Saturday, February 04, 2023

From Ian:

Netanyahu looks to cover West Bank with highway tunnels, in vision laid out by Musk
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has proposed building underground highway systems across the West Bank to connect both Israeli settlements and Palestinian towns in order to maintain territorial continuity, The Times of Israel’s sister site, Zman Yisrael, reported Saturday.

Netanyahu is aiming for high-speed tunnels designed ostensibly to address the problems of traffic jams and congestion, per the vision of the billionaire Elon Musk, and his engineering firm Boring Company.

Netanyahu presented his plans during a conversation Friday with French investors in Paris at the hotel where he spent the weekend.

According to Netanyahu, the tunnels could refute Palestinian claims that they have no territorial continuity in the West Bank, as their communities would be linked underground.

He also said they would make it possible to travel between settlements in a matter of a few minutes, which would solve the settlement issue as in practice they would be annexed to Israel through a system of tunnels and highways. Additionally, the tunnels would provide Israeli motorists in the area with safety from Palestinian attacks.

During the conversation with the French investors, whose total wealth was estimated by the prime minister at $150 billion, he asked who would be willing to invest in such a project. Several of them raised their hands with joy, according to Netanyahu.

One of the investors told Netanyahu that he invests in Israel but has endless bureaucratic problems, mainly with the Israel Land Authority.
University of Michigan dismisses calls to condemn intifada-themed rally
In 2021, a University of Michigan music professor showed a 1965 film adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Othello,” which featured a white actor in blackface, in class. The professor apologized and stepped down, yet a dean at the university stated that the experience “was hurtful and upsetting to the students in the class,” and the professor’s actions “do not align with our school’s commitment to anti-racist action, diversity, equity and inclusion.”

When someone distributed racist fliers on the school’s Ann Arbor campus five years prior, the university’s president at the time, Mark Schlissel, stated, “While we continue to defend any individual’s right to free speech on our campus, these types of attacks directed toward any individual or group, based on a belief or characteristic, are inconsistent with the university’s values of respect, civility and equality.” The university has “a responsibility to create a learning environment that is free of harassment. These are core values and guiding principles that will help us as we strive to live up to our highest ideals,” he added.

When students chanted violent slogans threatening Jewish and Israeli students on campus during Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit to campus three weeks ago, the university adopted a different approach. At first, it couldn’t muster a response, and then when it did respond to a letter of complaint from the Israel-based International Legal Forum, the response was “woefully inadequate, and quite frankly offensive,” Arsen Ostrovsky, the forum’s CEO, told JNS.

“It is unfathomable that the university, which purports to promote inclusion and a commitment to combating antisemitism and hate speech, refuses to even merely condemn a rally held on its grounds, calling for violence, with the most obscene antisemitic hate rhetoric,” he said.

Students chanted “there is only one solution: intifada revolution” and “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” among other hateful slogans, which call for the violent destruction of Israel, according to Ostrovsky.

Rather than responding that Jewish and Israeli students had a right to feel safe, and that such language constituted violence—as the university has plastered all over certain sections of its website—Rick Fitzgerald, associate vice president for public affairs, wrote to ILF that this was a matter of academic freedom.

“It is clear that many within and outside our university community heard certain chants as antisemitic,” Fitzgerald wrote. “We understand that perspective and thank you and others for sharing those views, especially during this time in our nation’s history when there has been a rise in antisemitic speech and violence.”
Seth Frantzman: Has Iran accepted growth of Israel-Saudi ties under Netanyahu?
It is clear from the report how much Iran relies on others for information, apparently due to fears of its media being seen as promoting Israel-Saudi ties; it even quotes a report from the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA).

The Iranian report says that Saudi officials have concerns about their position in the Islamic world, noting other hurdles about American commitments and Saudi Arabia’s desire for new defense contracts in the US and a “nuclear agreement” between Riyadh and Washington.

“If these 3 conditions are met, Saudi Arabia is ready to shake hands with Israel next month,” the report says.

The article next mentions a Brookings report from 2022: “According to Brookings, the secret cooperation between the Saudis and the Israelis dates back to the early 1960s, when both supported the Yemeni royalists against the Egyptian republican government.”

It further notes that Saudi Arabia has permitted direct flights from Israel to the Gulf over its territory. The survey of reports then goes on to look at how Iran’s threats brought Israel and Saudi Arabia closer and how economic negotiations are taking place.

Iran’s report concludes by saying Israel has spent 75 years of “crimes, killing, occupation and encroachment of the Zionists on Palestine and illegal presence in the country.” Therefore, the author wonders how normalization will occur, considering that Saudi Arabia has supported the two-state solution.

The conclusion, from the point of view of the Iranian regime, is that this is “a plan that England and America could not implement many years ago, and today the Saudis are looking for it.”

In essence, it accuses Riyadh of being the latest part of the historical support Israel has had from the UK and the US. The overall message of a report like this one is that Iran’s regime feels it has a number of ways to prevent normalization now.

It takes, at face value, the deluge of reports in Western and local media. It used to try to threaten the Gulf regarding normalization, but now it appears to think the train has left the station.

While the Iranian threats to the region, from drones to the use of proxies in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Gaza and elsewhere won’t stop, it appears that Tehran views Israel’s continued diplomatic successes with a stubborn acceptance.

Israel accuses UN human rights chief of blaming terror attacks on victims
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk called on Friday for the “illogic of escalation” to stop between Israelis and Palestinians, alluding to violent incidents last month in Jenin and Neveh Ya'acov.

“I fear that recent measures being taken by the Government of Israel are only fueling further violations and abuses of human rights law and violations of international humanitarian law,” he said. “Last year saw record numbers of Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank including east Jerusalem – and the highest number of fatalities of Israelis inside Israel and in the occupied West Bank in many years."

He also goes on to mention the number of Palestinians killed in the West Bank last year, and calls for measures to de-escalate tensions, while also saying that deaths and injuries in recent violent incidents between the two groups must be "investigated by international standards."

Israeli condemnation
Israel condemned Türk's statement in response the same day, stating that the Geneva human rights community remained silent on the shooting in Neveh Ya'acov for a week until Türk made the statement targeting Israel.

The UN commissioner was also criticized by Israel for not condemning the attack on the Jerusalem synagogue nor offering condolences to the victims' families and friends.

“The press release does not even have the decency to describe the attacks last week for what they were, acts of Palestinian terrorism targeting the Jewish People. It does not even have the courage to condemn the death of innocent worshipers," said Israeli ambassador to the UN in Geneva Meirav Eilon Shahar. "Its prejudice towards Israel means it chooses to turn a blind eye to the daily incitement of children by the Palestinian Authority and their support for terrorism."

UN criticizes Israeli plan to ease gun ownership requirements after terror attacks
UN rights chief Volker Turk on Friday called for an end to the “illogic of escalation” between Israel and the Palestinians amid a spike in deadly violence, criticizing plans to streamline and ease the requirements for Israelis to carry weapons.

Turk condemned Israel for measures that “can only lead to further violence and bloodshed,” following a surge in terror attacks and clashes that have drawn calls from the international community for calm and restraint.

“Rather than doubling down on failed approaches of violence and coercion… I urge everyone involved to step out of the illogic of escalation that has only ended in dead bodies, shattered lives and utter despair,” Turk said in a statement.

“Recent measures being taken by the government of Israel are only fueling further violations and abuses of human rights law,” he continued.

“We know from experience that the proliferation of firearms will lead to increased risks of killings and injuries of both Israelis and Palestinians,” Turk said.

The UN rights chief was referring to the announced overhaul of the National Security Ministry’s firearm licensing department following a series of terror attacks.

The Israel Guys: The Palestinian Authority Calls For The COMPLETE Destruction of Israel
In the wake of growing US support, the Palestinian authority doubles down on its efforts to attack and delegitimize the state of Israel.

Joshua also talks all about how the PA, PLO and BDS movements have joined forces to achieve their ultimate goal.

Gadi Taub: GATEKEEPER EXCLUSIVE: (Eng. subtitles) Justice Minister Levin Explains his Proposed Judicial Reform
Israel is in turmoil over the proposed judicial reform Netanyahu's new government is planning. Much of the noise is based on misrepresentation of the plan itself. Yariv Levin, Israel's minister of justice, and the author of the reform, explains the reform in detail here for the first time, in a full hour conversation with Gatekeeper host, Gadi Taub. Far from posing a danger to democracy, he says, the reform will make it more robust by restoring the balance between the branches of government, to make Israel resemble more closely the norms in other Western democracies.

Israel's Ehud Barak compares President Herzog to Nazi appeaser
Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak uploaded a picture showing President Isaac Herzog as British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to social media on Friday. Chamberlain negotiated and talked with Hitler and the Nazis at the beginning of World War II.

Barak deleted the post a few hours later and apologized to the president for what he called "a grave error in the selection of the picture." The original post

In the original post, Barak attacked the negotiation attempts led by President Herzog regarding the government's judicial reforms.

"Protest does not stop!", Barak wrote. "It is forbidden to negotiate without prior commitment to the Hayut-Miara conditions."

He then explained that the conditions are to stop flash legislation and to legislate only with broad agreement starting with the next Knesset. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak seen during media interview in Tel Aviv on September 30, 2019 (credit: YOSSI ALONI/FLASH90) Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak seen during media interview in Tel Aviv on September 30, 2019 (credit: YOSSI ALONI/FLASH90)

"Without these conditions, it is cooperation with the D-9 [bulldozer] and Netanyahu who are acting, according to Miara, in violation of the law. And if they don't agree - declare [Netanyahu] incapable," Barak wrote.

Two photos were attached to the original post, one of President Herzog as Chamberlain and an aerial photo of one of the protests in Tel Aviv.

Barak later deleted the post and wrote: "A grave error was made in the selection of the picture in the tweet from this morning. I am very sorry for it and apologize to the president and to everyone who was hurt by it, rightfully so."
Former IAF fighter pilot, protest head calls for killing 'undemocratic leaders'
Ze'ev Raz, one of the leaders of the Balfour protest and a former fighter pilot, backtracked on what appeared to be a call to assassinate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday. Raz was a pilot who participated in a reactor bombing operation in Iraq in 1981, which is known as Operation Opera.

"If a sitting prime minister assumes dictatorial powers, this prime minister is bound to die, simply like that, along with his ministers and his followers.

He continued by arguing that Israel should integrate 'din rodef' (a concept in Jewish law that allows for the killing of an individual who intends to kill or harm others).

"My din rodef rules that if my country is taken over by a person, foreigner or Israeli, who leads it in an undemocratic manner, it is obligatory to kill is better to kill the criminals first."

Israel Police on Saturday night announced that they had opened an investigation into Raz's actions.

Likud's response
The Likud party immediately called for Raz's arrest following his statements.

"The incitement against Prime Minister Netanyahu breaks records of insanity," the party issued in an official statement. "We are shocked by Zeev Raz's call to assassinate Prime Minister Netanyahu and his cabinet ministers. The Shin Bet and the police must act immediately to arrest him and the other instigators against Prime Minister Netanyahu."

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid condemned Raz's statements, tweeting: "Any incitement and violence only harms the fight to save this country. I call on all those who love this country to demonstrate, protest, take to the streets, but lawfully, do not incite violence of any kind."
Israel's Iron Dome shoots down hostile aircraft over Gaza Strip
IDF air defense fighters intercepted an aircraft that was airborne over the Gaza Strip, according to an IDF spokesperson.

This was following an explosion that was heard in Sderot.

Airplane noises were also heard in the area around the same time. However, no red alert was issued. Residents in the Gaza Strip also report hearing an explosion.

However, no shots were fired from the Gaza strip, hence why there was no red alert, according to the IDF.

The Iron Dome system did detect a hostile aircraft, a suspected drone according to Israeli media, and intercepted it over the territory of the Gaza Strip. It intercepted it even before it entered Israeli territory from Gaza, according to reports.
Israeli Troops Shoot Palestinian Man in West Bank
Israeli troops killed a Palestinian man near the northern West Bank city of Nablus on Friday, after the man tried to attack a soldier at a military outpost, the Israeli army said.

The incident is the latest in a series of similar episodes that have occurred almost daily over the past year as tensions in the West Bank have flared, bringing the worst levels of violence in the area in more than a decade.

The Palestinian health ministry said the man was a 25-year-old from the city of Jenin but gave no other details.

The Israeli army said the man got out of a car and approached a military outpost near a brigade headquarters, despite being warned off by soldiers who shouted and fired into the air. He attempted to attack one of the soldiers before being shot by another soldier, a statement said.

In a separate incident, the army said an Israeli vehicle was fired on near the city of Rawabi, north of Ramallah but no injuries were reported.

Egypt invites Hamas, Islamic Jihad leaders to ease tensions with Israel
Egypt has invited leaders of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) to Cairo for talks on easing tensions between the Palestinians and Israel, and achieving Palestinian unity.

The invitation came shortly after Abbas Kamel, Director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate, last week visited Ramallah, where he met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and senior PA officials.

Kamel was accompanied by Ahmad Husni, Director of the Jordanian General Intelligence Directorate.

On Saturday, PIJ Secretary-General Ziyad al-Nakhaleh met in Cairo with Kamel “to discuss the latest developments in Jerusalem and the West Bank, especially the city of Jenin,” Islamic Jihad said in a statement.

Jihad gunmen have a strong presence both in Jenin and Nablus, where they have formed armed groups over the past year. The gunmen were also responsible for several terror attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians in the northern West Bank.

“The two sides also discussed bilateral relations, Egyptian efforts to ease the suffering of the Palestinian people and ways of restoring Palestinian unity,” according to the statement, which added that the talks were held in a “positive atmosphere.”

It added that the two sides agreed to continue contact and consultations on all issues related to the Palestinian cause and the situation in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
Palestinian leadership ‘rebuffs' pressure to resume security coordination
The Palestinian leadership has rejected pressure to reverse its decision to end the security coordination and pursue its diplomatic offensive against Israel in the international arena, Palestinian officials said on Saturday.

The officials were speaking after the Palestinian leadership held another meeting in Ramallah on Friday to discuss the latest tensions and violence in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

The officials stressed that the decisions taken by the Palestinian leadership late last month remain in place, notwithstanding the pressure from the US administration and other parties.

PLO Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Yusef told the PA’s Voice of Palestine radio station that the Palestinian leadership’s decision, which was confirmed during Friday’s meeting, is “to continue defining the relationship with the occupying state, to stop the security coordination, not to give in to Israeli threats, and to continue with measures to provide protection for our people.”

Bassam al-Salhi, member of the PLO Executive Committee and Secretary-General of the Palestinian People’s Party (formerly the Palestinian Communist Party), also emphasized that the decision to halt security coordination with Israel remains effective.

During the meeting, held under the chairmanship of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, “the leadership stressed that the decisions it took, including those related to the cessation of security coordination, are still in place given that the reason for them still exists,” Salhi told the Voice of Palestine radio station.
PA arrests lawyer suspected of funding Lions’ Den terror group
The Palestinian security forces have arrested a lawyer on suspicion of funding the Nablus-based Lions’ Den armed group, which has claimed responsibility for a series of shooting attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians.

The Palestinian Bar Association identified the lawyer as 36-year-old Dorgham Khairy Samaana. It said he was arrested on January 29 after being summoned for interrogation by the Palestinian security forces in Ramallah.

In September 2022, the Palestinian security forces arrested Hamas operative Mosab Shtayyeh on similar charges. The arrest sparked clashes between Palestinian protesters and PA security forces in Nablus. One Palestinian was killed and several injured during the confrontations.

Statement by the Bar Association
The Palestinian Bar Association said in a statement on Friday night that Samaana was arrested after he received a "documented consignment" from a gold merchant, whose identity was not revealed.

Samaana’s mobile phone was seized and he was prevented from notifying the Palestinian Bar Association of his arrest, the statement said. The lawyer is being held in solitary confinement and is being deprived of medical care, it added.

“The investigation is focused on the Palestinian resistance in Nablus (Lions' Den) and Hamas and their connection to dealing with gold,” the Palestinian Bar Association revealed. “He has denied the charge and remains in arbitrary detention in violation of the Palestinian Basic Law.”

According to the Palestinian Bar Association, Samaana was interrogated several times regarding the financing of the Lions’ Den group and the illegal possession of a weapon.
Iran runs series on state TV featuring Holocaust deniers, antisemites
The Iranian regime-controlled Channel 4 ran a series of broadcasts with British and American Holocaust deniers in January shortly before International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27.

British Holocaust denier Nicholas Kollerstrom told the Iranian regime outlet it is time to put the "nightmare hallucination narrative" of the Holocaust "to bed," and that the aim of "this holo-hoax tale" was to crush Germany's spirit, according to a translation by The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

Kollerstromsaid continued in his rant denying the Holocaust that the “Endlosung der Judenfrage [the Final Solution to the Jewish Question]” was Germany not wanting "Jews controlling their media, newspapers, justice, politics. They wanted that Jewish influence removed, so this was the policy.”

Anti-Iran group director: Iranian system showcasing antisemitism
Jason Brodsky, the policy director for the US-based United Against Nuclear Iran, told The Jerusalem Post that “it is sadly true to form. The Iranian system is showcasing its antisemitism. The Islamic Republic was birthed in antisemitism and this is just its latest manifestation. Kayhan last year published a guest column praising Hitler, so this year's selection fits into that framework. “

Kayhan newspaper is the principal mouthpiece for Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Brodsky added that “it starts at the top with Iran's supreme leader citing Holocaust deniers like Roger Garaudy. Providing this platform to such figures is contributing to the spread of anti-Semitism around the world and Tehran should be ostracized, marginalized, and punished for it. It shouldn't be courted with more engagement.”
Seth Frantzman: Iran reveals bizarre new miniature tank robots - analysis
As Western states line up to supply sophisticated battle tanks to Ukraine, Iran is unveiling its own tank army.

Iran showcased a legion of miniature tank-robots – remote-controlled, four- and six-wheeled machines fitted with an assortment of small arms.

This is not new. It has been in development for years, but now the regime is claiming to have added “artificial intelligence” and new technology into the machines. The new machines include remote-controlled vehicles that have AK-47s attached to them and may include limited artificial-intelligence applications.

Fars News Agency, associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), addressed this new tank army in a report this week. The industry of the “Islamic Republic” is working on producing new military equipment, it reported.

This is not a new tactic for the Islamic Republic; it developed this local industry due to sanctions, which dictate that no one will openly sell Iran major defense systems at the moment.

Ironically, Tehran has been supplying drones to Russia, a new leap in Iran’s military industrial complex as well as its reputation. Iran is building new systems in various sectors, which is a major accomplishment, Fars reported.

UK university quits student union for ‘constantly’ failing to address antisemitism
A British university on Friday voted to leave the UK’s National Union of Students after an independent investigation found that it had failed to protect Jewish members from antisemitism over the past decade.

The investigation published last month reported that Jewish students were bullied and ostracized in the union because of their religion and views on Israel.

According to a report by the Jewish Chronicle on Friday, Warwick University voted to leave the National Union of Students.

“The NUS has failed to protect minorities from abuse through divisive rhetoric and lack of zero tolerance and condemnation for hate speech,” a motion put to students said, according to the report.

“Warwick SU, and any national student union it belongs to, must have zero tolerance against bigotry towards any individual, minority group and other protected characteristics, and require the same of elected individuals and guests,” it said, branding the National Union of Students as a “failing political arm.”

“The NUS’ constant failure over allegations of bigotry and their detachment from key student concerns, as shown by successive low turnout, has left the union without credibility to many students from various backgrounds and politicians from across the spectrum, endangering the success of any future lobbying by NUS UK,” the motion added.

In May 2022, the union appointed law expert Rebecca Tuck to lead the investigation after 20 former presidents of the union raised concerns over antisemitism within the organization. The National Union of Students is a confederate association of around 600 students’ unions, representing more than seven million students.
Warwick Votes to Disaffiliate from Antisemitic NUS, as Oxford Announces Binding Referendum
Warwick University has just voted to disaffiliate from the NUS, less than a month after a major report into the hard-left organisation found damning evidence of antisemitism. The report found the union to be a “hostile environment” for Jewish students with “numerous instances” of antisemitism. A state of affairs present for over a decade…

Weeks later and today Warwick University Student Union has just voted to leave the organisation. With 1,156 votes cast, 487 voted in favour of disaffiliation to 416 against and 253 abstentions. The motion specifically related to the union’s “failures of alleged bigotry”.

Warwick isn’t the only one. Yesterday Oxford University Student Union announced it is to hold a binding referendum on affiliation in the coming weeks – the motion to hold such a referendum being proposed by two former NUS delegates. Since 2016, 11 universities have disaffiliated – could this be the beginning of the end for the Union’s monopoly?

South Africa Rugby withdraws competition invite to Israeli team
South Africa Rugby announced on Friday that it had withdrawn an invitation to Israeli club Tel Aviv Heat to compete in a second-tier competition from March 24.

On Thursday, a press release from the national body said Heat plus teams from Spain, Kenya, Namibia and Zimbabwe and six South African sides would take part.

However, SA Rugby informed Tel Aviv 24 hours later that the invitation for them to take part had been withdrawn. A Mexican side could replace the Israelis.

SA Rugby president Mark Alexander said the decision had been taken after “we listened to the opinions of important stakeholder groups,” without giving further details.

“We have taken this decision to avoid the likelihood of the competition becoming a source of division, notwithstanding the fact that Israel is a full member of World Rugby and the IOC,” Alexander said.

South Africa has taken a hardline stance against Israel and staunchly supports the Palestinians. It downgraded its embassy in Tel Aviv in 2019 and pulled out its ambassador.

On Jerusalem Attacks, NPR Pushes False Moral Equivalence Narrative
Last Friday shortly after 8:00 PM a gunman fired on a group of people leaving a Jerusalem synagogue, killing seven civilians, including a 14-year old boy. The next day, an NPR report by Daniel Estrin and Larry Kaplow, unsurprisingly, pushed the well-worn moral equivalence narrative, purporting to tell readers, “Here’s what is driving the latest spiral of Israeli-Palestinian violence.” (January 28, 2023.)

What did Estrin and Kaplow find to be driving this “latest spiral”? The heading of the first section of the story is “Israel’s 10-month crackdown in the West Bank.” In other words, in NPR’s illogical view, Israel’s prevention of terror attacks is responsible for terror attacks.

According to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, 19 people were killed in Israel by terrorists primarily from the West Bank between March and May of 2022, spurring Operation Break the Wave – what NPR refers to as “Israel’s 10-month crackdown in the West Bank.” Though NPR does mention “a series of fatal attacks by Palestinians on Israelis last year,” those attacks, somehow, are not considered to be a cause of the “latest spiral” of Israeli-Palestinian violence – only the prevention of further attacks is. Nor, of course, are the Palestinian Authority’s pay-to-slay policies found by Estrin and Kaplow to be a cause.

What else did Estrin and Kaplow find? “Israel’s half-century occupation shows no sign of ending,” is the heading of the third section. NPR tells its readers, “Palestinian leaders want to establish an independent state in the West Bank.” But the uncontestable fact that Palestinian leaders have rejected an independent state on multiple occasions has somehow eluded NPR’s intrepid reporters.

Estrin and Kaplow even go so far as to claim, in the following section, that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, “has tried to promote Palestinian independence through nonviolence and diplomatic negotiations with Israel, but that approach has failed.” But it didn’t just fail. Abbas himself rejected independence, not once but at least twice.
BBC reports on Blinken visit promote a facile narrative
As is overwhelmingly the case in BBC reporting, the topic of ‘the day after Mahmoud Abbas’ – who in addition to president is also head of the PLO (the body regarded by the ‘international community’ as representing the Palestinians) and head of Fatah – and the succession battles that have already begun are not mentioned.

BBC audiences are not told that Palestinian factions such as Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad have violently opposed any peaceful “solution” for decades and that their aim is to eliminate the Jewish state. Neither are they reminded of Abbas’ repeated refusals to recognise Israel as the Jewish state: a key point in the two-state solution proposals which the BBC serially avoids.

Instead, as is all too often the case in BBC framing of the ‘peace process’, Berg erases the Palestinians from the picture – thereby presenting them as entirely lacking agency or responsibility – while once again focusing audience attentions on Israel’s new government as the sole factor supposedly standing in the way of a two state solution.

While that facile narrative may be popular in some circles, it certainly does not contribute to audience understanding of either the wider topic of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict or the steps to “restore calm” proposed by the US administration during Blinken’s visit.
‘My Son Will Hate The Jews For Rest Of His Life’: German Soccer Club Chairman Under Fire for Antisemitic Comments
The chairman of a German soccer club was under fire on Friday over antisemitic comments he made in a television documentary about Jew-hatred in the sport.

Ergün Çakir — the chairman of CFC Hertha 06, a Berlin club that competes in the German capital’s minor leagues — made the remarks in a recent documentary on soccer and antisemitism produced by national broadcaster ARD.

Cakir originally made the headlines last November, when his son was one of two Hertha 06 players who assailed their visiting opponents from the German-Jewish club TuS Makkabi Berlin with antisemitic invective after losing a match 7-4.

In extraordinary scenes that were documented in a special report by the referee, Ender Apaydin, the Makkabi players were threatened with “cremation” — a reference to the Nazi gas chambers — while Apaydin himself was told that he had been “bought by the Jews.”

The trouble began when the Makkabi players, who are drawn from many nationalities and ethnicities in the league’s 17-19 age group, attempted take a team photo while standing on the Hertha 06 pitch in front of an Israeli flag. Cakir’s son is alleged to have approached the group, screaming, “I’ll f*** your country and your flag, you sons of b*****. Take down the flag or I’ll cremate you and your dirty flag, you b******, like the Germans did to you.”

Reflecting on the incident in the ARD documentary, Cakir asserted: “My son will hate the Jews for the rest of his life – I know that 100 percent.”
Germany celebrates UNESCO listing for birthplaces of Yiddish, Ashkenazi culture
Germany held a ceremony to celebrate the first German-Jewish sites to be given UNESCO’s World Heritage designation on Wednesday.

The sites in the upper part of the Rhine River valley are known as the origin point of Ashkenazi culture and where the Yiddish language first began to develop over 1,000 years ago. They were recognized by UNESCO, the United Nations’ education and cultural body, in July 2021, but the coronavirus pandemic delayed Germany’s celebration of the designation.

UNESCO recognized the Speyer Jewry-Court, a synagogue and yeshiva complex in the city of Speyer; the Worms Synagogue Compound; the Old Jewish Cemetery of Worms, the oldest known in-situ Jewish cemetery in Europe; and the Old Jewish Cemetery of Mainz.

“The unique community centers and cemeteries have had a lasting impact on the material Ashkenazic culture and are directly and tangibly associated with the creative achievements of the early Ashkenazic scholars,” UNESCO’s listing explains.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited a synagogue in Mainz on Wednesday.

“Before July 27, 2021, there were 49 World Heritage sites in our country, from Roman Trier to the old Hanseatic cities of Stralsund and Wismar, from Aachen Cathedral to Wartburg Castle near Eisenach. The list reflected the diversity of culture and nature, but it had a large gap: there were no Jewish cultural monuments,” Steinmeier said in his address.

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