Monday, January 17, 2022

From Ian:

Bari Weiss: Being Jewish in an Unraveling America
American Jews have always told ourselves that we were different because this country was different—that it was exceptional. That the equivocation about Jew-hate that we are now witnessing was normal in other places but never would be so here. (I think of Sarah Halimi, a Jewish woman who was beaten and thrown out of her Paris window by a man screaming “dirty Jew” and “Allahu Akbar.” But French courts and much of the press decided that no motive could be ascertained. Ultimately, charges were dropped against the perpetrator because he had smoked weed before the murder.)

But America will only remain exceptional if Americans fight for it. And very few people in positions of cultural and political power seem to have any will to wage that battle. They believe that we are not the land of freedom, the country that abolished slavery, but one where slavery persists in more subtle form. That our army is not a force for liberation, but oppression. That our courts are not fair and blind, but prejudiced. And that this country and our ally, Israel, are not democracies but bastions of racial supremacy.

Today is Martin Luther King Day and I’m thinking of his understanding that the demand for equal treatment comes at no one’s expense because justice is not a zero-sum game. “We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity in this Nation,” he said. “When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men—black men as well as white men—would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Jews thrived in an America that had confidence in its goodness. Jews are not safe—no one is—in one which does not.

Five years ago, the rabbi’s invitation to the gun range would have shocked me. Now I think: I’m glad I saved her number.
JPost Editorial: Amid antisemitic violence, Jewish solidarity is needed
The American Jewish Committee’s 2021 State of Antisemitism in America report released in October revealed that approximately one in four US Jews was the target of antisemitism over the previous 12 months, and some 39% of US Jews changed their behavior out of fear of antisemitism.

The Colleyville attack ended without the loss of innocent lives, but it must be considered a wake-up call. The immediate crisis in Colleyville is over but the threat has not disappeared. Every Jewish community in the world needs to take the threat seriously and increase security measures.

Israel, with its experience in handling terrorism, can help by providing training and emotional trauma support. It should be stressed that vigilance does not mean vigilantism. Jews need to protect themselves, but this is not a call for violence, only for self-defense.

As well, the attack should serve as a reminder to Jews everywhere that we are one. The feeling of solidarity and support that was in evidence around the Jewish world on Saturday was real and heartfelt. It is a pity that such solidarity is mainly felt in times of crisis and is not ongoing.

The attacks are not restricted to one denomination or another, or a particular political affiliation or another. Orthodox Jews in Israel should not only stand with Reform Jews in the US when they are held hostage; they need to stand together at all times, despite political or ideological differences.

It must be made clear that Jew-hatred and antisemitism in all its forms is appalling and unacceptable anywhere and on any pretext. Indeed, it must be noted that violence against Jews is violence against all. What starts with lawless attacks on Jews never ends there. When Jews are afraid for their safety on the streets, on campuses and in synagogues, no one is safe.

‘Lady Al Qaeda’ Blamed Jews for Her Conviction. Her Allies Can’t Figure Why A Gunman Attacked Synagogue In Her Name.
The Council on American Islamic Relations denied any connection between the terror attack at a Texas synagogue and its campaign to free imprisoned terrorist Aafia Siddiqui, one day after a fanatical gunman took Jewish congregants hostage to demand Siddiqui’s release.

CAIR has been a longtime advocate for clemency for Siddiqui, a terror operative who was dubbed "Lady al Qaeda" and sentenced to 86 years in prison in 2010 for trying to gun down U.S. FBI and military officials. During a joint press conference with Siddiqui’s attorney on Sunday, CAIR’s Dallas director Faizan Syed said it had no prior relationship to the the assailant, British national Malik Faisal Akram, and that his actions should not detract from efforts to seek clemency for Siddiqui.

Syed and Siddiqui's attorney, Marwa Elbially, were pressed by reporters on anti-Semitic remarks by Siddiqui that could lead her supporters to attack a synagogue. During her 2010 trial, for example, she demanded that jurors undergo DNA tests to ensure there were no Jews on her jury. In a letter to President Barack Obama from prison after the trial, Siddiqui wrote that Jewish people have "always back-stabbed everyone who has taken pity on them and made the ‘fatal' error of giving them shelter." The letter said "this why ‘holocausts' keep happening to them."

Elbially acknowledged the anti-Semitism, but suggested Siddiqui was suffering from mental illness during her trial due to alleged abuse Siddiqui was subjected to in CIA custody. When asked by the Washington Free Beacon if Siddiqui had ever renounced or apologized for her anti-Semitic views since 2010, CAIR and Elbially declined to answer affirmatively.

Elbially told the Free Beacon that "nothing excuses anti-Semitic statements," but said Siddiqui "was in a diminished state both physically and mentally when she stood trial."

MEMRI: CAIR-TX Panel on Aafia Siddiqui – Siddiqui’s Attorney: U.S. Government Lies on "Large Scale"
In a November 11, 2021 panel that was streamed live on YouTube by CAIR-TX and that was titled “Injustice: Dr. Aafia [Siddiqui] and the 20-Year Legacy of America’s Wars,” Aafia Siddiqui’s attorney Marwa Elbially said that the U.S. government lies on a large scale. She gave the example of the "fabricated" rescue of American soldier, who was taken hostage by Iraqi forces in 2003. She also said that the fact that Aafia Siddiqui has not become a “household name” for every American and that he has not been portrayed in “stupid TV shows” or “poorly-made movies” is proof that the government never really believed that she was an Al-Qaeda operative.

Prominent Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour, the Executive Director of Mpower Change, said that Aafia Siddiqui is a “political prisoner” like H. Rap Brown, who is serving a life sentence for the 2000 murder of two law enforcement officers, and like Leonard Peltier, who is serving a life sentence for involvement in the murder of two FBI agents. It is interesting to note that in September 2005, Iranian filmmaker Nader Talebzadeh also claimed that Jessica Lynch’s rescue had been staged (see MEMRI TV Clip No. 881.)

Texas rabbi says he is 'alive today' thanks to police training that helped him act when terrorist became 'belligerent': Tells Jewish groups across US to participate in active-shooter courses
The Texas rabbi who endured a 10-hour kidnapping by a British anti-Semite demanding the release of an al-Qaeda terrorists has credited his active-shooter training for helping him and his followers escape alive.

Charlie Cytron-Walker and three of his congregation were rescued unharmed on Saturday night after their captor Mailk Faisal Akram, 44, was shot and killed by police.

The rabbi, who has presided over the 140-strong congregation since 2006, on Sunday said his training enabled him to deal with the situation.

'Over the years, my congregation and I have participated in multiple security courses from the Colleyville Police Department, the FBI, the Anti-Defamation League, and Secure Community Network,' he said.

'We are alive today because of that education. I encourage all Jewish congregations, religious groups, schools, and others to participate in active-shooter and security courses.

'In the last hour of our hostage crisis, the gunman became increasingly belligerent and threatening.

'Without the instruction we received, we would not have been prepared to act and flee when the situation presented itself.'
Texas rabbi: I threw a chair at the gunman, and we headed for the door
Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, among four people held at gunpoint during Shabbat morning services at his Congregation Beth Israel, said he and the remaining hostages managed to flee the scene after he hurled a chair at the attacker.

In his first TV interview since the 11-hour standoff in Colleyville, Texas, Cytron-Walker told CBS that he and the others grew “terrified” during the last hour of the ordeal when the attacker — Malik Faisal Akram — “wasn’t getting what he wanted.”

“It didn’t look good. It didn’t sound good,” he said.

“When I saw an opportunity when he wasn’t in a good position, I made sure that the two gentlemen who were still with me, that they were ready to go, the exit wasn’t too far away.

“I told them to go, I threw a chair at the gunman, and I headed for the door. And all three of us were able to get out without even a shot being fired,” Cytron-Walker said.

Akram was subsequently killed in a firefight with the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team, according to his family.

UK’s Johnson calls Texas attack an ‘antisemitic act of terrorism’
Britain on Monday promised “full support” to US investigators after it emerged that the man behind a hostage incident at a Texas synagogue on Saturday was a British citizen.

“This was a terrible and antisemitic act of terrorism,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman told journalists after the attack, during which British captor Malik Faisal Akram was killed.

British police arrested two teenagers in Manchester in connection with Saturday’s 10-hour siege at Congregation Beth Israel in the small Texan town of Colleyville that ended with the four hostages unharmed.

According to NBC News, a senior law enforcement official identified the two as Akram’s sons. The pair were reportedly in touch with their father during the incident and have been detained for questioning.

The Muslim Council of Britain called the attack “completely unacceptable and we condemn the action in the strongest possible terms.”

“The act is all the more reprehensible since it was instigated at a place of worship where Jews were targeted,” the Council’s Secretary General Zara Mohammed said. “This was, quite simply, a hate crime and an act of antisemitism. We are thankful that the hostages are unharmed. Though some may seek to exploit such incidents for divisive ends, we must double our resolve to remain united against such hatred.”

i24: Colleyville: 'It was an anti-Semitic attack’ Interview with Danny Danon, former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations and Chair of the

i24: Evangelist leader blasts denial of Texas synagogue attack's connection to Jews Interview with, Dr. Mike Evans, Founder and CEO of Friends of Zion Museum, Jerusalem regarding the hostage situation lived in Texas the past weekend.

Daniel Greenfield: Texas Synagogue Terrorist Came Out of UK Islamist No-Go Zone
As far back as 2013, Pakistani Muslim terrorists had plotted to take "foreign Jews" hostage to trade for ‘Lady Al Qaeda’. In 2022, a Pakistani Muslim terrorist actually went out and did it.

The hostage crisis at Congregation Beth Israel, a Reform Temple in Texas, ended with Faisal Akram of Blackburn, another post-industrial English town where Muslims make up a third of the population and Pakistanis account for over 10 percent, dead, and his Jewish hostages set free.

Back home, the Blackburn Muslim Community page announced that "Faisal Akram has sadly departed from this temporary world" and prayed that Allah "bless him with the highest ranks of Paradise".

The BMC page had previously promoted a “charity” event to raise money for “Palestinians” by the Human Relief Foundation, which had been banned by Israel over its ties to Hamas.

The town has produced no shortage of Jihadists, including the youngest terrorist in the UK, as well as a number of Jihadis who traveled to join ISIS, an associate of shoe bomber Richard Reid, and a terrorist who played a key role in an Al Qaeda plot that targeted New York and D.C.

Blackburn is one of the most segregated towns in the country and has been described as a “no-go zone”. The area that produced the Temple Terrorist has the highest Muslim population outside of London where some claim that flying the English flag has been effectively outlawed.
UK Authorities Arrest Two Teens Linked to Texas Synagogue Hostage Standoff
British authorities have arrested two teenagers in connection with Saturday’s hostage siege in a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, as the congregation’s rabbi revealed new details of the harrowing ordeal.

The arrest came hours after federal authorities on Sunday named the gunman who took four people hostage at Congregation Beth Israel synagogue as 44-year-old British citizen Malik Faisal Akram.

Greater Manchester Police said Sunday night that officers from the Counter Terror Policing (CTP) North West arrested two teenagers who remained in custody in South Manchester. No additional details were provided about the detainees’ identities or their connection to the hostage-taking.

On Saturday, four hostages, including Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, were held by Akram for more than 10 hours at Congregation Beth Israel before being freed by the FBI’s hostage rescue team. The perpetrator, who was killed during the incident, is understood to have disguised himself as a person needing shelter to let himself into the synagogue.
In 2001, Colleyville synagogue 'menace' wished others had died in 9/11
Malik Faisal Akram, who held four people hostage in the Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville on Saturday, was banned from appearing in courts in Northgate, England, in 2001 for threatening and abusing staff and allegedly telling a court usher that he wished the usher had died on one of the 9/11 planes.

A 2001 article by the Lancashire Telegraph reported the ban only 11 days after the World Trade Center was hit.

According to the article, The Exclusion Order was a special act, stating that if Akram was ever found in a Lancashire court without justification or abused staff members, he would be taken into custody and fined £2,500. Akram was only the second person in 25 years to have the article used on them.

While Akram denied the allegations against him, a letter sent to him by then-deputy justice clerk Peter Wells called Akram a menace and detailed his abuse of court staff and especially quoted him telling the court usher, "You should have been on the F***ing plane."

“Blackburn Muslim Community” Facebook page reportedly calls for Allah to “bless” dead Texas synagogue attacker “with the highest ranks of Paradise”
Following the confirmation that the dead British man who attacked Congregation Beth Israel in Texas was 44-year-old Malik Faisal Akram, the “Blackburn Muslim Community” Facebook page has reportedly prayed for “the Almighty” to “bless him with the highest ranks of Paradise” in a now-deleted post.

Mr Akram entered the synagogue during Sabbath services, making threats against the congregation and holding them hostage, demanding the release of Aafia Siddiqui, who is currently serving an 86-year prison sentence in Texas.

In comments that could be heard on a live stream of the synagogue service that was cut off during the incident, Mr Akram could be heard speaking in a northern English accent and claiming that he had a bomb and that he would not leave the synagogue alive.

Following a standoff, the authorities raided the synagogue, killing Mr Akram and freeing the hostages.

A statement purportedly from Mr Akram’s brother published by the same Facebook page claimed that Mr Akram had in fact released all of the hostages before the authorities conducted their raid and killed him. The statement added: “We would also like to add that any attack on any human being be it a Jew, Christian or Muslim etc is wrong and should always be condemned. It is absolutely inexcusable for a Muslim to attack a Jew or for any Jew to attack a Muslim, Christian, Hindu vice versa etc.”

Dr Siddiqui is convicted of two counts of attempted murder, armed assault, using and carrying a firearm, and three counts of assault on US officers and employees. Upon her conviction, raising her middle finger in court she shouted: “This is a verdict coming from Israel, not America. That’s where the anger belongs.” Dr Siddiqui had refused to work with a legal team provided to her by the Pakistani embassy on account of them being Jewish, and she had also demanded that jurors be subject to some sort of genetic testing to assess whether they were Jewish.

Michigan’s Dana Nessel Speculates ‘White Supremacy’ to Blame for Texas Synagogue Terrorist Attack
As the hostage situation at a Texas synagogue developed on Saturday, Michigan's attorney general, Democrat Dana Nessel, raised the possibility that white supremacists were behind the attack.

Appearing on MSNBC on Saturday afternoon, about an hour after it had been reported that the attacker was demanding the release of imprisoned terrorist Aafia Siddiqui, Nessel said her "biggest concern" was that the attack was a "hate crime" or "domestic terrorism," pointing to "white supremacy organizations."

"We have seen an incredible rise in rhetoric that is anti-Semitic being trafficked all around the country," Nessel said, noting "an exponential rise in the formation and the membership of these extremist organizations, many of which are white supremacy organizations, and they traffic in hatred against Jews and other minorities."

"If it does turn out that is the motivating factor here, it would hardly be a surprise," Nessel said.

'We Muslims in America undeniably have an increasing anti-Semitism problem': Duke Professor says Texas synagogue terror attack should inspire Muslims to confront growing Jew-hatred and slams Ilhan Omar's 'all about the Benjamins' comment
A Duke University professor has called on his fellow Muslims to confront the 'increasing anti-Semitism problem' within their community in wake of the Texas synagogue terror attack.

Abdullah T. Antepli, a professor of the Practice of Interfaith Relations at the Duke Divinity School, took to Twitter Sunday saying members of his faith have a 'moral call for action for the soul of Islam and Muslim' to address the hatred towards Jews.

He also took aim at Rep. Ilhan Omar for over past anti-Semitic commentary, including a comment she made in 2019 suggesting that Israel’s allies in American politics were 'all about the Benjamins'. That was a reference to cash which was widely interpreted as an anti-Semitic trope, and which Omar later apologized for.

'We North American Muslims need to have the morally required tough conversations about those“…polite Zionists are our enemies…”“…The Benjamins!!!...” voices and realities within our communities,' Antepli wrote.

'We MUST! Without ands and buts, without any further denial, dismissal and or trivializing of the issues… we need to honestly discuss the increasing anti-Semitism within various Muslim communities.'

Texas Synagogue Attack Was Motivated By Antisemitism… But Apparently Not For The New York Times & BBC
Is it anti-Jewish to take hostage worshippers at a synagogue with the goal of getting a notoriously antisemitic terrorist released from prison? For The New York Times and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the answer is less than an unequivocal ‘yes.’

Despite recent developments, the two outlets have not accurately detailed the nature of Saturday’s attack at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas. As a result, millions of people around the world may doubt that holding Jews captive in a Jewish house of prayer is “not specifically related to the Jewish community.”

FBI: Attack ‘Specifically Focused on One Issue’
Many news organizations cited in their coverage of the event a statement by Matthew Desarno, special agent in charge of FBI Dallas, who at a news conference suggested that the hostage-taker was “specifically focused on one issue.”

Desrano was referring to Malik Faisal Akram’s demand that Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani national sentenced to 86 years in prison for the attempted murder of American personnel in Afghanistan, be immediately released. Siddiqui, dubbed “Lady Al Qaeda“, wrote that Jews “have always back-stabbed everyone who has taken pity on them and made the ‘fatal’ error of giving them shelter.”

During her trial, she told the presiding judge that she did not want any Jewish people in the jury “if they have a Zionist or Israeli background,” adding that “everyone here is [Israeli], subject to genetic testing.” Shortly after her conviction, Siddiqui declared: “This is a verdict coming from Israel and not from America. That’s where the anger belongs.”
Obscuring Reality: Media Outlets Manipulate Facts in Reporting on Synagogue Hostage Incident
Just before 11:00 on Saturday morning, a gunman entered the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, during a Sabbath service led by Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker that was attended by three worshipers, all of whom survived unharmed.

Over the course of the 10-hour hostage situation, local and federal law enforcement negotiated with a still-unidentified attacker before eventually storming the building, resulting in his death.

Audio of the first few hours of the ordeal was captured on the synagogue’s Facebook live stream, which had been set up to allow congregants to participate in services remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The gunman’s expletive-laden rants were recorded over the video stream, including his warning that he would kill people unless authorities released his “sister” — later confirmed by the FBI to be a reference to Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist serving an 86-year prison sentence after having been convicted of attempting to kill American military personnel in Afghanistan.

Yet, as events were unfolding and pictures emerged of a SWAT team outside the synagogue alongside men in military fatigues, this was how the BBC and The Guardian reported on developments:

For its part, the Associated Press headlined its story about the attack, ‘Report: Hostages apparently taken at Texas synagogue.’ Inserting the qualifier “apparently” is telling given that the very first line of the piece notes that authorities confirmed the nature of the attack.

Guardian airbrushes CAIR's extremism and support for 'Lady al-Qaeda'
According to CNN, the gunman spoke to a New York-based rabbi on the phone during the hostage standoff and told him that he was doing this because Aafia was “framed”. This is all extremely relevant in the context of CAIR’s statement cited by the Guardian. The group was condemning a synagogue hostage-taking that was motivated by the same extremist political cause that they themselves have full-throatedly embraced.

But, that’s not the only crucial information omitted.

The Guardian described CAIR benignly as a US “Muslim advocacy group”, when, in fact, the group has a clear record of extremism and antisemitism. (Full Disclosure: CAIR has baselessly smeared CAMERA as anti-Muslim in a report which named 39 non-profits – including other mainstream Jewish organisations – as part of an alleged “Islamophobia network”.)

As our colleague Sean Durns has written, CAIR’s founder and executive director, Nihad Awad (who published a Guardian op-ed in 2015 about Islamophobia) is a Hamas supporter. In the early 90s, he was the public relations director for the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), a Hamas-affiliated antisemitic group which published a monograph entitled “America’s Greatest Enemy: The Jew! and an Unholy Alliance!”.

However, the extremism in question goes beyond the group’s director.

CAIR was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing case in US history. Here’s part of what the FBI wrote about CAIR in response to an inquiry from a US Senator:
AP Pushes False Narrative That Attack On Texas Synagogue Wasn’t Antisemitic
Another striking feature of AP’s coverage from the last two days is that while the news agency has not once mentioned the Anti-Defamation League, it has repeatedly given voice to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terror finance case in U.S. history. With a history of Hamas ties, and a vast record of antisemitism, CAIR has unsurprisingly campaigned in recent months on behalf of Aafia Siddiqui, the Pakistani terrorist whose release captor Malik Faisal Akram sought. Dubbed “Lady al-Qaeda,” Siddiqui was found with plans for chemical attacks on New York landmarks and called for DNA testing of all jurors in her case to ensure they weren’t Jewish.

Zahra Billoo, until very recently CAIR’s San Francisco director, recently blamed synagogues just like Congregation Bnai Israel of Colleyville for a host of world evils. As The Jerusalem Post reported:
“Zionist synagogues,” the Anti-Defamation League, Hillel and other Jewish organizations are “enemies” who are part of a conspiracy behind Islamaphobia [sic], American police brutality, and US border control, according to a speech made by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) San Francisco executive director and former Women’s March board member Zahra Billoo.

“When we talk about islamophobia, we often think of the vehement fascists… but I also want us to pay attention to the polite Zionists, the ones that say ‘let’s just break bread together,'” said Billoo on November 27 at the American Muslims for Palestine’s (AMP) Annual Convention for Palestine in the US.

It appears that AP took Billoo’s advice to heart, granting the antisemitism-peddling CAIR the opportunity in at least five separate articles to carry out damage control while completely shunning groups like the ADL and Secure Community Network which counter and protect against antisemitism (“Texas rabbi: Captor grew ‘belligerent’ late in standoff,” “Texas rabbi: security training paid off in hostage standoff,” “A closer look at the case of Aafia Siddiqui, jailed in Texas,” “Hostages safe after Texas synagogue standoff; captor dead,” “Ranting man takes hostages at Texas synagogue”).

Indonesia officials said to have visited Israel to talk COVID, despite lack of ties
A delegation of Indonesian officials recently made a rare visit to Israel to discuss coronavirus strategies, despite the countries not having diplomatic relations, Army Radio reported Monday.

The Indonesian health officials met with Israeli officials in an effort “to learn how to deal with the coronavirus pandemic,” the report said.

The report did not specify when the visit took place, saying it was in “recent weeks.”

The report said the visit was part of efforts by US President Joe Biden’s administration to warm ties between the countries in the hope of expanding the Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between Israel and several Muslim nations.

The Foreign Ministry would not confirm the report, but said that Israel “believes in international cooperation in every regard to the fight against the coronavirus” and is prepared to share information and experience.

Indonesia suffered from a devastating wave of infections from the Delta variant last year and is currently seeing soaring cases caused by the Omicron strain.
Algeria prepares for war with Morocco, panics due to Israel - report
Algeria is in a state of acute anxiety and paranoia over the growing military cooperation between Israel and the Moroccan military. “The tension rises every day a little more between Algeria and Morocco, to the point that we are now talking about war between the two Maghreb countries,” according to a recent report in the Paris-based newspaper L’Opinion.

The news outlet quoted sources close to the Algerian military who said, “Algeria does not want war with Morocco, but it is ready to do so.” A self-described “hawkish” source close to Algeria’s military told the French paper that, “if it has to be done, it is today, because we are militarily superior at all levels and this may not be the case in a few years.”

What is upsetting the Algerian regime “is Israel’s support for Morocco,” the source said. “This will change the situation, within an estimated three-year period.”

According to a L'Opinion source, “the weapons that worry Algerians the most are those related to electronic warfare and drones."

Lawmakers Worry US Aid to Afghanistan Enriching Taliban
Republican lawmakers are pressing the Biden administration to disclose what safeguards are in place to stop U.S. humanitarian aid to Afghanistan from enriching the Taliban, according to a letter sent Friday to the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Eleven lawmakers, led by House Foreign Affairs Committee member Rep. Tim Burchett (R., Tenn.), say they "are concerned about the possibility of U.S. taxpayer dollars funding the Taliban's terrorist regime," according to the letter, which was obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. They are demanding that USAID, which is in charge of handling aid to Afghanistan, show what steps they have taken to ensure the Taliban cannot intercept these funds.

"Humanitarian aid to Afghanistan will finance Taliban terrorists if it is incompetently distributed," Burchett told the Free Beacon. "The Biden administration needs to lay out what steps it is taking to prevent this from happening and adding more pain to last summer's embarrassing withdrawal from the country."

With more than $300 million slated to flow into Afghanistan this year as part of an effort to keep the country afloat after the Taliban regained control, the Biden administration has been mum about how it is preventing these funds from lining the Taliban's pockets. The terrorist regime controls the nation's coffers, meaning that any aid dollars that make their way to the government are at risk of being stolen. With this new infusion, nearly $800 million in aid will have been provided to the war-torn country since October 2020, making the United States Afghanistan's largest donor.

USAID, in announcing the latest infusion of $308 million earlier this year, said that it is working with the Taliban to ensure aid makes its way to the people. The agency, however, did not detail the safeguards it has put in place.

"The United States continues to urge the Taliban to allow unhindered humanitarian access, safe conditions for humanitarians, independent provision of assistance to all vulnerable people, and freedom of movement for aid workers of all genders," USAID said in a statement this week.
Israel Wants U.S. to Bolster Local Weapons Stockpile
Israel has prepared a list of weapons systems it wants the U.S. to add to the American emergency stockpile in Israel as a precaution for future regional conflicts, according to local defense sources.

It includes aerial munitions that would be needed if Israel takes action against Iranian nuclear facilities or defends against rocket salvos from Hizbullah in Lebanon.

The War Reserves Stock Allies stockpile, established in the 1980s, allows the U.S. to "stockpile arms and equipment at Israeli bases for American use in wartime." It includes missiles, armored vehicles and artillery ammunition.

The U.S. amended the rules to allow Israel direct access "in emergency situations."

This happened during the 2006 conflict between Israel and Hizbullah, and in 2014 during a round of fighting against Hamas.
Israel's Upcoming Laser System Will Change the Gaza Front
Brig.-Gen. Eyal Harel, head of the IDF General Staff Planning Division, said in an interview that Israel is developing a powerful laser system that can even protect Israel against Iran.

The Ministry of Defense, the Israel Air Force, and Elbit Systems recently completed a series of trials with a laser installation capable of destroying rockets, drones, and other threats.

The system is expected to be operational in a little over three years, with a cost of a few dollars per interception, compared with an Iron Dome interception that costs $50,000.

"Final testing should take place early this year. We succeeded in getting somewhere no one else in the world has managed to reach. As soon as the final trial succeeds, we'll enter into serial production of the laser systems, which within two years will put us in a different operating point, certainly relative to Gaza."
Israeli Troops Thwart Stabbing at Gush Etzion Junction; Terrorist Neutralized
Israeli forces thwarted a terrorist attack on Monday at the Gush Etzion junction in the West Bank, the Israeli military said in a statement.

The assailant got out of a vehicle armed with a knife and attempted to stab a soldier at the junction, who opened fire at the suspect, neutralizing him, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

There were no Israeli casualties reported.

Israeli security forces were in pursuit of the vehicle in which the terrorist arrived.
Palestinian family threatens to self-immolate during Jerusalem eviction
Members of the Salhia family have threatened to set themselves on fire to prevent police from forcibly evicting them from their Jerusalem home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

A delegation of European officials, led by European Union Representative Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff, visited the scene and called for a restoration of calm.

It is “imperative to deescalate the situation and seek a peaceful resolution. Evictions/demolitions are illegal under international law and significantly undermine the prospects for peace as well as fuel tensions on the ground,” the European Union Representative Office tweeted.

The Dutch Ambassador to Israel Hans Docter tweeted, “Ongoing attempt to evict a Palestinian family from their East Jerusalem home is contrary to international law and risks further escalation.”

He called on “the Israeli authorities to stop the eviction immediately.”

The family is in the midst of a protracted legal battle with the Jerusalem municipality, over the fate of two homes on property the city has expropriated for the construction of a school.

Public Security Minister Omar Bar Lev (Labor) tweeted that he was closing “following the situation in Sheikh Jarrah” and that the court had ruled that the family of Mahmoud Salhia has no legal right to the property.

“The court ruled that this was an illegal invasion,” Bar Lev said.

Jerusalem: Shin Bet Nabs 3 Terrorists Involved in Shooting at Police
Israel’s combined security services were successful in exposing and arresting three Arab terrorists who were involved in shooting attacks at police forces in the Jerusalem area last year, the Shin Bet announced Monday.

In September 2021, there were violent riots in the Issawiya neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem, during which live fire was shot at police forces operating at the site.

There were no casualties or damage in these incidents.

A joint and complex investigation launched by the Shin Bet with the Jerusalem District police led to the arrest of a number of suspects in recent months on suspicion of launching fireworks, throwing rocks, throwing Molotov cocktails, and firing at police forces.

About a month ago, another suspect, a resident of Issawiya in his 40s, was arrested for providing a service to a terrorist organization. His interrogation revealed that he hid one of the weapons after the shooting.

According to Hakol Hayehudi, that suspect was a senior Waqf official who is in charge of all the Waqf guards. The police did not mention that detail.
PA Intifada style libel: Israeli soldiers demonized as murdering kids in cold blood
A recent broadcast on official PA TV brought back memories of video libels the PA aired during the PA terror campaign – the second Intifada – from 2000-2005. Then the PA was actively promoting terror, and depicting Israelis as cruel murderers was part of their incitement program.

Recently official PA TV broadcast a scene from the film “Checkpoint” by Palestinian director Omar Rammal, which PA TV described as being about “the suffering of the Palestinians due to the occupation’s checkpoints.” The excerpt shown demonizes Israeli soldiers as heartless killers who murder for no reason. A Palestinian family wants to go through an Israeli checkpoint to “take the kids to the amusement park,” but the Israeli commander tells them the road is closed. While they talk, another soldier is seen aiming his rifle at two children with their backs turned. Gun shots are heard, and the next scene shows one child shot and lying on the ground – murdered in cold blood.

That’s the video libel. That’s fiction that has never happened. What’s worse is the fact that the host of official PA TV endorses it as fact, saying “it reflects the reality of the Palestinians’ lives”:
PA video libel depicts helicopter murder of a child

PA Video Libel: Israel murders children in cold blood, but child Martyrdom is joyous

PA Video Libel: Israeli soldier shoots child in the back

Gaza TV Actors Who Play Israelis Face Local Hostility
A TV studio in Gaza is shooting a television series on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from Hamas' point of view.

The studio recruits local actors to play Israelis - a job that can expose them to real-world hostility and danger.

Jawad Harouda, who portrays the head of Israel's domestic security service, said being too convincing can lead to trouble. "Some women look at me and pray that I die."

The Israeli characters speak in Arabic. And, at the request of the Hamas mufti, women wear headscarves even if they play Jewish characters.

"In one series, I played a Jewish woman," said actress Kamila Fadel. "After the series was broadcast, a woman tried to strangle me. She told me: 'I hate you.'...On another day a 13-year-old boy threw a stone at my head thinking I was Jewish."

MEMRI: D.C. Imam: We Apologize to Iran, Hizbullah, and Want to Normalize Sacrifice and Striking Back
On December 24, 2021, a video was uploaded to the As-Sabiqun DC YouTube channel in which American Imam Abdul Alim Musa, the director of Masjid Al-Islam in Washington, D.C., delivered a Friday sermon in a parking lot in which he apologized to the people of Iran, Hizbullah, Palestine, Yemen, Libya, and Iraq for not speaking out "on their behalf" in condemnation of Israel, which he referred to as "the Zionist entity." He said that Muslims need to "normalize" sacrifice, and that Muslims have developed a "disease" that makes them sleepy and idle because they have been bitten by the Zionist and American "fly."

Imam Musa called on Muslims to stand up to "boss-man," who he said is the Americans, and to the Zionists, who he said control the United States and the world. Speaking to his audience and to people as they walked past, Imam Musa called on Muslims to "help" go "in the path of Allah," because it is difficult to raise funds and "prepare [the] Jihad materials" for a "tussle" with the "boss-man" and the Zionists. Citing Quranic verses, he criticized Muslims who "cling heavily to the earth" when they are called upon to "go forth in the cause of Allah." He also cited a verse that says: "Allah loves those who fight in His path."

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 18 years and 38,000 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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