Thursday, January 27, 2022

From Ian:

Bret Stephens: Israel Wins the War of Ideas
I am often asked, "Why does Israel have such lousy PR?" The problem is that Israel's usual defenders keep trying to win over the wrong kinds of people with the wrong kinds of arguments in the wrong kinds of places.

The wrong kinds of people are anti-Zionists who deny Israel's very right to exist as a Jewish state, who belong to the Blame Israel First crowd, who think that the words "apartheid" or "genocide" or "racist" attach to Israel the way that "juice" attaches to "orange," and whose views stem either from ignorance or hostility. Merely to engage with their charges (e.g., "Why does Israel kill so many Palestinian children?") legitimizes bogus assumptions and bigoted arguments.

The wrong kinds of arguments include the Israel-as-the-bigger-victim case. A major military power is never going to win an international pity contest, nor should it want to: Israel came into being to end Jewish victimization, not to showcase it. Moreover, such arguments rarely do more than preach to the converted.

As for the unconverted, the best argument is that Israel is under no obligation to justify its existence to anybody, least of all those who despise it; that, like any democratic and sovereign nation, it has every right to do what it must to safeguard its vital interests and security; that it isn't interested in winning popularity contests; and that sincere and constructive criticism is always welcome, but its policies won't be swayed by those who fundamentally wish it ill.

Year after year, positive perceptions of Israel among the American public at large have generally risen, according to Gallup, from 58% in the wake of 9/11 to 75% in March 2021.

Outside the U.S., things look even more promising. Israel has forged increasingly close relations with formerly unfriendly states, from Uganda to Greece to India to the United Arab Emirates. These countries do not want better ties because Israel caved to the demands of larger powers, but rather because Israel resisted them. They are less interested in Israel's concessions than they are in its resourcefulness, its capabilities, its ability to add value in common causes.
Melanie Phillips: A shocking excuse for the indefensible
So after all this enhanced and non-enhanced listening by so many people, was this “anti-Muslim” slur actually proved to have been uttered?

And here, at the very nub of this affair, the ECU slips into ludicrously pretentious gobbledegook which suggests the answer to that question is “no” . It never actually says this, concluding instead that as a result of
the contesting interpretations of the material under consideration… it might not be possible to determine with certainty which of them is correct on the basis of the recording alone.

But inadvertently, in trying to dodge the answer but inescapably if circuitously implying that no such slur existed other than in the minds of those who claimed to have heard it, it also reveals the very same warped mindset of which the BBC has been accused. For it says:
In this connection, the ECU notes the suggestion, in a report commissioned by the Board of Deputies from a Professor of Linguistics, that BBC staff may have misheard the phrase as a result of the “Apollonian tendency”, which he describes as the mind’s inclination to create order or meaningfulness, especially when encountering unfamiliar information.

Although it might be observed that such a tendency might apply as much to those undertaking investigations on behalf of others as to BBC staff, it corresponded with the experience of members of the ECU, both as investigators of complaints and in their previous roles as programme-makers, in which they had encountered cases where the same audio material can genuinely be construed in entirely different senses by different listeners. The interpretation arrived at may well depend on cues which the listener is unaware of having received and, once arrived at, may be very difficult to controvert.

In that Board of Deputies-commissioned report, however, Professor Ghil‘ad Zuckermann follows up the sentence quoted by the ECU with this observation:
The problem with the Apollonian tendency in language arises from the fact that a person applying his/her Apollonian tendency only uses what is accessible in his/her brain. A Briton visiting Japan might well hear the Japanese expression for “not at all”(following”thank you”’) as Don’t touch your moustache! instead of どういたしまし て dou itashimashite. The Briton would need a lot of chutzpah, however, to jump to a conclusion that the Japanese person talking to him is alleging that he, the Briton, has too much facial hair (my emphasis).

Indeed; such a conclusion would be highly unlikely. And that’s the point. For if those eight BBC journalists really did construe what they heard as an “anti-Muslim slur” on the basis of “cues which the listener is unaware of having received,” this means that, when watching and listening to a recording of an attack upon Jews, the “cues” in their brains translated unfamiliar sounds into an attack by Jews.

Deeply disturbing, if true; but more disturbing is that the ECU thinks that this exonerates the BBC from the most serious charges of a breach of editorial standards.

Even by the BBC’s normal standards of obfuscation when it comes to complaints against it, this ECU report is a shocker. It’s good news that Ofcom is now to investigate this whole affair. The ECU report itself should be added to the charge sheet.
BBC warned over news chief’s ‘highly inappropriate’ comments at emergency meeting
In a letter seen by Jewish News, the Board president protests the she and other members of the communal organisation at the meeting ‘were extremely taken aback by the comments made by Fran Unsworth during the meeting; her false accusation that we had accused the BBC of ‘antisemitism’ was offensive and damaging; we noted with regret that you did not contradict her.”

Van der Zyl the writes of Unsworth, who departs the BBC at the end of this month: “Her follow-up, citing the actions of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, was astonishing.

“The Board of Deputies had absolutely nothing to do with this list, produced by an American-based organisation, and has not promoted it in any way. We are not collectively responsible for this action.

“To cite this as evidence that we had accused the BBC of antisemitism suggests that Ms Unsworth also paints completely different groups with the same brush.

“At the very best, this is completely at odds with her claims of the need for accuracy from the BBC. At the worst, this was a not very subtle way of saying that ‘you lot are all the same’. I would like to know what action you are going to take to discipline Ms Unsworth for her highly inappropriate comments.

“The ECU representative, invited by the BBC, was in the meeting and witnessed these comments by Ms Unsworth first-hand.”

Independent U.N. Experts: "Claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour" is "a form of antisemitism"
"On the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, UN human rights experts* reiterate their calls to combat antisemitism and all forms of religious and racial bigotry. They issue the following statement:

“Over the years, we, and the UN mandates that we hold, have repeatedly issued warnings of the dangers of hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice to all peoples everywhere. Early reports confirm that 2021 – like 2020, 2019, and 2018 before it – was a year in which monitors around the world again documented historically high levels of antisemitism.

We have warned about the need to raise awareness about persistent and emerging forms of antisemitic hatred, the need to document trends and to uphold the human rights obligations of States and human rights responsibilities of non-state actors in combating antisemitism in all its forms.

Of particular concern over the past year are the many reports that Jewish people, and sites, were subjected to violence, discrimination and harassment by people targeting them as proxies for Israel because of their Jewish identity, particularly during and following armed hostilities in the Middle East in May 2021. Jewish people were violently attacked, suffered death threats and were harassed online; Jewish neighbourhoods were targeted by groups of individuals making violent threats; Jewish religious, educational, and cultural sites were vandalized and defaced; and protests targeted synagogues and Jewish community centres.

Conflict in the Middle East is frequently accompanied by a spike in antisemitism globally. Critiques of Israeli Government actions and policies that violate human rights including those of Palestinians, are both warranted and valid from a human rights perspective. However, in many cases, rhetoric and statements about Israel endorsed by public figures, academics and others went beyond criticizing Israeli policies or actions to assertions that Zionism, the self-determination movement of the Jewish people, is an inherently racist ideology and a form of racial supremacy, suggesting that supporting Zionism is inherently equivalent to supporting racial discrimination. Not only is this narrative false; it has also shown to fuel resentment against Jews and normalise bias against Jewish communities worldwide.

We regret that although UN leaders specifically warned Member States against airing antisemitic diatribes at UN meetings and other international fora, this warning was not heeded, and “Zionism is racism” trope continues to be aired.
Kamala Harris to attend inauguration of incoming socialist Honduran president with anti-Semitic ties - and whose help she needs to tackle her immigration crisis
Vice President Kamala Harris is attending the inauguration Thursday of new socialist Honduran President Xiomara Castro
Castro's inner circle has made problematic statements about Jewish people and Israel
Castro's husband Manuel Zelaya, an ex-president, claimed 'Israeli mercenaries' were torturing him with high-frequency radiation
Castro's running mate, Salvador Nasralla, said Jews control the global money supply
Nasralla also said in 2020 that Hondorus' outgoing president Juan Orlando Hernández's 'boss is the government of Israel'
During Nasralla's 2017 run for the presidency, which he lost, his wife Iroshka Elvir had to apologize to Jewish organizations for praising Nazi leader Adolf Hitler
'The newspaper published that I admire Hitler, but it is not true, I never told them that I admired Hitler,' she told Jewish groups
Harris is making the trip as part of her role as point person to the northern triangle countries as she tries to address the root causes of migration
Liberal-leaning Jewish groups slam Congress’s ‘Torah Values Caucus’
An array of liberal-leaning Jewish groups, including bodies of the Reform and Reconstructionist movements, have told two non-Jewish congressmen who launched a “Torah Values Caucus” that their efforts are “misguided.”

“While we appreciate your stated desire to fight antisemitism, this caucus is a misguided effort,” said the letter sent Wednesday to Reps. Don Bacon, a Nebraska Republican, and Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat, who last week founded the Congressional Caucus for the Advancement of Torah Values.

“A caucus in Congress should not take on itself defining what constitutes ‘Torah Values’ in order to pursue a particular political agenda,” said the letter, initiated by Americans for Peace Now and signed by, among others, the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, J Street and ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal.

“And if the nature of this suggests that pursuing one set of religious values is the foundation of your legislative activity it raises significant concerns regarding the separation of church and state, which has been one of the keys to the long-term safety and security of the American Jewish community,” the letter said.

The caucus said it would also dedicate itself to combating “anti-Israel bigotry.” None of the 37 Jewish members of Congress appear to be involved in the caucus.

The congressmen apparently consulted with Rabbi David Hofstedter, the Canadian founder of an Israel-based Orthodox organization called Dirshu, which encourages the study of Torah. At the launch, Hofstedter spoke of antisemitism but also of COVID-related lockdowns, which he said adversely affected synagogues and yeshivas.
House Ethics Office: ‘Substantial Reason’ To Believe Illinois Dem Offered Illegal Bribe
Congressional investigators say there is "substantial reason to believe" Illinois Democrat Marie Newman illegally bribed a potential primary opponent to keep him out of the race.

According to a House Office of Congressional Ethics report, Newman likely "promised federal employment to a primary opponent for the purpose of procuring political support," a violation of federal law. The finding comes roughly seven months after Newman acknowledged in federal court that she signed a contract during her successful 2020 congressional campaign promising a six-figure job in her office to local Palestinian activist Iymen Chehade.

While Chehade claimed Newman offered him the job to keep him from challenging her in a primary race, Newman denied the charge, contending that she was unaware of Chehade's intention to run for office. Emails obtained by House investigators, however, show that Chehade explicitly told Newman he "agree[d] not to announce or submit his candidacy for election to Congressional Representative of the 3rd District of Illinois" in exchange for Newman's job offer. In his email, Chehade also asked Newman for a "commitment to endorse" him once Newman decided to leave office.

"Hi there," Newman replied in late 2018. "Took some time to digest the doc. Most of it looks good." The House ethics office's report notes that the evidence "strongly contradicts Rep. Newman's testimony that she did not have any knowledge of Mr. Chehade's intent to run for congressional office."

Israeli Equipment Helps Train U.S. Air Force Pilots
Adversary/aggressor services company Top Aces has begun testing former Israeli F-16s equipped with the Advanced Aggressor Mission System (AAMS), installed by M7 Aerospace of San Antonio, Texas, which is owned by Elbit Systems of America, a wholly owned subsidiary of Israel's Elbit Systems.

The AAMS suite "provides the most realistic and cost-effective training solution available to pilots flying fifth-generation fighters such as the F-22 or F-35," said Top Aces president Russ Quinn.

A Top Aces spokesperson said the AAMS suite is already flying on its A-4 Skyhawks providing aggressor services to the German air force "and other European customers for advanced airborne training."

US Charges Texas Man Who Sold Gun to Colleyville Synagogue Terrorist
US authorities have charged a man who allegedly sold the gun used by Malik Faisal Akram to take four hostages at a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday.

32-year-old Henry “Michael” Williams was charged Tuesday for being a felon in possession of a firearm, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad E. Meacham said in a statement.

He appeared before a federal judge Wednesday, with a detention hearing set for Jan. 31.

On Jan. 15, Akram took four people hostage at Colleyville’s Congregation Beth Israel during Shabbat services. The standoff ended after more than 10 hours, with the hostages escaping before Akram was killed.

Williams — who had previously been convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and attempted possession of a controlled substance — allegedly sold Akram a semiautomatic pistol just two days before the attack, the Justice Department said.

Authorities have pieced together the movements of the 44-year-old British citizen during the days before the hostage-taking, which US President Joe Biden called an “act of terror.” Despite holding a criminal record and previously being investigated by British intelligence, Akram raised no security flags when he entered the US at the end of December.
New Report Shines Light on Endemic Nature of Antisemitism in France
An in-depth study of antisemitism in France has revealed that the vast majority of French Jews — 74 percent — have experienced some form of “antisemitic behavior during their lives, from mockery to physical aggression, including insults or verbal threats.”

Published on Tuesday, the study, jointly conducted by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the Paris-based Fondapol think-tank, surveyed more than 1,500 non-Jews on their understanding of the depth and extent of antisemitism, and over 500 Jews on their experiences of bigotry.

The study found common agreement that antisemitism in France is on an upward trajectory, with 64 percent of non-Jewish and 73 percent of Jewish respondents acknowledging the steep rise in prejudice targeting Jews over the last decade.

Muslim and anti-Zionist antisemitism were identified as the main threats to the Jewish community, with 53 percent of non-Jewish respondents citing the denial of Israel’s right to exist as a principal problem — a number that rose to 62 percent among the Jews surveyed. Similarly, 48 percent of non-Jews and 45 percent of Jews cited “Islamist ideas” as a driving factor, alongside conspiracy theories and far-right ideology.

The study found that 15 percent of French Muslims “admit to feeling antipathy towards Jews, a proportion 10 points higher than that measured in the French population as a whole.” It also pointed to enormous discrepancies between Muslims and the population as a whole with regard to antisemitic tropes. While 24 percent of the French population as a whole believe that Jews operate a “stranglehold” upon the media, that number rose to 54 percent among Muslims specifically. Similarly, 51 percent of Muslims agree that Jews dominate the French economy, compared with 26 percent among the general population.

Turkey: Erdogan's Hoax Charm Offensive
The Turks' per capita GDP has been falling for the seventh consecutive year, from $12,500 in 2012 to slightly more than $7,000 this year. The Turkish lira has lost more than half its value against major Western currencies in just the past three months.

"The problem with the narrative is there is no evidence Ankara wants better ties or is willing to do anything in which Israel benefits... It [Ankara] thus wants 'reconciliation' without actually doing anything."— Seth J. Frantzman, The Jerusalem Post, December 5 , 2021.

Erdogan's charm offensive to win hearts and minds in Washington, however, is not limited to changing his aggressive course against Israel or unfriendly Gulf states.

U.S. President Joe Biden has persistently encouraged Turkey to normalize diplomatic relations with Armenia.... What is the hoax here? Erdogan's move to pretend that Turkey is now taking steps for normalization is fake. He will start a process that he intends never to complete -- just in case other efforts might have gone unnoticed in Washington.

The ailing Turkish economy is forcing Erdogan to reconcile with adversaries, and reconciliation means these adversaries will demand that Erdogan stop supporting Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. That will be the case "in the short-term." At the first opportunity, however, Erdogan will abandon the reconciliation and resume his support for these terrorist groups.

Erdogan's pragmatist-self has only appeared after 12 or so years, as he prepares to fight for his political survival in the 2023 elections. If he feels Gulf money and some kind of U.S. political support has bolstered the Turkish economy sufficiently for him to win in 2023, he will take off his reconciliatory mask and put his usual Islamist shirt back on.
"Relations between Belgium and Israel are not good - but they are repairable" Israeli Ambassador tells Belgian MPs
The ambassador rejected the designation by some MPs of Israel as an ‘apartheid’ state, explaining that Arabs in Israel had full rights as citizens. Arabs are an integral part of the coalition government, he said, and “have more and more responsibilities, which is very good”.

The ‘Abraham Accords’ were further evidence of Israel’s desire to reach out to and partner with Arab communities and countries, he continued. What is happening is the shaping of “a new Middle East which is a Middle East of cooperation, where there is of course a place for the Palestinians”.

The new Middle East is evolving through dialogue, Mr Nahshon claimed, so it was “a pity that my Palestinian counterpart has not joined us today to share this discussion. He went on "I have dialogue with half of the Arab ambassadors here in Brussels, with whom I now meet regularly.”

Noting that many Arab countries were dissociating themselves from the Palestinian Authority, even though like Israel they want to see Palestinians achieve self-determination, “if the Palestinians really have a chance to reach the stage of independence it will be through dialogue with Israel and that is the only way to succeed”.

Whereas “relations between Israel and Belgium are not in good shape, I tell you clearly that relations between Israel and Belgium are repairable” he said. “So we invite you to be in contact with us and to have this dialogue which in my opinion will be helpful. What we would like to see in the relations between Israel and Belgium is more transparency, goodwill, and friendship”.

Mr Nahshon invited members of the committee to visit Israel to meet with various people and organisations as a means of kick-starting dialogue between Belgium and Israel. The chair of the committee Els Van Hoof said that the invitation was “an excellent idea”, adding “Belgium's expectations are not always easy and there are points on which we do not agree but I believe that they must absolutely not prevent dialogue.”
Jeremy Corbyn barred from rejoining UK Labour Party
Jeremy Corbyn, a Labour Party MP and the United Kingdom’s former opposition leader from 2015-2020, was not reinstated as an MP in the party following a vote on Tuesday, international media reports.

Corbyn, from the left-leaning Labour Party, served as leader of the opposition for the better part of the 2010s. He was suspended by the party in October 2020 after stating that antisemitism in the party had been overstated for political reasons – as it was embroiled in accusations of organizational antisemitism. He has yet to be reinstated by his replacement as party whip, Keir Starmer, and lost his latest appeal on Tuesday morning.

Corbyn, who has been accused of antisemitism by many across the United Kingdom – including the late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and former PM David Cameron – was initially suspended amid a party-wide review of antisemitic practices – such as 23 counts of inappropriate involvement in antisemitism complaints – by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

He publicly stated the allegations were "dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media" on a Facebook post and was suspended by the party shortly thereafter.
Sinn Féin MLA's tweets on Holocaust 'appalling' says Belfast Jewish community leader
A Belfast Jewish community leader has described as "appalling" a Sinn Féin MLA's tweets equating the Holocaust to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The remarks by South Down MLA Sinead Ennis are among a number of controversial Twitter posts that have resurfaced.

In 2012, Ms Ennis tweeted: "Can the monstrous holocaust suffered by the Jews only be exorcised once they visit that horror on another defenceless people?"

And the following year she said: "As it's Holocaust Memorial Day, let's spare a thought for the victims of the ongoing holocaust in occupied Palestine #NoLessonsLearned."

In other old tweets Ms Ennis made derogatory comments about the Pope and used the word "gypsy" as an insult when tweeting about some sports matches.
Report: 54 Palestinian Terror Attacks Took Place in Israel in 2021, Up From Prior Year
The total number of Palestinian terror attacks in 2021 reached 54, according to a report published on Wednesday by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.

It said that despite incidents related to Israel’s 11-day conflict last May with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the scope of terrorism in the West Bank and Jerusalem remained similar to that of past years going back to 2017.

By comparison, 40 attacks were carried out in 2020, while 34 were recorded in 2019 and 55 in 2018.

Three Israeli civilians were murdered in attacks during 2021 while 34 were injured. Twenty of the attacks occurred in Greater Jerusalem, and one took place in Jaffa.

Knife attacks increased — 30 incidents were recorded compared to 19 in 2020, while 12 shootings and eight vehicle ramming attacks took place, noted the report. Three attacks combined multiple means of assault.

In addition, 1,700 rock-throwing incidents and 350 fire bombings were reported in 2021.

CAMERA: 'Hamas, Israel and Eleven Days of War' with Dr. Jonathan Schanzer

PMW: From Nazi Germany to the PA: Murder of Jews/Israelis is heroic
On International Holocaust Remembrance Day it is important to recognize that state sponsoring, honoring, and rewarding murderers of Jews and Israelis did not disappear with the destruction of Nazi Germany. Today, the Palestinian Authority presents Palestinian terrorist murderers in prison, and dead terrorists - so-called Martyrs - including suicide bombers, as the ultimate heroes and role models for Palestinian society and children.

The following are examples of how the PA has repeatedly honored two terrorist prisoners who kidnapped and murdered Israeli soldier Avraham Bromberg in 1980.

Karim and Maher Younes are Israeli Arab terrorist cousins. They were originally sentenced to life in prison for the murder, but Israeli President Shimon Peres as a good will gesture to Mahmoud Abbas, reduced their sentences in 2012 to 40 years.

One great honor PA gave to Karim Younes was when PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in May 2017 appointed the murderer to the Fatah Central Committee, the executive branch of Fatah, comprised of the most important Fatah leaders. Abbas’ message to Palestinians on the importance of murdering Israelis could not be clearer.

Karim Younes recently began the 40th and final year of his sentence. In the PA the excitement is building up and the leadership is preparing to receive their “hero.” Official PA TV has dedicated entire programs to the terrorist, and broadcast PA officials’ visits to his home. One visitor was Chairman of the PA-funded Prisoners’ Club Qadura Fares who praised the two murderers as “two heroic important leaders,” asserting that they have become “symbols for the entire Palestinian people”:

‘Hamas have not proven themselves good for the Palestinians’, James Cleverly warns
Middle East Minister James Cleverly has warned: “Hamas have not proven themselves to have been good for the Palestinian people.”

Responding in the Commons to a claim made by the Hendon MP Matthew Offord that Israel could “not be expected to negotiate” in peace talks with an organisation committed to “its destruction”, Cleverly added: “The simple truth is their aggressive posture and their threats to eradicate Israel have harmed relations between Israelis and Palestinians.”

Speaking during Tuesday session of Foreign Questions in the House of Commons, the former Tory Party co-chair and Braintree MP said:”We wish to see a viable two-state solution with Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace and prosperity.

“Hamas has long been a road-block to that.”

The SNP’s Alan Brown had earlier raised the issue of settlement plans and desecrations of Muslim graveyard in East Jerusalem – and he asked when the UK government might take a stronger stance in opposing such actions which he said breached international law.

Cleverly said:”The UK enjoys a close and important relationship with Israel. That allows us to raise important issues such as settlement demolitions directly with the Israeli government, which we do.
Media, Diplomats Still Silent Over Hamas’ Violent Evictions of Dozens in Gaza
Hamas Harming Palestinians and Israelis Alike

Gaza’s rulers trample on the rights of Palestinians. HonestReporting has highlighted how Hamas and other Gaza Strip-based terror groups use civilians as human shields (see, for example, here, here, here and here). Hamas is known to use residential buildings, hotels, hospitals, and even schools as launching pads for attacks against Israel.

Gazans previously called on Hamas and its allies to stop storing weapons in residential areas. The rare internal outcry followed a large explosion in Gaza City’s Al-Zawiya market that killed one person and injured 14 others.

After severe flooding earlier this month in Gaza, some accused Hamas of diverting funds earmarked for infrastructure projects to the building of tunnels, often used to smuggle weapons and carry out terror attacks against Israel.

HonestReporting therefore urges the media to address Hamas’ crimes in Gaza, particularly as they pertain to violating human rights. Additionally, we urge Western diplomats, in particular, to publicly condemn the organization they define as a terrorist group that continues to harm Palestinians and Israelis alike.

We encourage our subscribers to contact the Office of the EU Representative to the West Bank and Gaza, as well as the US Embassy in Jerusalem, to politely urge them to take a stand against Hamas’ abuse of its own civilians.
PA PM on terrorists killed during attacks: “Martyrs are heroes… Their blood is perfume”
PA PM on terrorists killed during attacks: “Martyrs are heroes… Their blood is perfume… They are adorned with a crown of honor”

Official PA TV Live, broadcast of PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh’s speech at the Palestinian Martyrs’ Day ceremony in Ramallah

PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh: “We stand here on behalf of my brother His Honor [PA] President [Mahmoud Abbas]; through him and with him I ask that Allah’s mercies will encompass the souls of our Martyrs on Martyrs’ Day… What is the common denominator between Muhammad Jamjoum, Fuad Hijazi, Ataa Al-Zir, Abu Ibrahim Al-Kabir, Ahmad Musa Salameh Al-Dalki, Muhammad Al-Dura, Faris Ouda… Khalil Al-Wazir [Abu Jihad], Abu Iyad, and Yasser Arafat? … The common denominator is Palestine and death as a Martyr for the sake of Palestine. Long live the Martyrs, long live their souls, long live Palestine… Generation after generation we will mention them… Martyrdom is a medal of honor, and honor for those who were killed for the sake of God and the homeland. They are the symbol of heroism in dealing with the oppression, subjugation, and occupation. The Martyrs are heroes, and heroes have identifying features. Their blood is perfume, and their souls hover in Paradise together with the righteous and the prophets. They are adorned with a crown of honor, and their blood waters the anemones that bloom in all of Palestine. The heroic Martyrs – where do they stand out? In the battlefield… in the uprisings, and in the intifadas.” [Official PA TV Live, Jan. 9, 2022]

PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh gave this speech on Palestinian Martyrs’ Day. All Palestinian terrorists who were killed during their attacks are called Martyrs by the PA, and Martyrdom is presented as the most honorable status achievable in Islam.

Muhammad Jamjoum, Fuad Hijazi, and Ataa Al-Zir “committed particularly brutal murders [of Jews] at Safed and Hebron,” according to the report by the British Government to the League of Nations (Dec. 31, 1930), and were executed by hanging by the British in 1930. Jamjoum, Hijazi, and Al-Zir were convicted of attacking British soldiers and murdering Jews during the 1929 Arab Riots, known by Palestinians as the Al-Buraq Rebellion, which was a wave of Arab violence in late August 1929 following a Jewish protest at the Western Wall calling for national rights. In a week, 133 Jews were killed – mostly murdered in their homes by Arabs, including the Hebron Massacre in which 65 Jews were murdered in one day and the Safed Massacre in which 18 Jews were murdered in one day; 116 Arabs were also killed during the confrontations – mostly by British police trying to stop the riots. The British reported the cause of violence in the riots was “the Arab feeling of animosity and hostility towards the Jews” (1930 Shaw Commission Report).

Ahmad Musa Salameh - Palestinian terrorist known to Palestinians as the “first Martyr of the modern Palestinian revolution.” Salameh was involved in Fatah's first attempted terror attack on Jan. 1, 1965, which targeted Israel's National Water Carrier. Salameh was killed by Jordanian soldiers following the attack.

PA TV: Black September terrorists “gave the revolution… sacrifice and heroism”
PA TV: Black September terrorists “gave the revolution… sacrifice and heroism… must have special status in our people’s memory”

Official PA TV News, on the anniversary of the death of Salah Khalaf “Abu Iyad,” head of the Black September terror organization

Official PA TV reporter: “The 31st anniversary of the death as a Martyr of the three Fatah leaders Salah Khalaf, Hayel Abd Al-Hamid, and Fakhri Al-Omari – who gave the Palestinian revolution a large measure of sacrifice and heroism – the Insan National Action Association, the “Set Your Goal” organization, and the Fatah Movement’s Jenin branch marked the anniversary under the auspices of the Rumana village council… These activities were carried out with the participation of official and popular bodies and included planting olive trees named after the three Martyrs… They are among the movement’s most important patriotic schools that must have a constant presence and a special status in our people’s memory.”

[Official PA TV News, Jan. 11, 2022]

Abu Iyad (Salah Khalaf) - Palestinian terrorist, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat’s deputy, one of the founders of Fatah, and head of the terror organization Black September, a secret branch of Fatah. Attacks he planned include the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics (Sept. 5, 1972) and the murder of two American diplomats in Sudan (March 1, 1973). It is commonly assumed that his assassin, a former Fatah bodyguard, was sent by the Abu Nidal Organization, a rival Palestinian faction.

Fakhri Al-Omari – Fatah member and a founding member of the Black September terror organization, a secret branch of Fatah, and top aide to Salah Khalaf, one of the founders of Fatah and the head of Black September. Fatah has credited Al-Omari with being the one who conceived the idea of the Munich Olympics massacre in which 11 Israeli Olympic athletes were murdered on Sept. 5, 1972, and stated that he participated in its planning. Al-Omari and Salah Khalaf were assassinated on Jan. 14, 1991 by Khalaf's bodyguard, who it is commonly assumed was recruited to do so by the Abu Nidal Organization, a rival Palestinian faction.

Bennett to ‘Post’: Israel will continue its strategy to stop Iran even if there’s a deal
Israel will follow its strategy to combat Iranian aggression regardless of whether world powers reach an agreement with the Islamic Republic in the negotiations in Vienna, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in an interview this week, to be published in full in Friday’s Jerusalem Post.

“The Israeli strategy doesn’t depend on whether there’s an agreement or not,” Bennett stated. “We will protect ourselves by ourselves. Even if there is an agreement, we’re not committed to it. We will preserve our freedom to act.”

Bennett spoke as talks continue with Iran in Vienna to return to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Bennett said that “we and the Americans don’t see everything eye to eye,” and spoke out against easing sanctions on Iran.

“A deal that will send tens of billions of dollars to this rotten and weak regime will be a mistake because this money will go to terror against IDF soldiers and Americans in the region,” Bennett stated. “When the money enters Iranian coffers, they attack American soldiers…through their proxies.”

Iran is very weak – its currency is depleted, regions of the country lack water and there are large demonstrations against the government – Bennett pointed out, saying Tehran “is playing poker with a very weak hand, but they’re bluffing.”

Israel has relayed the message to its friends in the US and Europe who are negotiating with Iran that the mullahs’ regime should not get “a tailwind of money,” the prime minister said.

“The last thing you do to a terror state like this is to give them tens of billions of dollars,” he stated. “You should do the opposite; you have to weaken them, set a dilemma between the continued pursuit of nuclear weapons or the regime itself.”
Dissidents hack Iran state TV, broadcast call for Khamenei’s death
Multiple channels of Iran’s state television broadcast images on Thursday showing the leaders of an exiled dissident group and a graphic calling for the death of the country’s supreme leader, an incident that authorities later described as a hack.

For several seconds, graphics flashed on screen, interrupting the broadcast to depict the leaders of the opposition group Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (People’s Mujahedin of Iran). The name of a social media account, which claimed to be a group of hackers who broadcast the message honoring the dissidents, also appeared. Two state radio stations were also interrupted.

Shahin Gobadi, a Paris-based MEK spokesperson, later told The Associated Press: “We, like you, were just informed about the issue.”

“It appears that it was done by supporters of the MEK and resistance units within the regime’s radio and television stations,” he said, without directly claiming responsibility. He offered no evidence to support his assertion.

The hack represented a major breach of Iranian state television, long believed to controlled and operated by members of the Islamic Republic’s intelligence branches, particularly its hardline Revolutionary Guard. Such an incident hasn’t happened for years.
Dennis Ross: The U.S. Needs to Learn the Lessons of the Past and Make the Iranians and their Clients Pay a Price for their Aggression
The Iranians find the Houthis in Yemen a useful instrument to exert real pressure on Saudi Arabia as they strike Saudi civilian targets, including the capital Riyadh, and oil facilities throughout the country. The Houthis get their missiles, drones, training, and help in drone production from Iran's Quds Force and Hizbullah. This past week the Houthis attacked Dubai international airport as well as the airport in Abu Dhabi in the UAE. Had the very busy Dubai airport been hit, many civilians, including many Americans, could have been killed.

That should tell us that, regardless of the outcome of the talks in Vienna on Iran's nuclear program, Iranian behavior in the region must be countered if it cannot be deterred. After the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, we did very little in response as Iran ratcheted up their aggressive acts throughout the region. Now, we need to learn the lessons of the past and make the Iranians and their clients or proxies pay a price. The Houthis need to see that they will pay a price for these attacks, and that we will act to bolster the defenses of those they attack.

Moreover, from Vladimir Putin to Xi Jinping to Ali Khamenei, it is essential to counteract their perception of our risk-aversion and demonstrate that their actions are making us more risk-ready. Deterrence demands nothing less.
Emily Schrader: The International Olympic Committee finally takes a stand
Ahead of next week’s opening of the 2022 Beijing Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has come under much-deserved criticism for allowing the Winter Games to take place in a country with an egregious human rights record.

It’s hardly the first time the IOC has faced condemnation for its refusal to take principled stances.

But after years of resisting calls to act, there is at least one small sign that putting pressure on the IOC is not completely futile: a report that late last year, the athletic body said countries would be barred from hosting international sports competitions if they banned Israeli athletes from taking part.

In recent decades, oppressive governments have repeatedly used international sporting events as political tools, which has resulted in nations denying entry to Israeli athletes and individual athletes refusing to compete against Israelis. Worse, it has also led to the arrest, imprisonment and even the execution of athletes who won’t play along with their governments’ policies.

Last month, the Jerusalem Post reported that a letter from the IOC states international sports federations must ensure that athletes from all nations can participate in their events. The letter reportedly called out Malaysia for incidents involving Israeli athletes and Serbia, which barred boxers from Kosovo from a competition.

Unequal treatment has been a recurring problem for Israeli athletes.

In November, the World Squash Championships were canceled after Malaysia, the host country, refused to grant competitors from Israel visas to enter the country. In 2019, the World Para Swimming Championships were moved for the same reason.

In the 2004 Olympics, an Iranian athlete withdrew from a judo match with an Israeli to avoid competing against him. In the 2016 Olympics, an Egyptian athlete would not shake the hand of an Israeli athlete in a judo match. In 2019, Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei refused to withdraw from a match against Israel and was forced to flee for his life. Last year in Tokyo, Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine withdrew from the Olympics rather than compete against an Israeli, in “solidarity” with Palestinians. The IOC did nothing.
Jewish mother leaves Iran for life-saving treatment in Israel
Zehava, 36, developed a rare and life-threatening gynecological disease that spread to her lungs and made it impossible for her to do the most basic tasks, like walk or go to work. The Jewish-Iranian wife and mother of two spent months isolated in a hospital in Iran, with no hope.

“It was a bad dream,” Zehava told JNS.

But a dramatic turn of events saved Zehava from what she believed was her tragic destiny. In a wheelchair and attached to an oxygen tank, she left Iran and made her way to the Promised Land to receive life-saving treatment, with the help of an Israeli doctor from Sheba Medical Center.

“I’m sitting here in my office and two ladies come to see me, and they say they are the aunts of a patient in Iran who has something wrong with her lungs,” Dr. Amir Onn, head of Sheba’s Institute of Pulmonary Oncology, recalled in an interview with JNS. “They’re showing me medical papers in Persian. I have no idea what they’re talking about or how I could even communicate with this patient.”

The women instructed Onn to get in touch with their niece, Zehava, via WhatsApp. At first he refused, out of concern that the communication could be intercepted, and that he and/or Zehava would be accused of espionage, or worse. But Onn did not want to just say no. So he gave the aunts his telephone number to pass on to Zehava, and said she could reach out to him—assuming she would not do so.
Biden Admin: Former Trump Iran Envoy Facing ‘Serious and Credible’ Threats
The Trump administration's Iran envoy is facing "serious and credible" threats to his safety, according to a non-public assessment produced this month by the State Department and viewed by the Washington Free Beacon. The determination was delivered to Congress amid a campaign of public death threats by Iran aimed at former president Donald Trump and top administration officials.

The State Department in an unclassified but non-public assessment provided to Congress on Jan. 11 determined that a "specific threat persists with respect to former special representative [for Iran] Brian Hook," who helmed the Trump administration's maximum pressure campaign on Tehran and was instrumental in the assassination of Iranian terror leader Qassem Soleimani. The document does not name the actors behind the threats, describing them only as a "foreign power or the agent of a foreign power."

Iran, however, has repeatedly threatened to kill Trump administration officials, including Hook, as payback for the 2020 drone strike on Soleimani. The State Department determination indicates that Hook has been under a "serious and credible" threat since at least January 2021, when Trump and former secretary of state Mike Pompeo were still in office. The Biden State Department determined on three separate occasions, most recently November 2021, that the threats persist, according to the notification.

The State Department's latest assessment comes amid public comments by top Iranian leaders that threaten the lives of Trump and senior members of his administration. Iranian government accounts on Twitter and other social media sites promised multiple times this month to assassinate Trump, with the regime issuing an official video that depicts a drone strike on the former president. The Biden administration says it takes these threats seriously and will do everything it can to protect former and current officials.

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