank city of Hebron was “a provocation” and “a flagrant violation” of the site’s sanctity, while calling on Palestinians to confront Israeli forces at the scene.

Several Israeli left-wing groups also lambasted the president’s planned visit to the Tomb of the Patriarchs and urged protests against it.

Hamas in a statement said that “the occupation bears full responsibility for the repercussions of this attack” on the site, known to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque.

The Tomb of the Patriarchs, considered the second holiest site in Judaism after the Western Wall in Jerusalem, is believed to have been used as a burial plot by the Biblical patriarch Abraham. It is considered holy to both Jews and Muslims and is used for prayers by worshipers of both faiths, but has been a major flashpoint for violence.

“We call on the masses of our people in the West Bank and our people in the city of Hebron to confront this provocative step and to confront the attack on the Ibrahimi Mosque,” Hamas said.

The terror group also urged unrest in Jerusalem’s Old City in response to plans to hold a candle-lighting ceremony at the Western Wall, claiming the site belongs to Islam.


Protesters storm Lebanese ministry building as country’s currency sinks to new low
A small group of protesters broke into a ministry building in Beirut early Friday and removed a photo of the president from one of its main rooms, as the Lebanese pound hit new lows amid a worsening economic and political stalemate.

The nearly dozen protesters who entered the Ministry of Social Affairs said conditions in the crisis-hit country have become unbearable as a result of the rapid economic collapse and ongoing crash of the pound, which reached 25,100 to the US dollar. The previous record was 25,000.

Prices have been skyrocketing in recent weeks as the government lifted subsidies on fuel and some medicines, making them out of reach of many in Lebanon. Some three-quarters of the population of six million, including a million Syrian refugees, now live in poverty. The minimum monthly wage is now worth about $27.

Protesters have blamed the ministry for sluggishness in issuing ration cards that are supposed to give poor families monthly financial aid.

The protesters broke into the meeting room at the ministry and turned a framed picture of President Michel Aoun upside down before removing it. They replaced it with a banner in Arabic that read “revolutionaries of October 17.”

The protesters were referring to the start of nationwide protests on October 17, 2019, against the country’s ruling class. They are blamed for decades of corruption and mismanagement that threw the small nation into its worst economic and financial crisis in its modern history.
Ruthie Blum: Israel too afraid of US and coalition friction to strike Iran
Try as they might to ignore it, Bennett, Biden, Blinken, Sullivan and Malley are faced with this inconvenient truth. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be scrambling to adjust their aims for the renewed talks in the Austrian capital.

Their main objective has shifted from the desire for a “longer and stronger” version of the JCPOA to the hope of some sort of “interim agreement,” just to keep Iran in the game. Not surprisingly, Tehran is behaving as though it holds all the cards.

In Iran on Tuesday, International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Grossi told reporters that his organization “is seeking to continue and deepen the dialogue” with the regime as negotiations draw near.

His supplicatory visit came on the heels of an IAEA report criticizing the Islamic Republic for violently preventing inspectors from monitoring key nuclear sites. Naturally, he went home a few hours later with his tail between his legs and his head spinning like the centrifuges his people haven’t been permitted to observe.

SPEAKING OF which, Malley told National Public Radio that if the Iranians “start getting too close… for comfort, then, of course, we will not be prepared to sit idly.”

He didn’t specify what alternative he had in mind, other than economic pressure, but he assured that the US is “prepared to get back into the deal and to lift all of the sanctions that are inconsistent with the deal. So, if Iran wants to get back into the deal, it has a way to do that.”

Not exactly the kind of “fightin’ words” that frighten the mullahs, who’ve made it clear that they’re not up for any compromise whatsoever. Nor are they willing to sit down, face to face – but rather prefer the American liaisons hovering outside the venue in Vienna. As was the case with the previous rounds of non-negotiations, the US this time will also have to let Europe, Russia and China do the direct bidding.

THIS BRINGS us back to Bennett and the question of whether Israel is prepared to launch a comprehensive offensive against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Under the present circumstances, the odds are slim.

Despite his pronouncements, the temporary prime minister – slated to be replaced at the helm in less than two years by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid – is hesitant to arouse Washington’s ire. For one thing, doing so would cause a coalition crisis at home. For another, it would expose the lie of “bipartisanship.”

The irony is as inescapable as it is tragic.
US Threatens Escalation With Iran at IAEA Next Month
The United States threatened on Thursday to confront Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency next month if it does not cooperate more with the watchdog — an escalation that could undermine talks on reviving a 2015 big-power deal with Iran.

Tehran is locked in several standoffs with the IAEA, whose 35-nation Board of Governors is holding a quarterly meeting this week.

Then-president Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the 2015 agreement that lifted sanctions in return for restrictions on Iran’s atomic activities. He re-imposed debilitating sanctions, after which Tehran progressively expanded its nuclear work and reduced cooperation with the IAEA.

Iran is denying the IAEA access to re-install surveillance cameras at a workshop at the TESA Karaj complex. The IAEA also wants answers on the origin of uranium particles found at apparently old but undeclared sites, and says Iran keeps subjecting its inspectors to “excessively invasive physical searches”.

“If Iran’s non-cooperation is not immediately remedied … the Board will have no choice but to reconvene in extraordinary session before the end of this year in order to address the crisis,” a US statement to the Board of Governors said.

It said it was referring “especially” to re-installing IAEA cameras at the Karaj workshop, which makes parts for advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium.
Top Iran Diplomat Calls for Lifting of Sanctions, Days Before Vienna Nuclear Talks
Iran wants the lifting of all sanctions in a verifiable process, its foreign minister said on Friday, three days before nuclear talks resume in Vienna.

Monday’s indirect talks between the United States and Iran, with the participation of major powers, aim at bringing the two countries into full compliance with a 2015 deal. Washington abandoned the accord in 2018 and reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran.

“If the opposing sides are prepared to return to their full obligations and the lifting of sanctions, a good and even immediate agreement can be reached,” minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said in a telephone conversation with the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Joseph Borrell.

“Iran wants a good and verifiable agreement,” Iranian media quoted Amirabdollahian as saying.

International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi said on Wednesday following a trip to Tehran this week that he had made no progress on several disputes, the most pressing of which was getting access to the workshop at the TESA Karaj complex two months after Iran promised to grant it.

The workshop makes components for centrifuges, machines that enrich uranium, and was hit by apparent sabotage in June in which one of four IAEA cameras there was destroyed. Iran removed the cameras and the destroyed camera’s footage is missing.

“We are close to the point where I would not be able to guarantee continuity of knowledge,” Grossi said.
Iran accuses UN nuclear watchdog of ‘discrimination,’ bowing to West’s pressure
Iran has accused the UN’s nuclear agency of bowing to pressure from its Western financiers to “discriminate” against Tehran, as strains persist ahead of new talks to revive the 2015 atomic deal.

“It’s a reality. The IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) doesn’t deal with Iran as it should,” Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, told state television late Thursday.

He argued that organizations such as the IAEA were “under the influence of powerful countries” which “finance them and in exchange apply pressure on them.”

In a phone call on Friday with EU diplomatic chief Josep Borrel, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said it would be “possible to reach a favorable agreement” if sanctions are lifted.

“We will participate in the Vienna talks in good faith and seriously,” he said, while calling for “a serious and sufficient guarantee” that the United States will not leave the nuclear deal.

After a mission to Tehran this week, IAEA head Rafael Grossi said his talks with Iranian officials had been “constructive” but “inconclusive.”











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