Wednesday, September 06, 2023

From Ian:

Rabbi Abraham Cooper: Evil manifests on the streets of Gaza
We are familiar with the professors’ key talking point: “One man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter.” That is certainly true, and therein lies the core of the problem. Is there a reasonable defense of that position? Are there no moral distinctions left to ponder? Isn’t there an obvious difference between combatants and non-combatants, between military targets and a kindergarten teacher? What happens to a world in which people are no longer able to or simply refuse to make simple moral distinctions?

Their apologists insist that Palestinians under occupation “have no choice,” that their dignity has been stripped away by Israelis. Terrorism, mayhem, and murder, including killing women and children in cold blood, are legitimate responses in fighting for their future. Far from condemning Palestinian terrorism, such apologists insist that the world needs to understand it and applaud all courageous acts that resist Israeli "genociders."

But that narrative lays the groundwork for a world without reason, or a world where reason is eagerly subverted to conform to personal feelings, a worldview that could unleash a dystopia that our civilization cannot endure for long.

As the memory of the 20th century fades, we must ponder whether the world has internalized any of the lessons from the Holocaust. Didn’t the jurists at Nuremberg conclude that each individual is responsible for their decisions? Didn’t they decide that people are responsible for their actions, regardless of the arguments or orders of others to commit atrocities?

Sacrificing reason and Palestinian children on an altar of a deadly political narrative has not helped a single Palestinian. Yet the very global agencies and NGOs charged with defending core human values too often rationalize and legitimize Jew-hatred, hate crimes, and terrorism by upending simple moral reason. They will yet have to confront the bitter fruit of their sophistry as social media teaches new generations around the world how to leverage violence and hate to dehumanize the “enemy” and potentially take down their own society’s future.

And what about the ordinary citizens of Gaza or the West Bank who never strapped on a suicide vest or stabbed a Jewish family during a Passover celebration or Shabbat dinner? Why does poll after poll show majorities supporting terrorism and rejecting compromise that would guarantee two peoples living side by side in peace? The most disturbing lesson

Perhaps the most disturbing lesson provided by the propaganda specialists of the Third Reich, Stalin’s Russia, and Mao’s China is that ordinary people can become eager supporters of and participants in individual and mass violence, even murder. The first step is to inculcate an irrational sense of otherness about some “enemy,” and then brainwash the youth to embrace and normalize that irrationality.

This is precisely what we see in Gaza. Palestinian society has been teaching, preaching, and practicing genocidal hatred of Jews in its schools and mosques and in the media for three generations. And the nations who donate to them rarely utter a word of protest.

Leaders of the world beware. Today, evil manifests itself on the streets of Gaza, in the cells of Tehran’s Evin prison, and in concentration camps filled with Uyghurs. Such evil repackaged as morality is not only a stain on our democracies but a poison pill that can deconstruct a university, a city, and, yes, even houses of worship. Once you erase the difference between resistance and murder, between morality and impulse, what follows? What about older people who continue to function, but fill our hospitals? Don’t younger people deserve more of those precious resources? Won’t newer generations feel better by ridding themselves, by all means necessary, of groups whose beliefs or ideologies they find repugnant?

Reason is not perfect, but it got civilization this far. Embracing evil as just, or accepting it as the new normal, is a prescription for global disaster and oblivion.
Families of terror victims sue to block US from releasing $40 billion in frozen Iran funds accounts
A group of American victims of Iranian terrorism, who hold more than $400 million dollars in court judgments against the Islamic Republic for its sponsorship of terrorist attacks, have moved to enjoin the Biden Administration from releasing an estimated $40 billion in frozen Iranian assets. The United States has pledged to unfreeze the funds belonging to the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), which are primarily held in overseas bank accounts, under an upcoming prisoner release agreement being currently negotiated with Tehran. The families claim that releasing the funds will prevent them from enforcing their judgments against these assets, and as a practical matter may preclude them from ever collecting on their judgments.

Two dozen plaintiffs filed the lawsuit today in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The lawsuit names the U.S. State Department and Treasury Department as well as Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellin as respondents.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the terror victims by attorneys Robert J. Tolchin of New York and Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of Tel, Aviv, Israel who represent the families.

According to news reports the U.S. and Iran, which is holding five Iranian-Americans in prison in Tehran and has demanded the release of the frozen funds as a ransom, have been moving towards a deal that would see $40 billion in Iran assets returned to the Iranian regime. It is speculated that the U.S. and Iran are on the verge of a broader agreement, however.

The families’ judgments stem from deadly attacks, including suicide bombings, car ramming attacks, and drive-by shootings, committed from 2001-2016 by Hamas, Hezbollah and Palestine Islamic Jihad, in which the terror-victim plaintiffs were harmed. In addition to the American families bringing the petition there are many other victims who have won judgments against Iran.
MEMRI: Israeli-Arab Writer: Normalization With Israel Is A Done Deal; It's Time To Stop Persecuting Individual Arabs For 'Cultural Normalization'
On August 15, 2023, the UAE hosted a football match between the Jordanian Al-Wehdat team and the Emirati Shabab Al-Ahli Dubai team.[1] The match sparked controversy and was almost canceled because the Emirati team includes an Arab Israeli player, Mu'nas Dabbur, who formerly played on Israel's national football team. While some Jordanian Al-Wehdat fans called to boycott the game in order to avoid sanctioning "normalization" with Israel, other elements, such as Jordanian MP Khalil 'Atiyya, called on the management of the club not to do so, because this would offend the Palestinians and especially the Palestinians "in the 1948 territories," i.e., Israeli Arabs.[2]

Israeli Arab elements, such as Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi and the municipality of Nazareth, Dabbur's hometown, likewise urged the Jordanian football club not to boycott the match, since this would be unfair not only to footballer Mu'nas Dabbur but to all Palestinian Arabs who are citizens of Israel. In their statements they praised Dabbur and emphasized his national Palestinian positions.[3]

After voting against boycotting the match, the club management issued a statement stressing its commitment to the Palestinian cause and its opposition to normalization, and explained that it had taken this decision to avoid damaging Jordan's relations with the UAE.[4] Six of the club's board members resigned – a move that the club president, Bashar Al-Hawamdeh, condemned as "populist" – but withdrew their resignation a few days later.[5]

On August 4, after the controversy over the game broke out but before Al-Wehdat announced that it would be playing, Jawad Boulos, an Israeli Arab attorney and journalist, addressed the affair in the London-based Qatari daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi. He wrote that the effective forms of boycott against Israel – diplomatic and economic boycott – are no longer implemented, and only the "cultural boycott" remains. That is, powerful Arab regimes and Arab tycoons maintain ties and trade relations with Israel without hindrance – yet individuals like athletes, artists, writers, poets and members of various professional unions are persecuted by "radical activists" for engaging in so-called cultural normalization with Israel. They suffer this persecution regardless of their political positions on the Palestinian cause and their contribution to this cause.

The following are excerpts from Jawad Boulos' article:[6]
"The repercussions of two local events are still plaguing us and causing doubts among us regarding the ban on cultural normalization with Israel. The first of these events was the harsh criticism that accompanied the visit of the Tunisian singer Emel Mathlouthi in the occupied Palestinian territories. She insisted on giving several performances in Ramallah and Jerusalem, but was eventually forced to cancel her show in Haifa, succumbing to pressure from elements that call for a cultural boycott of Israel.

The second event involved the Jordanian Al-Wehdat [football] club, whose management announced several days ago that it intended 'to sit out a match against the Emirati Shabab Al-Ahli team in the AFC Champions League preliminaries, due to suspicion of normalization.' By 'suspicion [of normalization]' it meant the participation of the Palestinian player Mu'nas Dabbur, from Nazareth, who now plays professionally for the Emirati Al-Ahli [football] club and who used to be an international player on Israel's national team…

Seth Frantzman: Iran fears Israel will soon normalize ties with more Muslim countries
Iran’s Foreign Ministry is concerned it is unable to prevent more countries from normalizing ties with Israel.

This sentiment appeared to be the main thrust of the comments by Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson and reports in Iranian pro-regime media on Tuesday. The reports said Iran slammed Israel’s foreign minister for his trip to Bahrain this week.

The ministry said the “failed fate of numerous plans for reconciliation and normalization of the relations of some countries in the region with the Zionist regime can be a lesson for others.”

In a second report in Iran’s Fars News, considered pro-regime and close to the IRGC, the Iranians also expressed concern over reports that Israel has contacts with other Muslim countries around the world. The report mentioned Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and others.

This comes in the wake of the controversy over the meeting between Israel’s and Libya’s foreign ministers. It also comes as Iran and Saudi Arabia have recently reconciled and sent new ambassadors back and forth.
NYT's Thomas Friedman is consistently wrong about Israel
In the rigorous world of journalism, credibility is paramount. Yet, Thomas Friedman, a prominent voice for The New York Times, seems to have a recurring pattern of misjudgments, particularly concerning Israel.

One could call it an “obsession.”

If Israeli and American leaders were to shape foreign policy based on Friedman’s recent and past columns – both countries would have been less safe today and peace in the Middle East would have remained an intangible dream. Thankfully, they didn’t.

In his latest op-ed, Friedman expressed his reservations about a potential Saudi-Israel normalization deal. Not surprisingly, it centered on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government as an alleged impediment to the only type of deal that he thinks would not be “shameful.” Since when has peace become "shameful"?

That isn’t normal.

This is just the latest in a series of questionable stances held by the NYT columnist. Is Friedman's voice truly the beacon of insight as he has been often portrayed, especially by Israeli media, or is there a deeper pattern of bias at play?

Consider the evidence: In 2010, Friedman advised Israel to cede the Golan Heights for Syrian peace. A mere year later, the Syrian Civil War erupted, making his advice not just wrong, but potentially disastrous for Israel. This wasn't a minor oversight; it was a glaring misread of the region's dynamics.

Then, in 2015, he predicted Netanyahu's resignation. Yet, Netanyahu led until 2021. This misjudgment wasn't just about getting a political forecast wrong; it showcased a profound misunderstanding of the Israeli society’s political pulse and the resilience of its leadership.

Furthermore, in 2017, Friedman warned of severe repercussions from the U.S. embassy's move to Jerusalem. The anticipated fallout? It never materialized. This miscalculation wasn't just an error in judgment; it was a testament to his consistent underestimation of the region's complexities.

These aren't isolated incidents. They paint a picture of a journalist whose views on Israel consistently miss the mark. It begs the question: Is Friedman's analysis driven by an objective understanding or personal biases? Where does his analysis stop and turn to wishful thinking?
Tom Friedman to Biden: Don’t be Netanyahu’s ‘useful idiot’ with Saudi normalization
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman implored US President Joe Biden and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday not to allow themselves to become Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “useful idiots” by agreeing to an Israel-Saudi normalization agreement that does not concretely advance a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In his latest op-ed, he argued that any deal advancing that goal of two states would all but ensure the collapse of Netanyahu’s hardline government, which overwhelmingly — if not exclusively — consists of opponents to Palestinian statehood.

Seemingly suggesting that any deal that doesn’t collapse the Israeli government is one that doesn’t go far enough on the Palestinian issue, Friedman writes, “You cannot have normalization with an Israeli government that is not normal. It will never be a stable US ally or Saudi partner. And right now, Israel’s government is not normal.”

The NYT columnist is understood to be closely read by Biden and the US president has, on several occasions, used Friedman to convey messages regarding US-Israel relations.

Over the past several months, the Biden administration has intensified its effort to broker a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, viewing the alliance as one that would advance its interests in the region.

To secure the deal, it is weighing Saudi demands for a major defense pact with the US in addition to Washington’s support for a civilian nuclear program. In exchange, it is asking Riyadh to distance itself from Russia and China both economically and militarily.

Kushner to make first-ever Saudi-backed investment in Israel
Jared Kushner’s Affinity Partners private equity fund, which is primarily backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, is set to acquire a $150 million stake in an Israeli automotive services company, marking the first Saudi-backed investment in the Jewish state.

Kushner’s fund will buy a 15% stake in the car and credit division of Shlomo Holdings, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing financial filings.

“We are confident in the long-term growth forecast for Israel and the entire new Middle East,” Kushner said. “The historical growth of the Shlomo Group has been solid as a rock, and its future holds many exciting opportunities.”

Kushner, who served as senior White House adviser to his father-in-law, former President Donald Trump, was a key negotiator in the 2020 Abraham Accords that normalized relations between Israel and four Arab countries: United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.

Shlomo began in 1974 as a small car-rental company but now also offers services to corporate auto fleets, including leasing, roadside assistance and car maintenance. The business is still family-owned, and Affinity will be Shlomo’s first outside equity investor.

“This is a significant and strategic step and is a historic landmark in the group’s international activities and a tremendous potential for adding value, in particular in the areas of rental, leasing and credit,” said Asi Shmeltzer, chairman of Shlomo Group.
Morton Klein: Don’t let Jack Lew become US Ambassador to Israel
In June 2015, while then-president Barack Obama’s negotiating team, sitting in a palace in Vienna, was in the last stages of appeasing the terrorist Islamic Republic of Iran – with Obama’s head negotiator bursting into tears at the negotiating table and begging Iran to enter into the disastrous anti-American and anti-Israel deal – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Obama’s Treasury secretary, and his former chief of staff, Jack Lew appeared at the annual Jerusalem Post Conference in New York to try to promote the JCPOA and its almost-as-bad predecessor, the interim Iran deal, the JPA.

During Lew’s lengthy conference speech, he stuck to and trotted out every Obama administration line (and lie) to try to sell the Iran deal to the American-Jewish public. Lew pledged that “the final deal will be built around an incredibly robust and intrusive inspections regime on Iran’s nuclear program” and that “this deal will only be finalized if the connective tissue of the agreement meets a tough standard of intense verification and scrutiny.”

But in fact, the deal placed Iranian military facilities (where nuclear weaponization development was most likely to take place) off limits to inspectors; it placed virtually insurmountable obstacles in the way of inspecting potential secret sites; it gave Iran significant notice before inspectors would arrive; and, in a side deal, even allowed Iran to take its own soil samples. In other words, the opposite of the “incredibly robust and intrusive inspections” and “intense verification” promised by Lew.

Lew also assured the crowd in New York: “We are not operating on an assumption that Iran will act in good faith.” But that assurance was belied by Obama’s Neville Chamberlain-like Iran deal lead negotiator Wendy Sherman, who absurdly said in her book that the Iran deal “was anchored by a common wish to make peace,” “higher principles,” “reimagining of the world,” and seeing the Iranians as “partners.”

Early in his speech, Lew also asserted that “what we are doing [is] to effectively guarantee that Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon. Making sure Iran never gets a nuclear weapon is a national security priority of the highest order.”

But “never” apparently really meant 10 years – or even one year. Lew later mentioned: “Under the agreement we are pursuing, for at least 10 years Iran will be kept at least one year away from having enough enriched uranium to produce a nuclear weapon.” Obama also admitted that, at most, after 13 to 15 years, all nuclear restrictions on Iran ended.

‘Jack Lew lied about Israel, shilled for Iran, and called for Israel’s suicidal retreat.’
Report of IDF strip-searching Palestinian women causes uproar, draws UN criticism
A recent Israel Defense Forces raid into a Palestinian home in Hebron, during which five female members of a family were reportedly forced to strip naked during a search, is causing an uproar in the Palestinian territories.

The incident took place in the early morning of July 10, and the testimonies of three of the women were first collected by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem the following day, though an extensive report was only published on Tuesday by both B’Tselem and Haaretz.

According to the report, 25-30 soldiers, some of them wearing masks, entered three adjoining apartments, home to the extended Ajlouni family in south Hebron, to search for weapons. During the search, two female soldiers with rifles and an attack dog reportedly forced five women of the family, aged between 24 and 53, to undress, threatening to unleash the dog if they did not comply, while male soldiers searched their male relatives without making such a requirement.

The soldiers reportedly left the house after four hours, taking with them 150 grams (5.3 ounces) worth of gold jewelry, the family told B’Tselem. The jewels were contained in a black bag wrapped in duct tape, and were mistaken by the soldiers for bullets, an IDF spokesperson said, adding that they were returned to the family the next day.

The wife of the family’s oldest son, who was arrested in the raid, claimed that NIS 2,000 ($522) in cash was also stolen, a claim that according to an army spokesperson had not been reported nor investigated, pending the filing of an official complaint.

The IDF spokesperson quoted by Haaretz also said that the raid took place based on intelligence received by the army, and led to the seizure of an M16 rifle and ammunition that were found inside the house.

Two wounded in Jerusalem terror stabbing
An Israeli was seriously wounded and a foreign tourist lightly hurt in a terrorist attack on Wednesday near the Jaffa Gate entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City.

Magen David Adom emergency medical personnel treated the Israeli victim, a man in his 50s, for stab wounds to the upper body, before evacuating him to Hadassah Medical Center in the capital.

The other victim, a teenager, sustained a superficial stab wound to the abdomen and was taken for treatment to Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

Additionally, a woman in her 50s was treated for acute anxiety.

Police quickly apprehended the assailant, a 17-year-old Arab from the eastern part of Jerusalem, who had fled after stabbing the civilians with a cleaver.
BREAKING: Stabbing attack in Jerusalem's Old City, 1 in critical condition
Stabbing attack in Jerusalem's Old City, 1 in critical condition, 2 others wounded. Suspect, who is from East Jerusalem has been apprehended

ILTV Insider - September 5, 2023 - Wave of terror in Israel
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Fatah terror operative arrested in Jenin refugee camp
Israeli security forces arrested a wanted terrorist in the Jenin refugee camp in northern Samaria on Wednesday morning, according to the Israel Defense Forces. It was the second such arrest raid in the camp in 48 hours.

The IDF identified the suspect as Muhammad Nanghiyeh, an operative of Tanzim, the armed wing of Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Party. The IDF said that he assisted in carrying out several recent shooting attacks in Judea and Samaria.

During the activity, terrorists fired at Israeli forces, who responded with live fire. Hits were detected.

Nanghiyeh was transferred to security forces for further questioning.

As of 10 a.m., IDF forces were already exiting the area, according to reports. The IDF said that no troops were hurt during the raid.

On Monday, troops entered the camp for the first time since the IDF’s large-scale 48-hour operation in the city in July. During Monday’s operation, three wanted Hamas operatives were arrested, one of them a senior operative, identified as Abdullah Sobah. The IDF also engaged Palestinian gunmen, deploying a “Maoz” suicide drone.

Nine terrorists captured overnight

Overnight Tuesday, Israeli forces arrested nine wanted terrorists throughout Judea and Samaria.

One suspect was arrested and several detained for questioning in the Al Aroub refugee camp, according to the Israeli military. Israeli forces were attacked with an explosive device and stoned; no Israeli casualties were reported.
Activist Rebrands Highway 60 as ‘Biblical Highway’ in Project to Preserve Biblical Heritage
Most Israelis are familiar with Highway 60 – the main artery that travels from Nazareth in the north, through Jerusalem and all the down to Be’er Sheva in the south. If activist Yishai Fleisher has his way, the historical significance of the route –known as The Biblical Highway – will become equally common knowledge in the Jewish State and worldwide.

Fleisher is spearheading an initiative to raise awareness about the importance of the route that has existed for more than 4,000 and which includes Biblical landmarks of importance to both Jews and Christians.

Palestinian Authority Replacing Joshua’s Altar with New Neighborhood

Plans for the restoration of the Biblical Highway include the creation of visitor centers, rest stops, educational scenic overlooks, and a dedicated app to guide travelers through the ancient sites and their stories, while providing access to the modern amenities on the highway.

The route makes a natural tourist destination, when one considers the Biblical cities and sites to be found along Highway 60:

• Be’er Sheva: where the patriarch Abraham and his son Isaac found water in the desert, and built an oasis to teach travelers about the One God;
• Hebron: the site of the cave purchased by Abraham to lay the matriarch Sarah to rest, and which subsequently became the resting place for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Rivka and Leah as well;
• Bethlehem: the resting place of Jacob’s beloved wife, the matriarch Rachel, who died “along the way”, and the reputed birthplace of Jesus, founder of Christianity;
• Jerusalem: the beating heart of Israel and spiritual capital of the world, where King David established his kingdom and where two Holy Temples were built. This is also the location of Mt. Moriah, site of the binding of Isaac;
• Beit El: where the patriarch Jacob experienced his prophetic dream of a ladder connecting heaven to earth;
• Shiloh: where the Children of Israel installed the Tabernacle and Ark of the Covenant after the conquest of Canaan, to serve as their spiritual center for nearly 400 years; and
• Shechem: the first capital of the Kingdom of Israel, where the Children of Israel received blessings and curses at nearby Mt. Gerizim and Mt. Ebal. This is also where Joshua buried the bones of Joseph, carried by the Children of Israel when they sojourned from Egypt.
The Israel Guys: BREAKING: Palestinians Are Trying to DESTROY This ANCIENT ALTAR (feat. Aaron Lipkin)
In the face of incredible worldwide propaganda about Israeli settlers building illegally on Palestinian land in the West Bank, the Arabs who live in Judea and Samaria are quietly building an actual village on a Judeo-Christian heritage site. This is not only dangerous, but it has the potential to completely erase one of the most significant archaeological finds in Israel.

This is breaking news, and something that is happening right now, as we speak. An incredibly significant biblical site in Israel’s very heartland is in danger of being completely destroyed.

Asylum seekers' riot in Israel was funded by the Mossad, Eritrea claims
Saturday's violent riots by Eritrean asylum seekers in Tel Aviv were perpetrated and sponsored by the Mossad, Eritrea's Information Ministry claimed on Tuesday.

"The futile acts of subversion in essence sponsored by major intelligence agencies, including the Mossad," the ministry stated. "Bewildered, as they are, by the indomitable resilience of the Eritrean people, they desperately seek to foment division within its ranks."

Hundreds of police officers and refugees were injured as clashes between Eritreans who are for and against the East African nation's regime turned violent. At least 160 injured in Eritrean clashes in Tel Aviv

At least 160 people were injured in total, including 50 police officers. In the aftermath of the riots, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led calls for the immediate deportation of the asylum seekers involved.

The situation unfolded after anti-regime Eritreans protested a Tel Aviv event organized by the Eritrean embassy. These "organized acts of violence and vandalism" are orchestrated by Israel's intelligence agency to "disrupt decades-old, exemplary, and rich cultural events that Eritreans preserve their national identity and heritage.
Tel Aviv deputy mayor, family attacked by Eritrean youths
A gang of Eritrean boys attacked Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor Haim Goren and his family on Tuesday night, he announced after filing a police complaint.

The incident occurred days after rival factions of Eritrean migrants clashed on the streets of South Tel Aviv, leaving more than 170 people injured, including 49 police officers. Israel has placed 53 of the rioters in administrative detention.

“If we don’t deal with the problem of infiltrators, we will experience the scenes we experienced on Shabbat for years to come,” said Goren, who also holds the city’s security portfolio.
Recent Protests Show That Golani Druze Are Feeling More Israeli
Since June, Druze residents of the Golan Heights have staged mass public demonstrations against the planned construction of wind turbines in the area. They were joined by their coreligionists elsewhere in Israel, who have for the most part followed a separate political trajectory. Yusri Hazran explains the significance of this and related developments:

This was a protest over a civic issue, devoid of the nationalistic overtones that used to characterize occasional bouts of pro-Syrian demonstrations by Golan Druze. Absent were any Syrian flags during the entire period of stormy demonstrations. Instead, what was visible was the five-colored flag of the Druze (red, yellow, green, blue, and white) representing the higher values of the faith. This civic aspect of the protest confirms a growing trend of “instrumental integration” of the Golan Druze into Israel.

For decades after the 1967 war, the Druze community in the Golan conducted a political struggle against Israeli sovereignty and adhered to their Syrian identity. They had practical reasons—expectations that Israel would return the Golan to Syria, families and sometimes marriages among the Druze across the border in Syria, and government benefits like free university education in Damascus. In exchange the Golan Druze declined Israeli citizenship—excommunicating those who did apply for it—refused to serve in the IDF, and banned the Hebrew language in their schools.

This preference, however, began to fall apart following the outbreak of the popular uprising in Syria in 2011. A new tendency emerged among the younger generation in the Golan, driven by pragmatic considerations. . . .

By now, the “turbine protest” has demonstrated once again the intense solidarity of Druze communities across the region, reacting to perceived threats to their existence or their space. Perhaps it is a sign of the community’s ultimate integration into the somewhat fractious political culture of Israel that this solidarity is manifested in quite loud political protests.

Abbas: Ashkenazi Jews ‘are not Semites,’ Hitler killed them for their ‘social role’
In a recent speech, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas repeated a number of antisemitic canards he has made over the years, including unfounded claims about the the origins of Ashkenazi Jews and that Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler had Jews slaughtered because of their “social role” as moneylenders, not because of enmity toward Judaism.

Speaking last month at his Fatah party’s Revolutionary Council, Abbas outlined the baseless theory that Ashkenazi Jews are not descended from ancient Israelites but an ancient Turkish people known as the Khazars, who according to a discredited theory converted to Judaism en masse.

“The truth that we should clarify to the world is that European Jews are not Semites,” Abbas said, according to a translation of his remarks by the Middle East Media Research Institute. “They have nothing to do with Semitism.”

“So when we hear them talk about Semitism and antisemitism, the Ashkenazi Jews, at least, are not Semites,” he added.

Abbas has previously claimed publicly that Ashkenazi Jews are the descendants of Khazars, including a 2018 speech in which he charged that Jews’ “social behavior” caused the Holocaust, another assertion he reiterated in his recent speech.

“They say that Hitler killed the Jews because they were Jews and that Europe hated the Jews because they were Jews. Not true. It was clearly explained that [the Europeans] fought [the Jews] because of their social role, and not their religion,” Abbas said in August. “Several authors wrote about this. Even Karl Marx said this was not true. He said that the enmity was not directed at Judaism as a religion but to Judaism for its social role.”

“The [Europeans] fought against these people because of their role in society, which had to do with usury, money and so on and so forth,” he continued.

Abbas then appeared to repeat the stab-in-the-back myth that Hitler subscribed to after World War I, blaming the Jews and others for Germany’s loss in the conflict.

Abbas: Hitler killed the Jews because of their social role, usury and money - “they caused ruin"
Mahmoud Abbas: Hitler killed the Jews because of their social role, usury and money - “they caused ruin"

[Official PA TV, Speech at 11th conference of the Fatah Revolutionary Council at the PA headquarters in Ramallah on Aug. 24, 2023]

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas: This has been explained in many Jewish books when they said that [Adolf] Hitler killed the Jews because they were Jews, and Europe hates the Jews because they are Jews. No! It has been precisely explained that they fought [the Jews] because of their social role, and not because of their religion… They fight these people due to their social role, which is connected to usury and money and the like. Even Hitler… fought the Jews because they worked based on usury and money, in other words, they caused ruin in his opinion, and therefore he hated them.

MEMRI: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas: Hitler Fought European Jews Because of Usury, Money Dealings
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas discussed antisemitism in a speech delivered at the 11th session of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council, on August 24, 2023. He said that the “truth” is that European Jews are not Semites, they are the descendants of Khazars, and therefore their persecution has nothing to do with antisemitism. Abbas added that Karl Marx confirmed that this is so. He continued to say that Hitler and the Europeans did not kill the Jews “because they were Jews,” but rather they fought the Jews because of “their social role, and not their religion.” Abbas explained that Hitler “fought” the Jews because they dealt with usury and money, not because of antisemitism.

He added that the eastern Jews were indeed Semites, because they had originated from the Arabian Peninsula and then traveled to Andalusia. Later in his speech, Abbas claimed that Ben Gurion had not wanted Jews from Arab countries to immigrate to Israel, but was forced to accept them upon Churchill’s urging, because there were no more Jews left in Europe. He said that Ben Gurion carried out attacks on Jewish institutions in Arab countries in order to persuade them to emigrate. Abbas stated: “the Jews did not want to emigrate but were forced to do so by means of pressure, coercion, and murder.”

Abbas discussed the Balfour Declaration, saying that the U.S. was a partner to it and that Israel was invented by “Britain and America – not just Britain.” He added that he is “saying this so that we know who we should accuse of being our enemy.”

PMW: PA: The “covetous” Jews “defile” the Al-Aqsa Mosque, have begun preparing for “building the alleged Temple”
One of the Palestinian Authority’s annual libels is to blame the 1969 arson at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Israel and claim that it was a Jew who set fire to it. In fact, the arsonist Michael Rohan was an Australian Christian with a mental health disorder. But this doesn’t bother the PA. Along with turning Rohan into an “extremist terrorist Jew” and “a settler,” the PA has expanded the libel and claims that Israel “collaborated and stopped the water to the Al-Aqsa Mosque” and deliberately “delayed in sending fire trucks” [Fatah Commission of Information and Culture, Facebook page, Aug. 21, 2023]

The PA Minister of Religious Affairs repeated the libel, claiming Israel is getting closer to its goal, which is “eliminating the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque”:

PA Minister of Religious Affairs Hatem Al-Bakri: “There is a plan by the occupation that has targeted this site [the Al-Aqsa Mosque]. This plan was prepared 50 years before the establishment of the State of Israel [in 1948]. They prepared these plans, and they are carrying them out every day. They are attempting to reach the final point, which iseliminating the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the acts of harm are continuing against all the Christian and Muslim holy sites.”

[Official PA TV News, Aug. 21, 2023]

This year, the anniversary of the arson served additional purposes; the repetition of another PA libel: That Israel plans to destroy the mosque and build the “alleged Temple,” – ‘alleged’ because the PA claims there never was a Temple - and to incite religious violence:
Speakers at Gaza Conference on “Global Plots to Destroy the Muslim Family”: CEDAW Agreement is Evil
On August 30, 2023, Palestine Today TV (Palestinian Islamic Jihad) aired the Gaza Conference on “Global Plots to Destroy the Muslim Family”, at which speakers criticized the UN’s Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) agreement. Sheikh Hassan Ali Al-Joujo, the President of the Supreme Council of Shar’ia Judiciary, said that the agreement hurts the Personal Status Law because it calls for “total equality between men and women.” He said that it is “illogical” for women to have the same rights and duties as men, particularly when it comes to marrying multiple partners, receiving inheritances, the right to initiate divorces, and other fields covered by Islamic law. Hamas MP Ahmad Bahr said that the CEDAW agreement is an “evil act” that seeks to destroy Arab and Muslim societies under the guise of slogans such as women’s liberation, social freedom, and “other tools of destruction.”

Gazans set off explosives, hurl grenades during border riot
Palestinian rioters on Tuesday set off several explosive devices next to the Israeli security fence in the northern Gaza Strip, according to the IDF. A number of grenades were also thrown at the barrier.

Israeli forces responded with crowd dispersal means, and in a few cases, sharpshooters.

No casualties were reported on either side.

On Tuesday, several Gaza residents were injured during a violent riot along the border with Israel.

Hundreds of Gazans descended on the security fence, launching explosive devices toward Israeli territory, according to the IDF. Some of the rioters also attempted to cross the border into Israel.

The military responded with sharpshooters and non-lethal dispersal means. The IDF reported that several hits were identified, but provided no further detail. A number of Gazans were arrested.

Violent rioting at the border was also reported on Friday.

The border incidents come after the Hamas terrorist group which rules the Gaza Strip restarted the “Great March of Return” protests.

FDD: Despite Billions in Sanctions Relief, Iran Expands Nuclear Weapons Capabilities
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported this week that Iran expanded its nuclear weapons capabilities between May and August. Across every indicator — enrichment, centrifuge installation, new underground facility construction, facilitating IAEA monitoring and access, and cooperating with an IAEA probe into undeclared nuclear weapons work — Iran’s nuclear threats worsened over the last three months. Yet in July and August, the Biden administration brokered a deal to provide Tehran at least $16 billion in Iranian assets previously frozen in Iraq and South Korea, while allowing Tehran to dramatically increase oil exports to China through non-enforcement of U.S. sanctions. Expert Analysis

“The Biden administration will spin Iran’s actions as a concession. But the administration’s flawed Iran policy has allowed Tehran to expand its nuclear program, and the Islamic Republic is now on the threshold to nuclear weapons.” — Anthony Ruggiero, Senior Director of FDD’s Nonproliferation and Biodefense Program and Former Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Council Senior Director for Counterproliferation and Biodefense

“U.S. policy is, de facto, underwriting the expansion of Iran’s nuclear capabilities and terrorist threats. It’s time for Congress to use its oversight rights and stop the administration from freeing up more funds for the Tehran regime.” — Andrea Stricker, Deputy Director of FDD’s Nonproliferation and Biodefense Program

“The policy of paying Iran to roll back its nuclear capabilities has failed dramatically. The fig leaf of slowing the rate of 60 percent enrichment is too small to cover up the ongoing expansion of Iran’s nuclear weapons-related capabilities.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor
Letter to the Editor: Why did Princeton hire Robert Malley?
To the Editor:

In an Aug. 23 ‘Prince’ article on the University’s hiring of Robert Malley as a visiting professor and lecturer in the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA), Malley said he was “grateful for the opportunity to work with the next generation of public servants” while on leave pending an investigation into his handling of classified information.

As an alumnus who works in the national security community, I am deeply concerned that the University would hire someone who is under investigation by the FBI and the State Department for potential violations of the public trust to teach and mentor Princeton students.

Unlike the SPIA press release announcing Malley’s hiring, the ‘Prince’ correctly noted that Malley had his security clearance suspended and was placed on leave because of an investigation into whether he mishandled classified information. What makes the situation even more noteworthy is that after Malley reportedly had his clearance suspended in April, the Biden Administration was telling members of Congress that Malley was on personal leave. On June 29, State Department Spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters that Malley remained special envoy, but following that press briefing officials in the department were informed that Malley was being placed on unpaid leave.

It is hard to understate the significance of a high-profile envoy appointed by the president being relieved of their duties in this manner. There are many unanswered questions about what Malley is being investigated for and the circumstances surrounding how he was placed on leave after the clearance suspension.

Malley’s hiring while under investigation should concern members of the Princeton community, especially those pursuing careers “in the nation’s service.” The University needs to explain whether they knew Malley was under investigation when they decided to hire him and, if so, why they hired him in spite of these reports.
The Iranian Regime's Strategy Of Taking Western Hostages To Use As Bargaining Chips With The U.S. And Europe For Political And Financial Gain
On September 4, 2023, The New York Times revealed that a European Union official, Swedish citizen Johan Floderus, has been detained in Iran since his arrest in the country in April 2022 while on vacation. According to Tehran, he was engaged in espionage. He is being held in Tehran's Evin Prison.[1]

It should be noted that in July 2022, Sweden sentenced an Iranian "diplomat," Hamid Nouri aka Hamid Abassi, to life in prison for crimes against humanity. Nouri, a former Iranian judiciary official, was involved in mass executions, in the summer of 1988 and on regime orders, of political prisoners opposed to the regime. Iran has demanded, and is still demanding, his release, claiming that he was arrested for political reasons and that the accusations against him are fabricated. It is also notable that Iran is applying considerable pressure to European countries to free its citizens sentenced to prison for terrorism offenses. Recently, in May 2023, it was reported that an Iranian "diplomat," Asadollah Assadi, was freed from a Belgian prison where he was serving a 20-year sentence, in exchange for Iran's release of a Belgian aid worker arrested for "spying" (see below).

Since it came to power in 1979, Iran's Islamic regime has regularly used the taking of Western hostages for political and financial gains from the West, to the point where it can be seen as a policy.

In August 2023, it was reported that Qatar and Oman had mediated between the Biden administration and the Iranian regime to arrive at understandings for a prisoner exchange deal and the transfer of funds from the U.S. to Iran. Under the deal, five American prisoners held in Iran would be exchanged for five Iranian prisoners held in the U.S. and the release of billions of dollars of Iranian oil revenues frozen due to the U.S. sanctions.

Iran has so far released five prisoners with dual Iranian-American citizenship who were "accused of spying," among them American businessman Siamak Namazi, detained since 2015 and serving a 10-year sentence for maintaining contacts with foreign governments; American tourist Emad Sharqi, detained since 2018 and serving a 10-year sentence in Evin Prison for espionage; British-American environmentalist Morad Tahbaz, detained since 2018 and serving 10 years for espionage, and another man and woman whose names have not been revealed.

Iran has said that the five will leave Iran within two months, and after receipt of the promised funds – $6 billion from South Korea and $4 billion from Iraq. According to Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, negotiations on the release of billions of dollars more, in Japan, are underway.[2]

This report will review Iran's policy of arresting citizens of the U.S. and other Western countries, most of them with dual Western-Iranian citizenship, when they are in Iran, and demanding in exchange for their release millions or billions of dollars and the release of Iranian prisoners held in the West.

Israelis launch solidarity campaign for the women of Iran
September 16th marks the one-year anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody in Iran. The Iranian “morality police” arrested Amini, a 22-year old woman from Kurdistan, for allegedly not wearing her hijab correctly.

Iranian police said that Amini died after falling ill in custody and slipping into a coma. Her death resulted in mass protests across Iran, with many women refusing to wear the hijab. These protests were supported by many around the world; and the slogan “Women Life Freedom” became a clarion call.

To coincide with the anniversary, a social media campaign launched this week, called #IsraelisloveIranians. The campaign is led by grassroots, pro-Israel female activists, with the aim of supporting the Iranian protesters.

Emily Schrader, Israeli journalist, activist and co-founder of the campaign, told JNS, “As the global day of solidarity for the Iranian people is on Rosh Hashanah, it was important for us to have a strong showing of support for the people of Iran directly from the people of Israel. Iranians are not our enemies, rather our allies in the fight against their own government, which spreads violence and terror everywhere. As Israelis we proudly stand with the people of Iran.”

Dozens of Israeli organizations and public figures support the campaign.

Among those participating are Israeli Olympian Sagi Muki, MMA fighter Natan Levy, model Orin Julie, actress Swell Or Ariel of The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem, creator of Fauda Avi Issacharoff, Arab Israeli social activist Yoseph Haddad, model Nataly Dadon, businesswoman Ashley Waxman Bakshi and Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan.

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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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