Thursday, March 24, 2022

03/24 Links Pt2: A New Iran Deal Leaves Us Meeker and Weaker; According to the UN’s Lynk, Facts Change, “Covetous” Jews Do Not; Kansas becomes 20th US state to endorse IHRA

From Ian:

Bret Stephens: A New Iran Deal Leaves Us Meeker and Weaker
Last year, Secretary of State Antony Blinken promised a new nuclear deal with Iran that would be "longer and stronger," hinting that it would seek to extend some of the JCPOA's sunset provisions that were set to expire in the next decade, as well as place limits on Iran's testing of ballistic missiles. It isn't clear the new deal will meet either goal.

Reaching a kick-the-can-down-the-road agreement may seem like a diplomatic victory to the State Department. But it's a strategic defeat when it does little more than delay a crisis for the future in exchange for strengthening our adversaries in the present. Tehran attacked Iraq with ballistic missiles earlier this month and (through its Houthi proxies) launched missile and drone strikes on Abu Dhabi in January. What can Iran's neighbors expect from it when its coffers are refreshed with tens of billions in oil revenues, free from sanctions?

The principal geopolitical challenge the U.S. faces today is the perception, shared by friends and foes alike, that we are weak, distracted and divided. The Biden administration urgently needs to telegraph strength. An Iran deal that leaves us even weaker and meeker than the previous deal accomplishes the opposite.

A Crisis in U.S.-Middle East Relations
Most of America's Middle Eastern allies - Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Israel, Jordan, Turkey and Egypt - also are expanding ties to Russia and China. America's Middle Eastern partners have rationally concluded that they need to diversify their foreign-policy options, given Washington's reluctance to uphold its defense commitments.

Dramatic scenes of the disorderly U.S. exit from Afghanistan confirmed that America is in retreat. For Saudi Arabia and the UAE, in particular, the lack of a meaningful American response to Iran-sponsored drone attacks on airports and oil facilities in 2019 and 2022 was the straw that broke the camel's back.

The U.S. can't engage effectively in a great-power competition while relinquishing its dominant position in the Middle East. When the void left by the U.S. is being filled by Russian military encroachment, and as China has displaced the U.S. as the lead trading partner for most of the Middle East, allies and partners will need to adjust accordingly.

Moreover, while the U.S. assumes that achieving detente with Iran, beginning with a nuclear deal, would make the region more stable, once most Western sanctions are lifted and American deterrence across the region wanes, Iran's appetite for expansionism will likely increase.

The writer is an adjunct professor at George Washington University's Elliott School for International Affairs and a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute.
Melanie Phillips: The long tentacle of terror
It’s reasonable to assume that, when the Revolutionary Guards “put the fear of God into her,” they told her what she could and could not say when she returned to Britain.

They would have wanted her to shift the focus away from the way they had ill-treated her as their hostage — her solitary confinement, her torture, the mental cruelty of releasing her only to re-incarcerate her and charge her with new crimes after the sentence had been completed. They would have wanted her to present her experience instead as something that could have been solved years ago if only Britain had paid the £400 million debt that it owed for an unfulfilled weapons deal in the 1970s (and which has now apparently been paid).

Now look at what Nazanin actually said and didn’t say at that press conference.

Discussion of the debt, she said, had come up early in her detention.
“So I didn’t know the details at the time,” she said. “But I think it was the week two or week three that I was arrested, like six years ago, that they told me, ‘We want something off the Brits. We will not let you go until such time that we get it.’ And they did keep their promise.”

She declined to speak about the months she had spent in solitary confinement or about the psychological and physical torture to which she had been subjected.
“Over the past six years, it has been cruel, what happened to me,” she said. “It’s always going to haunt me. There is no other way round it. It will always be with me.”

That was it. Not a word of condemnation of the Iranians.

In other words, she framed her story as a cruel and dreadful experience to which she had been subjected for six years because Britain hadn’t paid the debt it owed Iran.

We don’t know the full story behind the non-payment of that debt. But the actual reason that she and the other dual nationals were incarcerated for so long (and one of them, Morad Tahbaz, an Iranian, US and British citizen who was briefly let out of prison when Nazanin was freed but was then cruelly re-imprisoned) was because the Iranian regime intended to use them in the lethal game of three-dimensional chess it has been playing for decades in its war against the west.

The people responsible for her ordeal were those running the revolutionary Islamic regime in Tehran. Their absence from the story she has chosen to tell strongly suggests that while Nazanin is at last free, her parents are now Iran’s hostages — and so in a sense she still is, too.

According to the UN’s Michael Lynk, Facts Change, “Covetous” Jews Do Not
One seeking any more proof of the antisemitism behind much of the obscene accusations of Israel being an “apartheid” state need look no further than the new United Nations (“UN”) report that will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council (“UNHRC”) on March 25.

The report is authored by the UN’s Special Rapporteur “on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967,” Michael Lynk. In his report, an advance unedited version of which was made public on March 22, Lynk accuses the Jewish state of being a “covetous alien” entity.

Having thus started off with the tired antisemitic trope of the “covetous” Jew, Lynk goes on to spread numerous false claims using the megaphone handed to him by the United Nations.

In alleging Israel is now an “apartheid” state, Lynk begins his report with the statement that “When the facts change, so must our minds.” Yet an honest and critical reading of the content of his report elucidates that the facts haven’t changed, notwithstanding Lynk’s repeated lies. Instead, the special rapporteur is trying to change the law to fit the falsified “facts” he presents.

Who is Michael Lynk and Why Did He Write This Report Now?
First, some background. Michael Lynk has been the UNHRC’s Special Rapporteur “on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967” since 2016. In this position, Lynk reports to the Council annually about alleged Israeli violations.

Lynk has a history of making outlandish and extremely anti-Israel claims in his reports. In 2017, for example, he produced another report that attempted to reinvent international law to depict Israel’s “occupation” as “illegal.” As explained by renowned law professor, and expert on the law of occupation, Yoram Dinstein: “international law – far from stigmatizing belligerent occupation with illegality – recognizes its frequency and regulates its application in great detail.” Who did Lynk cite to justify his attempts to rewrite the law? Norman Finkelstein, best known for promoting the antisemitic “Holocaust industry” libel, which claims Jews exploit the Holocaust for their selfish interests.

This will be Lynk’s final report as the special rapporteur. On April 1, he will be replaced by another anti-Israel partisan, Francesca Albanese, who has a history of incendiary comments, including engaging in Holocaust inversion to attack Israel. Apparently Lynk wanted to get in one last vicious swipe at the Jewish state while he held the UN’s megaphone.

As CAMERA has written elsewhere, Lynk’s report was anticipated as part of the ongoing and coordinated assault on Israel’s right to exist being carried out by both UN figures and “human rights” organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. These series of reports work to build up momentum for the anti-Israel slander ahead of the UN’s Commission of Inquiry’s report due in June, which is also expected to accuse Israel of “apartheid” and rewrite history to question Israel’s legitimacy.

Employing Antisemitic Tropes to Deny the Jewish State’s Right to Exist
Lynk’s contempt for the Jewish state is on full display in his latest report. One need read no further than the following paragraph, taken verbatim from the report:
“The past 70 years has taught us that a covetous alien power has two choices: either to abandon the fever-dream of settler-colonialism and recognize the freedom of the indigenous people, or instead to double-down with increasingly more sophisticated and harsher methods of population control as the inevitable consequence of entrenching permanent alien rule over a people profoundly opposed to their disenfranchisement and destitution.”

Describing the Jewish state as a “covetous alien power” is several steps beyond an antisemitic dog whistle. Not only is it an outright use of the “covetous Jew” trope, but it also describes the Jewish people as “aliens” to their indigenous homeland. It treats Jews – who have maintained a presence in ancient Jewish cities like Hebron and Jerusalem for millennia – as “aliens.” Or, put another way, it describes Jews as “alien” to Judea.
Yisrael Medad: Jerusalem's Demography 1880-1948
Is Jerusalem a 'Jewish city'?

Today's anti/non-Zionists refuse to acknowledge Jerusalem's Jewish history and status or the fact that a concept of "East/West Jerusalem", at the most, was a 19 year aberration in the city's 3000 year history.

One measure is demography. What was the percentage of the city's Jewish community amongst the various populations prior to the city becoming "Israeli"? The city, by 1870, already had a Jewish plurality. And the succeeding years?

For reference:
The first table presents the growth of Jerusalem's population and as it is in Hebrew, we need read from right to left.

The years are 1880, 1900, 1910, 1931 and 1948.

In the walled Old City, the population dropped from 19,000 to 2,000 and of course, on May 28, 1948, the Jewish Quarter, the last of the areas where Jews still lived, surrendered.

In the New City, the Jewish population grew from 2,000 to 98,000.

UN Human Rights Council report accuses Israel of apartheid
This new report, titled "Neo-Orientalism: Deconstructing Claims of Apartheid in the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict" and written by legal expert Joshua Kern, and legal adviser and UN representative for NGO Monitor Anne Herzberg, expands on a previous report published in December that sought to rectify the lack of a coherent and legally substantiated definition of the crime of apartheid.

According to NGO Monitor, "accusations of this crime against humanity have been historically leveled at the State of Israel and its officials by powerful NGOs such as Human Rights Watch (HRW), B'Tselem and, most recently, Amnesty International. The lack of an accepted definition of the crime of apartheid has been harnessed by central actors in the campaign to delegitimize Israel, who apply the term to characterize the political and legal nature of Israel's government, and in many cases to delegitimize the notion of Israel's identity as a Jewish state."

"Our report is for legal professionals, academics, practitioners and government officials," Herzberg told JNS, "but it is also for those who are looking for answers to the false and often malicious charges by NGO and UN Rapporteurs who grossly misrepresent the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the legal basis for Israel as a Jewish state, and the nature of Israel's democracy and legal system."

In "A Threshold Crossed," published in April 2021, HRW accused Israel of "crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution."

Not to be outdone, Amnesty International took this accusation further on Feb. 1, when it released its own report, "Israel's apartheid against Palestinians: Cruel system of domination and crime against humanity."

According to NGO Monitor, "Amnesty's 280-page report largely echoes those of the HSRC [Human Sciences Research Council] and HRW. It does, however, express (while HRW and HSRC only did so implicitly) a thesis that the establishment and maintenance of Israel as a Jewish state institutionalized apartheid."

The Amnesty report accused Israel not only of apartheid in the West Bank and Gaza, but also in Israel proper, and having been institutionalized since the founding of the Jewish state.

Adding to Israel's troubles are the three reports forthcoming this year from UN bodies (the March 2022 Report of Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk to the UN Human Rights Council; the June 2022 Report of the UNHRC United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel; and the expected report from the CERD Conciliation Committee) – all of which are highly likely to rely on the debunked Amnesty and HRW reports, as well as other anti-Israel NGOs, for information.

Arsen Ostrovsky, chair and CEO of the International Legal Forum, which has played a leading role in combating the apartheid charges in the international legal arena, told JNS: ​​"It is unfathomable, that with all the major human-rights crises around us – from Russia's brutal assault on Ukraine and China's ethnic cleansing of Uyghurs – that some in the international community, such as the United Nations and NGO civil society, should choose to prioritize and single out Israel for opprobrium at this historical juncture in time."

"However," he continued, "that is also highly revealing, indicating that these false and malicious aspersions of apartheid and distortions of truth are not grounded in law or motivated by desire to advance peace, but rather by intellectual dishonesty and the simple refusal to accept Israel's very right to exist as the nation-state of the Jewish people."

Ostrovsky debated Philip Luther, Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa research and advocacy director, on Israel-based i24 News shortly after Amnesty released its report.

Some conservatives confuse Black ‘Israelite’ sects in labeling Ketanji Brown Jackson as soft on antisemitism
Ketanji Brown Jackson was asked to describe a case she tried as a judge that moved her. She cited one that involved a Black sect with a base in Israel, one that Israel’s foreign ministry has credited with enhancing its public diplomacy.

That didn’t stop some conservatives on Twitter from claiming erroneously that Jackson had embraced an antisemitic cult. They cited a conservative website that ran a very brief clip without context suggesting she was referring to a separate, antisemitic sect.

President Joe Biden’s nominee to the Supreme Court, during her third day of her Senate confirmation hearings, came under friendly questioning from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who is Jewish. Feinstein said she would better understand how Jackson would function as a Supreme Court justice if she described a case that moved her.

Jackson chose a trademark infringement case she tried in 2016 that demonstrated to her the personal impact of laws that otherwise seem “dry and technical.”

A former member of the African Hebrew Israelite community had taken over one of the sect’s Everlasting Life vegan restaurants in the Washington D.C. area, and the sect sued him for trademark infringement. Jackson ruled for the sect, and in her Senate testimony she described the pain she perceived among its members at seeing the name of their restaurant and its recipes wrested from the sect’s control.
Pastor Hagee hails 'ties that will hold for generations'
A Christian pastor, a Jewish leader, and an Israeli journalist walk into a room and start talking. This is no joke, and it's not an ordinary event, but this week, all three met in Jerusalem.

John Hagee is one of the most influential Christian pastors in the US, and possibly North America. He has played a founding role in the history of Evangelical Christians standing by Israel. His movement, Christians United for Israel, numbers 11.5 million members. When the Russo-Ukraine war broke out last month, Hagee raised $2.5 million to help extract Ukrainian Jews and bring them to Israel. Last week, he spent a night at Ben-Gurion Airport to witness women with small children and infants, carrying "all their worldly belongings" in backpacks, step off the plane, which he says was "heart-rending."

On Sunday, Hagee was awarded two honors for his work on behalf of Israel: one from the Menachem Begin Heritage Center and the second from the Great Synagogue of Jerusalem. Hagee's friend Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, who also serves as president of the Great Synagogue, was present at both ceremonies. Hagee, 82, was very moved.

He began working with Hoenlein, one of the most prominent leaders of US Jewry in the last 50 years, at the end of the 1980s.

At a time when ties with pro-Israel Christians have become routine for the American Jewish leadership, many in Israel are still skeptical of the relations, despite the Evangelical movement's growing importance in shaping Israel-US relations and bolstering the American commitment to Israel.

"I've never had one minute of regret. My appreciation [for them] only grows," says Hoenlein, an Orthodox Jews whose sons and grandsons are yeshiva students.
Behind the scenes: the Arab Israeli society with Yoseph Haddad. Episode 2:

The true nature of Assad's visit to the UAE
The hands are the hands of Naftali Bennett and Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, but the voice is undoubtedly the voice of UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who on Monday spearheaded the tripartite summit that took place in Sharm el-Sheikh with the Israeli premier and Egyptian president.

The official statement issued said the leaders focused on the impact of global developments on energy supplies, economic stability, and food security – but this hid more than it revealed.

Indeed, the war in Ukraine could prove catastrophic for many Arab countries, which cannot withstand the sharp increase in oil prices and will struggle to provide bread to their peoples without wheat supplies from Ukraine.

But with all due respect to the crisis in Ukraine, the countries of the region have their own problems – and these are far more pressing and pose a greater threat. This is particularly the case now, as global powers, chief among them the United States, are all focused solely on the war in Eastern Europe and are leaving the countries in the Middle East to fend for themselves.

Hence the UAE's move to convene Israel and Egypt, with the backing of Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The purpose of this undertaking was to redistribute the playing cards in the regional game of poker, before the US possibly signs a nuclear deal with Tehran and gives it, intentionally or otherwise, a tailwind for further belligerence across the Middle East.

Israel has adopted an aggressive approach to the Iranians, predicated mostly on trying to dislodge them wherever they have a foothold, especially in Syria. The Iranians are not turning the other cheek, of course, and the exchange of blows between the two countries has created a balance of deterrence.
The Iran Nuclear Deal and Negotiator Robert Malley
[Simon] Malley’s deep antipathy towards Israel was perhaps most starkly revealed in a series of interviews he conducted in 1982 with the Soviet-era communist dictator of Bulgaria, Todor Zhivkov. The interviews were later published as a booklet by the Bulgarian regime, entitled Bulgaria Extends a Friendly Hand, featuring a touching cover photo of Zhivkov himself.

Simon Malley’s extended interview of Bulgarian communist dictator Todor Zhivkov.

Malley’s preface, in full Soviet-heroic style, removes any doubts about his journalistic credentials and objectivity:
Todor Zhivkov does not want to avoid any question. In view of his overburdened programme, his close aides are trying to spare him any excessive effort. They remind him of files he has to look through as well as of the busy schedule of meetings with foreign statesmen, ministers, political or trade union functionaries and other high-ranking guests. But he waves aside these well-meaning reminders, casts a glance full of meaning and answers, “We shall arrange it.”

Turning to me he begins cordially: And now, go ahead! Ask me all the questions you want to, I shall answer you… With these words Todor Zhivkov receives me in his study. The ease of his manner is natural and contagious.

Malley continued:
[Zhivkov], who has been guiding the destinies of Bulgaria for a quarter of a century now, is the doyen of that generation of political leaders who came to replace the outstanding figures of the time of the Second World War. His frequent references to Leninism and his excellent personal relations with Leonid Brezhnev make professional anti-communists allege that he is a past master of the art of imitation.

Having set the scene, Malley then got to his first question:
The first question I pose to him in our long conversation naturally concerns the policy of genocide adopted by the Israeli troops in Lebanon on June 4 of this year and aimed at liquidating the Palestinian resistance, its friends and its allies. What is his view of this?

The smile fades away from the face of President Zhivkov. His glance, a little while ago benevolent and serene, becomes severe and a hardly concealed anger is detectable.

Malley’s next question was in a similar vein, expressing clear opposition to the Camp David peace between Israel and Egypt, as well as support for the success of “Palestinian militants” in attacking and perhaps destroying Israel:
You have been constantly rendering firm support to the cause of the Palestinian people, to their right to have an independent and sovereign state. But the Camp David accords and Israel’s aggressive actions raise serious obstacles to the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people. What initiative can be launched, in your view, so that the struggle for freedom waged by the Palestinian militants can be crowned with success?

Malley continued:
But in actual fact, is not this a matter of an attempt, on the part of the Americans, to encircle, and subsequently, to overthrow, the progressive anti-imperialist regimes in the region? I have in mind Algeria, Libya, Southern Yemen, etc.

Terming the circa-1982 countries of Algeria, Libya and Southern Yemen “progressive regimes” was of course, standard for communist apparatchiks, though perhaps not for journalists.

Having taken shots at Israel and the U.S., Malley finished up with a swipe at the British:
In Latin America we recently witnessed a classical example of colonialism. I refer to the British aggression against the Falkland Islands, a territory recognized by the entire Non-aligned Movement as an integral part of Argentina …

The world in which Robert Malley grew up was one in which Yasir Arafat, Fidel Castro, Leonid Brezhnev and Todor Zhivkov were heroes, any American leader – even Jimmy Carter! – was villainous, and Israeli leaders were veritable demons.

Robert Malley wrote about this world, at least to some extent, in his book The Call from Algeria: Third Worldism, revolution and the turn to Islam, and in no way did he denounce or renounce it.

While one does not wish to visit upon the son the sins of the father, in light of Robert Malley’s book it is therefore legitimate to ask whether or not he has moved past the world of his upbringing. Unfortunately, his many articles on the Middle East, which demonize Israel only slightly less than his father did, would argue otherwise.
MEMRI: Editor Of Saudi Daily: 'Biden Is Becoming A Master At Losing Friends And Alienating Allies'; Everyone Harmed By The Current Oil Crisis Should Realize Biden's Foreign Policy Is Responsible For Their Plight
In a March 22, 2022 article in Arab News, Saudi Arabia's leading English-language daily, the daily's editor Faisal 'Abbas states sarcastically that, if American author Toby Young ever wanted to write a sequel to his book 'How to Lose Friends & Alienate People,' he would find a rich vein of content in U.S. President Joe Biden’s foreign policy, which consistently contravenes the interests of America's allies and of American itself.

A blatant example, he says, is America's current eagerness to appease Iran in order to renew the nuclear deal with it. As part of this, the U.S. is even considering removing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from the terrorism list, a move that is likely to embolden Iran rather than restrain it. "Declassifying the IRGC simply to obtain a new agreement would be the equivalent of trying to put out a fire by spraying it with aviation fuel," 'Abbas says.

'Abbas notes that this anticipated decision regarding the IRGC comes in the wake of Biden's earlier decision to remove the Houthis in Yemen from the terrorist list – a move that only emboldened this Iran-backed militia to increase its attacks on America's allies, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. He stresses that the American disregard of the Houthis' attacks, such as their repeated attacks on Aramco oil facilities, is the root cause of the energy crisis currently afflicting the world. All industries and individuals who are suffering from this crisis should realize that ill-advised foreign policy is responsible for their plight.

But the most blatant example of America's misguided foreign policy, 'Abbas says, is its conduct in the Ukraine crisis. The Obama administration, he states, prepared the ground for this crisis by letting Russia get away with the annexation of Crimea in 2014, and now the Ukrainians have to beg the U.S. for help in confronting the Russian invasion. Quoting the Wall Street Journal, 'Abbas concludes that, "In this new era of Great Power competition, the US can’t afford to alienate allies that can help deter authoritarian aggressors bent on harming US interests and values."
Iran to join U.N. women’s rights commission
Iran will tomorrow begin a 4-year term on the UN’s top women’s rights body, having been elected last year with the votes of at least four Western states.

“Electing the Islamic Republic of Iran to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based independent human rights group.

“We call on the U.S., EU states, and all other democracies to end their silence — regardless of any nuclear deal with Tehran — and state for the record this is absurd, morally reprehensible, and an insult to the oppressed women of Iran. This is a dark day for women’s rights, and for all human rights,” said Neuer.

The fundamentalist regime will join the Commission on the Status of Women, the “principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women,” when it formally opens its 67th session on March 25, 2022.

Iran’s Horrific Record on Women’s Rights
“Iran’s persecution of women is gross and systematic, both in law and in practice. The UN’s own secretary-general has reported on Iran’s ‘persistent discrimination against women and girls,'” said Neuer.

“Iran’s fundamentalist mullahs force women to cover their hair, with many arrested and attacked daily under the misogynistic hijab law. They require a woman to receive permission from her father to get married. The legal age for a girl to marry in Iran is 13—with even younger girls allowed to marry with paternal and judicial consent.”

“Ayatollah Khamenei’s regime imprisons courageous women’s rights activists, such as Nasrin Sotudeh, Mojgan Keshavarz, Yasaman Aryani, and Monireh Arabshahi, for the crime of peacefully demanding their human dignity.”

“Why, then, did the UN name one of the world’s worst oppressors of women as a world judge and guardian of gender equality and the empowerment of women?” asks Neuer.

Iran Hasn't Agreed to U.S. Conditions for Removing IRGC from Terror List
What they're saying: A White House National Security Council spokesperson said the portrayal of the indirect talks with the Iranians regarding the IRGC wasn’t accurate.

“As we have said, the president will re-enter JCPOA if it’s in the best interest of America’s national security and fully returns Iran to its nuclear commitments. There remain a number of outstanding gaps in these negotiations. The onus on closing these gaps rests with Iran," the NSC spokesperson said.

Yes, but: Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told his Iraqi counterpart that Iran has offered some initiatives to the U.S. through the EU coordinator regarding the highly important remaining issues and stressed the onus is now on the U.S. side to show good faith, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

What’s next: State Department spokesperson Ned Price hinted on Monday that the U.S. is waiting until after the two-week Nowruz holiday to determine whether Iran is willing to move on its demands.

The senior State Department official later clarified that Price's comments did not mean that the U.S. is going to wait until after the Nowruz holiday, but expects to get the Iranian response within days.
Price on Tuesday said the Biden administration has long discussed “alternatives” with France, Germany, the U.K., Israel and Gulf countries to prepare for a scenario where there is no return to the 2015 nuclear deal.
“We will have a good sense of all of this before long," he said.

Generation Jihad Ep. 66 — Negotiating with Terrorists
Host Bill Roggio is joined by FDD Senior Fellow Behnam Ben Taleblu to discuss America’s inability, or refusal, to understand its enemies and adversaries. In particular: how the Islamic Republic of Iran’s continued brazenness in targeting American security interests — including its latest missile attack in Iraq just days ago — cannot deter the United States from continuing to engage in nuclear negotiations (vis-a-vis the Russians, no less) with the world’s leading state-sponsor of terror.

Take a look around the globe today and you’ll see jihadists fighting everywhere from West Africa to Southeast Asia. They aren’t the dominant force in all of those areas, or even most of them. But jihadism has mushroomed into a worldwide movement, with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, ISIS and other groups waging guerrilla warfare and launching terrorist attacks on a regular basis.

Each week Generation Jihad brings you a new story focusing on jihadism around the globe. These stories will focus not only on Sunni jihadism, but also Shiite extremist groups. We will also host guests who can provide their own unique perspectives on current events.
Illinois divestment vote on an investment company targeting Israel to be delayed again
Back in December, the Unilever conglomerate found itself in the crosshairs of an Illinois investment board. Every board member pulled the trigger, and as a result, the state divested from Unilever and its Israel-boycotting subsidiary, Ben & Jerry’s.

Another company found itself marked for removal, though it says it wants to make things right.

In 2020, multibillion-dollar Chicago-based investment research firm Morningstar acquired a full ownership stake in Sustainalytics, a Netherlands-based investment research firm. Sustainalytics has been accused of voicing anti-Israel bias within their research findings. Unlike Unilever, which refused to engage in any substantive way with the seven-member Illinois Investment Policy Board, Morningstar decided to maintain an open dialogue with the IIPB and opened up an investigation on the matter.

The IIPB meets held its quarterly meeting on Monday, and Morningstar’s counsel made a case convincing enough that a vote on the matter was pushed off until the next meeting in June.

“There is a black-and-white contrast between the way that the two companies have handled this. Morningstar retained outside counsel to go through their policies and procedures, and at the end of that process, render recommendations. That’s head and shoulders above what Unilever did,” Andrew Lappin, chair of the board’s Committee on Israel Boycott Restrictions, told JNS.

One study claimed that within Sustainalytics’ analyses, companies that operate in Israel are tagged with higher negative controversy ratings—more so than other companies based in conflicted areas like China or Tibet, with its algorithm taking into account political factors out of proportion to business considerations. The firm used to be partly owned by PGGM, the Dutch pension that touted its own divestment from Israeli banks in 2014, though later reserved its decision in 2019. Many of Sustainalytics’ scores for Israeli companies are heavily based on the large, inflammatory blacklist of companies based in Israel compiled and published directly by the U.N. Human Rights Council—the only such list compiled by that body.
NUS presidential candidate ‘apologises unreservedly’ for vile ‘Jews’ tweet
The leading candidate to become the new president of the National Union of Students has been forced to apologise for a tweet in which she posted the words of an infamous Islamic chant threatening “Jews” with an attack by “the army of Muhammed.”

Shaima Dallali is the overwhelming favourite to replace current NUS president Larrisa Kennedy later this year, and has been endorsed by the current leader.

But Jewish News can reveal that Dallali posted an inflammotory tweet stating:”“Khaybar Khaybar, ya yahud, Jaish Muhammad, sa yahud.”

In Islamic tradition, the chant – which means, “Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Muhammad is returning” – is used as a battle cry when attacking Jews or Israelis.

It refers to the Muslim massacre of the Jews of the town of Khaybar in north western Arabia in 628 CE.

It was chanted on the streets of London and elsewhere last May at protests by Palestinian campaigners during the latest conflict between Israel and Hamas.

The Community Security Trust has said the chant is “effectively a call for Jews to be killed.”

Dallali, a president at City University students union, admitted posting the remark in November 2012.
How Universities Continue To Turn A Blind Eye Toward Campus Anti-Semitism
The student government at Duke University has recently voted to fund a campus speech by a virulent critic of Israel. There is nothing wrong with criticizing any nation, but this speaker, Mohammed El-Kurd, says that Israel and Jewish settlers have “an unquenchable thirst for Palestinian blood . . .”. This is an obvious allusion to the ancient anti-Semitic “Blood Libel” that Jews use Christian children’s blood to bake Matzah’s.

El-Kurd also describes Zionists (those supporting the existence of the State of Israel) as “Fascists. Terrorists. Colonizers.” On top of that, he describes Zionism as a “death cult”, “murderous”, “genocidal” and “sadistic”.

If a campus speaker spoke about any other group of people this way it would be seen as hate speech. So how do colleges rationalize bringing such a speaker on to campus?

At the University of Minnesota, the campus paper published an editorial defending El-Kurd’s visit to campus by arguing: “that not all Jews are zionists, nor are all zionists Jewish.”

That is a literally true statement but it turns a blind eye to the close connection between virulent anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. In demonizing Zionists, El-Kurd takes pains to compare them to Nazis. For example, he calls Zionist settlers “sadistic barbaric neo-nazi pigs”. He has also written that they have “completely internalized the ways of the nazis”.

This comparison of Zionists to Nazis is commonplace. It is obviously a reference to the suffering of Jews. No one compares Zionist’s treatment of Palestinians to, say, China’s treatment of the Uighurs. The Nazi’s killed 6 million Jews. The constant invocation of the Nazi’s is intended a cruel irony-the Jews are supposedly imitating the very people who tried to wipe them from the face of the earth.
Middle East Studies Association endorses Israel boycott
The Middle East Studies Association (MESA) voted to endorse the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, the academic organization said on Wednesday.

The "Regarding BDS" resolution passed by a vote of 768 for and 167 against with voting taking place over a 50-day period from January 31 through March 22.

The resolution calls for an academic boycott of Israeli institutions for their "complicity in Israel's violations of human rights and international law through their provision of direct assistance to the military and intelligence establishments."

The text also accuses the United States government of "shielding" Israeli governments from being held accountable for the alleged violations, going further by saying that the US "facilitates" alleged human rights abuses against Palestinians "through unprecedented diplomatic, military, and economic support."

The Tucson, Arizona-based non-profit association has in the past been criticized for its anti-Israel bias.

The AMCHA Initiative, a US-based non-profit dedicated to countering antisemitism on college and university campuses in the US, blasted the move.

"What MESA did is morally reprehensible and incredibly dangerous. Although the academic boycott that MESA members voted to endorse seemingly targets only Israeli institutions and scholars, the biggest victims of academic BDS are students and faculty on US campuses," AMCHA Initiative Director Tammi Rossman-Benjamin said in a statement.

MESA has 2,700 members and over 60 institutional members worldwide, as well as 39 affiliated organizations.
"AMCHA Condemns Middle East Studies Association’s Endorsement of Academic BDS"
AMCHA Initiative Director Tammi Rossman-Benjamin issued the following statement in response to the MESA vote to endorse an academic boycott of Israel:

“What MESA did is morally reprehensible and incredibly dangerous. Although the academic boycott that MESA members voted to endorse seemingly targets only Israeli institutions and scholars, the biggest victims of academic BDS are students and faculty on US campuses. Academic BDS’s rejection of the normalization of Israel in the academy not only calls on its faculty endorsers to work towards boycotting educational programs and research opportunities in or about Israel and canceling or shutting down pro-Israel events and activities on campus, it also urges the censuring, denigration, protest, and exclusion of pro-Israel individuals.

“So, it’s not surprising that faculty boycotters are a direct and major contributor to campus antisemitism. They are the ones instigating, inspiring, encouraging, and modeling the playbook for students, and while students come and go, tenured faculty have years, often decades, to leave their mark. In addition, MESA is not just any academic association. Its 3,000 members are the primary purveyors of Israel-related courses and departmentally-sponsored events about Israel on campus. Their embrace of an academic boycott means campus antisemitism is likely to grow exponentially worse for Jewish students. Universities must immediately withdraw their membership from MESA and prevent their own faculty from using their university positions and departmental affiliations to promote politically motivated advocacy and activism. In addition, state and federal legislators responsible for ensuring that government monies given to institutions of higher education are used for educational purposes rather than political ones should withhold funds from schools that permit faculty and departments to abuse their positions to promote personal political hate.”

An anti-Israel professor teaches at McGill
Most historians of the Arab-Israeli conflict agree that Palestinian terrorism undermined the peace process. Israel tried in 1993, 2000 and 2008, but extremists rejected negotiations with Israel as apostasy.

Samah Idriss, the late Lebanese writer and anti-Zionist activist, was one such extremist. He founded the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel in Lebanon to intimidate anyone who disagreed with him.

Professor Rula Jurdi Abisaab of McGill University in Montreal worked with Idriss, who died in November 2021. She praised him at a February 6 Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Movement (Masar Badil) conference Remembering Idriss.

According to Abisaab, Idriss should be honored for “fighting against institutionalized Zionism” and “attacking peace discourse with Israel [sic].” Idriss also praised Boycotts, Divestments, and Sanctions on Israel (BDS), although he felt armed struggle was better for building an audience to complement and support a future revolution.

Abisaab also glorified Idriss’s campaign to erase Zionist sympathizers in Lebanese education, politics, sports and science. She called it a fight against “universalized western notions of freedom” – such as, perhaps, the idea that one should not be harassed for supporting peace with Israel.

The organizer of the conference, Badil – a radical Marxist youth anti-Israel group – goes even further on its website. It excoriates the Palestinian Authority for negotiating with the Zionist entity, abjuring the Oslo and Camp David peace accords as “null and void… illegitimate.” Badil also demands that Israel free Palestinian terrorists.
Jewish students demand Virginia Tech to cancel upcoming speech by known anti-Semite
Jewish students are demanding that the administration of Virginia Tech cancel a March 23 speech by a known anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist speaker.

Steven Salaita, a former professor at the University of Illinois and the Said Chair of American Studies at the American University of Beirut, is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the 2022 Graduate and Professional Student Senate Research Symposium (GPSS).

According to Canary Mission, which tracks anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist activities online, Salaita was removed from his tenured position at Illinois in 2014 after a series of anti-Semitic tweets were discovered. One of them, posted after three Jewish teenage boys were kidnapped and brutally murdered that year by Hamas, read: “You may be too refined to say it, but I’m not: I wish all the f***ing West Bank settlers would go missing.”

Briana Schwam, president emeritus of Hillel at Virginia Tech and a GPSS senator, first learned about plans to bring in Salaita earlier this month once everything was already signed.

“Steven Salaita does not promote respectful or healthy dialogue,” she told JNS. “[His] public statements threaten my identity as a student because he promotes hate and violence towards individuals who share my identity or who do not share his exact perspective.”

Reviewing BBC coverage of the Be’er Sheva terror attack
Some three hours after the terror attack in Be’er Sheva on the afternoon of March 22nd, the BBC News website published a report headlined “Israel: Four killed in shopping centre attack” on its ‘Middle East’ page which was updated several hours later.

Neither in that headline nor in the report itself does the BBC clarify in its own words that what took place was a terror attack. In line with the selectively applied BBC editorial guidelines – “We should not use the term ‘terrorist’ without attribution” – the sole mentions of the word terrorist come in quotes from the Israeli prime minister:

“Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett described what had happened as a “heinous terrorist attack”. […]

“We will take strong action against terrorists,” he added. “We will also pursue and apprehend those who aided and abetted them.””

The BBC’s report was not amended to include the names and personal details of the victims of the attack.

“The four people killed by an Arab Israeli knifeman in a Beersheba terror attack on Tuesday were named as Doris Yahbas, 49, a mother of three, Laura Yitzhak, 43, also a mother of three, Rabbi Moshe Kravitzky, a father of four, and Menahem Yehezkel, 67, a brother to four.”

BBC audiences were not informed of condemnations of the attack from the terrorist’s hometown , his extended family and the Ra’am party, which has a significant electoral base among Bedouin in the Negev. Neither were readers told of statements praising the terror attack put out by Hamas, Fatah’s Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades , the DFLP and a group associated with the Gaza Strip’s ‘Popular Resistance Committees’, among others.
A shallow account of a Jerusalem story from the BBC’s Knell
In 2009 the BBC reported on Kirill’s appointment as patriarch of Russia’s Orthodox Church and in 2012 BBC Monitoring noted his “support of President-elect Vladimir Putin”. In 2018 the BBC reported the church’s severing of diplomatic relations with the Patriarchate of Constantinople over its recognition of Ukraine’s Church as independent from Moscow.

We have however been unable to find any BBC coverage to date of Kirill’s support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine or the ensuing discontent among some Russian Orthodox church officials, with the exception of one rather vague item on a ‘live’ page concerning the arrest of a priest on March 7th.

Given that just one day prior to this report Yolande Knell had promoted the notion that Israel has taken a “somewhat neutral position” on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while alleging “ambivalence” and a “schizophrenic position” on its part, it would of course have been helpful to audiences had they been informed that the “letter to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow signed by 150 faith leaders from around the world” was initiated by Israeli NGOs which also organised the event in Jerusalem attended by Israeli religious leaders and clerics based in Israel.

Likewise, audience understanding of the story would certainly have been enhanced by the provision of more information about Patriarch Kirill’s “influence with the Kremlin” and his statements in support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Kansas becomes 20th US state to endorse IHRA antisemitism definition
The Kansas State Senate has passed a resolution recognizing the growing problem of antisemitism in the United States and called for the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism.

Last month, the bipartisan resolution was unanimously approved in the Kansas State House of Representatives by a vote of 121-0.

“The State of Kansas adopts the non-legally binding International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Working Definition of Antisemitism” an official document stated. Furthermore, it was stated that the Kansas Department of Administration “shall ensure that the IHRA’s working definition of antisemitism is made available as an educational resource for all state agencies.”

The Combat Antisemitism Movement has applauded the Kansas State Senate over the passage of a resolution adopting the IHRA definition.

“The passage of this resolution in Kansas is highly symbolic, especially considering the murderous shooting that took place at the JCC of Greater Kansas City a number of years ago,” said Sacha Roytman Dratwa, CEO of CAM. “That this passed without any opposition speaks volumes about how seriously Kansas is taking the issue of antisemitism.

“As the resolution itself makes clear, the IHRA definition has become the internationally recognized and authoritative definition used by governments, international organizations and educational institutions; and we hope that other American states that have not adopted it yet will do so soon, especially with the worrying increase in antisemitism in the US, CAM will continue to push for this in the US and across the globe,” he said.
Islamists and Neo-Nazis Flirting
Mark Collett is a leading British neo-Nazi. A Holocaust denier, fan of Mein Kampf and a self-avowed "white nationalist," Mark runs Patriotic Alternative, which British media frequently refers to as "Britain's fastest-growing far-Right group."

And then there's Daniel Haqiqatjou. A hardline American Islamist online preacher, an unabashed supporter of the most gruesome Islamist ideas, and a cheerleader for the Taliban, Daniel enjoys the support of hundreds of thousands of Western Islamists on Facebook and YouTube.

Once living separate lives, the future of both radicals' extremism, both now seem to realize, may rely on each embracing the other. Swept up in a whirlwind of an immutable, shared fear of Jews, women, homosexuals, democracy and secularism, this has all the elements of a great hate story.

While they may just appear to be online loudmouths, this concord between the two offers a fascinating possible glimpse into the future of ideological extremism across the Western world. Perhaps it was always a matter of time before white nationalists saw Islam not as a threat to their designs, but as a means to impose them.

Over the past few years, in videos on his YouTube channel, posts on his Facebook account, and hundreds of articles at his online media outlet, Haqiqatjou has made quite a name for himself attacking other Western Islamists for their perceived embrace of "liberalism."

Groups such as CAIR, leading Salafi clerics such as Omar Suleiman, and legislators such as Ilhan Omar have all been denounced by Haqiqatjou, who accuses them of diluting Islam with "liberalism" and "social justice" by promoting "blasphemy and outright kufr."
French far-right presidential hopeful sued for denying Nazis rounded up gays
French far-right presidential candidate Eric Zemmour is being targeted with legal action by gay rights groups, who say he denied that homosexuals were rounded up and deported during the Nazi occupation of France in World War II.

Six gay rights associations told AFP on Wednesday that their criminal complaint for “denial of crimes against humanity” stemmed from Zemmour’s campaign manifesto, “France has not said its final word,” published in September.

In it, Zemmour agreed with another politician who claimed that deportations of homosexuals to concentration camps were a “legend.”

Zemmour “distorted history to support his homophobic positions,” the associations alleged in their complaint.

People close to the candidate retorted that “it is not Zemmour’s words that are cited in the book,” and called the legal move a smear attempt ahead of the first round of voting in the presidential election on April 10.

“Pro-LGBT” groups feared the candidate’s stance against gay “propaganda in our schools,” his team added.
Residents of London Town Throw Eggs at Jews, Scrawl Graffiti, says Watchdog Group
There have been “multiple” reports over the last two weekends of people throwing eggs at Jews in public in the northern London town of Edgware, the Jewish watchdog group Community Security Trust posted on Twitter.

CST is asking witnesses and victims to report the crimes to the police and the Jewish group, and for people to come forward if they have information that might help the investigation.

Jewish residents in Edgware were also pelted with eggs in January.

That same month, “Hail Hitler, f*** Jews” were written on a garbage bin outside of an Edgware company owned by a Jewish businessman, reported Campaign Against Antisemitism.

CAA analyzed statistics provided by the United Kingdom’s Home Office in October 2021 and discovered that Jews are targeted with an average of more than three hate crimes daily in England and Wales. Their research also shows that in comparison to other faiths, Jews are more than four times likely to be the targets of hate crimes.
Indian electric scooter maker backs Israeli developer of fast-charging battery
StoreDot, an Israeli developer of extreme fast-charging (XFC) battery technology for electric vehicles (EVs), has nabbed a multi-million-dollar investment from Indian electric scooter maker Ola Electric, according to a company announcement Monday. The Bengaluru-based Ola Electric will manufacture and integrate StoreDot’s battery tech for future vehicles in India, the announcement read.

The funding is part of StoreDot’s Series D investment round of some $80 million. The company said the funding will be used for research and development and to reach mass production for its silicon-dominant anode XFC lithium-ion cells, which it says will be capable of delivering 100 miles (160 km) of driving range in five minutes of charging by 2024.

Based in Herzliya, StoreDot was founded in 2012 and has been developing lithium ion-based battery technologies, using nanomaterials and organic and inorganic compounds, that enable ultra-fast charging for the mobile and industrial markets. The company says the process redefines the chemistry of conventional lithium-ion batteries, taking electric vehicle charging times from hours to minutes.

This breakthrough is achieved primarily by replacing graphite in the cell’s anode with metalloid nanoparticles, such as silicon, to overcome major issues in safety, cycle life and cell swelling during the charging process.

The battery tech has been in development for three years and is backed by 12 patents in cell design, software and a self-repairing system that allows batteries to regenerate while in use.

Storedot CEO Dr. Doron Myersdorf has said the company’s mission was to solve some of the biggest barriers to mass EV adoption: range anxiety — a concern among drivers that the battery will run out of power before they can get to their destination — and charging time.
Morocco and Israel sign agreement to cooperate in aerospace projects
Israel and Morocco signed an agreement on Wednesday to cooperate in civilian aerospace projects following the renewal of diplomatic relations, primarily as a result of the 2020 Abraham Accords.

Moroccan Industry Minister Ryad Mezzour noted that the agreement is geared to foster innovation, as well as boost airplane maintenance and transformation, reported Reuters. The deal was signed at a ceremony in Rabat with Israel Aerospace Industries head Amir Peretz.

To that end, Israeli business representatives are slated to visit Morocco next week to talk about investment opportunities, according to the Israeli mission in Rabat.

Moroccan carrier Royal Air Maroc announced a new codeshare agreement with Israeli carrier El Al Airlines earlier this month, launching its first direct flight from Casablanca to Tel Aviv.

The two countries signed a defense agreement in November, and in February, Israel said it wanted to increase trade with the North African country to $500 million a year from $130 million.
Unpacked: The Biochemist Who Helped Establish a Jewish State | The Jewish Story
After the death of Theodor Herzl in 1904, British-Jewish biochemist Chaim Weizmann was determined to carry out Herzl’s vision of international support for a Jewish homeland in what was then Palestine.

With World War I raging and the Jews of the Land of Israel, greatly suffering under Ottoman rule, Weizmann petitioned the British and persuaded many, including Winston Churchill, of the urgency to declare Israel as the Jewish homeland.

On October 31, 1917, Herzl’s dream came closer to realization when the British parliament expressed Britain's official support of a Jewish homeland in Palestine through the Balfour Declaration.

Art Mural Pays Homage to ‘Righteous Among Nations’ Heroes in Greece
A new street mural in Greece honors two non-Jewish Greek citizens recognized by Yad Vashem as “Righteous Among the Nations” for saving Jews during the Holocaust.

The art display in the city of Patras pays tribute to the late Zakynthos Mayor Lucas Carrer and Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Dimitrios Chrysostomos, who together protected Jewish residents on the Greek island of Zakynthos after the Nazis occupied the territory in 1943.

The project was an initiative of Artists 4 Israel in partnership with the Combat Antisemitism Movement and was painted by Kleomenis Kostopoulos, creative director of the Patras-based group Art in Progress.

“Murals are one of the most important forms of contemporary expression and communication in public spaces,” said Kostopoulos, who finished the display last week. “Today, more than ever, we must revisit our history in Greece by bringing it to the streets and putting it in their faces.”

The mural is the second installation of Artist 4 Israel’s “Righteous Among the Nations” Global Mural Project, which honors non-Jews recognized by Yad Vashem for rescuing Jews during World War II.

The first mural in the project was painted last year in the northern Portuguese city of Vila Nova de Gaia. The initiative aims to teach the next generation about the Holocaust and help prevent the spread of antisemitism “in a bold, dynamic and public way,” according to its website.
Newly Discovered Jewish Genizah in Cairo Grabbed by Egyptian Government
A new genizah (archive) was found in the ancient Jewish cemetery in Cairo last month, and in recent days, according to a Reshet Bet radio report Thursday morning, employees of the Egyptian Antiquities Authority arrived at the scene and began emptying the genizah, ignoring opposition from the local Jewish community and without first conducting a thorough examination of the contents.

To remind you, the best-known genizah, famous for both its size and spectacular contents, was the Cairo genizah which was introduced to the Western world in 1864 by scholar and traveler Jacob Saphir and studied by Solomon Schechter, Jacob Mann, and Shelomo Dov Goitein. The Cairo genizah contained close to 280,000 Jewish manuscript fragments dating from 870 to the 19th century and informed about the religious, social, and economic history of Jews, especially in the Middle Ages.

In recent years, members of the Jewish community in the Egyptian capital, with funding by private and government agencies in the United States, began cleaning and preserving what was left of the al-Basatin Jewish cemetery, which had been neglected for decades. Tons of garbage were removed and the wall surrounding the site was rebuilt.

In recent weeks, members of the Jewish community in Cairo have discovered a new genizah in one of the burial wards. According to a community source in Cairo who spoke to reporter Roi Kais, the collection includes documents and materials whose date is unknown, so it’s unclear whether the finds are from the last century or much older. This has enormous significance, and the treasure requires careful examination because if it is an ancient genizah, it has a very significant historical and cultural value.

A few days ago, employees of the Egyptian Antiquities Authority broke into the cemetery, having received information about the genizah, and began dumping its contents into dozens of plastic bags. They worked for 48 hours, ignoring the protests of the Jewish community who demanded that a Rabbi must oversee the removal.

The Cairo Jews contacted the US embassy, but so far nothing is known about the fate of the precious documents and artifacts. The community has stressed that it doesn’t want to remove the documents from Egypt, only to be involved in monitoring them to prevent damage. But so far, they have been ignored.
Archaeologist claims to find oldest Hebrew text in Israel, including the name of God
Archaeologist Dr. Scott Stripling and a team of international scholars held a press conference on Thursday in Houston, Texas, unveiling what he claims is the earliest proto-alphabetic Hebrew text — including the name of God, “YHVH” — ever discovered in ancient Israel. It was found at Mount Ebal, known from Deuteronomy 11:29 as a place of curses.

If the Late Bronze Age (circa 1200 BCE) date is verified, this tiny, 2-centimeter x 2 centimeter folded-lead “curse tablet” may be one of the greatest archaeological discoveries ever. It would be the first attested use of the name of God in the Land of Israel and would set the clock back on proven Israelite literacy by several centuries — showing that the Israelites were literate when they entered the Holy Land, and therefore could have written the Bible as some of the events it documents took place.

“This is a text you find only every 1,000 years,” Haifa University Prof. Gershon Galil told The Times of Israel on Thursday. Galil helped decipher the hidden internal text of the folded lead tablet based on high-tech scans carried out in Prague at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.

Based on epigraphical analysis of the scans and lead analysis of the artifact, Stripling and his team date the curse tablet (or defixio) to the late Bronze Age, before or around 1200 BCE. If this dating is verified, it would make the text centuries older than the previous recordholder for oldest Hebrew text in Israel and 500 years older than the previously attested use of YHVH, according to Galil. Writing in a similar alphabet was discovered in the Sinai Peninsula dating to the beginning of the 16th century BCE.

However, the researchers have not yet published the find in a peer-reviewed academic journal. Likewise, they are not yet releasing clear images and scans of the inscription for other academics to weigh in on.

Also challenging the secure dating of the object is the fact that the tablet was not discovered during a carefully excavated stratified context. Rather, it was found during a 2019 re-examination of earth from a dump pile formed during 1980s excavations at Mount Ebal that were held under Prof. Adam Zertal. The earth had been dry-sifted then, and in 2019 Stripling’s team resifted it using a wet sifting technique that was developed at the Temple Mount Sifting Project, where Stripling once worked. Stripling current heads ongoing excavations at biblical Shiloh.

Read all about it here!