Wednesday, February 28, 2024

From Ian:

What Jews Mean to America
Taking a long view of Jewish history, Meir Soloveichik observes that there is nothing especially surprising about the surge of anti-Semitism in the U.S. since October 7. What is surprising, he writes, are the “stalwart, public defenses of Jews” from public figures. Soloveichik believes such attitudes have deep roots in the American founding, and are summed up in Abraham Lincoln’s description of Americans as God’s “almost chosen people,” by which he meant that

America is not biblical Israel’s replacement; it does not seek to supersede or supplant the Jews. It does not envy Israel’s eternity but seeks to learn from it and be blessed by it; it is biblical Israel’s imitator, learning the lessons of Israel’s story. Whereas other nations saw in Jewish eternity a reminder of their own ultimate demise, America, as Lincoln argued, learned from the biblical story that it could hope that it would not “perish from the earth” if it remained true to its covenantal calling. The phrase “almost chosen people” warns and inspires America, implicitly embracing the faith that, despite centuries of exile, God’s covenant with the original “chosen people” remained.

Such attitudes, Soloveichik argues, bolster both American sympathy and antipathy toward Zionism:
It is not merely that many Americans of faith support Israel but that Israel’s story supports faith. Many religious Americans . . . find in Israel the vindication of traditional Western, and especially American, beliefs. Israel’s story is seen as the ultimate indication that “God exists; he drives history; he performs miracles in real time; God’s word in the Bible is true.”

It is only with this in mind that we can truly understand the intense hatred directed at Israel from the American left. . . . Progressives elementally understand that Israel, ancient and modern, is a profound source of inspiration in the way America sees itself as a covenantal people. Many progressives, meanwhile, are driven by the fierce belief that America has never been a nation dedicated to a great idea, . . . and its story is entirely a tale of evil and oppression. Woke progressives hate Israel because they hate America; they work, above all, to undermine the notion that America can consider itself a covenantal nation, and they therefore hate the embodiment of the original covenantal nation.

This is why the more the righteousness of Israel’s current cause is revealed, the more agitated and angry the anti-Semites become. Thus we have those who claw at posters of child hostages, destroying evidence of the evil of Israel’s enemies.
Benny Morris: The NYT Misrepresents the History of the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict
Earlier this month, the New York Times Magazine published a long article, titled “The Road to 1948,” drawn from a conversation among six professors, three Arab and three Jewish. But even the composition of the panel fits what Benny Morris terms the article’s “misleading attempt to project even-handedness,” as two of the Jewish participants betray a sharply critical attitude toward Zionism, while the three Arab scholars “almost uniformly toe the PLO (or Hamas) line, which is indistinguishable from propaganda.” Morris also notes:
Five of the six people involved can hardly be deemed experts on either the Arab-Israeli conflict or the 1948 war. Only one—Itamar Rabinovich, a former Israeli ambassador to Washington—has published works of some relevance.

Morris dissects the article’s numerous errors, half-truths, and omissions. For instance:
Emily Bazelon, [the piece’s moderator and editor], informs readers that the first bout of violence took place when the 1920 Muslim Nebi Musa festivities in Jerusalem “turned into a deadly riot,” in which “five Jews and four Arabs [were] killed.” Neither she nor any of the panelists mention that an Arab mob attacked, murdered, and wounded Jews or that the crowd of perpetrators chanted “nashrab dam al-yahud” (“we will drink the blood of the Jews”). Nor does she tell us that the crowd shouted, “Mohammad’s religion was born with the sword,” according to the eyewitness Khalil al-Sakakini, a Christian Arab educator.

The other errors are more severe still, but I found this point about the Bir Zeit University sociologist Salim Tamari especially noteworthy:
Tamari blithely dismisses the [1948] war by saying that the Palestinians and the Arab states were weak and that “the Arab defeat was almost a foregone conclusion.” But this only seems true in retrospect. In May 1948, the American and British intelligence services predicted an Arab victory.

Tamari and the others thus seem to go beyond the standard academic argument that Israel independence was built on the terrible and inhuman mass-dispossession of Palestinians. They also want to defend the collective honor of the four Arab armies that lost to a group of Jews they outnumbered and outgunned.
Michal Cotler-Wunsh: A never again moment — again
All of this is reminiscent of the “denial spectrum” witnessed in response to the Holocaust — including distortion, minimization and trivialization. It is echoed in the contextualization of the Oct. 7 attacks, which seeks to offer understanding of the perpetrators, paving the way for justification, dressing up mass murder as “resistance.”

All these arguments have now become common. But it’s the response from institutions and organizations that were created and entrusted to uphold and protect the international rules-based order and human rights that have been most shocking: U.N. Secretary General António Guterres contextualized the massacre by saying it “did not occur in a vacuum.” A former director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division disputed the veracity of the Oct. 7 attacks and the atrocities committed.

Meanwhile, American university presidents were unable to determine if calling for the genocide of Jews in the “context” of Oct. 7 violated their codes of conduct, whereas calling for the genocide of any other group would have almost certainly been considered such a violation. Instead, a Cornell University professor was “exhilarated” by the massacre; the director of the campus sexual assault center at a Canadian university disputed whether any sexual violence had been committed on Oct. 7; and a column in the Yale University student paper was edited to remove the line “unsubstantiated claims that Hamas raped women and beheaded men.”

No wonder a recent Harvard-Harris poll in the U.S. found that 66 percent of respondents aged 18 to 24 believed Oct. 7 was genocide, while an astounding 60 percent believed the assault could be “justified.”

In the streets, protestors around the world, including in countries that designated Hamas a terror entity, have justified the “resistance,” echoing the genocidal Hamas charter with their chants of “from the river to the sea” — and it takes just one look at a map of Israel to understand this is a call for its annihilation. Unfathomably, the spectrum of responses has now “legitimized” a tsunami of antisemitic attacks — of Jews and all those who support Israel’s right to defend herself.

Unequivocal condemnation — without a “but” at the end of the sentence — remains the only ethical response to the barbaric war crimes and crimes against humanity that were perpetrated on Oct. 7. Silence, denial, contextualization, justification and anything in between points to a shocking collapse of morality, of the rules-based international order, of the mechanisms, institutions and principles established in the aftermath of the Holocaust, so that “never again” would become a reality.

Alarmingly, we are at a never again moment — again.

Melanie Phillips: British establishment eyes are still wide shut
In London over the past few days, I was told the following story.

It concerned Menai Bridge, a small town in north Wales which is listed here as having a population of 3046 souls of whom precisely four are Jews. A few weeks ago, one of these four Jews decided to visit a shop in the town. She was shocked, however, to see a sign in its window declaring “No Zionists allowed”. She put her head round the door and told the owner that she had been intending to visit the shop, but in view of the sign in the window she wouldn’t now do so. At which he yelled at her: “Get out of my shop, you f*****g Jew!”

The owner was white-skinned. As the woman retreated into the street, an Asian man who was passing heard what was being screamed at her from inside the shop and proceeded to hurl at her the same antisemitic obscenity.

Jew-hatred in Britain is out of control.

The Community Security Trust (CST) reports a huge increase in attacks on British Jews last year. Most shockingly, there was a 589 per cent increase triggered by the immediate reaction to the Hamas atrocities on October 7, when around 1200 Israelis were murdered and more than 250 taken hostage — a surge in attacks on British Jews before Israeli forces even went into Gaza.

Attacks on Jews vastly outstrip attacks on any other minority. Faced with this fact, the Muslim community has tried to undermine the attention and concern being focused on Jews as victims.
Historians will look back shamefully at our ugly era of anti-Semitism
“F*** Jews,” said the graffiti slur on the pole on Carlton St.

“Vote Hamas,” said the slogan scrawled on the statue of iconic actor Al Waxman over the weekend in Bellevue Square. There have been swastikas drawn all over the place, as well. Article content

This isn’t 1930s Germany. It’s 2024 Toronto.

“Canada has a worsening anti-Semitism problem. The Jewish community cannot combat it alone,” said Richard Robertson, research and advocacy director at B’nai Brith Canada. “As Canadians, we must learn from the lessons of the past and must never be silent in the face of intolerable hate. “

If those who continue with the anti-Semitic crime spree think they are not going to get caught, they should look at Monday’s news release from Toronto Police of yet another arrest in a similar case.

Toronto Police alleged that on “Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, at approximately 12 p.m., police responded to a call for a mischief in the King St. W. and Dufferin St. area. The accused vandalized several mixed-use buildings by spray-painting anti-Semitic symbols on the property.”

It didn’t take long to track down a suspect.

“On Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, Michael Park, 35, of Toronto, was arrested and charged with three counts of mischief under $5000, obstruct peace officer and fail to comply probation order.”

Police alleged “the accused provided false identification upon arrest.”

Const. Sinderela Chung and Det. Pasquale Alberga said “when suspected hate-motivated offences are reported to police, the investigation could be led by a divisional investigator with the support of the Hate Crime Unit (HCU)” and that “wilful promotion of hatred and advocating genocide are hate propaganda (hate speech) offences which require the Attorney General’s consent to lay charges.”
Israel, Indonesia were on track to normalize ties before Oct. 7: sources
Israel and Indonesia had planned to announce the establishment of diplomatic relations in October 2023, a move that was delayed by the Hamas terror attack on Israel and subsequent war in Gaza, three sources involved in the negotiations told Jewish Insider.

Israel’s then-Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and departing Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s office approved a final draft of an agreement for the Jewish state and the country with the world’s largest Muslim population to exchange trade offices, as a first step towards full diplomatic relations, sources involved in the talks said.

October 2023 was a likely date for the official announcement, in conjunction with a planned meeting of the Negev Forum in the middle of the month, though November, when Widodo visited the White House, was also under consideration. Jakarta also tracked progress towards Israel-Saudi normalization, thinking that there would be less blowback if both happened within a short period, one source said.

Indonesia planned to open a trade office in Ramallah at the same time.

Andi Widjajanto, a senior adviser to Widodo, and Ronen Levy, then the director-general of the Foreign Ministry and one of the key Israeli players in the Abraham Accords, met in Jerusalem in September, along with Dan Shapiro, who at the time was the State Department’s senior advisor for regional integration, to finalize the text, as seen in a photo provided by one of the sources involved in the talks. New York-based businessman Joey Allaham played a key role in the negotiations, as well.

Though Shapiro was present and a small number of American officials were in the loop about the negotiations, Jakarta did not make any specific requests of Washington.

The countries reached a memorandum of understanding on Sept. 21 stating that the countries seek to “expand upon the Abraham Accords and promote peace, co-existence, mutual understanding, and respect among peoples of all faiths, ethnicities and nationalities.”

The MOU also stated that the sides support “improving the daily lives of the Palestinian people” and a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Jakarta and Jerusalem agreed to open reciprocal liaison offices focused on developing bilateral relations, with an emphasis on economy, trade, technology, innovation and culture. In addition, the offices would be authorized to provide consular services.
US opens investigation into Israeli company making Iron Dome parts
In an unprecedented legal proceeding, the American government opened an investigation into Finkelstein Metals and is examining the government's conduct, Maariv reported Wednesday morning.

According to the American authorities, grants received by the company due to activities in a development zone constitute a prohibited government subsidy, and they allowed the company to sell its products in the US at inflated prices. The decision to open the investigation and sanctions against Finkelstein has puzzled Israeli officials.

The scope of Finkelstein's activities in the US is minimal compared to the American complainants, and it holds less than 3% of the market share in the US. However, this is about 75% of its sales volume. The American administration's claim also contradicts the trade agreement between the two countries, which has existed for decades. Imposition of sanctions

Sanctions and customs duties have already been imposed on the company, which significantly impair its ability to operate regularly and may endanger the supplies required for the defense industry, such as the Iron Dome. As a result, the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Association of Manufacturers entered the picture.

In the past, a lawsuit was filed against Dead Sea factories for over-the-top exports, which was ultimately rejected. In an ironic twist, the same parties suing Finkelstein previously defended the Dead Sea factories. Ron Tomer, the President of the Manufacturers' Association, contacted the relevant authorities in the Economy Ministry and warned of the unusual situation that could lead to damage to other companies.

According to Tomer: "This is an unfounded lawsuit, which may lead to the closure of the factory. If this case is successful, it may harm other Israeli companies and is contrary to existing trade agreements."
USAID’s watchdog began probing tax dollars to a terrorism-tied NGO. Then Biden sent it more cash
The inspector general’s office for the top foreign aid agency in the United States quietly launched an investigation into the U.S. government for funding a terrorism-linked nonprofit group months before the Biden administration awarded it more taxpayer dollars, the Washington Examiner has confirmed.

Sources familiar with the situation say the U.S. Agency for International Development‘s inspector general began investigating last February a $110,000 USAID grant issued in 2021 to Helping Hand for Relief and Development, a Michigan-based charity that lawmakers have warned shares ties to terrorists, including Pakistan’s Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation. Still, in October 2023, USAID dished out another $78,000 to that same charity for a program running until September, according to federal spending records.

“It’s very telling they opened an investigation into a grant of that size,” a former high-ranking USAID official said. “It shows they are concerned it could go to bad guys. It indicates something smells very rotten.”

News of the investigation, which has not been publicly reported, comes on the heels of the House Foreign Affairs Committee calling on USAID Administrator Samantha Power in January 2023 to suspend the agency’s 2021 grant to HHRD over “credible allegations” that the nonprofit group “is associated with designated terrorist organizations.” The panel’s chairman, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), told the Washington Examiner the agency “finally conducted proper due diligence to review” the grant.

However, that initial USAID review found further vetting was warranted, and the inspector general’s office later met with lawmakers while beginning the process of investigating both HHRD and reports from a Philadelphia-based think tank called the Middle East Forum on the charity’s terrorism ties, according to sources familiar. A senior GOP aide close to the House Foreign Affairs Committee said the HHRD situation shows USAID grants have long required more rigorous congressional scrutiny, emphasizing, “We’ve found a lot that doesn’t pass muster.”
Dutch court's anti-Israel ruling is meaningless, but part of a dangerous trend - opinion
A Dutch appeals court recently ruled to block the Netherlands from delivering US-owned F-35 military jet parts to Israel. According to the court, the parts, stored by the US in a warehouse located in the Netherlands, allegedly “constitute a clear risk” of being “used in serious violations of international humanitarian law” in Israel’s war against the Hamas terrorist group in Gaza. The decision overruled a lower court decision that had dismissed the case out of hand.

Despite the celebrations from anti-Israel activists, such a ruling will likely have little material consequence regarding the F-35 parts. It is unclear if Israel even needs such parts at this time, and the United States can simply route them to Israel through a different country.

But the ruling demonstrates, in the wake of the October 7 massacre by Hamas, the appalling and growing trend of legal activism originating with anti-Israel non-governmental organizations (NGOs). These groups seek to exploit courts to hamper Israel’s war against Hamas and to force political decisions they could not otherwise obtain through lobbying, protests, and the ballot box.

Notably, however, these suits do not only seek to harm Israel in its fight against terrorism. As the Dutch case shows, this legal warfare, or lawfare, can also harm the national security and economic interests of the countries where these cases are being filed.

The Dutch suit was initiated by four NGOs – Oxfam Novib, Amnesty International, PAX, and the Rights Forum – ostensibly attempting to stop the supply of weapons and other aid to Israel. In reality, their goal – bad PR for Israel – was achieved the moment a court agreed to hear the case, regardless of whether the F-35 parts are shipped to Israel.
NGO Monitor: Selective Oversight: Sweden’s NGO Review Found No Terror Support Because They Didn’t Look
Following the October 7th Hamas massacre, the Swedish government commissioned a review of its funding for Palestinians, seeking information on whether “Swedish funds go to actors that do not unconditionally condemn Hamas, that commit violence, threaten or encourage violence against the State of Israel or its population, or pursue an antisemitic agenda, nor to people associated with such actors.” After the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) submitted an initial report, which failed to address these points and did not examine NGO statements and social media posts, the government ordered a supplemental review on December 7, 2023. (See NGO Monitor’s analysis of the original review.)

The supplemental review, published on February 16, 2024, again whitewashes Sweden-funded Palestinian NGOs that justified and celebrated the October 7th attacks, denied Hamas’ atrocities, and continued to advance antisemitism. As detailed below, Sida was able to assert that its NGO grantees did not support Hamas’ brutal attacks against Israeli civilians because it simply did not review the most problematic NGOs, as identified in several NGO Monitor’s reports, and also deliberately and completely excluded hateful rhetoric posted by NGO officials.

The supplemental review also reflected several fundamental flaws that prevented a proper evaluation of Sweden’s NGO grantees, including a false claim regarding vetting by other countries and an analysis of antisemitism conducted by a consulting firm with no experience on this crucial topic. The manipulation of the process allowed Sida to repeat its conclusion that “the vast majority of [organization] statements either condemn Hamas, often in contexts where Israel is also criticized for its warfare, or generally distance themselves from all forms of violence against civilians and violations of international humanitarian law.” This is a marked reversal of Sida’s original and more accurate assessment, which claimed that expecting NGO grantees to “‘unilaterally condemn Hamas,’ …would exclude cooperation with virtually all of Sida’s partners.”
Please Boycott My Country, Norway, over Antisemitism
I have spent years researching religious discrimination against Jews and Muslims globally and am deeply troubled to find a modern strain of antisemitism spreading in my own country. Though cloaked under another name - anti-Zionism - this poisonous ideology is a threat to Jews everywhere.

Recent decisions by Norwegian universities to cut institutional ties with Israel are clear indications of anti-Zionist sentiment here. Oslo Metropolitan University on Feb. 14 condemned "Israel's attack on Gaza," put on hold an exchange program with the University of Haifa, and announced it wouldn't enter into new agreements with Israeli universities. The University of Southeastern Norway criticized Israel's actions in Gaza and terminated cooperation agreements with two Israeli universities on Feb. 19.

A rational conversation on this subject would begin with people debating the ethics of academic boycotts, then weighing criteria for boycotts, and finally considering boycotts against the worst states - such as Iran, North Korea and Myanmar. But the debate about boycotts of Israel is no more rational than debates about the "sins" of the Jews in earlier periods of history.

Universities in the U.S. should consider setting up counter-boycotts against foreign universities that attempt to isolate Israel. Norway would be a great place to start. This could mean terminating strategic partnerships for research and student exchange.

More broadly, a counter-boycott could prompt Norwegian students and scholars to think critically about how they have allowed this progressive, post-Holocaust strain of antisemitism to fester under a different name.

Jon Stewart’s plan for Mideast peace is delusional (among other errors)
Stewart advocates for a political outcome to the conflict. Here again, we agree, partly. Israel must focus on the day after. Failure to do so is a dereliction of duty and invites chaos and further violence. This will involve making tough, imperfect decisions that may make Israelis cringe. That is the nature of leadership, of putting country first.

However, to expect that such an outcome can happen with the snap of a finger, in a vacuum, immediately, is a pipe dream. Furthermore, it is dangerous. In the wake of the greatest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, Israel cannot afford to make any moves that could jeopardize its security without a reliable partner. This is a lesson that was learned in blood through the Second Intifada, and after Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005.

Instead of selling quick solutions, Mr. Stewart should be advocating that the parties roll up their sleeves and get ready for the long haul — ironically, something Israel is already doing in its war effort. Hamas on the other hand, spent the last 20 years embedding itself in civilian infrastructure and is profoundly uninterested in protecting its population. It could end this war tomorrow — but a lasting peace remains elusive, no matter how hard Jon Stewart wishes it were otherwise.

In the previous conflict against Hamas in 2021, I wrote a similar response to a different Daily Show host — Trevor Noah (I didn’t bother with John Oliver; he is beyond redemption). Ironically, then, as now, I am writing as my children sleep, hoping that I can finish this draft before they wake up (it sort of worked). However, then I had a 2-month-old daughter; now, she is a toddler and I also have a son — a beautiful baby boy with special needs. As jarring as it was hearing booms over my apartment in 2021, knowing Hamas wanted to kill my infant, it is even more harrowing to think now that those same murderers would have had no qualms beheading my baby, kidnapping my toddler, raping my wife. This is a fear that no one should have to live with, and a threat that no nation can countenance. That is why, despite the unspeakable suffering wrought by Hamas on Israelis and Palestinians alike, Israel must carry on.

It is a sad testament to the state of affairs that not even three years later, the cycle of violence, talk-show hosting, and correcting the record needs to be repeated. But unfortunately, just like the current conflict, correcting the record is unavoidable, and the lives of my family and those I love are too important to not speak out. Although my reserve duty is over for now and I am much happier sitting at a keyboard with my son sleeping next to me then resting in Gaza, the war goes on, and with it, the need to speak out. Hopefully Jon will keep making me laugh, but with a little more honesty than before. Given the narratives regarding Israel in the media, I am unfortunately skeptical.

Modern Jihadism was invented by a Palestinian: Grisha Yakubovich | Israel-Hamas War
Visegrad24 presents an in-depth series covering the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. This comprehensive series features on-the-ground interviews, bringing firsthand insights from a diverse range of voices, including politicians, professors, journalists, experts and influencers.

Our guest today: Col. Grisha Yakubovich - The last Israeli Mayor of Gaza and consultant for Israel's Ministry of Intelligence ·

00:00 - Introduction
01:25 - Taking control over Gaza
02:55 - Islamists in the Sinai Peninsula
04:42 - Building fences
06:31 - Egypt as a mediator
09:14 - Hamas and the Muslim Brootherhood
12:44 - Hamas goes to elections
13:38 - 2007 civil war in Gaza
14:55 - UNRWA
16:56 - Hamas finances
20:25 - Israeli soft power
21:29 - Knowledge about Gaza
24:35 - Hamas isn't ISIS
25:18 - Modern Jihadism was invented in Gaza
27:15 - Hamas and Islamism
30:14 - 10 arenas of war

Brazilian media's anti-Israel bias: Desirée Rugani | Israel-Hamas War
Visegrad24 presents an in-depth series covering the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. This comprehensive series features on-the-ground interviews, bringing firsthand insights from a diverse range of voices, including politicians, professors, journalists, experts and influencers.

Our guest today: Desirée Rugani, a Brazilian model and influencer.

00:00 - Introduction
01:13 - Israelis after October 7th
02:34 - Brazilians stand with Israel
03:38 - Brazilian youth is brainwashed
05:03 - Expats in Israel on October 7th
05:48 - Global war
06:35 - Terrorism in Brazil
08:58 - Islamism in South America
10:30 - Returning to Israel
11:14 - Israeli solidarity
12:32 - Ancient Israel
13:46 - Tel Aviv and Jerusalem
14:58 - The attack on October 7th
17:18 - Hamas using fear
18:25 - Misconceptions about Israel

Rockets in Tel Aviv: From Fear to Advocacy - Romi Geyor | Israel-Hamas War Visegrad24 presents an in-depth series covering the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. This comprehensive series features on-the-ground interviews, bringing firsthand insights from a diverse range of voices, including politicians, professors, journalists, experts and influencers.

Our guest today: Romi Geyor - English & Hebrew language TV host/reporter and Influencer.

Ex-Democrat donor on the left's betrayal - Martín Varsavsky | Israel-Hamas War
Visegrad24 presents an in-depth series covering the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. This comprehensive series features on-the-ground interviews, bringing firsthand insights from a diverse range of voices, including politicians, professors, journalists, experts and influencers.

Our guest today: Martín Varsavsky Argentine entrepreneur, founder of seven companies, philanthropist and father of 7. Interviewed by Stefan Tompson founder of Visegrad24.

00:00 - Introduction
00:54 - Reversal between left & right
04:21 - The left betraying Jews
08:54 - Argentina and Milei
09:40 - Jewish pride
12:42 - Media against Israel
15:59 - Visegrad24 & new media
24:46 - Birthrates in Israel
28:00 - Birthrates in the West

Jordan’s queen downplays role of Oct. 7 as cause of the war in Gaza
In remarks at the Web Summit Qatar in Doha, Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan downplayed the role of Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel as the cause of the current war in Gaza, arguing that this reflects an “incomplete narrative” of the longer-term Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The fact is, when one side of a conflict has been robbed of the right to tell its story, we’re left with an incomplete narrative,” Abdullah said in her speech. “The current iteration opens like this: ‘The war began on Oct. 7.’ To be sure, the brutal Oct. 7 attack opened a new and devastating chapter in the saga. But the larger story has been unfolding for more than most of our lives — 75 years in which Palestinians have not known a single day of genuine peace.”

She offered condemnation for the Hamas attack, but also said it does not justify the current war in Gaza. She alleged that Palestinians have, over decades and in the current war, been systematically dehumanized and ignored, “relegated to a footnote in the narrative authored by someone else” and “cast as terrorists and security threats, nothing more.”

“Acts of war are not always as clear-cut as an airstrike, an ambush or an abduction,” she said, describing the blockade of Gaza, checkpoints, separation walls, settler violence, detentions without criminal charges and “the endless indignities of life under occupation” as all forms of “violence.”

“One can acknowledge that, for many, Israel’s founding countered a historical injustice, while recognizing that it created another that has yet to be resolved,” she added.
Qatar’s tech conference for antisemites
However, tech leaders may want to reconsider attending an event that provides a platform to so many speakers and influencers who openly express contemptible views.

For starters, consider Lebanese chef and influencer Abir El Saghir, who celebrated on Oct. 7 by handing out Palestinian-themed candy and flags to jubilant passersby. El Saghir has also accused Israel of “genocides” and repeated the genocidal slogan, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

El Saghir will be joined at Web Summit Qatar by Hamad Al-Hajri. Founder of the Qatari online delivery service Snoonu, Al-Hajri has smeared Israelis as the “new Nazis” and said he will “not invest in any startup that operated in #Israel.” Al-Hajri even thanked Cosgrave for the tone-deaf comments that led to his ouster, penning a brief tribute that referred to the Israel-Hamas war as “nothing short of a #genocide.”

Venture capitalist Fady Ghandour, executive chairman of Wamda Capital, has posted anti-Israel screeds on LinkedIn that are remarkably similar to the slurs that forced Cosgrave’s resignation. He accused Israel of “war crimes” and regularly resorted to body-count contests to slam the Jewish state.

Adwa Al Dakheel, founder and CEO of Falak Investment Hub, has referred to Israelis as “retards” and “Israelies,” a play on words vilifying Israelis as liars. Omani investor Mohammed Al Rasbi posted Holocaust images in a 2014 tweet comparing Israel to Germany in 1940.

Even Trevor Noah, comedian Jon Stewart’s disappointing replacement on The Daily Show, has his own history of antisemitic commentary and engaged in the same contest of casualties that cost Cosgrave his job.

When presented with evidence of conference speakers posting antisemitic content to social media, Web Summit promised to investigate but did not respond.

Web Summit Qatar illustrates the perils of doing business in a country that provides a safe haven to international terrorists. If Paddy Cosgrave was forced to resign for his hateful commentary, why is the same or worse behavior tolerated among Middle Eastern CEOs and influencers?

Whatever the answer, investors and innovators should stay far away from Web Summit’s Doha disaster.
MEMRI: Incitement Against Israel In Qatari Press Continues: Only More Attacks Like October 7 Will Restrain It; The Conflict Will End Only With Disappearance Of Israel

Time to end branch campuses in Qatar
The post-October 7 backlash against campus antisemitism has taken its next casualty: Texas A&M’s Qatar branch campus. The Texas A&M System’s Board of Regents voted 7-1 on February 8 to close its overseas campus in Qatar by 2028. This makes Texas A&M the first American university to end its deal with the Gulf State after two decades in operation and more than $600 million in Qatari funds. And while it’s a victory on several fronts, including combating global support for terrorism and improving national security, this is only the beginning: there are five other American universities that should follow Texas A&M’s lead by closing their branch campuses in Qatar.

The Board began to reassess Texas A&M’s branch campus in fall 2023, motivated by the “heightened instability in the Middle East.” In general, public scrutiny of universities heightened as leaders struggled to condemn the Hamas attacks. For universities like Texas A&M, it sparked renewed interest in their controversial relationship with Qatar.

But opposition to Texas A&M’s branch campus had actually been building for years. Public criticisms of Texas A&M’s close relationship with Qatar focused on transparency problems. In 2016, the Washington Post tried to obtain the latest agreement between Texas A&M and the Qatar Foundation, the Qatar government-owned non-profit organization that oversees the branch campuses. The Qatar Foundation petitioned the Texas attorney general to keep the document secret, though it was later disclosed. In 2018, Zachor Legal Institute struggled to obtain records regarding Qatar’s funding of the branch campus. Zachor, in tandem with Judicial Watch, engaged in a lengthy legal battle and finally obtained the documents in 2023. Notably, the Qatar Foundation also fought against disclosure of these contracts, citing confidentiality of private donor information and trade secrets.

A recent analysis of the Texas A&M agreement showed that Qatar owned all the intellectual property generated at Texas A&M’s Qatar campus. This poses a serious security risk because Texas A&M’s focus in Qatar is engineering. Many of the projects conducted by researchers in Doha have potential military applications. Additionally, researchers must demonstrate in proposals how their work would support Qatar’s national objectives.
Mob reported to attack abandoned synagogue in Tunisia’s Sfax
A mob in Tunisia targeted an abandoned synagogue in the southeastern city of Sfax, setting fire on Sunday to trees in the building’s courtyard, local media reported.

No one was hurt in the reported attack, which took place in a city that is not presently home to any of Tunisia’s small Jewish population.

It marked the latest apparent antisemitic attack during the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, which began on October 7, when thousands of Hamas terrorists invaded southern Israel from Gaza, murdering some 1,200 people and taking 253 hostage. The incident in Tunisia also occurred at the same time as prolonged negotiations between Israel and Hamas for a hostage release and truce deal, which are being pressed to reach an agreement ahead of Ramadan.

Media reports said the Sfax synagogue’s windows were damaged in the attack, but that firefighters managed to gain control of the blaze before it engulfed the building itself.

Numbering over 100,000 Jews in 1948, the Tunisian Jewish community is now estimated to be less than 1,000.
Fears Grow that Lula’s Antisemitic Comments Will Inspire Terrorism in Brazil
The recent stream of antisemitic comments issued by radical leftist President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and the Brazilian government’s condemnations of Israel are fueling fear of possible “lone-wolf” jihadist attacks, the Argentine news agency Infobae reported Monday.

Lula and his administration have significantly damaged the relationship between Brazil and Israel by repeatedly condemning Israel’s self-defense operations against the jihadist terrorist organization Hamas. Lula accused Israel of committing “genocide” and murdering “women and children” in its self-defense operations, demanding the United Nations recognize “Palestine” as a state with Jerusalem as its capital.

Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Hamas is an openly genocidal terrorist organization that engaged in a massacre of civilians against Israel on October 7, killing an estimated 1,200 men, women, and children that day and keeping dozens hostage at press time.

Shortly after his initial remarks, the Brazilian president doubled down by comparing Israel’s self-defense actions following October 7 to that of Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler during the Holocaust.

“What is happening in the Gaza Strip with the Palestinian people has no parallel in other historical moments. In fact, it did exist when Hitler decided to kill the Jews,” Lula said during a press conference following his participation at the 37 African Union Summit in Addis Ababa.

Lula’s Holocaust comparisons earned him Hamas’s praise, whose leaders claimed that his statements were an “accurate description” of the ongoing events in Gaza, the Hamas stronghold.

Israel fiercely condemned Lula’s accusations and declared Lula persona non grata, banning him from visiting Israel until he formally apologizes and retracts his statements.

Marc Rowan on publicly fighting UPenn over its handling of campus antisemitism: ‘Telling the truth feels great’
Marc Rowan, who chairs UJA-Federation of New York’s board, said he has no regrets about leading the charge against the the leadership of his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, over its handling of campus antisemitism, during an onstage interview with fellow investor David Rubenstein at the Economic Club in Washington, D.C.

Rowan said he was compelled to act after seeing that the university’s administration response to antisemitism was “completely misguided.” He said he was hopeful because he believes the antisemitism seen on campuses is driven by ignorance. “While we have an antisemitism problem, I don’t think we’re fighting antisemitism on these campuses. I think we’re fighting something else. We’re fighting anti-Americanism. We’re fighting anti-merit. We’re fighting anti-power. We’re fighting really for the soul of these institutions,” he said.

“We went from being the envy of the world. Our academic institutions were the envy of the world. We produced academic excellence and amazing research and amazing students. And somehow we lost our way. That is not what we produce today.”

Rowan said the responses to his activism have been mixed, but mostly positive from the wider public. “On the one hand, there clearly are members of the board of trustees who are unhappy that I went public. There are members of the faculty who are unhappy that I went public. But I got off an elevator at a hotel in Houston. And someone is looking at me and they’re saying, ‘Are you Mark Rowan?’ And I look at them because we live in a crazy world. I took a chance and said, ‘Yes.’ And all they did was hug me and say thank you. And that, by and large, is what’s happening,” he said.

“Telling the truth feels great. You guys should all try it. It’s really good. It’s cleansing. It’s very clarifying. And I had no idea what the reaction was going to be from our employee base, from our partners, from our Middle Eastern partners and from others. And I have to be honest. The vast, vast majority of reaction has been incredibly positive.”

Reflecting on the Jewish community’s response to the Oct. 7 terror attacks, Rowan said the ensuing rise in antisemitism has brought many people into the fold. “We are, in the U.S., in the Jewish community, going through a very interesting period of time. Anyone who was on the sidelines is no longer on the sidelines,” Rowan said during the nearly hour-long interview.
NYPost Editorial: Harvard’s antisemitism task force proves to be a total joke as another leader resigns
Harvard’s effort to root out antisemitism has officially entered Keystone Kops territory.

Business prof Raffaella Sadun, appointed co-chair of the troubled task force just last month, abruptly resigned over the weekend — reportedly because the task force’s mandate doesn’t include any high-priority changes to actually combat Jew-hatred.

The remaining co-chair, meanwhile, is Derek Penslar, an Israel-hating historian who claimed that the problem of Jew-hatred at Harvard had been exaggerated by “outsiders.”

And don’t forget the earlier resignation of world-famous Rabbi David Wolpe from the task force, explaining on X that the “system at Harvard” — and “the ideology that grips far too many of the students and faculty” and that “places Jews as oppressors” — is “itself evil.”

And of course, all this follows now-ousted prez Claudine Gay’s inability to tell Congress whether calls for the genocide of Jews violated Harvard’s code of conduct.

Color us totally unsurprised that a university whose staff and faculty came out in force to support the terrorist killers of Hamas after Oct. 7 never planned to actually do anything about dealing with its deep-rooted Jew-hatred.
New York schools pushing anti-Zionism have Jewish teachers wondering if they have a future
One depressing example encapsulates the struggle the Jewish community is facing in many New York public schools.

A Jewish high school teacher, dismayed to find her co-teacher had begun wearing a keffiyeh in the days after Oct. 7, was left disturbed when the co-teacher started spreading anti-Israel propaganda in the classroom and encouraging children to boycott Israeli goods. More disturbing still was the response from the principal to do nothing when the Jewish teacher complained. She still struggles every day with her radical colleague and is planning to leave the New York education system at the end of this school year.

The teacher is, understandably, scared to speak out on the record about her experience. She is not alone. Many of her colleagues at schools across New York, who have spoken on the condition of anonymity, have had similar experiences and feel the same. Fight or flight? That’s the question most on their minds.

They feel they’re playing a sick game of whack-a-mole they can never win with colleagues and a department of education pushing a one-sided narrative against Israel.

“This town is burnt for Jews,” one Jewish teacher, who is trying to move her entire family out of New York, says.

Another, who organises resistance against antisemitism in schools, fears that in the future there won’t be enough Jewish teachers and pupils in the New York school system to mount an effective fightback.

“Teachers are abusing their access to children to peddle their own agenda,” she said. “How is your kid supposed to feel safe if they are Jewish? How are you supposed to feel safe as a parent?

“At my high school there are no Jewish students. One student said to me ‘Jews are racist’. I said ‘no’ and explained everything to him. But if I wasn’t there they would be no one to counter that view.

“You’re seeing the formation of the shtetl in front of your eyes. Parents are sending their kids to Jewish schools. People are questioning intermarriage and assimilation. And how will it be in 20 years?”
New York teachers told jihad means struggle — not holy war — in DOE ‘anti-bias’ training: ‘Disingenuous’
New York City teachers were told that “jihad” means simply “struggle” — not holy war — in training sessions against “anti-Muslim bias” run by the Department of Education.

Educators were even given the example that it could simply mean “my jihad to get fit” in a video seen by The Post, ignoring its history of being used to justify violence, including terrorism by groups such as Hamas, al Qaeda and ISIS.

A trainer from the DOE also told teachers that Sharia simply means religious observance and did not mention brutal punishment and persecution of women and minorities by Sharia regimes including the Taliban in Afghanistan.

What is jihad? The literal meaning of jihad is "struggle" or "great effort." Jihad is the Muslim conception of striving in the path of God. #MyJihad media campaign.

This is the training video offered to New York public school teachers about “anti-Muslim bias,” which ignored jihad’s meaning of “holy war.”

One teacher said the webinar host ignored them when they messaged to say that the Encyclopedia Britannica definition of jihad included war.

Another compared the way it redefined language as “straight from the Joseph Goebbels handbook,” while a third said it was a brazen attempt to use semantics to avoid discussing Islamic extremism.
Violent mob screaming ‘intifada’ force Jews to flee through tunnels at UC Berkeley
Jewish students were evacuated through tunnels from a building on UC Berkeley’s campus on Monday night after some 200 demonstrators shouting “intifada, Intifada” rioted over a scheduled lecture featuring Israeli attorney and IDF reservist Ran Bar-Yoshafat.

The demonstrators, wielding Palestinian flags, smashed the glass door of UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Playhouse, where several dozen students were due to attend the lecture organised by three Jewish groups on campus.

Danielle Sobkin, a third-year student and one of the organisers who invited Bar-Yoshafat to speak, told the San Francisco Chronicle that the rioters grabbed a student who tried to attend the event, called him a “dirty Jew” and spat on him. She said that protesters also shoved a student into the auditorium door as she tried to check in attendees, and that they grabbed a first-year student by her neck.

“This isn’t an isolated incident,” said Sobkin, who is the co-president of Bears for Israel, one of the three Jewish groups involved in organising the event. “This is a continuous trend that’s persisted my entire time on campus. Jewish hate. The targeting of Jewish students.”

The event had been scheduled to take place at 6.30pm on Monday night at Wheeler Hall, home of the university’s English department, where Bar-Yoshafat was due to address “Israel’s international legal challenges,” “the rules of wartime conduct” and “how the IDF can better protect civilians,” according to the event page shared by organising groups on social media.

Berkeley Public Schools Hit With Federal Complaint Over ‘Severe and Persistent’ Anti-Semitic Bullying
A public school district in Berkeley, California, was hit with a federal complaint on Wednesday alleging it has failed to stem an escalating series of anti-Semitic incidents that include hallway chants of "kill the Jews" and anti-Semitic teacher rants in support of the Hamas terror group.

The Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) "knowingly allowed its K-12 campuses to become viciously hostile environments for Jewish and Israeli students," according to a copy of the complaint, filed with the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Parents who have signed onto the complaint say anti-Semitic incidents in the schools have "positively surged" since Hamas conducted its unprecedented Oct. 7 terror attack on Israel.

"At BUSD, a virulent wave of anti-Semitism swept through its schools immediately following the massacre," the complaint alleges. "Jewish and Israeli students have since been subjected to nonstop anti-Semitic bullying and harassment by their teachers and peers, in hallways, in classrooms, and in school yards."

The complaint, filed by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, follows a flurry of similar federal filings against many of America’s top universities, including Harvard, MIT, and University of Pennsylvania, among others. Like its college counterparts, the Berkeley school district stands accused of becoming a dangerous place for Jews and Israelis.

"Reported incidents of anti-Semitism include school ‘walkouts’ praising Hamas with students shouting 'f— the Jews' and ‘KKK,’" according to the complaint. "Teachers use class time to propagandize that the Hamas massacre was admirable ‘resistance.’ Following their teachers’ lead, students bully their Jewish peers and deride their physical appearance."

Why is Holocaust denial rampant on Gen Z’s favourite news source?
Ahmed said platforms like TikTok have no real incentive to crack down on hate speech and disinformation because of the high engagement such content generates: “People, unfortunately, spend more time watching things that trigger them emotionally, that upset them.”

And so the algorithm tunnels the user deeper into unsettling — or altogether false — subject matter. And the more immersed the user becomes, the harder it gets to distinguish fact from fiction.

Paweł Sawicki, a spokesman for the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum in Poland, said the foundation confronts Holocaust denial content on social media “every day,” likely thanks to Ahmed’s conjecture: the algorithm will offer content most likely to touch a nerve.

But Sawicki never engages.

“Deniers hate, and this is the only thing they do. They harass and insult the memory of the victims. Holocaust deniers do not care about the facts, and they do not care about the victims.

“One of the reasons we became active on social media over ten years ago was because we noticed deniers using those platforms to spread their hatred,” said Sawicki. “As a rule, we do not discuss with deniers, but every day we post facts, names, documents, and stories that explain the history of Auschwitz.”

Sawicki said social media companies such as TikTok become complicit by allowing deniers to spread hateful disinformation. But no matter how unethical the choices made by those in charge of these platforms, Sawicki affirms that the role of Holocaust remembrance sites like the Auschwitz Memorial remains the same: to “oppose all lies, misinterpretations, distortions or instrumentalisations of the tragedy and memory of the victims of Auschwitz.”

While the tech moguls profiting off disinformation hold disproportionate power to maintain the status quo of what Ahmed calls the “asymmetric battlefield” of TikTok, educational content creators – like Forman, Will, and Thornblad, as well as memorial foundations like Auschwitz – also play a vital role in “reorienting” that battlefield. By contributing reliable information to the app, fighting for historical accuracy and the preservation of Holocaust survivors’ stories, they are helping, little by little, to swing the balance in favour of good. In favour of the truth.

Thornblad said she’s received only a handful of messages from people who used to believe in the Holocaust denial narrative but were able to learn the truth through the content she’s posted, an outcome she called “the best case scenario.” Amid the taunting, delusive comments, the antisemitic manifestos and TikTok’s ongoing negligence, a message like that offers a flash of hope for the app’s wearied disinformation fighters.

"That feels pretty good, when someone messages you and says, ‘Hey, I used to think that parts of this were not true - thank you for pointing me in the right direction.’” Thornblad said. “It's just not happening enough.”
Reckless Reporting: Why Won’t The New York Times Let the Facts Decide?
In the aftermath of our expose of Palestinian photojournalists who infiltrated Israel’s border from Gaza on October 7, several media outlets reacted by attacking HonestReporting’s integrity. As we noted at the time, this appeared to be an attempt to avoid the uncomfortable question of their freelancers’ activity by trying to reframe the conversation. They denied having advanced knowledge of the attack (which we did not claim), and then accused HonestReporting of spreading misinformation.

Notably, many of those very same media outlets either publicly severed ties with their Gazan freelancers or quietly stopped working with them.

All except for The New York Times, which publicly backed Gazan photojournalist Yousef Masoud to the hilt even though we had noted in our original expose that Masoud was working for the Associated Press on the morning of October 7.
LA Times Refuses To Substantiate, Retract Toxic Charge that IDF Snipers Targeted Kids

NPR’s Jane Arraf Blames ‘Israeli Attacks on the Al-Aqsa Mosque’ For Iraqi Militia Violence

Guardian completely avoids journalism in promoting 'starvation' libel

BBC News again promotes unevidenced PRCS allegations

MPs accuse BBC of stoking ‘global antisemitism’
MPs have accused the BBC of fuelling attacks on Jews through biased reporting on the Israel-Hamas conflict.

During a cross-party debate in Westminster Hall on Tuesday, former attorney general Sir Michael Ellis, said that senior BBC management had “fundamentally failed” to deal with biased coverage and mitigate the fears of Jewish staff.

“The relentless bias of BBC News coverage has contributed to the record levels of intimidation and attacks on British Jews,” he added.

Sir Michael, Conservative MP for Northampton North, cited numerous instances of alleged bias, including the BBC’s refusal to call Hamas terrorists, which meant the corporation had become “complicit in Hamas’ well-orchestrated disinformation campaign”.

Numerous politicians also made damning allegations against the BBC during the debate, which the cooperation has since refuted.

According to several MPs, one inaccurate BBC report about the Al-Ahli hospital bombing in Gaza “led to a spike in antisemitism globally”, including the burning of synagogues in Tunisia and Germany.

Conservative MP Theresa Villiers said that the BBC’s “rush to accept the Hamas allegation that it was caused by Israel” created problems on the ground, while MP Steve Double said the Al-Ahli report “felt like the BBC couldn’t wait to jump to the conclusion it must have been Israel, and they were almost disappointed when it came out that it clearly wasn’t”.

Sir Michael said that some of the BBC coverage suggested a “moral equivalence between a democratic state whose leaders are elected by their people… and a genocidal terrorist group that oppresses its people and murders children and civilians”.

He labelled Hamas’s policy of not distinguishing between combatant and civilian deaths in Gaza as “cynical”.

Sir Michael referred to Jewish BBC employees who have made complaints: “Dozens of current Jewish employees at the BBC are understood to have filed formal complaints about their concerns over antisemitism, describing it as a grim and frightening time to be Jewish at the corporation.

CBC Radio Features Doctor Accusing Israel Of “Genocide” & “War Against Babies"

PreOccupiedTerritory: Furious Online Posting Of Manipulated Infographics, Recaptioned Photos So Far Ineffective In Halting IDF Gaza Onslaught (satire)
Karachi, February 28 – A local keyboard activist acknowledged today this his near-constant uploading of images and commentary calling attention to both real and imagined actions of the Israeli military in its operations against Hamas has had less than the effect he desired, even in combination with similar efforts by tens of thousands of other dedicated supporters of Palestine on Twitter alone.

Ahmad Shah, 23, increased the intensity and frequency of graphics on both X and Instagram immediately following the Palestinian invasion and massacres of Israelis on October 7, even before the Jewish State began any form of military response beyond killing or capturing invaders who had yet to return to the Gaza Strip. His content featured falsified or fabricated quotes by Israeli and Jewish leaders; false graphs or charts purporting to show Israeli crimes against Arabs; parroting of tendentious statistics and reports; photos doctored to show alleged massacres by Israel; and images from other, bloodier, violent conflicts, such as Syria, relabeled as shots from Israel’s various operations against Palestinian terrorists. However, he reports, neither his endeavors nor the parallel ones of the veritable army of keyboard warriors decrying Israeli genocide of Palestinians appeared to have the slightest impact, with Israel having captured most of the Gaza Strip and eliminated roughly half of Hamas’s 35,000-strong fighting capacity while losing only a few hundred IDF soldiers, and no developments seem afoot to stop Israel from destroying Hamas.

“It takes a lot out of me,” admitted Shah. “I know there are reports that Hamas is dealing devastating blow after devastating blow to the occupation forces, and I love to believe them. But that doesn’t square with the continuing reports of atrocities and genocide. Am I supposed to accept that 30,000 innocent Gazans have been killed by Jews who are too afraid to kill them?”

US official: Iranian and Hezbollah operatives in Yemen are aiding Houthi attacks
Operatives from Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah are working inside Yemen to support Houthi insurgents’ attacks on international shipping, a US official said Tuesday.

Tim Lenderking, the US special envoy for Yemen, told a Senate subcommittee that Iran’s clerical state was “equipping and facilitating” the Houthi attacks, which have triggered retaliatory US and British strikes on Yemen.

“Credible public reports suggest a significant number of Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah operatives are supporting Houthi attacks from inside Yemen,” Lenderking said.

“I can’t imagine the Yemeni people want these Iranians in their country. This must stop,” he said.

The White House said in December that Iran was “deeply involved” in planning the attacks, which the Houthis say are acts of solidarity with the Palestinians in the Israel-Hamas war.

Lenderking, who has dealt with the Houthis since the start of US President Joe Biden’s administration as he helped diplomacy to freeze a brutal civil war, acknowledged that the rebels have not been deterred.

“The fact that they continue this, and have said publicly that they will not stop until there’s a ceasefire in Gaza, is an indication that we’re not yet at the point, unfortunately, where they do intend to dial back,” Lenderking said.

Report: Iran Planning Concrete Wall Border with Afghanistan
Iran’s top diplomat on Afghanistan issues reportedly claimed in an interview on Wednesday his country is studying the best way to construct a border wall to protect itself from terror threats emanating from its eastern neighbor.

Iran has supported the Taliban, the terrorist organization that governs Afghanistan unopposed, geopolitically since its ascent to power in August 2021 – the result of leftist President Joe Biden extending the 20-year Afghan War with seemingly no coherent plan for withdrawal. Iran recognizes the Taliban as an “interim” government, one of the few countries to do so, and has repeatedly condemned the United States for its anti-terrorist operations in Afghanistan.

The bilateral relationship with the Taliban has been much more challenging for Tehran. The two countries share a border along the Helmand River. Iran has repeatedly accused the Taliban of using a dam on Afghan territory to block the flow of the river and deprive Iranians of critical water access. The Taliban insists that it has not done so and any water shortages are the result of droughts that affect both countries.

The dispute erupted in violence last year as border guards shot at each other. A senior Taliban commander threatened to “conquer” Iran in May.

The Afghan news site Khaama Press translated the remarks by Special Representative for Afghanistan Kazemi Qomi to the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) in which he claimed the border plan was “essential for national sovereignty” in light of mounting issues with the Taliban government across the border.

He Hunted al-Qaeda. Now He Hunts Neo-Nazis
I met with Goldsmith in late December at a coffee shop, the location of which can’t be disclosed for security reasons. He keeps his head shaved and sports a full beard in the tight, tactical style preferred by Special Forces members. He has the lean build of a welterweight boxer.

Since its official founding in 2022, Task Force Butler has evolved from a one-man operation into a fully staffed movement, with a dozen or so volunteers who work remotely across the country. Most have day jobs in fields like mental health, real estate, tech, and finance. The majority are former military with experience in enemy surveillance. “The average member is a combat guy who ran around Afghanistan with a machine gun,” Goldsmith tells me.

Goldsmith’s typical day involves sitting in front of an extra-wide gaming screen, laptop, and phone, and infiltrating Nazi groups online. He monitors their private group chats, collects information from social media posts and public records, and studies videos to pick out members based on small details.

“Like cargo pants, or the fit of a pair of jeans, or bootlaces,” Goldsmith explains. “These details can be cross-referenced with publicly available photos that these Nazis post on their Facebook or Instagram. If someone wears pink running shoes while disrupting a pride event, they probably don’t wear them just for the crime, but in their everyday life, too. You can use that to identify them.”

The goal is to provide a legal breadcrumb trail for prosecutors. In just two years, Goldsmith’s research has helped bring about three federal lawsuits against the nation’s most active neo-Nazi organization, Patriot Front. Task Force Butler has also assisted in at least nine convictions against Patriot Front in Idaho, and helped land a felony charge against Aryan Freedom Network member Thomas Vance Pollock in North Carolina.

Though Pollock worked as a Nazi propagandist, some of the neo-Nazi groups Goldsmith investigates are violent. That includes former private Ethan Phelan Melzer, a pro-ISIS member of the Atomwaffen Division, who was sentenced to 45 years last March for plotting to ambush and murder his own Army unit. “Too few Americans understand that jihadists and white supremacists are willing to work hand-in-hand, that their movements have been aligned for decades—to kill Americans and attack our national interests,” Goldsmith says.

Why Are There Only 4 Jews in Iraq? | Explained
The “Farhud,” Arabic for pogrom or violent dispossession, gripped Iraq’s 2,600 year-old Jewish community during WW2. Inspired and encouraged by the Nazi regime, Iraqis committed acts of horrific violence for two days against Baghdad’s Jews as British forces watched on.

00:00 Intro
00:37 The Holocaust came to Iraq
01:31 Jewish history in Iraq
02:41 British appointment of King Faisal
03:52 Jewish life under King Faisal
04:48 Jews scapegoated for British theft of Iraqi oil
06:01 Arab immigrants from Palestine spread antisemitism
06:44 Haj Amin Al-Husseini and Hitler
06:56 Iraqis adopt antisemitic Nazi ideology
08:28 Britain returns to Iraq
09:25 The Farhud (pogrom, violent dispossession)
10:05 What did Iraqi Jews do for the rest of WW2?
10:29 Post-WW2 riots, pogroms, extortion, confiscation of property, and boycotts
11:27 Hundreds of thousands of Jews emigrate from Iraq penniless
12:12 Jewish emigration devastates Iraqi economy
12:34 Iraqi Jewish community and Israel

How a Jewish museum in Florida landed the Wiesel Collection
For about a year, officials at the Florida Holocaust Museum (FHM) in downtown St. Petersburg kept a closely guarded secret that the museum was seeking to become the permanent home of a treasure trove of documents from the late Elie Wiesel.

On Feb. 3, at its annual “To Life” fundraising gala—the museum’s biggest annual social event—museum board chair Mike Igel let the secret out, telling the audience the Wiesel Foundation had chosen the museum to house and exhibit a collection of Wiesel’s memorabilia, including his 1986 Nobel Peace Prize, documents, manuscripts, letters, photographs, works of art and recordings.

During a visit to FHM last year by Wiesel’s son, Elisha, Igel learned the family and the Wiesel Foundation were looking for an institution that would do more than just house and display Wiesel’s collection.

“They wanted an organization that would use the collection to passionately, actively and dynamically continue professor Wiesel’s legacy, using it to create more ‘Upstanders’ and spread his message far beyond the museum’s four walls,” Igel said. “Thankfully, our proposal was built around that very theme: not just education, but action. It’s what we are as an institution.”

The museum will create a permanent exhibit honoring Wiesel and displaying items in the collection, including re-creating Wiesel’s office.

The museum will also create an international traveling exhibit from materials in the collection and, as part of the agreement with the foundation, the nearby St. Petersburg campus of the University of South Florida will house Wiesel documents for access by the public and researchers, anchoring a new Elie Wiesel Center for Humanitarian Ethics.

Wiesel “remains a world icon. He was perhaps the greatest communicator we’ve ever had advocating for the importance of the lessons of the Holocaust,” said Igel. “He believed that honoring the victims of the Holocaust must be an active undertaking, not just a history lesson, and that concept is integral to the museum’s core mission. It’s the main reason the museum exists.”
The Jews of West Point
I’m a Jewish cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point. We exist and we’ve been here since the beginning. This is our story.

I’m your average American Jew. My father is an Iranian immigrant and my mother’s family fled the pogroms of Eastern Europe. I had my bar mitzvah, traveled to Israel, was dragged by my parents to synagogue for the High Holy Days and observed the occasional Shabbat. My Yom Kippur fast never lasted more than a few hours and our Passover seders always took too long.

I always saw myself as an American soldier and wanted to go to West Point. My application was rejected so I went to University of Arizona, where I majored in Arabic and Political Science while doing Army ROTC. Every Shabbat I joined other Jewish students at the Chabad just down the street from my apartment for Rabbi Yossi Winner’s Shabbat extravaganzas. But my heart remained set on West Point. Eventually I was accepted and left Arizona. It took saying goodbye for me appreciate it.

In June, 2022, I drove with my parents to West Point, the real-life Hogwarts I’d call home for four years. I was one of the 1,209 admitted students in the class of 2026 arriving for six weeks of cadet basic training. Despite two years at Arizona, all transfer students start over.

The next day I met some of my future classmates, but felt strange without knowing why. While talking with my parents, I realized that for the first time in my life I was a Jew out of place. Nobody I’d met was Jewish and some had never even met a Jew. I longed for connection; I needed my people.

Leave a task to a Jewish mother. Fifteen minutes later my mother called the West Point Jewish chaplain, Cantor (Maj.) David Frommer, and five minutes later, he called me. I didn’t know it at the time, but this exceptional human being would change my life. Chaplain Frommer talked about the Jewish community’s energy and the weekly Shabbat services, Tuesday Torah studies, High Holy Day services, Birthright trips, Passover seders, Hillel club, and Jewish choir. We had everything, even a Jewish chapel which I visited the next day.
My Friends in Canada Told Me to Come Home, But I'm Doing Something Meaningful in Israel
Jay Deering, 60, who lives in British Columbia, wears a Magen David Adom rescue service patch on his vest. He said in an interview, "I work in aviation engineering, specializing in helicopters. The company I work for is a supplier for Magen David Adom, which now has an airborne unit.... Most helicopter pilots in Israel have experience with military helicopters. These are more civilian ones. I've worked a lot overseas....I always work for a month and a half, and then I have a month and a half off."

"I help train local pilots and lend a hand in the daily maintenance of the helicopters....I happened to be here when the war started....I was the only helicopter technician of this sort in the country. I went back and forth between military bases in the north and the south, because the helicopters have to be authorized by a maintenance person every day....I was here 75 days before others on the team calmed down a little and agreed to come back to work."

"If I had left, there wouldn't have been anyone to sign off on the helicopters and they would have become useless, they wouldn't have been able to fly....I didn't want to leave. All my friends in Canada told me to come home immediately, but I told them, 'I'm doing something meaningful here, I have a purpose, I'm helping. I don't want to leave. And besides, there's Iron Dome.'"

"I really like Israel, even from before the war. People here are very nice and friendly. I feel very safe here. It's one of the nicest places I've worked anywhere in the world."

Q: Do you feel comfortable walking around with a Star of David patch?

Deering: "For sure. I'm a Christian but I'm part of MDA, and I'm proud of it. I know all their paramedics. When I come back in another six weeks there will be big hugs. It's a real family, especially once I stayed on during the war."

This year’s Genesis Prize awarded to groups aiding hostage families
Five organizations who are supporting the families of people held hostage by Hamas in Gaza were awarded Israel’s prestigious 2024 Genesis Prize on Wednesday.

The $1 million award is usually given to a person for his or her professional achievements, contributions to humanity, and commitment to Jewish values. This year, the Genesis Prize Foundation made a different choice, focusing on the hostages remaining in the Gaza Strip.

“The purpose of this year’s award is not to influence policy, but to raise international awareness of the plight of the hostages and provide humanitarian assistance focused on recovery, rehabilitation, and treatment,” said a co-founder of the prize, Stan Polovets.

The recipients included the Hostages and Missing Families Forum, a group representing many of the hostages’ relatives that sprang up in the wake of October 7 — when thousands of Hamas terrorists invaded southern Israel, killed some 1,200 people, and took 253 hostages — to advocate for the return of the abductees.

Prize money will also go to the Jewish Agency’s Fund for Victims of Terror, Lev Echad, Natal, The Israel Trauma and Resiliency Center, and OneFamily.
Israel Sees Massive Jump in Aliyah Requests from U.S., Canada and France since Oct. 7
Israel has seen a massive increase of aliyah requests from the United States, Canada, and France since October 7, The World Zionist Organization President Tova Dorfman announced at WZO's conference on confronting challenges to the Jewish People held in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

Dorfman revealed that Israel recorded a 100% rise in aliyah applicants from the US since Hamas's massacre. Further, aliyah from Canada saw a 150% rise, while a remarkable 300% rise was observed in aliyah applicants from France. YOUTUBE, ME and a tour of my backyard (Tel Gezer)
A few months ago my channel reached a subscriber milestone: 100k subscribers, and I thought this presented a good opportunity to make a more personal video and take you on a tour to a special place – Tel Gezer.

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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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