Sunday, June 12, 2022

From Ian:

NGO Monitor: False Claims, Discredited Sources: The Initial Report from the UN’s Permanent COI Targeting Israel
Executive Summary

On June 7, 2022, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC)’s “Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel” (COI) published its first report. As expected, this initial report perpetuates outright falsehoods, and relies on information provided by terror-linked and anti-Israel NGOs to previous UN bodies. This is consistent with the COI’s prejudicial mandate and the bias of commission members.

The COI’s Fundamental Bias
Unlike other commissions of inquiry that present a single report to the HRC, the COI will report twice a year in perpetuity, making it yet another permanent anti-Israel UN institution.
The COI seeks to collect evidence that will be provided to the International Criminal Court (ICC), affording NGOs another vehicle to lobby for prosecutions of Israeli officials.
The COI’s mandate includes an obligation to investigate “root causes” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In this regard, it will likely become a platform for NGO claims that the Jewish state is illegitimate and guilty of the crime of “apartheid.”
The selection process for commissioners was non-transparent, and there is secrecy regarding the identity of the “experts” upon whom the COI is relying.
All three COI commissioners have long-documented anti-Israel biases or have worked for a Palestinian Authority-linked institution. For example, regarding COI head Navi Pillay, in 2012, US House Foreign Affairs Chair Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Rep. Elliot Engel opposed the extension of her tenure as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, due to her “repeatedly demonstrated bias against the state of Israel.”
In March 2022, the COI met with NGOs responsible for promoting the “apartheid” campaign against Israel, including B’Tselem, Adalah, Addameer, and Human Rights Watch (HRW). There is no indication that the COI made efforts to engage with or meet with Jewish groups or those providing a mainstream Israeli perspective.

Failures of the June 2022 report
The report makes demonstrably false claims, such as asserting – incorrectly – that Palestinian residents of Jerusalem cannot apply for Israeli citizenship and that non-Jewish Israeli citizens have a separate legal status than Jewish Israelis.
The most-cited source in the COI is the discredited 2009 Goldstone Report on the 2008-2009 conflict between Israel and Palestinian terror organizations in Gaza. That report’s biases and flaws were so severe that its own author, Judge Richard Goldstone, disavowed it in an April 2011 op-ed in the Washington Post, writing, “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.”
The report cites to non-binding and political UN resolutions, reports, statements, and advisory opinions as representing binding law.
It attacks Israel’s Law of Return – streamlining immigration and naturalization for Jews around the world – while erasing its consistency with international law and practice.
The COI seeks to discredit Israel’s designation of terror-linked Palestinian NGOs. In contract, the EU, the Netherlands, and financial institutions such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Citibank, and Arab Bank, have frozen funds, ended contracts, closed accounts, and denied services to these groups over terror-financing concerns.
The report cites to UN documents that are themselves based on data provided by these terror-linked NGOs.
The COI does not mention Palestinian incitement and other crucial factors necessary for understanding Israeli security policy.
The COI parrots earlier NGO and UN documents blaming Israel for “the destruction of Palestinian water infrastructure” and limited “access to water,” ignoring increased Israeli supply of water to the West Bank. Moreover, the Palestinian Authority boycotted the Israeli-Palestinian Joint Water Committee (JWC) – a decision-making body tasked with managing and improving infrastructure in the West Bank – for years, severely hindering the development of additional water infrastructure for Palestinians.
How the Palestinians were born into the world
The Six-Day War, whose 55th anniversary will be marked this month, represents a historical turning point in the annals of Israeli history, and in the Jewish state's relations with the Arab world. Indeed, that war forged the first crack in the wall of Arab hostility and rejectionism, which at the time was predicated on the unwavering belief that the Arabs would ultimately succeed in defeating and destroying Israel.

Alongside all these things, however, the war was also an important turning point in the annals of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as its consequences essentially "created" the Palestinian nation.

In an effort to promote the Palestinian narrative and its inherent demands for ownership of the Land of Israel, the Palestinians have gone as far as to claim that not only did they precede the Zionists who came here in the late 19th century, but also the Israelites, as Palestinians – they argue – are the descendants of the ancient Canaanites and therefore have first rights over the land.

However, even the Palestinians themselves don't buy the historical revisionism and fundamental fabrication linking present-day Palestinians to the Canaanites and Jebusites, who controlled Jerusalem prior to King David's conquest of the city. Case in point, when the Palestinians systematically destroy archaeological remnants to erase any reminder of the Jewish past in this land, they also don't spare those artifacts and sites from the period prior to the Israelites' conquest of the land.

On the other hand, one very common claim, which many Israelis also happen to echo, is that the Palestinian national movement is essentially a mirror image of Zionism and first began in the early part of the 20th century as a type of response by the local population to the Zionist movement, which sought the help of the British to settle the land and establish a Jewish state.

The truth, however, is that in one fell swoop the Six-Day War was the event that turned the Arabs of the Land of Israel into Palestinians.
Seth Frantzman: Understanding the new Israel-Iran tensions
Israel has said it is shifting gears against Iran in the region. This apparently hints at a public shift from the campaign between the wars, in which thousands of airstrikes were carried out against Iran in Syria, to other types of operations.

“Israel fell into the trap and fought the octopus’s tentacles tactically,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has said. “But the octopus itself is Iran. My doctrine states that in this Cold War between Iran and Israel, I won’t allow it to be one-sided. I want to weaken them and hurt their forces in all dimensions. They have no business in our region, 1,000 kilometers from home. I don’t want to see Iran in Syria or on any border of ours.”
"My doctrine states that in this Cold War between Iran and Israel, I won’t allow it to be one-sided. I want to weaken them and hurt their forces in all dimensions. They have no business in our region, 1,000 kilometers from home. I don’t want to see Iran in Syria or on any border of ours."

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett
This is an important public shift. But the question that is also raised is how these new tensions have unfolded. Here are some key incidents in the recent rise in tensions.

The drone threat
Iran has embarked on expanded drone operations against Israel. This began in earnest in February 2018 when the Islamic Republic launched a drone from Syria. Then it tried again in early 2021 and later in May from Iraq. It sent drones to Yemen and attacked a tanker in the summer of 2021. Earlier this year, it also tried to fly drones over Iraq headed for the Jewish state.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz discussed the drone threat numerous times over the past year, highlighting how Iran is training drone operators from the region and pointing to areas where it trains and operates with drones. On May 17, he discussed the Iranian drone threat and noted that two drones were downed over Iraq in February. Israel will continue to block Iran’s precision weapons transfers, he said. On May 29, Iran unveiled a secret drone base.

On May 22, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Col. Hassan Sayad Khodayari was assassinated in Iran. He was accused of being involved in plots against Israel abroad. Over the next few weeks, another two of the IRGC’s officers also died in mysterious circumstances, and the Iranian military complex at Parchin suffered some kind of incident.Reports abroad hinted that Parchin was struck by a drone. Iran, angry at these incidents, appears to be threatening Israelis and Jews abroad, including in Turkey.

Three Tough Questions About the Two-State Solution
What will a Palestinian state look like?

We know that Gaza is run by a designated Islamic terror organization, driven by jihadist ambitions and governed by Sharia law. We know Hamas doesn’t believe in democracy, nor in civil liberties, including elections. We know two of their written precepts: Kill Jews; destroy and conquer Israel.

We know that Fatah is equally undemocratic and equally opposes rule of law and basic civil freedoms. What’s more, we know the Palestinian Authority is notoriously corrupt—governed by nepotism, bribery and siphoning Western aid into the pockets of PA officials.

In short, the Palestinians have no tradition of Jeffersonian democracy, nor any leader who advocates it. Logically, we would expect the new Palestinian state to look like a toxic mix of the two current governments.

Thus, our final question for supporters of the two-state solution: What facts convince you that a new Palestinian state on Israel’s borders would be a responsible nation that honors freedom for its people and peace with its neighbors?

Who would trust—who honestly would want to risk—a brand new “State of Palestine” like this just a few miles from Jerusalem on Israel’s western border? Under current circumstances, not many Palestinians—and surely not many Israelis.

The idea of a two-state solution has become empty rhetoric—a shallow proposal that raises more questions than it answers. Unfortunately, when we answer those tough questions honestly, rather than portray an inspiring dream of liberation, they portend a nightmare—for the Palestinian people, and especially for Israel.
Melanie Phillips: Why are Jewish leaders laundering the Labour party?
With the Conservative Party in crisis and the “red wall” northern constituencies reportedly ending their brief love affair with the Tories, the Labour Party is said to be back in the political game after its near-death experience under Jeremy Corbyn.

Everyone apart from Boris Johnson appears to believe that, unless the Conservative Party changes course, Labour’s current leader Sir Keir Starmer has a good chance of becoming prime minister at the next general election.

This is because Starmer’s purge of Corbynistas and his repeated declarations that he will rid the party of antisemitism have enabled him to reposition Labour once again as a moderate party that won’t frighten the horses.

Certain Jewish community leaders appear to have swallowed this with enthusiasm. Last September, Mike Katz, chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, wrote: “Slowly but surely, Labour is regaining the community’s trust”. In October, Dame Louise Ellman, the former MP for Liverpool Riverside and former JLM chair, who resigned from the party in 2019 over antisemitism, rejoined it.

The Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, recently met Starmer for what appears to have been a mutual love-in.

Afterwards, Rabbi Mirvis tweeted that there had been a “warm and constructive discussion”. For his part, Starmer tweeted: “I’m heartened to receive his appreciation for the progress we’ve made in earning back the trust of Jewish communities”.

It’s obvious why Starmer is so keen to be awarded a hechsher [certification] by the Jewish community. The stain of antisemitism destroyed Labour as the moral project that its followers believe it to be.

It’s not so clear, however, why the Chief Rabbi and others are falling over themselves to gather the Labour Party to their collective bosom. First of all, most of the community generally votes Conservative.
Labour MP falsely accuses Israel of separating Palestinian babies from their mothers
Writing in Labour List, an independent pro-Labour news site, Bambos Charalambous, MP for Enfield Southgate and shadow minister for the Middle East, penned a piece (“Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is a fundamental barrier to peace”, June 2) based on his recent trip to the region sponsored by anti-Zionist NGOs Medical Aid for Palestinians and the Council for Arab and British Understanding.

The disinformation and propaganda about Israel peddled by Charalambous is considerable, but we’ll just focus on a few of the more egregious examples:

In explaining his support for a two-state solution, he cites, as one of the obstacles to such an outcome, Israel’s “occupation” of Gaza.

Having just returned from a week’s visit organised by Medical Aid for Palestinians and the Council for Arab and British Understanding, I have never been clearer in my mind that the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is a fundamental obstacle to achieving this vision.

Of course, Israel does not occupy Gaza. The country unilaterally withdrew all of its citizens and all of its soldiers in 2005. Tellingly, the MP didn’t write a word about the role played by the antisemitic extremist group controlling Gaza, Hamas, in preventing a peaceful two-state solution from being achieved.

He then alleges that the occupation – and not simply the settlements – are “illegal”.

Of course, the occupation is illegal under international law, and there are many Israelis who strongly oppose it.

Whilst it’s true that most countries (though not the United States) consider Israeli communities built across the Green Line to be illegal, that’s not the case with the occupation (Israel’s control of the disputed territory as a result of the Six Day War) itself. Note that, in 2015, CAMERA prompted the New York Times to correct an article that initially made that very same claim. In 2017, CAMERA UK prompted a correction at the Independent on the same claim. And, in 2021, CAMERA prompted the same correction at CNBC.
Israel said to have helped foil planned Iranian attack on Israeli targets in Turkey
Israeli and Turkish security agencies last month uncovered an Iranian plot to carry out an attack against Israeli targets in Turkey, according to Hebrew media reports Sunday.

Israeli security officials tipped off their Turkish counterparts about the network and asked that they take action to thwart the attack, according to the reports.

The reports, citing unnamed senior Israeli sources, did not specify what nationality the alleged Iranian agents were, how many were involved, or if any arrests were made.

A senior Israeli official was quoted by Ynet as saying there has been an uptick in Iranian attempts to carry out attacks.

At the end of last month, Israel issued a travel warning to its citizens, advising them to avoid visiting Turkey amid fears of an imminent Iranian response to the assassination of a senior officer in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a week earlier.

In an unusual move, the National Security Council at the time explicitly identified “Iranian terrorist operatives” as the source of the threat to Israelis in Turkey and nearby countries.

Last month, Col. Hassan Sayyad Khodaei was shot five times in his car by two unidentified gunmen on motorbikes in the middle of Tehran. He reportedly was involved in killings and abductions outside of Iran, including attempts to target Israelis.
Why is Israel so inept at expelling Arabs?
During the June 7 webinar, one of the speakers—Rebecca Strober of the extreme-left “Breaking the Silence” group—presented an interesting conspiracy theory about the Masafer Yatta controversy. She said that then-Defense Minister Ariel Sharon created the firing zones back in 1982 so that Israel would have a justification to force the Palestinian Arab residents to move from Area C, which is controlled by Israel, to Area A, which is controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

There’s just one small problem with Strober’s theory. Areas A and C didn’t even exist in 1982. They were established as part of the Oslo II accord in 1995. Oops!

The other problem with the Masafer Yatta expulsion accusation is that no functioning government would need “decades” to carry out a “mass expulsion” of a relative handful of people. Unless, of course, the Israelis are just amazingly inept at carrying out expulsions.

Finally, there is “the Negev,” where, PPI and J Street claim, the Israelis are also carrying out “the expulsion of Palestinians.” This once again involves a small number of illegal Arab squatters. What makes this particular situation interesting is that Israel has created a number of towns for the Bedouins in the Negev and has offered to create more, so that anybody whose illegal structure is dismantled has a place to go.

But PPI and J Street don’t seem very interested in the actual housing conditions of the squatters they are championing. They are too focused on making broad, slanderous accusations against Israel about “mass expulsions.”

And all the while, the Arab population that has supposedly been subjected to “mass expulsions” continues to grow and grow.

One final irony: As I noted earlier, PPI is affiliated with Meretz, which is part of the current Israeli government. If this government is actually involved in the “mass expulsion” of Palestinian Arabs, as PPI claims, then why doesn’t PPI demand that Meretz withdraw from such a brutal regime? Why doesn’t PPI threaten to sever its ties with Meretz as long as it is complicit in such awful actions? How can the folks at PPI stand to be party to the alleged policies that they are denouncing?
Arabs & Israeli Anarchists Set Fire to Jewish Outpost near Shechem
A group of Israeli left-wing activists together with PA Arabs on Saturday morning arrived this morning (Saturday) and began plowing lands that stretch next to the Jewish outpost of Givat Ronen, a mile south of the settlement of Har Brakha in the Samaria mountains near Shechem. According to a report issued by the Givat Ronen residents, the IDF Civil Administration authorized the Arabs to plow in the area, but not at that point. In fact, the Arabs began plowing without the knowledge or approval of the IDF.

Seeing the Arabs plowing only a few yards from their boundary line, the Jewish residents of Givat Ronen went out toward them and alerted the Military. When IDF forces arrived, the Arabs and the Israeli left-wing activists began to move away. But before leaving, they set the field on fire. The fire spread quickly with the help of the hot wind that blew all day. Dozens of acres of a vineyard and a nature reserve of pistachio trees were destroyed.

Fire Brigade Deputy Commander Avishai Shafir who commands the Samaria regional firehouse, reported: “Firefighters and volunteers from the Samaria Regional Station are currently working on a fire that started near Givat Ronen. The fire moved with support from the winds toward the Amasa spring, and there is fear that it will climb toward the settlement of Har Brakha. About ten firefighter teams are working at the scene, and a pair of planes from the Elad Squadron were launched to attack the fire using extinguishing foam. We continue to be prepared, and are responding to additional fires in the station’s sector.”

The Givat Ronen residents reported: “Left-wing activists are once again coming to set the area on fire, and today large areas of Jewish agriculture have been burned. Without the vigorous labor of the residents and the fire brigade crews, the terrorists would have managed to burn down our homes and our families in the middle of the Sabbath meal. We call on the IDF to stop authorizing terrorist activity under the guise of agriculture, and to not allow left-wing activists to come and stir up strife.”
PMW: Having failed to instigate violence to prevent Israeli celebrations, PA reverts to open Antisemitism and rewriting history
As Palestinian Media Watch exposed, in the lead up to the May 29 Israeli celebrations to mark 55 years since the 1967 reunification of Jerusalem and its liberation from Jordanian occupation (1948-1967), the PA tried desperately to incite wide scale violence. Having failed in this goal, the PA then did its utmost to create an alternative narrative.

Part of the alternative narrative rested solidly on openly antisemitic hate speech referring to the 70,000+ Israelis who participated in the march as “inferior… settlers”, “monkeys” and “fools”:
“Thousands of Israelis, and especially the inferior among them – the settlers – participated in the Israeli [Jerusalem Day] flag march. But the general impression received by everyone is that this march was foolish and unsuccessful on all levels…

No one reacted to the lies to which the settlers clinged, and Jerusalem remained wrapped in holy garb that was not harmed despite the wild behavior of the monkeys and their leaping about…

You are not an orphan, Palestine, as the people… that initiated the stone rebellion… is not like those fools who set out on the flag march, and who do not know what fate awaits them.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 1, 2022]

According to the PA narrative, “settler herds went wild to execute the blood dance march” and “polluted the air” of Jerusalem before leaving the city “like panicked mice fleeing from the guardians of the city”:
“Last Sunday [May 29, 2022] was one of the lauded days of Jerusalem, a day of freedom, peace, and implementing national sovereignty. This is despite the fact that the entire Israeli colonialist state and its leadership – with its political, military, and security echelon and its settler herds – went wild to execute the blood dance march (i.e., Jerusalem Day flag march) which is covered with the flag of the false narrative and the illegal presence of the Israeli ethnic cleansing state…”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 31, 2022]

“While thousands of settlers ‘polluted’ the air of the holy city [of Jerusalem] with flags of the occupation (refers to Jerusalem Day flag march -Ed.), a small video drone decorated the city’s skies with a Palestinian flag, until it was brought down by the occupation police…”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 31, 2022]

“The Zionists waved flags of their defeat by force of the gunpowder and army, but they left the occupied city like panicked mice fleeing from the guardians of the city and its Holy Basin…”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 31, 2022]

With EU commissioner set to visit Ramallah, PA hopes for end to funding crisis
After two and a half years without European Union aid, the Palestinian Authority hopes to see hundreds of millions of euros in funding resume following a visit by EU Commissioner Ursula Van der Leyen to Ramallah, planned for Tuesday.

“I hope that she comes with the following news: This matter has ended and shall not return,” PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh told official Palestine TV on Saturday night.

European aid to the Palestinians has ceased as Brussels debated whether to condition some aid to the PA on the removal of alleged incitement from Palestinian textbooks.

PA textbooks have long been a subject of controversy. Watchdogs have slammed the curricula for allegedly promoting violence and glorifying terrorism. The PA defends them as a faithful reflection of their national narrative.

Van der Leyen is set to land in Tel Aviv on Monday for a series of meetings with Israeli and Palestinian officials. She will meet with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Monday before heading off to Ramallah to meet with Shtayyeh on Tuesday.

A diplomatic source who spoke to The Times of Israel said they could not confirm whether Van der Leyen intended to renew the funding following Tuesday’s meeting, but that “there is much hope.”

“There were interventions from European leaders and diplomats to resolve the issue. This is to everybody’s benefit – including Israel’s,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Lebanese demonstrators protest Israeli gas field in waters partly claimed by Beirut
Hundreds of people and several lawmakers protested Saturday in southern Lebanon against Israel moving a gas production vessel into an offshore field partly claimed by Beirut.

The demonstration comes just days before the US envoy mediating maritime border talks between the two countries is expected in Lebanon and after the ship operated by London-listed Energean arrived in the Karish gas field last week.

Several hundred people waved Lebanese and Palestinian flags at Lebanon's border town of Naqoura to protest Israel's claim to the area where the Karish field is located.

"We absolutely refuse to neglect Lebanon's maritime resources, which belong to all Lebanese," said lawmaker Firas Hamdan, reading a joint statement from 13 independent parliamentarians, most of whom were newly elected last month.

The United States will send an envoy to Lebanon next week to discuss the country's energy crisis and underscore Washington's hope that Beirut and Israel can reach a decision delimiting their maritime boundary, the State Department said on Friday.

Amos Hochstein, the State Department's senior advisor for energy security, will visit Lebanon June 13-14, the department said in a statement. Washington began mediating indirect talks over Israel and Lebanon's disputed maritime border in 2020.

"The Administration welcomes the consultative and open spirit of the parties to reach a final decision, which has the potential to yield greater stability, security, and prosperity for both Lebanon and Israel, as well as for the region," the statement said.

Argentina seizes Iranian Mahan Air aircraft, confiscates passports
Argentina immobilized an Iranian Mahan Air cargo plane on Sunday that was leased to a Venezuelan state-owned airline, according to Iranian media and confirmed by Argentine Security Minister Fernandez Anibal.

The flight was en route from Mexico and landed in Argentina on Sunday.

Confiscated passports
The passports of five Iranian passengers traveling on the plane were confiscated, some of whom are allegedly linked to the IRGC, according to Iran International, a Saudi-sponsored, London-based Iranian news television station.

The five passengers were identified as Mohammad Khosravi Aragh, Gholamreza Ghasemi, Mahdi Mouseli, Saeid Valizadeh and Abdolbaset Mohammadi.

The US imposed sanctions on Mahan Air after it suspected that it was providing support to the IRGC.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is currently visiting Iran, and the two nations signed a 20-year cooperation deal on Saturday.

Iran’s currency drops to all-time low amid US sanctions
Iran’s currency dropped on Sunday to its lowest value ever as talks to revive the country’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers remained deadlocked.

Traders in Tehran exchanged the rial at 332,000 to the US dollar, up from 327,500 on Saturday. That marked more than a 4.4% change compared to June 1 when it traded at 318,000 to the dollar.

Iran’s currency was trading at 32,000 rials to the dollar at the time of Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Meanwhile, police arrested 31 currency and gold traders accused of creating “false demand” in the market, Iranian state TV reported Sunday, without elaborating.

The rial’s new low came as US sanctions against the country are still in force. Iran’s economy is struggling mightily mostly because of the US pullout from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers that restored sanctions on Iran’s oil and banking sectors. Talks in Vienna to renew the agreement have been deadlocked for months.

In response to the US pullout and sanctions, Iran dropped some of its own commitments to the deal and has since upped its nuclear activities, including enriching uranium beyond the limits laid out in the pact, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Irish charity gets ‘reminder’ from charities regulator over its anti-Israel activity
Back in 1970s Ireland, Irish Catholic overseas development charity Trócaire was widely perceived to be a wholesome and benign charity doing good work around the world, and its collection boxes were featured on almost every Irish kitchen table. At Christmas and Easter, we were encouraged to deposit our pocket money into the boxes to help the poor and underprivileged overseas, and we did so gladly.

More recently, increasing numbers of Irish people regard Trócaire as a political advocacy organization, funding highly politicized and problematic NGOs active in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In May 2021, following over 4,500 Hamas rockets fired at Israeli families and homes, a Trócaire campaign referenced Israeli forces carrying out attacks on Gaza as if they occurred in a vacuum.

Last September, Trócaire participated in a campaign called ‘Don’t Buy into Occupation Coalition.’ The coalition subsequently published a report calling for European governments to endorse Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activities. This is in direct opposition to the Irish government’s stance on trade sanctions or boycotts against Israel, which it deems to be “counter-productive.”

Trócaire also advocates for the ill-conceived and illegal “Occupied Territories” bill that seeks to criminalize Irish citizens doing business with Israelis beyond the Green Line with fines of up to €250,000 and/or a 5-year prison term. The language of the bill leaves no doubt about its broader agenda, which is to wage political warfare through economic sanctions against Israel.

The Ireland Israel Alliance has called out Trócaire’s political campaigning on a number of occasions, including publishing a report in December 2019 detailing where funding from Ireland’s official international development aid program ‘Irish Aid’ goes with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and where it subsequently ends up. Amongst other issues, our report revealed that out of €292,000 given by Trócaire to anti-Israel groups during 2016-2018, an unknown amount was given to a group called Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), founded by Dr. Swee Ang, who promoted an antisemitic video by the extreme-right American activist David Duke.
Norway’s labeling of settler goods could harm ties with Oslo, Israel warns
Israel has warned Norway that its decision to label food produced over the pre-1967 lines as settler goods could harm ties between the two countries, the Foreign Ministry said on Saturday night in condemning the move. Is Norway's decision correct?

“This is a decision that will not contribute to the promotion of Israeli-Palestinian relations,” the Foreign Ministry said.

“It will adversely affect the bilateral relations between Israel and Norway and impact the relevance of Norway’s role in the advancement of Israeli-Palestinian relations,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Norway’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement about the consumer marking of such products as settler goods on Friday.

It noted in particular that the ruling applied to “wine, olive oil, fruit, vegetables and potatoes.”

A legal precedent
The decision, Norway said, is in line with a 2019 ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union that goods produced over the pre-1967 lines and sold in European Union countries must be marked as settlement products.

Norway is not part of the European Union but holds that it is still legally bound to abide by the ruling, due to other agreements and treaties it has signed such as the European Economic Area agreement. Not all EU and European countries have rushed to implement the ruling.

Norway downplayed the significance of the move, noting that the goods that would be marked are not part of the agreement between Israel and the European Free Trade Association, of which Norway is a part.

In addition, Norway said, the decision was consistent with United Nations Security Council resolutions.

BBC rejects complaint about whitewash of Hamas praise for terror
CAMERA UK pointed out that:
“The BBC’s failure to report Hamas’ official praise for the attack and the celebratory distribution of sweets in the Gaza Strip is all the more jarring given that promotion of Hamas propaganda.”

Eight days after it was submitted, we received a response informing us that it would take more time to address our complaint. On April 21st we were informed that the time frame for addressing the complaint had expired. On June 9th – two and a half months after the complaint was made – we received a rejection of our complaint:
“Thanks for contacting us about BBC News. We apologise for the delayed response.

We have discussed your concerns about a BBC Radio 4 bulletin, broadcast on 22 March, with senior editors in our newsroom. Having reviewed this item, we believe the introduction to the report, and the report itself, were both duly impartial, reflecting the circumstances of the attack, and the response from the Israeli Prime Minister and Hamas.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to get in touch.”

In other words, the BBC is of the opinion that Yolande Knell’s extensive ‘clean-up job’ on Hamas’ glorification of terrorism and rejection of Israel’s existence, together with the promotion of the vague and trite slogan “Israel’s treatment of Palestinians”, meets standards of “duly impartial” news reporting.

My First Visit to a Concentration Camp
This summer, I went to Berlin, Germany. From seeing the Brandenburg Gate where the Nazis held their parades, to seeing the Holocaust Memorial erected by Germany to remember the atrocities of the Shoah, it was all incredibly moving.

But the most impactful experience was visiting the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Oranienburg, a short train ride from Berlin.

Arriving in a train made me think of the horrors of the Holocaust, and I mentioned that to my dad. He agreed that the fact that we came on a train was very conflicting. The camp was surrounded by a tall concrete wall. In the front, stood a big white building with a gate. On the gate, the words “Arbeit Macht Frei” were written. This slogan, emblazoned by the Nazis on the doors of many of the concentration camps they created to massacre millions, is a chilling reminder of the tragedy that awaited the victims inside.

As I entered, I got chills. The air felt strange. It was a regular chilly German summer day, with a light breeze and a bright sun. But the sun could not hide the sheer horror of the place. Beaten down buildings converted to museums (and a bathroom in one case) were the only things in the open field, save for a memorial for the victims. After a few minutes of visiting the buildings, I made my way to the center of the camp. I pulled out my phone and located the direction to face Jerusalem.

I put on my Tallit and wrapped my Tefillin, doing so while onlookers, primarily German high school students my age, watched. I began praying Shacharit. While most prayers were said by me in a hushed quasi-whisper, when the Shma came along, something in me felt the need to project.

I covered my eyes and sang at the highest volume I could, “Shma Yisrael Hashem Eloheinu Hashem Ehad.” Once finished with Shacharit, I felt the chills increase, and then slowly decrease as I unwrapped my Tefillin and took off my Tallit.

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