Saturday, February 24, 2024

From Ian:

In Paris, Israel and mediators agree on outline for hostage deal, pending Hamas okay
Sources told Axios that while the outline of the proposal was similar to a previous framework, the current one is far more detailed.

Multiple reports indicated the outline includes the release in the first phase of some 40 hostages held in Gaza, including women, children, female soldiers and elderly and ill abductees, amid a pause in fighting of some six weeks.

It also includes the release by Israel of hundreds of Palestinian terror convicts, and a “redeployment” of Israeli troops within Gaza — but not a complete withdrawal as Hamas had previously demanded. The outline would also reportedly see Israel enable the return of Palestinian women and children to northern Gaza, from where hundreds of thousands evacuated during the fighting, and which Israel has kept cut off from the rest of the enclave.

Channel 12 reported that there are still some points of contention, including Israel’s opposition to significant rehabilitation and reconstruction of Gaza before it is demilitarized, as well as ongoing differences on the number of Palestinian prisoners who would be released in exchange for the hostages.

But, the network noted that there appears to have been “some kind of shift” by Hamas on its demand for an end to war — which the terror group has hitherto insisted must be a condition for further hostage releases. Israel has outrightly refused the demand, vowing to destroy the terror group following the October 7 attack.

A senior government official told Channel 12 that the outline as it appears to stand would likely be approved by the full cabinet.

If the eventual agreement reflects these terms, the TV report said, and if they are also accepted by Hamas, there would be “a high chance that, before March 11, we will see hostages freed for the first time since [the first truce collapsed at the end of] November.”
Prof. Phyllis Chesler: The silence of the feminist lambs: Not a word on Hamas horrors opeds
In 2005, I published a book titled The Death of Feminism. At the time, I was focused on how Western feminists had become obsessed more with the alleged “occupation” of a country that has never existed — Palestine — than with the real occupation of women’s bodies in Gaza and on the 'West Bank', who were being forced into hijab, niqab, and child and arranged marriages, or who were being honor killed by their families for minor or imagined infractions. This form of femicide is primarily a Muslim-on-Muslim crime both in the West and in Muslim countries but, to a lesser extent, also takes place among Hindus in India, and, less frequently, among Sikhs. Honor killing is likely a tribal custom that religious leaders have failed to abolish, I wrote, one in which women also collaborate.

Both Stalinized and Palestinianized feminists and rabid Islamists denounced me as an “Islamophobe” for prioritizing the rights of women of color over and above the rights of the men (and women) of color who were terrorizing and even killing them. I was also condemned as a “Zionist” for questioning the sacredness of Palestinian Arab victimhood.

Thus, I may have been among a handful of people not surprised by the feminist silence on Hamas’ Oct. 7 pogrom-on-steroids. It does not ease my sorrow that so many others, including the worldwide media and professoriate, human rights groups, and the United Nations, are also actively engaging in Oct. 7 denialism, as well as in relentless and vicious blood libels against the Jewish state, every single day.

By the late afternoon of Oct. 7, I was a cognitive warrior on fire. Between Oct. 11 and Jan. 25, I had published 24 articles on the subject and been interviewed about it 10 times.

Most second-wave feminists have died, suffered strokes, or are struggling with either dementia or cancer. Many are disabled. They are no longer “dancing in the streets.” But some of my long-time allies still attend conferences, march, sign petitions, write articles, and speak out.

These are the feminist allies who did not respond to the articles that I sent them about their shameful, even unbearable, silence. Perhaps they felt that Israel deserved whatever it got but were too embarrassed to say that to me. Instead, they said nothing.

Only one such feminist ally responded by sending me articles by Masha Gessen and Judith Butler. She suggested that reading their ideas about the moral superiority of vulnerable Jewish Diaspora life and the advantages of dissolving the Jewish state would “open my mind to the truth.” She also sent me an article that blamed Benjamin Netanyahu — and only Netanyahu — for the failure of a “two state solution — the only fair solution.”

I immediately sent her my critique of Butler and Gessen; I sent her Bassem Eid’s fact-based piece in Newsweek. Eid summarizes the long history of Arab rejection of the offers for a Palestinian state, first proffered by the British, then by the UN, and, finally, by Israel at least six times. Thus far, she has not responded.

Another long-time feminist (a friend, not merely an ally) is adamant that Israel is “committing genocide” and is an “apartheid, colonial, occupying state.” I told her that we cannot discuss Israel ever again. But now our conversations are thinned, brittle. There is no way we can discuss Oct. 7 without endangering our suddenly fragile friendship.
Israel is not acting on emotions and trauma as Westerners charge
Yes, Israelis indeed are wounded and angry. However, this has sharpened their thinking, not clouded it. In my view, Israelis hold pertinent, well-rooted understandings of their diplomatic challenges and opportunities. They are informed and enlightened, reenergized patriotically, determined to defeat all enemies and to rebuild Israel more magnificently than ever. They remain ready to grab diplomatic breakthroughs where such are realistically possible.

Let us be clear: Israelis are not enfeebled, immobilized, or confused. They will not brook global contempt.

Another parallel, sinister narrative that can be heard here and there is that Israeli “rage” has dictated IDF battlefield behavior; that the Israeli military has gone berserk, bombing the hell out of Gaza indiscriminately – and committing war crimes along the way.

In the immediate aftermath of the Hamas massacres and rapes, the world “understood” this rage and swallowed the furious IDF counter-assault, but now Israeli “rage” has taken the fight too far. So goes the storyline.

This false, malicious tale must be debunked, too. The opposite is true: Israel has kept its “rage” firmly in check. Its military has fought against Hamas in Gaza with precision and professionalism, accepting upon itself restrictions and limitations far beyond that of any army in history – anywhere, under any circumstances. Unchained rage using Israel’s full firepower would have looked vastly different.

Here too, the insinuation of Israeli “rage” driving government policy and military operations is superciliousness; an arrogant attempt to paint Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his war cabinet as dangerous actors, as out-of-control lawless children that must be corralled into reason (or prison).

Again, Israel cannot brook such global contempt. By and large, Israelis say to the world: Keep your chutzpah in check. Do not try to lord over Israel with your mistaken assumptions and smug solutions. Israel more than deserves the benefit of the doubt as it fights for its long-term security and makes apt decisions about the right radius of diplomacy.

Hillel Neuer's mission to uncover controversies plaguing the United Nations
ALL OF this has led Neuer and UN Watch to set up the International Summit For A Future Beyond UNRWA on February 26, scheduled to begin at the same time as the 2024 UN Human Rights Council begins its session.

“For 10 years, we repeatedly urged UNRWA to reform. We did not call for ending UNRWA. We called for reform,” Neuer told the Post. “It became clear to us after October 7 and the things that we saw, such as the Telegram group with 3,000 teachers, that UNRWA is not reformable.

“This conference is not talking about reform. It’s about replacing UNRWA. The terrorism coming out of UNRWA is not a bug. It’s a feature.”

The summit’s goal is twofold – to maintain genuine humanitarian aid for those Gazans who need it, while transitioning away from what Neuer calls “a failed agency.”

“We need a future beyond UNRWA,” Neuer said. “That’s why we’ve invited members of parliaments worldwide to come and speak. We have humanitarian aid experts who will talk about how UNRWA can be successfully replaced. We’re going to have ambassadors, Middle East peace envoys. It will be a very serious international summit, and it will take place the very day when the UN Human Rights Council has its annual opening, and [UN] Secretary-General António Guterres will be meters away from our event.”

The question, however, is what can be done regarding UNRWA staff members and their ties to Hamas.

Although a fair number of UNRWA’s 13,000 employees may be from outside of the Middle East, the agency depends on Palestinians and Gazans as employees. Hamas is the elected choice of the Gazan people (although elections have not been held since 2006). Would replacing UNRWA with a different body not lead to similar results, if the ‘boots on the ground’ are precisely the same people?

“I have to begin by recognizing that whenever the UN operates in a totalitarian zone that’s controlled by a totalitarian regime or terrorist group, the UN naturally gets subverted,” Neuer told the Post.
UN wants Hamas to stay in power, Palestinians used as pawns - Hillel Neuer alleges
While interviewed by Eylon Levy on his podcast “State of the Nation” on Friday, Hillel Neuer alleged that international organizations seem to want to keep Hamas in power in the Gaza Strip.

Hillel Neuer is the executive director of UN Watch, an independent UN watchdog organization that, according to Eylon Levy, has “investigated the antisemitic rot at the UN” for 20 years.

Neuer makes this allegation, arguing that by advocating for an immediate ceasefire, “now even while Israel has hostages including babies that are being held by Hamas terrorists, when they say ceasefire now, they know the outcome is to keep a murderous terrorist state in power.”

This is under the assumption that those advocating for this are “intelligent adults and know exactly what the outcome of their actions are.”

In this podcast episode, Neuer and Levy examined the toxic alliances of international politics, the deeply embedded anti-Israel bias in human rights organizations and in the global community, and revealed just how far the UN has strayed from its lofty mission.

An additional bombshell allegation Neuer made in this interview was that “UN officials including their supporters, their allies, and groups like Amnesty International and and maybe some other apologists in the west want a situation where Israel is killing civilians.” Levy promptly responded that it is a serious allegation to be making.

Neuer initially described the “theater” that existed in the Middle Ages, for example the crucifixion of Jesus, where it was entertainment for Europeans to watch the “Jew as the guilty one.” He argued that this activity is still part of the Western and European psych, and that these international bodies like Amnesty International for example, enjoy the theater of Israel being placed in a catch 22 with Hamas, and then accusing Israel of killing “innocent children,” which is the same blood libel against Jews that has existed for centuries.
Israel: State of a Nation with Eylon Levy: How the UN Game Is Played, and Who Benefits | Hillel Neuer from Inside the Assembly Hall
In this episode of the State of a Nation Podcast, Eylon Levy is joined by one of his heroes, Hillel Neuer, international lawyer, diplomat, writer, activist and Executive Director of UN Watch, an independent watchdog dedicated to monitoring and combating bias in the UN and its affiliated organizations, and holding the organization accountable to its founding principles. Together, they examine the toxic alliances of international politics, the deeply embedded anti-Israel bias, and reveal just how far the UN has strayed from its lofty mission.

Konstantin Kisin: Are ‘Islamists in Charge of Britain’?
Suella Braverman—who was Home Secretary, the minister in charge of policing and immigration, until she was ousted by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in November—did not mince her words when describing the significance of what had happened: “The Islamists. . . are in charge of Britain now.”

Many in her own party took issue with that claim, but it is now clear that Britain has a problem with Islamist extremism that requires immediate and drastic action. Appeasement will make the problem worse. If politicians cave to intimidation and threats of violence as they did on Wednesday, it will encourage only more intimidation and threats of violence.

The government, both the major parties, the police, and the security services need to understand we no longer have the luxury of pretending this issue away.

People who threaten violence should be arrested and locked up for a very long time. If the threats are directed against elected MPs, that is an attempt to subvert our democracy and should be treated as such, with severe sentences. Foreign nationals who engage in, call for, fund, or glorify violence, religious hatred, or other violent extremism should be deported immediately.

We must be honest with ourselves. If we do not act now, as sadly I am almost certain we won’t, the result will be more violence and more intimidation. It is not a pleasant truth to have to admit, but things will only get worse if we refuse to speak it.
The cowardice of our elites is emboldening Islamism
There is a similar wilful naivety about the threat posed to MPs in parliament. The Corbynistas are desperately trying to make it all about them. As per. Zarah Sultana MP says the ‘debate about public engagement with MPs’ is an attempt to ‘demonise the Palestine solidarity movement, portraying it as inherently violent and extreme’. Now, many MPs can be guilty of presenting any agitation against them as terroristic. Witness the meltdown a few years ago over a few right-wing blokes jeering at Remoaner MPs outside parliament. And witness the meltdown from one MSP this week over a small group of retirees barging their way into an office of Labour MSPs in Glasgow and holding up placards about ‘genocide’. This debate must not become a pretext to clamp down on protest. But a few idiots wailing about politicians having ‘blood on their hands’ over Gaza is clearly not what we are talking about here.

What we’re talking about is the Islamist movement that has slain one MP; stabbed another; launched a car-and-knife attack on Westminster; hatched several, mercifully foiled, attacks on our politicians; and, most recently, that has forced Mike Freer MP to resign following years of death threats. We’re talking about the Islamist movement that, from the 7/7 bombing in 2005 to the murder of David Amess in 2021, has killed 94 people in Britain. (While the woke constantly downplay Islamist terrorism and talk up the threat of the far right, right-wing terror attacks have claimed just three lives over that period.)

There’s another fundamental difference between recent panics over protest and this week’s shameful surrender to Islamist extremism. When anti-Brexit MPs claimed they were being hounded by their constituents, who were just understandably furious that their democratic vote was being trashed, Westminster didn’t give in. Far from it. Remainer MPs ditched democratic norms and rewrote parliamentary procedures in an attempt to thwart Leave voters and wrest back control from Boris Johnson’s pro-Brexit government. They talked proudly of defending democracy from the ‘mob’, even though they were actually a mob destroying democracy. By contrast, with Hoyle’s shameful giving in to Islamist threats and intimidation this week, we saw Westminster ditching democratic norms and rewriting parliamentary procedures in a craven act of capitulation.

This is where Suella Braverman’s latest offending Telegraph article gets it absolutely wrong. She says ‘the Islamists, the extremists and the anti-Semites are in charge now’, as if our rulers have been overthrown by some unstoppable force. In truth, those scumbags are a tiny fringe most British Muslims want nothing to do with, let alone a formidable faction within society as a whole. Extremists and terrorists of any stripe only really succeed when they force our leaders, our norms, our behaviour, to change out of fear. And yet, such is the self-loathing and cowardice of our elites, of a ruling class that is more afraid of being called racist than it is of receiving death threats, that they have just limply, shame-facedly given up. Indeed, they can’t even name the threat that is menacing them. And us. Islamist extremism is emboldened by liberal cowardice. Time to find some courage.

Are Jews safe in the UK?
Britain's racist tendencies toward Jews
These troubling statistics demonstrate that swaths of people in the United Kingdom harbored racist tendencies toward Jews before the Hamas attack took place on October 7 – they were simply waiting for an excuse to unleash their bigoted views. As a result, British Jews across the UK have been left with a profound sense that nowhere are they safe. “It occurs in schools, universities, workplaces, on the streets, and all over social media. Our community is being harassed, intimidated, threatened, and attacked,” said CST CEO Mark Gardner.

London and Manchester have been worst hit by this ugly phenomenon where intimidating pro-Palestine marches take place on a regular basis and Jews are targeted simply for being Jewish.

In Central London, for example, a group of Israelis were set upon after being identified as such by speaking Hebrew. Similar incidents have also occurred in Manchester, where a rally in support of Israel was disrupted by people shouting at the peaceful demonstrators.

So, is it safe for Israelis to travel to the UK right now? Or should warnings be heeded and precautions taken to avoid any conflict before setting foot on England’s green and pleasant land? I had this discussion with my son before he set off on his trip.

While any holiday should be planned carefully, with safety being the priority, Jews, and Israelis in particular, have to take extra care. No longer can we wander around, openly wearing kippot while chatting away in Hebrew, oblivious to our surroundings. Staying alert and safe is crucial which, sadly, means special attention must be paid to certain aspects of the trip, depending on where you’re headed.

In Britain, serious consideration must be given when traveling around the country. Taking an Uber (taxi), for example, may not be as straightforward as you’d imagine. Stories about Uber drivers have been circulating since the Hamas attack on October 7 took place. Some have been known to make their views on the war in Gaza clear, leaving their passengers, especially Jewish ones, uncomfortable.

Consequently, it may not be wise to use this form of transport, or if one must, take care when doing so by removing or hiding any outward signs of being Jewish. Similarly, when walking through city centers at the weekend, one should either avoid areas where the pro-Palestine marches are taking place or else take care to keep your Jewish/Israeli identity hidden.

Palestine is dead: No one will ever be able to make a Palestinian state
THE WIDESPREAD opposition to a Palestinian state was given expression by Israel’s unity government, which unanimously approved a declaration at a cabinet meeting this past Sunday that was as forthright as it was unambiguous.

“Israel utterly rejects international diktats regarding a permanent settlement with the Palestinians,” the cabinet decision read. “A settlement, if it is to be reached, will come about solely through direct negotiations between the parties, without preconditions. Israel will continue to oppose unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state.”

The statement rightfully pointed out that “such recognition in the wake of the October 7 massacre would be a massive and unprecedented reward to terrorism and would foil any future peace settlement.”

This was a courageous and stinging rebuke to all those in the international community who have called for recognition of a Palestinian entity, and it sent an unequivocal message that Israel will not countenance such a move.

In light of the realities on the ground in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, along with the firm and unflinching opposition to a Palestinian state across the Israeli political spectrum, it is time for people such as Cameron, Macron, and like-minded loons in the US State Department to take a dose of some reality pills.

The time has come to say farewell to the idea of “Palestine” because it simply is not going to happen. 
Jonathan Tobin: Is Biden worrying about losing the wrong voters?
There have already been some signs of a shift in Jewish voting patterns. For example, in 2022, 45% of Florida Jewish residents voted to re-elect Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. National exit polls also showed that in 2022, one-third of Jews voted for Republicans—an increase over past years. In New York, Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin, who is Jewish, did better than the average GOP candidate, sweeping in areas like Rockland County north of Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn that have large Jewish populations.

While New York is not in play this year, even a slight shift in the Jewish vote in battleground states like Pennsylvania, where Jews outnumber Muslims by 3-1, could turn the election as surely as any shift in the Arab vote could swing Michigan.

Those trends are likely to be even stronger this year with even liberal Jews worrying about left-wing antisemitism, and with anti-Israel and openly antisemitic members of Congress getting more attention as a result of Israel’s war against Hamas.

That’s why we shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss the Siena poll or to think that Biden might not have a bigger problem with many Jewish voters than his campaign thinks.

According to President George W. Bush’s White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, the poll was “stunning.” Fleischer, a board member of the Republican Jewish Coalition, told me: “Even if you discount this for being out of line, Biden’s frequent criticisms of Israel and the unwarranted pressure he is applying to the Jewish state during a fight for its survival, is causing his support to crater among a reliably Democratic constituency.”

He may be right.

The demographic trends that are causing a decline in those identifying as adherents of Judaism also may be redefining who it is that we are speaking about when we talk about the Jewish vote.

The impact of demography
Most of those who make up anti-Zionist groups like Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow that are opposed to Israel’s existence and lobbying hard to save Hamas—and who are given disproportionate coverage in mainstream media outlets—are members of a slice of the community that is increasingly less interested in claiming Jewish identity and tend to do so only to denounce the Jewish state “as a Jew.” With skyrocketing rates of assimilation and intermarriage among the non-Orthodox creating a new reality that has caused Jewish communities to become inevitably smaller, those who remain inside the tent are more likely to be more religious, as well as more concerned about preserving Jewish lives and Israel’s security than in virtue-signaling their concerns about Palestinians.

The 2024 election is shaping up to be a race unlike any other in American history. There is an incumbent in Biden with record-low favorability ratings rooted in the perception of his diminished capacities and failures in office, and a challenger in Trump who is considered beyond the pale and hated by half the country. Never mind his being under siege from a campaign of lawfare waged by Democrats determined to either jail him or throw him off the ballot. In such an unprecedented contest, anything can happen. It would still be astonishing if Biden didn’t win the Jewish vote in November. But when you consider a surge of left-wing antisemitism and a president who seems more worried about offending antisemites than winning over Jews he clearly thinks are already in his pocket, it would be unwise to dismiss the possibility of a historic shift in Jewish votes.
US envoy’s ‘final solution’ reference an ‘unfortunate’ slip of tongue
“All told, we intend to do this the right way, so that we can create the right conditions for a safer, more peaceful future, and we will continue to actively engage in the hard work of direct diplomacy on the ground until we reach a final solution.”

So said Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, talking to reporters on Feb. 20, the same day that Washington vetoed an Algerian draft resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The U.S. diplomat looked up from her written statement, apparently ad-libbing, when she said the last few words, including referring to a “final solution” in Israel’s war against Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

The “final solution,” or “The final solution to the Jewish question” in full, was a Nazi euphemism for the extermination of Jews.

Although the Biden administration has repeatedly chastised Israel for what it calls “dehumanizing” language toward Palestinians, Thomas-Greenfield has a reputation as one of the administration’s most ardent Israel supporters.

She was addressing reporters after Washington cast the lone vote against the Algeria-drafted resolution, and she has touted a freshly-drafted U.S. text that uses softer language, such as a “temporary ceasefire as soon as practicable.”

Tracing the Dubious Allegations Against Israeli Forces of Sexual Violence
WCLAC’s Background
The credibility concerns stemming from shortcomings and red flags in the report’s methodology are only exacerbated by the nature of the organization behind the report.

WCLAC has a long record of extremist activism against Israel. One need only read the absurdly politicized language in the report itself to understand this. Israeli counter-terror operations to detain wanted Hamas terrorists are called “home invasions,” the IDF is described as the “Israeli Occupation Forces,” and the Jewish state is repeatedly accused of carrying out a “relentless genocide.”

WCLAC is notable for its repeated efforts to legitimize Hamas’s terrorism. For example, it promotes the idea that Hamas has a “legal right to resist [Israeli] occupation with recourse to ‘all necessary means at their disposal,’” which by definition is inclusive of the mass murder, torture, and rape of Israeli women.

The organization also has a history of trying to shift blame for Palestinian wrongs onto Israel. According to WCLAC, it is “Israeli occupation and apartheid” that “have entrenched patriarchy within Palestinian society and increased intra-societal and -family violence against and oppression of women.”

And this is what WCLAC appears to be trying to do once again. With the world horrified at the well-documented, systematic use of sexual violence by Hamas, WCLAC appears to be trying to shift attention away from Hamas and blame Israel for sexual violence based on a thin record of evidence.

That individuals like Albanese and Alsalem would work to amplify this cynical game is, of course, unsurprising, given their record of antisemitism and open anti-Israel bias. Indeed, despite her role as a UN “expert” on violence against women, Alsalem was curiously silent about the violence against Israeli women, despite the abundant evidence. To suddenly find her voice on the conflict when it can be used to shift blame toward Israel is not just transparent, but morally indefensible.
ICJ ruling brings mixed reactions and division among political, social lines
Indeed, reactions to the case appear influenced by political or group affiliations. A poll by the Israel Democracy Institute showed varied perceptions on the ICJ’s stance towards Israel: 50% of Jewish Israelis found it harsh, 39% lenient, and 11% were unsure. Among Arab Israelis, 19% saw it as harsh, 46% as lenient, and 35% were undecided.

Similarly, opinions diverged along political lines: 60% of the Israeli right deemed the ruling harsh, while 65% of the left considered it lenient.

Kohn suggests that the United States’ support or criticism of Israel should be interpreted through a political lens.

Responding to reports of the Biden Administration conditioning US military aid on Israel providing “credible assurances” of adherence to international law, Kohn expresses profound gratitude toward President Biden for understanding Israel’s long standing struggles with Hamas: “I don’t have enough words to thank him,” she says.

“But let’s try to be objective,” she continues. “It’s close to election day in the United States, and he has to satisfy all kinds of different bodies in the state.” Nonetheless, Kohn believes Israel should easily manage to produce the requested report.

“The army has a very, very good legal department, which constantly refreshes the minds of the soldiers and officers about what has to be done and what has not to be done. So when the court orders a report within a month, we say it won’t be a problem,” Kohn asserts, noting such documentation is routine.
Israel Slams UN Call for Arms Embargo Against Jewish State
So-called “UN experts” warned on Friday that transfer of weapons or ammunition to Israel that would be used in Gaza is likely to violate international humanitarian law and must cease immediately.

The Special Rapporteurs of the Human Rights Council — the “experts” quoted by the United Nations’ Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights — urged member states to “immediately halt arms transfers to Israel, including export licenses and military aid.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz slammed the call for an arms embargo on Israel in a statement posted Saturday night on the X social media platform.

“The “Special Rapporteurs” of the @UNHumanRights Council published a report calling for an arms embargo on Israel. Since the October 7 massacre, the @UN has cooperated with Hamas terrorists and is trying to undermine Israel’s right to defend itself and its citizens,” Katz wrote.

“Ignoring the war crimes, sexual crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Hamas terrorists constitutes a stain that cannot be erased on the UN as an organization and personally on the UN Secretary-General @AntonioGuterres himself.”

Israel’s Foreign Ministry emphasized the points in a somewhat longer statement.

Ireland’s Political Pogrom Of Israel Continues Unabated
Here’s a quick run-through of ongoing “proceedings”:
1. Ireland Is Trying To Have Israel-EU Trade Thwarted
Ireland’s “flagship” anti-Israel effort at the European Union is its attempt to have Israel’s trade agreement with the EU rendered null and void on account of a humans rights clause.

The move is almost certainly a non-runner. It would require unanimity among the EU member states and fortunately not everybody holds Israel in the extreme disdain that the Irish do.

Ireland initially hoped to go it alone but later found willing partners in Spain. The duo are currently on a mission to get the Trade Agreement run through the shredder. The move would harm Israel’s exports, academic cooperation with Europe, scientific ties, and (potentially) an aviation agreement.

2. Ireland Is Arguing Against Israel At The ICJ
Ireland is also currently attempting to muscle its way into proceedings at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Ireland is doing so on two fronts:
Irish lawyer Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh provided support for South Africa’s absurd case at the court charging Israel with perpetrating a genocide in Gaza.
This week, Ireland’s Attorney General presented an opinion to the ICJ regarding Israel’s “occupation” of Palestinian lands. Unsurprisingly, Ireland’s top legal representative delivered a guilty verdict against Israel. The findings were tweeted enthusiastically by Ireland’s foreign minister and deputy PM, Micheal Martin.

3. The Irish Government “Doesn’t Oppose” A Motion Calling For The “Dismantlement” Of “Apartheid” In Israel
With so many different initiatives being pursued at the same time, it’s easy for even more hostility to slip quietly beneath the radar.

This is exactly what happened last night when Irish Senator Frances Blank — notorious for pursuing a bill which would slap sanctions on any Irish people doing business with Israeli companies beyond the Green Line — made a fresh push for sanctions against the Jewish State.

The motion — which the Irish government said it would not oppose — contains a dizzying array of hostile actions:
Enacting the Illegal Israeli Settlements Divestment Bill 2023
Advocate internationally for an arms embargo against Israel
Advocate for the suspension of the EU-Israel Trade Agreement
Support South Africa’s genocide case at the ICJ
Recognise the State of Palestine
“Reaffirm and redouble efforts to create a lasting peace that includes a two state solution [and] dismantling the system of apartheid in Israel.”

If there was ever a moment to reach for the highlighter, may I suggest it’s this — and underlining the last of these proposals.

The language of “dismantling” Israel mirrors perfectly calls by anti-Semite Richard Boyd Barrett to achieve precisely the same end. Boyd Barrett’s dream of “dismantling” Israel involves replacing it with a one state solution which just happens to be named “Palestine” (I kid you not).

This is a transparent call for the elimination of Israel as a Jewish State, a legislative declaration of war.

In response to the Motion, Minister of State Sean Fleming said: “I confirm that the Government is not opposing the Motion.”

4. Ireland Is Pushing Unilaterally To Ban All Israeli Settlers From Entering The Country
This week Ireland also announced that it would be unilaterally pursuing a ban on Israeli settlers entering Ireland:

Assuming that the envisioned ban would define a settler as anybody living beyond the Green Line, such a travel ban would go substantially further than the US’s visa restrictions announced last December which (merely) targeted settlers which had been implicated in acts of extremism and violence.

It is no longer beyond the realm of possibility to consider the idea that Ireland might adopt the Hamas definition of “settler” (every Israeli) and join the list of nations worldwide which ban entry to citizens of the State of Israel.

5. Ireland Announced A Generous Top Up Payment To UNRWA — No Questions Asked
Not content with all of the above — a series of coordinated hostile efforts that beggar belief that Ireland still insists that it is “neutral” — Ireland also announced last week that it was going to step in to fill UNRWA’s funding shortfall.

In spite of growing revelations and evidence showing that UNRWA staff members were involved in the atrocities of October 7th, Ireland’s generous funding contribution — of €20M — dwarfs that of even Arab nations.

There has been no report that Ireland has insisted on increased oversight or some other quid pro quo in exchange for the generous funding.

Ireland is making a coordinated series of efforts at every international forum to harm the interests of the State of Israel. Bereft of a military of any significance, it is turning to diplomatic, legal, and political warfare to harm the interests of the Jewish State. (h/t jzaik)
'Qatar is Hamas': Doha under fire for training Hamas terrorists
A shocking new report by the Middle East Media Research Institute revealed that Qatar’s authoritarian state trained Hamas operatives at the country’s police college as recently as 2023.

According to the early February MEMRI report, “Qatar – which is known for supporting Hamas, financing its military activity and sheltering its leaders, and for extending media support to Hamas by means of its Al-Jazeera channel – also trained, in its Police College in Al-Rayyan, officers from Hamas' Interior and National Security Ministry, which is part of Hamas' governing authorities in the Gaza Strip.”

An IDF spokesperson told the Post that “The IDF does not comment about issues with Qatar and other foreign states. It is a very sensitive issue.” The IDF referred the Post to the foreign ministry.

A foreign ministry spokesman told the Post “We won’t comment regarding the MEMRI report.”

Qatar is currently functioning as a mediator in an effort to secure the release of the over 130 hostages held by Hamas in Qatar. Israeli officials and MKs have been largely reluctant to comment on the Qatari regime’s role in funneling over $2 billion into Hamas’ coffers over the last ten years due to the hostage release talks.
FDD: Israel Sidesteps UNRWA to Deliver Gaza Aid Via WFP
Israel will sidestep the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) by allowing a substantial flour delivery to reach Gaza through the UN World Food Programme (WFP) instead, a U.S. official told The Times of Israel on February 23. The American shipment of flour, passing through Israel, could feed 1.5 million Gazans for five months.

The United States delivered the flour to Israel’s Ashdod Port in January for transfer to UNRWA before arriving in Gaza. Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich blocked the aid’s transfer due to credible allegations of UNRWA’s ties to Hamas and participation in the brutal October 7 massacre. Smotrich directed Israel’s customs service to identify an alternative distributor because UNRWA is a “central part” of the “Hamas war machine,” he said. WFP, a U.S.-led UN body directed by Cindy McCain and overseen by 36 UN member states, delivers food assistance in emergencies.

Expert Analysis
“The notion that UNRWA is somehow irreplaceable is absurd. Delivering food aid through the World Food Programme is what we typically do around the globe, without institutional collaboration with a foreign terrorist organization. Controls are still needed to prevent Hamas’s diversion of aid, but the WFP’s reputation is a lot better than UNRWA’s.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

“Israel is taking the correct steps in seeking an alternative body that can provide humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. This action should not have been necessary, but it is clear that terrorist organizations have infiltrated UNRWA. It cannot be trusted as a competent body to ensure aid reaches those in the Gaza Strip who need it the most.” — Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

IDF Chief of Staff: Fighting is Key for Negotiating Hostages’ Release
In a recent assessment of the situation in the northern Gaza Strip, the Chief of Staff, alongside other military commanders, emphasized the crucial role of the ongoing fighting effort in negotiations for the release of abducted individuals.

During the assessment, which took place on Saturday, the Chief of Staff, accompanied by Major General Yaron Finkelman, commander of the Southern Command, and Lieutenant Colonel Itzik Cohen, commander of Division 162, discussed the progress and strategy in the conflict zone.

The Chief of Staff’s remarks shed light on the multifaceted approach being taken to deepen military achievements in the region. He highlighted the importance of returning to areas with improved intelligence to make more significant advancements, both tactically and strategically.

These efforts, he noted, not only target enemy combatants but also aim to dismantle infrastructure and clear territories to enhance operational effectiveness.

Addressing the ongoing negotiations for the release of abductees, the Chief of Staff emphasized the interconnectedness between military achievements and diplomatic endeavors. He underscored the pivotal role of the fighting effort in exerting pressure on Hamas, thereby potentially facilitating the release of kidnapped individuals.

“The fighting effort is the most effective action that helps those who carry and give in all kinds of places for the release of the kidnapped,” stated the Chief of Staff. “This is the lever we are taking down on Hamas, and you are taking it down very well.”
IDF announces Major Eyal Shuminov killed by anti-tank missile in Gaza
During a raid on Gaza's Zeytun neighborhood, Major Eyal Shuminov of the Givati Brigade was tragically killed by an anti-tank missile on Saturday.

The incident occurred when IDF forces identified a Hamas terrorist on the roof of a building and subsequently eliminated him.

Major Shuminov, a company commander in the Shaked Battalion (424) of the Givati Brigade, hailed from Karmiel and was just 24 years old at the time of his death.

His death marks the loss of 238 IDF soldiers since the start of the ground invasion in Gaza.

Following his death, Major Shuminov was posthumously promoted from the rank of captain to the rank of major. The IDF has extended its condolences to Major Shuminov's family and pledged to continue supporting them during this difficult time.

Israeli Navy Conducts Exercises Amid Rising Tensions in The North
The Israeli Navy’s fleet of missile boats has recently undertaken extensive exercises, as confirmed by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) on Friday.

The maneuvers come in the wake of mounting tensions in the northern region, where the IDF is gearing up for potential conflict while emphasizing its commitment to exhausting diplomatic solutions.

According to IDF reports, the exercises focused on simulating combat scenarios within the northern maritime. Among the simulated situations were the interception of drone attacks, aerial rescue operations conducted from ships, and the refueling of missile boats at sea. Collaboration between the Israeli Navy and the Israeli Air Force was also noted during these drills, underscoring the importance of coordinated efforts across different branches of the military.

The timing of these exercises coincides with continued cross-border exchanges between Israel and Hezbollah. The Iran-backed militant group claimed to have targeted a regional council building, while the IDF intercepted a “suspicious” drone that breached Israeli airspace. Such incidents highlight the ongoing volatility in the region and the constant threat of escalation.

Israeli Forces Map Terrorists’ Houses from Deadly Highway Shooting Attack
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) stated counterterrorism operations were carried out throughout the West Bank and Jordan Valley overnight, between Friday and Saturday, including the mapping of two houses belonging to terrorists from a shooting attack near Jerusalem.

The houses belong to terrorists who carried out the shooting attack on highway Route 1, between Ma’ale Adumim in the West Bank toward Jerusalem, during which the 26-year-old Matan Elmaliah was killed and 10 wounded.

Mappings of terrorists’ houses for a likely demolition were conducted in part due to the Palestinian pay-for-slay policy that financially rewards terror attacks on Israelis and Jews. Ahmed Al-Wahsh, 31, and brothers Muhammad Zawahra, 26, from Za’atara and Kathem Zawahra, 31, were three Palestinians neutralized after shooting at commuters stuck in a traffic jam.

The IDF, Shin Bet internal security agency, and Israel Border Police also carried out arrests throughout the West Bank and Jordan Valley.

In the West Bank, two wanted men were arrested in Burka and another two in Bazariya. In the Jordan Valley, a fifth wanted man was arrested in Zubaydat.

Huge oil slick from cargo ship hit by Houthis triggers environmental disaster concerns
A cargo ship abandoned in the Gulf of Aden after an attack by Iran-backed Houthis is taking on water and has left a huge oil slick, in an environmental disaster that US Central Command said Friday could get worse.

Rubymar, a Belize-flagged, British-registered and Lebanese-operated cargo ship carrying combustible fertilizer, was damaged in a Sunday missile strike claimed by the Yemeni rebels.

Its crew was evacuated to Djibouti after one missile hit the side of the ship, causing water to enter the engine room and its stern to sag, said its operator, the Blue Fleet Group.

A second missile hit the vessel’s deck without causing major damage, Blue Fleet CEO Roy Khoury told AFP.

CENTCOM said the ship is anchored but slowly taking on water and has left an 18-mile oil slick.

“The M/V Rubymar was transporting over 41,000 tons of fertilizer when it was attacked, which could spill into the Red Sea and worsen this environmental disaster,” it said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

Politicians, musicians and Hollywood actors gather in Hostages' Square rally
The families of the hostages held a mass rally at Hostages Square in Tel Aviv with the slogan, "Choose the hostages," on Saturday night.

Singer Sagiv Cohen and child star Nati screened a special music video for the song "We Will Turn Every Stone" with the participation of the hostage families.

Additionally, singer Elin Golan performed a rendition of the song "I Have No Place" with eight-month-pregnant Michal Lubanov, the wife of Alex Lubanov, who is still in captivity in Gaza.

Eliyahu Liebman, the father of the hostage Eliakim Liebman and head of the Kiryat Arba council, offered a prayer for the peace of the soldiers and the return of the hostages.

This demonstration came following an announcement that hostage deal negotiations made meaningful progress and that Hamas was willing to be more flexible with its demands.

On the stage, representatives from the Hostages and Missing Families Forum said, "We support the Israeli delegation in Paris in their mission to return all the hostages - dead and alive."

The rally included multiple keynote speakers as well.
‘She asked me to say happy birthday’: Ex-hostage’s tearful call to cellmate’s father
One of the first calls freed hostage Agam Goldstein-Almog, 17, placed upon her release from Hamas captivity in Gaza on November 26 was to the parents of another hostage of the same name — 19-year-old Agam Berger.

Channel 12 on Friday aired the call that Goldstein-Almog placed to Berger’s parents immediately upon her release, while she was in a vehicle en route to a helicopter, presumably during her transfer to a hospital inside Israel.

“I had to call to wish you happy birthday… she asked that I congratulate you,” Goldstein-Almog can be heard saying to Berger’s father Shlomi, on whose birthday Goldstein-Almog, her mother, Chen, and brothers Gal and Tal were released after 46 days in captivity, during a temporary truce between Israel and the Palestinian terror group.

“It’s your birthday today,” said Goldstein-Almog.

“Yes,” responded Shlomi Berger.

“She asked me to congratulate you,” said Goldstein-Almog, at which point Berger let out a cry as he realizes he is receiving a message from his daughter, who remains in Gaza.

“I believe she will get out of there,” said a tearful Berger.

“She will,” responded the teen.

Shlomi Berger told Channel 12 that Goldstein-Almog’s call was the first — and last — sign of life since October 7 that he and his wife had received from their daughter, a talented violinist, who was snatched by Hamas terrorists from Nahal Oz.

Families of hostages struggle to cope as negotiations for their release show limited progress
Ben Danzig, son of Alex Danzig, and nephew of Itzik Elgarat who are being held hostage in Gaza tells our Nicole Zedeck about their struggle and their demands from the Israeli government

Israel: State of a Nation with Eylon Levy: I am a Gay Lebanese Christian Zionist | Jonathan Elkhoury on Defying Stereotypes
Jonathan Elkhoury, Lebanese-Israeli Christian, LGBTQ+ activist, public diplomacy adviser and commentator on Middle East affairs. Today we discuss the history, motives and power of Hezbollah and its puppet-master, Iran. Jonathan shares his escape story from Lebanon, his experiences as a gay, Christian, Lebanese Israeli and his hopes for peace between Israel and Lebanon.

A letter to Prince William on his comments about the war in Gaza
I’ve just written an open letter on social media to HRH Prince William in response to his statement about the war in Gaza. Prince William expressed his deep concern at the “terrible human cost of the conflict” since the Hamas terrorist attack on October 7 and expressed his desire “to see an end to the fighting as soon as possible.”

As an Anglo-Israeli who made aliyah five years ago, I retain my support for the British Royal Family and my admiration of the Prince and the Princess of Wales in particular. They always seem to be such decent, caring people, and I am sure that Prince William thought long and hard before making his statement. It is controversial for the Royal Family to involve themselves in political matters, so I assume he must be deeply concerned by the situation to have made any statement at all.

Prince William expressed his belief that “too many have been killed.” You will have to forgive me but I am more than a little skeptical about the actual number of deaths in Gaza, all of which are cited by the Gazan health ministry but in fact come from Hamas, a proscribed terrorist organization. These numbers are not independently verified. Sadly, as we have seen with the involvement of UNRWA in the atrocities of October 7, even supposedly impartial NGOs operating in the area have their own agendas and cannot be relied on as impartial players.

While the actual numbers are questionable, I can definitely agree that too many people have died – on both sides – because my Jewish faith values life and peace, and I remain concerned for every innocent life, whether Gazan or Israeli. These are the values that have underpinned our religion for thousands of years. Just like Prince William, we would dearly love to see an end to the fighting, if only it were that simple.

Unfortunately, I do not believe that Hamas cares about civilian deaths, neither Israeli nor Gazan. Hamas uses civilians as human shields, hiding their terrorist infrastructure in schools, hospitals, and homes. It is hard to know where terrorists are when they blur into the civilian population so completely. For Hamas, every civilian death is a bonus; Israel is vilified, and the leaders of Hamas remain untouched. The fact that Gazan civilians voted Hamas into power further muddies the waters. But innocents dying in war is tragic, and the ultimate aim for a peaceful long-term future for the region can only happen with the removal of Hamas.

There can be no peace as long as Hamas exists. Hamas’s declared aim is the destruction of Israel and the death of all Jews. All those who call for a ceasefire must be made aware of this. What would happen if we stopped fighting? Hamas has told us clearly: They would repeat the atrocities of October 7 again and again. This is what Hamas wants: to torture, rape, mutilate, burn, and kill Jews. They keep telling the world but the world chooses not to listen.
Hamas's massacre only happened because of Russia's war on Ukraine - Italian PM
Hamas's massacre of Israelis on October 7 is a consequence of Russian President Vladimir Putin's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni told Milan-based newspaper Il Giornale in a Saturday interview.

Meloni, asked whether she feared tensions across the globe were leading to World War Three, answered: "What I think is that if Russia had not invaded Ukraine, in all likelihood Hamas would not have launched such an attack against Israel.

According to the Italian prime minister, "It was inevitable that such a serious violation of the international system based on law, moreover at the hands of a permanent member of the UN Security Council, would have cascading consequences on other areas and quadrants of the world....[like] the Middle East.

"If international legality is not re-established in Ukraine, the outbreaks of conflict will continue to multiply," Meloni continued.

Meloni also discussed the prospects of reaching a deal for a ceasefire and the release of 134 remaining hostages who were captured by Hamas terrorists and taken into the Gaza Strip on October 7.

"Without a prolonged ceasefire and a solution for the hostages, it is not possible to relaunch the political perspective of two peoples and two states," Meloni declared. On Saturday, a new and updated outline for a deal to release the 134 remaining Gaza hostages was reportedly reached in a meeting in Paris between the representatives of the United States, Israel, Egypt, and Qatar.

Evoking ire, Lula doubles down on comparing Israel to Nazis, Gaza to Holocaust
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has doubled down on his comments which compared Israel to Nazis and the war in Gaza to the Holocaust on Friday.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, the Brazilian president said, “In the same way that I said when I was in prison that I would not accept a deal to get out of jail and that I would not exchange my freedom for my dignity, I say: I will not exchange my dignity for falsehood.

I am in favor of the creation of a free and sovereign Palestinian state. May this Palestinian state live in harmony with the State of Israel. What the Israeli government is doing is not war, it is genocide. Children and women are being murdered. Don't try to interpret the interview I gave. Read the interview and stop judging me based on the speech of the Prime Minister of Israel.”

Lula had previously said, "What is happening in the Gaza Strip with the Palestinian people does not exist at any other historical moment. In fact, it existed when Hitler decided to kill the Jews." He made these statements in an interview with journalists at a hotel he was staying at in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The president was previously in Cairo, where he met with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Protests held outside NYC comedy club for 'ask an IDF soldier' event
Protests were held outside New York City's Comedy Cellar on Thursday night over a panel featuring three October 7 War veterans.

The event, co-managed by the Zionist literary magazine Green Golem and hosted by podcaster Coleman Hughes, featured released IDF reservists Jonathan Karten, Corey Feldman, Samuel Fried, and Noy Leyb.

Anti-Israel activist groups such as Within our Lifetimes called supporters to protest the "pro-genocide event." Demonstrators were told to bring flags, keffiyehs, noise makers, and masks to protect against COVID-19 and surveillance in order to say "no to Israel Occupation [sic] Forces in NYC."

"We do not accept the normalization of events featuring people who have murdered nearly 40,000 civilians with at least 13,000 of those being children and babies," said an advertisement for the protest. "Shame on Comedy Cellar."

The organizers also warned that there may be an escalated police presence.

Arrests were made at protests
Independent journalist Katie Smith reported that two protesters were arrested by the police after they had scuffled with a man who had arrived with an Israeli flag. Smith shared a video of helmeted police armed with batons saying that they formed lines around the venues following the arrests.

Leyb, one of the speakers on the panel and a former paratrooper, said that the event wasn't about "preaching to the choir," and that it was open to the public to allow for difficult questions that they weren't used to hearing.

"The harder questions are much more interesting," Leyb told The Jerusalem Post, saying that it allowed for a meaningful dialogue.

The event saw 45 minutes of Hughes questioning the former soldiers, and another 45 minutes of the reservists fielding questions from the crowd. Leyb said that they touched on challenging topics from civilian casualties, accusations of collective punishment, and anti-zionism.

A manager of the venue reportedly showed a video of IDF soldiers allegedly killing civilians over the last few decades, and demanded to know how such actions could be justified.

"It really gave a platform to let people hear different things," said Leyb.
Police detain 20 anti-Zionist protesters at rallies against AIPAC, pro-Israel lawmakers
Twenty pro-Palestinian protesters led by an anti-Zionist Jewish group were detained on Thursday during rallies against pro-Israel lawmakers and AIPAC, the leading pro-Israel lobby.

The protesters from the anti-Zionist Jewish Voice for Peace wore black shirts that said “Not in our name” and prayer shawls outside the Midtown offices of Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader who is Jewish, and Sen. Kristen Gillibrand. The senators, both Democrats, are supportive of Israel and voted in favor of a $14.1 billion emergency aid package for the country earlier this month. The bill still needs to win approval in the House.

The protesters carried banners that said “Jews to Schumer: Stop funding genocide” as they linked arms outside Schumer’s office.

The NYPD told the New York Jewish Week that 20 people were taken into custody during the protests. A Brooklyn resident was charged with resisting arrest, obstruction of governmental administration and disorderly conduct, and 19 demonstrators were given summons for disorderly conduct.

Demonstrators also rallied at Midtown’s Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, near the offices of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, and the United Nations, carrying a banner that said “AIPAC funds genocide,” holding signs that said “Dump AIPAC,” and beating drums while chanting “Free Palestine.” JVP claimed that thousands attended the demonstration.

Stanford students to stage sit-in at Starbucks to protest Israel: 'Pledge to BDS'
A Stanford University pro-Palestine group says it will stage a sit-in at a Starbucks on campus to protest Israel and pledge their commitment to the Boycott, Sanction, and Divest movement.

Sit in to Stop Genocide at Stanford University said in an Instagram post that the sit-in would take place Thursday through Saturday between 9:00 a.m. through 7:30 p.m. “to reclaim the community space Stanford wants to take from us while pledging NOT to buy from Starbucks.”

”While Stanford took down the sit-in we invite you to reclaiming space as a community. Join us between Thursday and Saturday from 9:00 am to 7:30pm as we will be sitting at Starbucks in our pledge to BDS,” the group wrote. “BDS is a long-term commitment to fostering an economic system where our choices do not contribute to other people’s suffering.”

”Bring your keffiyeh/flag/sign, your homework and friends. We have strength in our collectivity!” it added.

Starbucks has no locations in Israel and wrote in a December 2023 statement it has “no political agenda.”

”Our position remains unchanged. Starbucks stands for humanity. We condemn violence, the loss of innocent life and all hate and weaponized speech,” the coffee chain wrote.

Israel decries top US award for Gazan NYT photographer, alleging he has Hamas ties
Israel’s Foreign Ministry slammed the committee of a prestigious US award on Friday for handing a top prize to a Palestinian photojournalist who, it claimed, has public connections to Hamas and knew in advance of Hamas’s plans to attack Israel on October 7.

Photographer Yousef Masoud won the George Polk award for photojournalism this week for photographs of the Israel-Hamas conflict since it erupted with the shock Hamas assault on Israel on October 7, which began with barrages of early-morning rockets aimed at southern and central Israel as terrorists invaded and went on a killing spree that claimed the lives of 1,200 people, mostly civilians. Terrorists also took 253 hostages into Gaza on that day.

“The award for Photojournalism goes to Samar Abu Elouf and Yousef Masoud of The New York Times for chronicling Israel’s bombardment and invasion of their homeland, Gaza,” the committee announced. “The two photographed the conflict from its opening hours on Oct. 7 until they escaped the territory exactly two months later. Under harrowing circumstances, they captured gripping and unforgettable images. Of frightened children looking skyward toward an Israeli plane. Of bodies pulled from the rubble of flattened buildings. Of a little boy touching the bloodied face of his dead baby sister. And of the chaos of hospitals overwhelmed by dazed, gravely injured patients.”

Itay Milner, a spokesperson for the Consulate General of Israel in New York, wrote a letter to the award committee at Long Island University, first cited by Ynet News, “to express grave concern over your 2024 George Polk Award selections.”

Milner, in his letter, said “equally troubling is the specific awarding of Yousef Masoud, whose public connections to Hamas and well-documented foreknowledge of the terror group’s plans for invasion mortally compromise the integrity of his reporting.”
Three CTV News Broadcasts Provide Exclusively Anti-Israel Voices, Including One Guest Comparing Gaza To Warsaw Ghetto
On the February 18 broadcast of CTV National News, the broadcaster’s flagship evening news program, two separate reports were featured pertaining to the war between Hamas and Israel. In both reports, the only interview guests shown were hostile to Israel.

In the first report, correspondent Jeremie Charron reported on the ongoing war and the anticipated Israeli counter-terrorism efforts in the Gaza region of Rafah.

A total of five interviewees were shown during the brief broadcast, including two Palestinians in Gaza, and three others, all overtly critical of Israel’s operations. However, nothing was said about the significance of Rafah as the last holdout of Hamas, or about Israel’s search for 135 hostages.

One interviewee, Diana Sarosi, from Oxfam Canada, mentioned humanitarian concerns in Gaza, and warning of a famine, but at no time during the broadcast did Charron share that every day, as many as hundreds of humanitarian aid trucks enter Gaza.

Even once they enter, much of the aid is subsequently stolen by Hamas, taking it out of the hands of the general populace.

Another interviewee, retired Major-General Denis Thompson, said that “The only solution is going to occur when Mr. Netanyahu is no longer the leader of Israel.”

In a report purporting to be news coverage, not commentary, Thompson’s comments are not only entirely out of place, but patently false.

Hamas, not Israel, launched the current war, and by refusing to release its hostages, Hamas continues to consciously perpetuate the bloodshed.

'Explosion coming': Hamas warns against Ramadan restrictions on Temple Mount
Hamas issued a warning to Israel on the terror organization’s Telegram channel on Saturday, threatening an ‘explosion’ of rage should Muslim access to al-Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount be restricted during Ramadan.

“Let our enemy know that souls are boiling… [our] anger is imminent… and an explosion is coming in response to any restrictions on the entry of Muslims to Al-Aqsa Mosque during the month of Ramadan,” Hamas wrote.

Last week, The Jerusalem Post reported that a source had confirmed that visitation rights to the Temple Mount for West Bank Palestinian Muslims would be restricted to individuals over the age of 60 and under the age of 10.

Possible restrictions on Israeli Muslims were still under review. Specifically, KAN subsequently reported that the restriction of access to the Temple Mount for Israeli Arabs below the age of 40 was being examined.

"Escalate the confrontation"
“We call on the people of our Palestinian people in the occupied territories, Jerusalem and the West Bank, to escalate the confrontation of the occupation everywhere,” Hamas wrote in a previous message on Telegram. The Islamist terror organization added that they called upon Palestinians “to mobilize and march to the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, to protect it from the desecration of the usurping settlers, and to thwart all fascist plans targeting the Holy Mosque and the Holy City.”

The decision to restrict Ramadan access to the Temple Mount was made during an ad-hoc war cabinet meeting that included Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, National Unity ministers Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, Shas chairman MK Aryeh Deri, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, Justice Minister Yariv Levin, and Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz.

Abu Dhabi to invest $35bn in Egypt, plans hotels and attractions in Ras El-Hekma
Abu Dhabi-based investment giant ADQ has unveiled plans to invest $35bn in Egypt.

ADQ will acquire the development rights for Ras El-Hekma for $24bn to develop the region into one of the largest new city developments by a private consortium.

As part of this investment, ADQ will also convert $11bn of deposits that will be utilised for investment in prime projects across Egypt to support its economic growth and development.

Abu Dhabi’s ADQ unveils Egypt investment plans
Ras El-Hekma is a coastal region in Egypt located approximately 350km northwest of Cairo.

The significant investment marks a pivotal step towards establishing Ras El-Hekma as a leading first-of-its-kind Mediterranean holiday destination, financial centre and free zone equipped with world-class infrastructure to strengthen Egypt’s economic and tourism growth potential.

The Egyptian government will retain a 35 per cent stake in the Ras El-Hekma development.

Spanning over 170 million sq m, Ras El-Hekma will be a next-generation city comprising mainly of tourism amenities, a free zone and an investment zone combining, among else, residential, commercial, and recreational spaces with seamless connectivity domestically and internationally.

ADQ, leveraging its expansive portfolio and partners, aims to unlock the appeal of Ras El-Hekma as a premium international financial and tourism destination adopting the latest cutting edge digital and technological smart city solutions.

ADQ intends to leverage Egyptian and international partners as part of its development and investment plans. Work is expected to commence in early 2025.

ADQ’s decision to invest in Ras El-Hekma is underpinned by its extensive track record of smart-growth planning and investing in similar large-scale infrastructure and development projects in the region.

ADQ’s experience in providing fully integrated infrastructure solutions across a broad range of services, including energy, water, transportation and real estate, promises to bring significant benefits to the new development and Egypt’s economy, and is expected to attract over $150bn in investments.
The EU's Complicity in Financing the Iranian Regime
Behind these seemingly benign economic [trade] transactions... lies a troubling reality: the funds generated from Europe's trade with Iran are being funneled into activities that are now prolonging violence and conflict, and posing a direct threat to European, Middle Eastern and North American security interests.... Since 2012, the Iranian regime has allocated more than $13 billion to support its network of proxies.

Iran's involvement in Russia's invasion of Ukraine, further underscores the malign use of funds derived from international trade. Iran has been supplying Russia with "hundreds of Iranian drones" via a direct route on the Caspian Sea, and, according to reports, "hundreds of ballistic missiles."

"Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to double the number of his country's troops stationed along its border with the Baltic states and Finland as part of Moscow's preparations for a potential military conflict with NATO within the next decade, Estonia's Foreign Intelligence Service said Tuesday." — USA Today, February 13, 2024.

It is a must that the EU takes decisive action to cut off the flow of funds to Iran and hold its regime accountable for its support of terrorism and international aggression. Only through robust and coordinated efforts can the EU effectively counter the Iranian regime's malign activities and safeguard the stability and security of the Middle East, Europe and the Free World.

Eli Lake: Kanye the Vulture
The one consistent theme in Kanye’s music is himself. He is a proud egotist. The final line of “I Love Kanye” sums this up with perfection: I love you like Kanye loves Kanye. And Vultures 1 is no exception. It is both an expression of and commentary on his recent controversies, making the artist’s life, in this case, the art itself. In “Keys to My Life,” for example, he references his ex-wife Kim Kardashian’s affair with SNL alum Pete Davidson. Look at what I stumbled on / Another nigga chillin’ on your couch with pajamas on, he raps over ethereal, gothic chords.

On three of its tracks, Kanye addresses his quarrels with the chosen people. The opening of the album, “Stars,” features this line: Keep a few Jews on the staff now / I cash out. In its closing track, “King,” Kanye chants, Crazy, bipolar, antisemite / And I’m still the king. On the title track, “Vultures,” Kanye raps, How I’m antisemitic / I just fucked a Jewish bitch. That line is tasteless enough on its own. But he completes the verse with petty venom: I just fucked Scooter’s bitch and we ran her like Olympics / Got pregnant in the threesome, so who’s baby is it? “Scooter” here is Kanye’s former manager, Scooter Braun, who divorced his wife Yael Cohen in 2022. They had three children before the dissolution of their marriage and at some point one imagines they will hear this misogyny and cringe or possibly cry. It made me nauseated.

Vulgarity is nothing new for Kanye. All of his great works contain songs that celebrate debased carnality. The chorus of his masterpiece, “Runaway,” implores us to raise a “toast for the assholes.” Part of Kanye’s genius was that you still rooted for the antihero despite these confessions. But “Vultures” doesn’t get us there. The line about his estranged manager’s wife is not aspirational fantasy. It’s toxic enmity.

After three listens to Vultures 1, I’m torn. Yes, I miss the old Kanye. The latest version of this ever-changing artist is that of an unhinged megalomaniac. The artist has turned into the kind of man who boasts of his sexual conquests and lives a life unattainable to anyone who doesn’t have fuck-you money. I gotta fly to Japan just to be secluded, he raps on the aptly named “Problematic.”

I don’t like the new Kanye very much, but I make an exception for his genius even though he is now an antisemitic edgelord. He is hardly the first great artist to embrace the socialism of fools. He will not be the last. I separate Kanye’s art from Kanye and appreciate the glimpses of beauty that lurk inside his vulgarity. The difference is that I am no longer rooting for him.

George Washington's history with the Jews of the US
THE US was all aglow in April 1889 with the upcoming centennial celebration of the inauguration of George Washington later that month. President Benjamin Harrison was coming from Washington to New York for the festivities, since New York was the site of that great American historical event in 1789. Excitement reigned among all sectors of the population.

The Jews of the United States comprised a small percentage of the population in 1876 when the centennial of the country was celebrated in Philadelphia. At that time, the B’nai B’rith organization commissioned a statue by American Jewish sculptor Moses Ezekiel on Liberty Rising. The sculpture was situated in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia for over 80 years.

Now it adorns the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History in downtown Philadelphia.

By 1889, with the growing American Jewish population, fueled by the large annual immigration from Eastern Europe, American Jews wanted to celebrate with all their fellow citizens the centennial of president George Washington. “What to do?” was the question. A most interesting solution presented itself.

The Jewish merchants of New York came up with an inventive solution. Throughout the Jewish areas of the city were advertisements stating that for every ten pounds of matzah purchased before Passover, the buyer would receive a free picture of George Washington. Not only did most Jews possess a picture of Washington, but they proudly hung it in their homes. Our Jewish ancestors too were a part of this important American historical moment. Also to prove further how deeply committed the Jews were to their American heritage, a young Jewish woman was selected to read her essay on George Washington before president Benjamin Harrison.

When I compiled and edited the American Heritage Haggadah for publication in Jerusalem in 1992 by Gefen Publishing, I chose to include this unknown image of Passover memorabilia which I unearthed in Jerusalem. I am very proud that the new National Library has that issue of the American Hebrew, as well as my American Heritage Haggadah, which I gifted to the library 32 years ago.

Since Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat and I are natives of Atlanta, I believed it was important for Jews around the world to recognize him in a different manner other than his noted political prowess. In addition, as the presidential director of domestic affairs of the US, he and his (late) wife had hosted president Jimmy Carter and his wife at a Seder in their home.

In his introduction to the Haggadah, Eizenstat wrote: “In 1889, on the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration as America’s first president, the George Washington Seder was held. During that centennial year, free pictures of Washington were given for every purchase of ten pounds of matzah. As seen in the illustration in the American Heritage Haggadah by David Geffen, our first president is shown near the door awaiting Elijah’s arrival. What a wonderful integration of Americana with Judaica!”

In our extended family, residents of the US and Israel, we now read on President’s Day the words of our beloved and noted ancestor Rav Tuvia Geffen in tribute to George Washington, written on February 22, 1940, the president’s birthday. The diary entry in Yiddish was translated into English by my aunt, Helen Geffen Ziff: “This day should be held in high regard by Jews. This is the day when George Washington, the founder of the American government, was born,” Rav Tuvia wrote. “The United States is the only land today where Jews are safe and secure. Therefore, we are thankful to the father of our country and thankful to God who blessed the world at that time with such a great man as George Washington.”■
As Antisemitism Becomes Socially Acceptable, Jewish Resilience is More Important Than Ever
I would like to share just a few of the antisemitic incidents that have been reported in the news in the past few days. I know, I know – Jews have no right to complain about being targeted, especially while the Israeli army remains in Gaza and there’s no ceasefire. After all, as Antonio Guterres of the United Nations put it, “it is important to recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum.” Which means that when a Jew gets murdered, raped or kidnapped – because it didn’t happen in a vacuum, it’s ok. Nevertheless, please indulge me.

Let’s begin with that bastion of higher education, Harvard University, surely now on its best behavior after being disparaged for months over its tolerance of antisemitism on campus. Well, apparently not! Because this week, Harvard’s interim president was compelled to come out and criticize a cartoon that had been shared by pro-Palestinian faculty groups on campus. The controversial image was posted on Instagram, and depicted a hand with a star of David and a dollar sign, holding nooses around the figures resembling Muhammad Ali and Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egypt’s former president – a classic antisemitic trope that would have been right at home in the Nazi publication Der Stürmer.

Meanwhile, in Walnut Creek, California, during a city council meeting, an individual suddenly launched into an antisemitic tirade, and no one stopped him. The man, who wore a shirt with a swastika and the words “White Power” on it – which should surely have been a red flag to security! – targeted Jewish council member Kevin Wilk with antisemitic slurs, suggested the possibility of another Holocaust, and then concluded his outburst with a Nazi salute.

And then there were the concerts of Jewish-American musician Matisyahu in Tucson, Arizona, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, that had to be canceled after staff at the venues refused to work on the nights he was due to perform. Matisyahu expressed disappointment over this suppression of dialogue and artistic expression, and labeled the cancellations as antisemitism.
Disturbed’s David Draiman raises $26,000 for Matisyahu’s security
A GoFundMe campaign initiated by Jewish American hard rocker David Draiman, lead singer of Disturbed, to raise $25,000 to provide security for fellow Jewish reggae roots singer Matisyahu, more than reached its goal in only two days.

Earlier this month, two Matisyahu shows were canceled - in Tucson, Arizona, and Santa Fe, New Mexico after the venues said they couldn’t guarantee security due to anti-Israel protests that were planned outside the shows.According to the singer, the issue was actually staff who were unwilling to work at the show. The artist said that he had offered to supplement these staff shortages, but he had been refused.

"They do this because they are either antisemitic or have confused their empathy for the Palestinian people with hatred for someone like me who holds empathy for both Israelis and Palestinians," Matisyahu said in social media posts at the time. "It truly is a sad day when dialogue with those you disagree with is abandoned for hate-mongering and silencing artistic expression."

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!




EoZ Book:"Protocols: Exposing Modern Antisemitism"


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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