Sunday, January 08, 2023

From Ian:

Netanyahu: The Unexpected Moderate
After decades, some genius pretended to have discovered the "two-state solution." That "solution", of course, had been offered by the United Nations and accepted by the Jews under the "extremist" David Ben Gurion in 1947, but rejected by neighboring Arab states. Its revival by Western powers, notably the United States, was an exercise in diplomatic wild goose chasing.

The fact is that repeated opinion polls and elections show that a majority of Israelis and Palestinians do not want the "two-state solution..."

[T]he dismantling of all settlements in Gaza never led to the peace expected.

As the theme of the settlements began to appear shopworn, a new version of the "Palestinian problem" was put into circulation: "Israeli Apartheid." But that, too, was never defined. In South Africa under Apartheid, black and colored citizens were not allowed to vote or get elected. In Israel, non-Jewish citizens can and do. Palestinians in the West Bank do not have those rights because they are not Israeli citizens.

Opinion polls in the West Bank, too, show that bread-and-butter politics and cleaning corruption are the top concerns of Palestinians.

That problem might find a solution only if both Israelis and Palestinians are convinced that solving it is in their own interest. Whichever way one looks at it, that conviction isn't there yet. And even if, one day, that conviction materializes, there is no guarantee that those who have built whole carriers and national strategies around perpetuating it will allow a solution to be agreed and applied.
‘Pro-Palestinian’ Means No Such Thing
“There are three kinds of lies,” Mark Twain said, attributing the insight to Benjamin Disraeli, “lies, damned lies and statistics.” Turns out there is a fourth: “pro-Palestinian.”

Virtually everything described as pro-Palestinian is not. That is, it does not pertain to improving Palestinian Arabs’ lives in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza Strip, let alone in United Nations-maintained Palestinian internment centers—euphemistically labeled refugee camps—in those territories and Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

Ever attend a rally or lecture advocating improved standards of living or civil rights for Palestinian Arabs under jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank? On behalf of those repressed by the Hamas Islamic theocracy in Gaza? Or those subject to the authoritarian governments of neighboring Arab countries? Me neither.

Such pro-Palestinian events don’t happen. Instead, events ballyhooed as pro-Palestinian can be described accurately as anti-Israel.

Anti-Israel propaganda dressed up as pro-Palestinian has a long history. In 1958, Ralph Galloway, a former director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), discussing regimes’ treatment of Palestinian Arab refugees from Israel’s 1948-1949 War of Independence, said:

“The Arab states do not want to solve the refugee problem. They want to keep it as an open sore, as an affront to the United Nations and as a weapon against Israel. They don’t give a damn whether the refugees [numbering approximately 500,00 – 600,00] live or die.”

Hence, UNRWA established camps instead of promoting resettlement in Arab states. This was at a time, the late 1940s and 1950s, when more than 800,000 Jewish refugees from Arab lands were being resettled. Roughly three-fourths went to Israel, the rest to Western countries.
PMW: Abandoning democracy, Mahmoud Abbas enters his 19th year as Chairman of the PA
Today, Jan. 8, 2023, Mahmoud Abbas is celebrating completing 18 years in his position as Chairman of the Palestinian Authority.

According to section 3(2) of the 2007 PA Law Pertaining the General Elections, “The presidential office term shall be four years. He/she shall not be elected for more than two terms.”

Abbas was elected in the last PA elections for the position of Chairman held on Jan. 9, 2005. In preparation for those elections, the PA Central Elections Committee reported that there were 1,760,481 registered voters. Hamas boycotted the elections, and only 802,077 actually cast their vote. Of those who voted, only 501,448 voted for Abbas. In other words, Abbas was elected by only 28% of the Palestinians eligible to vote.

Ignoring the law, and unconcerned about the fact that he was elected by a small minority vote, Abbas has remained in his position for 18 years.

While the PA constantly references its democratic values and nature, the reality is that Abbas is just another dictator who refuses to uphold the law and relinquish the power he illegitimately usurped in 2009 at the end of his 4-year term and consequent to his refusal to hold new elections.

True to the anti-democratic dictatorial values, the PA under Abbas has similarly refrained from holding general elections to the PA Parliament since 2006. In those elections, the majority of the votes cast were for Hamas, an internationally designated terror organization.

Ruthie Blum: Penalizing Palestinian Arab lawfare
Those whose dissatisfaction with the outcome of the Nov. 1 Knesset elections is reaching hysterical heights ought to be careful not to fall under this category. The irrational reaction to National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s visit to the Temple Mount on Tuesday indicates a worrisome onset of amnesia where Palestinian ploys are concerned.

Indeed, the P.A. was using Judaism’s most sacred site (and Islam’s third holiest one), as a key weapon in its propaganda-and-incitement arsenal before Ben-Gvir was born, let alone ahead of his becoming a household name with negative connotations in certain circles. The irony is that Zaki—a proponent, like Abbas, of arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat’s “plan of stages” to wipe Israel off the map—is just as aware of this as Ben-Gvir.

And the Fatah bigwig has been open about this in Arabic for many years. For example, in a 2011 interview with Al Jazeera TV (documented by Palestinian Media Watch), he explained that “Abbas understands, we understand and everyone knows that it is impossible to realize the inspiring idea or the great goal [of the destruction of the Jewish state] in one stroke. If Israel withdraws from Jerusalem, uproots the settlements … removes the (security) fence, what will be with Israel? Israel will come to an end. … [which would] be great, great, but … You can’t say it to the world. You can [only] say it to yourself.”

This has been a key recurring theme in Zaki’s and boss Abbas’s careers. It’s the message conveyed in the P.A. education system, media and religious sermons—all of which glorify terrorism and encourage violent riots over the deceitful accusation of Jews “storming Al Aqsa,” the mosque on the Temple Mount, to desecrate and destroy it “with their filthy feet.”

It is, as well, the guiding principle of Palestinian efforts to erode Israel’s existence through international delegitimization and criminalization. The launch of a concrete counter-offensive is but one of many welcome policy initiatives emanating from Jerusalem.
JPost Editorial: Israeli sanctions against the PA harsh but necessary
On Friday, the Prime Minister’s Office announced that it was implementing a series of sanctions against the Palestinian Authority in response to Ramallah’s push to get Israel reviewed before the International Court of Justice.

A reminder: On December 30, the United Nations General Assembly voted on a resolution to seek an ICJ advisory opinion on whether after 57 years, Israel’s “occupation” of Palestinian territory had become a form of de facto annexation and thus illegal under international law.

It asked the ICJ to define how Israel’s practices affected the legal status of Israel’s “occupation” of territory over the pre-1967 lines, which would include the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem.

Israel’s response was just a matter of time and it came on Thursday when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened his new security cabinet for the first time in Tel Aviv. According to the decision by the cabinet, Israel will withhold tax fees it collects on behalf of the PA, will freeze Palestinian building plans in Area C, will penalize Palestinian officials and take steps against non-government groups it believes are involved in diplomatic warfare against the Jewish state.

Israel will transfer NIS 139 million from tax fees it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority to compensate the families of Palestinian terror victims.

The sanctions by Israel might appear harsh but they are necessary. The PA has launched a legal battle against Israel with its push to the ICJ, as well as its application to The Hague a number of years ago, itself a violation of the Oslo Accords. The Palestinians have consistently resisted attempts for dialogue and negotiations with Israel and instead have believed that a strategy of legal warfare against the Jewish state can win. What they learned on Friday is that it comes at a price.

The Area C construction moratorium is particularly interesting and seems to have come from Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who has long advocated against allowing Palestinians to build in Area C, the part of the West Bank that is under Israeli civilian and military control.
Israel’s critics are the ones attacking the Jerusalem status quo
Given that the new Israeli government was being pilloried from all sides before it had even been sworn in, it was not surprising that the knives were out after the new Zionist bogeyman, Itamar Ben-Gvir, had the temerity to visit the holiest site in Judaism.

The New York Times, which loves to add pejorative descriptors to Israelis, headlined its story, “Hard-Line Israeli Minister Visits Volatile Jerusalem Holy Site.” Not only is Ben-Gvir “hardline,” but according to the Times, he is also an “ultranationalist.” His visit was “provocative” because he defied threats from the “militant” (never “terrorist”) group Hamas. Even worse, apparently, the Palestinian “foreign ministry” (how does a non-state have a foreign ministry?) called Ben-Gvir’s visit a “flagrant attack.”

Jordan’s King Abdullah warned of conflict with Israel if it changes the status of the “Jerusalem holy site” and his Foreign Ministry (at least Jordan is a state) condemned Ben-Gvir’s visit.

After the fact, Haaretz’s Zvi Bar’el predicted the downfall of the Palestinian Authority (hardly a tragedy for Israel), paroxysms of violence (none of which occurred), Netanyahu losing control of his government’s foreign policy (utter nonsense) and the end of the Abraham Accords (which have already survived much worse).

The Times acknowledged that Jews are permitted to visit the Temple Mount, but in one of its typical revisions of history, said, “Ariel Sharon, then leader of the opposition, surrounded by hundreds of police officers in riot gear, was widely credited as a factor that set off the deadly second Palestinian intifada.”

Facts don’t matter to Israel’s detractors, but it’s worth pointing out that the status quo on the site allows Jews to ascend the Temple Mount. Ben-Gvir, who spent 15 minutes there, did not violate any law or tradition and provoked no violence. Israel has not infringed and will not infringe on the rights of others to ascend the Mount or practice their faith.

Palestine: The perverse—and perplexing—paradox
Impervious to past precedents & future probabilities
But vindictiveness aside, liberal support is not only decidedly perverse, but equally paradoxical and perplexing as well. After all, there is virtually no doubt that any future Palestinian state will be the embodiment of values that are the diametric antithesis of those to which Left-leaning, progressive liberals profess to subscribe.

Indeed, there is little reason to doubt that a prospective Palestinian state, in any conceivably plausible configuration, will be anything but what most other Arab states are, in some form or another: A homophobic, misogynistic Muslim majority tyranny—whose hallmarks would be gender discrimination against girls/women, persecution of homosexuals, religious intolerance against non-Muslims and oppression of political dissidents.

Accordingly, it is a decidedly baffling conundrum why so-called “progressives,” who purportedly cherish liberal values of societal diversity, religious freedom, and individual liberty, would cling so doggedly to support for a Palestinian state that would, in all likelihood, comprise the utter negation of everything to which they claim to hold dear. Yet impervious to past precedents and future probabilities, they adhere resolutely to their defective dogma.

No reason to believe that, which was in the past, will not be in the future

This is particularly pertinent given what has transpired in Gaza—perhaps the ultimate indictment of two-statism—where Palestinian Arabs were first given a shot at self-governance, and which has become a brutal bastion of Islamist governance and a safe haven for jihadi terror.

Of course, there is scant cause to believe that what was in the past will not be again in the future. After all, even the most fervent two-state enthusiast has yet to offer up a persuasive argument why the envisioned Palestinian state would not quickly emerge as the said homophobic, misogynistic tyranny.

As Albert Einstein reportedly commented: “We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Clearly, the turmoil of today is indisputably the result of trying to foist statehood on the Palestinian Arabs. Accordingly then, there is little reason to believe that persisting with the same thinking that created the seemingly perennial violence will contribute in any way to its cessation. For, the problem of the current violence cannot be resolved by using the same level of thinking (i.e. aspiring to Palestinian statehood) that created it.

This perverse—and perplexing—paradox is something that has not been adequately addressed in the public discourse on the Middle East. Indeed, it is rarely—if ever—fully articulated. The time has come to do so.
Islamist extremism and its progressive sister - two sides of the same coin
In the last decade, Norway transferred close to NIS 80 million to Israeli organizations, all of them on the spectrum between the left and the extreme anti-Zionist left. 50 million shekels were transferred directly through official government entities and an additional 30 million shekels through the "Norwegian Refugee Council" which, although it is also a Norwegian political entity, is simultaneously budgeted by the European Union and the United Kingdom.

Among the Israeli organizations that are funded by the liberal dictatorship, one can find the anti-Zionist organization B'Tselem, the Center for the Protection of the Individual and the Civil Rights Association that defend terrorists and their families in courts, the Yesh Din organization that works to prosecute Israel at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the delegitimization organization Breaking the Silence and more.

There is no doubt that the State of Israel must develop clear legislation to stop the funds going to local organizations from enemy countries and those with which Israel has no official relations. Certainly, it must stop funds from countries where the human rights situation is terrible and there is no reason for them to promote their extreme agendas within us.

But there is another developing category.

When we look at the gradual radicalization currently taking place in Norway, the gradual establishment of a progressive dictatorship that persecutes those with a different opinion, it would be worthwhile at some stage to consider how to seal the loopholes directed in our direction as well.
Prof. Kontorovich: Dershowitz wrong about Supreme Court's protection of Israel
International Law expert and director of International Law at the Jerusalem-based Kohelet Policy Forum, Professor Eugene Kontorovich, dismissed the claims by American legal expert Alan Dershowitz that the reforms to Israel's judicial system announced by Justice Minister Yariv Levin would make Israel more vulnerable to investigations by the International Criminal Court.

“Professor Dershowitz is wrong about the impact of Israel’s proposed judicial reforms on international investigations. Israel's assertive judiciary did not stop the ICJ from condemning it in a 2004 decision. The supposed international respect for the Supreme Court has done nothing to stop ICC from illegally and absurdly recognizing a "State of Palestine" in all of the West Bank, including in Jerusalem," Said Professor Eugene Kontorovich.

He added: "Nothing short of unilateral, complete Israeli withdraw from all these territories would ward off further hostile action from these hostile, politicized bodies. It is sad that Dershowitz is choosing to weaponize these biased bodies to promote one side in a domestic Israeli legally argument.”

Dershowitz told Galei Tzahal's Morning News Show with Efi Triger that the government's planned reforms to Israel judicial system will open the Jewish State to greater international criticism and make it more difficult for supporters like him to defend Israel.

"Israel's democracy is not in danger," Dershowitz stated at the outset. "The reforms are designed to improve democracy."

"What's in danger are civil liberties, minority rights," he explained, adding that if he was in Israel he would join the protests against the judicial reforms.

"I think it will weaken Israel's legal Iron Dome," Dershowitz said. "I think the Supreme Court of Israel has been a very important factor in why the International Criminal Court doesn't have jurisdiction over Israel, because of what's known as complementarity. I do think it will make it much more difficult for people like me, who try to defend Israel in the international court of public opinion, to defend them effectively."
30,000 march in Tel Aviv against ‘coup d’état’ Levin judicial reform
Thousands of activists gathered in Tel Aviv to protest Justice Minister Yariv Levin’s proposed judicial reforms on Saturday night, describing the plan as a “dangerous coup d’état.”

Around 30,000 people assembled at HaBimah Square, spilling out onto nearby streets. The protesters waved Israeli and LGBTQ+ pride flags, and raised banners against Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government. The activists marched to the Tel Aviv Museum, where leaders gave speeches. A second march set out after the speeches.

A rallying call from some activists said that the march would warn the government that the reforms would not be passed without unprecedented civil resistance.

“Extremists and dangerous actors in the newly established government are already planning how to hurt all of us,” said left-wing peace activist NGO Standing Together. “How to deepen racial discrimination against Arab citizens, how to cut social budgets, how to discriminate based on gender. We won’t sit home and hold hands and give in to despair and frustration. Where there is struggle, there is also hope. And we will go out and struggle for our home.”

The anti-Netanyahu Black Flag movement said that “the coup d’état will encounter a nation of Israel determined to guard our democracy – and [the reforms] will fail.

“It’s possible to stop the revolution in the streets, by shutting down the economy and paralyzing the State of Israel by all legal means,” said the Black Flags.” Today we are starting the most important journey: A preventative strike against dictatorship.”

I saw the harsh pictures last night at a left-wing demonstration comparing the Justice Minister to the Nazi leaders.

the PLO flags at the demonstration.

the signs that called for "liberating Palestine from Zionist colonial rule."

This is wild incitement that has passed without condemnation from the opposition or the main media channels.

I demand that everyone stop this immediately.

What do they say? Demonstration of an emergency order to preserve democracy. What are they hoisting? PLO flag, symbol of hatred of Jews, hatred of democracy and hatred of human rights Who will give a speech there? Ayman 'Odeh. This is not the preservation of democracy, it is the extreme and dangerous left. Yariv Levin, the people of Israel are behind you. The judicial system needs to be corrected.

Rebuking police, Ben Gvir orders probe into celebrations of terror convict’s release
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir on Sunday ordered Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai to open a probe into public celebrations held last week upon the release of a prisoner who served decades in jail for murdering a soldier. There had been a directive in place to prevent that from happening.

Karim Younis, the longest-serving prisoner jailed for security-related offenses, was freed from prison Thursday after serving 40 years behind bars following his conviction on terrorism charges for murdering an Israeli soldier in 1980.

Since his release, celebrations have been held at his hometown of ‘Ara in northern Israel. On Saturday, three senior Palestinian Authority officials paid him a visit. The newly released prisoner is part of Israel’s Arab minority, many of whom identify as Palestinians.

Ben Gvir’s order on Sunday was the first implicit rebuke of police by the new far-right minister, who demanded and received extensive powers over police policy during recent coalition negotiations.

The minister’s office released a statement saying his instructions to prevent celebration tents from being erected in Younis’s honor were “only partially fulfilled,” with Younis’s family and friends putting up a tent and PA officials paying visits to honor him.

Ben Gvir, who leads the far-right Otzma Yehudit party, had ordered Younis be released on Thursday before dawn in an effort to thwart festivities outside Hadarim Prison, north of Tel Aviv. He also ordered police to prevent public celebrations in ‘Ara. He justified the orders with a legal opinion that such celebrations offer support for terrorism.

But Younis was warmly greeted by friends and family in ‘Ara and gave interviews to Arabic-language media on Thursday and over the weekend.

Senior Palestinian Official Hussein al-Sheikh Lost His Status as a Possible Successor to Mahmoud Abbas
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas convened a meeting of senior Fatah leaders on December 31, 2022, to discuss the publication of the recording of his close associate Hussein al-Sheikh in which he uttered sharp criticism of the PA chairman and even cursed him as “the son of 66 whores.”

Al-Sheikh did not deny in the meeting the words that were heard in the recording leaked to Shehab, the news agency of Hamas. The meeting dealt with the deep disputes in the Fatah movement, and it was agreed to hold another meeting on the subject.

Al-Sheikh briefed his close associates that the publication of the recording will not harm his relationship with the head of the Palestinian Authority, but senior Fatah officials say that a deep crisis has arisen between the two and Abbas is giving Hussein al-Sheikh the cold shoulder.

The rare recording is still causing a stir on the Palestinian street.

The Palestinians are witnessing the continuation of the struggles at the top of the Fatah movement over the question of who will be Abbas’ successor.

The main loser from the leaking of the recording is Hussein al-Sheikh himself. Fatah sources say that his big mouth has “harmed him greatly” and his chances to be Abbas’ successor are close to zero.”

The main beneficiaries of the release of the tape are senior Fatah officials Jabril Rajoub, Mahmoud al-Aloul, Majed Faraj, and Mohammad Dahlan, who was expelled from the Fatah movement but seeks to return after Abbas’ demise.

Another beneficiary is senior Fatah member Tawfik al-Tirawi, an opponent of Hussein al-Sheikh who is suspected of having leaked documents from a committee that investigated the circumstances of Yasser Arafat’s death. The files indicated that Mahmoud Abbas had a great interest in getting rid of Arafat. Fatah sources claim that al-Sheikh is the one who convinced Abbas to take sanctions against al-Tirawi.

Germany: Iranian arrested on suspicion of plotting chemical attack
A 32-year-old Iranian man has been arrested in Germany on suspicion of planning an attack with deadly chemicals, officials said Sunday.

Police and prosecutors said the man and another person were detained overnight in the town of Castrop-Rauxel, northwest of Dortmund.

In a joint statement they said the man is suspected to have planned a serious attack motivated by Islamic extremism, for which he had allegedly obtained the potent toxins cyanide and ricin.

German news agency dpa reported that specialists wearing anti-contamination suits carried evidence out of the man's home.

Tabloid newspaper Bild reported that German authorities had received a tip from an allied intelligence agency about the alleged plans for a chemical attack.

Harvard denies fellowship to former HRW head over ‘anti-Israel bias’
Professor Gerald M. Steinberg, founder of NGO Monitor and a longtime critic of Roth, was blamed by The Nation for his work detailing the former HRW executive director’s anti-Israel bias. Roth told The Nation that NGO Monitor is “profoundly biased” because it objected to any criticism of Israel. Roth also added that he is Jewish and became involved with human rights issues after hearing stories about his father escaping Nazi Germany in 1938.

In response to The Nation article’s publication, Steinberg tweeted a screenshot of a 2009 New York Times op-ed by HRW founder Robert Bernstein criticizing Roth and HRW for giving fodder to those who portray Israel as a “pariah state.” Steinberg also shared his 2021 academic paper in the Israel Affairs journal documenting HRW’s anti-Israel agenda.

“Ken Roth again exploits his father’s ‘experience living in Nazi Germany’—as if that justifies a lifetime [of] hate & lies,” tweeted Steinberg. “My take: The constant invocation of the Shoah by Kenneth Roth and his defenders is unconvincing and odious.”

Steinberg then shared his 2007 article criticizing Roth and his defenders for their “efforts to rewrite and distort the Holocaust.”

The Nation article acknowledged Bernstein’s criticism by noting that HRW had responded to its founder, claiming that the organization has “produced more than 1,700 reports and other commentaries on the Middle East and North Africa, the vast majority of which were about countries other than Israel.”

The head of The International Legal Forum, Arsen Ostrovsky, lauded Elmendorf’s decision to block Roth’s fellowship in a tweet.

“You don’t deserve a fellowship,” Ostrovsky wrote to Roth, “not when all you have done is peddle in Jew hatred, lies and endorse terror against Israel, masquerading as a human rights leader. I’m sure Al Jazeera will offer you a spot!”
ILF’s Arsen Ostrovsky interview on i24: Israel at the UN and Ken Roth
ILF CEO Arsen Ostrovsky was interviewed on i24 TV News on the UN Security Council’s emergency session against Israel over the Temple Mount and Harvard denying former HRW head Ken Roth a Fellowship.

BBC again promotes PLO narrative in Temple Mount reports
Both reports refer to a “bar on Jewish visits” to Temple Mount without clarifying that that is an internal Jewish discussion.

“Muslim prayer continued to be the only form of worship allowed there, although a bar on Jewish visits was lifted. Palestinians argue that in recent years, steps have been taken that undermine the status quo, with Orthodox Jewish visitors often seen praying quietly without being stopped by Israeli police.”

Unsurprisingly, the BBC chose in the earlier to provide amplification for extremist hyperbole:
“Following the 15-minute walkaround, the Palestinian foreign ministry denounced what it described as “the storming of al-Aqsa mosque by the extremist minister Ben-Gvir and views it as unprecedented provocation and a dangerous escalation of the conflict”.

Palestinian Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh called for “thwarting the raids that aimed at turning the al-Aqsa Mosque into a Jewish temple“, saying Mr Ben-Gvir’s visit was “a violation of all norms, values, international agreements and laws, and Israel’s pledges to the American president”.

A spokesman for the Palestinian militant Islamist group, Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, called it a “crime” and vowed the site “will remain Palestinian, Arab, Islamic”, AFP news agency reported.”

Referring to Operation Guardian of the Walls, Knell and Berg tell readers that:
“Tensions between Israel and Palestinians which escalated into violence at the site in May 2021 saw Hamas fire rockets towards Jerusalem, triggering an 11-day conflict with Israel.”

The false equivalence promoted in that statement conceals from audience view the fact that the “violence at the site” was pre-planned by Palestinians.

Readers of the earlier report also find the repetition of a myth long promoted by the BBC:
“A visit to the site in 2000 by Israeli right-winger Ariel Sharon, then opposition leader, infuriated Palestinians. Violence which followed escalated into the second Palestinian uprising, or intifada.”

Both reports adopt the typical BBC stance of presenting history as having begun in 1967, without any mention of the illegal 19-year Jordanian occupation of Temple Mount and other parts of Jerusalem:
“The Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif is the most sensitive site in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Situated in East Jerusalem, it was captured by Israel from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war. Under a delicate set of arrangements, Jordan was allowed to continue its historical role as custodian of the site, while Israel assumed control of security and access.”

Whatever one’s views on Itamar Ben Gvir’s quarter-of-an hour-long visit to Temple Mount within regular opening hours (or visits and restrictions on prayer by non-Muslims in general), it is obvious that BBC audiences were not provided with accurate and impartial information which would enable their full understanding of this story – not least because the BBC continues to embrace and promote politicised and discriminatory Palestinian narratives aimed at erasing Jewish history and legitimacy in any report relating to that site.
Financial Times twice omits that Temple Mount is Judaism's holiest site
A Financial Times article by Neri Zilber (“Israel’s security minister makes surprise visit to al-Aqsa mosque compound”, Jan. 3) included the following:
Itamar Ben-Gvir arrived at the al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam’s third-holiest site, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount, just after dawn under heavy Israeli security protection.

Zilbery included the fact the Temple Mount’s is Islam’s third holiest site, while omitting that it’s the most holy site in Judaism.

Interestingly, the Financial Times itself, in a 2021 article by their previous Jeruslaem correspondent, was clear about this point, writing that “The area the mosque sits on, called the Temple Mount by Jews, is the holiest site in Judaism and is the original home of the second temple destroyed by the Romans in AD70″. Further, only a few months ago, CAMERA prompted the New York Times to correct an article that also initially omitted that the Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest site.

We turn now to to another Financial Times article published last week (“Israel’s righward shift stokes alarm to threat over West Bank stability”, Jan. 4), which included the following:
[Itamar Ben-Gvir’s] willingness to challenge the status quo was underlined on Tuesday as he made a surprise visit to the al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam’s third-holiest site known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount. The visit to a location that is historically a flashpoint for Israeli-Palestinian tensions was labelled “an unprecedented provocation” by the Palestinian Authority’s foreign ministry.

First, contrary to Zilber’s claim, the Temple Mount visit by Ben-Gvir did not “challenge the status quo”, which permits Jews to visit the site, as long as they don’t pray. And, media reports were clear that he did not pray. This is important context, as Palestinains and their supporters often characterise any peaceful Jewish visit to the compound as a “provocation”, “invasion“, “defilement” or even part of a conspiracy to destroy al-Aqsa.

Misreporting on Holy Sites Mars NPR’s Coverage on Ben-Gvir’s Temple Mount Visit
“It didn’t take long for Israel’s most controversial new cabinet minister to touch off international reaction with a visit to Jerusalem’s most sensitive religious site,” says NPR’s introduction to Daniel Estrin’s Jan. 3 broadcast on Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir’s early morning 13-minute stroll on the Temple Mount, Judaism’s most sacred site and the third holiest site in Islam (“Criticism has followed Israel’s new security minister’s visit to Jerusalem site“). Nor did it take long for NPR to trip up on basic facts about this and other sensitive holy sites in Jerusalem.

Thus, Estrin misleadingly reported about Jerusalem’s Temple Mount: “In Jewish tradition, the hilltop that’s the mosque compound is where the biblical temples stood.”.

The location of the first and second Jewish temples on the Temple Mount is not merely a question of Jewish tradition; it’s a matter of secular, scientific archeological fact.

There is no archeological dispute about the fact that the Jewish temples were located on the Temple Mount. As The New York Times was compelled to acknowledge in a 2015 correction:
An earlier version of this article misstated the question that many books and scholarly treatises have never definitively answered concerning the two ancient Jewish temples. The question is where precisely on the 37-acre Temple Mount site the temples had once stood, not whether the temples had ever existed there.
"Brooklyn Jewish Man Hurt in Crown Heights Ramming"
A Chasidic Jewish man was struck down by a car in a shocking incident on Friday night in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

The visibly Jewish man was beginning to cross the street at about 6 pm on the corner of Albany Avenue and Union Street when a car turned the corner and struck him down.

Surveillance video obtained by the NYPD shows the victim, a Chabad-Lubavitch man in his 50s, at the corner when a white sedan appears to stop at the light, and then proceeds to drive ahead without warning, mowing down the Jewish man. The driver in his vehicle then fled the scene.

“It appears that the perp intentionally struck the victim,” a police source said.

The victim suffered a broken leg and was treated by Hatzalah before he was taken to a local medical center.

The NYPD has deemed the attack as a possible bias incident and the Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating.

Daughter of Holocaust survivors 'shocked and terrified' after a Hitler-loving antisemite performed a Nazi salute and hurled a disturbing racial slur at her during a grocery run in Melbourne
An elderly Jewish woman whose family survived the Holocaust was terrified when a balding Neo-Nazi said 'Heil Hitler' to her as she shopped at Coles in Melbourne.

The woman, in her 70s, was at the supermarket in Elsternwick - south-east of the CBD, and in the heart of the city's Jewish community - in December when a stranger noticed her Star of David jewellery.

As the man passed her in the aisle, he did the Nazi salute and walked away.

She was so shocked and scared that she didn't report the incident to police, but was eventually encouraged to tell Jewish lobby group the Anti-Defamation Commission about her experience.

'This is Coles Elsternwick, not Nazi Germany,' she told commission's chairman, Dr Dvir Abramovich.

'As a child of Holocaust survivors who fled Europe to give their family a peaceful life, it brought back all the traumas of my past - my parent's guilt for surviving the Holocaust and their struggles.'

She described the man as tall, middle-aged, balding, and wearing a dark jacket.

The woman said she would not stop wearing the Star of David, but she was traumatised by the incident.

Two great men built an alliance between Blacks and Jews
When People Criticize Zionists They Mean Jews, You Are Talking Antisemitism” Martin Luther King Jr, A proud unapologetic Zionist

More exact words were never said. They were told by the great civil rights leader, The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., the American hero whose life and dream of please and equality America celebrates on Monday, January 16trh.Dr. King was a strong supporter of Jewish Issues. He fought for the freedom to observe all faiths, was a proud unapologetic Zionist and fought to release the Jews trapped in the Soviet Union. One of his closest allies and friends was Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a Polish-born American Conservative rabbi considered one of the leading Jewish theologians and philosophers of the 20th century. He was a leader of the civil rights movement. In many pictures of 1960s civil rights protests, including the famous one in Selma, the Reverend and Rabbi marched close together in the front line. The two great men of faith forged a close alliance between African American and Jewish National Leadership.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel marched with Martin Luther King Jr. on the road to civil rights. Rev.King marched with the Jews on the way to a secure Israel.

“At the first conference on religion and race, the main participants were Pharaoh and Moses. The outcome of that summit meeting has not come to an end. Pharaoh is not ready to capitulate. The Exodus began, but is far from having been completed.”

Those were the words with which Heschel opened his address at the 1963 National Conference on Race and Religion in Chicago. At that conference, Rabbi Heschel first met the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the keynote speaker at this national gathering.

Interestingly in their speeches, each of the men chose to quote the same passage from the book of Amos, not knowing what the other would say. His vision of a world where “Let righteousness roll down like waters and justice like a mighty stream.”

After the two met at that conference, they became close friends and allies, working together to achieve equality for their communities.

Theologically as well as politically, King and Heschel recognized their own strong kinship. For each, there was an emphatic stress on the dependence of the political on the spiritual, God on human society, the moral life on economic well-being. Indeed, there are numerous passages in their writings that might have been composed by either one. Consider, for example, Heschel’s words: “The opposite of good is not evil, the opposite of good is indifference,” a conviction that he translated into a political commitment: “In a free society, some are guilty, but all are responsible.” King writes, “To accept passively an unjust system is to cooperate with that system.” In so doing, he went on, “the oppressed becomes as evil as the oppressor.” Not to act communicates “to the oppressor that his actions are morally right.”
Newly found 3,600-year-old silver pieces are 1st currency in Levant, study claims
A team of Israeli archaeologists announced it has discovered the earliest evidence of silver being used as currency in the Levant, dating back more than 3,600 years, which is 500 years prior to previous estimates.

“This is the earliest evidence of hoarded silver,” the University of Haifa’s Dr. Tzilla Eshel told The Times of Israel.

Uncovered in excavations around Israel and the Gaza Strip, the proto-coinage’s silver dates to the Middle Bronze Age and originated in either ancient Anatolia or in the area of ancient Greece, researchers from the University of Haifa and Hebrew University said on Sunday.

“This means that we are witnessing the first evidence that there was continuous and long-term trade of metals between the Levant and Anatolia, already 1,700 years before the common era,” said Eshel. “We know for sure that in the Iron Age this kind of trade existed, but our findings move the beginning of this type of trade in metals to 500 years earlier,” she said.

The discovery, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, shows that ancient cities in the region had a much more developed long-distance trade relationship and local economy than previously believed.

The silver hoards were found in Israel’s Megiddo, Gezer and Shiloh, as well as Tel el-‘Ajjul in the Gaza Strip. Their different origins were discovered through isotope analysis. The current study also examined previously discovered samples from the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Rockefeller Museum, and the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

“The use of silver [as currency] indicates a society that used scales, and indicates a society that used writing to write down the transactions,” explained Eshel. “It also means you need to have silver flowing into the area constantly, so the volume of trade has to be larger, and you can see something bigger is happening in economic terms.”

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 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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