Sunday, January 23, 2022

01/23 Links: Bret Stephens: What an Antisemite’s Fantasy Says About Jewish Reality; The UN Descent to its Deepest Depths of Hostility against Israel; The lie of the “Gaza blockade”

From Ian:

Bret Stephens: What an Antisemite’s Fantasy Says About Jewish Reality
A moral conviction of our time, especially prevalent on the cultural left, is that the powerful are presumptively bad while the powerless are presumptively good. These categories aren’t just political. They are also social, economic, ethnic and racial. It’s why so many conversations today revolve around the concept of “privilege” — a striking redefinition of success that removes the presumption of merit from those who have it and the stigma of failure from those who don’t.

It’s also the likeliest reason there was so much obvious hesitancy to describe the attack in Texas as antisemitic. Unlike the Pittsburgh shooter or the “Jews will not replace us” crowd at Charlottesville — white, right-wing, mostly Christian and therefore “privileged” — the Texas assailant was a British Muslim of Pakistani descent. Not white. Not privileged. Not right-wing. In the binary narrative of the powerful versus the powerless, his naked antisemitism just doesn’t compute: Powerless people are supposed to be victims, not murderous bigots. If he had ranted against Israel for oppressing Palestinians, it might have made more sense. And if he had donned a MAGA hat, we would certainly have had a much fuller exploration of his antisemitism, without time wasted exploring his other motives or state of mind.

For American Jews, this small silence about what happened last week should be profoundly worrisome, and not just as a matter of a journalistic lapse. It’s bad enough that the Jewish state, which gained what power it has because its neighbors threatened it with extinction, is still treated by so many as a global pariah — its sympathizers abroad risking social or professional ostracism by mere association. It’s bad enough, too, that the foul antisemitism of the right, yoked to its old themes of nativism, protectionism, nationalism and isolationism, is erupting into the public square like a burst sewage pipe.

Now American Jews find ourselves at perhaps the most successful period in our history, at a moment when much of the progressive left has decreed that privilege is a sin and that those who hold power should be stripped of it. Anyone with a long view of Jewish history should know how quickly economic and social privilege can turn to political and personal ruin, even — or especially — in countries where it might seem unthinkable.

There’s much to be thankful for about how things ended last week in Texas, and about the outpouring of love and support, across faiths, for a little Jewish community. But the wise counsel for Jews is to be grateful for last week’s good luck, while taking it as a warning that our luck in America may run out.

Why 2022 will be critical for Jews in Europe
The year 2021 was alarming for Jews in Europe. In May, there was an escalation of antisemitism as violence flared in the Middle East. Synagogues in Germany were vandalized and Israeli flags burnt.

Similar antisemitic incidents were seen elsewhere, and online threats surged. Another dangerous trend has been the rise in antisemitic conspiracy theories during the pandemic. The narrative that Jews have benefited financially from the crisis continues to spread on social media.

Facebook, Twitter and other platforms have vowed to tackle antisemitic content, but more needs to be done. A Paris appeals court last week ruled that Twitter must disclose details of the human and technical resources it employs to moderate hate speech, confirming an earlier decision in favor of the Union of Jewish Students in France and other NGOs.

Governments and European organizations have also stepped up the fight against antisemitism with new initiatives. The 47-state Council of Europe issued a detailedRecommendation on Preventing and Combating Antisemitism. The European Commission, meanwhile, presented its Strategy on Combating Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish Life (2021-2030), including funding to protect Jewish communities. All 27 EU member states are expected to adopt national antisemitism strategies by the end of 2022.
David Collier: The outrageous hypocrisy of Anum Qaisar MP
Three weeks after an MP was bigging up increasing trade with the serial human rights abuser Pakistan, she was in Parliament calling for trade boycotts against the UK’s democratic ally Israel. Did she think nobody would notice? This outrageous hypocrisy exposes Islamist driven political bias at the heart of Westminster. Is this really what her constituents voted her into office to do?

Anum Qaisar
Anum Qaisar (she recently seems to have dropped the use of ‘Qaisar-Javed’ as her surname) is the MP for Airdrie and Shotts. Qaisar was originally a Labour activist, and was former general secretary of Muslim Friends of Labour. She defected to the SNP over Scottish independence. On the UK Government website, she identifies her nationality as Scottish, her ethnicity as Pakistani and the religion she follows as Islam. She openly says that being a proud ‘Scottish-Pakistani Muslim’ shapes the way she lives her life.

No problem so far. Although there were issues with her selection as a candidate for the seat. There were accusations that she was pushed through because of her friendship with the then SNP Scottish Justice Minister – Humza Haroon Yousaf. This was against the wishes of some local SNP party members – who said they were ‘disgusted at the way the selection had been handled and at the lack of respect to the branch‘.

Qaisar and the Israel issue
Following her defection to the SNP, Qaisar swiftly aligned with the SNP Friends of Palestine (image left 2015, image right 2016):

Qaisar won the byelection on the 14th May 2021. On the very same day, the toxic anti-Israel organisation CAABU published an anti-Israel letter signed by several politicians. Incredibly Qaisar found time to sign it – which makes this one of her first public political actions following her election win.

Leaving aside her traditional maiden speech in May 2021, the next time Anum Qaisar spoke in Parliament was on the 10th June 2021. What was the subject that drove her to ask a question? Israel. Her question was about arms sales to Israel and ‘the systematic oppression of the Palestinian people by the Israeli Government’.

Qaisar also made a tweet to let everyone know what she had done. She ended the tweet with the ‘free Palestine’ hashtag:

Amb. Alan Baker: The UN Descent to its Deepest Depths of Hostility against Israel
In establishing an “ongoing independent international commission of inquiry” targeting Israel, the UN Human Rights Council and the UN are permitting themselves to be abused and manipulated by states, many of which are among the most ardent and prevailing human rights violators in the international community that have no genuine concern for promoting and protecting human rights.

The oft-quoted human rights buzzwords and related expressions used in the resolution establishing the commission are nothing more than a transparent and unsubtle cover intended to deceive states and to attract maximal support for the commission’s ultimate purpose to vilify and delegitimize the State of Israel.

The support by states for establishing the commission, as well as for the wide-open budgetary carte-blanche to which they have subscribed, undermine and are ultra-vires (beyond the powers of) the founding purposes and principles of the United Nations as set out in the UN Charter. They challenge the principle of sovereign equality which lies at the root of the UN.

The commission of inquiry is a cynical vehicle for irresponsible states to manipulate the UN and to abuse the bona fides of member states. The commission will also manipulate the UN’s administrative and financial mechanism in order to sanction and finance a wildly partisan agenda intent on seeking to harm one state member of the UN – the State of Israel.

Those member states that provide the bulk (70 percent) of the UN’s budget are called upon to act immediately and before the inquiry commission commences its work, in order to prevent the misuse of their funding.
David Singer: The long arm of UN Resolution 2334
The Obama-Biden administration’s failure to veto UN Security Council Resolution 2334 on 23 December 2016 - as President Obama was vacating the White House to hand over the reins of power to President-elect Donald Trump – has seen that Resolution being weaponized for the last five years to incite Jew-hatred worldwide - with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres firing the bullets.

Guterres is required to report to the Security Council every three months on the implementation of Resolution 2334 and recently issued his 20th such report covering the period 29 September – 9 December 2021.

Guterres states:
“In its resolution 2334 (2016), the Security Council reaffirmed that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, had no legal validity and constituted a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace. In the same resolution, the Council reiterated its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in that regard. No such steps were taken during the reporting period.”

This Security Council Resolution falsely accuses Jews of:
Illegally settling in “the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 including East Jerusalem” (“Territories”): These Territories have been designated for 3000 years as “Judea and Samaria” and “Jerusalem” – the ancient and biblical heartlands of the Jewish People – and were so designated in 1947 by the UN Special Commission Report on Palestine and UNGA Resolution 181 (II).
Having no right to live in these Territories: All Jews living there were ethnically cleansed in 1948 by six invading Arab armies and prevented from returning until 1967.
Acting in flagrant violation of international law: The right of Jews to live in these Territories is expressly authorized by articles 6 and 25 of the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine and preserved until today by article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

Resolution 2334 institutionalized Jew-hatred in the Security Council. Jew-hatred is now being preached and practiced under the cover of United Nations respectability.
In ‘Captives of Hope’ sermon, Rabbi Angela Buchdahl describes call with Texas gunman
The New York City rabbi who spoke twice to the man who held Jews hostage in their Texas synagogue last week detailed the experience in a sermon Friday night.

Rabbi Angela Buchdahl of Central Synagogue also outlined her anxiety as an American Jew and exhorted her congregants to heed a prayer that the Reform movement has made part of its liturgy on Tisha B’Av, the Jewish day mourning the destruction of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem and other traumatic events in Jewish history: “Blessed are you, Adonai, who makes us captives of hope.”

Buchdahl had previously acknowledged being contacted by the gunman, whom he reportedly found by searching for influential rabbis.

But in her sermon, she recounted the voicemail from Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, delivered in what she said was an “unfaltering voice,” that alerted her to her involvement.

“We have an actual gunman who is claiming to have bombs and he wants to talk to you,” Buchdahl quoted. “If you can call me back at this number that would be greatly appreciated. This is not a joke.’”

On her second call with the hostage-taker, she recalled, “He said, ‘I’m running out of patience, and you are running out of time.’ I had already talked to the authorities. I knew there was nothing else I could do but wait and pray.” The prayer she offered, she said, was Hashkiveinu, an evening prayer that envisions God as a protector.
‘An act of resistance’: US Jewish leaders defiant in 1st Shabbat since hostage siege
On the eve of her 100th birthday Saturday, Ruth Salton told her daughter she was going one way or another to Friday night Shabbat services at Congregation Beth Israel, just days after an antisemitic gunman held four worshipers hostage for 10 hours at the Fort Worth-area synagogue.

“I want to support my people,” said Salton, a Holocaust survivor.

She said she told her daughter “if she doesn’t take me, I’ll go by myself, because I feel I belong there. I am Jewish, and this is my faith, and I am supporting it.”

She’s far from alone.

At synagogues around the US, Jewish leaders marked the first Shabbat since last weekend’s hostage-taking at Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, with a show of defiance against it and other acts of antisemitism.

Many called for a strong turnout to show unity among the faithful, and rabbis, public officials and others spoke out during the Friday night and Saturday services against acts of violence, hatred and intimidation aimed at Jews.

At Beth Israel’s service Saturday, Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker and the three other people who were taken hostage last weekend stood in front of the congregation, linking arms as they sang the ritual blessings before and after the weekly reading of the Torah.
Radical Islamists’ global threat must be tackled
US Islamist groups linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, recently launched a national campaign to oppose the US justice system and free Siddiqui. It described her as a “political prisoner” who was unfairly convicted. In 2014, Daesh also demanded the release of Siddiqui in exchange for American journalist James Foley, who was later beheaded by the terrorist group. This demand shows precisely how important this woman is to these terrorists.

How many wake-up calls does the US need to take strict measures against the radical Islamists, instead of allowing their ideology to flourish inside its borders?

The Biden administration should designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group and act accordingly. The US president should also instruct the Department of Justice to open an investigation into CAIR’s activities and its ties to the radical Brotherhood.

America should also protect its close allies by returning the Houthi group to its State Department’s list of designated foreign terrorist organizations. And, finally, Washington should not bend to Iran and continue allowing its drones to target Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and US bases in Iraq and Syria.

The radical Islamist ideology is not going anywhere unless the US intelligence agencies and their counterparts worldwide develop a new strategy and fully cooperate with each other to track down the terrorists, their sources of funding and their supporters.
Don’t feed the trolls
Now, here’s the dangerous bit. At this very moment, while you are reading these lines, some Far Left troll is scanning your timeline on social media. I mean all of it, including comments and likes that you may have left on some comments. They are preparing a dossier on you to use when the memory of the Colleyville attack fades.

As always, nothing you have written is safe; even a mistyped initial letter can become proof of your structural Islamophobia. We live in a world of cancel culture. Are you active in the Jewish world? A dossier with randomly collected quotes from you taken out of context is being prepared and perhaps have already been already sent to the relevant persons, to provide them with reasons to marginalise, cancel, or even fire you for your Islamophobia (capital sin).

Remember. On the surface, there seems to be some difference between -on one side- those believers in the Two States solution who are inclined to concede to the Palestinians the so-called right of return and -on the other side- those who want to replace Israel with another Arab State and throw all the Jews (you included) into the sea.

But these differences disappear on Telegram and similar private channels of communication where the Far Left militants meet, plan bad-cop-good-cop strategies and exchange pieces of information. They are all the same; they have the same goal: the end of Israel of Zionism and the Jewish people. In case you wonder, your children are not safe.

So I will repeat here a piece of advice I have given already. Don’t engage in discussions with militants of the Far Left on social media. There’s nothing to learn from them. Their goal is not to exchange opinions; it is to frame you as a racist, and in the end to harm to you and your family. Block the Far Left generously and immediately. And may a day come when this wonderful thing called social media will be not used to hurt anyone.

Jonathan S. Tobin: What Those Who Accept the ‘Stolen Land’ Myth Don’t Understand
Cynics with perhaps a better understanding of the history of these tribes than those who proclaim their devotion to their memory might also point out that those “indigenous peoples” themselves waged war continuously on each other. Many of the “sacred lands” that some tribes now claim were once sacred to other tribes who were defeated, dispossessed and slaughtered, much in the same manner that white Europeans would ultimately do to them.

The notion that this process of dispossession was immoral rather than merely the way groups of human beings had always interacted with each other since time immemorial — with the strong subjugating the weak — was a modern invention that didn’t become widely accepted until the late 20th century. That change in thinking, of course, is a good thing, even if the retrospective pronouncements that some who did it were evil while others were not is both anachronistic and lacking in both context and historical background.

After all, the idea that the world would have been a better place had Europeans never arrived in America — and that the republic that would help rid the world of Nazism and defeat Soviet Communism should not have been created — is absurd as well as ahistorical.

It is ironic that a lot of the same people who believe in open borders for the United States and that all illegal immigrants should be granted amnesty somehow also believe that the Native Americans had a right to exclude white Europeans from immigrating to a mostly empty continent in the past.

Yet even those who are willing to support the proposition that all descendants of immigrants from Europe or elsewhere should divest themselves of stolen Native American property need to realize a key fact about the Middle East: Jews — whether their families came from Europe or are part of the majority of Jewish Israelis who trace their roots to the Middle East or North Africa — are indigenous to the land of Israel. Contrary to intersectional myths, Zionism is not an expression of colonialism or imperialism. It is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. Far from being the “apartheid state” that leftists claim, it remains the sole democracy in the region.

Absorbing these concepts is difficult for those who have been indoctrinated in woke doctrines that define Jews as both white and privileged, and therefore, to be disparaged and fought. Just as important, they must also understand that their acceptance of these lies enables antisemitism and rationalizes violence — whether from Palestinian terrorists like Hamas and Hezbollah, or those who attack American synagogues. Far from being a harmless woke myth, the fallacy about Jews stealing land doesn’t merely enable slander; it is the foundation on which most forms of antisemitic hate, delegitimization and terrorism rest.

In Israel, Pfizer CEO Sees Annual COVID Vaccine Rather Than Frequent Boosters
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said on Saturday that an annual COVID-19 vaccine would be preferable to more frequent booster shots in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Pfizer/BioNtech’s COVID-19 vaccine has shown to be effective against severe disease and death caused by the heavily-mutated Omicron variant but less effective in preventing transmission.

With cases soaring, some countries have expanded COVID-19 vaccine booster programs or shortened the gap between shots as governments scramble to shore up protection.

In an interview with Israel’s N12 News, Bourla was asked whether he sees booster shots being administered every four to five months on a regular basis.

“This will not be a good scenario. What I’m hoping (is) that we will have a vaccine that you will have to do once a year,” Bourla said.

“Once a year — it is easier to convince people to do it. It is easier for people to remember.

“So, from a public health perspective, it is an ideal situation. We are looking to see if we can create a vaccine that covers Omicron and doesn’t forget the other variants and that could be a solution,” Bourla said.

Bourla has said Pfizer could be ready to file for approval for a redesigned vaccine to fight Omicron, and mass produce it, as soon as March.

Citing three studies, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Friday that a third dose of an mRNA vaccine is key to fighting Omicron, providing 90% protection against hospitalization.
PMW: The lie of the “Gaza blockade”
The UN, the Palestinian Authority and others are apparently devoted disciples of Mark Twain, who reputedly once quipped: “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.”

In a literally unending list of publications, the United Nations insists on referring to the ostensible Israeli “blockade on Gaza.” Relying on these UN statements, others then further embellish the fallacy by claiming “Gaza is the biggest prison in the world.” Both descriptions are used as a means to attack Israel and depict the Gazans as trapped victims of Israeli policies.

The UN rhetoric is then mimicked by the Palestinian Authority leadership. For example, when addressing the Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee to ask the international community for donations, PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh spoke about the need to end the “harsh siege on Gaza.”

What makes Twain’s comment so relevant is the fact that statistics published by none other than the UN itself disprove their own claim.

Situated between Israel, Egypt, and the Mediterranean Sea, Gaza has one main crossing point with Egypt, namely the Rafah crossing, and one secondary crossing – Salah Al-Din crossing. Both people and goods pass through the Rafah crossing while the Salah Al-Din crossing is limited to the transfer of fuels and goods. Gaza also has two crossing points with Israel, the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings. While the Erez crossing is used for people to cross into Israel, the Kerem Shalom crossing is used for transferring goods/fuel/and other things.

Despite the claims of the UN and PA PM Shtayyeh, according to the website of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the so-called “occupied Palestinian territory” (OCHAoPt), in 2021 alone there were 358,366 exits from and entries into Gaza. These figures refer only to the movement of people and are additional to the movement of goods and fuels.

When broken down, the UN figures show that the 2021 movements included 100,246 exits and 80,684 entries via the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt and 90,421 exits and 87,015 entries via the Erez crossing between Gaza and Israel.

Norway's fake curriculum fuels antisemitism, hate towards Israel - opinion
A new online schoolbook for 10th graders, published by Norway’s largest publisher Cappelen Damm, is full of errors as well. One of the many biased opinions accuses Israel of the "ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Israel." This is a baseless accusation that again demonizes Israel and is not based on any fact. What these tenth graders aren’t told is that the Palestinians have one of the fastest growing populations in the world.

This obsessive one-sided focus on conflicts involving Israel is the same for all the other schoolbooks that we examined, cultivating the conspiracy lie that 21% of all Norwegians believe in, that "as long as the State of Israel exists, there can be no peace".

It is telling what the schoolbooks fail to explain to the Norwegian students. For example, that Jewish refugees from Arab and Muslim countries are not mentioned, even though they were more numerous than Palestinian refugees. There is no mention of Iran’s role in the conflict, nor is the “absolute and categorical” rejection by the Palestinian Authority to accept Israel as a Jewish state.

The online schoolbook is updated with several paragraphs about the Gaza war in May 2021, but not a hint about the Abraham Peace Accords made with four Arab countries in 2020.

You get the picture. This school curriculum is educating the next generation to hate Israel, with biased “facts”, skewing the truth and demonizing the Jewish State.

This phenomenon is not only dangerous for Israel, but also for the small Jewish community in Norway. 11.7% of the general Norwegian population, and 20.4% of Norwegian Muslims, think that “harassment and violence against Jews can be defended, when you think about how Israel treats the Palestinians."

Media bias and fake news can be fought in the public sphere with the truth. However, fighting fake history lessons in the classrooms is almost impossible. We must ensure that the publishers see how dangerous it is to feed myths and disputed claims to teenagers while presenting them as facts. For the sake of Norway's future, this miseducation and these lies must end now.
Justin Welby's accusation against Israel continues to unravel
So, according to the source provided by the Archbishop of Canterbury, there was one report of a religiously-motivated physical assault by a Jew on a Christian since 2020. Additionally, our research found one additional reported incident (which occurred after the US State Department report was published), in May 2021, in which three Jewish suspects were arrested on suspicion of assaulting two clergymen in the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City.

So, in summary, since 2020, according to our research and the source provided to us by the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury, there have been two reported assaults by Jews on Christians over the last two years. To put this in perspective, according to the CST, there were seventy-four antisemitic assaults on Jews in the first six months of 2021.* Also, CST reported that (among the antisemitic incidents where the ethnicity of the perpetrator was known) a plurality of the perpetrators were Arab or North African.

Why is that last fact relevant? Because, it’s impossible to imagine someone from CST writing an op-ed hyperbolically charging that British Muslims are driving Jews from the UK. So, why, then, when an equally scurrilous and unserious allegation is made about Jews ‘driving Christians from the Holy Land’, without credible evidence, it’s accepted by Times editors and others as a reasonable argument?

Finally, as we’ve demonsrated previously, the Christian population in Israel is increasing, and the community, by most measures, is in fact thriving.

At the end of the day, Welby’s Times op-ed was grossly dishonest, and represents nothing but a shameful anti-Israel smear.
Tufts University president announces plans to fight anti-Semitism on campus
Tufts University president Tony Monaco announced that the school will be taking new measures to combat campus anti-Semitism head-on, according to a letter sent to students, faculty and staff on Thursday.

According to the letter, the university and its board began looking into anti-Semitism’s rise on college campuses nationally and on its own campus specifically at the end of last academic year through an ad hoc committee of senior leaders and board members. The effort was a collaboration with Hillel International and the TCC Group, an external group that the letter stated has expertise in such matters.

The effort involved 40-plus focus groups comprised of undergraduate students, faculty, staff, alumni and trustees, in addition to a campus-wide survey.

The survey, which received what Monaco called a “modest” response, provided insight into trends and observations in conjunction with the focus groups.

It found that while Jewish students feel the campus has a thriving community with organizations such as Tufts Hillel and Chabad, as well as a diverse array of programming, more than half the Jewish students who responded to the survey reported having observed some form of anti-Semitism on campus.
Will Competition Authority give Ben & Jerry's run for their money?
Half a year after ice-cream conglomerate Ben & Jerry's announced it would no longer sell products in Judea and Samaria, the new head of the Israel Competition Authority Michal Cohen is expected to weigh in on the matter in the coming weeks, Israel Hayom found out from sources.

In July 2020, Ben & Jerry's announced it would stop selling ice-cream beyond the Green Line, garnering harsh criticism from Israel and Jewish groups worldwide and accusations of antisemitism.

Later, Antitrust Commissioner Dror Strum informed the Competition Authority that the move was illegal under the 2001 merger approval decision between Ben & Jerry's and its parent company Unilever Global, as the contract prohibited any action that "may interfere with the franchisee's activities in Israel."

Ben & Jerry's Israel franchisee Avi Zinger has reached out to the Competition Authority several times in recent months to intervene in the matter and demand answers from Unilever, but to no avail.

The next few weeks will show whether Cohen, who has already made several dramatic moves in the food market, will also intervene in the Ben & Jerry's case and use the legal tools available to ensure competition in Israel's ice-cream market is unharmed.
President of UCL Palestine Society leads hundreds in “From the river to the sea” chant and warns of “Zionist plotting” at rally
During an anti-Israel demonstration held on Friday night, the President of the University College London (UCL) Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) Society, Saleem Nusseibeh, led the notorious “From the river to the sea” chant and warned the crowd of hundreds about “Zionist plotting”.

The chant of “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” only makes sense as a call for the destruction of the world’s only Jewish state — and its replacement with a State of Palestine — and is thus an attempt to deny Jews, uniquely, the right to self-determination, which is a breach of the International Definition of Antisemitism.

Mr Nusseibeh, addressing the crowd, also spoke of “Zionist manoeuvring and plotting” and claimed that “these Zionists will be removed, their presence will be gone.” He then finished his speech by leading the “From the river to the sea” chant that was heard at different points throughout the night.

In addition to this, recent online footage shows the UCL SJP President speaking on a discussion panel in December where, on a video uploaded to the “Palestinian Return Centre” YouTube channel, he said: “If the UN accepts that Zionism is racism and Israel is the manifestation of Zionism, that means Israel is a racist state.” He added: “You have to pick between principle or the law that is enacted by some of the most bloodthirsty powers that existed and still, unfortunately, preside over much of the world.”

Under the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination (e.g. by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour)” is antisemitic.

‘A Shepherd’s Resistance,’ Ali Velshi’s Parody
Velshi’s characterization of Palestinians at large losing control of their land and their lives since Israel gained control of the West Bank from Jordan in 1967 turns history on its head, as he claimed: “All Palestinians in the occupied territories live under Israeli military rule, even in those areas that are nominally under the political control of the Palestinian Authority.”

The reality is no portion of the West Bank was ever under control – even partial – of any Palestinian government until Israel signed the bilateral Oslo Accords in the 1990s. Before the illegal Jordanian occupation the West Bank which started in 1948, the West Bank was part of the British Mandate, and prior to that it was under the control of the Ottoman Empire.

It’s not incidental that Velshi neglected to mention that Palestinians never controlled the West Bank prior to the Oslo Accords. Had he done so, it would have undermined his argument about the illegality of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, as the international law in question refers to “occupation of the territory of the High Contracting Party,” a situation not relevant in the West Bank (and Gaza) case.

Velshi’s dismal of Area A as “nominally under the political rule of the Palestinian Authority” is further propagandizing. According to the Oslo Accords, Area A is under Palestinian security and civil rule. While Israel can and does enter Area A for security operations (with the knowledge of the Palestinian Authority), that territory is actually — not nominally — under full Palestinian Authority political rule, thereby scarred by the failure to hold elections in more than 15 years. Area A covers all the major West Bank cities, and therefore includes more than 90 percent of West Bank Palestinians.

Velshi concluded that al-Hathaleen had “become a symbol of the resistance, and an emblem of that Israeli occupation.” No doubt al-Hathaleen means just that for many Palestinians. But in adopting this Palestinian symbol, Velshi’s “Shepherd’s Resistance” broadcast is an emblem of the abandonment of ethical journalism in favor of partisan activism. Like a rock colliding with a glass windshield, his MSNBC broadcast shatters the century-old code of professional journalistic conduct.
Seth Frantzman: US THAAD air defense system's first use was in Houthi attack on UAE - analysis
The reported use of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to defend the UAE during a drone and missile attack last week has brought a spotlight on the system as well as the need for air defenses in the region.

Its use was first reported by Defense News over the weekend. UAE Ambassador to the US Yousef al-Otaiba had earlier said there were interceptions during the attack on the Emirates, but he did not mention the type of system used.

THAAD’s first operational military use
“A multibillion-dollar missile-defense system owned by the United Arab Emirates and developed by the US military intercepted a ballistic missile on Monday during a deadly attack by Houthi militants in Abu Dhabi, marking the system’s first known use in a military operation,” Defense News reported.

“It brought down a ballistic missile during its first recorded successful operational use, in the hands of the United Arab Emirates,” The Drive news site reported. “The ballistic missile that was targeted was fired by Houthi militants during last Monday’s attack on ‘sensitive Emirati sites and facilities.’”

The system was used to stop a threat to oil facilities, Defense News reported. The attack took place on January 17, and a key detail that was unknown at the time was why there were not more interceptions of the incoming drone and missile threats.

US Policy on Iran: Learning From the Past?
Ten days before the toppling of the Shah of Iran, president Jimmy Carter told a conference of world leaders on the Island of Guadeloupe that a Khomeini-led Iran “would not export revolution … and would be interested in buying tractors, not tanks.” On Jan. 11, six days before the toppling of the Shah, “the CIA assessed that Khomeini would sit back and let his moderate, Western-educated followers run the government.”

On the eve of the toppling of the Shah, US Ambassador to Iran William Sullivan argued that Khomeini and the armed forces were anti-communist, that “Khomeini would play a Gandhi-like role and that elections would be likely to produce a pro-Western Islamic republic.”

Five months before the toppling of the Shah, an August 1978 CIA study concluded that “Iran is not in a revolutionary or even a pre-revolutionary situation.”

According to Winston Churchill, “All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes.” Making mistakes can be a productive experience — if one avoids repeating them.

Have US policy-makers learned from past mistakes?

The mistaken pre-1978-79 policy on the Islamic Revolution dealt a devastating blow to Middle East stability, generated a robust tailwind for Islamic terrorism and severely undermined US national and homeland security.
US detains ship loaded with bomb-making compound heading from Iran to Yemen
The US Navy announced Sunday it seized a boat in the Gulf of Oman carrying fertilizer used to make explosives that was caught last year smuggling weapons to Yemen. The British royal navy said it confiscated 1,041 kilograms (2,295 pounds) of illegal drugs in the same waters.

The interdictions were just the latest in the volatile waters of the Persian Gulf as American and British authorities step up seizures of contraband during the grinding conflict in Yemen and ongoing drug trafficking in the region.

The US Navy’s Mideast-based 5th Fleet said its guided-missile destroyer USS Cole and patrol ships halted and searched the sailboat, a stateless fishing dhow, that was sailing from Iran on a well-worn maritime arms smuggling route to war-ravaged Yemen last Tuesday. US forces found 40 tons of urea fertilizer, known to be a key ingredient in homemade improvised explosive devices, hidden on board.

Authorities said the vessel had been previously seized off the coast of Somalia and found last year to be loaded with thousands of assault rifles and rocket launchers, among other weapons. UN experts say weapons with such technical characteristics likely come from Iran to support the Houthi rebels. The Navy turned over the vessel, cargo and Yemeni crew to Yemen’s coast guard earlier this week.

Yemen is awash with small arms that have been smuggled into the country’s poorly controlled ports over years of conflict. Since 2015, Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have been battling a Saudi-led military coalition for control of the nation. Iran says it politically supports the rebels but denies arming them, despite evidence to the contrary.

BBC whitewashes Iran’s remarks on UN resolution on Holocaust denial
On the evening of January 20th the BBC News website published a report titled “UN defines Holocaust denial in new resolution” on its ‘Europe’ and ‘Middle East’ pages. The article was also translated into Arabic for the BBC Arabic website.

Relating to a UN General Assembly resolution that was passed by consensus on the same day, the report includes the following statement:
“While the resolution was adopted by the UN General Assembly, Iran – a member of the organisation – said it was disassociating itself from the text.”

In fact, the Iranian representative said rather more than that.

The Times of Israel reported that:
“One hundred and fourteen countries cosponsored Resolution A/76/L30 and only Iran publicly voiced its opposition. The representative from the Islamic Republic — whose leaders have a long history of Holocaust denial — claimed the resolution marked another attempt by Israel “to exploit the suffering of Jewish people in the past as cover for the crimes it has perpetrated over the past seven decades against regional countries.”

However, because Tehran has failed to pay its UN membership dues, its delegation has been stripped of some of its rights, and it was therefore unable to call for a formal vote on the Israeli resolution.

As a result, the initiative was approved by consensus.”
S.Korea Says Iran to Regain UN Vote After Delinquent Dues Paid With Frozen Funds
Iran is expected to regain its vote in the UN General Assembly after South Korea paid Tehran’s delinquent dues to the world body with frozen Iranian funds in the country, South Korea said on Sunday.

Iran had regained its UN voting rights in June after a similar payment, but said this month it had lost them again because it could not transfer the funds to pay its dues as a result of U.S. sanctions.

Release of Iran’s frozen funds requires the approval of the United States, which joined its European allies this week in saying only weeks remain to salvage the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Then-President Donald Trump took Washington out of the deal in 2018, re-imposing U.S. sanctions. Iran later breached many of the deal’s nuclear restrictions and kept pushing well beyond them.

Seoul “on Friday completed the payment of Iran’s UN dues of about $18 million through the Iranian frozen funds in South Korea, in active cooperation with related agencies such as U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and the United Nations Secretariat,” the finance ministry said in a statement.

French parliamentary report on Sarah Halimi murder reopens wounds it sought to heal
A new parliamentary report on the 2017 murder of a Jewish woman by a Muslim attacker was meant to restore French Jews’ faith in their country’s police and justice systems.

Instead, the report released last week has added fuel to the fire, enraging French Jewish leaders.

Last year, a judge ruled that Sarah Halimi’s professed killer was not responsible for his actions because his consumption of marijuana had induced a psychotic episode. This was despite the fact that the court concluded he was motivated to kill Halimi because she was Jewish.

In the aftermath of the ruling, French Jews led a wave of infuriated protests.

In September 2021, a parliamentary committee led by French Jewish lawmaker Meyer Habib began investigating, in his words, “any dysfunctions” in the case on the part of French police. The committee’s new 67,000-word report found that police officers arrived on the scene before the murder occurred but did not stop it.

Despite that finding, and others that paint a muddled picture of the day of the crime, the committee wrote that none of the officers, judges, psychiatrists or anyone else involved in the case had done anything wrong.

A Deep Dive Into Israeli Tech’s Record-Breaking Year
Bigger, stronger, faster. Much news has been shared about Israeli high-tech’s record-breaking year in 2021, but a new report by local venture capital firm Viola has outlined just how much growth Startup Nation has experienced as we move on from the two-year Covid-19 pandemic. The report, “Israel Tech Ecosystem 2021: Breaking Records in a Record-Breaking Year” is going live tomorrow and dives into details regarding success sectors, the growth of unicorn companies, and the sheer number of M&As that took place last year.

“After continuously breaking funding records throughout 2021, the Israeli ecosystem delivered on its funding streak in Q4, bringing the total funding of 2021 to a new peak of $27 billion — more than doubling the amount raised in 2020,” the report states. “Not only did the momentum continue, but Q4 broke records even for this record-breaking year, with $8.1 billion in funding, which is almost a third of the year’s overall funding. This makes Q4 of 2021 an all-time high in funding.”

Rotem Shaham, Principal at Viola Ventures and one of the report’s authors, called the numbers coming out of 2021 “groundbreaking.” Tomer Meridor, Principal at Viola Growth and its second author, highlighted megarounds as “the big issue this year.”

The report shows how megarounds — rounds valued at more than $100 million — made up more than half of the $27 billion, totaling $14.2 billion and 52.5% of all money in 2021. Notable megarounds include Tipalti’s $270 million funding, Wiz’s $250 million, and Deel’s whopping $425 million round — all of which took place in Q4. According to the authors, the number of these megarounds jumped from 21 to 79 in a single year.

Another exciting part of the report shone a light on Israel’s position as a unicorn leader. Israel is ranked comfortably as the country with the highest number of new unicorns per capita at 5.2 per one million residents — far ahead of Singapore (1.8), the US (1) and Canada (0.37). In 2021, Israel gave birth to 48 new unicorns, overtaking China, and sitting in second place only to the US which had a total of 314. Interestingly, Israel’s billion-dollar companies appear across a variety of verticals and business models, demonstrating an eclectic list pertaining to security (23%), vertical applications (19%), fintech and insurtech (18%).
Israel approves multimillion-dollar joint R&D fund with UAE
Israel’s cabinet approved on Sunday a joint Israel-UAE R&D fund to support tech projects involving Israeli and Emirati companies.

The fund is designed to encourage collaboration on technological innovation, and to help Israeli companies access resources that are not available in Israel, according to a statement from the Foreign Ministry.

It will also help Israeli businesses find Emirati partners, navigate local regulations, and develop marketing strategies.

The fund, which was proposed by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen, will allocate NIS 15 million a year over the next decade. The UAE will provide matching funds, for a total of NIS 300 million for the life of the fund.

The UAE and Israel signed a normalization agreement in 2020 as part of the US-backed Abraham Accords.

During his December visit to the UAE, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his host Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan agreed to open the fund.

“This joint fund, and a corresponding joint business council, will harness leading economic and technological minds in the UAE and in Israel, and task them with commercializing solutions to challenges ranging from climate change and desertification to clean energy and future agriculture,” the two leaders said a joint statement.
Israeli Basketball Association scores historic cooperation deal with Morocco
In a historic first, the Israeli and Moroccan basketball associations agreed on Thursday to sign a cooperation agreement during a Zoom conversation between the two parties.

The deal will be signed at a special ceremony in Morocco in the spring and will constitute the first cooperation of its kind between Israel and an Arab nation. A symbolic basketball game will also take place.

The president and secretary-general of the Israel Basketball Association Amiram Halevy and Yaacov Ben Shoshan and former basketball players of Moroccan origin Shimon Amsalem and Eran Atiya participated in the Zoom call, as did President of Morocco's Basketball Association Moustafa Aourach and other Moroccan officials.

The agreement is expected to include professional, social, and educational ties, with Aourach having said one of Morocco's goals is to learn from Israeli basketball achievements.

"We are proud of the cooperation that has been forged between the two sides," Halevi said. "Sports in general, and basketball in particular, is a great way to bridge gaps and bring people together. We believe this cooperation will benefit both parties."
Direct flight line to open between Israel and Philippines in April for first time
Philippine Airlines will launch a direct route to Israel in April and has already started selling tickets, Ynet reported on Sunday.

Initially, the company plans to operate two weekly flights between Tel Aviv and Manila, the capital of the Philippines.

The flights will depart late evening, and the expected flight time is about 11 and a half hours on the Airbus A350 aircraft.

Ticket prices will be about $920, according to Ynet.

Philippine Airlines will late test whether they can make more than two weekly flights.