Saturday, March 11, 2023

From Ian:

The next Intifada is about to begin
I’ve argued elsewhere that the entire Palestinian predicament is the outcome of three very different Arab-Israeli wars which began in 1947, 1967, and 2000. It’s not an intuitive historical argument to make, as these three wars have so little in common. The first began as an Arab-Jewish civil war fought village by village, which then expanded into a multi-state war across four borders lasting a year and a half. The second was a rapid but conventional military conflict fought in less than a week. And the third was a low-intensity armed conflict characterised by frequent terrorist attacks and counterinsurgency operations by an occupying army which took about five years to peter out.

All three were preceded by a wave of righteous ecstasy on the Arab side. All three ended in a disastrous defeat for the Arab side that irreversibly worsened the political and economic situation of the Palestinians. And all three defeats were followed by the collective erasure of any memory of the excitement before the conflict. They instead became stories of distilled victimisation, almost ensuring a repeat performance a generation later.

Why does this keep happening? It’s not that Palestinians are uniquely irrational; nor are the Palestinians the only nation birthed by the collapse of an old imperial order. The Irish, Bulgarians, Greeks, Turks, Armenians, Poles, Ukrainians and many others formed modern states on a mix of historical claims and very modern myth-making throughout the 20th century, frequently in conditions of war and displacement, and always with unanswered territorial claims. Some of these were the basis for lingering resentments and conflicts for generations.

Yet none except for the Palestinians rejected statehood when it was on offer because it didn’t include all their territorial claims. And this includes the Israelis who accepted the UN partition plan on roughly half of what was left of the original British Mandate. Zionists accepted a state that didn’t even include Jerusalem, the focal point of Jewish longing for two millennia and already then, as for a century before, home to a Jewish majority. This is the difference between a movement for national liberation and a movement for the elimination of another nation. In the former, even a very difficult compromise can be understood as an achievement (however partial or internally controversial). In the latter, a compromise that leaves this unwanted presence is still an unacceptable defeat.

The Arab war against Zionism has been a central organising political fact of Arab politics for over a century. This self-destructive passion hit its peak in the mid-20th century, dragged numerous Arab states into repeated military catastrophes and saw nearly every Jewish community in the Arab world completely erased, some after a continuous presence of more than 2,000 years. Anti-Zionism serves the same totemic function for broad circles of activists and intellectuals in the West too. Accepting that Israel is not a state whose policies may merit severe critique, but one whose existence is a crime, is now the price of entry to the community of the good.

This is how the “Arab-Israeli” conflict morphs into the “Israeli-Palestinian” conflict, which then morphs into just “the occupation” and now increasingly “apartheid”. The first transition denied the scope of the conflict and effaced the reality of a tiny Jewish minority being marked for destruction by the Arab world as a whole. The second denied that there was a conflict at all, and rendered the entire situation as an extended outcome of an Israeli sin. The third eliminates even the possibility that such a sin can be expiated; it instead holds Israel’s existence as inherently evil. Between these two external forces, and with all the internal dysfunction of Palestinian politics, it is nearly impossible to expect the Palestinians to do what every other national liberation movement has done: seek political freedom and build a society from there. After three catastrophes in three generations, there is not even a hint of an alternative.

Three destructive and unnecessary wars put the Palestinians in the lamentable place they now inhabit. It’s impossible to know what the fourth will look like, but it’s unlikely it will resemble that or any of the previous three. The current violence has not sparked that war yet, but unless something dramatic changes in the political trajectories of both parties, something eventually will. And when it does, Israelis will pay a heavy and avoidable price — and the Palestinians an even larger one.
Daniel Greenfield: An Anti-Israel Op-Ed Accidentally Exposes the Bias Machine
Nadav Ziv fails to disclose that this was a response to the murder of two young men who were stuck in traffic in Hawara followed by celebrations in the Muslim village. One of a series of murders and assaults.

I’ll let Shmuel Sackett, an activist who lives in the area, tell the rest of the story. “1,600 Jewish families live in Har Bracha, Yitzhar, Itamar and Elon Moreh and their only way home, from the main Tapuach junction, is via this town. Every day, yes! – every single day – at least 20 Jewish cars get stoned while driving through Hawara. I highly doubt that this has ever happened to Rabbi Hauer… It’s important to note that “stoning cars” is not what you think. None of the violent Jew haters are throwing pebbles. They are throwing bricks and dropping cinder blocks from rooftops.”

Imagine a young mother with 3 children in her car, driving home from the supermarket. As she is driving, a brick comes crashing through her windshield. The shock of what happened is enough to give her a heart attack! The children start screaming, there is broken glass everywhere, but she cannot stop for help… because she’s in the middle of Hawara with a mob just waiting to finish the job.

This is not an exaggeration. This happens every day and the murder of Hillel and Yagel Yaniv was something that Hawara residents live for. After the brutal murder, candies and sweets were handed out, cake was distributed, and people were singing.

I’m going to be writing about Hawara elsewhere. Ziv’s ugly and dishonest op-ed is interesting for a whole other reason.

A LinkedIn with that name reveals that he appears to be an employee of 90 West: a strategic communications firm that are “committed to working with mission-driven organizations and individuals whose work aligns with the issues we believe are central to creating a more just, equitable, and sustainable future.”

What’s Ziv’s job at 90 West?

“I research and write op-eds with a focus on climate change, diversity, and taxes; conduct research on the clean energy transition with a focus on grid reliability and offshore wind; and help clients crystallize their research into coherent and engaging prose.”

Founded by an associate of former MA Governor Deval Patrick, the firm is currently tied to Squad member Rep. Ayanna Pressley. One of its missions is “assisting U.S. companies and organizations seeking to engage in Israel.”

The Los Angeles Times op-ed failed to disclose any of that. Instead, it just states that, “Nadav Ziv is a writer whose work includes essays about Judaism, antisemitism and Israel” While a chain of associations isn’t solid evidence, the failure to disclose that Ziv writes op-eds for a leftist strategic comms firm with a focus on Israel is a serious red flag.

Was the vile op-ed written for a 90 West client and planted in the LA Times to make it appear organic? If so which one? I’ve reached out to both Ziv and LA Times editorial page editors to get a response, but I suspect that there won’t be one.

Anti-Israel basis is systemic, but it’s also fed by a network of not only activist groups, but comms operations, many of which are disguised to appear Jewish or even pro-Israel, because that makes them more plausible. These operations are invisible to most people unless you do some digging. And when you do, what turns up is highly revealing. There are organic participants in an anti-Israel movement, but much of it is planted, bought and paid for with the complicity of the media which chooses not to reveal the machine behind the bias.
Jonathan Tobin: The ADL’s woke war on the right won’t stop antisemitism
Sometimes, the most important questions are the ones that aren’t asked about the issues that generate the most concern. That’s certainly true with respect to the widespread and justified concern about a rising tide of antisemitism that has spread across the globe to the United States. There, the question that isn’t being asked is whether the information we’re being fed by the Anti-Defamation League is illuminating the problem or actually doing more to confuse and distort the discussion about its core mission of fighting Jew-hatred.

Though the partisan tilt of the organization under its current CEO and national director Jonathan Greenblatt has been amply documented, it is still treated by the mainstream corporate media, as well as most of the Jewish community, as the authoritative voice on the subject. So when the group issues a report on the issue, as it did this week with a study on “White Supremacist Propaganda,” the world pays attention. The thrust of that document was the claim that the number of “white supremacist events” rose to an all-time high in 2022. That was treated as fodder for alarmist headlines that stoked the fears of Jews that the United States is in danger of being overrun by neo-Nazis.

But like many of the ADL’s reports in recent years, when reading beneath the headlines, the details don’t quite justify the fear-mongering that drives the group’s successful fundraising efforts. The key data point is that the group counted 170 “events” of white supremacist propaganda in 2022 as opposed to 108 in 2021. By “events,” they don’t reference actual attacks on Jews but rather the distribution of antisemitic fliers and stickers or posters or banners displayed publicly.

Any instance of far-right hate is one too many. Moreover, the memory of the murderous attacks on synagogues in Pittsburgh in 2018 and in Poway in 2019 is deeply embedded in the consciousness of Jews who have now sadly grown accustomed to the sight of armed guards at their places of worship. Anyone who has witnessed any of these “events” is entitled to be angry and concerned.

Yet while vigilance is necessary, the idea that even 170 such instances in a nation of 336 million people constitute a genuine surge of neo-Nazi hate cannot be taken seriously. The voices of far-right extremists are amplified by the Internet, and digital technology has also enabled them to communicate and organize in ways that were impossible a generation ago.

Yet the evidence doesn’t back up the idea that this is the principal threat to Jewish security. That was illustrated by what happened on Feb. 25.

Although many American Jews feared the worst when the news spread last month of a network of neo-Nazi groups planning a “National Day of Hate,” what happened was much like the “events” that the ADL puts forward as proof of a surge of far-right activity. The much-ballyhooed alarmism fell flat when that Saturday proved to be something of a virtual stunt with little, if any, neo-Nazi activity observed. This showed that although they get a lot of PR and attention from the ADL and the liberal media, their numbers remain tiny, and they have no political support for their efforts.

That is, of course, not the case with the intersectional left; it promotes a different brand of antisemitism that doesn’t seem to generate the same kind of threat among American Jewry. The demonization of Israel and its Jewish supporters, who are branded as the beneficiaries of “white privilege” and the oppressors of Palestinian “people of color,” is widespread and routinely published in mainstream publications like The New York Times and broadcast outlets like MSBC, and, as CAMERA pointed out this week, in overseas outlets like France24.

Seth Frantzman: Ramifications of Iran-Saudi rapprochement are unknown, unclear
These are the major questions about how Iran’s behavior may need to shift following the agreement. If Iran doesn’t shift its behavior and if there is no deal in Yemen or Lebanon to reduce tensions then the agreement will appear hollow, or it will appear that it is only focusing on one “file” and not looking at the broader region.

Historically the region has always had its own internal relations and also in its relations with the great powers.

For instance, while Saudi Arabia or Pakistan were close to the US, Pakistan also historically worked with China. Some countries in the region historically worked closely with Russia, such as Egypt into the 1970s and Iraq into the 1980s. This means that it’s never either/or in terms of relations.

The US has a powerful legacy in the Middle East. Russia also does. While the US has signaled some form of retreat from the region and it repositions itself from the global war on terror to confronting near-peer adversaries like China and Russia, it would be a mistake to portray the Saudi-Iran ties as a loss for the US.

Saudi Arabia must make the right choices for itself and this doesn’t preclude having good ties with the West. Rather, it is voices in the West that have often tried to distance themselves from Riyadh. Whereas the US was close to Saudi Arabia in the 1980s and 1990s, there has been a rising chorus in the US against a close partnership with Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia can read those comments in the media and social media just as well as anyone else. It understands that there are many voices who want to distance Washington from Riyadh. Therefore, it has made its choices toward a more independent policy. It has made this judgment by watching Turkey and others carve their own path.

It remains to be seen if the new ties with Iran will actually bring change. In the past many countries tried a new tack with Tehran, such as the Iran deal of 2015, and Tehran didn’t change its behavior. This is because Iran’s regime is addicted to arming militias and hollowing out Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. How will Iran change its policy after decades of doing one thing? That is a key question after the new ties were announced.
Wiesenthal Center urges UN's Guterres to denounce Iraq's law banning peace with Israel
The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is facing intense criticism from Iraqis, a former US Special envoy for Syria and an American human rights organization for his early March meeting with the leaders of two Iran-backed militias in Iraq who have been sanctioned by Washington for terrorism and grave human rights abuses.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) showed on its website a photograph of Guterres with Qais Al-Khaz'ali, head of the Iran-sponsored 'Asaeb Ahl Al-Haqq militia, and Rayan Al-Kildani, head of the Iranian-backed Christian Babylon movement and of its military wing, the Babylon Battalions, in Iraq.

Joel Rayburn, the former US Special Envoy for Syria, tweeted “ The UN Secretary General is all smiles meeting in Baghdad with the grinning terrorist Qais Khazali, who killed hundreds of US troops, murdered 1000s of Iraqis, & routinely bombards US personnel in Iraq & Syria.”

The US Treasury Department sanctioned Qais Al-Khaz'ali, the Secretary General of the Iran-backed Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (AAH) as a “specially designated global terrorist” because his militia opened fired on Iraqi protesters during 2019 protesters in many cities in Iraq, leading to the murders of demonstrators.

According to the US Treasury Department, “.Qais al-Khazali was part of a committee of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) proxies that approved the use of lethal violence against protesters for the purpose of public intimidation.” The US government classified the IRGC’s Qods Force as a terrorist organization.

The US Treasury Department sanctioned Rayan Al-Kildani for “serious human rights violations” in Iraq. According to the Treasury’s sanction notice,” In May 2018, a video circulated among Iraqi human rights civil society organizations in which al-Kildani cut off the ear of a handcuffed detainee.”

DC think tank lists Israel as only free Mideast nation, but warns of legal shakeup
Israel is the only nation in the Middle East considered “free” in the annual freedom index published by Washington-based think tank Freedom House, but they warned that the government’s plans to radically overhaul the judicial system may harm its ranking.

Freedom in the World, now in its 50th year, evaluates the state of freedom during the previous year. Each country and territory is assigned between zero and four points on a series of 25 indicators, for an aggregate score of up to 100. The researchers take into account state as well as non-state actors, including insurgents and other armed groups, for a total of 210 countries and territories.

The scores are used to determine ratings for political rights and civil liberties. These ratings determined a country’s overall status as free, partly free, or not free.

Israel scored 77 points — 34 out of 40 in political rights and 43 out of 60 in civil liberties. The detailed scores in each category have not yet been released.

In a summary report, Freedom Index noted that Israel is the only country or territory in the Middle East ranked as “free” in 2022.

But the report added that “election results painted a grimmer picture: former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power at the head of a coalition with far-right elements, and the new government’s agenda posed a direct threat to judicial independence and other democratic principles, as well as to the basic rights of Palestinians.”
250,000 protesters take to the streets against judicial reform
Around 250,000 protesters took to the streets on Saturday evening, as anti-judicial reform protests entered their tenth consecutive week following the formation of the government at the start of January.

Nationwide, cities like Haifa have seen record-high numbers of protestors, as the number of demonstrators reached around 50,000, breaking a record for the city. Protest organizers said Ra'anana has reported around 9,000 protesters, 3,500 in Kiryat Ono, and upwards of 3,000 in Rehovot. Be'er Sheva is believed to have roughly 1,000 protesters, Ynet reported.

By 9:30 p.m., protesters had blocked the entrances to the Ayalon Highway, temporarily preventing traffic from passing. However, the road was cleared and traffic was able to resume shortly after.

Former Air Force Commander Amir Eshel, retired Commissioner Moshe Karadi, retired judge Hila Gerstel and Liron Demari from the Hi-Tech protest are expected to speak at Kaplan.

Police began to assemble blockades on the Ayalon highway and throughout Tel Aviv early on Saturday afternoon.

Shortly before the evening's proceeds began, the organizers of the judicial reform protests put out a statement, reiterating their conditions.

"We will not agree to the subordination of the legal system to the government - not in the committee for the appointment of judges, not in the appointment of the chief justice in the High Court, and not in any other way," read the statement.
IDF says troops arrest suspect behind attempted bus bombing in West Bank settlement
Israeli forces on Friday night detained a Palestinian man suspected of planting a makeshift bomb on a bus in a West Bank settlement a night earlier, the military said.

In a joint statement with the Shin Bet security agency and Israel Police, the Israel Defense Forces said the suspect, along with four others who allegedly aided him in the attempted bombing attack, were arrested in the West Bank town of Battir.

On Thursday night, troops searched the settlement of Beitar Illit after the improvised explosive device was found on the bus.

Surveillance camera footage from the bus showed a person leaving the vehicle, before smoke was seen rising from one of the seats, apparently after the device malfunctioned.

Police sappers safely neutralized the IED. Nobody was hurt in the incident.

The IDF said they were given “accurate intelligence information” from the Shin Bet about the suspect’s whereabouts.

Did PALESTINIAN TERRORISTS Hide in Ambulances in Jenin?
Take a deep dive into exactly what happened this week in Jenin as the IDF conducted an operation to arrest the terrorist who killed the Yaniv brothers from Har Bracha. Did Palestinian terrorists actually hide in ambulances in Jenin?

Three victims in Tel Aviv terror shooting were en route to friend’s wedding
The three Israelis shot in a Palestinian terror attack in Tel Aviv were on their way to a friend’s wedding, one of the victims revealed Friday.

Or Asher, 32, and Rotem Mansano, 34, were critically and seriously injured respectively, and Michael Osdon, 36, suffered moderate wounds when a 23-year-old Palestinian terrorist opened fire on them on Thursday night as they were walking outside a cafe on the corner of Dizengoff Street and Ben Gurion Street in the center of the city. The attacker, Mutaz Salah al-Khawaja, fled the scene before being gunned down in a shootout with police officers.

While Asher and Mansano remained connected to ventilators on Friday evening, Osdon was able to talk to the media, detailing the moments of the attack in an interview with Channel 13.

“The terrorist fired, and I managed to move my head so the bullet only hit my cheek,” he said. “He shot one of my friends and then the other. He then tried to shoot me again, but I ran away to a nearby ice cream parlor to call the police.”

Osdon said he was lightly injured compared to his two other good friends and would only need cosmetic surgery. “Please pray for my friends,” he asked.

Asher’s girlfriend who posted on her Instagram story also asked for the public to pray for the victims’ recovery. “I have never begged as much as I am begging now. Please pray for the love of my life. Pray when you light the [Sabbath] candles on Friday. the prayer of the whole country will save him. I believe this with all of my heart.”

Ben Cohen: The EU must designate all of Hezbollah
More than 10 years after five Israeli tourists lost their lives in a suicide bombing in a Bulgarian resort, the Balkan nation’s supreme court last week affirmed the sentence handed down to two Hezbollah operatives: life in prison with no prospect of parole.

The sentence might have been more meaningful if the terrorist pair were actually in custody. However, as at their initial trial a decade ago, the supreme court’s decision was handed down in absentia. The whereabouts of Meliad Farah, a dual citizen of Australia and Lebanon, and Hassan El Hajj Hassan, who holds a Canadian passport, remain unknown, much to the chagrin of the families of those who were murdered.

The attack took place on July 18, 2012, at the airport in Burgas, a city that lies on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast. A bus carrying 42 Israeli tourists who had just flown in from Tel Aviv was blown up by a suicide bomber, snuffing the lives of Maor Harush, Itzik Kolangi, Amir Menashe, Elior Preiss and Kochava Shriki, a pregnant woman, as well as the Bulgarian driver of the bus, Mustafa Kyosov.

One year into the investigation into the atrocity, the Bulgarian government concluded with confidence that Hezbollah—backed by the Iranian regime—was responsible. Prosecutors disclosed that both Farah and Hassan had entered Bulgaria about a month before the attack using false documents, as did the bomber, Mohamad Hassan El-Husseini, a dual French-Lebanese citizen whose remains were identified through DNA analysis.

Both Farah and Hassan are understood to have fled Bulgaria in the immediate aftermath of the attack and have not been heard from since. First charged in 2016 with complicity in terrorism, the two men were sentenced in September 2020. Prosecutors accused them of providing the explosive device and logistical support to El-Husseini, and said the evidence linked them to Hezbollah.
Emily Schrader: From Ramallah to Tehran: Palestinian ties to Iran throughout history
Since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, also called Islamic Revolution, Palestinian leaders have cozied up to Iran's ayatollahs. As protests and calls for regime change continue to echo throughout the world stemming from Iran for over six months continuously, the Palestinians’ long and sordid ties with the Islamic Republic are coming to light more than ever before.

Going back to 1979, just days after the Islamic Revolution succeeded in overthrowing the Shah, Yasser Arafat of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), flew to Iran to celebrate it, even calling Iran his “home.” He was escorted by none other than the Iranian Air Force, newly allied with the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and received a hero’s welcome.

The ties between the PLO and the ayatollahs in fact pre-date the Islamic Revolution as the PLO had assisted in anti-Shah activities for some time, with the home base for such “revolutionaries” being Lebanon in the 1970s.

The PLO assisted both the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), as well as pro-Khomeini revolutionaries, the most notable of which was Mohammad Montazeri, a terrorist with a leading role in developing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) post-revolution. Montazeri also explicitly asked Arafat to send PLO terrorists to Iran to help train the IRGC post-revolution.

But, while the terrorist training and weapons procurement occurred primarily in Lebanon, it was also reported that PLO terrorists were on the ground fighting during the revolution. Many of them were brought to Iran by MEK, according to the Iranian Queen Farah Pahlavi at the time of the revolution, as well as an eyewitness source in Iran at the time who spoke to Ynet about the events which took place in 1979.

“Palestinians were present in all kinds of attacks during the revolution, with the help of MEK. It was from them primarily that they learned how to fight and use weapons,” said M, who was serving in the Iranian army at the time of the revolution at a base in Tehran.

M explained that during the last three days of the revolution, they were trapped on the military base and unable to leave. “Only a few people could go to their homes because they were living in the apartments (social buildings for military staff) so around 9am on the day of revolution, the revolutionaries, with the help of Palestinians, attacked the base with weapons, killing many people, some people from the offices heard and saw what was happening and tried to escape through hidden doors and corridors.”

M continued, “With 3 generals, we took a military Jeep and tried to escape through hidden gates, but the revolutionaries and Palestinians saw the car from afar and started shooting at the car. Fortunately, they were not successful and that’s how I escaped.” If Arafat’s welcome in the days after the fall of the Shah is any indicator, the terror ties between Tehran and the PLO were ironclad. Arafat was greeted by IRGC members upon his arrival, along with 59 of his companions, and he was escorted by the son of the ayatollah himself throughout his visit.

Biden Administration Allowing Iran's Mullahs to Join the "Nuclear Club"
Ever since the Biden Administration shifted Washington's Iran policy from maximum pressure to total appeasement, the ruling mullahs' nuclear advances have been remarkable.

In the meantime, the Biden administration does not appear even slightly concerned that a regime which has frequently threatened to wipe two entire countries, America and Israel, off the map, is closer than ever to possessing nuclear weapons.

General Hossein Salami, the commander-in-chief of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has made the Iranian regime's plans vehemently clear. "Our strategy is to erase Israel from the global political map," he announced on Iran's state-controlled Channel 2 TV in 2019. Khamenei has also published a 416-page book, "Palestine," about destroying Israel.

Thanks to the Biden Administration's weakness, Iran's anti-American, genocidal mullah regime, which is still calling for "Death to America!" and "Death to Israel!", is about to join the "nuclear club."

This -- along with the surrender to the Taliban in Afghanistan and the many green lights offered to the Chinese Communist Party -- will be the disastrous legacy of the Biden Administration.
Iran to buy Su-35 fighter jets from Russia - Iranian broadcaster
Iran has reached a deal to buy advanced Su-35 fighter planes from Russia, Iranian state media said on Saturday, expanding a relationship that has seen Iranian-built drones used in Russia's war on Ukraine.

"The Sukhoi-35 fighter planes are technically acceptable to Iran and Iran has finalized a contract for their purchase," the broadcaster IRIB quoted Iran's mission to the United Nations as saying in New York.

The report did not carry any Russian confirmation of the deal, details of which were not disclosed. The mission said Iran had also inquired about buying military aircraft from several other, unnamed countries, IRIB reported.

Russian-Iranian relations
Russian President Vladimir Putin met Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran last July, stressing closer ties in the face of Western pressure over the war in Ukraine.

Iran has acknowledged sending drones to Russia but says they were sent before Moscow's invasion of Ukraine last year. Moscow denies that its forces use Iranian-built drones in Ukraine, although many have been shot down and recovered there.

Iran’s air force has only a few dozen strike aircraft: Russian jets as well as aging US models acquired before the Iranian revolution of 1979.

US professors speak at terrorist's conference
A terrorist associated with the group that murdered my daughter has organized an “academic” conference—and professors from several mainstream American and British universities are among the speakers. It’s an outrage and a badge of shame for those institutions.

The terrorist’s name is Sami Al-Arian. Between 1994 and 2003, the FBI taped some 20,000 hours of telephone conversations between Al-Arian and cohorts which revealed that they were using Islamic charities as fronts for raising money for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists.

It was during that period, in April 1995, that Palestinian Islamic Jihad bombed the bus on which my daughter, Alisa, was riding. So yes, I take it personally. And I testified at his trial.

Al-Arian initially denied the charges against him. Then, later, he confessed that the charge was accurate. He pleaded guilty in February 2006 to conspiring to finance Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

“You are a master manipulator,” Judge James S. Moody, declared at Al-Arian’s sentencing. “You looked your neighbors in the eyes and said you had nothing to do with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. This trial exposed that as a lie. Your back-up claim is that your efforts were only to provide charities for widows and orphans. That too is a lie. The evidence was clear in this case that you were a leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. You were on the board of directors and an officer, the secretary. Directors control the actions of an organization, even the PIJ; and you were an active leader.” He sentenced Al-Arian to four years and nine months in prison.

In 2015, the Obama administration deported Al-Arian to Turkey. Since then, he has been trying to create an image for himself as a legitimate academic figure. Among other things, he created a Center for Islamic and Global Affairs at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University.

The center’s latest activity is the “Fourth International Conference on Islamophobia,” to be held this weekend (March 11-13). Many of those involved with the event are the kind of extremists you’d expect to be comfortable with a Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist. For example, one of the cosponors of the event is the Center for Peace and Dialogue at Iran’s University of Religions and Denominations. Professors from that “university” and Iran’s University of Tehran are among the speakers.

Players, presenters back UK ex-soccer star who likened asylum policy to Nazi Germany
The BBC faced an escalating crisis Saturday over its suspension of former soccer star and program host Gary Lineker for comments criticizing the British government’s new asylum policy.

As a growing number of players and presenters rallied to Lineker’s support, Britain’s national broadcaster faced allegations of political bias and suppressing free speech, as well as praise from some Conservative politicians.

Presenters of the BBC’s lunchtime “Football Focus” said they would not appear on the program in solidarity with Lineker, who was suspended from hosting the highlights show “Match of the Day” over a Twitter post that compared lawmakers’ language about migrants to that used in Nazi Germany.

The BBC pulled “Football Focus” from its schedule on Saturday, replacing it with an episode of the antiques show “Bargain Hunt.”

After a slew of Lineker’s colleagues announced they wouldn’t appear on the show without him, the BBC said “Match of the Day” would be aired Saturday without presenters or pundits.

There will not be any post-match player interviews, either. The Professional Footballers’ Association said some players wanted to boycott the show as a gesture of support, and as a result “players involved in today’s games will not be asked to participate in interviews with ‘Match of The Day.'”

The union said it was a “common sense solution” to avoid players facing sanctions for breaching their broadcast commitments.

Bulgaria must choose to ban Lukov Nazi march - opinion
Five years ago, with the strong leadership of World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder, we rallied against one of the most prominent annual neo-Nazi marches in Europe, the Lukov March, the annual procession in honor of a Bulgarian fascist leader from the time of the Second World War.

For this I was brutally targeted by its organizers who responded to the WJC’s campaign: “No mister, with a name of a brand of sewing machines, the problem of Bulgaria is not the Lukov March. The problem is that there are people with too long noses like you, who are burning with desire, snooping where they do not belong. But be sure that whatever you do, General Lukov will receive a worthy honor from the Bulgarian youth!”

I am proud to say that the march did not take place this year thanks to the strong and vital support of Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev, Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova, Interior Minister Ivan Demerdzhiev, and local Jewish leaders like Nikolay Galabov, chairman of the Zionist Federation in Bulgaria, Prof. Dr Aleksandar Oskar, president of Shalom Organization, and Prof. Rumyana Christidi of Sofia University.

That said, the fight is far from over. Eighty years after the Holocaust, antisemitism continues to raise its head, and neo-Nazi parades like the Lukov march are a hotbed for spreading Jew hatred and racism.

Bulgaria's history of standing up for its Jewish community
Bulgaria has a unique opportunity to be a leader in fighting antisemitism in the European Union, as history stands by its side. The Balkan country has a proud history of standing up for its Jews in the face of hostility.

Far-right groups and nationalists carry torches and march to commemorate the Nazi-era Bulgarian General Hristo Lukov in Sofia, Bulgaria, Feb. 12, 2022. (credit: Georgi Paleykov/NurPhoto via Getty Images) Far-right groups and nationalists carry torches and march to commemorate the Nazi-era Bulgarian General Hristo Lukov in Sofia, Bulgaria, Feb. 12, 2022. (credit: Georgi Paleykov/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Despite the nation’s alliance with the Nazis during World War Two, the Bulgarian Jewish community was saved thanks to the shared efforts of members of the Bulgarian parliament and the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, who helped bolster the resistance of Bulgaria’s King Boris III to cancel the deportations.
‘Heil Hitler’: London Antisemitic Crime Wave Continues
A new wave of antisemitic hate crimes has London’s Orthodox Jewish community on edge, according to multiple reports by neighborhood watch group Shomrim Stamford Hill.

This week, the group reported that someone knocked a 16 year old Jewish boy’s hat off his head “in a completely unprovoked incident” near Stoke Newington Railway Station, and that a tall man wearing an orange hoodie intentionally bumped into an Orthodox man while passing him on the street. Another man, who has been arrested and charged with committing a hate crime, shouted “Heil Hitler, I love Hitler” at Jewish worshipers leaving synagogue on Purim. He was, Shomrim said, armed with a knife.

Ninety-three antisemitic hate crimes have already occurred in London in 2023, according to data released by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) earlier this month. A substantial number are committed against members of the Orthodox Jewish community in London, one of the largest in Europe. MPS recorded 44 such incidents in the British capital in December. There were 43 in November, bringing the total for 2022 to 575.

A total of 3,211 antisemitic hate crimes have been recorded in London since 2018, with incidents peaking in 2021, when there were 853.

Israeli Singer Noa Kirel Officially Releases 2023 Eurovision Song Contest Entry Titled ‘Unicorn’
Israeli pop singer Noa Kirel revealed on Thursday the song that she will be performing when she represents Israel at the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest later this year in Liverpool in the United Kingdom.

The 21-year-old shared a clip from the music video for her new English-language song Unicorn and explained the message behind the track in an Instagram post.

“It’s sometime hard to keep up with this fast-paced world,” she wrote. “After the coronavirus and everything that is happening in Israel and all over the world, we are faced with so many challenges and for that we need a special power. The power of a unicorn. The unicorn wins, thanks to his delicate power and his beauty. Maybe if we stop hating each other and believe in fairytales a little more, we will have a phenomenon phenomenon phenomenal world.”

Kirel sings in the chorus of the three-minute track: “I’m gonna stand here like a unicorn/Out here on my own/I got the power of a unicorn/Don’t you ever learn?/That I won’t look back/ I won’t look down/I’m going up/You better turn around.” The song also includes a few Hebrew language lines which translate to: “I’m not like everybody else/in front of the rest of the world … You can call me queen/I’m not trying to impress.”

Unicorn was co-written by Kirel, Yinon Yahel, May Sfadia and Doron Medalie — who co-wrote Israeli singer Netta Barzilai’s 2018 Eurovision-winning song Toy.

Why the Tower of London holds a paradoxical place in Medieval England’s Jewish story
For nearly 1,000 years, the Tower of London has loomed over the north bank of the River Thames as a royal palace, fortress, and onetime infamous site of torture and death.

But, for the Jews of Medieval London, it has played a paradoxical role as a place of both imprisonment and sanctuary, execution and employment.

That role is highlighted and explored in new research that provides the most comprehensive and detailed overview of Jewish prisoners, refugees, and staff to date, including the biographies of nearly 250 individuals or groups of Jews known to have been at the Tower from the community’s arrival in England until their expulsion in 1290.

“The Tower of London is one of the most significant Medieval Jewish sites in the country,” Dr. Rory MacLellan, who led the two-year project at Historic Royal Palaces, told The Times of Israel. “Unlike other countries, there aren’t any standing Medieval synagogues left in England. If you were a Jew living in Medieval England, you would have known about the Tower.”

MacLellan’s findings are detailed in the latest issue of History magazine.

The Tower’s role for the Jews — who are thought to have settled in the country soon after the Norman conquest of 1066 — stemmed from their unique legal status in 13th-century England. As contemporary documents record, Jews and their possessions were considered the property of the king. “All Jews, in whichever kingdom they may be, ought to be under the guardianship and protection of the liege king… because the Jews and all their possessions are the king’s,” say the “Laws of Edward the Confessor.”

Seen as a valuable cash cow, royal officials were thus charged with protecting Jews from the mob while also ensuring they paid over tallages — a variable and arbitrary form of taxation — as and when the king needed them.

“It is very exploitative but there is that element of protection,” says MacLellan. “But it’s a very cynical relationship and very self-interested. When the Crown tries to protect Jews from attack, it’s not really doing it out of modern ideas of toleration and multiculturalism. They’re doing it because Jews are a financial resource.”

While Jews were banned from most occupations other than moneylending, they were frequently tapped by the Crown for considerable sums. In 1273, for instance, a third of the value of every Jew’s moveable goods was seized by the Crown. Those who didn’t pay up could be imprisoned or sent into exile. Even death provided no relief: the king received a third of a Jew’s estate after their death. Similarly, Jews who converted to Christianity ended up forfeiting a sizeable proportion of their property to the monarch. And, in a particularly dark twist, the Tower’s outer wall — including the famed Traitor’s Gate — was partly funded by punitive taxes imposed upon Jews.

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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 18 years and 38,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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