Sunday, January 01, 2023

01/01 Links: From Jew vilification to the delegitimization of Israel; Netanyahu slams ‘disgraceful’ UN request for ICJ opinion on Judea and Samaria; The NYTs Rush to Whitewash Palestinian Terror

From Ian:

From Jew vilification to the delegitimization of Israel - opinion
From the dawn of time, Jews have been maligned and slandered. Apion's vilification, the blood libels, the Dreyfus trial, and of course, the antisemitic propaganda of the 20th century are just a few examples. All of these manifestations of antisemitism got an "upgrade" to vilifying Israel, where the majority of world Jewry resides, by taking away the very legitimacy of Jewish presence in its ancestral homeland.

This effort began when the Roman emperor Hadrian renamed the land of Israel "Palestine" in order to detach the Jews from their homeland. In a nutshell, the vilification of the Jew has evolved into the delegitimization of the State of Israel. Words have power, and we still suffer the consequences of those words written and spoken over the last two millennia.

Today, the effort to delegitimize Israel has gone global and has permeated organizations like the United Nations and Amnesty International, which routinely try to undermine Israel's right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state within any borders. Furthermore, with the democratization of communication due to the emergence of social media, the average person has been handed the power and platform to throw misinformed accusations at Israel with the click of a button.

Making matters worse, influencers and celebrities can reach three, four, or even ten times the number of all Jews on the planet, spreading incorrect information. They share inaccurate content out of ignorance (like the star of Netflix's hit show Wednesday, Jenna Ortega) or out of pure malice (like antisemite Kanye West). Thus, the average person, who forms their opinions, including geo-political stances, based on memes, Instagram stories and TikTok videos, will easily be misinformed by these influencers. I experienced this firsthand when my friends around the world would easily share misinformation, while terrorist organizations were unleashing thousands of rockets upon Israeli civilians.
Seth Frantzman: The UN's vote against Israel and its historic contradictions
This is the essence of the contradictory policies behind “international law.” Western colonial powers were able to set up various administrations all around the world, sometimes only for a few decades. During that time they often carved up areas and created arbitrary lines on maps and then partitioned the areas they had taken over. But the Western powers were rarely accused under international law of “illegal occupation.” The concept of “international law” was primarily inaugurated after western colonial powers left most areas of the world.

The remaining vestiges of colonial-era rule, such as some islands here and there, are not considered “occupied.” In this narrative, Western countries never “occupied,” but when they decided to partition countries or draw arbitrary lines on maps, cutting peoples and tribal territories in half, it was always "legal." This was the case in the partition of India and the creation of the Kashmir dispute.

It was also the case with areas in the Middle East. The Golan Heights are part of Syria, not because of some ancient legal reason, but because the British and French colonial authorities demarcated the border this way. Neither side of that equation was ever “occupying.” Only when the European countries decided to give “independence” to various states or leave, did international law suddenly swoop in and say that the borders the former powers had drawn would be set in stone. Now any changes were against international law.

The strangest thing is that the partition plan the British and UN left behind in 1947 was unworkable. International status for Jerusalem and a patchwork of areas for two states, one Arab and one Jewish, in what had been British mandate Palestine. Yet the “law” today isn’t entirely based on the 1947 decision. Instead, there was a ceasefire in 1948 and then a war in 1967. International law has a way of swooping in only when changes are made in Israel’s favor.

For instance, there was no “occupation” of Jerusalem or “demographic change” issue between 1948 and 1967 when Jordan ran east Jerusalem. Even though Jews were ethnically cleansed from areas of the Old City, this was not a “demographic change.” When Israel took over Jordanian-occupied east Jerusalem, then international law says the situation in 1967 must be set in stone. Not the situation in 1947 or 1887. How does the law know when to draw the line?

Similarly, it’s not clear why international law often portrays Israel as an “occupier” of Gaza. The Gazans were not consulted on whether they wanted to be occupied by the British or the Egyptians. Yet the “law” seems to only relate to Israel’s temporary control of Gaza and in essence forces Israel to forever be the “occupying power.” This is the same international concept that underpins the Oslo Accords, in a sense abrogating those very accords and making it impossible for Israel to give up control. This is problematic because even if Israel wanted to withdraw from parts of the West Bank and enable a full-fledged Palestinian state, the “law” would always portray Israel as continuing to “occupy” something. This is the case in Lebanon, for instance, where even though Israel withdrew in 2000, Hezbollah continues to accuse Israel of occupying the Har Dov/Sheba’a farms area. It’s hard to imagine a way Israel can ever extricate itself from the endless UN focus, even if it wanted to. The focus on Israel is convenient since it means more contentious issues such as focusing on Turkey’s occupation of Syria, are not spotlighted. Many countries agree to shift the focus to Israel.

The related features of international law, that it is often rooted in arbitrary European colonial power decisions, and in arbitrary dates, create many contradictions. It’s hard not to see it as merely being made up as it goes along to single out Israel. Some of the countries that created the “law” and the chaos of 1948, then condemn Israel for controlling the very thing they created and also refuse to let Israel leave areas they demanded Israel leave. Increasingly this is a tool of countries in the global south and authoritarian regimes. Many western countries do not see the constant focus on Israel as helpful. Some countries have realized that letting Iran and Russia hijack international forums is also no longer helpful. It is unclear if there will be more pushback against these kinds of resolutions and decisions that focus on Israel.
What are possible legal ramifications of an ICJ advisory opinion on Israel?
International Legal Forum CEO and human rights attorney Arsen Ostrovsky, agreed that “Such opinions of the ICJ are non-binding on the parties involved. They are purely of an advisory nature,” but warned that “they do carry considerable moral weight and are regarded highly as a reference point by the legal community, as well as civil society and the United Nations.”

Daphné Richemond-Barak explained that the ICJ advisory opinion “doesn’t obligate a state as such” but the body could urge member states to take action. Member states could use the ruling as a basis to make political decisions. Whether the states’ local courts would use the advisory as legal precedent was not the main concern. The opinion was more relevant in international fora.

“It’s not so much what the opinion is going to say but how it's going to be used in the future,” she said.

Richemond-Barak gave the example of the 2004 ICJ advisory opinion on the security barrier, and how it became the keystone for many reports and resolutions by international bodies. The ICJ’s opinion of the legal consequences Israel’s practices and control of the territories would likely be held in high regard due to the court’s prestige and air of authority.

Shany said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government would have to decide how to approach the ICJ opinion.

“There is always a question about what Israel should do, participate in the process or boycott.” said Shany. “If you don't make your case you may politicize the process but may face a more hostile decision.” He said that in the case of the 2004 advisory opinion on the security barrier, that Israel made a compromise between the two

In response to the ICJ’s 2004 evaluation on the “Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” the government submitted a statement challenging the “jurisdiction of the Court and the propriety of any response by it on the substance of the request,” but refused to address the legality of the fence.

According to Shany the opinion could take between 1-2 years to formulate, and in that time, even if the new government doesn’t directly respond to the proceedings, statements made by ministers could influence the decisions. This legal specter could therefore impact the speech of Israeli ministers.

“Although the new process began prior to the new government, the statements made by the ministers will impact the deliberations,” said Shany. Talk of “exclusive rights of Jews over all the territory of Israel, while this may play very well to the home base, in the Hague proceedings could be damaging.”

Netanyahu slams ‘disgraceful’ UN request for ICJ opinion on Judea and Samaria
Israel’s prime minister on Saturday described as “disgraceful” a United Nations General Assembly resolution calling on the International Court of Justice to render an opinion on the legal status of Judea and Samaria.

“Just like the hundreds of distorted U.N. General Assembly resolutions against Israel over the years, today’s disgraceful resolution will not obligate the government of Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement. “The Jewish people is not occupying its land and is not occupying its eternal capital Jerusalem. No U.N. resolution can distort this historical truth,” he added.

However, the statement continued, the adoption of the resolution nevertheless marked a significant achievement for Israel.

“Together with President Isaac Herzog, Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Gilad Erdan and the personnel at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we have achieved something important. In the U.N. resolution that was passed [by the General Assembly’s Fourth Committee] in November, the Palestinians had an absolute majority of U.N. member states that supported their initiative. Those that did not support it—that opposed, abstained or were absent—were in the minority. Now, after our intervention, 11 countries changed how they voted, and as a result there has been a turnaround: The countries that supported the Palestinian initiative were a minority of U.N. members,” said Netanyahu.

“We will continue to fight for the truth,” he continued.

The U.N. move calls on the ICJ to issue an “advisory opinion” on Israel’s “prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of Palestinian territory.” It also calls for an investigation into Israeli policies “aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the holy city of Jerusalem,” and claims Israel has advanced “discriminatory legislation and measures.”

Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, told JNS that the UNGA resolution “represents another stage in the political war against Israel, based on the cynical use of U.N. and international legal bodies.”

Behind the scenes, he said, “There is a network of European-funded NGOs who are driving the absurd campaign to isolate Israel as South Africa was under apartheid, and eventually seek the prosecution of Israeli officials at the International Criminal Court.”

Netanyahu Says Israel Not Bound by ‘Despicable’ UN Vote
Israel condemned and the Palestinians welcomed on Saturday a United Nations General Assembly vote asking the International Court of Justice to provide an opinion on legal consequences of Israel‘s “occupation” of the Palestinian territories.

The Friday vote presents a challenge for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who this week took office at the head of a government which has set settlement expansion as a priority and which includes parties who want to annex West Bank land on which they are built.

“The Jewish people are not occupiers in their own land nor occupiers in our eternal capital Jerusalem and no UN resolution can distort that historical truth,” Netanyahu said in a video message, adding that Israel was not bound by the “despicable decision.”

Along with Gaza and eastern Jerusalem, the Palestinians seek the West Bank for a state. Most countries consider Israel‘s settlements there illegal, a view Israel disputes citing historical and Biblical ties to the land.
Netanyahu slams 'despicable' UN vote against Israel
Could a UN vote against Israel effect economic dealings with the country?

Former Israeli ambassador to France Daniel Shek explains the significance of the vote against Israel at the UN

The PA Must Pay a Price for Pressuring Israel in the International Arena
The decision in the General Assembly is a political blow to Israel, even though Israel managed to mobilize more countries in the UN to oppose the decision since the preliminary vote on the issue a month earlier.

Political officials in Jerusalem estimate that the new government does not intend to impose sanctions on the Palestinian Authority and it will operate only in the international and legal arenas. Apparently, the government is afraid of the reaction of the U.S. and the European Union and does not want to be portrayed at the very beginning of its journey as initiating a head-on collision with the Palestinian Authority.

If this is indeed the final decision, then it is a mistake. The PA will interpret this as weakness and increase the pressure on Israel in the international arena.

In recent months, PA Chairman Abbas has returned to his old strategy of internationalizing the conflict with Israel by appealing to UN institutions and the International Court of Justice in The Hague to make decisions against Israel. But he also knows that this is a difficult struggle and he is now very afraid that Prime Minister Netanyahu will try to isolate him even more in the political arena by progressing toward a new normalization agreement with Saudi Arabia, the leader of the Sunni world.

In light of these developments, the PA chairman drew up a “road map” for action against the Netanyahu government, which he recently presented to the PLO Revolutionary Council. The “road map” does not include a new armed intifada.

The plan presented by the PA chairman was designed to deal with the new Netanyahu government in an attempt to consolidate a united Arab position and mobilize international support for the Palestinian struggle.

The Netanyahu government cannot avoid responding to the Palestinian move at the UN. It must, at the very least, take symbolic action to warn the Palestinian Authority against similar political moves in the future. Abbas claims that he has no other options left and he intends to focus on a political struggle against the new Israeli government.
Apartheid slander is latest verbal weapon against Israel
The word “apartheid,” used in reference to Israel, is now an accepted part of the progressive and anti-Zionist vernacular. We hear it everywhere from college campuses to the halls of Congress. Two recent reports, one by Amnesty International and the other by Human Rights Watch add to this slander.

Both purport to make the case that Israel has crossed a line and become an apartheid state, as defined in international law. But Amnesty and HRW have now received pushback in a report by B’nai B’rith International, the world’s oldest Jewish humanitarian and human rights organization.

Titled “The Apartheid Slander Against Israel and the Ideological Distortion of Human Rights,” the report consists of two essays, each written by a noted law professor. In the first, Eugene Kontorovich argues that the apartheid accusation is the latest iteration of the “Zionism is racism” charge from the seventies.

And so, for Amnesty and HRW, the very idea of a Jewish state is a human rights violation. They do not criticize Israel’s policy so much as deny its right to exist. Indeed, after Amnesty published its report, its USA director, Paul O’Brien, said in a speech: “We are opposed to the idea – and this, I think, is an existential part of the debate – that Israel should be preserved as a state for the Jewish people.” Leaving no doubt about his position, at another point, O’Brien said flatly that Israel “shouldn’t exist as a Jewish state.”

In fact, according to O’Brien, Amnesty takes no position on the question of whether Israel has a right to survive at all. (O’Brien later claimed his remarks were “misreported,” but an audio recording refutes that.) Therefore, Kontorovich says, “The significance of the apartheid label goes beyond particular policies and invites efforts at regime change.”

Thane Rosenbaum continues with this theme in the B’nai B’rith report’s second essay, calling Israel “the only nation where self-determination and statehood are believed to be provisional.” He goes on to argue that what we are now seeing is a continuation of the decades-long war against Israel’s existence: “The wars that Arab nations and Palestinian terrorists have been unable to win against Israel have opened up into a new theater: a war of defamatory words, antisemitic semantics, the semiotics of Palestinian suffering.” The apartheid slander is a major weapon in that war.
State Department fails to condemn Abbas for glorifying Palestinian terrorism
The U.S. State Department declined to criticize the Palestinian Authority president and prime minister after they praised and glorified a recently-deceased Palestinian terrorist, responsible for the murder of seven Israelis, including two American citizens.

On Dec. 20, Nasser Abu Hamid (sometimes spelled Abu Hmeid), a founder and the commander in Fatah’s U.S.-designated terror organization Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, died in an Israeli prison. Responsible for a string of terror attacks during the Second Intifada including the murders of Americans Binyamin and Talia Kahane, he had also previously been found guilty of murdering five Palestinians who collaborated with Israel.

Following Abu Hamid’s death, the official Palestinian Authority news agency, WAFA, released a statement from P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas announcing “to our people, the fighters, and the free people of the world the death of heroic martyr, prisoner and commander Nasser Abu Hmeid, who died as a martyr today as a result of the policy of deliberate medical neglect, ‘slow murder.’ ”

Abu Hamid died of lung cancer. The Palestinian Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Affairs Commission along with other Palestinian groups accused the Israel Prison Service (IPS) of negligence and deliberately killing Abu Hamid, saying his illness should have been discovered earlier and treated with more care.

The Prison Service rebuffed the criticism, saying that Abu Hamid “received regular and close care from IPS medical staff and external professionals.”

Abbas also referred to Abu Hamid’s family as having “constituted an example of sacrifice and resolve. He [Abbas] prayed to Allah, glorified and praised, that He endow them with patience and consolation.”

Four of Abu Hamid’s brothers are serving multiple life sentences for the murder of Israelis, while a fifth brother was killed during an attempted arrest after he allegedly murdered an Israeli.

Presidents of UAE, Egypt congratulate Netanyahu on forming a government
United Arab Emirates President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to congratulate him on forming a government, according to a statement released Saturday night by Netanyahu’s office.

Mohammed bin Zayed repeated his invitation for Netanyahu to make an official visit to Abu Dhabi, which the two leaders agreed would happen soon.

Netanyahu was prime minister in Sept. 2020 when Israel normalized relations with the UAE and Bahrain as part of the Trump administration-brokered Abraham Accords.

Last month, Israeli President Isaac Herzog traveled to both Gulf states to mark the second anniversary of the historic agreements.

“The Abraham Accords are a national consensus in Israel on all sides of the political spectrum,” Herzog said at the time, adding: “Now we have to…upgrade ties between us even more, to strengthen them and to bring more nations [on board].”

Similarly, Netanyahu on Sunday received a congratulatory phone call from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, with the two leaders affirming their desire to strengthen bilateral ties, according to a readout of the conversation provided by the Prime Minister’s Office.

They also discussed “international and regional developments,” added the statement, without going into specifics, as well as the “importance of promoting peace, stability and security for the sake of both peoples and for all peoples in the Middle East.”
Exiled Moscow chief rabbi: Jews should leave Russia before they are scapegoated
Moscow’s exiled former chief rabbi, Pinchas Goldschmidt, has warned Russian Jews that they may become scapegoats for hardships brought on by Moscow’s sputtering war in Ukraine, and encouraged them to leave the country.

In an interview with Britain’s The Guardian, Goldschmidt said there was historical precedent that shows the Jewish community could end up being blamed.

“When we look back over Russian history, whenever the political system was in danger you saw the government trying to redirect the anger and discontent of the masses towards the Jewish community,” he said. “We saw this in tsarist times and at the end of the Stalinist regime.”

“We’re seeing rising antisemitism while Russia is going back to a new kind of Soviet Union, and step by step the iron curtain is coming down again. This is why I believe the best option for Russian Jews is to leave,” he said.

Goldschmidt resigned from his position and left Moscow in July.

“Pressure was put on community leaders to support the war, and I refused to do so. I resigned because to continue as chief rabbi of Moscow would be a problem for the community because of the repressive measures taken against dissidents,” he said.

Last October, Goldschmidt encouraged Russian Jews to flee the country after a Moscow official labeled the Chabad Hasidic sect a supremacist cult. Since July, Russia and Israel have been engaged in a legal dispute over Moscow’s attempts to shutter the Russian branch of the Jewish Agency, a quasi-governmental organization that promotes immigration of Jews to Israel.
Young Palestinian Arab terrorists are not innocent children
The matter of his age is important for several reasons. First, because when young Palestinian Arabs engage in violence against Jews, the international news media often depicts the attackers as children instead of terrorists. Second, because even some members of Congress have fallen into the trap of seeing young Palestinian terrorists according to their age, not their deeds.

In recent years, Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) has repeatedly introduced a bill that would prevent U.S. aid to Israel from being used to arrest “Palestinian children.” Any Palestinian under 18 would qualify as a “child,” according to the bill.

Not surprisingly, openly extremist groups such as American Muslims for Palestine and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) endorsed the McCollum bill. Several church groups that are hostile to Israel also endorsed it, such as the American Friends Service Committee (the Quakers), the Presbyterian Church USA and the National Council of Churches. So did two Jewish organizations that claim to be pro-Israel—Americans for Peace Now and J Street.

J Street’s president, Jeremy Ben-Ami, hailed McCollum’s legislation as “groundbreaking” and evidence of “an overwhelming trend.” Fortunately, it’s not an “overwhelming trend” at all. Only 25 of the 193 Democrats in the House of Representatives endorsed the bill, which is dead at the moment. However, McCollum or her colleagues could revive it at any time.

I understand that any compassionate person would be concerned by the treatment of innocent children. But Nasser Abu Hamid was not an innocent child. Neither are the many other Palestinian Arabs under the age of 18 who have committed murder.

Does anybody remember Ayyat al-Akras? In 2002, at age 17, she carried out a suicide bombing in a Jerusalem supermarket, murdering two shoppers—one a teenage girl—and wounding 28 others.

How about Aamer Alfar? He was just 16 when he blew himself up in Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market in 2004, murdering three Israelis and injuring 32.

IDF statistics for the period 2000-2003 list no less than 29 suicide attacks carried out by Palestinian Arabs under the age of 18, in addition to 40 attempted suicide bombings and 22 shooting attacks by teenagers under 18.

If Congresswoman McCollum and J Street had their way, Israel would have been penalized if its security forces arrested any of those murderers or would-be murderers—including Nasser Abu Hamid.

In the American judicial system, juveniles who commit certain heinous crimes are tried as adults. Terrorism surely qualifies as a heinous crime, and its perpetrators deserve appropriate punishment, even if they are younger than 18. Israel should not be punished by the media, members of Congress or the Jewish left for following this sound American principle.

Israel's security challenges in 2022: The West Bank front

The New York Times’ Rush to Whitewash Palestinian Terror
Only days after HonestReporting dissected the Palestinian casualty statistics for 2022, The New York Times makes yet another highly dubious attempt at charging Israel with killing innocent Palestinian civilians.

In “For Palestinians, a Rush to Claim ‘Martyrs’ Killed by Israel,” a final NY Times hit piece for 2022, Jerusalem correspondent Raja Abdulrahim goes to great lengths to whitewash the actions of Palestinian terrorist organizations, which she shamelessly depicts as “armed resistance [sic] groups”:
Every Palestinian killed by Israel is considered a martyr by the community, reflecting a widespread view that each Palestinian is part of a resistance to decades of occupation by Israel. But the rush by armed groups to claim those killed as martyrs worries some Palestinians, who feel it is being used by Israel to justify raids even when civilians are the victims.”

Citing the United Nations and unidentified “Palestinian human rights groups,” the newspaper contends that most Palestinian terrorists killed in the West Bank last year were, in fact, civilians.

Our research, however, shows this is simply not true.

According to widely-cited UN figures, 2022 was likely the deadliest year in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem in nearly 20 years, with over 150 Palestinians killed by the Israeli military. However, almost half of the deaths were publicly mourned as members of internationally recognized terror groups, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades (AAMB).

This includes, for example, Abdullah al-Ahmed, a Palestinian “doctor” affiliated with the AAMB, who was killed in armed clashes during a counterterror raid, and Uday Salah, a terrorist “teenager” who died in a shootout with Israeli forces.

Meanwhile, 18.8% were claimed as members of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction.

Terror Group Membership
Yet Abdulrahim’s hit piece quickly dismisses the terror organizations’ official proclamations, and instead quotes Palestinian commentators as saying that “groups made little distinction between civilians and fighters when honoring martyrs,” while calling it merely a “way for armed groups vying against each other to bolster their reputations by claiming association with Palestinians killed by Israel.”

In doing so, the NYT glosses over a crucial fact that doesn’t fit its anti-Israel narrative: At least 60 percent were shot as they attacked Israeli civilians or security forces with guns, explosives, Molotov cocktails, knives, rocks, and cars. An additional 29% partook in riots in the disputed territory.

All in all, approximately 90% died during violent incidents.
New York Times Nablus Op-Ed Omits Vital Context
In a recent opinion piece for the New York Times, Palestinian American health professional Professor Yara Asi describes a visit to the West Bank city of Nablus in October 2022 to see her extended family.

While describing her personal experiences, Asi also seeks to provide her readers with context for her observations during her trip. However, in doing so, she misleads her readers with contextual inaccuracies, distortions and outright falsifications.

In particular, the three main areas where Asi’s article falls short are:
Her portrayal of Palestinian deaths during 2022
Her characterization of the Lions’ Den terror group
Her disregard for the role played by the Palestinian Authority within the region

The ‘Deadliest Year for Palestinians’: Yara Asi’s Whitewashing of Palestinian Violence
Asi writes that her visit to Nablus coincided with “the deadliest month in the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since 2006: At least 150 have been killed so far in 2022, including more than two dozen children, all as a result of Israeli military violence.”

While it is true that approximately 150 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces over the past year, Asi omits the most vital piece of information: The majority of these Palestinians were killed while perpetrating violence against Israeli soldiers and civilians.

As HonestReporting recently uncovered, 60% of the Palestinians killed by Israel over the past year lost their lives while attacking Israelis and 29% were killed while taking part in violent riots.

PMW: We’re proud of our terror: Fatah takes stock at end of 2022
As is custom at year’s end, Abbas’ Fatah Movement recently took stock of its accomplishments. What achievements did Fatah find noteworthy?

That Fatah played the leading role in terror against Israel, obviously!

As Palestinian Media Watch has documented, Fatah is eager to show Palestinians that it is doing much more terror than other Palestinian parties and organizations - and definitely more than its rival, terror organization Hamas. Fatah boasted of carrying out 7,200 terror attacks against Israel in 2022 while criticizing Hamas for not attacking.

In its summation of 2022, Fatah is continuing to brag about its terror.

The Fatah Commission of Information and Culture posted a video from Fatah’s own TV station with facts on Fatah’s leading role in terror against Israel. Fatah highlighted the number of dead Fatah terrorists – the so-called “Martyrs,” the imprisoned Fatah terrorists – the so-called “heroic prisoners,” and Fatah’s terrorists who committed the most serious terror crimes – those sentenced to life in prison. As a vow for the future and the approaching year of 2023, Fatah emphasized that terrorists continue to be the top priority of Fatah and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, repeating his vow that “even if we are left with one penny” the PA/Fatah will spend it on terrorists and their families:

Why won't the Palestinian Authority address the militancy among its people?
What is the PA currently doing?
Aside from whether the PA can’t, won’t, or some combination thereof physically confront militant groups in Judea, Samaria and the West Bank, they still have their own well-established methods of keeping a handle on the growth of these groups.

For instance, the PA has a longstanding practice of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR), whereby militants are brought into the fold of the Palestinian establishment to transition them out of radicalism.

They also take preventative measures for people who are likely at risk of becoming radical.

One method the PA uses is when a Palestinian is killed, a PNSF unit commander will go to the family and hire their male relatives to bring them into the fold of the security forces. These people are then put into roles where they can be monitored.

This serves the purpose of preventing any further radicalization and indebting those individuals to those unit commanders. As a result, these commanders gain networks they can leverage for their own benefit when there are internal struggles in the PA.

As a whole, though, this clearly strengthens the grip the PA has on its people. However, it also may explain why so many on the Fatah payroll may be associated with and espouse the ideologies of other, more militant groups.

‘Time for Reconciliation:’ Rare Fatah Rally in Hamas-Controlled Gaza
Thousands in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip staged one of the biggest celebrations in years for the rival Fatah movement of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday.

The demonstrators turned Gaza City’s Al-Katiba square into a sea of yellow as they waved Fatah flags to mark the 58th anniversary of the party’s foundation. Fatah rallies on this scale have been a rarity in Gaza for the past decade and a half.

Fatah and Hamas – the two main Palestinian factions – have been at odds since the 2006 elections, which were won by Hamas but never recognized by either Fatah or the international community as legitimate. The following year, Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip beginning years of division, with Fatah administering Palestinian-run areas of the West Bank.

In an address to the crowd, Fatah’s Gaza chief, Ahmed Helles, called for reconciliation between the rival factions following the recent swearing-in of the most right-wing government in Israel’s history.

The new coalition led by veteran leader Benjamin Netanyahu “will go as other racist governments have gone and our people will remain,” Helles said. “The time has come to achieve national reconciliation.”

Monther Al-Hayek, a Fatah spokesman, urged the importance of achieving “national unity to confront Netanyahu’s extremist government.”

Hezbollah's Nasrallah suffers second stroke, hospitalized in Beirut - report
Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah was rushed to intensive care after suffering a stroke, according to reports from Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.

The reports came after Nasrallah canceled a planned Friday speech, with the Lebanese terrorist organization announcing through its affiliated media he had fallen ill with influenza and was unable to speak well.

Saudi journalist Hussein al-Gawi contradicted Hezbollah's statement, claiming that Nasrallah indeed suffered a second stroke instead of falling ill as was reported. The Hezbollah leader was reportedly hospitalized at the Great Prophet Hospital in Beirut.

Nasrallah is also set to speak on Tuesday to mark the anniversary of the assassination of IRGC Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani.

Seth Frantzman: Will 2023 be the year Iran is held to account by int’l community?
The list of Iran’s abuses is almost endless
From shooting and hanging protesters to ordering a jet with the family of a sports star to land this week, to kidnapping and assassinating dissidents, to targeting dissidents in Europe, Turkey, Iraq and elsewhere; there isn’t a kind of international crime the Iranian regime isn’t involved in.

It also is involved in backing gangs involved in the drug trade in Syria. Amid all these crimes, many of which were ignored for many years by the international community, Iran’s supply of drones to Russia has angered many countries.

This year, 2023, may be the year Iran finally faces several Western-backed investigations for its actions. Not only is Iran being pressured by the UN because it has tried to hijack the dialogue on human rights and women’s rights, but it is also facing sanctions over sending drones to Russia to attack Ukraine.

Iran has sent Russia numerous drones, and many countries are now investigating how parts produced by companies in the West ended up on the drones. Clearly, Iran, and the IRGC, are exploiting normal trade routes to acquire all sorts of dual-use technologies for the armed drones.

Iran’s decision to send drones to Russia was a major flaw in the regime’s logic. It usually tries to play the West and make it seem that Iran is not a threat.

However, the fact that Iranian-made drones are being used by Russia to kill Ukrainians means many Western countries now realize Iran’s regime is on the doorstep of Europe.

This isn’t now just an issue of the Middle East, which some Western countries preferred to ignore. The fact that major Western media often cover the “waves of Iranian drones” being used by Russia, shows how the narrative has shifted. No longer can Iran hide behind proxies or pretend it doesn’t know how its weapons always end up in other countries.

Now people are laser-focused on tracing the drones and their components and on the IRGC and its front companies involved in the trade. As Iran’s regime enters 2023 it is finding that it can make fewer excuses for its behavior.Many countries are finally seeing that Iran’s actions are “boiling over” in terms of the regime’s preponderance of illegal acts that harm both Iranians at home and threaten countries and people abroad.

Seth Frantzman: Did Iranian drones practice an attack on a model of an Israeli ship?
Images from Iran’s drones drills over the weekend appear to show them attacking a model of an Israeli Sa’ar 6 ship, according to H. I. Sutton, a defense analyst and author.

Iran announced that it carried out drone military drills in southern Iran, and according to state media, the Zolfaqar 1401 drills included a variety of drones, such as the Arash and Ababil, targeting a mock-up of a port and a ship.

Iranian media said the drones took off from Iran’s Sahand destroyer and successfully struck simulated targets at the coast.

The media reports said “different combat, reconnaissance and intercepting drones were reportedly used in this operation, and the Ababil 5 combat drone was launched and destroyed the targets.” The report in Islamic Republic News Agency said the “Ababil 5 drone has recently joined the Iranian Navy and was used in the annual drills of the Iranian Army for the first time.”

What did footage from the exercise reveal?
A video of the launch of the drones appeared to show an Ababil-style drone launched from the Iranian naval vessel IRIS Lavan No. 514, which is one of several Hengam-class Iranian landing ships. In July 2022, Iranian TV showed this ship with a number of drones, such as the Ababil-4, the Arash and Bavar-5. This is supposed to be the naval drone division that Iran has recently unveiled.

Video shows the drones being launched and striking a target on the coast of Iran. The target, according to Sutton, appeared to be “modeled on Eilat Naval base in #Israel. The target ship was modeled on an Israeli Navy Sa’ar 6 corvette.”

IRGC officials hint at division in Iranian leadership as protests continue
Two Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officials hinted at division among Iran's leadership as anti-government protests continued to sweep the country in the past week.

Hamid Abazari, an IRGC official who formerly served as deputy commander of the Imam Hossein Training and Officer College, stated that senior commanders and officials had "failed and stood against values, [Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei] and the regime," during the ongoing wave of protests in a speech last week reportedly broadcast on the local Tabarstan network.

Abazari also expressed condemnation of officials who had not condemned the protests and added that "first-rate officials of the regime" were among those who had stood against Khamenei.

The IRGC's public relations department rejected Abazari's statements on Saturday, stressing that this was Abazari's personal opinion and "does not correspond to the existing facts."

Additionally, Gholamhossein Gheybparvar, an IRGC commander in charge of a unit tasked with confronting protests and riots, criticized "some elites" for staying silent about the protests.

"Some elites were afraid of being harmed and damaged in their world and kept silent and were rejected, and you should know that religiosity does not come and go slowly, but religiosity has a cost," said Gheybparvar on Saturday, according to Iranian media.

"In these two or three months, many were rejected; We do not deny the economic problems, high prices, unemployment, etc., but was it the right of the regime that anyone who comes can insert a knife into the body of the regime?"

The Critical Threats Project (CTP) at the American Enterprise Institute noted that "the protests and regime crackdown have fractured the Iranian political and security establishments."

Criticism of the government from Iranian clerics and officials has increased in recent months amid the protests.
Iranian writer sentenced to death for interview with Israeli channel
Iranian writer and painter Mehdi Bahman was sentenced to death by Iran’s Revolutionary Court.

Bahman was arrested in October for an interview he gave to Israeli TV station Channel 13 in April in which he was critical of the Iranian regime and called for peace with the Jewish state.

Security forces arrested Bahman at his home in Tehran, according to Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), a press association established in 2009 by Iranian human rights advocates.

“At 1 a.m., the security forces arrested him at his house for his support of the nationwide protests. In a short call to his family, he said he was held in Ward 209 of Evin Prison,” a source close to Bahman’s family told HRANA.

Bahman specializes in illuminating religious books to spread the idea of peaceful coexistence between religions. His two illuminated copies of the Book of Psalms and Ezra are held in the U.S. Library of Congress.

Protests have erupted across Iran since September, when Mahsa Amini, 22, a Kurdish-Iranian woman, was detained for failing to “correctly| wear a hijab and later died in custody.

The regime has responded with force to quell the protests. An estimated 20,000 people have been arrested. Amnesty International said Iranian authorities are seeking the death penalty for at least 27 protesters. Opposition figures say more than 100 protesters face capital punishment.

A Harvard president's pogrom warning
If American Jews “decide to remain apart,” antisemitism will rise to the point that “blood will be spilled,” one of America’s most prominent educators reportedly warned, one hundred years ago this week.

That blunt and menacing demand was made by the president of Harvard University, A. Lawrence Lowell. It’s a reminder that the intense antisemitism in America in the 1920s was espoused not only by street corner bullies, but among some leading figures in the academic community as well.

Lowell was said to have uttered his threatening words in a conversation with Harvard alumnus Victor Kramer when the two shared a train compartment in late December 1922. A few weeks later, Kramer recounted the conversation at a Manhattan meeting, and a New York Times correspondent who was present reported it on January 15.

“President Lowell takes full credit for the plan to limit the number of Jews who are seeking admission into Harvard,” Kramer said. “It is his view that so long as the Jewish people decide to remain apart, as a distinct entity in American life and not merging in a social way by intermarriage with the Gentiles, just so long will prejudice continue and even grow worse.”

“President Lowell also asserted that a Jew can not be an American, for to be an American, in his opinion, one must be that and nothing else,” the Times reported. “President Lowell predicted that within twenty years we will see in the United States the same conditions that now exist in Central Europe, where blood is spilled as a result of anti-Semitism… His advice was that the Jews drop their faith.”

Reuters Corrects Mavi Marmara Did Not Carry Aid for Gaza
While other ships in the flotilla did carry aid, a UN report questioned the “the conduct, true nature and objectives of the flotilla organizers, particularly IHH.” Indeed, at least eight out of the 10 casualties were members of the Jihadi IHH or other Islamist organizations, according to the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.

Its mission was “to breach a [legal] blockade on the Gaza Strip,” as Reuters has previously correctly reported.

In response to communication from CAMERA’s Jerusalem office, Reuters amended the text to more accurately cite “a 2010 Israeli raid on a ship that led a flotilla carrying aid to Gaza, which killed 10 Turkish citizens.” In addition, a note alerting readers to the change was prominently added to the top of the article, stating: “This Dec. 27 story has been corrected in paragraph 5 to show the ship was part of a flotilla.” Reuters also corrected the Arabic version of the same article.

Separately, the Dec. 27 article also misleads that in 2018, “Israeli forces killed a number of Palestinians who had taken part in protests in the Gaza Strip.” The “protests” were in fact violent border clashes, with Palestinians attempting to break through the border with Israel, firing explosive devices, firebombs and grenades at Israeli forces protecting the border. 83 percent of those killed in the “March of Return” clashes were identified as members of terror organizations. This was no peaceful protest, a key point which readers would have no way of knowing. Reuters declined to clarify this point.

Let's take a look at antisemitism in New York City
A recent report by Americans Against Antisemitism confirms what American Jews suspected and what I have been campaigning about for months.

Their statistics show that;
64% of Assaults on NY Jews Were Carried out by Blacks.
17% of Assaults on NY Jews Were Carried out by Muslims.
10% of Assaults on NY Jews were Carried out by Hispanics.
Only 3% were carried out by Whites.

And yet, in a growing display of woke delusion, major American Jewish organizations have been bending over backward protecting the very sectors of American society that contain the vast majority of anti-Jewish hate criminals.

This has to stop.

Jewish leaders like Jonathan Greenblatt and his ADL and JStreet have to get off their "woke horse" and do what is necessary to protect both American Jews and Israel, because both are victims of the people they protect with their superficial "progressive" mindset.

These statistics show that the originators of "critical race theory" represent the groups that commit the vast majority of violent anti-Jewish crimes.

In other words, they represent the racists they purport to be victims of.

It is not white Jews who have to apologize to CRT indoctrinators, or to black folk. Jews have historically been the biggest non-black supporters of the black freedom movement, and yet these statistics prove that New York Jews are the victims of black and Muslim hatred, not the other way round.
Only 2 Perps in NYC Antisemitic Attacks Sentenced to Jail, Since April 2018
A detailed report on antisemitic crimes in New York City is creating uncomfortable questions for elected officials and community leaders and bringing into stark relief a common misconception about the perpetrators of Jew-hatred.

Americans Against Antisemitism, through its Hate Crimes Accountability Project, pored over limited data on hate crimes against Jews from April 2018 through August of this year, adding in key details. The results show that of 194 documented assaults, the perpetrators’ group identities were known 99 times. According to the report’s data, 64% of those assaults were committed by black persons, 17% by Muslims or Arabs, 11% by Hispanics and 3% by white persons.

The data contradicts consistent refrains from city leaders about white supremacists being responsible for hate crimes against the Jewish population.

“Why doesn’t anybody want to talk about the real facts on the ground? Because it’s not politically correct,” Dov Hikind, a former New York State Assemblyman and founder of Americans Against Antisemitism, told JNS.

The issue is well-known for those following the problem closely, as video surveillance of attacks consistently shows minority perpetrators.
2022 sees rise in antisemitic rhetoric and incidents

Colorado antisemites target kids with Crayon-filled packets
Ziploc bags featuring red, yellow and blue crayons along with antisemitic literature appeared at doorsteps in a Grand Junction, Colorado neighborhood over the weekend. One resident, Megan, came across one of the packages while walking her dog. “I thought it was like a coloring book for kids because it was packaged in a Ziploc bag with crayons… I got to another one, and I saw that there was clearly a really offensive picture, drawing of a Jewish person. I was like, ‘Oh, this is actually really horrible stuff,’” she said.

Upon arriving home Megan found another ziploc bag, and then noticed they had appeared at her neighbors’ homes also. The fliers in the bags featured an antisemitic caricature and claims including “Every Single Aspect of Mass Immigration is Jewish.” Another paper in the bags asked “Who’s Behind? Endless Wars, Hollywood Sex Scandals, War on White People.”

Megan reported the antisemitic fliers to the police and received a dismissive response: “They told me to just throw it away, and that it’s like if somebody had a yard sign that they disagree with or someone saying bad things on the internet, that we just have to ignore it. I tried to say, doesn’t this stuff kind of lead to violence? And if something does happen, don’t you want to know that this is going on? They just said that they couldn’t take a report because there was no crime.”

The fliers are suspected to be the work of antisemitic hate group The Goyim Defense League. According to the ADL, the Goyim Defense League (GDL) was responsible for a minimum of 74 episodes of distributing antisemitic propaganda in 2021. In 2022 they have engaged in monthly propaganda campaigns, distributing their hate literature in 17 states. The ADL identifies the group’s most active chapters in California, Colorado, New York, and Florida.

Other GDL Colorado activities include hanging provocative banners from freeway overpasses, similar to the recent “Kanye is Right About the Jews” banner hung over the 405 freeway in Los Angeles.
Ohio Holocaust monument designated as national memorial by US government
One of the oldest Holocaust memorials in the US has been designated as a national memorial by the US government as part of an omnibus package signed by President Joe Biden on Thursday, The New York Times reported.

Built by The Kol Israel Foundation in 1961 in Bedford Heights, Ohio, the memorial serves as a commemoration of the six million Jewish lives lost in the Holocaust.

Following Biden’s approval of a $1.7 trillion funding package, the monument, which includes the ashes and artifacts belonging to Jews killed by Nazis at three concentration camps, as well as the names of 1,300 family members of Cleveland-area Holocaust survivors, will be added to the federal list of memorials.

“Congress recognizes the significance of the Kol Israel Foundation Holocaust Memorial in preserving the memory of the 6,000,000 Jews murdered by the Nazi regime and allies and collaborators of the Nazi regime, and honors the life and legacy of the Holocaust survivors who erected the Kol Israel Foundation Holocaust Memorial,” the bill passed by the US Congress reads.

The Times said a few dozen people gathered at the memorial on Thursday, despite the bitter cold, to celebrate its national recognition.
Israeli pens plan for belt of solar panels on moon to power oxygen production
NASA’s unmanned Artemis mission to the moon last month represented a small step toward the eventual dream of getting people to Mars and beyond, a goal that will require a giant leap in finding ways to settle and exploit the resources of earth’s lone satellite.

In two years, the Artemis project — joined by more than a dozen countries, including Israel — will fly astronauts around the moon, and if all goes according to plan, 2025 will see the first crewed lunar landing since Apollo 17 in 1972.

By the middle of the next decade, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration plans to populate its first permanent base camp for rotating research teams.

To make this possible, a key challenge will be mining and separating the metals and oxygen bound together in the stony deposits called regolith that cover the lunar surface, and generating the energy to power that process.
SpaceX Launches Israeli Earth-Imaging Satellite EROS C-3 Into Orbit
SpaceX successfully launched an Israeli Earth-imaging satellite into space overnight between Thursday and Friday.

It was the 61st and final launch of the year for the US-based spacecraft engineering corporation headed by tech billionaire Elon Musk. The launch of the EROS C-3 satellite mission on a Falcon 9 rocket took place at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

Shortly after liftoff, the deployment of the EROS C-3 satellite was confirmed.

The advanced observation satellite from Israel-based remote sensing company ImageSat International (ISI) will be used for military intelligence and security purposes, and is considered another major step forward for Israel’s place in the global space industry. ISI is the largest space company in Israel, operating a constellation of high resolution satellites providing accurate imaging worldwide.

“We provide satellite imagery to customers around the world — some are commercial customers, and others are defense customers — we provide these services worldwide to various applications, from disaster management to agriculture and real estate,” Ehud Hayun, senior director for satellite and ground systems at ISI, told i24News.

Israeli technology was also onboard the first integrated test of NASA’s Orion spacecraft called the Artemis I mission, according to the Israel Space Agency. The Artemis 1 launch took place on Nov. 18.
Israel Hayom poll finds Israelis look forward to 2023 disenchanted, but optimistic
In honor of the new year and the swearing-in of the Netanyahu government, Israel Hayom has conducted a poll to see what Israelis think 2023 has in store for them in terms of politics.

As many as 64% of respondents said they are looking ahead to the new year with optimism. These include right-wing voters, 80% of whom said they were optimistic, as well as left-wing voters, of whom only 45% said they were optimistic.

When asked to rate their level of happiness from 1 to 10, the average answer was 7. Here too politics played a role, with supporters of the right-win bloc – which includes Likud, ultra-Orthodox Shas Party, Ashkenazi Haredi United Torah Judaism and the Religious Zionist Party – coming in around 8, and supporters of the left-wing bloc – Yesh Atid, Labor, Meretz and the State Party – coming in around 6.5-7. As for Arab Israelis, the average answer with regard to their level of happiness stood at 6.

When asked about the political agenda for this year, the majority of respondents said that they were most affected by – and therefore most cared about – the economy, which surpassed even such major issues as defense, governance, and the expected judicial reforms. As many as 60% said their ability to make a living was affected by inflation.

Around 60% said the cost of living was the most important matter on the new government's agenda, with only 18% expressing belief that their situation will improve in 2023.
The least anti-Semitic country in the world

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