Monday, February 05, 2024

From Ian:

The Dangerous “Moral Aestheticism” of Israel’s War Critics
Another recent example of moral aestheticism is a New York Times opinion piece authored by Megan Stack, who lauds the South African case of genocide against Israel that was before the International Court of Justice. In recounting the horrors of the war, Stack states that “Israel did not promise, nor did it execute, a sharply targeted retaliation against Hamas … or a strategic hunt for the hostages … To understand this extraordinary spasm of violence as an act of national self-defense, you’d have to accept that Israel’s only chance for safety depends upon Gaza being crushed and emptied—by death or displacement—of virtually all Palestinians.”

But Stack doesn’t bother to mention Israel’s oft-stated war aim: to dismantle Hamas so Israel’s citizens from the south can return to their homes. The real moral question, which Michael Walzer poses, is “what contribution does destroying this target make to success in the ongoing battle or the longer-term military campaign—or to victory itself? Or to the deterrence of future conflicts?” To fairly evaluate Israel’s military actions requires one to understand what Israel is trying to accomplish. Stack’s failure to do so decontextualizes the destruction. It would be like surveying the devastation wrought by U.S. forces against ISIS (The U.S. reportedly killed nearly 30,000 civilians.) without referencing the American war aim to end ISIS’s murderous rampage through the Middle East.

The moral aestheticism practiced by Guterres and Stack is appealing because it substitutes ill-formed impressions for critical judgment and relieves gnawing doubts. And while this lack of moral reasoning is not new, it’s gotten much worse with the now vogue leftwing ideological predilection to divide up the world into the powerful and the powerlessness. In this worldview, the powerful are presumed guilty and the powerless innocent. Once one determines that there’s something fundamentally wrong with Israel, he or she is free to hold the Jewish state alone responsible for the conflict and to ignore all exculpatory evidence. Hamas can’t be responsible because it represents the supposedly powerless party.

Not all criticism of Israel is so simplistic and some reproval does indeed apply sound moral logic. Supporters of Israel, like me, who take moral discourse seriously must be open to evidence that specific Israeli commanders acted with ill intent or failed to take adequate cautionary measures in protecting civilian life. In the course of a long war, it’s quite possible that Israel did not always act within the bounds of the just-war doctrine or the laws of war. But we can’t make those judgments without hearing the evidence and multiple accounts of the events.

Unfortunately, the moral confusion about power and complicity, once confined to the extreme left, has caught on among the mainstream commentariat. Tired of contending with the bad optics of self-defense, these NGO leaders, opinion elites and journalists have resolved their conflicting impulses. Israel is guilty. Freed of all dialectical tension, they can now castigate Israel for its bad manners and the inherent repugnance of even the most legitimate self-defense.

If such moral aestheticism continues unabated, how will any country ever fight a just war and keep its citizens safe? Or does this level of scrutiny only apply to Israel?
Caroline Glick: 360 degrees of hostility: The Biden administration and Israel
The Mothers of IDF Soldiers group led a demonstration last week of army mothers, reservists in the Israel Defense Forces, bereaved families and other concerned citizens outside the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. They demanded that President Joe Biden stop leveraging power to force Israel to resupply Hamas.

The following day, hundreds of Israelis, including parents of soldiers, families of hostages and terror victims gathered outside Ashdod Port. For hours, they blocked trucks laden with supplies for Gaza from exiting the port. Activists have been blocking trucks from entering Gaza via the Kerem Shalom and Nitzana border crossings for more than two weeks.

Speaking to the crowd in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod, Shifra Shahar, who runs a nonprofit organization that cares for the needs of soldiers, addressed her remarks to Israel’s leaders:

“Government of Israel, defense minister, IDF chief of staff, get ahold of yourselves!

“No other nation feeds and sustains its enemy! It’s truly an Israeli start-up.

“We had elections last year. I don’t recall voting for [U.S. Secretary of State Antony] Blinken! Blinken is sitting in the war cabinet and protecting the interests of my enemy. … We have sons in Gaza. We have sons fighting. The entry of the trucks endangers them, prolongs the war, increases the number of casualties and delays the return of the hostages!

“They tell me, ‘There are constraints.’ He who is constrained doesn’t win the war.

“They tell me, ‘The Americans are threatening not to provide us with ammunition.’

“To this, I say, if we were besieging them, we wouldn’t need ammunition! The war would end. They’d be screaming for help, returning the hostages and the war would end!”

The rising expressions of rage at the Biden administration from ordinary citizens are a testament to the shock and anger Israelis feel at what they perceive as a betrayal of Israel’s most basic interests by Biden and his top advisers.

Three and a half months ago, when Biden came to Israel, most Israelis couldn’t imagine his warm embrace would transform into a torrent of hostile actions.

At the height of Biden’s emotional visit, he gave a speech to the people of Israel: “I come to Israel with a single message. You are not alone. You are not alone. As long as the United States stands—and we will stand forever—we will not let you ever be alone.”

For the overwhelming majority of Israelis, Biden’s declaration sounded like a bankable guarantee. But for the few with more sensitive ears, it sounded like a threat—that he and his administration would never leave Israel alone to fight the war to victory.

As the weeks and months passed, it turned out that the latter had it right. The administration has never let Israel alone to win the war whose outcome will determine whether the Jewish state can long survive. At every turn, in every quarter, the United States is constraining, undermining, subverting and coercing Israel to make moves that, as Shahar said, are “against the interests of the citizens of Israel.”
Seth Mandel: Democrats Should Stop Panicking Over Biden’s Israel Support
Morning Consult’s tracking poll shows that, on the question of whether respondents support Israel or the Palestinians, the largest gains have been made by a third category: those who say they support both equally. Israel’s numbers have dropped over the course of the current conflict but the Palestinians’ rose only slightly and then dropped again. Israel and “support both equally” have triple the support that the Palestinians receive in the poll.

Additionally, support for the Palestinians has dropped three points among respondents ages 18-34, precisely the demographic supposedly ready to toss Biden overboard over Gaza.

A Harvard-Harris poll two weeks ago showed that 80 percent supported Israel over Hamas in the current conflict and nearly 70 percent believed Israel was trying to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza.

Lastly, many of those who disapprove of Biden’s handling of the war believe he ought to support Israel even more strongly. Gallup found about 40 percent thought that what the U.S. has done so far to back Israel in the war is “not enough.”

Now, that doesn’t mean there are no polls with warning signs for Israel. According to an AP poll, 50 percent of American adults think Israel’s counteroffensive in Gaza has “gone too far.” According to YouGov, half of Biden’s 2020 voters think Israel is committing genocide in Gaza.

But again, the question here is whether Biden specifically is facing a “disaster politically” for his current support for Israel, and the secondary question is whether he will bleed disaffected Democrat votes to RFK Jr. over the issue. Going by current polling, the answer to both is no. That might change, but what we’re seeing right now is that Biden isn’t endangering his reelection by supporting Israel. Instead, members of his party appear to wish the president was in more trouble than he is.
Two states, one for Jews, one for terrorists
How sweetly this is working out for Yahya Sinwar and the rest of them who run Hamas.

Not for them the disgrace of defeat when this is all over. Not for them anything like Japan’s ceremonial surrender aboard the battleship Missouri, MacArthur seeing to it that the Japanese delegation, heads bowed, signed all the papers to signify their formal humiliation and capitulation.

The Hamas terrorists have no such worries. For what they did Oct. 7, they are not being punished.

They are being rewarded… if Biden has his way. Some deal this is. Murder Jews, congratulations, you’ve won yourselves a country.

Biden has already signaled that he is prepared to formally recognize a separate state for the Palestinian Arabs, run by the Palestinian Authority, themselves terrorists.

Presumably then, Gaza all over again. We’ve seen this movie. Back in 2005, under Ariel Sharon’s generosity, Gaza was handed over to the PA, who were then ousted by Hamas.

By the way, along with Gaza, don’t the Palestinian Arabs already have a state? It’s called Israel, where nearly two million of them enjoy the full rights of citizenship.

That gives them three states, in one form or another, by my count…Gaza, Israel, and swathes of Judea/Samaria. Not bad for a people who feel oppressed.

Meantime, the Israelis still only have this one country, but for Biden, and others around the world, that’s too much.

David Collier: A tsunami of antisemitic hate.
Oct 7 saw Hamas commit atrocities beyond description, but instead of support – Jews in the west are facing a tsunami of antisemitic hate.

Because I am public facing – I become a target of hate for our enemies. For those on the sidelines it is near impossible to fathom the level and intensity of hate that is thrown every day. I mean we all see the offensive messages thrown around, but little of it is targeted or personal. For some – death threats, sadistic promises – we see it all. I am taking a quick breather from ongoing investigations just to post this. What I have posted below are examples of the hateful messages I receive *all day, every day* . These are not public responses to my posts – but recent private messages that people have taken the time to send.

I am not posting them to elicit sympathy. It is done only to inform and to help create a public understanding of the tsunami of antisemitism we are facing.

This is not anti-Zionism, nor is it anything to do with helping Palestinians. It is just a raw hatred of Jews. This is what my inbox looks like right now – all of these messages are recent:

And it was Sunday – a quiet day. None of these examples are more than a few days old:

What I am posting is just a choice few. I am not even bothering to show the more predictable ones – statements equating Zionists with ‘Nazis’ or calls to ‘free Palestine’.

Some I receive are exceptional in their sadistic quality:

The above is from Twitter (and no, I don’t think the enviroment on the platform has got worse since Elon Musk took over – it has always been toxic). I have to leave my message streams open so those with news about antisemitic activity can contact me. My website is another avenue to send messages. Comments are open – and this allows for anonymous vindictive messages to be sent. This one was received yesterday:

I have been doing this a long time, and to be honest, these type of messages no longer affect me at all. I have simply grown accustomed to having sadistic abuse thrown my way.

And then there are the posts that make it all worth it. Like this one:

Posts such as these tell me I am doing exactly what I need to be doing. This is a battle that must be fought.

Time to get back to work.
StandWithUs: Special Briefing - October 7th War - Douglas Murray
Tune in to StandWithUs TV Live for a briefing on the ongoing conflict with Hamas in Israel. Join Michael Dickson, Executive Director of StandWithUs Israel, in a compelling conversation with acclaimed author and journalist Douglas Murray, who has been a staunch supporter of Israel - a special edition of our show filmed before a live audience.

London theater cancels Douglas Murray pro-Israel event; 1,000 attend at alternate venue
An evening fundraising event for Israel’s Technion was cancelled on Sunday after staff at the Apollo Theatre in London refused to facilitate it.

Alan Aziz, chief executive of Technion UK, said staff could choose whether or not to work at events on a Sunday, when the theatre is normally closed. Technion had put together the event — a conversation between writer and broadcaster Douglas Murray and actress Louisa Clein — just three weeks ago.

He told Jewish News: “The Apollo told us that they had struggled to put together enough staff to work at the evening, but that eventually they did have a working crew.”

However, an unidentified person at the theatre chose, said Aziz, to distribute the email addresses of all those Apollo employees, to someone outside the theatre who was opposed to Israel. “All of them received threatening emails and told the management that they no longer wanted to work.”

The theatre, by its own and union regulations, is obliged to use approved personnel who have been trained in evacuation and fire security proceedings. In meetings between the Apollo and Technion in a last-ditch attempt to save the event, the Technion team were told that failure to use approved staff could invalidate the theatre’s insurance.

Nimax Theatres told Jewish News: “The event on Sunday 4 February was cancelled on the advice of Nimax’s security company which advised that the risk was too high to proceed. The safety of the staff, attendees and building is always paramount.”

Aziz said: “The Apollo were very understanding and apologised. They did everything possible to try to make it work.” At around 2pm on the afternoon of the event it became clear that the event could no longer take place, resulting in a frantic phone-round by Technion colleagues to try to secure another venue.

More than 800 tickets had been sold for the Apollo so it was vital for the Technion to locate another place large enough to accommodate such an audience. Eventually another venue agreed and almost 1,000 people turned up to hear Murray and Clein in conversation.
“I Don’t Recognise Our Country Anymore - It’s Filled With Islamist Parading Around” | Douglas Murray
Douglas Murray speaks to TalkTV’s Julia Hartley-Brewer after an event of his was disrupted following complaints from pro-Palestine supporters.

"Hamas supporters literally spit on our country, week after week, but you're not allowed to show solidarity with Jews?,” Douglas asks.

Death threats and attacks for supporting Israel - Mike Freer, the resigned UK Justice Minister
Mike Freer, the resigned UK Justice Minister and MP, speaks to i24NEWS following death threats and attacks over his support for Israel

American Jewry Stands with Israel
An erroneous narrative is taking hold in the mainstream press: support among American Jews for Israel is plummeting, particularly among young people. Yet nothing could be further from the truth, as shown in both polls and my own experience as a Jewish communal leader whose institution represents the full spectrum of interests and opinions among Jews in the U.S.

According to a December survey by Schoen Cooperman Research, 81% of American Jews support Israel's campaign in Gaza. The same poll shows that 60% of Gen Z (up to age 27) support the war effort as well. A mere 26% of Gen Z respondents want an immediate ceasefire.

Add to that the fact that nearly 300,000 Jews - quite a lot of them young people - flooded the National Mall in Washington last November to voice their solidarity with Israel. Despite this, the antics of several organizations, notably If Not Now (INN) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), garner outsized media attention that incorrectly spotlights these groups as spokespersons for American Jewry. These are fringe outliers who Jew-wash some of the most vicious forms and manifestations of antisemitism.

American Jews have a range of opinions on Israel; some can indeed be very critical of particular governments or policies while remaining in the communal fold. But it is important to recognize that the vast majority of Jews agree on Israel's right to defend itself as it prosecutes this just war against the Hamas terrorist army.

Many Jews justifiably feel a profound aversion toward co-religionists whose Judaism seems to exist merely to be wielded against other Jews. Even more frustrating is the media's insistence on spotlighting these groups as representative of the Jewish people, when we in fact have never been more united and vocal in our fundamental support of the Jewish state.
Why the World Cares About Gaza and Not About Africa - Charles Jacobs & Ben Poser | Top Story
Many are not aware, but slavery and sex trafficking has never ended in Africa. But while the human rights community seems obsessed with "genocide" in Palestine, no one really pays attention to the massive human rights violations happening to black people in Africa. Why are human rights groups so selective? Why does the media gravitate towards and champion the rights of some while others are ignored?

This week on Top Story, JNS Editor-in-chief Jonathan Tobin speaks with the co-founder of Americans for Peace and Tolerance Charles Jacobs and executive director of the American Anti-Slavery Group Ben Poser, both of whom are involved in raising awareness of African slaves and freeing them in some cases.
Meet the man who shapes millions of Twitter users’ view of Israel’s war
Stefan Tompson could be the most powerful new news mogul that you have never heard of.

He is the mastermind behind Visegrád 24, one of the most influential Twitter/X accounts posting news about the Middle East, with just over 900,000 followers.

Describing itself as a “current affairs news aggregator and curator”, since it was launched in 2020 the pro-Israel account has grown so rapidly that in peak months it achieves one billion impressions – more than mainstream broadcasters like BBC World on Twitter.

The chances are you have seen its head-turning videos and posts about the Israel-Hamas conflict since Tompson shifted his team to Israel in the aftermath of October 7.

Among its viral posts was one on December 5 which revealed the first images of the IDF pumping sea water into Hamas tunnels, shared nearly 2,000 times; another, posted on January 31, was a video of an angry Gazan urging Israel to destroy Hamas, shared 11,000 times.

“Israel is at the frontline of the battlefield of radical leftists in Western democracies who have, for some reason, joined forces with the Russia-China-Iran bloc,” Tompson, 30, tells the JC, adding: “This is a deadly alliance which is knocking at the door in Israel.”

Tompson, born in London and of Polish and South African descent, says his focus on the conflict and support for Israel “is not an act of altruism, it is an act of self-interest”: he believes that Hamas threatens Western civilisation.
Biased media and the evil of the Islamic regime in Iran: Emily Schrader | Visegrad24 Podcast
Visegrad24 presents an in-depth series covering the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. This comprehensive series features on-the-ground interviews, bringing firsthand insights from a diverse range of voices, including politicians, professors, journalists, experts and influencers.

Our guest today: Emily Schrader : Journalist, writer, lecturer and expert on Israel, Iran, democracy and human rights

00:00- Introduction
02:26 - Social Media and Biased Media on Oct. 7th
05:38 - BBC and Hamas
06:37 - Fake News about Gaza Hospital Strike
08:00 - The Islamic Regime in Iran
09:07: The Iranians Have Had Enough
11:34 - Western Ignorance about Iran
12:36 - Iranian Diversion Across the World
13:31 - Iranian People aren't the Enemy
15:25 - Difference between Iranians and Palestinians
16:20 - The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)
19:02 - What to do about Iran
21:05 - The Khomeini and Arafat Alliance
22:40 - The Alliance between Russia and Iran

JPost Editorial: Why is Biden sanctioning Jewish settlers in the West Bank now?
No increase in settler violence, so why have the sanctions come now?
The issue of settler violence is indeed a serious one. According to a report by the Post’s Yonah Jeremy Bob, although there hasn’t been a significant increase in the volume of Jewish violence against Palestinians post-October 6, sources in the IDF confirmed that Jewish violence against Palestinians was already unusually high in 2023 and even in 2022, compared to previous years.

According to the data, there were 32 incidents of nationalistic violence against Palestinians the week before October 7 and 24 incidents the week after.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the US executive order by emphasizing that “the vast majority of residents of Judea and Samaria are law-abiding citizens, many of whom are fighting right now in active and reserve duty to protect Israel.”

The Prime Minister’s Office added that “Israel acts against all violators of the law in all places,” and therefore, “there is no place for drastic steps on this matter.”

Whether or not there is a need for the executive order, the problem with issuing it at this time is that it appears to be a misguided and potentially dangerous attempt to create a moral equivalency between the genocidal atrocities of Hamas and Jewish attacks against Palestinians.

As former Post editor Yaakov Katz wrote on social media, Hamas is a terrorist organization that rules Gaza, has tens of thousands of fighters, and possesses tens of thousands of rockets. Its charter calls to destroy Israel.

The Israeli extremists in the West Bank are a fringe and scattered group of outlaws who, for the most part, have been involved in violent, but not murderous, incidents that are primarily under investigation.

Israel certainly must do more to infiltrate this group, arrest them, and put them on trial. But in attempting to show that he is not playing favorites and is strict with both sides, Biden is sending a message to the world – more specifically, to the not-so-marginal pro-Palestinian voter base in the Democratic Party – that Hamas terrorism is no worse than Jewish settler violence.

Drawing that equivalency will only embolden Palestinian terrorists to continue their campaign to eliminate Israel.
The ICJ damaged Israel's image and amplified terrorist voices
What the ICJ should have done
INSTEAD OF giving a platform to South Africa’s detached accusations, the ICJ could have called for a broader effort by the Red Cross to reach the Israeli hostages in Gaza, and could have emphasized stronger, the demand for the return of all hostages safe and sound, thereby effectively calling for an end to the fighting suffered by many Palestinians. Most importantly, the ICJ could recognize that Israel operates in accordance with international law on the ground, but it chose not to do so.

The ICJ’s choice of words damages Israel’s image as the only democracy in the region surrounded by enemies identified as terrorist organizations, which even international law does not yet contain. In providing provisional measures, the ICJ reaffirms to some extent South Africa’s delusional accusations of fighting, while Israel does everything in its power to prevent harm to innocent Palestinians.

The ICJ’s provisional measures pave the way for Israel to be accused of genocide. When the ICJ orders closer supervision of Israel in the context of the fighting, leaving open questions on the Israeli side, such as whether Israel will cooperate with the court’s close supervision or whether it will not grant it the legitimacy to intervene in its internal affairs, thus leaving Israel under a spotlight that does it no favors. The temporary decisions of the Court show that there is indeed a real likelihood, that ostensibly does not exist now, because Israel will indeed commit “genocide” and, as a result, it must be monitored.

The serious accusations and rhetoric of the ICJ do not, and rightly so, affect Israel’s right to defend itself and its citizens, but they do give Israel a label that it has worked hard not to accept. On the other hand, the South Africans, on behalf of the terrorist organization, succeeded in shaping the narrative against Israel even though they knew that Israel was not actually committing genocide in Gaza, thus garnering great sympathy. Israel must work smarter and fight for its image on the international level, no less than its war on the ground. Israel and its decision makers must understand that international legitimacy, or in other words, Israel’s “public relations” is a necessary condition for the current campaign and always has been, but now more than ever.
What were the motives and results of South Africa's ICJ case against Israel?
Although an advisory opinion is not binding under international law and Israel chose not to participate in the proceedings, we must consider the interplay between these two cases. Given that Israel has indeed managed to avoid a cessation-of-hostilities order in the genocide case, many countries worldwide may see this as a sign that the ICJ is not a political or biased court but a professional one.

In the context of the genocide case, even the judges who come from Muslim countries (Lebanon, Morocco, and Somalia) did not believe that an order should be issued to stop the war. This makes it harder even for Israel’s allies to accept the idea that the ICJ is a political and biased body, as was broadly understood among supporters of Israel prior to the genocide case. It would be difficult for Israel to dismiss the advisory opinion as a meaningless, biased opinion.

Finally, the International Criminal Court (ICC), an international tribunal also in the Hague (which, unlike the ICJ, focuses on individuals, not states), is investigating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The ICC prosecutor has already visited the area several times and pledged to speed up investigations. Here, too, Israel may find itself before an international tribunal.

The international legal proceedings against Israel are part of an ongoing campaign led by the Palestinian Authority to turn the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a global one. In the interim measures before the ICJ, Israel managed to get through the hearing.

However, the international legal system is deeply focused on Israel, and Israel faces a broad array of challenges ahead. International law, for better or worse, will continue to accompany the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel would do well to continue treading with great care to adhere to it.
Iran's Growing Role in Judea and Samaria
The Palestinian Authority is facing the prospects of infiltration of pro-Iran elements and increasing pressure locally to engage with Iran. Iran's penetration into the Arab street in Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Gaza has contributed to this challenge.

Iran's ability to navigate Palestinian rivalries to get factions to fight Israel under the Hamas umbrella on Oct. 7 was a significant accomplishment.

Moreover, Tehran made forays even into the circles close to Mahmoud Abbas through meetings between Fatah Central Committee insiders and prominent Iranian officials as early as 2014. Rumors of Iran's outreach to the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade go back to the days of the Second Intifada.

Fatah leader Jibril Rajoub, then Deputy Secretary of the Fatah Central Committee, established relations between Iran and the PA in 2014 when he traveled to Iran to meet with the Iranian foreign minister. In 2018, another member of Fatah's Central Committee, Abbas Zaki, called for Arab dialogue with Iran over resistance to Israel.

By helping Hamas position itself as the leader of violent anti-Israel resistance, Iran is pushing the PA to embrace similar rhetoric and public action more openly and to lend support to Iranian proxies.

Abbas may ultimately be cornered with no choice but to accept Iran's self-serving assistance, if only to remain relevant in light of Hamas' apparent success.
It’s time to cut off Qatar’s unseen hand in fueling global antisemitism
“Never Again” was supposed to be more than a phrase. Yet on October 7th, we were once again faced with Jews hiding in their homes, being burned alive, children killed in front of their parents, parents killed in front of their children. In fact, more Jews were murdered on October 7th than on any day since the Holocaust, as were dozens of Arabs, Thais, Nepalese, and more.

One cannot understand this unimaginable carnage, and the failure of “Never Again,” without considering the role played by antisemitism in Hamas’s murderous ideology. It is in their charter. It is in their textbooks. It is engrained in their desire to destroy Israel and kill Jews, based on the very same words, lies, and ideology that was used to justify the murder of Jews in the Final Solution in Nazi Europe. But while the Nazis tried to hide their Final Solution, Hamas terrorists filmed their barbarism to attract more jihadists to join the struggle to eradicate Jews.

As days ago, we again heard calls of “Never Again” from across the world on International Holocaust Memorial Day, we would do well to remember that this year more than ever, we must truly rededicate ourselves to the task of removing the terrible scourge of antisemitism from the world, wherever it may be found.

To do so, we must stop thinking of antisemitism as an eternal and ineradicable disease. It can be defeated, and it can indeed be eradicated. But the elimination of the world’s oldest hate can only come through a concerted, determined and truly global effort of both education — through programs that teach tolerance, empathy, and the historical consequences of discrimination — and eradication, by targeting those funding and disseminating this poison around the world.

Such an effort requires us to admit some uncomfortable truths, and face them head on.

We must, for example, no longer turn a blind eye to how campuses across the US have become stained by the prevalence and recent resurgence of antisemitism. At the same time, we must also recognize that the current prime backer of antisemitic education across the world — Qatar — is also the largest foreign donor to US higher education institutions.

On November 8, 2023, at a school in Mesaieed, southeast Qatar, an imam at a prayer ceremony declared to his throngs of followers: “O Allah, punish the usurping Jews…Give victory to your monotheistic servants in Gaza, O Lord of the Worlds. O Allah, be their helper, supporter, ally, and protector…O Allah, grant us jihad against the Jews with our souls, our wealth, and our words.”
BDS movement lambasts Qatar for allowing Israeli to compete in international sport competition
The official website of the BDS movement, run by the “BDS National Committee,” has slammed Qatar for allowing an Israeli team to partake at the World Aquatics Championships being in Doha, stating that “the genocide of Palestinians continues in Gaza – and the enemy swims in Doha.”

Curiously, this piece of sharp criticism has been found, so far, on the movement’s Arabic-speaking outlets alone and not in any other language.

The statement claimed that the sports sector in Gaza is also suffering “the ugliest of infringements and massacres,” including “the targeting of Palestinian athletes” and the “turning of soccer stadiums… into camps of arrest, interrogations, and torture.” It also called on “the official Qatari authorities” to respect the decisions made by the Arab and Islamic summit held in November 2023, which called on nations to exert pressure on “the Israeli enemy” to “stop the genocide.”

Finally, the statement warned that “our enemy is still failing to transfer normalization from the official level to the popular level, and here lies the reason for its insistence on participating in these tournaments organized on Arab lands… Allowing Israeli participation in these tournaments, in addition to being a dangerous normalization… will exacerbate the anger of the masses and their rejection of every attempt to push them to normalize the presence of the perpetrators of the crime of genocide against our people on its soil.”
Grandson of Israeli Athlete Murdered at Munich Olympics is Badly Beaten in Berlin Assault
The grandson of a member of the Israeli Olympic squad who was murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics has been badly beaten up in an antisemitic assault outside a Berlin bar on Friday night.

Lahav Shapira, 30, was attacked by his assailant as he left a bar where he had been drinking with his girlfriend. He was rushed to hospital where he underwent surgery for non-life threatening injuries. Images of Shapira posted on social media after the attack by his brother, Shahak — a popular comedian based in Germany — showed him with his face and lips badly swollen.

Shapira — whose grandfather Amitzur, the head coach of the 1972 Israeli Olympic track and field team, was among the 11 squad members murdered after being taken hostage by Palestinian terrorists inside the Olympic village — is a student at the Free University in Berlin, where he has emerged as a vocal advocate for Israel in the wake of the Oct. 7, 2023 Hamas pogrom in which over 1,200 were killed and more than 200 seized as hostages.

The official account of the assault published by the Berlin police differed dramatically from Shapira’s own recollections of what occurred, which were broadcast through an interview with the Israeli channel Mako as well as his brother’s social media feeds.

According to the police, Shapira became embroiled in an argument with a 23-year-old with a “pro-Palestinian attitude … In the course of the dispute, the younger man is said to have suddenly slapped the older man in the face several times, causing him to fall,” the statement claimed. It said that Shapira was taken to hospital suffering from facial fractures while the assailant was later found at his home in the Schöneberg district of the capital, where police searched his home and confiscated his cellphone. The statement made no mention of whether the accused assailant had been taken into custody.

In a social media post, however, Shahak Shapira disputed this version of events, insisting that there had been no verbal conflict before the attack.

Poll: 35% of Younger Americans Believe Hamas' Claims
Hamas recently issued an official document, in Arabic and English, to appeal to international public opinion and try to correct its negative image.

A new survey, conducted by Dr. Irwin J. Mansdorf of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, a political psychologist, sought to examine whether the American public believes Hamas' false claims.

The poll shows that up to 35% of people under the age of 45 support Hamas' claims.

This support is also evident among 20% of those who define themselves as supporters of Israel's war in Gaza.

The new findings indicate that a significant part of the population accepts pro-Palestinian claims that deny or minimize Hamas' deliberate harm to civilians, the rape of women, and the kidnapping of Israeli hostages.

For participants under the age of 45, support for the false claims ranges from 27-35%, while among respondents over 45, support ranges from 15-25%.

Among the younger Americans, 25% agreed with Hamas that the Israeli citizens kidnapped in Gaza are treated "in a positive and kind manner" (compared to 16% of the older participants).

Regarding Hamas' claims that no intentional acts of rape were committed against Israeli women, 27% of Americans under 45 agreed, compared to 17% of the older respondents.

"This is further evidence of the challenges facing Israel in the psychological warfare of the Palestinian groups," said Mansdorf.
Call Me Back PodCast: How to build a Palestinian state – with Haviv Rettig Gur
Haviv Rettig Gur of the TIMES OF ISRAEL returns for his weekly check-in from Israel.

There has been a recent flurry of statements coming out of London, Washington, Brussels and the UN about the need to move on the recognition (or establishment) of a Palestinian state. Some have even argued for bypassing discussions about conceptualization, timelines, and milestones, and instead proceed straight to implementation. The EU’s Foreign Minister, Josep Borrell, has said, “I don’t think we should talk about the Middle East peace process anymore. We should start talking specifically about the two-state-solution implementation process.”

What are these voices actually advocating for? What previous obstacles to a Palestinian state have been removed by the October 7 massacre?

What would it actually take to build a Palestinian state that is grounded in the post-10/07 brutal reality of Israelis?

Essay discussed in this episode: “The Two-State Delusion” in TABLET, by Elliott Abrams.

Destroying Hamas Is a Prerequisite for Middle East Peace
Washington is treating the war in Gaza as an opportunity to advance both a two-state solution and regional integration. What is certain is that without an overriding, crushing Israeli victory over Hamas, these efforts have little chance of success. It is therefore critical that the Biden administration adopt policies that enable Israel to achieve such a victory and avoid steps that delay Israel's military progress and triumph.

If Hamas leaders and their stormtroopers maintain their sway in Palestinian politics and can still threaten Israel, the "two-state solution" never will be a solution. Yet the administration's mid-war demands of Israel are delaying Israel's advance.

The pressure exerted by Washington to reduce combat intensity; to significantly increase the scope of humanitarian aid into Gaza (even though much of it is commandeered by Hamas); and to kickstart a process whereby residents of northern Gaza return to their homes, despite the continued presence of Hamas tunnels under those homes - all are playing into Hamas' hands.

The massive Hamas array of tunnels and underground military bases cannot simply be swept under the rug of "regional integration." The immense quantities of quality weaponry amassed by Hamas and directed at Israel cannot be pacified by "Palestinian statehood." First and foremost, Hamas' wherewithal for never-ending war against Israel must be eliminated. Washington's policies must prioritize complete Israeli victory over Hamas, as rapidly as possible.
Russia to summon Israeli envoy over criticism of its Hamas ties, Holocaust distortion
Russia’s Foreign Ministry will summon Israeli ambassador Simona Halperin over “unacceptable comments” she made in an interview, the TASS news agency cited the ministry as saying on Monday.

Halperin, according to the ministry, misrepresented Russia’s foreign policy stance in the interview with Russia’s Kommersant daily, published on Sunday.

The ministry described her comments as “an extremely unsuccessful start” to her diplomatic posting, which began last December.

In the interview, Halperin criticized Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for playing down the importance of the Holocaust and said Russia was too friendly with the Gaza-based Hamas terror group

Beyond the criticism, Halperin also hailed the close ties between Israel and Russia, noting Israel’s large Russian immigrant population, and that both her grandfathers fought for the Red Army in the “Great Patriotic War,” the Russian name for World War II.

But Halperin said she didn’t understand why International Holocaust Memorial Day, on January 27, was not a part of Russia’s official calendar and planned to raise the issue with Moscow.

El Al Cancels Flights to Pro-Hamas Ireland, Morocco and South Africa
Israel’s national carrier El Al Airlines has decided to cancel flights to Ireland and Morocco due to a drop in demand for reservations following the pro-Hamas stance of the population in both nations after October 7, 2023, when thousands of Hamas-led terrorists invaded Israel, tortured and slaughtered more than 1,200 people and kidnapped 253 others.

The decision follows a series of anti-Irael statements by Ireland, whose Prime Minister Leo Vardakar in a tweet described nine-year-old Israeli hostage Emily Hand — who was freed from Hamas captivity in Gaza — as “an innocent girl who was lost and returned.”

Ireland has long expressed anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian Authority opinions on various issues.

In response to that blatant misrepresentation of the nightmare the young girl experienced, Israel’s then-Foreign Minister Eli Cohen wrote in a tweet, “It seems that you have lost your moral compass. Emily was not lost; she was kidnapped by a murderous terrorist organization that is worse than ISIS and murdered her stepmother. Emily and more than 30 other children were kidnapped by Hamas.”

As for Morocco, since October 7th tens of thousands of citizens have marched in solidarity with the Palestinian Authority and Gazans due to the long-standing affinities between them, including their religious, linguistic, and cultural similarities. Needless to say, Israelis loathe to place themselves in harm’s way and thus the popularity of the once-busy tourist destination has faded among Jews.

About a week ago, El Al announced it would cancel its flights to South Africa, another destination that is no longer popular after the country charged Israel with “genocide” in a lawsuit at the International Court of Justice at The Hague.
Israel-Hamas war takes a bite out of McDonald’s sales
The Israel-Hamas war hurt fourth-quarter 2023 sales at McDonald’s as anti-Israel activists targeted the fast-food giant over perceived corporate support for the Jewish state.

Global same-store sales increased by 3.4% in the three months that ended on Dec. 31, 2023, well below the 4.7% rise expected by analysts polled by FactSet. Revenue at U.S. outlets grew in line with expectations, but at Middle Eastern franchises the growth was a paltry 0.7%.

McDonald’s president and CEO Chris Kempczinski said in January in a company message that “misinformation” around the Chicago-based brand’s position on the conflict led to several markets in the Middle East and elsewhere suffering “a meaningful business impact.”

The company drew anger from the anti-Israel BDS movement and Middle Eastern customers when the Israel franchise announced in October that it was providing free meals to soldiers.

In response, the Oman franchise announced humanitarian-aid efforts for the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Oman does not recognize Israel.

“We abhor violence of any kind and firmly stand against hate speech, and we will always proudly open our doors to anyone,” Kempczinski said in a LinkedIn post.

Starbucks has also faced a backlash in the Middle East region for its perceived support for Israel, hurting sales there.
LGBTQ+ Palestinians can request asylum in Israel, court rules
LGBTQ+ Palestinians in danger due to their sexual orientation can request asylum in Israel, the Tel Aviv District Court for Administrative Affairs ruled on Sunday, according to KAN news.

Judge Michal Agmon-Gonen approved the appeal of a Palestinian from the West Bank who had been rejected by the Population Authority due to his being Palestinian. The Population Authority's position is that all Palestinians are not subject to the UN's Refugee Convention, and, therefore, Israel is not obligated to provide asylum to any Palestinians.

The Palestinian who filed the appeal has been living in Israel since 2015 and claims that his life is at risk in the Palestinian territories due to his sexual identity. In the appeal, the Palestinian described how he was pushed into coming out to his parents after he refused to marry the woman they had chosen for him and how his father responded by attacking him and calling for additional relatives to assault him as well.

After realizing his life was in danger, the Palestinian ran from his home and got into Israel. After hiding in Israel for a while, the Palestinian contacted the Civil Authority through an organization that helps LGBTQ+ Arabs to request a residency permit. The request was refused at first but after further proceedings, he received a temporary permit.

Agmon-Gonen rejected the Population Authority's position concerning Palestinians requesting asylum, ruling that the UN Refugee Convention does apply to Palestinians from the West Bank and that they are entitled to request asylum on the basis of sexual and political persecution.
Israel granted asylum to a gay Palestinian man
Public Diplomacy Adviser and LGBTQ+ Activist, Jonathan Elkhoury, provides insights into Israel's policy concerning Palestinian LGBTQ+ individuals facing persecution in the West Bank and Gaza

Sister of Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh treated in Israeli hospital
The sister of Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas's political bureau, was hospitalized in the Soroka Medical Center, where she gave birth.

Some of Haniyeh's sisters live in Tel Sheva, and one of them gave birth to a premature baby in the last few days, receiving life-saving treatment from the medical team.

A senior official in Soroka said that this is a Bedouin family from Tel Sheva with a blue ID card.

In addition, in 2021, it was reported that Haniyeh's relative was hospitalized in an Israeli hospital - then it was Ichilov Hospital.

Haniyeh one of the wealthiest Palestinians
According to sources, 62-year-old Ismail Haniyeh currently lives in Doha. He is married and is a father of 13. He has two brothers and eight sisters, three of whom are married to Israeli Bedouins, have Israeli citizenship, and live in Tel Sheva.

Haniyeh is considered to be one of the wealthiest Palestinians, and his fortune is estimated in the billions. He has been the head of Hamas's political bureau since May 2017. In recent days, it has been reported that differences of opinion have emerged between Haniyeh and the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said that "Ismail Haniyeh's relatives are not only not supposed to receive medical treatment in a hospital in Israel, they are also supposed to be deported from Israel," Maariv quoted him as saying.
Security forces foil terror attack on outskirts of Jerusalem
Israeli Border Police officers thwarted a stabbing attack in Al-Eizariya, located close to Ma’ale Adumim on the outskirts of eastern Jerusalem.

Officers stopped a Palestinian suspect for questioning, who then drew a knife and attempted to stab them.

The officers opened fire in response, killing the terrorist.

No other injuries were reported.

On Dec. 31, two Israelis were wounded in a Palestinian stabbing attack at the Mishor Adumim industrial zone in Ma’ale Adumim.

Magen David Adom paramedics treated the victims, both security guards, before evacuating them, fully conscious and in stable condition, to Hadassah Medical Center on Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus.

David Miller tribunal finds anti-Zionism is a protected characteristic
Anti-Zionist academic David Miller has claimed victory against the University of Bristol in a landmark employment case which determined that anti-Zionism is a protected characteristic in the workplace.

Miller was sacked by Bristol University in October 2021 after making comments about Israel which some deemed to be antisemitic. The university said his comments did not meet its "standards of behaviour", and Jewish students said Miller made them feel “unsafe and unprotected” on campus.

Since then, Miller has described Israel as “the enemy of world peace” and has called the Jewish Society at Bristol University an “Israel lobby group” that had “manufactured hysteria” about his teaching.

Miller said his academic career “effectively ended after sacking over Israel comments”.

During the tribunal, he claimed that he had experienced discrimination based on his “philosophical belief that Zionism is inherently racist, imperialist, and colonial, a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, alongside a finding of unfair dismissal."

The Bristol Employment Tribunal found that Miller’s anti-Zionist beliefs “qualified as a philosophical belief and as a protected characteristic”, protected under the 2010 Equality Act.

Miller also succeeded in his claims of unfair dismissal, but the disgraced academic had his compensation reduced by half because his sacking was “caused or contributed to by his own actions”, according to the tribunal.
CAA reacts to judgment of Employment Tribunal in David Miller case
Today, the Bristol Employment Tribunal has published its judgment in the case of the University of Bristol’s termination of Prof. David Miller.

David Miller, an academic obsessed with anti-Jewish conspiracy theories, was fired by the University of Bristol in 2021 one month after Campaign Against Antisemitism commenced a lawsuit on behalf of students against the institution.

Prof. Miller later sued the University, and the Bristol Employment Tribunal has today handed down its judgment.

Our lawsuit related to Prof. Miller’s speech on a Zoom webinar in February this year in which he said that the “Zionist Movement” is “the enemy” that must be engaged, that it is “the enemy of world peace,” and that those associated with Zionism, including Jewish students on Bristol campus, “must be directly targeted”.

Taken together, the implication of Prof. Miller’s remarks is that all decent people who support “world peace” should view Bristol Jewish Society and the Union of Jewish Students, and Jewish people, including those who identify with those bodies, and the vast majority of Jewish students as an “enemy” that must be “directly targeted”.

He also said that interfaith work between Jewish and Muslim groups is “a trojan horse for normalising Zionism in the Muslim community”. He also claimed that Jewish students, by virtue of being Zionist, “encourage Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism”.

Prof. Miller has a long record of inflammatory statements about the Jewish community.

A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “Until this case, the exact reasons for Prof. David Miller’s sacking by the University of Bristol were kept from the public. It is now clear that, despite its adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism, Bristol’s failure to recognise that Prof. Miller’s comments constituted antisemitism, as well as its failure to consider some of his most egregious comments, opened the way for today’s judgment. But even so, the tribunal found that Prof. Miller’s misconduct was ‘extraordinary and ill-judged’ and deserving of disciplinary action, albeit that it did not warrant dismissal. He was found to be ‘culpable and blameworthy’, and, if he had been fired for the right reasons, the result today may have been different.

“Importantly, the tribunal drastically slashed Prof. Miller’s compensation , including due to his behaviour since being dismissed, which the tribunal found led to a ‘realistic chance that the claimant would have been dismissed’ anyway.

“We are deeply concerned by the way in which the University of Bristol has handled this matter over the course of years. We hope and expect that Bristol will appeal this decision. We are considering the matter with our lawyers.”
Rashida Tlaib's Sister Leads Effort To Pull Votes From Biden in Protest Over Gaza War
Rep. Rashida Tlaib's (D., Mich.) sister is leading an effort to pull primary voters away from President Joe Biden in protest over his support for Israel's war in Gaza.

Layla Elabed is the campaign manager of Listen to Michigan, which is encouraging Michiganders to vote "uncommitted" in the state's Democratic primary later this month, according to the New York Times.

"If we can demonstrate our political power and discontent through as many uncommitted votes as possible in the Michigan Democratic primaries, then the hope is that Biden would feel more at risk of losing Michigan in the general election," Elabed told the Times. She hopes to encourage the president to "shift his policy to support a ceasefire, at least," or put restrictions on aid to the Jewish state.

Elabed said her effort could be a "powerful force."

"Michigan voters are sending Biden a clear message in the February 27 Democratic primary that he can count us out," the group's website reads. "We are filling out the uncommitted bubble because we strongly reject Biden’s funding war and genocide in Gaza."

Elabed is one of several Arab-American community leaders who have soured on Biden over his support for Israel. Dearborn mayor Abdullah Hammoud (D.) declined a meeting with Biden's national campaign manager late last month due to the war in Gaza.

"Our immediate demand is crystal clear: the Biden administration must call for a permanent ceasefire to a genocide it is defending and funding with our tax dollars," Hammoud said on X. "Dearborn residents have tirelessly protested and organized in demand of a ceasefire. As their mayor, I follow their lead. ... I will not entertain conversations about elections while we watch a live-streamed genocide backed by our government."
Los Angeles DSA Censures Lawmaker Over Pro-Israel Group's Endorsement
The Democratic Socialists of America's Los Angeles chapter censured one of its members over the weekend because a pro-Israel Democratic group endorsed her reelection bid for L.A. City Council.

The DSA said in a letter sent Saturday to L.A. councilwoman Nithya Raman (D.) that she undermined the group's "commitment to overcoming imperialist capitalism and the exploitation of working people across the world" by soliciting and receiving support from Democrats for Israel-Los Angeles, an organization that describes itself as "fighting antisemitism in our party and in society at-large."

"This most recent action continues a pattern in which the Councilmember has avoided embracing and organizing alongside the movement, while accepting support from its enemies," the DSA letter said. Raman in 2020 became the group's first member to win an L.A. City Council seat.

This move by the DSA's L.A. branch, which now counts three L.A. city council members, two L.A. school district trustees, and the city controller among its ranks, comes as the national DSA finds itself in a financial hole after organizing against Israel. The group is grappling with a $2 million budget shortfall in the wake of its "All Out for Palestine" rallies, where protesters have waved swastika images and cheered terrorist "freedom fighters."
Penn President Will Not Act To Remove Anti-Semitic Cartoonist From Faculty, Citing ‘Bedrock Commitment to Open Expression’
University of Pennsylvania’s interim president, Larry Jameson, responded on Sunday to a slew of grotesque anti-Semitic cartoons published by a lecturer at Penn’s Annenberg School of Communications, saying that while he personally finds the images "reprehensible," the school has a "bedrock commitment to open expression." Without saying so explicitly, Jameson made clear neither he nor administrators at the school would take action to sanction or remove cartoonist Dwayne Booth from the faculty.

Jameson's statement came roughly three days after a Washington Free Beacon report unearthed the cartoons, which depict Zoinists sipping Gazan blood from wine glasses—a version of the ancient blood libel employed in anti-Semitic propaganda—as well as Jews in a Nazi concentration camp holding signs that read "Stop The Holocaust In Gaza," and "Gaza, The World's Biggest Concentration Camp."

"At Penn, we have a bedrock commitment to open expression and academic freedom, principles that were unanimously reaffirmed last week by our Faculty Senate Executive Committee," Jameson said. "We also have a responsibility to challenge what we find offensive, and to do so acknowledging the right and ability of members of our community to express their views, however loathsome we find them."

Jameson's tepid response—his statement, in contrast to other administrative diatribes aimed at conservative and right-wing faculty members, did not mention Booth by name—raises questions about whether the school has implemented meaningful changes in the wake of former president Liz Magill’s dismissal in December and the establishment of a task force on anti-Semitism.

Magill resigned in December after her disastrous testimony at a congressional hearing on campus anti-Semitism, during which she told lawmakers that calling for the genocide of Jews may not constitute harassment. "It is a context-dependent decision," Magill said. One month earlier, in November, Penn formed a University Task Force on Anti-Semitism, with Magill lamenting the "pernicious acts of anti-Semitism" seen on campus.
Anti-Israel activist Shaun King tells Oxford students he hopes Joe Biden will ‘die soon’
American anti-Israel activist Shaun King has told British supporters he hopes US President Biden “dies soon in office” because of his support for Israel’s “genocide” in Gaza.

King, a prominent figure in the Black Lives Matter movement, was speaking on Monday at Oxford Town Hall, one of several meetings he has addressed in Britain over the past few days.

King, who has hundreds of thousands of followers in the US, drew fierce criticism in November when he said he had helped negotiate the release of hostages held by Hamas - a claim that was widely denied.

He has been banned for life from Instagram after posting videos of casualties in Gaza and what he terms “fighting for Palestine”. He said that when he tried to contest this, Meta, which owns Instagram, had appointed a “Zionist law firm” to represent it.

King, who was once an active Democrat campaigner, told the meeting that Biden “had no place in his heart for Palestinians”. That, he went on, meant “not only will I not vote for him. I wish he would die soon, I wish he would die in office”.
Speaker Accuses Israel of ‘Genocide’ at Northwestern MLK Jr. Memorial as University President Stands By Silently
A speaker accused Israel of committing "genocide" against the Palestinians and launched into an anti-American tirade during a recent Martin Luther King Jr. memorial ceremony at Northwestern University with the school's president in attendance, prompting some students to walk out of the event.

Rev. Dr. Reginald W. Williams Jr., the pastor of the First Baptist Church in University Park, Ill., made the comments in his keynote speech at the campus candlelight vigil for MLK Jr. on Jan. 28.

Williams launched into a long critique of the United States and Israel during the speech, claiming the United States inspired Nazi Germany’s race-based laws and accusing Israel of war crimes.

"South Africa has brought charges against Israel at the World Court, and the World Court has sided with South Africa to show that there's a probability of genocide and Israel against the Palestinians," said Williams.

The news comes two weeks after the Department of Education opened an investigation into alleged anti-Semitism at Northwestern. It could add to concerns about an anti-Jewish atmosphere on campus.

One Jewish student who attended the event told the Washington Free Beacon that she was disturbed by Williams’s comments, and said it prompted some of her classmates to leave the vigil.

"I had two friends who walked out of the event," she said. "It was very upsetting."

She said she was "taken aback, because MLK was a big supporter of Israel," and she felt that the civil rights leader’s memory "was overshadowed in a way" by the pastor’s remarks.

Northwestern University president Michael Schill also attended the event, according to the student. Critics say Schill has failed to adequately address anti-Semitism on campus.
Georgetown Med Students Threaten Free Beacon With Lawsuit in Wake of Exposé
Several Georgetown University Medical School students recently enlisted a personal injury attorney to threaten a lawsuit against the Washington Free Beacon if it does not remove a December report detailing the students’ defense of Hamas's Oct. 7 terror attacks in Israel.

Their attorney, Sofian Solomon Dawood, wrote in a Jan. 4 letter that the Free Beacon had violated "state and federal privacy and data laws" by quoting the students' social media posts. By quoting and providing examples of the information the students themselves posted to social media, Dawood argued, the Free Beacon "leaked personal information of some of my clients, including their social media accounts, LinkedIn profiles, and photographs from private accounts."

The Georgetown Med students also appear to accuse the Free Beacon, through their lawyer, of "defamation, slander, negligence, and libel."

"The Free Beacon has placed my clients in a false light with malicious intent," Dawood said in the letter, which he sent on behalf of Georgetown Med students Nicole Olakkengil, Yusra Rafeeqi, Niyat Esaias, Badr Abdullah, Rhea Shetty, and Mominah Subhan.

Dawood's work defending the students appears to be the attorney's first foray into data privacy and defamation claims. On his website, Dawood touts his experience handling personal injury and immigration cases with a particular focus on "auto accidents," "construction accidents," and green card claims. He has enthusiastically advertised such services on his YouTube page.

In a video titled, "What To Do After A Car Accident," Dawood details how to "get compensated" following an auto crash. Potential claims for damages, Dawood says, include "loss of sleep." In another video, "How is the value of compensation for personal injury determined," Dawood notes that a jury—not a judge—determines the amount of compensation in a car accident case.

"It's essential to pick a jury instead of a judge in any car accident case," Dawood says in the video as messages such as, "How Much $$$ For Personal Injury!" and "The Jury Decides The Amount of Compensation" flash across the screen.

Dawood told the Free Beacon he could not provide a comment until he received an advanced copy of this piece. "While I am waiting for that," he said, "you can always include that 'I am a family man and teach my children to be civilized citizens, love this country, respect the elders, be kind to the young, work hard in school, and help the poor.' And that 'I am leaning to vote for Donald Trump next time.'"
Speaker at MIT’s ‘Standing Together Against Hate' Event Endorsed Hamas Terrorism as Lawful 'Resistance'
In an attempt to ease campus "tension" following Hamas's Oct. 7 attack on Israel, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is slated to bring a series of guest speakers to campus—including one who endorsed Hamas terrorism as an act of lawful "resistance."

As part of its "Standing Together Against Hate" initiative, MIT is slated to hold a March 18 talk on Islamophobia featuring Boston University antibigotry fellow Dalia Mogahed. While MIT says the talk will help "bring our community together" by addressing "real tension between some groups and individuals," Mogahed's hostile rhetoric toward the Jewish state suggests her speech will have the opposite effect.

On Jan. 19, for example, Mogahed argued that Hamas is allowed to terrorize Israel under international law because Palestinians are "living under occupation."

"It has been firmly established that resistance, including struggle against a colonial occupation force, is not only acknowledged under international law but explicitly endorsed," she said in a social media post. "International humanitarian law further solidifies this principle by expressly embracing acts of resistance for national liberation. … As an occupied population, Palestinians inherently possess the right to resist." Mogahed deleted the post after the Washington Free Beacon contacted her for comment.

MIT's decision to host Mogahed comes as the school faces criticism over its response to campus anti-Semitism. MIT president Sally Kornbluth faced calls to resign in December after she participated in a disastrous congressional hearing, which saw her and other university leaders argue that calling for the genocide of Jews may not violate their school's code of conduct. House Republicans launched an investigation into MIT and other elite schools in the wake of the hearing.
A&M Regents to hold ‘discussion and possible action’ on A&M-Qatar campus agreement
The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents will hold a “Discussion and Possible Action Relating to Agreement between Texas A&M University and the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, Texas A&M” during its quarterly on-campus meeting Thursday.

The discussion, released Friday as part of the Regents’ meeting schedule, is listed under executive session, but any action must be taken in open session.

Last month, online reports questioned A&M’s security measures and ties to nuclear engineering research in relation to the Qatar campus. The Jerusalem Post, Israel’s top English newspaper, reported on a letter from The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP), an American nonprofit organization, sent to U.S. officials that said it found “alarming research findings exposing Qatar’s unreported and unregulated funding to Texas A&M University.” The letter was sent to Jennifer Granholm, Secretary of the Department of Energy; Gillian Keegan, Secretary of Education; Jose Berrios, Directives Point of Contact at the National Nuclear Security Administration; Christopher Hanson, Chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Texas Gov. Greg Abbott; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz; Alan Sams, A&M Provost; and Welsh.

In response, Welsh wrote a letter to A&M campus community members and said those claims were assumptions based on false information and noted “the insinuation that we are somehow leaking or compromising national security research data to anyone is both false and irresponsible.” Welsh added no nuclear technology weapons/defense or national security research is done at A&M’s Qatar campus, nor does it have connections to nuclear reactor research done in Texas or the Los Alamos National Lab.

Eyeless in Gaza: the BBC’s Verify unit
Let’s review these three reports. Here the problems escalate. On 19 October BBC Verify’s Merlyn Thomas reported on the controversial claims and counter-claims surrounding the attack on the Al-Ahli Arab hospital. This was a perfect test case to demonstrate the Verify Unit’s ability to sort out false claims made in the heat of war. “Hamas immediately blamed Israel and Israel said it was a misfired rocket from Gaza.” She conveniently forgot to mention that BBC News reporter Jon Donnison also “immediately blamed Israel” and that he was not corrected by the presenter, Christian Fraser. A curious omission.

“Information about this trajectory would help us establish the origin,” she said, “but we can’t establish that from this video.” “A second video also captured the sound. But an expert told us that based on that alone it’s not possible to identify whether that by an Israeli air strike or a misfired rocket from Gaza.” She goes on, “We’ve also seen chaotic scenes from other hospitals that were treating the injured.” Unfortunately, it was not possible to tell who filmed the very short video clip shown or whether it was fake footage, which has abounded during the Gaza conflict. Thomas’s report ends, “We still don’t know if there were munition fragments in the debris, which would help us work out what weapon caused the explosion.”

This, surely, is precisely the point of BBC Verify.
1) To take a contentious issue and through meticulous analysis show who was right and who was wrong.
2) To show whether footage shown by BBC News is authentic or fake. BBC Verify did neither.

A month later, BBC Verify turned to another hugely contentious issue: “BBC assesses footage of hostages and tunnels released by Israel”, crucial to its claim that al-Shifa hospital had a command centre beneath it. BBC Verify also examined “CCTV footage which they [the Israeli military] say shows two of the hostages abducted by Hamas being brought to the hospital,” seemingly against his will by a group of men with guns. Hamas has always denied both claims. International opinion was, again, divided. Surely, a job for BBC Verify. And BBC Verify was able to identify the two hostages from earlier footage on 7 October, taken half an hour before the footage at al-Shifa.

So far so good. But unfortunately Caroline Hawley’s report ends: “Now we don’t know where the two people we saw in that IDF video are, as Israelis hope desperately for a deal that would release all the hostages.” So, once again, a key contested issue which BBC Verify failed to resolve.

On 30 January, BBC Verify produced its third and most recent report, showing that “at least half of Gaza’s buildings [are] damaged or destroyed”, with analysis by two American academics which shows increasing damage in Gaza from 12 October to 29 January. Of course, this is not contentious. Everyone knows there has been massive damage in Gaza. Considerable loss of life and damage to buildings and Gaza’s farmlands. All of the testimony comes from Palestinian civilians. There are no quotations from individual Israelis, just two single sentences: “The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has said it is targeting both Hamas fighters and ‘terror infrastructure’, when challenged over the scale of damage.” Then this more damning quote: “Whoever returns here, if they return here after, will find scorched earth. No houses, no agriculture, no nothing. They have no future.” What this report doesn’t do is tell us anything new. Nor does it clarify a key issue that is disputed: is the damage done to buildings in Gaza justifiable or proportionate?

So BBC Verify has taken three of the most contested issues of the conflict and failed to clarify the key arguments on both sides. This is yet another key failure in BBC News coverage of Gaza. They had a very simple job. To analyse footage of the bombing of a hospital, footage of hostages in a Gaza hospital and evidence of devastation of buildings and farmland in Gaza and say which claims and counter-claims were right and which were misleading. But they failed to do any of this.
BBC fires senior employee accused of repeated antisemitic posts, Holocaust denial
The BBC says that it has fired a senior employee who came under scrutiny for having shared a plethora of antisemitic posts publicly on Facebook.

“The individual concerned is no longer employed by the BBC,” a spokesperson for the broadcaster tells The Telegraph.

Dawn Queva, who uses Facebook under the name Dawn Las Quevas-Allen, was a senior scheduling coordinator at BBC Three.

Queva has been promoting antisemitic conspiracy theories and Holocaust denial on Facebook for several years. As early as 2014, she referred to Israel as “Israhell,” Ashkenazi Jews as “AshkeNAZI,” and the Holocaust as the “supposed holocaust of the fake Jew in Europe.” In the same 2014 post, Queva called the BBC the Bigoted Broadcasting Cretins.

BBC News uncritically amplifies UN statements on UN agency
Readers are not informed that the committee in question includes representatives from bodies with a problematic record on Israel such as UN OCHA, Christian Aid, UNICEF, the secretariat of the UN HRC and UN Women – the entity which took eight whole weeks to put out a statement condemning Hamas’ use of sexual violence against Israeli women during the October 7th attacks.

Jackson’s report continues:
“Also on Tuesday, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Gaza said no other organisation can replace UNRWA due to the the [sic] agency’s “knowledge” of the population in Gaza.”

Remarkably, Jackson did not inform BBC audiences that the recently appointed Senior Humanitarian Coordinator for Gaza is called Sigrid Kaag or that she used to work for UNRWA.

Neither were readers informed that Ms Kaag is married to a former Palestinian Authority official and PLO ambassador or that during her time at ministries in the Dutch government, payments were made to a Palestinian NGO with PFLP terrorists on its payroll.

“In July last year [2020], the Netherlands suspended payments to a Palestinian farmers’ organization after signals that two terrorist suspects were on the payroll. At the insistence of Member of Parliament Tunahan Kuzu (DENK), D66 Minister Sigrid Kaag (Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation) decided two weeks ago to partially resume payments.

According to Kaag, the results of a European investigation into the dealings of Palestinian organizations took too long to appear, while the need among Palestinian farmers was great.”

Some information on Ms Kaag’s record (which includes having told the BBC in 2014 while working for another UN body that “the chemical weapons programme of Syria […] is no longer in existence”) and her views would surely have helped BBC audiences put Jackson’s uncritical and decidedly superficial amplification of statements from “top UN officials” into their appropriate perspective.
BBC News website briefing promotes Qatari talking points
Neither does Sommerville bother to inform his readers about the aspects of those “bottlenecks” which are not related to Israel, as explained below by COGAT, which provides daily reports about the amount and type of aid entering the Gaza Strip.

“It is important to emphasize that every day Israel inspects some 300 aid trucks. However, due to logistical failings on the part of the UN agencies, particularly UNRWA, only 120 trucks on average assemble at the border crossings and end up distributing their goods in the Gaza Strip. Each day, hundreds of trucks, having passed Israeli inspection, await entry into the Gaza Strip to unload their cargo. […]

To our knowledge, the aid organizations have a division of responsibilities between them: UNRWA is responsible mainly for the population in shelters; WFP and other NGO’s supply food to those outside the shelters, and the private sector operates parallel to the organizations. […]

Internal disputes over the work methods – The movements of the population and their concentration in specific locations, were supposed to improve the way the food was being distributed in an orderly manner. However, the aid organizations disagree among themselves on how to operate, ending up hindering the distribution to the population (this situation has resulted in the WFP importing food from Jordan without participation from UNRWA, which is preventing other agencies in the Gaza Strip from carrying out their mission and working proactively and on a large scale within the Gaza Strip).”

Failing to clarify that “anything…that could benefit Hamas” means dual-use goods rather than humanitarian aid such as food, Sommerville also tells his readers that:
“Nine out of 10 people are living on one meal a day in Gaza, according to the World Food Programme. All aid is subject to stringent inspections by Israel which does not want anything to get inside that could benefit Hamas.”

However COGAT reports that:
“In our meetings with all of the aid organizations, and even the Humanitarian Coordinator, have noted that there is no famine within the Gaza Strip and there certainly is no starvation there either.”

Clearly the point of Quentin Sommerville’s briefing on “Gaza aid” was not to provide BBC audiences with an accurate, impartial and comprehensive portrayal of that topic but solely to amplify the partisan, Israel-blaming narrative promoted by a state which harbours and finances the terrorist organisation that initiated the current conflict and which, sadly, is being echoed by the UK government’s foreign office.
The Hill Declining Rising’s Jessica Burbank & The Peace-Loving Houthis
The Hill’s “Rising,” a weekday morning show, boasts that its bipartisan hosts break “the mold of morning TV by taking viewers inside the halls of Washington power like never before. The show leans into the day’s political cycle with cutting edge analysis from DC insiders.”

Jessica Burbank’s Dec. 31 commentary, in which she unconventionally characterized the Iranian-backed Houthis terrorizing international commercial shipping as peace-loving, and shared other similarly “cutting edge” analyses, indeed broke all known molds.

In Burbank’s non-conformist assessment, the Houthis are peace activists targeting ships bringing weapons to Israel. About the Iranian-proxy group whose motto, emblazoned on its flag, is “God is the greatest, death to America, death to Israel, a curse upon the Jews, victory to Islam,” Burbank swam against the current, stating:
Israel has the support of the U.S. military. You know, Palestine does not and so Ya-men [sic] seems to be one of the only countries that is actually supporting Palestine on this side of the war. I think it’s extremely strategic to attack the international shipping. We have protests here in the United States on the west and the east coast where there were shipments of weapons leaving the U.S. to go to Israel and there were protesters trying to block those weapons. I can see anyone interested in peace wanting to prevent weapons from getting into the hands of the people who are using them most.

Aside from the fact that she seemed unaware of Iran’s support for Hamas in its war against Israel, she fabricated that the Houthi’s targets are ships carrying weapons to Israel. In fact, they are commercial ships that aren’t even sailing to Israel. The attacks have caused delays in shipment of everything from car parts, to hospital equipment to clothing across the world.
Guardian cartoon absolves Hamas
The third frame suggests the the cartoonist actually hasn’t read the headlines in outlets all across the world concerning the dozen UNRWA employees who participated in the Hamas Oct. 7 massacre, and further intelligence suggesting that up to 10% of all UNRWA’s 30,000 Gaza-based employees have links to Hamas and PIJ terrorists. Since the news of UNRWA employees ties to Hamas broke, eighteen countries suspended their aid to the agency.

The fourth frame is based on the lies peddled in the first three frames arguing that Hamas is not anywhere to be found at locations targeted by the IDF, and therefore that such military strikes (against what the cartoonist implies are “civilian” locations) will ‘only make Hamas stronger’, insofar it will putatively make Gaza civilians more sympathetic to the terror group. While accurately gaging public opinion inside totalitarian regimes is always difficult, the recent rash of anti-Hamas protests inside the territory does suggest that much of the population likely understands intuitively that it was the actions of the Islamist extremist group on Oct. 7 that caused their current suffering.

We’ve posted about Guardian cartoons over the years that are more malicious and, in some cases, outright antisemitic. But, few have been so inane and based on demonstrably false premises.
AFP Corrects On 1948 Palestinian Refugees
CAMERA’s Israel office yesterday prompted correction of an English-language Agence France Presse article which erroneously reported that all of the Palestinian refugees from 1948 were forcibly displaced from their homes. In fact, the vast majority of the estimated 760,000 Palestinian Arabs who left in 1948 fled, often at the urging of their own leaders. They were not “forcibly displaced.”

The Feb. 4 article, “Arab Israelis let out of Gaza recount ‘terrifying’ journey,” had initially erroneously reported: “The majority of the Palestinian population, around 760,000 people, was forcibly displaced during the [1948] conflict, in what they call the Nakba or catastrophe” (11:10 am GMT). (As of this writing, the original, uncorrected text is still available at L’Orient Today).

Neither the French nor Arabic versions of the same AFP article contained the error.

PMW: PA anxious to reward thousands of new terrorist prisoners
The Palestinian Authority is so anxious to reward the 6,540 new Palestinian terrorists with monthly salaries, known as pay-for-slay payments, that it has decided to bypass standard PA procedures.

According to PA “Regulation of Payment,” the Red Cross must visit imprisoned Palestinian terrorists to confirm their eligibility for salary rewards. The following is the official PA regulation:

“[PA] Government Decision Number 23 of 2010, Regarding the Regulation of Payment of the Monthly Salary to the Prisoner: …

Clause 3 – Documentation

For the purpose of the payment of a prisoner’s the monthly salary, his relatives are required to present the necessary documentation…:

1. An original document of the Red Cross attesting to his arrest, and an updated document must be brought every three months for a prisoner who is still in detention…

Clause 5 – Power of Attorney…

3. The authorization of a representative is executed through a power of attorney [form] issued by the Red Cross signed by the prisoner…”

[Source: Issue No. 90 of the PA Records]

We all were lied to – Gaza was a modern developed city before October 7th
I was recently released from reserve duty in Gaza, after serving 100 days in the IDF. Since the world can’t see firsthand the things I saw there, I feel I have to share.

For years, well before October 7th, we’ve heard about how terrible life is for the poor, oppressed Gazans. How anti-Israel activists and media outlets claim the Gaza Strip can be compared to an open-air prison. This became the standard, accepted narrative about life in Gaza, promulgated by Al Jazeera and international human rights groups. But now, having experienced it myself, I can confidently tell you that we were lied to.

Gaza City was modern and developed
Gaza has been depicted as a backwards, "densely populated" area that’s been under Israeli "siege" for years. There's no bigger lie than this. Pre-war Gaza was a modern, beautiful, developed city – with large, furnished houses, wide avenues, public areas, a promenade, and parks. It looked much better than any other Arab city “from the river to the sea.” Gaza City reminds me more of Tel Aviv than the awful slums that some people try to make it out to be.

And, of course, Gaza is far from being the "most densely populated area in the world."

If this is how a city looks after two decades of "siege," then I want to be sieged. The houses in Gaza were full of goods and food from across the Middle East, the houses had modern furniture, appliances, and pretty much any up-to-date consumer product and electronics you can imagine.

There are also high-end mansions that could easily have been in Los Angeles or Beverly Hills. There was no lack of wealth in Gaza.

MEMRI: Former Jordanian Ambassador To Iran: We Must Form Ties With Minorities And Oppositionists In Iran In Order To Repel Its Attempts To Undermine Jordan

Widow of Holocaust survivor, a pianist, tells students story of resilience
After four years of surviving life in a concentration camp, Herman Godes was liberated, left Europe, moved to New York City, began practicing piano again and found his career accelerating.

He died in 2007, but his wife, Catherine Godes, who teaches music at Tennessee Tech, continues to tell the story of her husband’s survival during the years of World War II and the Holocaust. She sees sharing this history with her students as critical for enabling them to better understand what is happening now after the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel.

“So many students today do not really understand what they are seeing in the news,” she said. “I think knowing the history, they can hear about what’s going on with more understanding and maybe more empathy.”

Godes said that education was “the key to understanding” and that “you can still have your opinions but with a little bit more perspective on what’s really happening.”

She described how Herman’s mother was a concert pianist and taught him to play. “He was enormously talented,” she said. After the war, she said he “quickly learned English and started his career again. He started to practice and everything came back. His career started to take off and he enjoyed this very wonderful life of performing.”

Godes said her husband “had this optimism about him. Many of his fellow survivors were still very bitter, but Herman’s attitude was quite different.”
Sweden extradites to Boston man accused of impeding anti-Jewish arson probe
Swedish authorities extradited a man, who is accused of fleeing the United States with evidence that could have implicated his brother in antisemitic arson attacks in Massachusetts, to Boston on Friday.

Alexander Giannakakis, 37, was arrested in a suburb of Stockholm and served a prison term for illegal possession of weapons, including a gun.

Towards the end of his sentence, the Swedish Supreme Court ruled to honor the U.S. request for the former resident of Quincy, Mass., to be extradited. The Swedish government granted the request on Dec. 21, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts.

Giannakakis, who arrived in Boston on Feb. 2, is scheduled to appear in federal court in Boston on Monday afternoon, in connection with May 2019 arson attacks on Jewish institutions in Arlington, Needham and Chelsea, Mass.

A federal grand jury indicted him in Boston in 2019 for, among other things, lying in a domestic terrorism investigation, concealing records in a federal investigation and tampering with documents, per the U.S. attorney’s office.

Giannakakis took electronic devices and papers that belonged to his younger brother, who became the main suspect in the arson attacks around February 2020, to Sweden, where he was living, per the indictment.
Jewish woman in France alleges wig removed in discriminatory police
A Jewish woman in Créteil, a suburb of Paris, France, has filed a complaint against police officers for allegedly removing her wig during an arrest, in what she describes as an act of sexist and antisemitic violence, BFMTV reported.

The incident, first reported by French investigative news site Mediapart, occurred after a traffic stop where the woman, referred to as Sarah (a pseudonym to protect her identity), was accused of failing to comply with police instructions.

Sarah, 67, alleged that during the arrest, police officers forcibly removed her wig, an item she wears for religious reasons, as is customary for many married Orthodox Jewish women. This act, she claimed, was part of a broader pattern of mistreatment that included sexist remarks and antisemitic violence, highlighting a disturbing abuse of power and disrespect for religious practices.

The incident took a more troubling turn at the police station. According to BFMTV, handcuffed and disoriented, Sarah was further humiliated when an officer, noticing her wig, instructed another to remove it. This action, alongside the officers' alleged mockery of her religious faith while she was in a vulnerable state, has sparked outrage and calls for accountability.
My Trip to Morocco Reaffirmed My Faith in Humanity and Support for Jews
The question, “You are Jewish?” rang out over and over, and I eventually began replying yes. Muhammed, an antique vendor, spoke of antisemitism and how he hurts from seeing it, and how he misses his Jewish visitors. He sold Judaica and Jewish antiques, including a beautiful Menorah that I bought.

Khalid, the Muslim guard of the Marrakesh Jewish cemetery, who spoke fluent Hebrew, gave me a special tour of the cemetery. This care for Jewish people and respect seemed to be the common theme among Moroccan Muslims that I interacted with. Every antique vendor upon seeing my Kippah was eager to showcase their Judaica, and one even went as far as gifting me a free Falus, an old Moroccan coin emblazoned with a Star of David in the front. These Moroccan Muslims appreciated their country’s Jewish heritage, but most of all, were eager to see Jewish tourists.

I had similarly positive interactions with Jews as well. At the Casablanca Chabad house, the rabbi and his congregation welcomed me with open arms. I marveled at Moroccan liturgy and enjoyed an incredible meal put together by the rabbi’s family. Abraham Cohen, one of the last Jews of Fez, cried and prayed upon seeing that I was Jewish, and insisted on making tea for me. We chatted in Hebrew about life in Morocco, and he told me how his entire congregation left for France and Israel, so Jewish tourists were a rare delight. Gavriel, a Jewish barber in Marrakesh was eager to play a Shofar and show me his Judaica collection, covering the walls of his barber shop — alongside Jewish flyers and posters.

Being Jewish in the Diaspora has never been easy, but it’s rarely been as difficult as it is now. We must not, however, forget the importance of a strong Diaspora. The State of Israel and Jews around the world are intrinsically tied in the deepest way possible, and both need to be strong for Jewish life to survive.

Morocco reminded me that our history in the Diaspora is so strong, and that we have partners willing to help maintain our communities, something we now need more than ever. Having been in a shell of fear and uncertainty since October 7, it took a trip to Morocco, a Muslim country, to restore my faith in humanity and remind me of those willing to fight alongside us for a brighter world. With partners like Khalid and Muhammed, and with people like Abraham and Gavriel in mind, we can and will continue despite any hardship, and must live strongly and proudly as a Jewish people, now more than ever.

Despite everything, there are good people in the world — lots of them. If you ever forget that, make your way to Morocco, where the beautiful architecture and delicious food somehow is outdone by the kindness of the people.

Israeli fencer wins gold medal in Qatar
Israel’s national anthem, “Hatikva,” was heard on the stage in Doha, Qatar, on January 31 as Israeli fencer Yuval Freilich won the gold medal in the Doha Grand Prix.

Israel does not have diplomatic relations with Qatar.

Freilich, 29, began fencing at age eight while living in Australia, where he saw the sport at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. He was the first fencer representing Israel to win gold in the individual epee event at the European championships in 2019.

Wearing a patch resembling an Israeli flag, emblazoned with the words “Am Yisrael chai” (the people of Israel live), Freilich defeated one of the world’s top fencers, world champion Yannick Borel of France, at the event in Doha.

Though he is much shorter than Borel, he has said that his height is an advantage. “I come up against fencers like Yannick Borel and I know he’s very tall, very strong, very big, and I have to make sure I’m as precise and as accurate as possible. [But] the question of how tall someone is shouldn’t make a difference. You come to the bout saying, ‘I can win’. It doesn’t matter about size. It’s a question of mindset. You need to believe you can win.”

The lefthanded Israeli fencer is now one step closer to qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Gili Lustig, the CEO of the Israel Olympic Committee, called Freilich’s win “an impressive achievement in an Olympic-level tournament.”

'We are doing the job that we should have done back then in 2014,' says IDF soldier wounded in Gaza
When Israel went to war in the Gaza Strip in the wake of Hamas's murderous rampage on October 7, thousands of reserve soldiers were called up for military duty from around the country, adding to the army's regular force.

Since then, over 200 soldiers have been killed, and hundreds are in hospitals and rehabilitation centers around Israel being treated for wounds, many of them life-changing.

One such soldier is Avihu, a reserve combat engineer from the central town of Rosh Ha'ayin serving in the Nahal Brigade, who was badly wounded in an ambush that killed his commanding officer and wounded several of his teammates.

The Media Line spoke with Avihu at Hadassah-Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem about the events of that day, which he says only make him and other soldiers more resilient and determined.

TML: Can you talk a little bit about what happened that day, what you did?

Avihu: Yes, our unit got the mission to check an area. We had information about it, about some weapons and ammunition and some explosives of the enemy. And then we started to move with the unit, and when the first squad found in one of the buildings all of the ammunition, me and my squad moved forward to this building and an IED blew up on us. Two of the guys were wounded in their limbs. The commander was killed.

I was badly wounded. I didn’t understand it on the field, but then all of the fire started [with] all the shooting from all over. The combat medics treated me on-site and took me to an area to put me on a helipad. And from the helipad [I was transported] here to the hospital.
In Israel, Iranian artist unveils Oct. 7-themed mural honoring Persian-Jewish ties
A little over a year ago, Iranian-born Hooman Khalili quit his career as a DJ in the Bay Area and embarked on a personal project to paint a series of murals around Israel. His mission is twofold: to celebrate the kinship between the Iranian and the Jewish peoples and to draw attention to the oppression of women inside the Islamic Republic.

“My goal is to reunite Iran and Israel as friends. It’s a 3,000-year-old friendship,“ he said in a recent interview with The Times of Israel.

Born in Tehran in 1974, Khalili left Iran with his mother at age 3, a few months before Khomeini’s Islamic Revolution. The two landed in California and were given shelter by a Presbyterian church in the Bay Area, where Khalili grew up. He converted to Christianity, and to this day faith plays an important part in his life.

He has never returned to his home country, but he still speaks some Farsi and is deeply affected by the oppression and crimes committed against his people by the Islamic regime, “the number one sponsor of terrorism for the whole world,” in his words.

The artist was in Israel last week to unveil his latest mural in Tel Aviv. The artwork, designed by Khalili and painted by Israeli graffiti artist Shir Lamdan, commemorates two women, an Israeli female soldier of Iranian origin, Shirel Haim Pour, who was killed by Hamas on October 7, and an Iranian archery champion who lost her left eye in an anti-regime protest. On the left of the mural is an image of Queen Esther.

Khalili’s journey in the mural art form began shortly after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in September 2022 while she was in the custody of morality police for allegedly violating hijab regulations. Her death sparked a wave of anti-regime protests that engulfed Iran for months under the slogan “Woman, Life, Freedom.” In solidarity with his people, Khalili partnered up with a street artist to create his first commemorative mural in San Francisco.

136-hour fast in solidarity with 136 hostages
From Geneva, Rabbi Avidan Freedman and Douglas Hauer tell i24NEWS about their protest: ‘In Jewish tradition, Rabbis would call a public fast at times that are extreme’

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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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