Sunday, February 25, 2024

From Ian:

JPost Editorial: No, Joe Biden, most Palestinians support Hamas
U.S. President Joe Biden declared on X on Friday, "The overwhelming majority of Palestinians are not Hamas." Following the president's statement, various public figures disagreed on social media. Former Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, now a human rights advocate and ally to Israel, countered, "Tell that to the Palestinians in my inbox telling me Hamas are heroes and are freedom fighters."

Though not all Palestinians are members of Hamas or even support it, most of them agree with its basic ideology. Several surveys, as well as monitoring of social media, contradict Biden's remarks. According to a Nov. 14 survey by the Arab World for Research and Development, most Palestinians supported the killing and kidnapping of Israelis on Oct. 7, and just a tiny percentage supported a two-state solution. In the West Bank, 83% expressed their support, while only 7% were opposed.

Regarding a two-state solution, 75% favored a single Palestinian state "from the river to the sea." Though most Palestinians aren't Hamas, a vast majority of them agree with it on almost any question regarding their basic ideology after Oct. 7.
Telegraph Editorial: The West Must Stand with Israel
In the case of Israel, the West is rapidly losing the moral courage to stand for what is right. In the days after Oct. 7, it was widely accepted that, in order to prevent such an evil occurring again, Hamas had to be utterly defeated. Yet before the Israelis had even embarked on ground operations, the criticism and hand-wringing had already begun.

The same disgusting tendency which casts Western countries as innately and uniquely evil turned its sights upon Israel, denying that it had any right to defend itself, or to rescue the hostages still held by Hamas in Gaza. Shockingly, such sentiments appear to be gaining ground in public discourse, while political leaders are equivocating.

It is disturbing just how quickly the actual cause of this conflict - the pogrom of Oct. 7 - appears to be being forgotten. It speaks to the limited attention spans of Western societies, as well as the power of the hard-Left to shape the political and broadcast media narrative. Israel did not start this war. It deserves, and was promised, our support. The West cannot go back on its word now, and should remember why we gave it in the first place. It is long past time that the democratic world rediscovered its moral center.
Niall Ferguson: Two Nations Are Fighting for Their Existence Against Absolutist Enemies. One Is the Victim of a Double Standard.
Two democracies are under attack by a sworn foe of Western civilization. One is in Eastern Europe; the other in the Middle East. One is vast; the other tiny. Both have recently seen unarmed civilians, including children, brutally slaughtered, tortured and kidnapped by their enemies. Both are sending their sons, husbands and fathers into brutal battles.

Yet, despite all these resemblances, these two fighting democracies are treated much differently by the world. One is praised for its heroism; the other is condemned - even accused of genocide and ethnic cleansing.

One is encouraged to fight on to victory, "for as long as it takes"; the other is told to agree to an immediate ceasefire before victory has been achieved. The armed forces of one country can do no wrong; those of the other are charged with "war crimes."

How can we explain the fact that Ukraine is lionized and Israel reviled? Is it because the enemies of Ukraine and Israel are in some way different? In many ways, Russia and Iran are like two peas in a pod. They are brutal autocracies in which the rule of law and human rights count for nothing. They murder without compunction their enemies at home and abroad. They each pose threats that extend far beyond Ukraine and Israel.

Thirty years ago, Israel agreed with the Palestine Liberation Organization on the beginnings of Palestinian self-government under the Oslo Accords - "a separate Palestinian entity short of a state," in the words of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Prime Minister Ehud Barak went even further at Camp David in 2000, but PLO leader Yasser Arafat walked away from the table. Have the Palestinians enhanced the case for statehood in subsequent years? No.

The Palestinian Authority is an oxymoron; Palestinians despise it, and it has no authority. A large majority of the inhabitants of Gaza, to say nothing of the Palestinians of the West Bank, prefer Hamas. The nature of Hamas was laid bare on Oct. 7, which should be regarded as an event disqualifying the Palestinians from self-government, not entitling them to it.

Full interview: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on "Face the Nation," Feb. 25, 2024
Watch Margaret Brennan's extended interview with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Feb. 25, 2024.

"Face the Nation" is America's premier Sunday morning public affairs program. The broadcast is one of the longest-running news programs in the history of television, having debuted Nov. 7, 1954, on CBS. Every Sunday, "Face the Nation" moderator and CBS News senior foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Brennan welcomes leaders, newsmakers, and experts to a lively round table discussion of current events and the latest news.

Seth Frantzman: Will Hezbollah exploit Israel’s ceasefire talks with Hamas?
Escalation on multiple fronts
After October 7, Iran operationalized the Houthis in Yemen to antagonize Israel by attacking cargo shipping containers, and Hezbollah began its attacks the next day on October 8. In addition, Iranian-backed proxies in Iraq and Syria have attacked US forces around 200 times since October, killing three American soldiers in Jordan in late January.

What is the balance in this Iranian trigger-pulling? Hezbollah wanted to draw a new equation in the North, and the equation is one in which it has impunity to attack, and Israel responds in proportion. It has said that Israelis will not return home until the war in Gaza ends.

As such, the Houthis, Hezbollah, and the whole region in a sense – some 5,000 miles of frontline on seven fronts – are all harnessed to Hamas, the mule that is now being forced to carry all this along. As long as the war in Gaza continues, all these proxies of Iran are entwined in this conflict.

So far, Iran appears to be concerned about emerging from this war with a win. If all Tehran has accomplished so far is to show that it can get its proxies to carry out many attacks but not change any of the arenas it fought in, then it is unclear what exactly the Islamic Republic has achieved.

One thing it did achieve was to show that it had the impunity to carry out attacks across a long frontline. As the ceasefire talks progress, Iran may seek to change the “equation” again – or it may breathe a sigh of relief that it got through this round relatively unscathed.

Hamas 'could not have anticipated' Israel's response to October 7, official says
Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouk claimed that Hamas did not anticipate Israel’s response to its October 7 massacre, according to a translation of an interview given to Egypt’s Alghad TV on Thursday by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

“When the [al-Qassam] brigades did what they did on October 7," the interviewer asked, "did they have any expectations regarding the consequences of the attack?” Marzouk responded that nobody had anticipated Israel’s response.

“Nobody in the whole world expected them to be so barbaric,” Marzouk said. “And in such violation of all international laws, treaties, and norms. Nobody expected the [Israeli response] to be so barbaric because, ultimately, the resistance fights soldiers. It is not fighting civilians with planes and tanks.”

The same Hamas official claimed in October that terror tunnels had been constructed to protect Hamas terrorists and that it was Israel's and the United Nation's responsibility to protect Palestinian civilian lives.

The IDF has been forced to fight on Gazan terrain as Hamas has a large amount of military infrastructure built within civilian areas of Gaza. Notably, terror tunnels used by Hamas have been located under hospitals and the UNRWA headquarters.

Despite evacuations in Gaza, the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry has claimed that over 30,000 Palestinians have been killed since Israel began operations.

The interviewer prompted again, asking “What would you have done if you had expected these consequences?”

Ignoring the question, which seemed to ask Marzouk if Hamas would have attacked on October 7 if it had known that Israel would respond the way it has, Marzouk said, “Nobody expected that the Western powers, the US and Britain, would wage a war against civilians. Nobody had expected that.

Ambassador Friedman unveils Israel-Palestinian peace plan at NRB
The plan starts with an ultimatum to terrorists. “Those of you who want to kill us, we’re going to kill you first. We’re not going to give in to terrorism.” But, “those who want to live with us, live with us.” In the Bible, he said, there were plenty of groups who peacefully lived in the area under Jewish sovereignty.

The plan would then be led by Israel, the United States and the Abraham Accords countries, with Israel retaining sovereignty in Judea and Samaria. There would be a Marshall Plan to build up Palestinian areas, funded by Gulf states, and the Palestinians would have “maximum civil autonomy,” with Israel retaining control of security.

The Palestinians would have permanent resident status and Israeli documents. The only restriction would be that while they could vote in local elections, they could not vote in national elections, because that would give them a way to change Israel from being a Jewish state.

“There are 30 Muslim states. If you want to live in one, pick one. There’s only one Jewish state,” Friedman said. This will give the Palestinians full civil rights, “other than the right to destroy the world’s only Jewish state through demographic power.”

For those who would consider the plan to be apartheid, Friedman asks “is America an apartheid state?” After all, residents of territories like American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands can not vote in national elections, and have just non-voting representation in Congress. “These arrangements are accepted because there are significant reciprocal benefits,” he explained, and “Israel has to help the Palestinians get out from the depths.”

There would be no change in status for Israeli Arabs, they would retain their national voting rights.

While there will be objections, Friedman said “let’s not let the perfect get in the way of the possible.” He anticipates Palestinian opposition, but without a clear successor to the aging and widely unpopular Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, and in the aftermath of the war against Hamas, “Israel will have to increase security” to deal with the “vacuum.”

Initiatives to build real lives for Palestinians, rather than recycling the refugee camps and a grievance mentality, “will improve stability” as they come on line, and there needs to be promotion and empowerment of Palestinian leaders who can give the Palestinian people the opportunity for a better future, free of conflict.
‘Disgrace’: US House speaker slams Biden’s policy on ‘settlements’
U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) on Saturday slammed as an “absolute disgrace” the Biden administration’s decision to reverse the “Pompeo doctrine,” which held that Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria were not necessarily illegal.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday that Israel’s approval of 3,000 new housing units in Judea—announced after one Israeli was killed and six wounded in a Palestinian terrorist attack near Jerusalem—was “inconsistent with international law.”

“The Jewish people have a historic and legal right to live in the land of Israel including in Judea and Samaria—the biblical heartland,” tweeted Johnson. “It is an absolute disgrace the Biden administration would issue this decision, especially as Israel fights terrorists on multiple fronts that seek Israel’s destruction and as more than 130 hostages remain in Gaza.

“The Biden administration must stop undermining Israel and facilitating efforts to delegitimize Israel. It is misguided and unconscionable.”

Blinken’s declaration upended the Trump administration’s “Pompeo doctrine,” which held that “the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law.”

Former Secretary of State Pompeo: Calling Israeli Communities Illegal Rewards Hamas Attacks
Their words were a reversal from the highly publicized Trump administration policy in 2019, issued by former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, who declared that settlements are not inconsistent with international law. It has since been dubbed the “Pompeo doctrine.”

Pompeo posted on X in response that “Judea and Samaria are rightful parts of the Jewish homeland, and Israelis have a right to live there.”

Biden’s “decision to overturn our policy and call Israeli ‘settlements’ illegal will not further the cause of peace,” Pompeo stated.

“It rewards Hamas for its brutal attacks [against Israel] on October 7 and punishes Israel instead. These Israeli communities are not standing in the way of peace; militant Palestinian terrorism is.”

US Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) accused Biden of reversing the policy by way of catering to pro-Palestinian voters in the swing state of Michigan as part of his reelection campaign for the White House.

“It’s shameful that the Biden administration reversed this and rewarded terrorists – all to help Biden’s poll numbers in Michigan,” he said.

At a press briefing, Kirby downplayed the significance of the Pompeo doctrine as he explained that a declaration of the illegality of West Bank settlements was “consistent over a range of Republican and Democratic administrations.”

He added that “if there’s an administration that is being inconsistent, it was the previous one.”
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded to the White House on X on Friday: "Judea and Samaria are rightful parts of the Jewish homeland, and Israelis have a right to live there. President Biden's decision to overturn our policy and call Israeli "settlements" illegal will not further the cause of peace. It rewards Hamas for its brutal attacks on October 7th and punishes Israel instead. These Israeli communities are not standing in the way of peace; militant Palestinian terrorism is."

Ma'aleh Adumim, with a population of 38,000, is due to receive authorization for the construction of an additional 2,350 housing units. Efrat, with a population of 11,800, is due to receive authorization for 694 new housing units.

Israel to notify ICJ of compliance with court orders
Following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision, Israel will send an official document to the International Court of Justice on Monday, in which it will inform the court that it is complying with the Court's orders that were given at the preliminary hearing in January following the lawsuit filed by South Africa, accusing Israel of committing genocide in Gaza.

The court issued six directives, one of which instructed Israel to submit a written report by February 26 detailing how it is implementing the directives. Prime Minister Netanyahu instructed to draft a very "concise" document, in which Israel will specify that the directives are regularly being implemented, including the transfer of humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza; refraining from incitement to genocide; and avoiding the obstruction of evidence regarding genocide.

The justice ministry and the foreign ministry drafted Israel's response document, which will be sent to the court after Netanyahu's approval. The Israeli message is that the Court's orders are being regularly implemented even without their issuance by the court. Israel remains content that the court essentially rejected South Africa's demands against Israel.

The International Court of Justice decided to order Israel to comply with six directives. It was decided by a majority of 15 to 2 that Israel is required to act in accordance with its commitment to prevent genocide and to take all possible steps to prevent mass murder. Israel is required to actively and immediately ensure that the IDF does not commit mass murder by a majority of 15 to 2. Israel is required to take all necessary steps to prevent and punish incitement to mass murder by a majority of 16 to 1.

The European country most hostile to Israel
After a long period during which Ireland was considered the most hostile country toward Israel in Europe, it seems that Norway has managed to take its place and win the dubious title. Israel and Norway are currently in the most acute diplomatic crisis in the history of their relations.

At the center of the crisis between the countries is Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide, who has made a series of very harsh statements against Israel. At the international summit on the crisis between Israel and the Palestinians in Cairo, two weeks after the outbreak of the war in Gaza, Eide was the only Western foreign minister who condemned Israel and did not call for the release of the hostages. Eide compared Israel to Russia on three occasions and said that Europe loses credibility when it does not condemn Israel for the same things for which it condemned Russia.

When the hearings of case filed by South Africa accusing Israel began at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Norway expressed support for the lawsuit. Eide was asked by an opposition member what he thought of the lawsuit and said that Israel may not be committing genocide in Gaza, but it is committing war crimes or crimes against humanity. The minister also clarified that it is good for the court to find out if genocide is indeed taking place in Gaza. Even in the additional proceedings being conducted at the International Court of Justice in The Hague regarding the legality of Israel’s policies and practices in the West Bank, Norway spoke strongly against Israel.

Eide boasted that Norway does not sell arms to Israel and called on countries that do export arms to Israel to stop doing so, because they could be indirectly involved in a potential genocide. He said recently in an interview with the NRK network podcast that the Israeli government does not understand what is in its own best interest.

On Sunday, Eide claimed in an interview with the VG tabloid newspaper that there is a deterioration in relations between Israel and the U.S. "I hear from all channels that America's patience with Netanyahu has dropped to less than 1%. It's a very bad atmosphere," he said.

Israel's ambassador to Norway, Avi Nir-Feldklein, was asked by the newspaper "daily newspaper Dagbladet to address Eide's claims. "These are questions you should ask the U.S., whether they think it is okay for internal discussions about a third party to be revealed publicly."

In 2010, in one of the WikiLeaks cables, a statement by the U.S. ambassador to Norway was revealed, in which he said that Eida, who also served as foreign minister at the time, seemed to prefer his own interests over the interests of Norway.
Antisemitic incidents in Denmark last year were the highest in a decade -Jewish community
In 2023, antisemitic incidents reached a record high in Denmark since the Jewish community began keeping records ten years ago.

The community said in a new report that there have been 121 recorded antisemitic incidents in the country, an increase of 112 incidents from 2023’s nine incidents. This is more than twice the previous record year of 2014, in which there were 53 incidents. November 2023 was the month with the highest number of incidents, with 42.

Twenty of the recorded incidents were threats of harm or death against Jewish individuals or Jews as a group. Fourteen of these threats were made on social media, five directly to victims, and one in the form of vandalism.

Two cases of vandalism and 88 cases of antisemitic speech were recorded by the group. Almost half, 63, of the incidents occurred online -- but the Jewish community said that it only recorded instances directly addressed to individuals.

“This is an unheard-of increase in both the number of cases and the severity. If there is someone who continues to deny that we have a problem with antisemitism, it is because they do not want to know that we have a problem with antisemitism in Denmark,” said Jewish community chairman Henri Goldstein.
U.S. Amb. to U.N. on Delays in U.N. Recognizing Hamas’ Rapes: I Know One Official’s Concerned, We Had a Meeting
On Friday’s broadcast of “CNN This Morning,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Thomas-Greenfield responded to a question on whether she has concerns over how long it took the U.N. to recognize the sexual violence perpetrated by Hamas on October 7 by stating that she knows the U.N.’s sexual violence envoy is “concerned about this report as well, and we will continue to address this issue. We held what is called an Arria-formula meeting in the U.N. to talk about these issues.”

Co-host Poppy Harlow asked, “Earlier this week, Israel submitted a report, that you obviously know very well, that detailed Hamas’ systematic and widespread acts of sexual violence on October 7, and U.N. experts have called for an investigation into what they are describing as ‘credible allegations of egregious human rights violations’ against women and girls in Gaza. How concerned are you at the reports of weaponization of sexual assault in this conflict? You have got now 29,000-plus people killed in Gaza. You still have Israeli hostages being killed there.”

Thomas-Greenfield answered, “We’re very concerned about these reports. This is something that we have stood strongly against, not just in this situation in Israel and the situation in Gaza, we have made very, very clear our strong opposition to the use of sexual violence against women as a tool of war. And it is clear that that occurred on October 7, and we appreciate the investigations that are taking place right now that will document that, so that, in the future, we can hold people accountable.”
A Video of October 7 Massacre I Will Not Forget
We’ve covered the Hamas and Palestinian “civilian” butchery on October 7 in exhaustive detail, including some extremely gory images and video. Some of it we saved on our own for fear social media companies would take them down, which happened in the early days after the massacre, but doesn’t seem to be happening anymore.

I knew I had not seen everything. I’ve not seen the 45-minute film the Israeli government has shown to thousands of journalists, diplomats, and others at organized gatherings. That film is not public, but from descriptions, many of the atrocities documented were described in a way that made me think I’d already seen that piece of video.

Today is 20 weeks since October 7. Many people are posting video and images of that day (see lower in the post for some examples).

But there was one piece of video I had not seen, that I saw for the first time. It’s not the most gruesome, but it’s particularly disturbing. I don’t know if I’ll ever forget it.

It’s a video of Gaza “civilians” dragging the body of an almost completely naked and apparently dead Israeli woman through the streets on a motorcycle.

Mother of Hostage Abducted by UNRWA Worker to Address Summit on Replacing UNRWA
Ayelet Samerano, the mother of Yonatan Samerano, whose lifeless body was kidnapped to Gaza by UNRWA social worker Faisal Ali Mussalem al-Naami on October 7th, will address the International Summit for a Future Beyond UNRWA, taking place at the United Nations European Headquarters in Geneva on Monday, February 26th.

Hosted by the non-governmental human rights organization UN Watch, the summit, to be webcast live, takes place one month after it was revealed that at least 12 UNRWA employees took part in perpetrating the atrocities of October 7th, and more than 1,200 belong to Hamas or Islamic Jihad.

Samerano hopes to meet with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who will be next door to address the 2024 opening of the UN Human Rights Council, along with the president of the UN General Assembly, and foreign ministers from around the world.

Diplomats from all UNRWA donor countries have been invited to attend the summit and to hear Samerano’s testimony about her son’s kidnapping by an employee of the agency.

The summit will address the humanitarian situation in Gaza and formulate a plan for a future beyond UNRWA, a failed agency with deep and widespread ties to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, both terrorist organizations proscribed by the US, EU and other democracies.

Over the last decade, UN Watch had sent repeated warnings to UNRWA about widespread promotion and encouragement of terrorism by UNRWA teachers and other employees.

The organization has launched a global campaign to petition world leaders to replace UNRWA, with already 25,000 signatures worldwide.

IDF Says No Troops in Area Where Gazan Girl Was Killed
Following reports that a six-year-old Palestinian girl was killed by Israeli fire in Gaza City in late January, along with five of her family members and two medics who had gone to save them, the IDF said Saturday its initial investigation suggested no troops were in the area at the time of the incident.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society accused Israel of deliberately targeting the ambulance sent to rescue Hind Rajab after she had spent hours on the phone with dispatchers begging for help with the sound of shooting echoing around.

Family members found Hind’s body along with those of her uncle and aunt and their three children inside a car near a roundabout in the Tel al-Hawa suburb of Gaza City. Another of Hind’s uncles, Sameeh Hamadeh, said the car was peppered with bullet holes.

In response to a query on the matter, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit told The Times of Israel that “from a preliminary investigation that was conducted, it appears that IDF troops were not present near the vehicle or within firing range of the described vehicle in which the girl was found.

“Also, given the lack of forces in the area, there was no need for individual coordination of the movement of the ambulance or another vehicle to pick up the girl,” the IDF said.

At Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis, IDF achieves war goals with precision
On Feb. 15, the IDF announced formally that it had begun operating in Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis, which like every other medical, educational and civilian site in Gaza served as a Hamas military hub.

As IDF special forces entered the complex, some 200 Hamas members surrendered without firing a shot.

The IDF began the operation with a call to the hospital’s director from Col. Moshe Tetro, head of the Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration, who is responsible for the IDF’s humanitarian efforts throughout the war.

“In the past month, the IDF has asked the residents of Khan Yunis to evacuate to safer areas, in the humanitarian areas of Al-Mawasi [in southern Gaza] and Deir al-Balah [in central Gaza]. We have information that proves that the Hamas terrorist organization is continuing its military activity in the Nasser hospital compound, and that the compound was used to hold Israeli hostages,” Tetro told the director.

Tetro called on Hamas to exit the site, as well as for thousands of Gazan civilians who had set up camp in and around the hospital to leave.

Speaking to journalists last week, Tetro said the Nasser operation was “inevitable, since Hamas repeatedly and systematically uses hospitals for their terrorist activities.”

Out of an estimated 10,500 Gazan civilians in the compound, the IDF evacuated around 8,000 before forces entered, Tetro assessed.

Once Israeli forces entered the hospital, he said, the IDF continued to work with medical staff to protect patients and move them out of combat zones. A “large amount” of water and food, including baby food, was also delivered by the IDF to those remaining in the facility, he said.

The IDF was in “close touch” with hospital staff regarding medical supplies, “and it is our understanding that there is no shortage of medical supplies at the moment,” he said.

During the operation, the hospital also received a generator from the IDF to ensure continued power supply to the Intensive Care Unit.
Terrorists caught among civilians evacuating Khan Yunis
Israeli troops captured terrorists who tried to hide among civilians being evacuated from combat zones in western Khan Yunis, the military said on Sunday morning.

Also over the past 24 hours in the former Hamas stronghold in southern Gaza, Israeli forces killed several terrorists and confiscated weapons.

After the months-long battle finishes in Khan Yunis, Israeli forces are expected to head to the southernmost city in the Strip, Rafah on the Egyptian border.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described Rafah as the “last Hamas bastion” where the war will be won, containing the terrorist group’s final four battalions.

Netanyahu was set on Sunday to present plans for the IDF attack in Rafah, amid mounting international pressure for an immediate ceasefire.

“I will convene the Cabinet to approve the operational plans for action in Rafah, including the evacuation of the civilian population,” the prime minister tweeted.

“Only a combination of military pressure and firm negotiations will lead to the release of our hostages, the elimination of Hamas and the achievement of all the war’s objectives,” he added.

Meanwhile, several terrorists were killed in the central Gaza Strip over the past 24 hours and in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City in the north, where a nearly weeklong ground and aerial operation to clear out terrorists from the district has been taking place ahead of a pilot program intended to empower local leaders to replace the Hamas terrorist group in governing Gaza.

Additionally, Israeli forces located weapons and destroyed rocket-launching zones in the area. Furthermore, the Israeli Air Force destroyed several rocket launch posts in strikes throughout the Gaza Strip aimed at Hamas’s aerial unit.

IDF commando, twice-wounded in Gaza, seeks return to front
IDF Master Sgt. Zohar Kochavi narrowly escaped death three times this year. Once fleeing the Hamas attack at the Supernova music festival and twice as a soldier fighting in the Gaza Strip. He is eager to return to the front.

Kochavi, with his girlfriend, Shiraz Amir, at his side, described his close calls to Channel 13 on Saturday evening, and his determination to return to combat, while pointing out footage of himself taken at the music festival and in the thick of the Gaza fighting.

“If this war continues, and they’ll need me, I’ll be there. Even if they don’t need me. Even if they’ll tell me, ‘Sit at home,'” said Kochavi, who serves in the Oz Brigade, also known as the “Commando Brigade,” a special operations force.

Kochavi was at the Supernova concert with his girlfriend when the terrorists attacked on Oct. 7. More than 360 people were killed and 40 kidnapped.

Kochavi and Amir arrived by car early that Saturday morning. Shortly afterwards, the terrorist assault began with a heavy barrage of rockets.

Amir related how Kochavi had bought a tent, shade canopy, mat and other camping equipment. When the rockets started, “he insisted on packing away all the things and taking home all he’d invested in.”

Amir said she couldn’t function. She was in shock from the shelling. “I stood on the side and cried while he folded up everything.”

“I took my time and today I know that there’s a possibility that this is what saved us,” Kochavi said, suggesting that if they’d started off immediately, they might have been caught on the way and killed by the terrorists.

When they finally reached Kibbutz Be’eri, they spotted a white security vehicle stopped along the road; a security officer warned them that terrorists were ahead. They turned back to the site of the festival.

Hezbollah fires rockets, drone at Galilee as Israeli jets pounds southern Lebanon
Air defenses intercepted rockets shot at towns near the restive northern border and a fighter jet shot down a drone heading into Israel as fighting along Israel’s northern border showed no sign of slowing Saturday.

A number of rockets were fired from Lebanon toward Kiryat Shmona and surrounding areas late Saturday, with the Iron Dome air defense system successfully swatting away much of the barrage, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The attack came about two hours after the IDF carried out airstrikes on Hezbollah targets in south Lebanon, including a weapons depot where a cell of operatives were gathered, the military said.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage in the attack on Kiryat Shmona, which has been repeatedly rocked by projectiles launched from across the nearby border. The city, like most towns along the northern border in the Galilee, has been largely evacuated of civilians.

Throughout the day rockets were also fired from Lebanon at Arab al-Aramshe, Hanita, and the Mount Dov area. There are no reports of damage or injuries.

The exchange came amid daily attacks by the Hezbollah terror group on northern Israel as the country is simultaneously battling the Palestinian terror group Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The IDF has responded to the attacks while also increasingly taking the initiative, striking deeper into Lebanon, as it vows it will not accept Hezbollah’s presence along the border where the conflict has displaced tens of thousands of people from northern communities.

Israeli soldier held captive in Gaza murdered, IDF confirms
Sgt. Oz Daniel, a 19-year-old IDF soldier captured and taken hostage by Hamas on October 7, died in Gaza captivity, the IDF confirmed on Sunday.

According to the Hostages and Missing Families Forum, Daniel, whose body is still being held by Hamas in Gaza, was initially kidnapped along with the rest of his tank crew.

Israel from the Inside with Daniel Gordis: "If you stay silent now, you and your father's house will disappear."
"If you stay silent now, you and your father's house will disappear." What Mordechai said to Esther is just as true today.... Michal Cotler-Wunsh, Israel’s special envoy for combating antisemitism, has taken on a daunting task. Can we succeed? When we hear her passion, it's hard not to believe it's worth the try.

Candace Owens, attacking 'pedophiles and perverts,' takes aim at 1930s Jewish sexologist
Owens recounted the supposed reasons why German fascists targeted Hirschfeld’s Institute for Sexual Studies: “I was shocked that I never learned,” she said, “that the brownshirts— the student activists that went around burning a bunch of books— were burning books that they deemed to be Marxist and that they deemed to be overtly sexual.”

Omitted from this account was the antisemitic nature of the attacks on Hirschfeld. Nazi propagandists used Hirschfeld as an example of what they called "degenerate Jewish sexuality," and fascist activists at one point raised posters outside the researcher’s home that read: “Dr. Hirschfeld a Public Danger: The Jews are Our Undoing!”

Owens repeatedly noted that Hirschfeld was gay: “Yes, he was a homosexual,” she said, introducing a photograph of him and his colleagues, in which Hirschfeld is seen holding hands with his partner.

“In my view, he’s a pervert,” Owens said. “It doesn’t mean that his library or his institute should have been burned down— there’s no excuse for burning down an institute— but we don’t then also pretend that somebody that is perverse is also a hero.”

Kassy Dillon: ‘Kill All Jews’: Google Grapples With Internal Anti-Semitism In Months Since Hamas Attack
As Google faces backlash over discrimination by its artificial intelligence product, internal company emails obtained by The Daily Wire reveal the company has grappled with several incidents of anti-Semitism in in recent months, including the words “kill all jews” found written on a bathroom wall inside its offices and a Jewish employee being assaulted by anti-Israel protesters on one of their campuses.

The emails show internal uproar last week by a group of Jewish employees inside the company that refers to itself as the “Jewglers” after the words “Free Palestine Kill All Jews” was seen scribbled on a flier inside Google’s Chelsea office in New York City last November. And just earlier this month on February 13 leadership of the Jewish employee group informed fellow members that a Jewish employee was assaulted when attempting to take a photo of a person handing out flyers for a pro-Palestinian protest inside Google’s London office.

“The Jewgler attempted to photograph the person handing out the flyers in order to report them to security,” the email reads. “At that point, the Jewgler was physically assaulted. He was mildly injured.”

The news of concerns about anti-Semitism within the ranks of Google come as the tech giant faces backlash over discriminatory behavior by its just-launched artificial intelligence product, Gemini. Critics say the product’s controversial behavior, chiefly a diversity-obsessed image generator that has been labeled “anti-white,” is the result of political biases of the Google employees that made it. The Daily Wire revealed that one of the leaders of the AI initiative has openly stated that she treats minority employees different than white employees.

Brendan O'Neill: Sen. Bernie Sanders Targeted by Protesters in Ireland and Britain
Sen. Bernie Sanders was met by angry protesters in Ireland and Britain, who heckled and damned him as a sellout because he refuses to describe Israel's war on Hamas as a "genocide" and he doesn't approve of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement against Israel.

He now says there should be a ceasefire, but that is not good enough for these people, who seem to measure an individual's moral worth by how much he hates the Jewish state.

They want Bernie to damn Israel as uniquely barbarous. They want him to agree with them that it is right and proper to single Israel out for boycotts and sanctions. In short, they want him to bend the knee to their Israelophobic ideology.

In a media interview, he was asked three times if he would call Israel's war on Hamas a "genocide." He refused and it went viral. Armies of erstwhile Bernie fans damned him as a "genocide denier."

There is something quite nauseating in this spectacle of an elderly Jewish man being pressured to denounce the world's only Jewish state as genocidal.

Sen. Sanders, who lost family in the Holocaust, clearly has a deeper moral and historical understanding of what genocide is. And he is not willing to sacrifice that understanding for an easy ride. Good for him.

Brendan O'Neill: The shameful silencing of radical Islam’s critics
What Tory MP Lee Anderson said this week was dumb. But what the cultural elites are doing on the back of Anderson’s comments is outright sinister.

They are using his outburst about ‘the Islamists’ having ‘control’ over London mayor Sadiq Khan to distract attention from the very real threat Islamists pose in 21st-century Britain. They are holding him up as oafish proof that the ‘real threat’ is the ‘far right’ and ‘Islamophobes’ – gruff gammon like him – not those mystical ‘Islamists’ people keep banging on about. They are exploiting the Anderson scandal to achieve something they’ve wanted to achieve since the 7 October pogrom and the orgy of bigotry it licensed in Britain and other Western nations – that is, shift the public’s attention away from Islamism and back to ‘Islamophobia’. It is one of the most cynical political manoeuvres of modern times.

You don’t have to be an Anderson fanboy to be concerned about the outrage his comments have generated. It was on GB News that he made his verbal assault on Sadiq. He was asked about a comment piece in the Telegraph written by the former home secretary, Suella Braverman, this week. ‘The Islamists, the extremists and the anti-Semites are in charge now’, she wrote. ‘I don’t actually believe that the Islamists have got control of our country, but what I do believe is that they’ve got control of Khan’, said Anderson. ‘He’s actually given our capital city away to his mates.’ In short, Khan’s an Islamist puppet, a caliph posing as a mayor.

It was wrong to say this, morally and factually. For Khan hasn’t turned London into a demented caliphate but rather into a woke hellhole where you can’t go five minutes without being bombarded by some eyesore Trans Pride flag or official finger-wagging about the evils of junk food. Khan has sacrificed our capital not to political Islam, but to political correctness.

Yes, the consequences of the woke crusade are oftentimes not dissimilar to the impact of the Islamist crusade. So the trans ideology Khan adheres to loves to surgically correct young gay people, like the mullahs in Iran do. And hardcore woke ideologues are as hostile to women’s sex-based rights as any hothead Koran-basher. But we owe it to ourselves to be accurate about the breed of cultural authoritarianism Khan has unleashed in the capital – it’s not Wahhabism but wokeism.

Met cuts ties with adviser who previously praised Hamas founder
A prominent mosque chairman who previously praised the founder of Hamas has been removed as an adviser to the Metropolitan Police.

Scotland Yard said it had decided to “cease engagement” with Mohammed Kozbar “after a social media post from late January 2024 was brought to our attention and reviewed”.

In December, The Telegraph revealed that Mr Kozbar was a member of the force’s London Muslim Communities Forum, a strategic advisory body the Met has said exists to “inform and help shape police policy and procedure at a strategic level”.

He was invited to a buffet dinner at Scotland Yard hosted by Sir Mark Rowley, the Met Commissioner, last July – five months after his past praise for Hamas’s founder as “the master of the martyrs of the resistance” had been cited in an official counter-extremism review.

Last month, The Telegraph disclosed that Mr Kozbar, a deputy secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, had “liked” a post on X, formerly Twitter, in which Dr Wahid Shaida, a former head of Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Islamist extremist group, said he could no longer speak for the body.

In the post on Jan 19, Dr Shaida pledged to “continue to speak about things I believe in” after Hizb ut-Tahrir was proscribed as a terror group.

On Saturday, a Met Police spokesman said: “Mr Kozbar is no longer an adviser to the Met. The decision was taken to cease engagement with Mr Kozbar as an adviser after a social media post from late January 2024 was brought to our attention and reviewed.

“The Met works with a range of faith and community adviser groups, locally and centrally. This vital work helps us improve our response to the crime and anti-social behaviour issues faced by all communities across London.

“We are currently reviewing how we work with our network of advisory groups to ensure that, like the Met, they are committed to building a better London that promotes mutual respect and inclusivity.”

The disclosure by the Met comes after Mr Kozbar shared a video on X last week that appeared to disseminate conspiracy theories about Israeli control of institutions including the police.
Ministry of Justice hosted speaker who said 'Jews need to get in the queue behind Muslims'
The Ministry of Justice hosted a speaker who previously said that “Jews need to get in the queue behind Muslims”, in response to concerns about anti-Semitism.

The guest speaker at an event hosted by the department’s Muslim staff network on Feb 6 was Shreen Mahmood, an ambassador for World Hijab Day, which encourages women to wear a hijab for the day.

Ms Mahmood describes herself as “an advocate for all human rights and freedoms” and says she is against “all types of racism and hate”.

But her appearance at the event has prompted concern among Whitehall sources due to some of her past posts on X formerly Twitter.

In 2018, Ms Mahmood, 37, posted comments which appeared to downplay the level of anti-Semitism being described by Jewish figures, during Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party.

More recently, on Oct 7, she retweeted a series of posts apparently seeking to justify the terror attack on Israeli citizens by Hamas, including one that stated: “Under international law, Palestine, as occupied territory, has every right to defend itself just like Ukraine does.”

This weekend, she defended the post, saying: “I believe it’s a factual position, as enshrined in resolution by the UN General Assembly, which reaffirmed ‘…the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial domination, apartheid and foreign occupation by all available means’.”

A mob is harassing Britain's Jews and intimidating MPs. Hate is winning - and it has to stop
The real issue is the liberal hand-wringers on all sides of the political divide who have ceded democratic principles in a misguided attempt to safeguard liberty, and whose flawed pursuit of inclusivity has unleashed a wave of intolerance and hate.

How many more people need to march through London with Swastikas, while chanting for the eradication of the only Jewish state, before someone finally recognises this is not how the British take a stand against prejudice?

How many more MPs need to literally cower in fear in their offices before we realise this is not the way we protect our freedoms? How many more votes must be curtailed before we see this is not how a mature parliamentary democracy functions?

Enough of the hand-wringing.

Last week, a line was crossed, and it must be urgently redrawn.

It's time to finally ban the anti-Semitic parades. And stop the protests outside MPs' homes. And end the intimidation outside their offices.

Above all, it's time to realise the mob can't be placated, but can only be confronted. And that however appalling the death and destruction in Gaza, our priority must be our own streets and our own communities.

Never again? It's happening again in front of our very eyes. And now it has to stop.

Bodyguards for MPs as extremism threat rises
Private security is being deployed to protect MPs amid warnings that the Israel-Hamas conflict is a “generational radicalising moment”, The Telegraph can reveal. Security personnel working for private firms are guarding constituency surgeries and providing close protection for a growing number of politicians who are assessed to be at risk by the authorities.

One MP who has accepted Parliament-funded protection at constituency meetings warned that “people are underestimating” the threat to politicians from extremists.

Some female MPs are also now being driven in chauffeur driven cars as part of a move to “close the gap” between protection given to Cabinet ministers as standard and measures for backbenchers now also considered highly vulnerable.

The number of MPs requiring protection is believed to have risen in the wake of the Hamas attacks of Oct 7, with security details assigned under a system first created after the murder of Sir David Amess by an Isis supporter in October 2021.

Because of the scale of the threat since early October, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons Speaker, is understood to have written to the Prime Minister and the Chancellor to seek more funding for the scheme.

Tom Tugendhat, the security minister, told The Telegraph: “We’ve been reviewing existing security measures for MPs in the wake of the murder of my colleague and friend Sir David Amess.

“The work we’ve done has led to substantive improvements to existing security measures at MPs’ homes and offices, as well as new security measures such as the deployment of private protection officers.”

Disturbing plot to make 55 MPs the Honourable Members for Palestine: How a controversial group - with backers who openly support Hamas - is urging millions of Muslims to unseat MPs who didn't vote for a Gaza ceasefire
It is well organised. It appears to have a war chest brimming with cash. And some of the political slogans being used by the candidates it is endorsing are deeply disturbing.

The Muslim Vote (TMV) is a political campaign group that claims to represent Britain's four million-strong Muslim community. And it is planning to support scores of candidates at the next Election, posing a serious threat to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who is already embroiled in a crisis over anti-Semitic comments made by members of his party.

The catalyst for the campaign group's launch in December was Starmer ordering his MPs not to support a parliamentary motion the month before from the SNP, which called for an 'immediate' ceasefire in Gaza. Last week's debacle in the Commons over a similar vote, again tabled by the SNP, could only have reinforced the group's mission.

The charged feelings inside the Commons last week were matched by the fervour of pro-Palestinian protesters outside, some of whom projected the offensive battle cry 'From the river to the sea' on to the Elizabeth Tower. To see those words, 300ft high, underneath Big Ben must have heartened TMV's backers.

Not least its leader and pro-Palestinian activist Muhammad Jalal, who The Mail On Sunday revealed two weeks ago led the now banned terrorist group Hizb ut-Tahrir between 2000 and 2007 under his real name Jalaluddin Patel. He has been poring over the size of Labour majorities in individual seats where those with small leads will worry for their futures if the Muslim vote in their constituencies is swung against them.

Patel, who says his role with TMV has only been to collect data and says he is no longer a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, has tweeted that his campaign will target 55 MPs at the next election. The group plans to help put up candidates in those constituencies where MPs voted against or abstained on an immediate ceasefire motion.

High upon Patel's list of targets is Wes Streeting, the Shadow Health Secretary, who is seen as a future party leader. A TMV-endorsed independent candidate and pro-Palestinian activist, Leanne Mohamad, is standing against him in his Ilford North constituency.

Streeting is vulnerable, too – he won his seat, which has a 27 per cent Muslim electorate, with only a small majority of 5,218 in 2019.

Pro-Palestine rallies have cost police forces £30million (so far) prompting chiefs to call for more funding after London was again brought to a standstill
Police forces have spent at least £30million patrolling pro-Palestine rallies that have broken out across the UK since Hamas launched its attack on Israel last year.

The National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) called on the Treasury to ask for more funding and warned that 'costs will continue to mount' as protesters routinely flood Britain's streets, the Sunday Express reported.

Officers responded to more than 900 demonstrations between October 7 and December 10 last year, the NPCC revealed. The majority of protests were held in London, but at least 315 occurred in other cities.

It is understood that the Met Police has spent around £18.9million on the protests, whereas Police Scotland and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) have spent approximately £7.6million combined.

The call for additional financial support comes as protesters occupied Tower Bridge yesterday, bringing traffic to a standstill and eventually causing police to close it for almost an hour.
Tower Bridge shut down by pro-Palestine protesters
Police were forced to shut down Tower Bridge for an hour as pro-Palestine demonstrators blocked traffic during a protest on Saturday night.

Protesters waving the Palestinian flag set off flares and chanted for a ceasefire in Gaza as traffic was forced to a standstill. The landmark was closed by City of London police at about 5:30pm and was reopened an hour later.

The protest came after the leader of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Ben Jamal, rallied thousands of the group’s supporters to enter parliament in an attempt to lobby MPs to vote in favour of a ceasefire in Gaza on Wednesday.

Security prevented the protesters from entering Westminster Hall though the rally continued outside parliament as the anti-Israel slogan “From the river to the sea” was projected on to the Elizabeth Tower, which houses Big Ben.

On Saturday night, Campaign Against Antisemitism tweeted in response to the incident: “On Wednesday, they hijacked Big Ben and turned it into a billboard for their genocidal slogan. Tonight they shut down Tower Bridge. We have had people on our streets holding antisemitic placards and glorifying the most barbaric of terrorists. They then moved on to intimidating our lawmakers and disrupting the lives of the public. Now they are making their mark on our national landmarks. When will we say enough?”

In a separate incident on Friday, pro-Palestine protesters crashed a fundraising dinner hosted by Stoke and Newcastle conservatives, with CCTV footage from the restaurant seeming to show a security guard allowing a number of the protesters access to the private gathering.

Palestine-supporting Bella Hadid dropped as the face of Charlotte Tilbury's lipstick range
Charlotte Tilbury last night confirmed that Hadid's contract had come to an end.

Ms Hadid, whose property developer father Mohammed Hadid, 75, is Palestinian, has courted controversy for online posts expressing her support for people in Gaza.

In an Instagram post last October - soon after Hamas slaughted 1,200 Israelis in a terror attack - the model wrote: 'I've been sent hundreds of death threats daily, my phone number has been leaked, and my family has felt to be in danger.

'But I can not be silenced any longer. Fear is not an option. The people and children of Palestine, especially in Gaza, cannot afford our silence. We are not brave - they are.

'It's important to understand the hardship of what it is to be Palestinian, in a world that sees us as terrorists resisting peace. It's harmful, it's shameful, and it's categorically untrue.'

When she was voted Model of the Year by the British Fashion Council, Hadid said in her acceptance speech: 'This is for the Palestinian children… This is for any child, immigrant or refugee.'

A source at Charlotte Tilbury told The Mail on Sunday: 'Staff were expecting, and had been promised promotional materials featuring Bella Hadid as the front woman for the re-promotion of the Air Brush Flawless range. They had sent out videos and content to staff bragging about getting Bella Hadid as the face of the re-promotion because her endorsement sells out makeup products like hot cakes. Charlotte Tilbury dubbed this the 'Bella Hadid effect' but then all of a sudden, nothing.'

UCLA delegation visits Israel as students pass BDS 'genocide' resolution
A delegation of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) faculty members came to Israel on a solidarity mission last week as the school's Undergraduate Students Association Council passed a Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resolution on Wednesday against what they said was "genocide" by Israel.

The resolution "to Boycott and Divest from Apartheid, Ethnic Cleansing, and Genocide" was sponsored by dozens of UCLA student organizations and claimed that Israel had engaged in a "genocidal bombing campaign" in Gaza, intentionally targeting civilian objects.

The resolution also claimed that Israel was engaging in apartheid and ethnic cleansing.

Students take a stand
The student resolution resolved to cut financial ties with companies interacting with Israel and called on the Regents of the University of California to follow suit.

Students for Justice in Palestine UCLA said that the resolution to divest student fees from institutions in financial relationships with Israel had made history.

"Here’s to many more victories until Palestine is liberated," said SJPUCLA.

Hillel UCLA said on Instagram prior to the vote that it would "create an atmosphere on campus that Jewish and Israeli students are not welcome!"

Executive Director for Hillel UCLA Dan Gold said in a video statement that Jewish students were reeling from the vote on a "disgusting resolution" at a "kangaroo court" that put "Judaism on trial."

The resolution came as a delegation of 20 UCLA faculty members joined a solidarity mission with the Israel Destination tourist company last Sunday. The trip, which ended on Thursday, included meetings with Israeli academics and President Isaac Herzog.
Protesters disrupt Oct. 7 survivor’s presentation at KU
Anti-Israel students interrupted a presentation at the University of Kansas by Oct. 7 massacre survivor Gal Cohen-Solal, and dozens more protested outside the venue. Protesters shouted at Cohen-Solal during his presentation, resulting in police officers escorting them out.

Others gathered outside of the room in the Kansas Student Union with signs, chanting anti-Israel slogans.

The event was jointly presented by KU Chabad, KU Hillel and Students Supporting Israel on Feb. 15. The co-sponsored event was part of the “Faces of Oct. 7” initiative to share firsthand accounts of those who were present during the Hamas terror attacks on Israel. The event featured Cohen-Solal, a father of three, sharing the story of how he and his family hid in a safe room for nearly 30 hours as terrorists attempted to enter his house and while shooting at him and his family.

On the day of the event, the University of Kansas Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which formed in January, shared a post on its Instagram page calling for the cancellation of the event, which it said “glorif[ies] an Israeli settler while ignoring the over 36,000 Palestinians killed since Oct. 7” and “endangers the safety and well-being of Palestinian students on campus.”

In anticipation of the protest, the event organizers engaged with university administration who “responded swiftly by deploying officers and implementing safety measures, including weapon screenings,” according to a message sent by KU Chabad to community members. The co-sponsoring organizations commended the work of the KU and Lawrence, Kansas, police officers and security.

Video clips sent by a Jewish KU student to The Chronicle show multiple instances of protesters standing in the audience of Cohen-Solal’s presentation and causing disruptions by shouting at him and attendees as police escorted them out. Videos also showed people standing outside the room where the event was taking place with signs, followed by them marching through the Kansas Student Union and shouting statements such as “Palestine will live forever.”

The videos show that many of the protesters were wearing masks and keffiyehs (headdresses often worn in solidarity with Palestinians), and some were holding signs with anti-Israel slogans and messages.

Georgetown’s Extremist Turn
The Middle East Studies Association, or MESA, is the largest and most influential association of scholars studying the region. Or at least, it was, before deciding, about a decade ago, to focus its efforts on boycotting Israel. In 2022, after years of internal struggles, MESA officially issued a sweeping resolution endorsing the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel, strongly urging “MESA program committees to organize discussions at MESA annual meetings” dedicated exclusively to Israel’s purported evils.

This focus put off many MESA members, even those with no love for the policies of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. As Middle East scholar Martin Kramer reported, in 2010, before the anti-Jewish fever fully seized MESA, the group boasted 62 institutional members. By 2022, as the organization was negotiating and passed the BDS resolution, that number stood at 43. By late 2023, it had dropped to 31, meaning that the organization had lost precisely half of its member universities in just over a decade.

MESA lost its academic home, too, twice, leaving the University of Arizona in 2019 and George Washington University four years later, declining to elaborate on the circumstances behind these changes.

MESA’s leadership, however, remained committed to its biases. Confronted with GoPro footage and other evidence of Hamas terrorists beheading Israeli children, raping women, and binding families together before setting them on fire on October 7, 2023, MESA waited more than a week to release a tepid statement, which cleared its throat with verbiage about suffering on both sides before focusing on the plight of the Palestinians and warning against any attempt to curb pro-Palestinian enthusiasm on campus. When Columbia University professor Jospeh Massad reportedly described Hamas’s massacre as “astonishing,” “astounding,” and “awesome,” and drew criticism for the comments, MESA’s president, Eve Troutt Powell, sent a strongly worded letter to Columbia’s president Minouche Shafik, calling her “failure to speak out in defense of Prof. Massad” a “severe abdication of professional and academic responsibility.”

Where, then, would MESA go? The answer, sadly, was Georgetown. On February 22, the organization issued a press release announcing that it had moved its headquarters to the university’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies.

A second move raises further red flags about Georgetown. In July 2023, the university appointed Nader Hashemi as director of its Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU). In 2022, after Salman Rushdie was attacked on stage by a man dedicated to fulfilling Iran’s fatwa against the author of The Satanic Verses, Hashemi, then teaching at the University of Denver, argued on a podcast that the attack may have been secretly orchestrated by Israel’s Mossad. Hashemi’s statement made headlines in Colorado. After university officials issued a statement distancing itself from Hashemi’s comments but respecting his “academic freedom and freedom of speech,” Hashemi and the university parted ways, with Hashemi citing, according to one news outlet, a toxic work environment.

Less reported, however, is a more troubling detail from Hashemi’s academic career. Hashemi served on the editorial board of an academic publication called the Middle East Affairs Journal. Evidence filed in the landmark 2008 terrorism financial trial against the Holy Land Foundation, formerly the largest Islamic charity in the United States, included the Winter/Spring 1995 issue of that journal, which was published by the blandly named United Association for Studies and Research (UASR). A check of the State of Illinois’s Articles of Incorporation, file no. 5566-789-6, from September 18, 1989, reveals that the UASR, now defunct, was a Virginia-based think tank founded by Mousa Abu Marzook and run by Ahmed Yousef. (Yousef acknowledged his and Marzook’s role in founding UASR in an interview with Middle East Quarterly in March 1998.) Abu Marzook, detained and deported from the U.S. in 1995 for terrorism charges, is now a senior Hamas leader. Yousef, too, is a senior Hamas operative.

BBC ‘aired social media posts by anti-Semitic users’
The BBC has been accused of allowing its Arabic channel to broadcast posts by social media users who praised Hitler and promoted conspiracy theories about Jews.

BBC Arabic reproduced the comments, claiming that Facebook censors support for Palestinians in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The comments were broadcast during a studio discussion by BBC Arabic’s Talking Point programme, which asked whether Facebook hides accounts that support Palestinians.

Several social media users quoted by the channel during the discussion, originally broadcast on Dec 22, have now been accused of having previously posted virulently anti-Semitic comments.

Comments were shown on screen from seven social media users alleging that their posts about the conflict had been hidden.

One claimed: “The Facebook platform turned into a brutal and racist platform, supporting the barbarity of the West and the usurping entity [Israel]”.

Another user stated: “We all suffer from our accounts being slow and the lack of interaction with our posts. The Zionist algorithms of meta restricts account which interact and are solidary [solidarity] with the Palestinians.”

‘An arrogant religious group’
Camera UK, a media campaign group that lobbies for a fair representation of Israel, claimed five out of the seven social media users selected by the BBC had previously posted “blatantly anti-Semitic content”.

On Oct 26, less than three weeks after the Hamas attack on Israel, one of the users featured in Talking Point had stated on X, formerly Twitter: “Yesterday the world stood with Hitler and today the world stands with Netanyahu, even though Netanyahu did something worse than what Hitler did.”

Two days later, the user stated: “The announced numbers of Jews in Europe during the Second World War and the numbers of Holocaust victims are greatly exaggerated.”

PA gov’t could make place for Hamas-backed technocrats ‘within days’
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh’s government could offer its resignation “within days” as part of a unity deal with the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip, Sky News Arabia reported on Sunday.

The move would be meant to facilitate the swift establishment of a Palestinian “government of technocrats” whose primary purpose would be the reconstruction of Gaza, sources in Ramallah told Sky News.

The government is expected to be headed by Mohammad Mustafa, currently the chairman of the P.A.’s Palestine Investment Fund. It would serve during a “transition period” until elections are held.

On Feb. 12, P.A. chief Mahmoud Abbas traveled to Doha at the invitation of Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to discuss ways to incorporate Hamas into a P.A.-led body for Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Following Abbas’s trip, Hamas reportedly approved a three-step plan leading to “complete reconciliation [with the Palestinian Authority]” and the terrorist group joining the Palestine Liberation Organization, which controls the P.A., under a “unified Palestinian-Arab vision.”

Hamas officials told Saudi-based Asharq News that while it welcomes cooperation with the P.A., the terrorist group demands to be consulted on “every step,” including the members of the prospective government.

The United States wants the P.A. to assume control of Gaza after the war against Hamas ends, a move that Israel vehemently rejects because of Ramallah’s overt support for terrorism.

In Times Square, 3,000 teens gather for ‘Jewish pride, solidarity’
Some 3,000 Jewish teens gathered in Times Square in Manhattan on Saturday night as part of the Chabad’s 16th annual CTeen International Shabbaton.

The group, including 200 teens from Israel and young people from more than 50 countries, prayed for the Israeli hostages in Gaza and for peace in Israel, according to a Chabad release.

“Our resilience, our spirit, our deeds—these are the true catalysts for change,” Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, executive director of Merkos 302 and vice-chairman of CTeen International, said at the event.

“Let us return to our communities, ready to lead and demonstrate to our brethren in Israel that they can indeed count on us,” he added.

More than 100,000 people viewed a live broadcast of the event, which included musical performances and dancing, according to Chabad.

“The Times Square takeover was incredibly impactful. The melodies, the collective prayers for the hostages—it felt as though the heavens themselves were moved by our actions,” stated Moshe Italy, 21, of Maslul, in southern Israel.

“Since Oct. 7, the youth in Israel have matured beyond their years,” he added. “Despite being labeled as the ‘TikTok generation,’ their strength is undeniable. They are the future leaders of our nation.”

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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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