Sunday, July 03, 2022

From Ian:

Wishing Israel Away
A disparate group of Islamist clerics has been busily predicting that the State of Israel will disappear in 2022, citing the Koran for support.

The prediction has been circulating in earnest since March, when Muslims around the world marked the holy month of Ramadan. According to an article on the pro-Hamas MEMO website by Mohammad Makram Balawi, a Palestinian writer living in Istanbul, the belief that Israel will be removed from the map at some point this year “is widely spread by some Muslim religious scholars, Palestinian and non-Palestinian.”

Balawi mentioned two clerics in this regard. One of them, Sheikh Bassam Jarrar, preaches at a mosque on the outskirts of Ramallah in the West Bank. The sheikh is apparently “97%” certain that Israel will vanish in 2022 due to calculations based on an ancient numerical system that assigns number values to the 28 letters of the Arabic alphabet.

“According to Jarrar’s calculations, based on many Koranic texts, 2022 represents the actual beginning of Israel’s downfall,” he wrote. “On March 5, 2022, according to Jarrar, a huge event will mark the beginning of the ‘Israeli downfall.’ How it will happen is not yet clear.”

Of course, March 5 has been and gone, and Israel is still there. As for the second cleric discussed by Balawi, Iraqi Sheikh Mohammed Ahmed Al-Rashed, he provided little that would bolster Jarrar’s claims. Among Al-Rashed’s reasons for Israel’s imminent collapse is a story about a Jewish neighbor of his in Baghdad in 1948, the year of Israel’s creation, when he was just a child. The woman, who was said to be “wailing” at the time, told Al-Rashed’s mother “that Jews had declared a state in Palestine, and there is a Jewish prophecy that stated that if Jews established a state, it would be a sign of their destruction and would not last more than 76 years.”

Islam is not the only faith to dress up superstition as credible assertion. Still, the significance of such beliefs is better gauged by measuring their popularity rather than debating their contents. Among Palestinians, the belief that Israel’s disappearance will be a feature of 2022 is not exactly uncommon.
When the world demonizes Israel
Israeli leaders largely operate under the illusion that if only Israel were able to avert every Palestinian Arab civilian casualty, rein in all hilltop youths and silence all raving rightwing Zionists, the world would acknowledge that the greatest and most heartfelt desire of Israelis is to live in peace and let its neighbors enjoy peace and freedom.

Amid mounting evidence that this is not so; amid episode after episode that proves that the world’s media and academic elites subject Israel to a perpetual kangaroo court, despondency sets in: “The Goyim are all against us.” “The world hates us for no reason.” “Oy vey!” These and other expressions of gloom and frustration are routinely repeated by millions of Jews around the world.

Yet few people realize how un-Jewish these utterances are. Sure, the world is unjust, petty and cruel to the Jewish people, but since when is it the Jewish way to face fate with resignation?! The challenge and opportunity for Israel is to see the vast vistas that global bad faith opens for the Jewish state.

Projecting Jewish standards of justice and rationality on the world, Israel assumes that any action that infringes international law infuriates the world even more. The opposite is true! Billions of people already view Israel as a terrorist, racist and genocidal state. It is thus not surprising that any Israeli concession to morality fuels further spite and pettiness: Would you view a terrorist, racist and genocidal state sympathetically if it chose to provide healthcare to its enemies? You, like most people, would assume that this is just another cynical and manipulative ploy to hoodwink the world!

Much of the world has been raised in cultures where for millennia Jews have been viewed as the embodiment of cunning and treachery. Therefore, Israeli morality fuels rather than placating global rage and indignation against Zionism and the Jewish people.

For this reason, Israel has nothing to lose and much to gain by declaring an all-out war on her enemies. For goodness sake Israel, don’t just eliminate Hamas head Yahya Sinwar! Make sure that every single Hamas rally in Gaza and the 'West Bank' gets obliterated!! If the usual suspects then condemn you, don’t worry: Are they going to call you nasty names they haven’t in any case already called you before?!?!
UN appears to be furthering Hamas’s agenda
When retired British Col. Richard Kemp took the floor at the United Nations Human Rights Council on June 14, he did something controversial. He dared to accuse the UNHRC’s Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Israel and its disinformation campaign of furthering Hamas’s illegal war against Israel.

It’s unsurprising that the Palestinian Authority sought to interrupt Kemp by raising a point of order. Kemp’s comments triggered the representative for the PA, clearly Hamas’s rivals. By shifting the perceived paradigm of conflict from between Israel and the PA ruling the West Bank, to between Israel and Hamas, Kemp stole the spotlight from the PA, which has increasingly struggled to remain relevant as more Palestinians have entrusted Hamas to champion their cause.

Most importantly, Kemp exposed the UNHRC for seeming to advance Hamas’s agenda. However controversial his comments, Kemp is surely correct in his assessment that the UN and its agencies appear to be furthering Hamas’s agenda. By delegitimizing both Israel and the PA – Hamas’s sole competitor for power – while absolving Hamas of culpability, the UN has afforded Hamas the moral high ground and has paved the way for it to terrorize, rule and dictate with impunity.

Hamas’s agenda, like those of other terrorist organizations, seeks radical change by delegitimizing the status quo. By delegitimizing Israel, Hamas can justify its violent aspirations to destroy the country and kill Jews worldwide as enshrined in its charter.

The UN appears to have come to Hamas’s aid when it comes to absolving Hamas of wrongdoing and scapegoating Israel. To date, the UN has refused to even once condemn Hamas by name in a resolution. In 2018, the General Assembly even came to Hamas’s defense, voting against a resolution that sought to condemn Hamas for firing rockets at Israeli civilians.

MEMRI: In Unusual Article, Saudi Academic Calls To Provide Islamic Religious Sanction For Normalization: Israel Is Part Of The International Community; It Is The Ruler’s Prerogative To Decide On Making Peace With It
Ahead of U.S. President Biden's Middle East visit, scheduled for mid-July 2022, there has been renewed speculation in the media regarding possible normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel. Secret contacts between the countries have been ongoing for a while, but Saudi Arabia has so far refrained from joining some of its allies in signing a peace agreement with Israel. It has linked normalization to a resolution to the Palestinian problem based on the 2002 Arab peace initiative.

However, it appears that Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman is pushing to change the conservative policy of his father, King Salman bin 'Abd Al-'Aziz, towards Israel. Bin Salman regards Israel not an enemy but as a potential ally, and believes that forming ties it can serve the kingdom's economic, political and security interests.[1] Such ties can be helpful, for example, in accelerating the ambitious development and growth program bin Salman is promoting as part of Vision 2030. They can also be helpful in confronting the Iranian threat and even in improving the strained relations between Saudi Arabia and the U.S., which reached a nadir following the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2019.

In addition, the informal contacts that have taken place between the countries in recent years, and the signing of the Abraham Accords between Israel and several Arab countries, chief of them the UAE, have somewhat eroded Israel's demonic image in the eyes of the Saudi people, especially among the younger generation. Intellectuals, journalists and social media activists in the kingdom have begun to openly express a tolerant and even positive attitude towards Israel, seeing peace with it as inevitable in the circumstances and as vital to halting the Iranian threat. Many also direct harsh criticism at the Palestinians, who, they say, are not adopting a realistic policy conducive to resolving the conflict with Israel and restoring stability to the region. Many examples of this have been presented by MEMRI in the recent years (see the Appendix to this document).

Yet, despite the growing political legitimacy of diplomatic ties with Israel in the recent period, Saudi Arabia – which is essentially a religious state and regards itself as the leader of the Islamic world -- will find it difficult to form official relations with Israel without first establishing the legitimacy of this move from the perspective of the shari'a (Islamic law). Moreover, the Abraham Accords, signed with the kingdom's acquiescence, have in fact already sparked a discussion about the religious legitimacy of normalization. As part of this debate, clerics opposed to the accords stated that normalization with Israel is an act of treason against Allah and against the Prophet Muhammad who fought the Jews. [2]

It should be mentioned that religious rulings sanctioning ties with Israel were already issued in the 1990s by Sheikh 'Abd Al-'Aziz ibn Baz, who served as Saudi mufti from 1993 until his death in 1999. Issued against the backdrop of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinians, the rulings stated that a country may sign a peace agreement with the Jews, i.e., with Israel, if such an agreement is deemed to be in the interest (maslaha) of its Muslim citizens. As evidence for his position Ibn Baz cited the Treaty of Hudaybiyya, signed by the Prophet Muhammad with the Meccan Quraysh tribe in 628.[3] However, senior members of the kingdom's current religious establishment have so far refrained from addressing the issue.
Israel Reaches Record Trade Increase With Arab States Under Abraham Accords
Trade between Israel and the United Arab Emirates reached $201.4 million in May 2022, a 130 percent increase compared to May 2021, Abraham Accords Peace Institute announced.

According to the institute’s June newsletter, trade with Jordan increased by 54 percent from last year amounting to $55 million, followed by Egypt with a 41-percent increase and $23.6 million. Morocco reached $3.1 million in trade deals with the Jewish state in May, marking a 94-percent increase from 2021. Meanwhile, Israel’s trade with Bahrain went from none to $1.2 million within a year.

“Trade ties broke even last month’s records, and June saw many exciting developments in the innovation, diplomatic and academic spheres,” Asher Fredman, Director for Israel at the Abraham Accords Peace Institute, said in a Twitter post.

Earlier in June Emirates Airlines completed its first passenger flight between Dubai and Israel, marking the start of daily service from Dubai to Tel Aviv for the airline.

Morocco has also announced that starting from July 10th, Israeli citizens will be eligible for e-visas to enter the country, ending the requirement for Israeli nationals to make appointments for interviews at the Moroccan liaison office in Israel.

Israel’s Defense Ministry said earlier on Saturday that three military observers took part in “African Lion 2022” in Morocco this week, the first such occasion for Israeli military in the kingdom.
US congressmen finish Israel trip, say US-Israel ties remain strong
A bipartisan congressional delegation concluded its trip to Israel on Friday, after five days that included individual meetings with Naftali Bennett, Yair Lapid, and Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as a meeting with PA officials.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-New Jerseu) and Fred Upton (R-Michigan) led the delegation that included four members from each party. “We saw everyone in the middle of the action,” Gottheimer told The Jerusalem Post. “On the political front, there was quite a bit going on,” he said.

On Wednesday, just before the Knesset voted to dissolve itself, the delegation met with then-outgoing prime minister Bennett, incoming Prime Minister Lapid, and opposition leader Netanyahu.

“We certainly got everyone's perspective to make sure that the relationship remains bipartisan,” he said. “What was clear to me is just how strong our relationship remains and how durable it is and how deep our cooperation is. And I really don't believe that any change of leadership will have an impact on that. And that was my broader takeaway,” said Gottheimer.

Discussions and takeaways
“We spoke a lot about the president's trip coming up, about the Abraham Accords, on Iran, and then broader regional cooperation, [including] Saudi Arabia,” Gottheimer said. “We also had a discussion about antisemitism, the BDS movement - we got a broad perspective from each of these leaders. My big takeaway was, after listening to them, how closely these leaders are aligned, plus or minus around the edges. I think there's a recognition of excitement around the Abraham Accords and the economic cooperation. There's deep concern, of course, about the JCPOA. There was a discussion about how well coordinated they are with the Biden administration on these issues,” he added.
PA official tells 'Post' the Palestinians' 5 demands for Biden
The Palestinian leadership will present five demands to US President Joe Biden during his upcoming visit to the region, senior Palestinian Foreign Ministry official Ahmed al-Deek told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

Deek expressed hope that the Biden administration would accept all the Palestinian demands. He called on Prime Minister Yair Lapid to immediately meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to revive the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

Deek listed the demands as follows:
1) Restoration of a “political horizon” between Israel and the Palestinians.
Deek said that this was the most significant demand because it would entail “obliging the Israeli government to engage in serious negotiations and a peace process to end the occupation.” The Palestinians, he said, are ready to immediately resume the peace negotiations with Israel. “The Palestinians are the only ones who want to return to the negotiations,” Deek argued.

“What is preventing the Palestinians from resuming the peace negotiations is the absence of an Israeli peace partner. [Former Prime Minister Naftali] Bennett put the political process on hold and even boasted that there won’t be a political process with the Palestinians on the pretext that the coalition was weak. The Palestinians pay the price [both] when there’s a strong government in Israel and when there’s a weak one too.”

2) Reopening the US Consulate in Jerusalem.
“Biden promised to reopen the consulate and we are waiting for him to fulfill his promise,” Deek told the Post. The consulate, which served as a de facto American diplomatic mission to the Palestinians, was closed by the Trump administration in 2018. The Palestinians consider the reopening of the consulate as a US recognition of east Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state. They are also hoping that the reopening of the consulate would effectively cancel Trump’s 2017 recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

3) Removing the PLO from the list of terrorism and reopening the organization’s diplomatic mission in Washington.
In 2018, the Trump administration closed the PLO office to pressure the Palestinians to stop working with the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Israel. In 1987, the US Congress declared the PLO a terrorist organization and prohibited it from opening any of its office in the US. Despite the decision, the Congress allowed US presidents to issue an exemption with their consent, which every president except for Trump has done since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993 between Israel and the PLO.

4) exerting US pressure on the Israeli government to halt the “escalation” against the Palestinians.
“This means translating the US positions, such as rejection of settlements and seeking calm and confidence-building measures, into practical measures whereby the Israeli government would be forced to halt the escalation,” said Deek. “It’s time for the US to move from rhetoric and nice and positive statements towards putting pressure on Israel to end its policies and measures.

“The Israelis are carrying out gradual annexation of parts of the West Bank, especially in the areas of the Jordan Valley and Hebron,” he said. “On the ground, they are doing whatever they want. Israel wants to annex Area C, which they see as constituting strategic depth for the settlements.

“The talk about a peace process has become a fantasy and unrealistic. This situation poses a serious threat to the concept of a two-state solution, which the Biden administration says it remains committed to achieving. Soon, our people will start laughing at us when we talk about the two-state solution.”

5) Restoring US financial aid to the PA.
Deek said that thus far the US has only resumed aid to the United Nations Work and Relief Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). “We need the money. We hope the aid will be resumed. In 2018, Trump cut Palestinian aid to zero. During the same year, Congress suspended economic assistance to the Palestinians [through the Economic Support Fund-ESF] unless and until the PA ceased payments to convicted terrorists serving in Israeli prisons and ceased paying families of ‘deceased terrorists who died committing acts of terrorism.’”
Zelensky Cheers Israeli Supreme Court Ruling Lifting Cap on Ukrainian Refugees
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed a decision Sunday by Israel’s Supreme Court that rejected a government policy limiting the number of Ukrainian refugees hoping to enter the Jewish state.

In March, Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked announced that Israel would accept only 5,000 more Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s ongoing war against the country, not including some 20,000 already present, those with with relatives in Israel, or those who qualify under the Law of Return, which allows the immigration of anyone with a Jewish grandparent.

Israel’s high court rejected the state’s approach on Sunday, finding in favor of a petition filed by private attorney Tomer Warsha. The court ruled that Ukrainian citizens seeking to enter Israel for a period of up to three months are exempt from the cap, while emphasizing that the Interior Ministry retained the authority to prevent their entry on an individual basis.

Zelensky praised the decision on Twitter, commenting, “The rule of law and respect for human rights is exactly what distinguishes a true, developed democracy!”

Kyiv has repeatedly pressed the Jewish state to bolster its support for Ukraine since the February invasion by Russian forces. Addressing students at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem last month, Zelensky thanked Israel for providing humanitarian aid but urged its government to join the international sanctions regime against Moscow.

Ukraine envoy to Berlin draws Israeli ire by views on Bandera
Ukraine's ambassador to Germany is facing criticism for defending World War Two Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan Bandera in a media interview.

Andriy Melnyk is noted for robust social media exchanges in which he condemned politicians and public figures who opposed the West's arming of Ukraine for its fight against Russian invaders.

But an interview with journalist blogger Tilo Jung published on Thursday in which he said Bandera was not a "mass murderer of Poles and Jews" caused uproar and drew condemnation from both the Polish government and the Israeli embassy.

"The statement made by the Ukrainian ambassador is a distortion of the historical facts, belittles the Holocaust and is an insult to those who are murdered by Bandera and his people," the embassy wrote on Twitter in German.

Ukraine's foreign ministry distanced itself from Melnyk's remarks, saying they did not reflect its views. Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau thanked his Ukrainian counterpart for his intervention over the "false statements."

Bandera, who spent much of WWII in a Nazi prison, headed the radical wing of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, which killed tens of thousands of Polish civilians during the war.

He was also accused of collaborating with the Nazi genocide of European Jewry.

He lived in Munich in exile after the war, until his assassination by the Soviet KGB in 1959.
Israel to examine bullet that killed Shireen Abu Akleh - IDF
Israel will be able to examine the bullet that killed Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh to determine if the shooter was an IDF soldier or a Palestinian gunman, military spokesman Brigadier-General Ran Kochav told Army Radio on Sunday.

He spoke just one day after Palestinian Authority Attorney-General Akram Khatib told the media that the bullet had been handed over to a US team of experts who had come to the region specifically for this purpose.

Kochav, however, said that “the examination won’t be an American one, the examination will be an Israeli one with an American presence.” Mistrust in joint investigation

Abu Akleh, 51, an east Jerusalem resident who held US citizenship, was killed on May 11th while covering an IDF raid on a refugee camp in Jenin. The PA has blamed the IDF for her death. For reasons of mistrust the PA had not wanted to transfer the bullet to Israeli so that it could perform ballistic tests to see if the bullet match one of the rifles used by soldiers at the scene.

On Saturday, less than two weeks before US President Joe Biden is due to arrive in Israel, the PA relented and agreed to give to a US team.

Deputy Public Interior Minister Yoav Segalovitz (Yesh Atid) told army radio that it could take several days to conduct the necessary tests. He said that Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who heads his party, had been involved in securing an agreement to transfer the bullet.

“The matter was concluded only last night,” he said.

“the examination won’t be an American one, the examination will be an Israeli one with an American presence.”
Military spokesman Brigadier-General Ran Kochav
Guide Who Protected Jewish Youths Against Lynching Arabs near Ariel Reenacts Event for Police
The Jewish man, 44, police suspect of murdering the PA Arab Ali Harev outside Ariel on Thursday reenacted his version of the attempted Arab lynch in front of Shin Bet and police investigators. The image posted above was shot by Kan 11 News, and the reporter (see the tweet below), says it shows the man reenacting with a police officer his struggle with the Arab who was stabbed.

Earlier last week, Kan 11 reported that the man, a Jewish guide of a group of youths, had given his full version for the first time to police investigators, saying: “I did stab, but to protect myself and the group of boys who were with me, from the Palestinians who were attacking us with stones.”

Hundreds, including Knesset members and public figures, marched on Friday in support of releasing the man. The march was held with the IDF’s permission. Among the marchers were MK Michal Waldiger of Religious Zionism, former MK Oren Hazan (Likud), the Rabbi of Yitzhar, Rabbi Dudi Dodkevitz, Rosh Yeshivat Homesh Rabbi Elishama Cohen, and head of the Shomron Council Yossi Dagan.

Dagan said “We came here because we are angry. We are not ready to remain silent about this injustice. This is not a personal persecution of this dear resident, this is a personal persecution of half a million residents in Judea and Samaria, against each one of us. This man is now in a dungeon, in a cell, because he protected the lives of about twenty children, and if anybody thinks they would subjugate the people of Samaria this way, you will never subjugate us.”

The suspect was remanded until Tuesday. He is suspected of murder as an act of terrorism, and obstruction of justice.

Earlier this week, a source close to the investigation reported: “The suspect said he felt his life was in danger, and that a stone thrown by the Palestinians almost hit his head. In response, he threw a stone at the Palestinians.” The source added: “The security hubs received calls in real-time from Jewish boys who said their lives were in danger. Civil security officials who were present at the scene also said in their testimony that they were forced to fire in the air out of a sense of danger to life.”
Analysis: Hamas Publishes Information on an Israeli Held Captive Since 2015
The video publication should not be viewed as a good faith gesture by Hamas. It is probable the militant organization is trying to influence expected Israeli elections in the fall by reminding Israeli politicians that the issue of a prisoner exchange remains a priority.

Historically, Hamas does not offer information on Israeli captives without exacting a steep price.

For example, in 2009 Hamas sent Israel a video proving Gilad Shalit, an IDF soldier who was kidnapped by Jaysh al-Islam and other militant organizations in 2006, was alive and being held captive. Though the video was only published after the release of 20 female Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody.

Adding to Hamas’ efforts was an unofficial statement published by Hezbollah-linked Al-Mayadeen News saying the organization was willing to negotiate the exchange of “sick Palestinian prisoners” incarcerated in Israel for Sayed.

The subject of swapping prisoners is a complicated matter for Israel. Previous exchanges with Hamas and Hezbollah involved the release of militants such as Samir Kuntar and Yahya Sinwar who among many others were serving multiple life sentences for acts of terrorism. Like Sinwar, some of those released returned to militant activity and have become a security problem for Israel.

Comparatively, the issue of Palestinian prisoners is a high priority for Hamas and the release of the video is an indication of its willingness to give up on some potential concessions from Israel in order to revive an issue that has been seemingly forgotten by Israeli politicians and the public.

However, it is unlikely an agreement will be reached until an Israeli government is formed, which at the earliest won’t be until later this year.
IDF had advance intel on Hezbollah attempt to launch drones at Karish gas field
The Israel Defense Forces had prior intelligence on Hezbollah’s Saturday launching of three unarmed drones at the Karish gas field off Israel’s Mediterranean coast, and believes it was an attempt to convey a message to Israel.

One of the aircraft was downed by an F-16 fighter jet and the other two by Barak 8 missiles launched from the Saar 5 Class Corvette INS Eilat. According to defense officials, all three were intercepted “at a safe distance from” the drilling platform.

Military spokesman Ran Kochav told the Kan public radio on Sunday morning that the terror group’s chief, Hassan Nasrallah, “thought he would catch [Israel] off-guard.”

“But we are ready, in terms of our early warning systems, and in terms of intelligence, the Navy and Air Force, to protect Israel’s assets,” Kochav said.

He said Hezbollah “suffered a significant operational setback” in its thwarted attempt to convey a message to Israel.

Kohav added that Israel’s sovereignty was not breached in the incident, indicating that the UAVs were downed over Lebanon’s UN-recognized territorial waters.
Seth Frantzman: Hezbollah drones 'delivered the message' to Israel, says pro-Iranian media
Hezbollah says the drone attack it launched on Saturday, in which three of its drones were shot down by Israel, accomplished the mission the organization intended. The statement appeared on Al-Mayadeen media, which is considered pro-Iran.

Iranian media has also examined how the drone threat could lead to a naval conflict with the Jewish state. Hezbollah says in the statement it sought to launch drones in the direction of the Karish gas platform.

The Iranian-Lebanese report
“The Islamic Resistance in Lebanon announces the launch of three unarmed drones in the direction of the ‘disputed area’ at the Karish field on reconnaissance missions,” said Al-Mayadeen.

The word “reconnaissance” here is apparently to distinguish from armed drones being used. Hezbollah has a large arsenal of drones it has developed over the last two decades with Iranian backing. Some of these have munitions packed into them, making them able to attack kamikaze–style. Others are designed to take photos or merely to harass.

“The drones accomplished the required mission and delivered the message,” Hezbollah said. The terrorist group also said the drones were of various sizes. Video published by the IDF shows Israel shooting them down. One appears to be a winged drone, similar to a Samad one that has been used by Iranian-backed groups in the region.

“Hezbollah had confirmed its readiness to take measures, including force, against Israeli gas drilling operations in the disputed offshore areas,” Al-Mayadeen said. The Lebanese reports say that the group’s leader Hassan Nasrallah has been upping his rhetoric against the “disputed” maritime area and Israel’s economic zone, including the gas platforms and exploration.

PodCast: Why It’s So Important To Understand That Jews Are Indigenous To The Land of Israel – A Fireside Chat with Ryan Bellerose, human rights advocate
Perhaps you’ve heard the point made before that Jews, far from being illegal occupiers in the land of Israel, are in fact indigenous to the region.

But what exactly does indigenous mean, and can the Jewish claim to Israel really hold up to that kind of claim?

Ryan Bellerose certainly knows. As a Metis from Alberta, he has become one of the world’s pre-eminent activists on behalf of Israel and Jewish claims to Israel, and has lectured widely on Jewish indigenous rights.

In this week’s episode of The Honest Report podcast, we sit down with Ryan for a refresher on how to understand the concept of indigeneity, and why it’s so critical for the next generation of Jews and non-Jews alike to understand how the Jewish People’s history in Israel can’t be understood without it.
CUNY Schools Jews on the New Race Regime
Of all the signs that the Jewish community’s political influence has waned in New York City, perhaps none has been as stark as the City University of New York’s frequent spasms of open distaste toward the Jews, many of them Mizrahi, middle class, or foreign born, who attend its dozens of colleges and graduate schools. The CUNY law school faculty unanimously endorsed a student council Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions resolution targeting Israel in May. Those students had also chosen Nerdeen Kiswani, founder of a radical activist group committed to “globalizing the Intifada” against Israeli Jews and their sympathizers, as one of their commencement speakers. The Professional Staff Congress, a union representing 30,000 CUNY employees, had passed a resolution in 2021 condemning Israel for the “massacre of Palestinians” and stating the union would consider an endorsement of BDS sometime in the near future.

Even if one doesn’t believe that repeated, organized, and highly selective attacks on the world’s only Jewish state are antisemitic, Jewish students and faculty have often reported a climate of stifling hostility that has forced them to hide outward signs of their Jewishness, and made it impossible to hold or promote even neutral events like Holocaust commemorations. An engine of social mobility for generations of Jewish New Yorkers had become a place where one of the city’s largest ethnic minorities no longer felt welcome. Like the high quality of the municipal tap water, CUNY is one of the last points of pride in New York City’s rapidly declining public sector. But to its critics, the university administration doesn’t care about the antisemitism in its midst, or even recognize it as a problem.

Recourse lies with the few remaining elected representatives inclined to do something about the plight of the average New York Jew, who isn’t particularly rich, powerful, or cool, and holds the unhip belief that Israel should exist. The state of New York is in danger of losing its last Jewish member of the House of Representatives; meanwhile the city’s most powerful elected Jew, Comptroller Brad Lander, is a progressive from Brooklyn’s brownstone belt, someone notably at home in the bourgeois activist world of the anti-Zionist Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow. The charge against CUNY’s alleged complacency is instead being led by one of the city’s least powerful elected Jews, at least on paper: A Ukrainian-born, 37-year-old woman who is one-fifth of the 51-member City Council’s Republican minority.

Inna Vernikov stood at the base of City Hall steps on Thursday morning in front of rows of activists in blue #EndJewHatred T-shirts. In the back, a man in a blue Keep America Great hat cradled a small dog; on the other side of the plaza facing New York City’s beaux-arts capitol building, perhaps the entire male membership of the Neturei Karta Hasidic sect chanted its predictable anti-Zionist slogans, hoisting the same signs they’ve been bringing to events like these for most of the past several decades. Above Vernikov, a trio of differently patterned Pride flags hanging from a stone balustrade suggested the city had now come under the control of a coalition of very colorful militia groups. This was a typical New York circus, complete with a pro-Israel demonstrator who introduced himself to me as a retired NYPD officer and longtime clown. But the petite Vernikov is a figure before whom nonsense evaporates.

“We have a major problem in this city,” Vernikov began, “a culture of antisemitism that’s engulfed our college campuses.” Vernikov has shoulder-length hair that is almost hypnotically black; her nails were painted the same deep white as her jacket. She delivered her remarks quickly and clearly, in an accent that can only exist in New York—Chernivtsi by way of Sheepshead Bay, containing textures of sharpness and emphasis originating on opposite sides of the planet. The first Republican to represent anywhere in Brooklyn in the City Council since 2002 speaks with a directness that may very well be native to southwestern Ukraine, but which anyone who rides the Q, F, or D trains far enough can instantly recognize.

One year on, same inaccurate BBC messaging on BDS
When the Ben & Jerry’s saga began almost a year ago, we documented the messaging promoted by the BBC across various platforms:


In one report for Radio 4, Jonathan Josephs of BBC Business told listeners that: [emphasis added]

“The ice cream maker, known for its unconventionally named flavours, said it would be inconsistent with its values to continue selling its products in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. That’s been welcomed by Palestinian activists who believe boycotts are an effective way to get Israel to change policy towards the territories.”

Fast forward twelve months and in a report written by Jonathan Josephs headlined ‘Ben & Jerry’s criticises resumption of sales in Israeli settlements’ which was published on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page on June 29th, readers find an almost identical statement:

“Palestinian activists behind the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement praised Ben & Jerry’s at the time for what they said was “a decisive step towards ending the company’s complicity in Israel’s occupation and violations of Palestinian rights”. The movement tries to use economic pressure to force Israel to change its policies.”
Jewish cemetery in Winnipeg, Canada, finds 70 tombstones toppled to ground
The Winnipeg Police Service in Canada is investigating what some in the Jewish community are calling a case of “major vandalism” after some 70 gravestones at the city’s largest Jewish cemetery were found toppled to the ground on Wednesday.

The Shaarey Zedek Cemetery dates back to the early 1900s. It is affiliated with Congregation Shaarey Zedek, a Conservative synagogue there.

In a message to the synagogue’s membership about the incident, executive director of Congregation Shaarey Zedek Ran Ukashi wrote: “There was no graffiti on any of the stones or cemetery property. … Associates from local monument companies are working to reinstall the headstones, and cemetery staff are recording any damage for repair. Next of kin noted on plot contracts will be notified if there was any damage to a headstone.”

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center in Canada tweeted: “We’re horrified by the despicable vandalism that occurred at the cemetery of Congregation Shaarey Zedek. This act shows sheer disrespect toward members of Winnipeg’s Jewish community whose loved ones’ final resting place was desecrated.”
Gangsters vs. Nazis
Emboldened by Hitler’s rise to power in Germany in 1933, and fueled by the Great Depression, anti-Semitism increased throughout the United States, and over 100 anti-Semitic organizations sprung up across the country. They had names like the Friends of the New Germany (Nazi Bund), the Silver Shirts, Defenders of the Christian Faith, the Christian Front, and the Knights of the White Camellia, among others. Protected by the constitution’s First Amendment, they held public rallies, paraded through the streets in their uniforms carrying Nazi flags, published scurrilous magazines, and openly flaunted their hatred for Jews. American Jews were intimidated and frightened. Fearful of stirring up even more anti-Jewish sentiment, the American Jewish establishment’s response was often tentative and cautionary. They worried that what happened in Germany, home to Europe’s elite Jewish community, could easily happen in America. One group of American Jews who had no compunctions about meeting the anti-Semites head-on were Jewish gangsters. Not bound by conventional rules and constitutional legalities, they took direct and violent action against the Jew haters.

Nazi Bund rallies in New York City in the late 1930s created a terrible dilemma for the city’s Jewish leaders. With 20,000 members, the Nazi Bund was the largest anti-Semitic group in the nation. They organized large public rallies and marched to drumbeats wearing brown shirts and swastikas, and carrying Nazi flags. Jewish leaders wanted the meetings stopped, but could not do so legally. Nathan Perlman, a judge and former Republican congressman, was one Jewish leader who believed that the Jews should demonstrate more militancy. In 1935, he surreptitiously contacted Meyer Lansky, a leading organized crime figure born on the 4th of July, and asked him to help. Lansky related to me what followed.

Perlman assured Lansky that money and legal assistance would be put at his disposal. The only stipulation was that no Nazis be killed. They could be beaten up, but not terminated. Lansky reluctantly agreed. No killing. Always very sensitive about anti-Semitism, Lansky was acutely aware of what the Nazis were doing to Jews. “I was a Jew and I felt for those Jews in Europe who were suffering,” he said. “They were my brothers.” Lansky refused the judge’s offer of money and assistance, but he did make one request. He asked Perlman to ensure that after he went into action he would not be criticized by the Jewish press. The judge promised to do what he could.

Lansky rounded up some of his tough associates and went around New York disrupting Nazi meetings. Young Jews not connected to him or the rackets also volunteered to help, and Lansky and others taught them how to use their fists and handle themselves in a fight. Lansky’s crews worked very professionally. Nazi arms, legs, and ribs were broken and skulls cracked, but no one died. The attacks continued for more than a year. And Lansky earned quite a reputation for doing this work.
Mazal Tov! Quentin Tarantino, wife Daniella welcome new girl
American filmmaker Quentin Tarantino and wife Israeli singer Daniela Pick, welcomed another baby girl to the world on Sunday.

The baby, whose name has not yet been announced, was born at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, as was their first son, Leo, in February 2020.

Tarantino, 59, and Pick first met in 2009, when the director was in Israel to promote "Inglourious Basterds." They later broke up, but began dating again in 2016. The two wed in November 2018.

Pick is the daughter of iconic Israeli pop singer and songwriter Svika Pick.

For the last two years, they've been splitting their time between Tel Aviv and Los Angeles.

Congratulations for the couple poured in from all over the world.
Paratroopers' commander that liberated Jerusalem presents new exhibition
In Ammunition Hill, a special exhibition opened this week by Yoram Zamush, commander of the first paratrooper company of the 55th Brigade that arrived at the Western Wall during the Six-Day War, recounting Zamosh's memories of the war.

The opening event held at Ammunition Hill was attended by the fighters of Ammunition Hill, the liberators of Jerusalem, the Chief of Staff and former Defense Minister Moshe (Boogie) Ya'alon and in the presence of Communications Minister Yoaz Handel.

The exhibition included dozens of paintings depicting the events that Zamush was a part of, the ascent from the Lions' Gate, the Mount of Olives, the Temple Mount, and the Western Wall at the time of Jerusalem's liberation.

"For many years I finish my night tours on Mount Scopus near the theater where there is an observatory, one side of it to the Judean Desert and the Moab Mountains and the other side faces the whole city of Jerusalem, it is an amazing experience to see the sunrise from there, from there I painted the first painting"

Minister Yoaz Handel, who was the government representative at the event, thanked Zamos for the exhibition, noting that "those present here are longing for the Jerusalem of yesteryear, a diverse Jerusalem that everyone is ready to fight for it, right, left, religious and secular."

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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