Saturday, October 22, 2022

From Ian:

Yair Rosenberg: How to Learn About Jews From Jews, Rather Than the People Who Hate Them
Jews make up 2 percent of the American population, and just 0.2 percent of the world population. In practice, this means that most people have never met one. What the average person knows of Jews, they know from received cultural stereotypes, television, and the internet. The consequences of this are regularly evident in our public discourse, where ignorant and ill-intentioned ideas about Jews abound. That’s why this newsletter has spent the last three weeks covering anti-Semitism—from the Ivy League to Kanye West—and could easily continue doing so this week. But focusing on the negative ways that outsiders misrepresent Jews has the unfortunate effect of shrinking the Jewish experience to the hampered horizons of their haters. In actuality, Jews are a proud and diverse people who have thrived for millennia, and whose collective experience is far richer than simply surviving oppression. When we view Jewish existence through the lens of anti-Jewish prejudice, we lose the very elements of it that have enabled the tradition to repeatedly overcome efforts to stifle it.

So this week, instead of responding to the latest anti-Jewish outrage, I want to offer an eclectic introduction to Jews and Judaism through writings, art, and culture produced by Jews themselves. Of course, there is absolutely no way to reasonably reduce such a vast corpus into a single set of selections. My 10 brief recommendations here are meant to be suggestive, rather than comprehensive. You won’t find any “Intro to Judaism” books or yet another Holocaust movie, because you don’t need me to find those. Instead, my hope is to crack open a wider window into the Jewish experience than one can get through a cursory Google or Wikipedia search, and to introduce you to some of the texts and textures of Jewish life—a panoramic approach to a perennial people.

There are literally thousands of other things I could have included. If you’re Jewish, I’d love to hear from you about what would make your list. And if you’re not, I’d love to know what you’re curious about. Please send those ideas to, and hopefully we’ll dive into them in a future edition. Consider this the start of the conversation, not the end.
Anne Bayefsky: The UN gives a master class in anti-Semitism
Not mentioned: Palestinian rocket and mortar attacks, suicide bombings, incendiary kites, pipe bombs, small arms fire, arson, vehicular attacks, assaults, grenades, IEDs, sniper fire, anti-tank fire, anti-aircraft fire, kidnappings, stabbings, rape, torture, stoning and beheading.

In the only other throw-away line on Jewish victims, the report refers to the years 2000 to 2007 this way: “the Commission acknowledges the significant detrimental impact of armed attacks and security incidents.” “Detrimental impact” was how they described the Jews blown apart in the Palestinian suicide-bombing reign of terror. Not as a human rights violation.

The report ends with conclusions and recommendations that take the assault on human decency to the next level.

The inquisitors advocate that Israelis be hunted down, prosecuted and jailed for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC)—for the Nazi-like crimes of “persecution” and the “transfer of populations” (knowing full well that the latter meant transfer to the death camps).

On the other hand, they couldn’t name a single Palestinian crime worth prosecuting.

The list of recommendations is directed only at “the Government of Israel,” the ICC prosecutor, and various U.N. bodies and member states. And not one recommendation is made to Palestinian authorities.

And last but not least, Americans should be under no illusions that they are safe from this toxic international pogrom.

The report demands that the International Court of Justice, the U.N.’s “World Court,” be instrumentalized to manufacture duties “of third states” to chase after alleged criminal Israelis.

The final paragraph of this masterpiece of modern anti-Semitism announces just how far the spider is now casting the web. In kitchen-sink legalese, the inquiry demands that U.N. member states start “investigating and prosecuting persons suspected of committing or otherwise aiding and abetting or assisting in the commission or attempted commission of crimes.”

What crimes? Crimes in the eyes of the very men and women committing, aiding, abetting and assisting the criminal enterprise of destroying the Jewish state and decimating its inhabitants.
Pro-Israel advocates decry ‘one-sided’ apartheid panel at New York law conference
Pro-Israel advocates have decried a panel on apartheid law at a legal conference in New York this weekend as a “one-sided” assault against the Jewish state.

Saturday’s panel at the International Law Weekend conference, titled “Racism and the crime of apartheid in international law,” features several strident critics of Israel.

The talk is part of the American Branch of the International Law Association’s annual meeting at New York City’s Fordham University.

Among the panelists is Omar Shakir, the Israel and Palestine director of Human Rights Watch. Shakir and his organization have been vocal critics of Israel, and he was deported in 2019 for his alleged support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement.

Close to 100 Jewish professionals and community leaders sent a letter to two prominent law firms sponsoring the conference urging them to withdraw from the event.

The apartheid law event “is slated to present a sharply one-sided, anti-Israel panel,” said the letter sent Thursday, while urging the firms to “separate your institutions from the egregiously biased event.”

“The panel was never intended to be a serious exploration of an unsettled area of law but was designed as an occasion to demonize the Jewish state,” added the letter, which was spearheaded by the advocacy group CAMERA.

The American Branch of the International Law Association, or ABILA, highlighted “the Israeli authorities’ systematic oppression of Palestinians” in an initial description of the event, along with Myanmar’s treatment of Rohingya Muslims and China’s persecution of the Uyghurs.

After ABILA came under criticism, the text was revised and all three references were removed. For balance, the group also added a speaker to the panel who is supportive of Israel, though the other four panelists have accused the country of apartheid or systematic oppression.

“It’s an insult to the intelligence of the public to suggest this late-hour change has created any semblance of balance,” the letter to the law firms said.

No mention of Hamas: Israel slams 'biased' UN report on May 2021 fighting
Israel blasted Thursday a report by the United Nations' ongoing Commission of Inquiry into last year's 11-day fighting with Hamas that alleged IDF rights abuses.

The 28-page document, which is the second one published by the probe, mentions Israel 277 times but fails to mention Hamas. Israel slammed it as biased and dismissive of the terror group's wrongdoings, as during the conflict, Hamas launched over 4,000 rockets into Israel, sending tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of Israelis to shelters.

The report also calls on the Security Council to end Israel's supposed occupation of the West Bank and on individual UN member states to prosecute Israeli officials.

Arsen Ostrovsky, CEO of International Legal Forum, harshly criticized the report, which will be presented to the General Assembly next week, saying it constitutes " an unprecedented attack in the United Nations against the Jewish state. Never in the history of the incessant attacks against Israel in the UN has there been a report so biased, completely one-sided, and without any factual or legal basis."

He added, "The fact that Hamas is not mentioned even once in the 28 pages of the report, compared to the 277 mentions of Israel, is actually a green light for terrorism."

Officials also pointed out that the commission of inquiry is headed by Navi Pillay, who has a history of anti-Israel rhetoric, and that another member, Miloon Kothari, had to apologize for antisemitic remarks a few months ago after using the term "Jewish lobby" in an interview and questioning whether Israel should be a member of the UN.

The office of Israel's Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan assured he would respond sharply to the biased report when it is presented at the General Assembly.
UN Commission: Israeli ‘occupation’ is illegal
The U.N. Human Rights Council’s open-ended Commission of Inquiry (COI) into Israel released its first report to the General Assembly on Thursday, deeming the Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria illegal under international law.

The report found what it called the “occupation” to be illegal “due to its permanence and the Israeli Government’s de-facto annexation policies,” according to a statement released along with the document.

“Recent statements by the Secretary-General and numerous member States have clearly indicated that any attempt at unilateral annexation of a State’s territory by another State is a violation of international law and is null and void; 143 member States including Israel last week voted in favor of a General Assembly resolution reaffirming this,” stated Navi Pillay, chair of the commission.

According to the U.N., the COI’s review was based on “interviews with experts and stakeholders, and submissions received following a call for submissions.”

“By ignoring international law in establishing or facilitating the establishment of settlements, and directly or indirectly transferring Israeli civilians into these settlements, successive Israel governments have set facts on the ground to ensure permanent Israeli control in the West Bank,” Pillay continued.

Anne Bayefsky, director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust and president of Human Rights Voices, told JNS that the commission was set up to find Israel guilty.

“It was staffed by individuals that already said Israel was guilty before they got the job and then then, surprise, they find Israel guilty,” she said.

Bayefsky called it a deliberate attempt to demonize and destroy the Jewish state.
Jewish organizations denounce UN's COI report: 'Distorted and biased'
Jewish organizations denounced the UN Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry report, which concluded that the IDF's "occupation" of Palestinian territory over the pre-1967 lines was illegal because it had become akin to de facto annexation. What did the Jewish organizations say?

American Jewish Committee (AJC) CEO Ted Deutch said in a statement that he rejects the report. “It is biased. It is one-sided. Other organizations and countries around the world should reject it,” he said.

“There’s no mention of Hamas,” Deutch added. “There’s no mention of terrorism. There’s no mention of the thousands of rockets that rained down on Israel with the sole intention of killing as many civilians as possible, and that there’s a failure to acknowledge that every country, including Israel, has a right to defend itself. The members of this commission were biased. They expressed that bias right from the start. This commission is malicious. It is illegitimate. It should be disbanded."

The World Jewish Congress (WJC) issued a statement as well. “Based on the outrageous and antisemitic comments made by some of the members of the Commission of Inquiry over the summer, WJC had little hope that their first report to the UN General Assembly would be a balanced one and one that would contribute to bringing Israelis and Palestinians closer together,” the organization said. “Unfortunately, we were not wrong.”
"There's no mention of Hamas. There’s no mention of terrorism. There’s no mention of the thousands of rockets that rained down on Israel with the sole intention of killing as many civilians as possible, and that there’s a failure to acknowledge that every country, including Israel, has a right to defend itself. The members of this commission were biased. They expressed that bias right from the start. This commission is malicious. It is illegitimate. It should be disbanded."
American Jewish Committee (AJC) CEO Ted Deutch
“The report by the Commission fails to mention at least once the terrorist organization Hamas, which is controlling the Gaza Strip and consistently puts Israeli and Palestinian lives in danger by indiscriminate attacks and threatening the security of the whole region,” said WJC. “As we have seen many times with reports coming out of the Human Rights Council, it is inflammatory, politicized and one-sided, and fails to reflect the complexity of the situation on the ground or provide any constructive way forward.”

“This Commission does not just do a disservice to Israel and the Jewish people. The report is an affront to history and truth. Further, it seriously undermines the values of universality, impartiality and objectivity that the Human Rights Council needs to abide by and puts into question the reputation of the United Nations as an honest broker in the conflict,” WJC statement reads.
Conference of Presidents Condemns United Nations Commission of Inquiry Report on Israel
Dianne Lob, Chair, and William Daroff, CEO, of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, issued the following statement:

"We strongly condemn the distorted and biased report released by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)’s Commission of Inquiry on Israel (COI), which was established in May 2021 in the wake of Israel’s defensive actions against Hamas terrorists, who launched over 4,000 rockets aimed at civilian targets.

"The United Nations Human Rights Council and its Commission of Inquiry on Israel are a complete and utter farce. The 28-page report references Israel 277 times and not once names or even acknowledges the actions of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, or the dozens of terrorist entities and terrorist proxy groups seeking the explicit destruction of Israel and death of the Jewish people. Further, it does not mention that these organizations fire rockets and deliberately target innocent civilians.

"By never recognizing Israel’s right to defend herself in accordance with international law, as well as placing grossly disproportionate blame on Israel for supposedly perpetuating conflict, the UNHRC offers its seal of approval for bad actors wishing to enact further violence in the region. It is unfair and unsafe to minimize the threats facing Israel and to ignore the countless instances in which the Palestinian Authority has operated in bad faith at the negotiating table, particularly the ongoing support for ‘pay-for-slay’ schemes that promote the killing of Jews and Israelis for profit.
US State Department Condemns ‘Unfair Targeting’ of Israel by UN as Latest Damning Report is Published
The US State Department has condemned a new UN report that decries Israel’s continuing presence in the West Bank as “unlawful under international law” and accuses Jerusalem of “maintaining a restrictive and discriminatory planning and building regime for Palestinians.”

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that the 28-page report from the ongoing “Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel” reflected the institutional bias faced by Israel at the UN.

“Israel is consistently unfairly targeted in the U.N. system, including in the course of this commission of inquiry,” Price said. “No country, the record of no country, should be immune from scrutiny, but no country should also be targeted unfairly. And that’s the principle that we seek to uphold.”

The commission — created in the wake of the May 2021 war between Israel and the Hamas terrorist group in Gaza — will present its report to the UN General Assembly on Oct. 27.

In a statement accompanying the report, Navi Pillay, the chair of the commission, argued that it was hypocritical for the international community to oppose Russia’s annexation of occupied Ukrainian territories while ignoring Israel’s actions.

“Unless universally applied, including to the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, this core principle of the United Nations Charter will become meaningless,” she said.
Martin Sherman: The perils of Palestine: A multi-dimensional menace to Israel
"It is difficult to imagine any other issue for which the international media have been so successfully exploited—from the point of view of the Arabs—as has the Palestinian issue. Not since the time of Dr. Goebbels [Head of the Nazi Propaganda Machine], there has ever been a case in which continual repetition of a lie has borne such great fruits..."-- Prof. Amnon Rubinstein, in Palestinian Lies", Haaretz, 30 July, 1976.

Support for a Palestinian state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is driven either by malice or by ignorance: Either malice reflecting a desire to gravely undermine Israel's national security and/or the personal safety of its citizens; or ignorance reflecting a gross lack of knowledge and/or appreciation of the consequences that such a state would have for Israel.

Lamentably, the specter of Palestinian Arab statehood has once again re-emerged to occupy the forefront of the public discourse—not only with the ensconcing of the Biden administration in the White House, but also with the recent injudicious address to the UN by Israel’s interim Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

Ironically, the perils entailed in a Palestinian Arab state were articulated with chilling accuracy by none other than arch-architect of the Oslo Accords, Shimon Peres, who, almost half a century ago, warned: "The establishment of such [a Palestinian] state means the inflow of combat-ready Palestinian forces (more than 25,000 men under arms) into Judea and Samaria; this force, together with the local youth, will double itself in a short time. It will not be short of weapons or other [military] equipment, and in a short space of time, an infrastructure for waging war will be set up in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip. Israel will have problems in preserving day-to-day security, which may drive the country into war, or undermine the morale of its citizens. In time of war, the frontiers of the Palestinian state will constitute an excellent staging point for mobile forces to mount attacks on infrastructure installations vital for Israel’s existence, to impede the freedom of action of the Israeli air force in the skies over Israel, and to cause bloodshed among the population... in areas adjacent to the frontier-line.”

Indeed, little analytical acumen is required to grasp that a Palestinian state will comprise a multi-dimensional threat to Israel. No matter which dimension is considered—height, width, length, and even depth—such a state would entail existential dangers for Israel.
Hamas’s Role in Iran’s Grand Strategy of Multi-front Attack on Israel
Hamas’s long-term objectives of expanding beyond the Gaza Strip and taking over the West Bank are often discussed, but Hamas’s role in Iran’s grand strategic vision, of building a multi-front threat of firepower against the Jewish state, receives less attention.

It is well established at this stage that Hamas has no intention of making do with its control of Gaza, which it rules with an iron fist, but to also dominate the West Bank and wrest control away from its internal Palestinian rival, Fatah, and to become the new leader of Palestinians in Ramallah and Jenin, not just in the Strip.

This is one of the key reasons why Hamas regularly seeks to ignite both Jerusalem and the West Bank with violence and instability.

But Hamas’s leadership is also committed to a fundamental longer-term goal, and that is the eventual elimination of the State of Israel and replacing it with a Palestinian – Islamic state. It is a goal that is shared by Iran, creating the basis for lengthy cooperation between the Sunni Palestinian terror faction and the Shi’ite Islamic Republic.

Iran’s support for its partner, Hamas, as well as its proxy, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization (Gaza’s second largest armed faction which fought a three-day conflict with Israel in August while Hamas sat on the sidelines), is extensive.

Ninety percent of the know-how for Hamas and PIJ’s production of rockets, drones, and other capabilities originates in Iran. Tehran transfers this know-how to Gaza’s armed factions because it wants to give them the ability to challenge Israel on a regular basis in the short-term.

In the long-term, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps hopes that Hamas and PIJ can one day join Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, and Shi’ite militias in Syria and Iraq to rain down waves of fire from multiple directions on Israel so fierce that they would challenge the feasibility of the Jewish state.

Iran’s nuclear program is, in fact, designed to one day provide a nuclear umbrella over this ring of firepower that Iran hopes to surround Israel with.

Israeli badly hurt in East Jerusalem stabbing attack; suspect shot near playing kids
A young Israeli man was stabbed and seriously hurt on Saturday afternoon in what police said was a terror attack in East Jerusalem.

The alleged attacker was shot by an officer after a brief chase in a soccer field where dozens of young children were playing.

According to the Magen David Adom ambulance service, the ultra-Orthodox man in his 20s was found with a knife in his back and seriously hurt in a park on Sheshet HaYamim street, in the Givat HaMivtar neighborhood between French Hill and Ramat Eshkol, close to Shuafat.

He was taken by MDA medics to the city’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center. The hospital said he was in a serious but stable condition, and was to undergo surgery.

Police said a large number of officers were dispatched to the scene to search for the alleged stabber who fled the scene by foot.

A short while later an officer identified the suspect in a soccer field in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, close to the police headquarters, as dozens of young children were playing and holding soccer practice.

The officer noticed the suspect was brandishing an object, which later was revealed to be the sleeve of the knife used in the attack some 800 meters (875 yards) away, and began a pursuit, police said.
Palestinian killed after car allegedly flees troops, hits soldier in West Bank
A Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli troops near the West Bank city of Qalqilya on Saturday afternoon, with the military saying he’d been in a car that hit a soldier as it fled from troops who sought to question the driver.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, troops attempted to stop a vehicle carrying three illegal Palestinian workers, who had been picked up after crossing from Israel into the West Bank through the “seam zone” — an area located east of the Green Line but west of the border of the security barrier.

As troops sought to question the driver, the vehicle fled, hitting and lightly wounding a soldier, the IDF said, adding that he did not require hospitalization.

The military said troops opened fire at the vehicle after it hit the soldier, and it was aware of a Palestinian man being hurt by the gunfire.

The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry identified the man as 32-year-old Rabi Arfah a-Rabi.

The ministry said he was brought to a hospital in Qalqilya in critical condition with a gunshot wound to his head.

It was not clear if a-Rabi was the driver or one of the passengers.
The Israel Guys: WHY These Terrorists Are So DANGEROUS
Two IDF soldiers were murdered by Arab terrorists in Israel over the last several weeks. Today, we compare the Arab response to terror vs the Jewish response. We’ll leave it up to you to decide which of the two sides wants peace with the other.

You may have heard of the Lions Den group, a new terrorist organization in Judea and Samaria comprised of young, violent Arabs living in Samaria. They are unplanned, unorganized and dangerous. Thankfully, the IDF is on their toes, and are dealing with this wild organization very quickly.

Damascus airport targeted again in alleged Israeli airstrike on Syria
Syria accused Israel of carrying out a missile strike against Damascus and the country’s southern region late on Friday, the first IDF attack on Syria in a month.

Explosions were heard in the capital’s vicinity, state media reported.

Syria’s SANA state news agency reported no casualties and only material damage. The report also claimed that air defenses downed most of the missiles that had been fired by Israel.

“The Israeli enemy carried out a missile aggression from the northeastern direction of Tiberias, targeting some posts in the vicinity of Damascus,” the news agency quoted a military source as saying.

Local reports said the target of the attack was the Damascus International Airport, which has been struck by Israel repeatedly as part of MABAM, its war-between-wars campaign against Iran’s attempt to entrench itself in the country and smuggle weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The IAF has reportedly struck targets across Syria. Most recently airports, including Aleppo International Airport and Damascus International Airport have been reported by Syrian media to have been targeted by air strikes.
PA demands end to Nablus ‘siege’ as gunmen continue to defy PA
Five Palestinian Authority cabinet ministers are scheduled to arrive in Nablus on Monday to examine the situation in the city and its surrounding villages and towns in the aftermath of the closure imposed by the IDF on the area over the past two weeks.

The closure went into effect shortly after Palestinian terrorists shot and killed Staff Sgt. Ido Baruch, 21, from a passing vehicle near the village of Deir Sharaf, near Nablus.

The closure, which has isolated Nablus from its surrounding villages and towns, is part of an attempt by the IDF to curb the activities of the Lions’ Den armed group, which has claimed responsibility for a series of shooting attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians in the Nablus area over the past few weeks.

Attempts by the PA to talk the gunmen into handing over their weapons and joining the Palestinian security forces have thus been largely unsuccessful. The Lions’ Den group has vowed to continue its attacks in a direct challenge to the PA.

What kind of negative impact does it have on local residents?
Local residents said on Saturday that the closure has had a negative impact on the economic situation in the city. The number of Arab Israelis who used to visit the city for shopping and dining has dropped significantly, they noted.

In Nablus alone, there are approximately 9,000 commercial and 29,000 industrial establishments, according to the Palestinian news agency Khaber Press.

Iranian hackers claim to have obtained files of Iran's 'dirty nuclear projects' The group advised that in order to keep personal devices safe, it is preferably to check the attached and downloaded documents in a safe and offline Sandbox/VM.
Iranian hacker group "Black Reward" announced over the weekend that it had successfully hacked the internal email system of Iran’s Nuclear Power Production and Development Company and that it was releasing 50GB of files to the web.

"We will publish the download links respectively in the next few hours after uploading the information in the online file sharing service anonymously "namely anonfiles," the group wrote on their Instagram channel.

The files include "Raw version and backups related to Iran Atomic Energy Production and Development Company," "Version cleaned and visible in the browser along with about 100 thousand email messages" and "separated and sorted version of documents and information."

The group advised that in order to keep personal devices safe, it is preferably to check the attached and downloaded documents in a safe and offline Sandbox/VM.

Black Reward threatens Iranian regime
The group threatened to leak the "dirty nuclear project of the Mullahs’ regime," as it wrote, if it does not release political prisoners and protesters detained during the ongoing nationwide protests across the Islamic Republic within 24 hours.

"24 difficult and important hours for the Islamic Republic started from this moment," the hacker group wrote on Twitter.

This Bill Would Sanction Iran’s Leaders for Human Rights Crimes. Not a Single Democrat Supports It.
As the Iranian regime violently cracks down on growing nationwide protests, lawmakers’ attention is again on the atrocities committed at the hands of the Iranian regime. Yet not a single House Democrat has lent support to legislation that would sanction Iran’s supreme leader and his inner circle for mass human rights crimes, according to senior congressional sources familiar with the matter.

The bill, dubbed the Mahsa Amini Act after the 22-year-old Iranian woman who was killed by the regime’s morality police for improperly wearing her head covering, would "impose sanctions on the supreme leader of Iran and the president of Iran and their respective offices for human rights abuses and support for terrorism," according to a copy of the measure obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. Amini’s murder last month sparked nationwide anti-regime protests that threaten to topple the hardline Iranian government, which has reacted to the demonstrations with more violence, including beating, imprisoning, and shooting protesters.

The Republican-led bill was circulated to every single Democratic House office, but not a single one has yet to cosponsor the bill, two senior Republican congressional aides told the Free Beacon.

The legislation is part of a larger effort by Republican leaders in Congress to codify a range of sanctions on the Iranian regime for its human rights abuses and support for regional terror groups, including those that have killed Americans. The protests in Iran have been met with a muted response by the Biden administration, which is trying to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. And while many Democrats have issued public statements of support for the Iranian protesters, none have gotten behind Republican efforts to boost sanctions on the hardline regime.

"Democrats spoke out against Obama’s disastrous nuclear deal just a few years ago. Today, standing up to Iran is a completely partisan issue," Rep. Jim Banks (R., Ind.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee and one architect of the legislation, told the Free Beacon. "That’s disappointing, but it won’t stop Republicans from doing just that when we’re in the majority."

Iranians call on FIFA to ban Islamic Republic from World Cup next month
Iranian former soccer players and sports personalities have joined in on a campaign to suspend Iran from competing in the FIFA 2022 World Cup, set to begin next month in Qatar.

Critics of the Islamic Republic, currently in the midst of nationwide riots and protests against the ruling regime, claim that Iranian authorities refused to allow women into soccer stadiums and matches, which goes against FIFA's rules.

"Iran's brutality and belligerence towards its own people have reached a tipping point," the group said in a formal request to world soccer's governing body. "Neutrality from FIFA is not an option."

The Islamic Republic "demands an unequivocal and firm disassociation from the footballing and sports world," the group further argued.

Iran's football federation a 'direct threat to female fans'
The group's demand joins another made last month by Open Stadiums, an organization created by Iranian women to end gender discrimination in soccer stadiums.

In a letter sent to FIFA President Gianni Infantino last month, Open Stadiums called the Iranian Football Federation "not only an accomplice of the is a direct threat to the security of female fans in Iran and wherever our national team plays in the world."

Protests were ignited across Iran after Mahsa Amini, 22 years old, was killed while in the custody of the so-called 'morality police in Tehran.

Iranian Christians in Jerusalem - what do they think of Israel?
“Our heart, our people, we love Israel and your people,” says Saeid Miryaghoobi, a musician and music producer.

For Miryaghoobi, this is a major shift from where he grew up in Iran. “I know for so many years that maybe our government regime said that we have to say ‘Death to Israel’ but this is not our heart; this is not what we believe,” he says, sitting in the center of Jerusalem, in early September.

Miryaghoobi was born in 1989 in Arak and now lives in Vancouver, having been able to flee from the oppressive regime in Tehran to live in the West. Iran today is being rocked by protests. On October 15, the infamous Evin prison in Iran was reported to be on fire, and protesters feared that prisoners were being massacred. The prison fire comes after weeks of protests throughout Iran. The protests followed the killing of a woman in morality police custody, having been accused of not wearing her head covering correctly. With Iran in the midst of an unprecedented outpouring of anger against the regime, it was uncommon to have Miryaghoobi and another Iranian, Peyman Mojtahedi, in Israel.

In Israel with the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem, Miryaghoobi and Mojtahedi came as part of a large number of Christian pilgrims from 70 nations that arrived for Sukkot for the Feast of Tabernacles celebration from October 9-16. Both men were born Muslim and became Christians, making their journey from Iran via the West to Sukkot here, a very unique experience on a spiritual, religious and practical level.

The musical performances at the feast featured a wide variety of local and international worship artists, including singers and musicians from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Ivory Coast, Norway, South Africa, the US, and the two Iranian-born singers, who performed specially written songs in Persian and Hebrew.

Mojtahedi was born in Tehran in 1987. For both of them, it is their first time in Israel. Miryaghoobi faced a long wait at security when he arrived. It’s not every day that someone born in Iran arrives in Israel. One of the hosts noted the issue was resolved eventually. Among other things, the group “explained why we were here and doing Christian songs and loving Israel.” Iranian Christians coming to Israel

I asked the two men if they felt concerned about coming to Israel. After all, this is a country that the regime they grew up under sees as an enemy entity. Mojtahedi said he didn’t. “We love Israel and Jewish people. I had no concerns. I knew it would be a good trip and a joyful trip for the three days. I’m here, and everywhere I go people are very nice.” His colleague, Miryaghoobi, agreed. “Our heart, our people, we love Israel.” Mojtahedi describes a feeling of “brotherhood between Israeli Jewish and Persian people, and that is beautiful for us.”

Both men are musicians. Miryaghoobi plays eight instruments; among his concentrations is the piano. Mojtahedi plays guitar and the piano. As part of their work in the Christian community, particularly among Iranian Christians, they produce videos and worship music. Some of this music is used in the underground churches that exist in Iran. Both men are active in Iranian Christian communities, and both of them went through Turkey to reach the West. Mojtahedi has lived in Turkey for seven years and has now lived in Orange County and Dallas. He speaks almost fluent English.

For Mojtahedi, the journey away from Iran began many years ago. His family converted from Islam to Christianity. They then moved to Turkey and spent time among Iranians who live in Turkey, of which there are many thousands. His colleague, Miryaghoobi, also lived in Turkey as a refugee and, after seven years, went to Vancouver.
Arkansas’ Israel anti-boycott law appealed to the Supreme Court
The state of Arkansas’ Israel boycott law could come before the U.S. Supreme Court following a petition filed Thursday.

The Arkansas Times, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, is appealing a June decision by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that an Arkansas law limiting state business with those who refuse to sign a pledge not to boycott Israel is not a violation of the First Amendment.

The 9-1 decision in the case of Arkansas Times LP v. Waldrip, made by the entire court, reversed a ruling by a three-judge panel that the law was unconstitutional. It is the first full federal appeals court ruling on state anti-BDS laws, which around 35 states have enacted. The court ruled that Arkansas Act 710, called “An Act To Prohibit Public Entities From Contracting With and Investing in Companies That Boycott Israel; And for Other Purposes,” only regulates business activity, not expressive conduct, and thus raises no issues under the First Amendment.

Attorney and policy specialist Joseph Sabag, executive director of Israeli-American Coalition for Action, led the drafting of anti-BDS legislation in a number of states, including Arkansas. He told JNS that the appeals court decision is likely going to be the final word on the matter.

“I think it’s a pretty low expectation that the Supreme Court would actually accept this case, because it is lacking one of the really key dynamics that you would tend to look for, with that hallmark being a circuit court split,” Sabag said, noting that while other courts have issued injunctions against various state boycott laws, none of those cases were actually decided, with the various state legislatures subsequently either withdrawing or amending the laws.

Just weeks ago, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit overturned a lower court decision awarding five Texas business owners $342,000 in legal fees stemming from their challenge to a state law barring government contracts for companies that boycott Israel. That case also involved an injunction against the law, which was later mooted following the legislature’s amending of the statute. The appeals court found that under the circumstances of the case, the lawsuit’s success in obtaining a short-lived injunction didn’t make the business owners “prevailing parties” under federal civil rights law.

“The ACLU has been running around trying to count the fact that they’ve obtained injunctions as being the equivalent of having obtained a merits-based ruling. And the Fifth Circuit decisively ruled that, no, you can’t run around claiming that just because you’ve obtained injunctions, you have successfully now challenged the constitutionality of these laws,” said Sabag, explaining that the Texas legislature had already planned changes to the law before the lower court ruling on attorney’s fees.

Mohamed Hadid shares 'Globalize Intifada' message on Instagram
Real estate developer Mohamed Hadid again shared anti-Zionists posts on his Instagram story on Tuesday which said: "The Palestinian Intifada is already underway. Globalize it," with many people criticizing his post saying it will incite violence against Jewish civilians.

Mohamed's daughters, models Gigi and Bella Hadid, are also known to express anti-Zionist views to millions of their followers.

The Intifadas in Israel were major uprisings taken by Palestinians that saw many attacks against Israeli civilians and security forces with the First Intifada between 1987-1993 and the second one between 2000-2005.

Has this phrase been used before?
"Globalize the Intifada" has been heard at anti-Zionist protests, some of which have been held in cities with large Jewish populations such as New York City.

Six months ago in front of the Consulate General of Israel in Manhattan, hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters began calling to “globalize the intifada."

An earlier anti-Zionist protest in August of last year in Brooklyn saw protesters chanting "We don’t want no two states, we want all of it" and "There is only one solution, intifada revolution."
‘Not all Nazis were bad,’ Indiana school board candidate comments, drawing ire
A local school board candidate in a suburb of Indianapolis is drawing criticism for insisting that “not all Nazis were bad” and that teaching that they were would represent “indoctrination.”

Matt Keefer, an anesthesiologist who is running for school board in Zionsville, Indiana, initially made the comment in response to a Facebook user who pressed him for specifics about his platform, which starts with the statement, “Empower teachers to educate, not indoctrinate.” The user asked: Would teaching students that all Nazis are bad cross the line?

Keefer said it would. “All Nazis weren’t ‘bad’ as you specify. They did horrible things. They were in a group frenzy,” he wrote, adding, “Who is to say if we were both there in the same place and time, that we wouldn’t have done the same thing.”

Keefer doubled down Thursday night as reports of his comments, first collected by a local Twitter account and first reported by an Indianapolis TV station on Thursday, burst into public view. “A few days ago I made the comment ‘not all Nazis were bad’ in my response to a question posed to me on Facebook. I am correct,” Keefer wrote in a lengthy statement on Facebook. But he added, “To be clear: I never was, am not now, and never will be a Nazi sympathizer.”

Keefer is one of five candidates for a single open school board seat and his election in November is hardly assured. Still, his candidacy is significant because it comes amid a national push by conservatives to elect people with his views to local school boards, where they can reshape what children are taught and the public discourse around education.

Keefer entered politics, he has said, because he was upset about pandemic restrictions and vaccine requirements, which he said one day might be perceived in hindsight as equally objectionable to Nazism. (Anti-vaxxers around the world have compared themselves to Jews during the Holocaust.) According to his platform, he opposes government mandates, emphasizes parental influence and condemns social and emotional learning and critical race theory, both of which have become flash points as conservatives seek to rid schools of progressive ideas about race and gender.
Auschwitz survivor, advocate for recognizing Sinti and Roma genocide, dies at 98
Zilli Schmidt, a survivor of the Auschwitz, Lety and Ravensbrück Concentration Camps, who became a vocal advocate for the recognition of the Nazi genocide of Sinti and Roma, has died. She was 98.

Schmidt died Friday, according to the foundation of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Berlin’s Holocaust memorial. No cause of death was given.

As one of the last survivors of the genocide of Sinti and Roma, the foundation said in a statement, Schmidt’s death “leaves behind a deep void.”

Both Sinti and Roma are Gypsy peoples who live predominantly in eastern Europe.

Historians estimate that up to 500,000 Sinti and Roma were killed in the Holocaust.

Born as Zilli Reichmann in the eastern German state of Thuringia in 1924, Schmidt grew up in a German Sinti family of instrument dealers and traveling cinema operators.

She was detained and sent to the Lety Concentration Camp in 1942 and then, along with her family, to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1943.

In 1944, Schmidt was deported from Auschwitz to the Ravensbrück Concentration Camp in Germany.
Mercury Rev's midnight feel: Psychedelic folksters to return to Israel
It’s clear that longtime American psychedelic folksters Mercury Rev don’t follow the normal trends that would make them more popular or mainstream.

Case in point one: Their last album in 2019 was a song-for-song cover of an obscure album by Bobbie Gentry, of “Ode to Billie Joe” fame.

Case in point two: With no tour on the horizon, the band asked its management to book them shows in Israel because they’ve enjoyed themselves here the previous four times they played in the country.

Case in point three: Instead of the usual routine of filling up the Barby Club with a raucous rock show, they’ve put together a special acoustic performance for the high culture Piano Festival in Tel Aviv.

Case in point four: If that wasn’t already esoteric enough, they’ll also be doing another show the following night at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, in which they’ll be performing a live soundtrack to a cult 1960s horror film.

“I pursued doing concerts in Israel; we’re not playing shows before or after. This is something I specifically asked to do,” explained Mercury Rev co-founder and vocalist Jonathan Donahue about the seeds behind the upcoming shows.

“I feel very close to the spirit of the people in Israel, at least the ones I’ve met on my visits there. I’m always asking in my own sort of way to return there, and going to do shows is the way I can return without being a tourist.”
Stephen Harper gets Israel Allies Award for ‘faith-based diplomacy’
Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper received the Israel Allies Award at a gala dinner Thursday night in Whitby, Canada. The award is the highest honor given by the Israel Allies Foundation (IAF) to pro-Israel leaders.

“I am deeply honored to be recognized by the Israel Allies Foundation in front of so many distinguished friends here at home in Canada,” Harper said in his short address. “I am proud to continue to use my voice in support of the State of Israel, while addressing and forcefully denouncing the ongoing and very worrisome rise of anti-Semitism.”

Harper served as Canada’s 22nd prime minister from 2006 to 2015. He is an Evangelical Christian who regularly was outspoken about his support for the Jewish state. In June 2019, a video of Harper explaining the rationality of supporting Israel went viral achieving more than 2.4 million views. In the Prager University video, he labeled people who are anti-Israel as anti-Semitic.

“Why do I support Israel?” he asked. “Why wouldn’t I? Why wouldn’t anyone?”

Cabinet set to approve construction of Albert Einstein museum in Jerusalem
The cabinet on Sunday was set to approve the establishment of a museum in honor of world-famous Jewish physicist Albert Einstein.

The museum’s construction in Jerusalem is expected to be budgeted at NIS 64 million ($18 million).

Upon his death, Einstein bequeathed his writings and archive to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Most of these have been stored in the Albert Einstein Archives at the university’s Givat Ram campus, which is reported to contain tens of thousands of items.

“Albert Einstein is an asset, the biggest brand name in the world for intelligence, science and genius,” Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Saturday of the planned museum.

“Around the world, in China, India, the US and everywhere, Albert Einstein is synonymous with genius.”

He expressed hope that the museum “will serve as a pilgrimage site for anyone who wants to become familiar with Einstein, Jewish intelligence, and intelligence in general.

“Israeli teens as well as tourists and scientists from around the world will be able to receive inspiration from him.”

The museum is set to be constructed within the Givat Ram campus and is expected to present Einstein’s life and works as well as his ties to Judaism and Israel. The museum will also serve as a center for science and technology education.

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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 18 years and 38,000 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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