Monday, April 22, 2024

From Ian:

With empty chairs and forlorn homes, Israelis prepare for solemn Passover
Jewish people mark on Monday the start of Passover, a celebration of freedom, and around many holiday tables in Israel chairs will stand empty for hostages still held captive in Gaza.

The weeklong Jewish festival, also known in Hebrew as the “holiday of freedom,” celebrates the Israelites’ liberation from Egyptian slavery, as told in the Bible.

Passover is traditionally observed with a Seder: a holiday feast when families eat symbolic foods and read the Haggadah.

The text, which is nearly 2,000 years old, recounts the Jewish people’s Exodus from Egypt and their ties and yearning for the Holy Land.

For many this year, Passover will be stained by absence and anguish, particularly for the relatives of the hostages, grieving families, and more than 120,000 Israelis displaced from their homes in the north and south of the country because of the war in the Gaza Strip and ongoing hostilities between Israel and the terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon.

“All of the symbolic things we do at the Seder will take on a much more profound and deep meaning this year,” said Rachel Goldberg-Polin, whose son Hersh is being held hostage in Gaza.

These symbols include “the bread of affliction, the bitter herbs, the saltwater that represents the tears of the Jewish people when they were in captivity, in slavery,” she added.

How the Israel-Hamas War shadow looms over the Passover Seder
Undoubtedly, millions will sing that verse this year with intense emotion, closed eyes, clenched fists, and the thought going through their minds that we are just reliving a scene played out time after time. It’s the same idea to destroy the Jews – only the actors on the stage have changed.

Someone will read this text somewhere and say, “Once it was Pharaoh, then Haman, then Torquemada, then Chmielnicki, then Hitler, now Sinwar and Khamenei.” Someone argumentative around that table will ask how one can compare Sinwar to Hitler, to which he who made the comparison will reply: “The intent is the same, only the capabilities are different.”

Some will read or sing that verse and be depressed by the thought that this is the fate of the Jewish people – that in every generation, someone will, indeed, rise up to destroy us. Others will focus on and take solace in the last part, that we will be saved from their hands.

That thought that we will face troubles – terrible troubles – but in the end will prevail is a powerful idea that has sustained the Jewish people throughout more difficult days than these. And it will sustain us during these trying times as well.

There are those on the outside looking at Israel’s current situation – the hot war in Gaza, the war of attrition with Hezbollah in the north, the terrorist war in Judea and Samaria, the frontal confrontation with Iran – and wonder how, and if, Israel will survive.

But Jews sitting around the Seder table laden with the bread of affliction and the Cup of Elijah will think to themselves, yes we will.

They will think: This is the promise. We have been here before, survived, and flourished, and we will do so again. It says so in this timeless text right here, a text Jews have been saying every year for centuries and whose optimism, as if by osmosis, they have internalized. Yes, they will rise up against us generation after generation. We have seen that in the past; we are living it today. But in the end, we will prevail. That, too, we have seen in the past and are living today.

Or, as a more contemporary source – Meir Ariel – wrote in an iconic 1990 song, “We survived Pharaoh, we’ll survive this as well.”

“Today we are slaves,” the Haggadah opens on a down note, but then quickly contrasts it by saying, “next year we shall be free; now we are here, next year in the land of Israel.”

That, too, has been internalized by the Jewish people. An eternal hope and belief that things will get better; that Jewish history has an upward trajectory; and that next year we will be in a rebuilt, peaceful Jerusalem.

Prime Minister’s Office: ‘No family in the world should celebrate like this’
The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office released a video on Sunday, ahead of the Jewish holiday of Passover, to raise awareness in the United States about the hostages whom Hamas terrorists continue to hold in Gaza.

“All of the various holiday meals around the world are characterized by values of families, closeness and warmth,” the office’s National Public Diplomacy Directorate stated.

“The ‘Empty Chair’ campaign draws attention to the absence of our beloved hostages, who have been held by Hamas for 198 days,” it added. “The campaign shows festive family gatherings and set tables around the customary holidays in the American tradition. Around the table is an empty chair, that breaks the festive atmosphere and around which the family observes sadly.”

“The video ends against the backdrop of a seder night meal with the message that the hostages will not be able to celebrate the Passover holiday with their families, and the call: ‘Let our people go,'” it added. “No family in the world should celebrate like this.”

The video will run on North American digital platforms and online television, per the Prime Minister’s Office.

Gil Troy to fellow Zionists: ‘Grow a spine’
Gil Troy, a distinguished scholar in North American history at McGill University, has a message for supporters of the Jewish state: The status quo is not enough.

“It’s a little crass, but I keep on saying ‘Grow a spine,’” the American-Israeli scholar told JNS. “Even after Oct. 7, many Jews, especially on campus, were much more comfortable having vigils. Look at the other side—their anger. We’re afraid of anger.”

“It’s time for some righteous anger,” Troy added. “Elie Wiesel said, ‘Anger sometimes is the rational response.’”

A native of Queens, N.Y., Troy, 63, who lives in Jerusalem and has penned more than a dozen books on U.S. political history and culture and about Zionism, made clear that he does not encourage tactics that many anti-Israel protesters embrace.

“Never indulge in violence, but a little bit of righteous anger—a little bit of creative mischief, within the bounds of free speech, within the bounds of the law—is the justified response,” Troy told JNS.

Pro-Hamas activists play on fear when they protest in Jewish neighborhoods, at Jewish-funded hospitals and at Jewish community centers. Theirs is “a very calculated strategy to try to make every Jew think twice,” Troy said. “Do I put out my Magen David? Or do I not? Do I show some kind of outward symbol and support Israel and the hostages, or do I not?”

Those who support Israel ought to protest outside the homes of U.S. President Joe Biden and Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, Troy suggested.

Zionism has succeeded
Troy, who was a commentator on the CNN documentary series “The Eighties” (2016), “The Nineties” (2017) and “The 2000s” (2018), and who has written for The New York Times and Israeli media, spoke with JNS after completing a new book.

The tentatively titled Why I Am a Zionist: The Oct. 7 Edition follows the title of his 2001 book, Why I Am a Zionist: Israel, Jewish Identity and the Challenges of Today. The scholar told JNS that the new volume is “a series of open letters to the Jewish people, explaining our mission.”

The thrust is to “challenge our peers to start telling their story, sharing their values, giving their vision to the next generation,” Troy said.

The historian believes that the Israel Defense Forces “may have failed” initially in responding to Hamas’s terror attack on Oct. 7, and the Israeli government failed on Oct. 7. But Troy maintains that “Zionism succeeded because it had raised a whole generation of commandos.” The latter “saved the country” and invites “us all not to despair and find inspiration in this difficult moment.”
Jewish Democrats, wake up!
Yet we’ve been told by reporters and commentators at august publications and news networks, leaders of esteemed non-profits, academics at prestigious colleges and universities, and career civil servants at major three-letter federal government agencies that antisemitism is solely a problem of the right.

Yes, fringe right-wing antisemites are a problem. Yes, they should be considered a threat. But they are on the fringe. And because these fringe elements continue to be the near-exclusive target of the left’s so-called “fight against antisemitism,” it’s more apparent than ever that our elites are purposefully engaged in a partisan game.

Right-wing antisemites are kooks and grifters. Left-wing antisemites are college professors, newspaper editors, Hollywood stars, a growing number of Democratic members of Congress and quite a few Biden administration officials. They have immense cultural and political influence, and they are decisively shaping the future of America.

So, if you’re a Jewish Democrat still more concerned about a pimply online provocateur than the DEI-obsessed ideologue sporting a keffiyeh and running the HR department at your Fortune 500 employer, you’re very confused.

If you’re a Jewish Democrat still more frightened by a handful of Klan members a thousand miles away in a Podunk town than the Islamists waving terrorist flags on your child’s college campus and calling for the murder and the liquidation of your entire people, you’re delusional.

More and more liberals are waking up to the reality of Jew-hatred, not as it manifested in 1924 or 1954 but as it exists today in 2024. Alas, not enough of you have done so.

If you care about Israel, the battle against antisemitism is inescapably political. As the saying goes, “Elections have consequences.” Those who genuinely want to combat Jew-hatred must focus on the clear and present danger: The hundreds of thousands of pro-terrorist goons who march in broad daylight in cities, on campuses and in halls of power across the country calling for genocide and the extermination of Western civilization.
The Jewish wolf
These accusations against Israel are proven time and again to be false. The missile that supposedly Israel fired at the Al-Ahli Baptist hospital and was immediately reported by the BBC as causing 500 deaths turned out to be fired by Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Images of famine supposedly sweeping a city come mainly from Syria, and even the latest plot quoted by the UN, alleging Israeli soldiers committed rape against Palestinian women in Shifa hospital, was denied by the Palestinians themselves.

This is exactly the case with the malicious claim that Israel deliberately, not accidentally, killed international aid workers, even though Israeli hostages and even about a fifth of IDF casualties were killed accidentally due to Israeli fire, a common occurrence in combat zones, certainly in densely populated combat areas like the Gaza Strip.

The dissemination of lies or "fake news" by the Palestinians is, as mentioned, systematic. The Wikipedia entry "Pallywood" dedicated to the Palestinian industry of falsehoods includes a long-documented list of the "dead rising," staged scenes, and productions that undoubtedly should have earned their creators an Oscar.

Every rational person must ask themselves: Hamas did not embark on a raid or a limited war. Its explicit instructions to its fighters were to murder, mutilate bodies, rape women, and burn babies. All these were aimed at one goal: declaring a war from which there is no return in the most barbaric way possible, forcing Israel to respond with full force.

This seems utterly irrational, a terror organization that controls an area where civilians have no protection, forces a regional military power to strike it in fury. It has no artillery, no air force, and no way to contend with the Israeli navy. So, what exactly is Hamas's war plan based on?

Well, it is based on you. On the global public opinion. Hamas took the bias against the Jewish state and the Western moral distortion flooded with horrifying images of the "genocide" taking place in Gaza. These images were cynically created with the intention as part of Hamas's war plan. Together with a fake news campaign and anti-Israel (and now we can also admit antisemitic) protests, they pressure Western leaders to bind Israel and grant them victory on the way to the destruction of the Jewish state.

Hamas knows that despite such lies being exposed time and again, so many in the world, not just individuals but also seemingly reputable media outlets, rush to adopt them without any doubt or a minimum of critical scrutiny. Why?

Every swindler knows that the most effective deception is one the victim wants to believe in. They yearn to believe that quick profits can be made, thus their defense of skepticism and doubt weakens. This is precisely how those "simpletons" who rush to angrily lynch the Jewish state after the publication of any plot, no matter how illogical, behave. They are eager to buy into this narrative.

Now the question arises, why are there those who are eager to adopt Hamas's propaganda? Do they really aspire to be the artillery, air force, and navy fighting on behalf of a barbaric terror organization? Why do they surge forth with such urgency and fervent wrath to aid a vile terrorist organization, even as it cries "wolf wolf!" for the millionth time?
To Be on Everyone’s Side Is to Be on No One’s
It’s not hard to figure out the reason for this paradox. Peacekeeping operations are neither designed to nor capable of snuffing out conflict completely; instead, they keep hostilities simmering, often prolonging conflicts that could’ve been ended with swift and decisive military operations. To support a measured response against Hamas, then, isn’t to spare the people of Gaza; it’s merely to condemn them to decades more of suffering inflicted largely by the same monsters who repeatedly send women and children into the line of fire to serve as human shields.

To be clear, I don’t intend this last point to be read as simple calculus, balancing out two columns of numbers and opting for the one that leaves us with fewer dead. I mean it, rather, as a reminder that human faculties alone are incapable of crafting a mighty moral engine, which is why, from time immemorial, we’ve put our faith in a higher power. That is why Soren Kierkegaard, writing about the maddening and inexplicable story of the binding of Isaac, determined that religion transcended mere ethics because life, death, love, mercy, and hope all emanate from God, not from our best intentions. “When a rich man goes driving at night with lights on his carriage,” the great Dane wrote, “he sees a small area better than the poor man who drives in the dark but he does not see the stars. The lights prevent that. It is the same with all intellectual understanding. It sees well close at hand but takes away the infinite outlook.”

Yet even if you don’t much care for infinite outlooks or, for that matter, for God, there’s still one more moral objection to consider. If you, like me, treat Palestinians with dignity and respect, if you see them as moral agents capable of discerning between right and wrong, you ought to expect that they do precisely what you’re doing right now and care for you as you care for them. And yet, reading Arabic and scouring the web for any expression of solidarity from the people of Gaza, I found few if any. Gazans aren’t taking to the streets, the way their sisters and brothers in Cairo and Tunis and Damascus had, to topple their murderous regime. They aren’t taking to social media to exchange messages with Israelis and share their outrage that babies were beheaded and women raped in their name. They aren’t pleading with their leaders to try different, peaceful measures.

Instead, Palestinian support of Hamas has been both strong and consistent. In June 2021, a poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research based in Ramallah found that 53% of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza chose Hamas to be their preferred leaders; the same question, posed in July 2023 by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, revealed that “57% of Gazans express at least a somewhat positive opinion of Hamas.” And when the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion asked, in 2014, whether or not they support terror attacks against Israelis, nine out of 10 Palestinians answered in the affirmative.

These numbers haven’t changed since. In March 2024, more than five months after Oct. 7, the same Palestinian research center released a survey of Palestinians living in both Gaza and the West Bank, and it showed Hamas with 52% support from ordinary people in Gaza and 64% in the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority (PA) trails Hamas in popular opinion by 31% in Gaza and by 46% among Palestinians overall. The plan for a “reformed and revitalized” PA backed by a U.S.-Arab coalition was opposed by 73% of Palestinians, while the leader with the highest popularity in both Gaza and the West Bank is Marwan Barghouti—the leader of the Second Intifada.

None of this is to say that we shouldn’t opt, whenever possible, for military options that minimize civilian casualties. And none of it is to argue that we must remain iron-hearted when we come across images of suffering Gazans roaming amid the rubble of their towns. But there’s nothing noble in binding our suffering to theirs. There are more than 130 civilians still caged in Gaza by Hamas, some of them children. There’s nothing complex or intricate, noble or commendable or even particularly difficult about caring for anything or anyone else until these innocents return home.
Bari Weiss: They Were Assaulted on Campus for Being Jews
For a second, imagine that black students at Columbia were taunted: Go back to Africa. Or imagine that a gay student was surrounded by homophobic protesters and hit with a stick at Yale University. Or imagine if a campus imam told Muslim students that they ought to head home for Ramadan because campus public safety could not guarantee their security.

There would be relentless fury from our media and condemnation from our politicians.

Just remember the righteous—and rightful—outrage over the white supremacist “Unite the Right” march in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, where neo-Nazis chanted “The Jews will not replace us.”

This weekend at Columbia and Yale, student demonstrators did all of the above—only it was directed at Jews. They told Columbia students to “go back to Poland.” A Jewish woman at Yale was assaulted with a Palestinian flag. And an Orthodox rabbi at Columbia told students to go home for their safety.

Demonstrators on these campuses shouted more chic versions of “Jews will not replace us.” At Columbia they screamed: “Say it loud and say it clear, we don’t want no Zionists here.” At Yale they blasted bad rap with the following lyrics:

Fuck Israel, Israel a bitch / Bitch we out here mobbin’ on some Palestine shit / Free Palestine bitch, Israel gon’ die bitch / Nigga it’s they land why you out here tryna rob it / Bullshit prophets, y’all just want the profit

These campus activists are not simply “pro-Palestine” protesters. They are people who are openly celebrating Hamas and physically intimidating identifiably Jewish students who came near. We are publishing the accounts of two of those students—Sahar Tartak and Jonathan Lederer—today.
Biden condemns ‘antisemitic protests’ and ‘those who don’t understand what’s going on with the Palestinians’
President Biden on Monday said he condemns antisemitic protests amid escalating pro-Palestine demonstrations at Columbia University and on other U.S. college campuses.

“I condemn the antisemitic protests, that’s why I set up a program to deal with that. I also condemn those who don’t understand what’s going on with the Palestinians and their, how they’re being —,” the president said before getting cut off.

He was then asked if the Columbia University president should resign and replied, “I don’t know that.”

Just before taking questions from reporters, Biden was talking with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who has been an outspoken voice during the war in the Israel-Hamas war and last month claimed that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza.

'We're going to talk more about another part of the world too real quickly,' he said - a hint they would talk about the Middle East after the official program ended.

Biden and the New York Democrat could be seen huddling afterward and also holding hands as they walked offstage.

Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders and Markey rode Marine One back to the White House with Biden and headed into the Oval Office.

The president and the so-called Squad, which includes AOC, haven't seen eye to eye on the topic of Israel in the aftermath of the October 7 Hamas terror attack.

Fellow Squad member Rep. Ilhan Omar's daughter Isra Hirsi was arrested and then later suspended for taking part in anti-Israel demonstrations on Columbia's campus, which have gone on for days.

'Listen to that lady': Biden demands voters pay attention to AOC as she PRAISES anti-Israel mobs causing causing chaos at Columbia and Yale
Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez applauded pro-Palestinian protesters Monday as she opened for President Joe Biden at an Earth Day event in Virginia. AOC and fellow progressives, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Ed Markey, were tapped to be the opening act at an event in which the president announced an expansion of the American Climate Corps, a green jobs training program, and more money toward residential solar panels. When it was Ocasio-Cortez's turn to speak she noted that Biden's federal investment in climate change came about due to the 'power of organizing' - bringing together 'young people, climate advocates, labor organizers and working people of all backgrounds.' 'It is especially important that we remember the power of young people shaping this country today, of all days, as we once again witness the leadership of those peaceful student-led protests on campuses like Columbia and Yale and Berkeley and many others,' Ocasio-Cortez said. Moments later, Biden came onstage and commended AOC, telling the crowd, 'You know, I learned a long time ago - listen to that lady, listen to that lady.'

Why Is Tonight Different From All Other UN Defaults on Israel?
The United Nations has a habit of inflicting diplomatic plagues on Israel during major Jewish holidays. So why would tonight be different from all others? A report casting doubt on Israel’s documentation of Hamas’ infiltration of Turtle Bay’s top Gaza organ, the UN Relief and Works Agency, is issued as Israelis sit down at the Seder table. The 49-page report was cooked up to ensure that Unrwa’s funding would resume.

Secretary-General Guterres named a long-time Unrwa supporter, Catherine Colonna, a former French foreign minister, to address a brewing crisis when Israel documented that 12 Unrwa employees participated in Hamas’s October 7 atrocities. According to an Israel Defense Force analysis, 2,135 Unrwa employees, or 17 percent of its staff, are Hamas members. “However,” the Colonna report now claims, “Israel has yet to provide supporting evidence of this.”

At the Quai D’Orsay, Ms. Colonna was a major cheerleader for Unrwa. She eagerly promoted France’s role as one of the world’s top fund contributors to the agency. No wonder Mr. Guterres picked her and three sympathetic Scandinavian charities to issue an “independent” review of Unrwa. No wonder her report makes the fantastic claim that Unrwa has a “more developed approach to neutrality than other similar UN or NGO entities.”

Sure, there are “problems,” Ms. Colonna admits, and proposes bureaucratic measures to address them. Mr. Guterres dutifully leaped to announce he would act on the recommendations. The whole exercise was designed to give world governments a fig leaf to renew funds that were suspended after IDF troops in Gaza discovered how deeply Hamas managed to infiltrate the agency. America, the largest donor, suspended Unrwa funding in January.
Review says UNRWA has 'robust' neutrality steps, issues persist
A review of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) has found that it has robust frameworks to ensure compliance with humanitarian neutrality principles though issues persist, in a report which could prompt some donors to review funding freezes.

The report, released on Monday, also said Israel had yet to provide supporting evidence for its claim - based on a staff list it was given in March - that a significant number of UNRWA staff were members of terrorist organizations.

The United Nations appointed former French foreign minister Catherine Colonna to lead the UNRWA neutrality review in February after Israel alleged that 12 UNRWA staff took part in the Hamas-led Oct. 7 attacks, which triggered the Gaza war.

Israel stepped up its accusations in March, saying over 450 UNRWA staff were military operatives in Gaza terrorist groups.

Israel's mission to the UN did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Colonna-led review.

UN report says Israel has yet to provide evidence of claims
In a separate investigation, a UN oversight body is looking into the Israeli allegations against the 12 UNRWA staff.

Reuters reviewed a copy of the Colonna-led review's final report before it was made public.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has accepted the recommendations, his spokesperson said, calling on all countries to actively support UNRWA as it is "a lifeline for Palestine refugees in the region."

The report said Israel had made public claims based on a UNRWA staff list provided to it in March that "a significant number" of UNRWA staff were members of "terrorist organizations."

"However, Israel has yet to provide supporting evidence of this," it said.

Israel's allegations against the dozen UNRWA staff led 16 states to pause or suspend funding of $450 million to UNRWA, a blow to an agency grappling with the humanitarian crisis that has swept Gaza since Israel launched its offensive there.

Is it time to redefine the US' role in Palestinian aid? - opinion
USIEA proposes scrapping UNRWA for a new entity it calls the Alternate Gazan Education System Fund. The program would be administered by current funders of UNRWA as well as interested countries that are signed on to the Abraham Accords. Under USIEA’s plan, Saudi Arabia would also join after normalizing its relationship with Israel.

The program includes revamping teacher education, developing a new curriculum for Gazan schools, and bringing in foreign teachers to conduct classes until local teachers can be vetted and properly educated.

Gazan teachers would be required to go through a course called “Teaching to Coexist” before they could teach in Gazan schools.

“Reevaluating what and how we teach the next generation can make enormous strides toward peace in the Middle East. That would be the best gift we could give the next generation,” EJ Kimball, director of policy and strategic operations at USIEA, told The Media Line.

While the proposal has gained some traction amongst US lawmakers, it has its opponents, too.

Dr. Brian K. Barber, a senior nonresident scholar at the Washington, DC-based Middle East Policy Council, described USIEA’s white paper as “a transparent attempt to accomplish Israel’s historic effort to dispense with UNRWA.” “As such, it fails to persuade both on practical and moral grounds,” he told The Media Line.

Barber said that placing “teaching to coexist” as a central tenet in the Gazan education system was hard to imagine. “Can one seriously imagine trying to teach a population to coexist with a military power that has historically and recently destroyed their homes and schools, killed their family members, and brought them to starve? Just what would that coexistence look like?” he said.

USIEA’s white paper describes UNRWA as “a compromised agency that became entangled with the Hamas apparatus in Gaza.” The proposal also describes UNRWA textbooks as antisemitic and anti-Israel, claiming that children educated in UNRWA schools are “indoctrinated to hate their Jewish neighbors.”

Barber called the white paper misleading on several points.

Regarding the claim that Gazan youth have been indoctrinated to hate Jews and Israelis, Barber cited research he has carried out with youth at UNRWA schools in Gaza since 1994.

“Our data has shown overwhelmingly that Gazan youth have been peace-oriented, wishing only to enjoy basic human rights and future opportunity for education, family formation, and employment,” he said.

UNRWA also disagrees with USIEA’s assertions of misconduct.

“On schoolbooks, we have seen repeated claims to this effect over the years and we reject them,” Fowler said. Something has to change

The March 2023 IMPACT-se report found 25 examples of UNRWA-created content taught in UNRWA schools during the 2022-2023 school year that endorse violence, encourage martyrdom, demonize Israel, reject Israel’s right to exist, or promote antisemitism.

UNRWA’s spokesperson also rejected a claim that senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was once a teacher in an UNRWA school.

That claim was reported last month by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a non-profit news organization that monitors and reports on Arabic language media outlets. MEMRI posted a translation of an interview with Ahmad Oueidat, former director of UNRWA’s professional development and curriculum unit, who said that both Haniyeh and Dr. Talal Naji, the secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine—General Command, were both former UNRWA educators.

For parties both supportive of and opposed to UNRWA’s role in the Gazan education system, it’s clear that something in Gaza has got to change.

“The path forward for Gazan education once the bombings have stopped would be to rebuild and repair the damaged and destroyed schools and create fully safe passage of students and teachers to resume instruction,” Barber said. “The US and other international actors should devote all of their efforts, available resources, and influence to induce Israel to loosen its strangling and humiliating control of Palestinians, within and outside of Gaza.”
We must not fund UNRWA
Soon after reports emerged that a number of staff at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) were accused of taking part in the October 7 attack, Britain – along with many other Western nations – rightly suspended payments to the body. Senior Tory MPs are now urging the Foreign Secretary not to restore UK funding to the agency, arguing it would be a “disgrace” to do so.

They are right. The accusations of participation were not a bolt from the blue. The links between Hamas and the UNRWA are deep and well documented. Even in this current conflict, UNRWA has quoted Hamas figures on Palestinian casualties without caveat. In February, the Israel Defense Forces said it had found a terrorist data centre running partly under the agency’s headquarters. Israel’s defence minister has said that more than 1,400 of UNRWA’s 13,000 workers in Gaza are members of Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

But the problem with the agency goes deeper. It is becoming an insurmountable barrier to a peaceful solution. The 706 schools UNRWA operates have frequently fuelled an ideology defined by the rejection of Israel and helped radicalise generations of young Palestinians. A recent report compiled by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education uncovered geography textbooks with no mention of Israel, showing “Palestine” in its place. An Islamic studies book describes the goals of jihad as “terrorising the enemy” and “achieving martyrdom”.
Ex-Mossad spy whose novel predicted October 7 fears for Israel’s future
His writing anticipated a Hamas attack on Israeli kibbutzim and an Iranian strike from the skies, but former Mossad spy turned thriller author Mishka Ben-David is now concerned about what lies ahead.

Since the October 7 Hamas attack, one of 72-year-old Ben-David’s bestsellers has taken on an eerily prophetic tone.

Published in 2017, “The Shark” describes a deadly conflict that starts with a Hamas terror raid on kibbutzim near the Gaza border and culminates in a devastating Israeli attack on Iran in retaliation.

Last weekend, Iran launched hundreds of missiles and drones at Israel, which now appears to be preparing a response to this unprecedented attack. The vast majority of the missiles and drones were shot down by Israel and its allies.

The crisis is now “just a few steps” from the apocalyptic events envisioned in his book, Ben-David, the son of a Holocaust survivor, said calmly as he welcomed AFP to his home in the hills around Jerusalem.

Botched assassination bid
The dystopian opening pages of “The Shark” describe Hamas men breaking into Kibbutz Kfar Aza in southern Israel.

Seven years after the book’s publication, the kibbutz was among the hardest hit in the Palestinian terrorist organization’s October 7 attack, with dozens killed. In total, terrorists killed some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapped 253.

While researching for the book, the prolific author visited Israeli kibbutzim bordering Gaza, wondering: “Where would be the best place for Hamas to attack?”

“I thought [the area] is not protected for a scenario like this,” he said.
Yisrael Medad: On Jabotinsky's Views on Arabs
Jabotinsky gives this assessment not only to the Arabs, but also to Islam in general. In the article “Islam” (1924), Jabotinsky points out a number of cases in which a handful of European soldiers managed to defeat vastly superior Arab or Muslim forces. The Italian victory over the Senu Sith in 1911 in Tripoli, the victory of the French expeditionary force over Faisal in Damascus in 1920 - all this serves as decisive proof for Jabotinsky of the significant superiority of the West.

“I am not writing this to humiliate or ridicule the Arabs; I have no doubt about their military valor... In our time, war is a scientific and financial matter; backward peoples cannot do it.”

This backwardness is not only a matter of time, according to Jabotinsky, as far as the Muslim world is concerned. “Its real power in the future will be even less than before,” he says, objecting in particular to those who believed that Britain was forced to reckon with the Arab and Muslim factor in its Middle East policy. The Muslim world does not represent—and will not represent—a political force, as Jabotinsky says in the same article: “220 million people or even more profess Islam; but “Islam” as an integral factor in international relations does not exist... in the same way it is possible now, as it was possible a hundred years ago, to bring a conflict with any Muslim people to any end, without risking any complications of a pan-Islamic nature... As a political fist … Islam does not exist.”

If this concept defines Jabotinsky's position in assessing Arab nationalism, then it is clear that his conclusions regarding the demands of the “Palestinian” Arabs are unambiguous. Testifying before the British Royal Commission on Palestine (Peel Commission) in 1937, Jabotinsky demands the establishment of a Jewish state throughout the land of Israel in accordance with the basic principles of the revisionist movement and continues: “We unanimously affirm that the economic situation of the Arabs in the country is in the period of Jewish settlement, and thanks to Jewish settlement, is the envy of neighboring Arab countries to such an extent that Arabs from these countries show a clear tendency to migrate to Palestine. And I have already shown you that, in our opinion, there is no need to oust the Arabs. On the contrary, we mean that Palestine on both sides of the Jordan will accommodate both the Arabs and their descendants and many millions of Jews. I do not deny that in the course of this process the Arabs will inevitably become a minority in Palestine. However, I deny that this will cause them suffering. This is not a misery for any race or nation if it already has so many nation-states and many more nation-states will be added to them in the future. One part, one branch of this race, and by no means the most significant, will join the state belonging to others in order to live in it... This is a completely normal thing, and there is no “suffering” in it.”

Note that Jabotinsky does not argue that, compared with the Jewish claims to Eretz Israel, the Arab claims are less valid or that, compared with the possibility of the Jews remaining in the minority, the situation in which part of the Arab nation will be a minority in the Jewish state will be a lesser disaster and will entail less hardship.

For him, turning the Arabs in Palestine into a minority will not cause them any trouble at all. Personal rights, of course, will be granted to them - but on a national level they have no claims. Here the right is not opposed to the right and 13* 387 claims - claims, as Weizmann and his like-minded people saw it. From Jabotinsky’s point of view, everything that was once said about Jews in the Diaspora can also be said about Arabs in Palestine: the Arabs of this country as individuals have everything, but as a collective nothing."

The Quad: Fmr. Al-Qaeda Bride: There is No Hope for Peace After Oct. 7th
This week, the Quad (Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, Emily Schrader, Vivian Bercovici and Ashira Solomon) discuss the recent massive Iranian strike against Israel - what they felt when it was happening and what it means for the future.

They also interview fmr. Al-Qaeda bride, ex- extremist, author and activist Yasmine Mohammed on why she is visiting Israel now, what the prospects are for peace and what the West doesn't understand about Islamic extremism.

Literary lemmings now coalesce around Hamas
There was a time when literature and its creators were associated with the subversive. Books were banned because of content deemed dangerous to the prevailing regime. In Germany in the 1930s, this was anything by Jews and intellectuals. In Britain, censorship laws made the publishing of work containing explicit sex illegal until Lady Chatterley’s Lover broke through the prim legal carapace. In Soviet dictatorships, particularly Russia, writers had to toe the party line or die; in North Korea today, a cabal of novelists are under orders to write stories glorifying the Dear Leader. In much of the Islamic world too, subversion is also punishable by death. Just ask Salman Rushdie. PEN International’s tagline is: “Promoting literature and defending freedom of expression worldwide since 1921.”

Today, writers in the West – the freest in the world – ought to be flying high the standard of that freedom, embracing independence of thought and unusual thinking.

Instead, we’re seeing the grim opposite, a lemming-like coalescence around the propaganda machine of Hamas, Palestinian activism and the worst of so-called progressive sloganeering. Far from promoting “freedom of expression worldwide”, the literary world of today has embraced a cruel campaign of bullying, banning and boycotting anyone it deems associated with Israel, namely Jews. This uniformly venomous response to Israel’s self-defence could not be further from the spirit of subversion that used to define the writerly world. It’s as boring as it is nasty.

On cue, as soon as Israel began its campaign in Gaza, writers slavishly united in “vilifying the Jewish state, or Jewish writers,” according to Erika Dreifus, a writer living in New York who has curated a site for Jewish writers that now offers a list of magazines for them to avoid.

It’s worse – more pointed, more aggressive and nastier – than one might have imagined, at least in the pre-October 7 world, where antisemitism at least wore something of a mask, albeit a transparent one. Take the deeply unfortunate resignation of Jina Moore, formerly editor of the literary magazine Guernica, who had been forced to retract an essay she had published by the British-Israeli writer Joanna Chen. The essay had been an emotional narrative of the desire to co-exist with Palestinians and was eminently left-wing and peace-embracing. But Chen herself was deemed too Israeli and therefore an apologist for “genocide” in Gaza.
FDD: Crack Down on Anti-Semitic K–12 Curricula
Anti-Semitism is spreading in K–12 school districts. Even in primary and secondary education, Jews are often viewed as privileged whites and oppressors, with Israel branded as an egregious example of “settler colonialism” and oppression of “indigenous people.” “Liberated ethnic studies” curricula, like the one mandated by California, have created a distinct variant of critical theory aimed at Jews for being Zionist colonial oppressors.

Teachers’ unions are the leading purveyors of this approach. Two years ago, the United Educators of San Francisco adopted a resolution calling for a boycott of Israel. The Chicago Teachers Union instigated pro-Hamas demonstrations in the Windy City after October 7. The union persuaded Chicago mayor Brandon Johnson (a former CTU lobbyist) to condemn Israel in the city council, and it organized a student and faculty “walkout” to show solidarity with Hamas—a city-authorized event that left Jewish students and teachers feeling intimidated. In suburban Seattle, kids as young as seven were recently encouraged to condemn Israel and join in anti-Semitic chants. Oakland Unified School District faces a federal investigation after 30 Jewish families removed their kids from school due to rampant anti-Semitism. And at a high school in New York City, hundreds of students hunted down a female teacher they saw on social media holding a sign supporting Israel.

Marxist ideology is the primary culprit influencing this mind-set, but not the only one. Qatar, a tiny Persian Gulf country that supports Hamas, is funding anti-Semitic “scholarship” not only in American universities but also in K–12 schools. Qatar Foundation International gave $1 million to the New York City Department of Education between 2019 and 2022 for a program featuring a map of the Middle East that erases the Jewish state. The same story played out at a public charter school in Irving, Texas. What other districts in the country might be taking money directly or indirectly from a chief Hamas sponsor? Brown University’s Choices Program, used by more than 1 million high school students nationwide, exhibits a clear anti-Israel bias. According to Brown, the Qataris “purchased and distributed a selection of existing Choices curriculum units to 75 teachers whose districts didn’t have funding to buy them.”

Tools to fight back, however, are available. Governors and state legislatures can begin by blocking “ethnic studies” from the K–12 curriculum and by imposing new teacher-certification requirements. To curb foreign meddling, states should ban school funding or in-kind donations from entities connected with countries that harbor U.S.-designated terrorist organizations. School districts and state boards of education should use the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of anti-Semitism to root out conduct meeting its standard. Several groups sued the Santa Ana, California, school district in state court for failing to notify parents before approving ethnic studies courses that contain anti-Jewish bias and for harassing Jewish parents at school board meetings.
‘I will carry the pain with me forever’: IDF intelligence chief resigns
Israel’s top military intelligence official has announced his resignation and said he will “carry the pain” of October 7 forever.

Major General Aharon Haliva, chief of the IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate has become the first senior Israeli figure to step down after the IDF’s failure to prevent the Hamas terror attacks.

Haliva wrote in his letter of resignation, released earlier today: “The intelligence division under my command did not live up to the task we were entrusted with. I have carried that black day with me ever since, day after day, night after night. I will carry the pain with me forever.”

According to a statement by the military, Haliva requested to terminate his position in co-ordination with the Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen Herzi Halevi and with the approval of Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. He will remain in his post “until the completion of the investigative phase” and until a replacement is appointed.

Haliva said he believed that for “the sake of the State of Israel, for the sake of the people of Israel, and for the sake of future generations” a national commission should investigate the failures of October 7 in a “thorough, in-depth, comprehensive, and precise manner.”

In the days immediately after October 7, Haliva accepted responsibility for the security failures that led to the Hamas terror attacks which resulted in the massacre of roughly 1,200 people in Israel.

At the time, Haliva called the massacre an “intelligence failure,” saying in a statement: “The Military Intelligence Directorate, under my command, failed to warn of the terror attack carried out by Hamas. We failed in our most important mission, and as the head of the Military Intelligence Directorate, I bear full responsibility for the failure.”
VR project features five survivors of Oct. 7 Hamas massacre
“It all started after I joined the fight on October 7 against Hamas terrorists invading the Israeli communities bordering the Gaza Strip,” says Nimrod Palmach, CEO of Israel-is, which partners with producer Stephen D. Smith in the virtual reality “Be the Witness” initiative.

Israel-is an NGO dedicated to improving Israel’s image.

Part of the “Survived to Tell” project, “Be the Witness” features the stories of five survivors of the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre.

Participants in the project wear VR goggles and relive the journey of one of five survivors, including Ofir Engel, who spent 54 days in Hamas captivity, and Mazal Tazazo, who was beaten and tied up by Hamas at the Supernova music festival on Oct. 7 as they shot and killed two of her friends.

“I was shocked by the inhuman barbarism of Hamas. Even though we were in 2023, it felt like 1943,” Palmach, 39, tells JNS.

“During the inferno, I asked myself who would believe me. I realized that I had become an eyewitness to one of the worst atrocities perpetrated against humankind,” he adds.

“I was driving towards Jerusalem on October 7 as a barrage of rockets targeted Israel. I had this gut feeling telling me I should head south and drove there, armed only with my pistol,” Palmach says.

He and a friend, Kiril Shutko, engaged terrorists outside Kibbutz Alumim. When he ran out of ammunition, Palmach took up the weapon of a soldier who died fighting the invaders.

“The team I fought with prevented 30 Hamas terrorists from entering Kibbutz Alumim. They sought to replicate the massacre in Kibbutz Be’eri,” Palmach says.

‘We will dance again,’ assures New York exhibit on Nova music festival
An exhibit that captures an inescapable moment in time opened in Manhattan on Sunday, affording New Yorkers the chance to experience the darkness and the light of the Nova music festival in southern Israel.

Following a showing in Tel Aviv in December and January, the 35,000-square-foot multimedia Nova exhibit, “Oct. 7, 6:29 a.m., the Moment Music Stood Still,” consists of video displays from the GoPro devices that Hamas terrorists used to document their atrocities as well as artifacts of the massacre: parts of tents, sandals, blankets, cell phones and prayer books.

Visitors also walk among burnt-out cars and bullet-ridden portable restrooms, as well as the main stage of the festival and its dance area. Screens display video footage of attendees dancing and their frantic messages of despair after the attack began.

The exhibit attempts to recreate the scene of the Nova massacre, where Hamas terrorists paraglided into a festival of peace and music, turning it into a killing ground, murdering 364 people and taking others hostage, while committing acts of sexual violence and other barbarity.

Tomer Meir, 21, who escaped the festival with 14 of his friends, was on hand at the exhibit press preview. Meir, who lives in Givatayim, east of Tel Aviv, told JNS that he has lost some 15 friends in the war after Oct. 7.

He told JNS that it’s important for Americans to truly comprehend what type of evil Israel is dealing with and that the world faces as well.

“I hope they will understand that it doesn’t matter who you are because they just want to kill everyone,” Meir said of Hamas. “If I’m a boy or a girl, a baby, if I just wanted a chance to dance with my friends—they just want to kill anyone.”

“I hope that people that came to the exhibit will get the idea that Hamas is the worst thing that we have in the world right now, and they will help Israel stop them,” Meir said.

City AM corrects erroneous Gaza casualty figures
An article published at City AM (“Fifa to discuss banning Israel from football after five countries back Palestine’s proposal”, April 18) included the following:

The Palestinian Football Association has called on Fifa to “adopt appropriate sanctions” against their Israeli counterparts which could result in bans for Israel’s national teams and clubs.

It cited “unprecedented international human rights and humanitarian law violations committed by Israel” in Palestine and in particular Gaza, where Israel is accused of killing more than 40,000 people during the current conflict.

We complained to City AM editors, noting that not even Hamas – whose fatality numbers have recently come under scrutiny by the UK Statistics Authority – is claiming that the numbers are that high, placing the total at under 34,000. Our complaint was upheld and the sentence revised.

It cited “unprecedented international human rights and humanitarian law violations committed by Israel” in Palestine and in particular Gaza, where Israel is accused of killing more than 30,000 people during the current conflict.

A version of the City AM article which was published at Yahoo Finance was similarly corrected.
Omissions in BBC coverage of Qatari PM’s statement
Remarkably, BBC audiences are not told why Qatar has “close ties to Hamas” or what that means on a practical level.

Moreover, while the original version of the report included the following statement, that paragraph was removed around five hours later.

“Qatar’s Sheikh Mohammed – whose country hosts many of Hamas’s political leaders – said mediators were trying to keep the ceasefire negotiations going despite the disagreements between the warring parties.”

Hence, in the version of the report currently online, BBC audiences are told nothing of Qatar’s hosting of Hamas leaders for well over a decade or of its history of support for the Muslim Brotherhood. Neither do readers find any information concerning Qatar’s years of supplying funding to Hamas, the role played by the Qatari media outlet Al Jazeera in promoting Hamas propaganda or Qatar’s blaming of Israel for the current conflict immediately following the atrocities of October 7th.

Whatever the strategic reasons behind the Qatari prime minister’s public statements about ‘reassessment’ of its role as one of the mediators between Hamas and Israel and whether or not that statement is linked to unverified rumours concerning Hamas relocation, it is clear that the BBC’s failure to provide readers with the full range of information concerning Qatar’s status as a Hamas asset hampers audience understanding of this story and its potential implications.

Most Israelis against Palestinian state for defense pact
A majority of Israelis oppose agreeing in principle to the future establishment of a Palestinian state in exchange for a permanent regional defense agreement, according to the 15th “War in Gaza” survey published by the Israel Democracy Institute on Sunday.

The question was asked about a Palestinian state against the backdrop of the United States, Saudi Arabia and Jordan helping to fend off the massive Iranian drone and missile assault on Israel on April 13.

In addition, the Biden administration is pushing for a pathway to a Palestinian state as part of a normalization agreement between Riyadh and Jerusalem. It would include a defense package and security guarantees.

A total of 55.6% of the Israeli public are against linking Palestinian statehood to a regional defense pact (37.2% certainly against and 18.4% think it should not be). Among Israeli Jews, the proportion of certain respondents against a Palestinian state rises to 44.2% with 19.5% saying they think it should not be agreed to, for a total of 63.7% against.

In contrast, a large majority of Arab Israelis in general (74%) and Israeli Jews identifying with the political left (69%) say they support such an arrangement, while only 32% of Israeli Jews in the center and 14.5% on the right support this sort of deal.

The survey was carried out after Iran’s April 13 missile and drone attack on Israel and before the April 19 retaliatory strike on the Islamic Republic attributed to Jerusalem. Tehran said that its aerial assault was in revenge for the April 1 killing of a top Quds Force commander in Damascus that the regime blamed on the Jewish state.

An overwhelming 80% majority of Jewish Israeli respondents said that killing the Iranian commander in Damascus was the correct move despite the military response from the mullah regime.

Among Arab Israelis, 67% think it was the wrong course of action, while 45% of Israeli Jews on the left took this stance, underscoring the deep divide between Arabs and left-wing Jews, and the rest of Israeli society (77% of Israeli Jews in the center and 90.5% on the right support the strike).
Congressmembers explain their votes against foreign aid for Ukraine and Israel
Meanwhile, when it came to the Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, opposition, while more bipartisan, was much milder with a 366-58 vote. Congress allotted another $26.38 billion [including $9 Bil to Gaza] to the Middle Eastern ally, with even the aforementioned Bishop and Comer voting for it.

“We’ve seen how [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s government has used US weapons to kill indiscriminately and create famine,” Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) wrote on X. “I will not participate in this carnage. … [Netanyahu’s] actions have not led to the release of the remaining hostages. He’s ignored their families. He’s ignored the president of the United States. He’s ignored his own people. We should not be sending offensive weapons to Israel right now.”

“We find ourselves at a dangerous and pivotal moment in the history of our country and world,” Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) wrote. “It is imperative that we invest in diplomacy, democracy, and peacebuilding rather than death, destruction, and mass human suffering. … I will continue to champion these priorities, and push for a world free from war, tyranny, poverty, disease, persecution, and exploitation.”

A group statement from some 20 of the Democratic members was also released after the vote Saturday, including the likes of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ro Khanna (D-CA), and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), among others. Notably missing was Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), the only Palestinian member of Congress, who voted against the measure as well.

“All of us support strengthening the Iron Dome and other defense systems we are committed to a sovereign, safe, and secure future for Israel,” the statement reads. “To protect that future, we believe the United States must help achieve a ceasefire that allows hostages to be freed, humanitarian aid to be delivered, and peace talks to begin. … Most Americans do not want our government to write a blank check to further Prime Minister Netanyahu’s war in Gaza.”
Georgia Democratic party counsel’s wife seems to call for congresswoman’s death after pro-Israel vote
Serene Varghese, whose husband Sachin Varghese is general counsel for the Democratic Party of Georgia, appeared to call for the death of the party’s chair—a U.S. congresswoman—on Saturday after the latter voted for Israel funding.

“Have you thought about booking a Boeing 737 for your next flight to Atlanta?” she wrote in response to a post from Rep. Nikema Williams (D-Ga.) about voting for a package that included funding for Israel. “I highly recommend.”

Some Boeing 737 aircraft have been grounded this year following safety issues, and “Boeing now faces renewed questions over its ability to meet quality and safety standards,” NPR reported last month.

“Why would you like her to take a Boeing 737? So it crashes or parts come off while she’s in flight?” responded Esther Panitch, a Georgia state representative and the only Jewish member of the state legislature. “What is wrong with you?”

Panitch added that she is “so disturbed” by Varghese’s “wish for death/injury of Rep. Williams. Serene is the wife of the general counsel for the Democratic Party in Georgia.”

Varghese doubled down when others pointed out that she was threatening a congresswoman’s safety.

“Just in case you haven’t heard, Boeing 737s are the most sold planes in history and still actively flying every day,” she wrote to one person. “Google is such an amazing resource.”

“Sorry I must’ve missed that when I was mourning the loss of entire branches of my family that have been killed off in Gaza,” she said in another response. “But surely, our congresswoman isn’t responsible for funding Israel.”

She added in a post, in which she used an obscene misogynistic term, that “to be fair, I am definitely guilty of calling her a [expletive] and a terrible human being and a garbage human.”

TikTok lawyer endorsed by Galloway for mayoral election says he was sent by Allah to fight Zionism
A TikTok lawyer endorsed by George Galloway for the West Midlands mayoral election has said he believes he has been chosen by Allah to “challenge the Zionist regime”.

Akhmed Yakoob, a social media-savvy criminal defence lawyer who drives a Lamborghini, has claimed that Zionists follow a “fascist ideology” and that they “control everything”.

The comments have led to allegations that Mr Yakoob’s “wild rhetoric” could “damage social cohesion”.

A prolific user of social media, he has more than 177,000 followers on TikTok and uses the platform to promote his business with striking video clips featuring his signature catchphrase: “There is a defence for every offence”.

The approach has brought him considerable financial success, with Mr Yakoob telling The Sun last year that he has a car collection worth £1 million, including two Lamborghinis, a Mercedes Benz G-Class and a Ferrari F8.

Mr Yakoob is now making a foray into politics, which he says is in response to Israel’s military actions in Gaza. He is standing on May 2 to be the West Midlands mayor, and also plans to run against Shabana Mahmood, Labour’s shadow justice secretary, in the general election in Birmingham Ladywood – a constituency with a large Muslim community.

Although running as an independent, he has been endorsed by George Galloway, the veteran hard-Left politician who returned to Parliament as the MP for Rochdale in February.

Mr Yakoob has made a string of controversial comments about Zionism. In a speech in a Dewsbury mosque earlier this month, he said: “I know now why Allah has put me in this position, it’s to challenge the Zionist regime, challenge the elites of this country and the world,” he said. “One thing we have over them is we have Islam. Zionists have no deen [faith], no Islam.

“We are not anti-Semitic, no, we are anti-Zionism,” he said. He claimed that Zionists were “the enemies not only of Islam” but “of Christianity, and they are the enemy of Judaism”. He added: “We live in a world that slowly is getting controlled by these elites.”
Anti-Israel NGO lurks behind impending US sanctions on IDF unit
DAWN (Democracy for the Arab World Now), a U.S.-based NGO that has sought “arrest warrants against Israelis” in international fora, has provided the so-called evidence driving the U.S. State Department’s anticipated sanctions against an Israel Defense Forces battalion, NGO Monitor reports.

“The reported sanctions to be imposed by the U.S. State Department on IDF combat units and individuals stem directly from a coordinated campaign by extreme political NGOs,” said Gerald Steinberg, founder and president of NGO Monitor, in a statement provided to JNS.

“Currently, the leading NGO is DAWN, a U.S.-based tax-exempt organization that has intensified its legal attacks against Israeli officials since October 7,” he said.

In October 2022, DAWN submitted to the State Department a Leahy Law referral against the Netzach Yehuda Battalion for alleged “systematic and widespread abuses.”

(The Leahy Law refers to two provisions prohibiting assistance by the United States to units of foreign forces implicated in the commission of human rights violations.)

On Sunday, the IDF said it is not yet aware of Biden administration-imposed sanctions against the battalion but is monitoring the situation.

However, Israeli leaders reacted sharply to the reports with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister-without-Portfolio Benny Gantz, both members of the War Cabinet, criticizing any sanctions move.
Palestinian arrested in Israeli youth’s terror murder
Israeli security forces arrested a Palestinian suspect in the April 12 terrorist murder of 14-year-old shepherd Binyamin Achimeir following an overnight raid in the Binyamin region of Samaria.

“Overnight, in a joint operation of the Shin Bet, the Israel Police and the IDF, Ahmed Duabsha, 21 years old, a resident of the village of Duma in the Binyamin Brigade [area of deployment], was arrested by the soldiers of the Yamam [Border Police National Counter-Terrorism Unit] and the Shin Bet,” said the statement.

Achimeir’s body was found by a drone on April 13 following a 24-hour-long search, after he went missing while working as a shepherd based in Gal Farm, located just under two miles south of Duma.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned “the heinous murder” of Achimeir, according to a rare statement released by his office on the Jewish day of rest.

“We will get the murderers and those who helped them, as we do to all who harm the citizens of the State of Israel,” the prime minister said.

The security services said on Monday that “during the past day, there was a significant development in the investigation, and during the night, the forces raided the village of Duma and arrested the suspect.”

The statement noted that Duabsha tied himself to the attack during initial questioning. He was taken into Shin Bet custody for further investigation.
Hamas organized confab in 2021 to plot administration of ‘liberated Palestine’
Two years before its October 7 assault on southern Israel, Hamas drafted a “strategic vision” for the governing of “liberated Palestine” after the supposed inevitable demise of the State of Israel.

At a conference held in Gaza in September 2021, Hamas and other Palestinian factions discussed preparations for the future administration of the State of Palestine, intended to make up the whole territory “from the river to the sea,” including the area of the State of Israel.

The conclusions reached at the conference, titled “Promise of the Hereafter – Post-Liberation Palestine,” were publicized by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) in an October 2021 report.

The confab was reportedly funded by Hamas and sponsored by Hamas’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar.

Today, it is apparent that the conference was not merely a rhetorical exercise, but the expression of a clear intent by Gazan terror factions to destroy Israel, the stated goal of their October 7 onslaught, when some 1,200 were brutally massacred and 253 abducted to Gaza.

That objective was reiterated by former leader Khaled Mashal, who stated in a January interview that October 7 proved that liberating Palestine was a “realistic idea.”

Biden must explain what’s going on with Iran czar Rob Malley
Iran’s decision to launch hundreds of drones and missiles at Israel last weekend offers a painful lesson for President Joe Biden. His policy of hoping to induce better behavior from the Islamic Republic through multibillion-dollar payoffs has been revealed as naive fiction. In fairness to Biden, this fatally misguided assumption that the mullahs want to be good-faith partners isn’t his alone. He inherited it from former President Barack Obama.

Take Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser and all-purpose mini-me. He boasted in 2016 that the administration had misrepresented the 2015 Iran nuclear accord to the public, selling Tehran as more trustworthy than they were. Rhodes added that this was no problem because the media were idiots who were easily fooled. Rhodes was so anti-Israel that his nickname in the Obama White House was “Hamas.”

At least Biden hasn’t brought Rhodes back into the West Wing, but that may be the only good news here. As the Middle East threatens to explode into a wider war, it needs to be asked how we got to the strange place where the White House considers it more important to militarily restrain our ally Israel than our enemy Iran, which has regularly denounced America as “the Great Satan” back to 1979. This is, at best, naivete on a grand scale. But is there more to it?

Here we must turn to the mysterious and troubling case of Rob Malley. He’s the Obama-Biden go-to guy on Iran. Malley holds far-left views on foreign policy, especially the Middle East, that were considered fringe even among Democrats a generation ago but are now deemed normal. Malley worked for President Bill Clinton, then served on the National Security Council during Obama’s second term as the mullah-whisperer. Malley was the driving force behind JCPOA, and once President Donald Trump killed the Iran deal in 2018, Biden brought Malley back into the White House in 2021 expressly to resurrect it.

That hasn’t happened, and it certainly won’t happen now that Iran and Israel are in a de facto open war. The other reason JCPOA isn’t coming back is because Malley’s no longer in the White House. In April 2023, Malley was quietly placed on leave when his security clearances were suspended by the State Department for unspecified reasons. Malley claimed not to know what the problem was and professed that he hoped to return to the White House eventually. In the meantime, Malley was soft-landed at Princeton University.

One year has gone by and we still don’t know why Malley’s long government career came to a screeching halt over some security issue. There are tells. His case was handed from Foggy Bottom over to the FBI for investigation, which means it’s no longer a State Department internal matter since espionage may be involved. Last August, Iranian regime media added fuel to the fire, salaciously publishing a purported State Department memo elaborating that Malley’s Top Secret clearance was pulled due to apparent mishandling of classified information. Efforts by Congress to get answers about the Malley affair led nowhere. For a year, the Biden White House has stonewalled all inquiries.

Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer tell Jewish community: We feel your pain this Pesach
Extremist forces in Britain are threatening to “tear us apart” by exploiting the Gaza conflict to advance a “divisive, hateful ideological agenda”, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said.

His comments come in a column for the JC to mark Passover. In this week’s historic edition, both the prime minister and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer have written columns amid rising anxiety over antisemitism in Britain and concern over the Metropolitan Police’s handling of protests.

Sir Keir focused his Pesach message on the Middle East conflict, affirming a future Labour government’s commitment to Israel’s security in the face of the threat from Tehran while also renewing calls for a two-state solution.

Sir Keir – whose wife and three children are Jewish – said that like other families attending a Seder, “we mark this Passover under a dark cloud”.

While the prime minister addressed the Middle East conflict, hailing the RAF’s part in defending Israel from Iranian missiles and pledging Britain to Israel’s security, his most striking remarks were reserved for the growing tension in this country.

He accused extremists of exploiting “the very human angst that we all feel about the terrible suffering that war brings to the innocent to advance a divisive, hateful ideological agenda”.

He also condemned the police officer who threatened to arrest Campaign Against Antisemitism director Gideon Falter earlier this month because he appeared to be “openly Jewish” when he came across an anti-Israel protest march.

“I share your shock, and anger, that a police officer is telling people that being openly Jewish is provocative” Sunak wrote. “That’s wrong, unconscionable and goes against the multi faith, multi-ethnic democracy we are.”
Rishi Sunak: Rishi Sunak: Forces in Britain are using Gaza for their own divisive agenda

Sir Keir Starmer: Keir Starmer: This year, we celebrate Passover under a dark cloud

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


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