Sunday, May 26, 2024

From Ian:

Ruthie Blum: Hamas barbarism in living color
We Israelis have been faced with every aspect of Hamas’s literal and figurative rape of the Jewish state nearly eight months ago. Every person in the country is affected, either directly or indirectly, by the massacre and ensuing battle in Gaza to rescue the hostages and destroy the terrorist group.

It’s aways a bit startling, then, when people elsewhere are suddenly shocked by this or that brief glimpse into the evil we’ve been confronting. The release of the latest videos is a perfect case in point, which reawakens the debate about whether we should have been widely distributing the many hours of gruesome evidence right from the start.

Early on in the war, the IDF produced a 47-minute reel of raw footage gathered on Oct. 7. Rather than blitzing it everywhere, it was shown to select audiences of journalists and dignitaries.

The decision not to spread it freely was based on a number of factors. Chief among these was the need to respect the privacy and dignity of the victims, whose families weren’t keen on having their loved ones’ body parts on display for all the world to see.

There was also a reasonable assumption that pro-Hamas trolls would doctor and distort the film. This was in addition to fear that it would be exploited as snuff by sickos on the internet.

Meanwhile, however, antisemitic propaganda—including denial of Hamas’s deeds on one hand and justification for them on the other—was and continues to stream unabated on social media. As a result, the Hebrew press and pro-Israel voices in the Diaspora have been regurgitating the age-old claim that the Jewish state is terrible at hasbara.

This concocted concept that applies solely to Israel is translated as “public diplomacy.” As though Jews and the Jewish state have a P.R. problem, not a desire on the part of our enemies to delegitimize and wipe us off the map.

The truth is that even impeccable Israeli hasbara can’t compete with Pallywood productions and comparable fake news, regardless of how blatantly mendacious. Nor has exposing lies done any good with hostile international bodies.

Still, providing our defenders with tools to counter the onslaught is important. Indeed, Israel-supporters shouldn’t be left alone in the rhetorical arena without an ongoing supply of material to boost their public efforts and personal morale. Sadly, graphic records of Hamas’s sadistic actions apply here.

Now that the Albag, Ariev, Berger, Gilboa and Levy families have reached this very conclusion—in their case, to pressure the government to secure a deal for the release of their daughters—maybe more will follow suit. But let’s not harbor unrealistic hopes. The facts are already out there, and the only movies that interest Israel’s detractors are those of the IDF leveling buildings in Gaza.
WSJ Editorial: Another Anti-Israel Ruling in The Hague
On Friday, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Israel "must immediately halt its military offensive" in Rafah. Since the invasion of the city began nearly three weeks ago, Israel has expertly evacuated about a million Gazans. Like most rulings from The Hague, this one will be ignored. Israel rightly says it is already in compliance with the court's wishes - its Rafah offensive isn't genocidal, so it need not be halted. No state in Israel's place could do otherwise.

The inversion of international law is something to behold: Hamas slaughters Israeli civilians and hides behind its own so that Israel stands accused. The ICJ's presiding judge is Lebanon's Nawaf Salam, who has denounced Israel for decades.
Stephen Daisley: How to Fight Back Against the ICC's Lawfare
The application for arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is an act of lawfare.

In seeking the detention of Israel's political and military leadership during its war against Hamas, Karim Ahmad Khan, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), is inviting that body to intervene in the conflict.

Khan is proposing, in effect, that the ICC prevent the democratically elected government of a sovereign state from defending itself against the terrorist regime that invaded its territory, murdered 1,100 people, raped women and took 250 hostages.

The ICC has contributed little to the upholding of the Fourth Geneva Convention in its two decades of existence and has evolved into a thoroughly political organization.

It should be wound up and, if possible, a more suitable institution found to fulfill its purpose.
It's Not Just Netanyahu, the ICC Wants to Prosecute U.S. Lawmakers Too
If you want to see just how out of control the International Criminal Court's prosecutor is, consider this: Not only is Karim Khan seeking charges against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his conduct of the war in Gaza, he is threatening to prosecute members of Congress who push back on the ICC's unlawful efforts to indict the Israeli leader.

On April 24, a group of senators led by Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) sent a letter warning Khan that Congress would interpret an arrest warrant for Netanyahu "not only as a threat to Israel's sovereignty but to the sovereignty of the United States" that would result in "severe sanctions against you and your institution."

Khan's office responded in a statement saying that when "individuals threaten to retaliate against the Court or against Court personnel...such threats, even when not acted upon, may also constitute an offense against the administration of justice under Art. 70 of the Rome Statute." Think about that: Khan not only suggests he has the right to indict Netanyahu, but also Cotton, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and other members of Congress seeking new sanctions on ICC officials who investigate U.S. citizens or allies.

Khan has no jurisdiction to prosecute members of Congress - or any Americans - because the U.S. is not a party to the Rome Statute, which created the ICC. And the fact that he dares to threaten U.S. legislators shows why his rogue tribunal needs to be brought to heel.

In 2000, my former boss, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), warned in Ha'aretz that Israel should not join the ICC because the court "will have an independent prosecutor answerable to no state or institution for his or her actions" who could one day issue "criminal indictments against Israeli soldiers, military commanders and government officials all the way up to the prime minister himself."

To address this danger, Helms introduced the American Servicemembers' Protection Act, a law designed to punish the court for any efforts to prosecute U.S. citizens or allies. The Senate approved the measure by 75-19 and it was signed into law in 2002. Congress explicitly authorized the president to use "all means necessary" to shield U.S. citizens and allies from ICC prosecution.

Rights group’s failure to condemn Oct. 7 ‘shocks’ State Dept.
Lipstadt seemed especially troubled by the silence of “women’s groups, progressive groups, groups that fight sexual violence, human rights groups,” who were among the first to condemn perpetrators like the Islamic State and Boko Haram.

She said the only difference between the brutal terror attacks by those groups and Hamas on Oct. 7 is “the perception that these victims were all Jews.”

Aaron Keyak, Lipstadt’s deputy and a former Democratic operative, was also present on the call. He, along with Lipstadt, called out the political weaponization of antisemitism. “You’re in fact most impactful when you call out antisemitism among people with whom you agree on everything else,” he said.

“Those who weaponize the charge of antisemitism for partisan or political gain are undermining the overall fight against antisemitism, which puts Jews at greater risk all over the world,” he added.

Lipstadt also briefed attendees on a State Department online antisemitism symposium held last Thursday. The event brought together executives of the major online platforms including Google, TikTok, Microsoft, Meta and X, along with high-ranking Biden administration officials and key NGOs such as the American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League, World Jewish Congress, Center for Countering Digital Hate, CyberWell and Decoding Antisemitism.

“It was a message that we take this seriously,” said Lipstadt, who explained that she had secured the participation of the major platforms by assuring them the session was not meant to “beat up” on them.

“We know there’s a problem. They know there’s a problem,” she said. “And what was clear to the platforms in their participation was that the United States government takes online antisemitism as a national security threat. It silences Jews, it makes Jews not want to publicize their Jewish identity. It’s used to spread antisemitic animus, antisemitic threats.”

The eight-hour meeting involved deep discussions “in a constructive fashion” between antisemitism researchers and platform executives, she said.

“We hope this will not be a one-off. We want this to have legs. We want this to move further,” she added.

“We didn’t solve the problem, but if we began this conversation, that’s the kind of thing that I want my office to be doing,” she said. “We can’t put out all the fires, but here is a very important source of conflagration, and here’s something we’re trying to move forward.”
JPost Editorial: Israel cannot afford becoming a pariah state
International law is political in nature – there is no denying that. But when Israel began its military operation, it didn’t do enough to give off the impression that it was concerned with the Palestinian population at large. Think back to statements by government officials who said that basic needs will be cut off.

It is understandable that these were said in the heat of anger, but they matter, because presentation matters. Statements that lump together every Gazan as a legitimate military target have not stopped since, and only make things worse – as did footage this week of aid trucks being ransacked by Israeli right-wing extremists.

The thing that separates Israel from Hamas is, among other things, its law-abiding core. When the Jewish state announced its statehood, it committed to the privileges and commitments that come along with it – and is still bound by them today. Hamas is not playing by these rules and never has, and they are not part of its vision – which puts Israel in an impossible position. Still, the approach preached by some that Israel will fight alone if it must is dangerous and hotheaded.

We live in a globalized world that is increasingly interconnected and inter-reliant. We can’t do this alone, and we don’t want to lose our allies, near and far – it is simply not a strategic way of acting. Isolationist attitudes will not get us what we want.

How did we get here? The support and empathy that was present on October 7 are whispers in the wind now. Part of the answer is that diplomatic blunders have been made, ones that don’t seem to stop. This is not a call for blame but for deep introspection and recalibration, especially for our own elected officials.

As war cabinet Minister Benny Gantz wrote on Friday after the ICJ announced its decision: “The State of Israel set out on a just operation, left with no choice after a cruel terrorist organization massacred our civilians, raped our women, kidnapped our children and shot rockets towards our cities.

“Israel remains steadfast in its fight to return the hostages and ensure security to its citizens, wherever and whenever that may be – even in Rafah,” he said.

“We will continue to operate according to international law in Rafah and in any place we operate, and endeavor to avoid harming the civilian population – not because of the ICJ, but because, first and foremost, that is who we are.”
Electronic Media as a Weapon of Political War: The Hamas Strategy
General Vo Nguyen Giap, who led the forces of North Vietnam to victory in the Vietnam War, said:

"In 1968 I realized that I could not defeat 500,000 American troops who were deployed in Vietnam...but I could bring pictures home to the Americans which would cause them to want to stop the war."

Fed by television news from Vietnam, the war became a major domestic issue which destabilized the American government.

In the 2024 Gaza war, it is easy to recognize how the enemies of Israel and the U.S. are using the same strategy.

In fact, with internet and social media, it has become more sophisticated.
IDF troops to press ahead in Rafah, Gallant says after ICJ ruling
The Israel Defense Forces will continue to press its offensive in Rafah in southern Gaza in order to free the hostages held by Hamas and destroy the terrorist group, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Sunday.

“Our goals in Gaza are emphasized here in Rafah: to destroy Hamas, return the hostages and maintain freedom of operation,” Gallant stated during a visit to troops fighting in the last remaining Hamas stronghold.

“Regarding the hostage issue—we are making tremendous efforts and will continue to do so, via both physical activities and by reaching agreements,” added the defense minister. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant speaks to troops during an operational situation assessment in Rafah, the southern Gaza Strip, May 26, 2024. Photo by Ariel Hermoni/IMoD.

Gallant told troops, “Remember, your job is to eliminate Hamas, to win this war. Our job is to take it [your achievement] and take it to the next level in Gaza and across the Middle East. These issues are connected.”

Israeli officials insist that the military operations in the enclave are being conducted in conformity with Friday’s International Court of Justice ruling.

Bombardments continued on Sunday in the central and eastern sections of Gaza’s southernmost city, including the shelling of entrenched terrorist elements in the Yabna refugee camp, the Palestinian Shehab News Agency reported.

Sunday also saw a 12-rocket barrage fired by Hamas terrorists in Rafah at central Israel, triggering sirens in Tel Aviv and surrounding areas for the first time in four months and reaching further north to the Sharon region. Most of the projectiles were intercepted or hit in open areas, with at least one civilian lightly wounded by rocket shrapnel in Herzliya.
Israeli soldier dies of wounds sustained in Hamas sniper attack
Two Israel Defense Forces soldiers died after being wounded while fighting in the northern Gaza Strip, the military announced on Sunday.

Staff Sgt. Sahar Sudaei, 20, of the Givati Brigade’s Rotem Battalion, from Tel Aviv, fell in battle on Sunday, the IDF said on Sunday night.

Earlier on Sunday, the IDF announced that a soldier of the Kfir Infantry Brigade’s Netzach Yehuda Battalion died from wounds sustained during fighting in the same area last week.

Staff Sgt. Betzalel Zvi Kovach, 20, from Jerusalem, was wounded last Wednesday when a Hamas sniper opened fire at troops who were operating in the Beit Hanoun area of northeastern Gaza to root out the remaining terrorists entrenched there.

Two other Israeli soldiers, Staff Sgt. Eliyahau Haim Emsallem and Capt. Israel Yudkin, were killed in the Hamas sniper attack.

Sunday’s deaths bring the total number of troops slain in Gaza since the start of the IDF’s ground incursion on Oct. 27 to 282 and to 636 on all fronts since Hamas started its latest war against the Jewish state on Oct. 7.

Hamas fires rockets at central Israel for first time in four months
Air-raid sirens sounded across Tel Aviv and Israel’s central region on Sunday afternoon, warning of incoming Hamas rocket fire from the Gaza Strip for the first time in four months.

The Israel Defense Forces’ Iron Dome aerial-defense system intercepted several projectiles, with blasts being reported across Tel Aviv, Petach Tikvah, Herzliya and Ramat Hasharon.

Sunday’s rocket fire reached as far north as the Sharon region, sending residents in the city of Kfar Saba running for shelter for the first time since the war started on Oct. 7.

At least two people were lightly wounded while running to a protected space, according to the Magen David Adom emergency response service. Both were evacuated to Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba.

In Herzliya, a house sustained significant damage when it was hit by rocket shrapnel, Israel’s Kan News public broadcaster reported.

Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack minutes after it happened, saying it had fired a “large barrage” towards Tel Aviv.

The IDF announced that “following the alerts that were activated a short time ago in the center of the country, eight launches were detected that crossed from the Rafah region into [Israeli] territory.”

According to a report by Army Radio, the rockets were fired from a Hamas position located “hundreds of meters” away from Israeli troops.

The attack took place as Gazan rockets also targeted southern Israel and Hezbollah anti-tank missiles hit communities near the Lebanese border.

On Jan. 29, Hamas last fired rockets towards the Tel Aviv area, sending millions racing for shelter. The launches came shortly after the IDF expressed optimism in the wake of a decrease in the number of attacks.

'Israel won't stop until we make it': Francesca Albanese calls for sanctions on Israel
UN Special Rapporteur on Palestine Francesca Albanese called for international sanctions, embargoes, and suspensions of relations with Israel in a post on X, formerly Twitter, on Saturday.

The UN official asserted in her post that the only way Israel would cease its campaign to uproot Hamas from the southern Gazan city of Rafah is if it were forced to stop.

“Be sure: Israel will not stop this madness until WE make it stop. Member states must impose #sanctions, arms embargo and suspend diplo/political relations with Israel till it ceases its assault.”

Albanese comments come after Israel said that it would continue its military offensive against Hamas in Rafah regardless of the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) verdict that Israel must halt its actions in the city.

Israel has affirmed that it would continue its campaign and has accused the ICJ of disregarding its right to self-defense.

Israeli wounded in heavy rocket barrage on Kiryat Shmona
A man in his 40s sustained minor wounds in a Hezbollah rocket blast in the northern Israeli city of Kiryat Shmona, the Magen David Adom medical emergency response group said on Sunday evening.

The victim was treated by paramedics on-site before being transferred to Ziv Medical Center in Safed, the organization added.

Multiple rocket barrages were launched from Southern Lebanon on Sunday night towards Kiryat Shmona, Misgav Am, Kfar Giladi and Tel Hai, with local media reporting at least 60 launches towards the Galilee.

Earlier on Sunday, Hezbollah anti-tank missiles struck inside several communities along Israel’s northern border, per local authorities.

According to the Upper Galilee Regional Council, the missiles scored hits on homes in Moshav Avivim, Moshav Margaliot and Kibbutz Shnir, causing significant damage and fires. No casualties were reported, although a man needed to be rescued from a damaged house in Avivim.

Hezbollah took responsibility for firing the missiles and rockets at the largely evacuated border towns, saying it attacked in response to Israeli Air Force strikes on the terrorist group in Southern Lebanon.

IAF jets on Sunday attacked infrastructure in Naqoura and Ayta ash Shab following overnight strikes in Lebanon. In addition, IDF artillery attacked Hezbollah targets in Khiam, Hula, Markaba and Kafr Kila.

IDF denies Hamas claim soldiers abducted in Gaza
The Israel Defense Forces on Sunday denied a claim by Hamas that it had abducted Israeli soldiers during fighting in the Gaza Strip.

“The IDF clarifies that there is no incident involving the hostage-taking of a soldier,” the military said in a brief statement.

A Hamas spokesman earlier claimed the terror group had captured IDF troops in Jabalia in northern Gaza.

“Our fighters lured Zionist forces into a tunnel and ambushed them,” the terrorist known as Abu Obeida said in a video message broadcast by Al Jazeera. “All members of the force were left dead and captured,” he added.

Spain's foreign minister condemns 'scandalous' Israeli flamenco video posted by Israel Katz
Spain's foreign minister condemned as "scandalous and execrable" a video posted by his Israeli counterpart suggesting Hamas would be grateful to Spain in a growing spat between the two countries over the Gaza war.

Spain last week announced it would recognize Palestine as a state, and in recent days, two Spanish government ministers referred to a genocide in Gaza.

A short video posted by Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz on the social media platform X on Sunday says "Hamas: Gracias España" ("Hamas: Thanks Spain").

The video shows the Spanish flag and then a couple dancing to flamenco music. Film of Hamas fighters is interspersed, including people fleeing during the October 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel that triggered Israel's military campaign in Gaza.

Claiming that the video is scandalous
"We are not going to fall into provocations. The video is scandalous and execrable," Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares told a news conference in Brussels.

"It's scandalous because all the world knows, including my colleague in Israel, that Spain condemned the actions of Hamas from the first moment. And execrable for the use of one of those symbols of Spanish culture."

Spanish Defence Minister Margarita Robles said on Saturday that the conflict in Gaza is a "real genocide," echoing a comment by Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Yolanda Diaz, who last week also described the conflict as a genocide.

Israel has strongly rejected accusations made against it by South Africa at the International Court of Justice that it is committing genocide against Palestinians, arguing it is acting to defend itself and fighting Hamas.

The Israeli embassy in Madrid responded to Robles' comments in a statement posted on Saturday on X.

"We regret that ... Robles has endorsed the false and unfounded story of the terrorist organization Hamas. Israel fights in Gaza in accordance with international law in a war against Hamas that it neither started nor wanted, a consequence of the unprecedented massacre perpetrated last October 7."
Israel's Labor Party official slams Spanish PM for unilateral recognition
Following the announcement that Spain would recognize Palestine as a state last week, the Secretary General of the Israeli Labor Party, Eran Hermoni, sent a letter on Saturday to the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez criticizing the decision.

In the letter, Hermoni called the decision a contradiction of the traditional position of the Spanish government and that of social democratic parties.

Hermoni cited the position of the Socialist International, of which Sanchez is president, which says, "The SI remains committed to working with its member parties in Palestine and Israel, whose voices are among the most prominent for peace and the two-state solution and is needed now more than ever.”

Rewarding terrorism
Hermoni called the move a "windfall for the terrorist organizations that wish upon our demise."

He pointed out that to recognize Palestine while Israel is still suffering from the aftermath of October 7 was "a moral failure."

Hermoni also said that it was this pattern of increased anti-Israel attitudes in the Socialist International was the cause of the Israeli Labor Party's withdrawal from the SI in 2018, "we cannot take part in an organization that does not recognize our right to exist."

Hermoni also said that the Israeli Labor Party had paid the price for its commitment to peace due to the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.

Israel blasts Germany for declaring it will arrest Netanyahu
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesman sharply rebuked German Chancellor Olaf Sholz for stating his administration would arrest the Prime Minister in response to an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant, sparking a rare public spat between two allies during the Gaza war.

"I am old enough to remember the German leader coming here days after Oct. 7, and stating the Hamas are the new Nazis. They seek a genocide against the Jews. Many in the world need to check their moral compass and be on the right side of history." Avi Hyman, told Fox News Digital on Thursday.

Scholz’s spokesman, Steffen Hebestreit, said on Wednesday, in response to a question whether the German government would execute an ICC arrest order against Netanyahu for alleged war crimes during Israel’s efforts to defeat the Hamas terrorist movement in the Gaza Strip, "Of course. Yes, we abide by the law."

Germany’s comment about executing the ICC order to arrest the prime minister electrified social media and critics accused Scholz’s administration of antisemitism for its fealty to an arrest warrant from a reportedly anti-Israel court that Netanyahu termed another example of the “new antisemitism.” Accusations of antisemitism

The German Christian Democratic Union party leader, Friedrich Merz, told the country’s largest paper, Bild, that “The silence of the federal government, including the government spokesman’s suggestion that Netanyahu could be arrested on German soil, is now really becoming a scandal.”

Scholz is from the left-of-center Social Democratic Party, whose members and party leaders have targeting Israel for more criticism than the conservative political parties in the Bundestag. Merz said the ICC comparison between the terrorist Hamas organization and the Netanyahu is “an absurd perpetrator-victim reversal.”
President of UN's top court has long history of anti-Israel bias: 'Conflict of interest'
The controversial International Court of Justice (ICJ) is not only facing severe criticism for its Friday order declaring that Israel should stop its military offensive in Rafah to root out Hamas, but also for the well-documented anti-Israel bias of the U.N. court's presiding judge.

"Put simply, the U.N.'s highest legal body is a political tool of global antisemitism. The presiding judge in this case was ICJ [International Court of Justice] President Nawaf Salam. He is from Lebanon, a country that does not recognize Israel’s right to exist. And in his spare time, he has tweeted such things as a meme that reads ‘unhappy birthday to you: 48 years of occupation.’ He is a politician – a rabid anti-Israel politician – dressed up by the U.N. as a judge," Anne Bayefsky, the director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, told Fox News Digital

Bayefsky, a legal expert on the U.N. who oversees Human Rights Voices, said, "And from where did his kangaroo Court get its ‘facts’ in this case? Well, the United Nations, of course. An institution whose highest bodies – the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council – have never even condemned Hamas terrorists and their October 7 atrocities."

Orde Kittrie, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, argued in a February Wall Street Journal opinion article that Judge Salam's political activism in Lebanon contributed to his bias against Israel and violates the ICJ’s rules. He wrote that the ICJ’s conflict-of-interest rules declare that no judge "may exercise any political or administrative function, or engage in any other occupation of a professional nature."

Kittrie, a law professor at Arizona State University, also noted that the ICJ charter states that no jurist "may participate in the decision of any case in which he has previously taken part" as "advocate" or in "any other capacity."

Salam reportedly ran for prime minister of Lebanon in the last two elections and, as Kittrie wrote, was Lebanon’s U.N. ambassador from 2007 to 2017. Salam was routinely "denouncing and casting votes against Israel’s military conduct and presence in the disputed territories," wrote the legal expert.

According to an article in the Jewish News Syndicate (JNS) Salam wrote on social media in 2015, "When we criticize and condemn Israel it is never because of the Jewish character of the majority of its population," and in another post said, "Portraying the critics of Israel’s policies as antisemites is an attempt to intimidate and discredit them, which we reject."

Later that same year, JNS quoted him as tweeting "…#Palestine's full membership in #UN & ending #Israel's occupation remain long overdue."
UK Says World Court Order to Israel over Rafah Will Strengthen Hamas
The British government has criticized the International Court of Justice for ordering Israel to immediately halt its military assault on Rafah, saying the ruling would strengthen Palestinian Islamist group Hamas. "The reason there isn't a pause in the fighting is because Hamas turned down a very generous hostage deal from Israel. The intervention of these courts - including the ICJ today - will strengthen the view of Hamas that they can hold on to hostages and stay in Gaza," a UK Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Friday.

‘Regrettable’ ICJ made Israel work on Shabbat, court’s VP writes in dissent
South Africa failed to present substantially new facts on the ground in Rafah, the International Court of Justice shouldn’t “micromanage” Israel’s military operations, the Jewish state has been increasing aid flow into Gaza and the United Nations high court hasn’t previously required a sovereign state to allow outside observers in during a war.

Those were several of the objects that Julia Sebutinde, vice president of the ICJ—the principal United Nations judicial arm located in The Hague—raised in her dissenting opinion on Friday.

“Israel’s ongoing military operations in Rafah are part of the broader conflict initiated by Hamas on Oct. 7, 2023, when Hamas attacked Israeli territory, killing citizens and abducting others,” wrote Sebutinde, of Uganda. “To maintain its judicial integrity, the court must avoid reacting to every shift in the conflict and refrain from micromanaging the hostilities in the Gaza Strip, including Rafah.”

Sebutinde noted that South Africa had “invited” the court to modify its rulings on Israel for the fourth time since December—on Dec. 29, Feb. 12, March 6 and May 10.

“Once again, South Africa has invited the court to micromanage the conduct of hostilities between Israel and Hamas. Such hostilities are exclusively governed by the laws of war (international humanitarian law) and international human rights law, areas where the court lacks jurisdiction in this case,” she wrote.

She also noted that the court invited misunderstandings when it ordered Israel on Friday to “halt its military offensive … in the Rafah governorate.”

That phrasing “is susceptible to ambiguity and could be misunderstood or misconstrued as ordering an indefinite, unilateral ceasefire, thereby exemplifying an untenable overreach on the part of the court,” the ICJ vice president wrote.

New report details South Africa’s links to Islamic terror
Pretoria serves as a “crucial base of operations” for Islamic terror groups, according to a soon-to-be released report by the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy.

The report’s publication comes in the wake of the International Court of Justice’s latest ruling against Israel’s military offensive in Rafah, in a case brought before the court by South Africa.

On Friday, the court ruled by 13 to 2 that the Jewish state must “immediately halt its military offensive, and any other action in the Rafah Governorate, which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”

“The ICJ’s ruling is a stark reminder that South Africa has become a hub for extremist activities across the African continent,” said ISGAP Executive Director Charles Asher Small.

“South Africa embraces antisemitic ideologies, supports state-sponsored terror, maintains close ties with and acts on behalf of Iran, Qatar and Hamas,” he added.

According to ISGAP’s report, Pretoria serves as a “crucial base of operations for Islamic terror groups, facilitating connections with networks throughout Africa.”

The report states that “despite long-standing U.S. sanctions, international Islamist entities with terror links continue to operate freely within South Africa, evading global scrutiny.”

It argues that the “Financial Action Task Force (FATF) [which leads global action to tackle money laundering, terrorist and proliferation financing] noted South Africa’s failure to effectively identify, investigate, or prosecute terrorist financiers, revealing critical gaps in its anti-terrorism financing measures.”

Stephen Pollard: It’s wrong to compare Hamas and the IRA
Godwin's Law is an internet adage which holds that as any online discussion develops, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler rises.

I would like to suggest a new law – let’s call it Khan’s Law – which holds that as any chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court seeks to justify a decision which equates Israel and Hamas and applies for an arrest warrant against the leader of a democracy with one of the world’s most admired judicial systems, they will make an idiotic comparison between Israel acting to defend itself and the IRA.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, Karim Khan KC, the aforementioned chief prosecutor of the ICC, has done just that. Kahn told Christina Lamb, the paper’s foreign correspondent, that when he was asked by “a senior official” what Israel could do, given that it doesn’t know “where the hostages were, in tunnels or houses, or how they were being kept”, he gave the example of Britain during the period when the IRA was active.

According to Khan: “There were attempts to kill Margaret Thatcher, Airey Neave was blown up, Lord Mountbatten was blown up, there was the Enniskillen attack, we had kneecappings … But the British didn’t decide to say, ‘Well, on the Falls Road [the heart of Catholic Belfast] there undoubtedly may be some IRA members and Republican sympathisers, so therefore let’s drop a 2,000lb bomb on the Falls Road.’ You can’t do that.”

It's a reasonable expectation, I would have thought, that the ICC’s chief prosecutor is someone who is able to see through self-serving and utterly bogus comparisons. That’s sort of the point of the job. It’s also, surely, reasonable to expect that the ICC’s chief prosecutor would not himself be the author of self-serving and utterly bogus comparisons. But reasonable as those expectations may be, it seems Karim Khan is unable to meet them.

Let’s start with the basics. Hamas is not merely a terrorist organisation committed to attacks against Israel and Israelis in pursuit of its objectives. It is a terrorist organisation committed by its charter to the elimination not just of Israel but of all Jews – all Jews, everywhere on the planet. It is, literally, genocidal in its aims.
ICC prosecutor Khan accuses Israel of collective punishment in Gaza
International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan defended his decision to seek arrest warrants for Israeli leaders in an interview with the Sunday Times published online Saturday night.

The 54-year-old British barrister applied for warrants against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant over their conduct during the war in Gaza against Hamas, while also calling for the arrest of the terrorist group’s leaders. Hamas started the war on Oct. 7 when it invaded the northwestern Negev, murdering, wounding and kidnapping thousands while committing widespread atrocities.

In the interview with Times Chief Foreign Correspondent Christina Lamb, Khan rejected accusations that he was drawing a moral equivalence between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization, calling it “nonsense.”

“I am not saying that Israel with its democracy and its supreme court is akin to Hamas, of course not. I couldn’t be clearer, Israel has every right to protect its population and to get the hostages back. But nobody has a licence to commit war crimes or crimes against humanity. The means define us,” the prosecutor said.

Next in the interview, he tried to compare Britain’s fight against the Irish Republican Army with Israel’s against Hamas, as an example of disproportionate use of force.

“There were attempts to kill [Prime Minister] Margaret Thatcher, [Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland] Airey Neave was blown up, [former Chief of the Defence Staff] Lord Mountbatten was blown up, there was the Enniskillen attack, we had kneecappings. … But the British didn’t decide to say, ‘Well, on the Falls Road [the heart of Catholic Belfast] there undoubtedly may be some IRA members and Republican sympathisers, so therefore let’s drop a 2,000lb bomb on the Falls Road.’ You can’t do that,” Khan said.

Khan said he was surprised at the shock to his announcement, since, according to him, Israel has not allowed aid into Gaza, a charge that Jerusalem vehemently disputes.

University of Sydney pro-Palestine ‘Trots’ ambush Jewish event, abuse former deputy prime minister
Pro-Palestine “Trots” behind encampments at Australia’s oldest university ambushed a Jewish organisation’s event dressed as terrorists and harassed former deputy prime minister John Anderson, peppering him with slurs and abuse.

It has led to doxxing concerns and a police complaint in an escalation of the crisis engulfing some of Australia’s most prestigious universities.

On Wednesday, activists from the “USYD Muslim Encampments” group – a spearhead behind the University of Sydney encampments – orchestrated a “Zoom bombing” of the Australian Jewish Association’s online event with former Nationals leader Mr Anderson, with one activist calling him a “c**t

That activist, who hid behind a turned-off camera and a fake “Tony Abbott” name, hurled abuse at the former deputy prime minister, telling him to “shut the f**k up” and “shut your mouth you old c**t”.

“You’re a bunch of Zionists, grubs … stop yapping,” the activist continued. Another accused him of being a “professional racist”.

The event was not about Israel but on Australia’s foreign and domestic policy, which its organisers have said rubbishes the protesters’ claims they are solely opposing Zionism and not targeting Jewish people.

“We will be Zoom bombing this meeting – (there will be instructions) … please follow them to ensure maximum interference,” one of the group’s WhatsApp admins wrote.

AJA president Dr David Adler spoke with NSW Police over the weekend, and will formally send the material as part of a complaint on Monday. The organisation’s CEO, Robert Gregory, called the university the “headquarters of harassment and intimidation”.

“The university stood by while Jewish students and staff have been intimidated, now the campus has become the headquarters for the harassment of the wider community,” he said, saying the “lie” that encampment activists were “only” targeting Israel had been exposed.

“It’s clear that the university campus is being used to target the Jewish community.”

'Hitler would be proud' of the rise in antisemitic acts targeting Australia's Jewish community, warns Peter Cosgrove
Former governor-general Sir Peter Cosgrove has delivered a chilling warning to people showing antisemitic behaviour towards Australia’s Jewish community.

His comments come in a new documentary on Sky News Australia, presented by former treasurer Josh Frydenberg, examining the rise of antisemitism across the country following Hamas’ deadly attack on Israel last year on October 7.

Asked by Mr Frydenberg what his message would be to those people carrying out antisemitic acts towards the Jewish community, Mr Cosgrove said "Hitler would be proud".

"Hitler put in a place the Holocaust that was aimed primarily at Jewish people," Mr Cosgrove said.

"And in watching what's happening today in Australia, Hitler would be giving thumbs up to those radical elements who are trying to breach this great pillar of Australia's national character."

Former ASIO director-general Dennis Richardson said while the country is seeing echoes of the 1930s in the boycotting of Jewish businesses and community intimidation, he was confident Australia would overcome this wave.

"We're seeing worrying signs of it," he told Mr Frydenberg.

"However, I come back to what I've said before, I believe that our democratic institutions are strong enough to withstand this. And I believe we will, in fact, defeat it.

"Because any echoes of the 1930s is pure evil and I believe the vast majority of Australians simply wouldn't tolerate it."
'Threatening' anti-Semitic graffiti is 'latest in what we've seen for several months'
Executive Council of Australian Jewry Co-Chief Executive Alex Ryvchin has labelled the hateful graffiti at a Jewish school in Melbourne as a “threat”.

This follows the Mount Scopus Burwood campus defiled with anti-Semitic graffiti.

“It’s a threat, conveyed very publicly, very graphically, very vividly to the Jewish community,” Mr Ryvchin told Sky News Australia.

“It’s the latest in what we’ve seen for seven or eight months now.

“On a daily basis – assaults, intimidation, harassment, attacks on the Jewish community.”

Influencer Montana Tucker featured a freed Israeli hostage in a skincare promo
Since Oct. 7, Montana Tucker has encapsulated the growing role of social media influencers in the sprawling effort to advocate for Israel.

Tucker, who has more than 3 million followers on Instagram (in addition to 9 million on TikTok), has uploaded videos and photos from the communities devastated by Hamas’ attack and from Auschwitz. She’s posted speeches at rallies and tried to interview people at campus protests. At the Grammys in February, she wore a large yellow ribbon over her dress displaying the words “Bring them home.”

But her latest advocacy effort for Israeli hostages is dividing her pro-Israel fans — because in addition to featuring the harrowing story of a woman who was taken captive with her husband, the video also promotes a skincare product.

“Raz and Ohad have 3 beautiful daughters who did/do everything they can to bring back their dad/ remaining hostages, and take care of their mom,” Tucker wrote in the caption to the video, uploaded on Thursday. “@freskincare is not only an incredible, clean, and Israeli skincare brand, but it is Raz’s favorite.”

The video — and response to it — showcase the thorny questions raised by the melding of influencer culture and pro-Israel advocacy amid a brutal war and hostage crisis. Many of Tucker’s followers praised the video and her months of efforts to raise awareness of the captives’ plight, as well as a gesture of goodwill by the skincare brand. Some others lambasted her for, in their view, using a traumatized family’s story as an opportunity to promote a beauty regimen.

“This is just vile and unconscionable,” human rights lawyer and Israel advocate Arsen Ostrovsky wrote on X. “How dare you @montanatucker come here to Israel to profit of the grief and massacre of our people. Have you no shame?”
Rashida Tlaib attends conference honoring terrorists, hosting terrorist speaker
Michigan congresswoman Rashida Tlaib spoke on Saturday at a Detroit Pro-Palestinian conference that advocated on behalf of terrorism, honored terrorists, and featured a member of a terrorist organization as a panelist.

Tlaib made a surprise appearance at the People’s Conference for Palestine, an event that saw dozens of the anti-Israel groups involved in the post-October 7 protests in attendance, while Dearborn Michigan Mayor Abdullah Hammoud gave a video address.

The May 24-26 conference is set to have Wisam Rafeedie as a speaker at a workshop on Sunday, the last day of the event. According to Amnesty International, Rafeedie is an activist for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The PFLP is designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the US State Department. Terrorist speaker

The keynote speaker at the event was Sana’ Daqqah, the wife of PFLP terrorist Walid Daqqah, for whom one of the rooms was named.

Daqqah died from bone marrow cancer in an Israeli prison on April 8. He was originally imprisoned for commanding the PFLP cell that abducted, tortured, and murdered Israeli soldier Moshe Tamam in 1984.

Daqqah was referenced several times at the conference, including by Palestinian activist Tara Alami, who also spoke at length about semen smuggling through which Daqqah’s daughter, Milad, was conceived.

“In honor of Walid and all the martyrs, we’ll continue the fight until all political prisoners are free and Palestine is liberated!” said co-organizer Answer Coalition on Instagram on Saturday.

Seattle museum shut down by staffers who walk off job to protest exhibit on antisemitic hatred
Nearly 30 Seattle museum staffers have shut down the art center in protest of its new “Confronting Hate Together’’ exhibit, claiming portions of the show “conflate anti-Zionism as antisemitism.”

The workers, who form about half of the staff at the Wing Luke Museum, stormed off the job Wednesday, the day the exhibit opened, forcing the site to close and vowing to remain on strike until their demands are met.

“Zionism has no place in our communities and being anti-Zionist goes hand in hand with our own liberation as AA/NHPI,” wrote the disgruntled staffers, who work at the only pan-Asian art and history museum in the United States. “Our solidarity with Palestine should be reflected in our AA/NHPI institutions.”

The 26 striking workers are demanding their employer remove any language from the exhibit that “attempt[s] to frame Palestinian liberation and anti-Zionism as antisemitism,” acknowledge its “limited perspectives,” conduct a community review of it and “center voices and perspectives that align with the museum’s mission and values,” the group wrote on social media.

The exhibit is designed to explore anti-Asian American, Native American and Pacific Islander hate, Black hate and anti-Jewish hate, according to the museum’s website. The show was supposed to run from Wednesday through June 30.

Part of the display that the striking staffers are taking issue with is a panel from the Jewish Historical Society that starts off saying, “Today, antisemitism is often disguised as anti-Zionism.”

The disgruntled workers raised concerns about how the exhibit “conveyed Zionist perspectives,” according to their social media post.

Is the US higher education inherently anti-Israel?
Faculty response to the Israel-Hamas war

How does one understand the anti-Zionist anti-Israel activism prevalent on college campuses? Given the violence now accompanying the student protests and their efforts to squelch civil counter protests and debates, why is the American Academy not up in arms against this behavior? To answer these critical questions, one must scrutinize the development of American higher education since World War II, particularly since the 1960s and the Vietnam War.

At about that time, a document “Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities” was issued by the American Association of University Professors, the American Council on Education and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. The statement spoke to the issue of shared governance and the balance of responsibilities between faculty and administration. Issues such as tenure, academic freedom and the roles of staff and the professorate in the university were addressed.

Without going into detail, a playing field was established for academia and rules of conduct were put in place. Most important was the issue of who would hold the power in a university setting: the Board of Governors, the faculty, the students? After this document, the faculty fought, often through faculty unions, to wield the ultimate power on key decisions at many institutions.

For many years the curriculum and pedagogy were the sole purview of the faculty. Now, in addition, faculty often demand involvement in budgeting, hiring of administrators, and the final word on reappointment and tenure decisions. Since the 1960s, the faculty has gained significant power, especially at institutions that have faculty unions. In parallel, the number of unionized colleges has increased dramatically since 2020 and the graduate students, an important cohort of the instructional staff, have voted overwhelmingly in favor of unionization.

The concept of shared governance seems quite reasonable. If carried out on a high professional level it would benefit both the faculty and the colleges. In reality, however, shared governance often leads to mediocrity, cronyism and reciprocal back scratching. Years ago, a major scandal was uncovered in the NYC police department defined as the Blue Code of Silence. Police officers would not testify against other officers who were corrupt or delinquent in their duties. This silence was shattered by Frank Serpico who almost lost his life because of his brave stand for integrity. Al Pacino portrayed him in the 1973 film Serpico.

Although different in degree and impact, in many unionized colleges there is an unwillingness of faculty to make critical evaluations of their colleagues in a public setting. At certain institutions it is rare for a faculty member hired on a full-time budget line to be denied tenure by her/his peers. This cronyism, in my view, is a significant contributor to the failure of large numbers of faculty to stand against the activist faculty and students who are driving the anti-Zionist/antisemitic campaigns now prevalent in the United States.
Swastikas found in Oxford University lavatories
Swastika graffiti has been found in lavatories at an Oxford University college in the latest incident of anti-Semitism at the university.

Two of the symbols were reportedly found in the unisex lavatories at Regent’s Park College by a member of staff on Tuesday morning and were removed.

The college condemned the act as “completely unacceptable”.

The incident comes as pro-Palestinian protests at the university intensified this week.

Seventeen activists were arrested by police after occupying an administrative office on Wellington Square on Thursday. All 17 have been released on conditional bail.

An encampment is still in place outside the Pitt Rivers Museum more than two weeks after it was established.

A group of activists have also set up camp outside Radcliffe Camera, the university library.

Oxford students have raised concerns over anti-Semitism on campus since the Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel on Oct 7.

Earlier this month, students sent a letter to the university’s vice-chancellor detailing 70 incidents on campus.

Following the discovery of the swastika symbols on Tuesday, Dr Lynn Robson, the dean and safeguarding lead at Regent’s Park College, sent an email stating that “anti-Semitic graffiti” had been found.

Boycott Bill shelved after general election called for July
The government’s Bill to outlaw boycotts against Israel has been left on the shelf as a result of the call for a general election on July 4.

Although a number of pieces of legislation were completed on Friday on the final day of parliamentary business, the Bill designed to counter the BDS campaign was not among them.

The intended legislation, which had been a Conservative Party commitment in its 2019 election manifesto, would have prevented public bodies such as local councils or universities divesting from countries against Foreign Office policy.

It contained specific protection for Israel, which would have required amendment or repeal by Parliament to alter.

Writing in the JC 11 months ago Levelling-Up Secretary Michael Gove, who was the prime move behind the Bill, said, "This will put a stop to Israeli businesses and organisations being targeted through ongoing boycotts by public bodies at a time when antisemitism, the oldest hatred, continues to be a terrible scourge on our society. I hope this will help ease community tensions.”

While the Bill had passed comfortably in the Commons, it was still under discussion at committee stage ahead of a third reading in the Lords when the election call came.

It was opposed by Labour, although the party said it did not support BDS, and a number of Conservative MPs, who included the chair of the foreign affairs committee, Alicia Kearns.

The Bill was backed by the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council but the Union of Jewish Students and a number of Jewish youth movements came out against it.
Is it safe for Jews to vote Labour?
Dame Louise Ellman, Melanie Phillips, Josh Simons, Mike Katz and Ian Austin give us their views

Melanie Phillips, columnist
A social commentator for the Times, panelist on BBC Radio 4’s Moral Maze, author and columnist for the JC, Melanie now lives in Jerusalem

I’m not convinced that it is safe to go back in the water, as the scene in Jaws would have us believe.

I would like to say that Labour was safe for Jews again because it would make all of our lives so much easier.

Starmer made changes that have improved the party. All credit to him for being ruthless and changing the rules.

He understands that unless the Labour Party is a moral project it is nothing, and so if it has the stain of antisemitism, it is nothing. He will do everything he can to remove that stain. But a stain is something you can see. He has removed what we can see, which is the worst of it, but a number of problematic individuals are still there.

Kate Osamor has been readmitted to the Labour Party after she used Holocaust Memorial Day to compare the Holocaust with Palestinian deaths in Gaza. She was rightly sanctioned but is unrightly back again after a quick apology. Richard Burgon said his local hate march in Leeds was on “the right side of history”. In Rochdale, the “reformed” Labour Party produced a disastrous candidate.

But if we put those individuals to one side, a structural issue in progressive politics that goes well beyond the Labour Party reveals itself.

The progressive world supports the Palestinian cause, but this cause is constructed entirely on the desire to annihilate Israel and appropriate Jewish history.

The Metropolitan Police are allowing people to scream “jihad” and “globalise the intifada” on the streets of London, but I am most concerned by the Palestinian flags. The flags say to me: “We want the Jewish people out of our lives in the UK and in Israel.”

This has infected the Tories too. A decent opposition would oppose the government. If Starmer really had the interests of the Jewish people at heart, he would oppose the disgusting lies about Israel being told by David Cameron. But instead, Labour has doubled down on those lies. If the majority of Labour members support the Palestinian cause, then the party still has a fundamental problem.

‘Labour has changed for the better’ say party figures, but can Jews trust them again?
“Jewish members tell me that their local Labour Party and their experience of being in the Labour Party is completely transformed” – This was the optimistic tone struck by Jewish Labour Movement head Mike Katz.

Speaking at a JC event, key Labour figures told a packed audience in South Hampstead Shul that Labour has changed under Sir Keir Starmer.

As Labour continues to surge ahead in the polls, the JC hosted an event with Labour insiders, chaired by editor Jake Wallis Simons. Labour figures affirmed that Starmer had led the Party in the right direction, away from antisemitism and towards winning an election, while commentator Melanie Phillips said that the Party still had some way to go.

Mike Katz, head of the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) said that constituency Labour Party groups – the CLPs which are the grassroots of the Party – have changed for the better.

Former Liverpool MP, Dame Louise Ellman, spoke about how she was hounded out of Corbyn’s Labour Party but rejoined under Starmer.

During a campaign of “dehumanization” against the veteran MP, members of Ellman’s CLP would avert their eyes from her, slam doors in her face and refuse to say her name, referring to her only as “the MP.”

“I didn’t want to leave [Labour] but I couldn’t stay,” Ellman told the room, adding that her CLP might still harbour antisemites, but the worst have been ejected from the Party.

On the day he was elected, Starmer told Ellman that he would make it his mission to rid Labour of antisemitism: “He had one goal on his hands; to make the Labour Party electable and deal with the problem of antisemitism.

Green Party ditches ‘Gaza Holocaust’ MP candidate after JC exposé
A Green Party parliamentary candidate has been dumped after a JC exposé revealed he had made a comparison between Netanyahu and Hitler.

The Bristol East contender Naseem Talukdar has been removed from the party’s official list of candidates following an internal investigation into his controversial social media activity.

Talukdar circulated photographs comparing Israeli Prime Minister Bejamin Netanyahu with Adolf Hiter. One photo depicted Jewish prisoners being taken on a pickup truck to a Nazi death camp. Talukdar captioned the photos “it’s becoming REALLY hard to spot the difference” and the “past becomes the present”.

He also liked a video clip in which anti-Israel activist David Miller said “we have to destroy Zionism [...] it’s fundamentally a racist ideology”.

He liked another post that showed a cartoon of an IDF soldier pointing a gun at an incubated baby and saying “But do you condemn Hamas?”

Talukdar no longer describes himself as the Green Party candidate on X, formerly Twitter.

This week the Green Party co-leader failed to condemn his posts.
Palestinian Authority on verge of fiscal collapse as Smotrich withholds funds
A number of bills advanced in the Knesset on Sunday that would put financial pressure on the Palestinian Authority, as it nears a possible economic shutdown.

A private members’ bill by Religious Zionist Party MK Zvi Sukkot that would freeze funding transferred from Israel to the PA was approved in the Knesset Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday.

Another private members’ bill, which was also approved in the Knesset Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday, was proposed by Likud MK Dan Illouz and would fine banks that send money to the PA for “wages for terrorists.” The bill would also impose fines on foreign banks that transfer funds to PA banks. The PA's revenue streams dry up

Last Thursday, the World Bank said the PA was on the verge of fiscal collapse. On Wednesday, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said he would withhold taxes collected for the PA by Israel, and that he had no intention to extend a waiver that enables Israeli banks to work with PA banks, which is set to expire soon.

In the latest update on its report, “The Impact of the Conflict in the Middle East on the Palestinian Economy,” the World Bank said the fiscal situation of the PA has “dramatically worsened in the last three months, significantly raising the risk of a fiscal collapse.”

Due to “the drastic reduction in clearance revenue transfers payable to the Palestinian Authority and a massive drop in economic activity,” the PA’s revenue streams have largely dried up, leading to a widening gap between revenue and “the amount needed to finance essential public expenditure,” it said.

“As of the end of 2023, this financing gap reached US$682 million,” the report said. “This gap is projected to double within the coming months, reaching up to US$1.2 billion.”

Foreign assistance and public worker and supplier arrears are the only financing options available to the authority right now, the World Bank said.

About 144,000 jobs have been lost in the West Bank since last October, and some 148,000 Palestinians who were working in Israel also lost their jobs, the report said. Some of those commuters came from Gaza and some from the West Bank, it added.

The collapse could have significant impacts on Israel, a US official told The Financial Times.

US blocking European efforts to bring IAEA resolution against Iran
The United States is frustrating European efforts to introduce a resolution against the Iranian regime at the International Atomic Energy Agency, Reuters reported on Friday.

A senior European diplomat told the news agency that Washington is the “difficulty” in moving ahead with the resolution when the 35-nation Board of Governors’ quarterly meeting starts on June 3 in Vienna. The diplomat added that “in our conversations we continue to do everything to convince them.”

The last Iran-centered resolution, passed 18 months ago, called on Tehran to cooperate with an IAEA investigation involving three of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear sites.

France, Britain and Germany (the E3) are looking to present the new resolution to the IAEA Board of Governors meeting next week after not moving forward at the last IAEA meeting in March after the Biden administration expressed opposition to the move.

Officials often cite the upcoming November U.S. presidential election as the reason for the Biden administration being an obstacle to another resolution. However, the White House has argued that it doesn’t want to give Tehran an excuse to accelerate its nuclear program.

A senior European diplomat told Reuters, “It’s extremely difficult with Iran and the level of violations is unprecedented…There is no slowing down of its program and there is no real goodwill by Iran to cooperate with the IAEA.” The envoy added that “all our indicators are flashing red.”

Another diplomat said a resolution had been drafted, while others confirmed that the E3 had prepared a draft but had not shared it with other board members yet.

The matter is urgent; in late December, the agency said Iran had tripled its enrichment of uranium to 60%, which is just a short technical step away from 90%, or weapons-grade.
Seth Frantzman: Can the Middle East halt the rise of Iran before it's too late?
It is therefore clear that Iran will continue to hollow out Syria and use it as a launching pad to threaten the region, using it to move weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon and also to threaten US forces. In January, Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah in Iraq even launched drones that killed US service members in Jordan.

THERE IS some pushback, however.

These days, the US is training in Jordan alongside other partner countries in a drill called Eager Lion. Among the recent highlights of that American operation have been the deployment of US soldiers alongside Special Operations Forces from Cyprus and Lebanon who have trained together.

Eager Lion brings together 33 nations and improved interoperability among partner-nation militaries. Washington recently said that “the year 2024 marks 75 years of diplomatic relations between the US and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which hosts this comprehensive exercise biennially.” The US brought M1A1 Abrams tanks to Jordan, and they also fired M121 120mm mortar systems. While all of this is important, Iran is still on the march everywhere else.

For instance, Tehran is now setting the northern West Bank ablaze. It has supported Palestinian extremist groups, such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad, in their efforts to procure and bring in smuggled and stolen weapons. These include stolen M-4/AR type rifles. In addition, Iran is backing Hamas in Gaza and wants to erode the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and bring Hamas to power there in the next several years. These are pivotal trends because if Israel does not defeat Hamas in Gaza, then Iran will work to bring it to power in the West Bank.

In addition, Hamas leaders are hosted in Qatar and Turkey, two Western allies. This further complicates the region by making instability more likely. Qatar will likely angle for a role in post-war Gaza. It may also angle to bring technocrats into the PA in the West Bank, who will then be revealed to be members of Hamas once they are entrenched in power.

THERE ARE also other trends in the region.

Egypt opposed the Israeli operation in Rafah. It turns out that Hamas likely was able to smuggle or import weapons for years into Gaza via Egypt. This may indicate that behind the scenes, Cairo made some kind of deal to ignore some of this trade in exchange for something – perhaps in exchange for Turkey and Qatar stopping support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

Hamas is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt views as a terrorist group. Why would Cairo want Hamas empowered in Gaza but the Brotherhood suppressed at home? Perhaps it was part of a wider regional deal?

Regional deals are the name of the game now. China brokered a deal with Iran and Saudi Arabia; Russia imports Iranian drones; Iran uses its proxies to attack Israel. All of this points to a trend that could give Tehran more power in the region. Several years ago, it was not clear that Iran would have all this power. But it exploited the vacuum left by ISIS in Iraq and Syria. It also exploited the vacuum left by Russia in Syria and the one left by the US reducing its role in the region.

Nature abhors vacuums. Iran has exploited this and fills them to the hilt everywhere it can.
German police investigating viral footage of partyers chanting Nazi slogan
Footage of a group singing a Nazi slogan in place of the lyrics of a disco hit while partying on an exclusive German party island went viral in the last week after it was posted on social media, triggering a wave of outrage.

The video, which was made on Sunday during Pentecost celebrations, shows people on the Sylt island drinking and dancing as the song “L’amour Toujours” plays in the background. Some in the group could be heard changing the lyrics to an old Nazi slogan, “Germany for the Germans – foreigners out.”

One of the participants could be seen raising his right arm in an apparent Nazi salute while imitating Hitler’s mustache by putting two fingers above his upper lip.

Both the slogan and the salute are illegal in Germany, and local enforcement said it was investigating the people who could be seen chanting in the video but hadn’t ruled out that other suspects could be involved.

The video was apparently filmed at a bar on the island named Pony. The owners posted on the bar’s Instagram account on Friday that they were “shocked and deeply dismayed” by the footage.

“Racism and fascism have no place in our society, and the fact that some people obviously see this differently leaves us stunned,” they wrote.
California man, who allegedly said ‘I’m going to kill the Jews,’ faces 10 years in prison
Kevin Dunlow, age 62, of Huntington Beach, Calif. was arrested on Friday in California and faces up to 10 years in prison for threatening to kill or kidnap someone and for making false bomb threats.

Dunlow is accused of making a bomb threat against the Wake County Sheriff’s Office, threatening an elected official and telling a rabbi, “I am coming to the temple to kill all the Jews and the children,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

“Hate-fueled, violent threats endanger the safety of individuals and entire communities,” stated Merrick Garland, the U.S. attorney general. “The Justice Department will prosecute anyone who makes illegal threats motivated by antisemitism or bias of any kind.”

Dunlow allegedly threatened several North Carolina synagogues. He is accused of stating on, or around, May 7 that “Jews didn’t deserve to live. Jews didn’t deserve to be on this earth. I’m going to kill the Jews. I’m coming to the temple to kill all the Jews and the children.”

The FBI assisted in the investigation. Dunlow will be tried in North Carolina.

Nova massacre survivor wins gold at European jujitsu championship
Israeli jujitsu fighter Yarin Shriki won a gold medal at the European Championship in Germany over the weekend, seven months after surviving the Hamas massacre at the Supernova music festival near Gaza.

“I dedicate the victory to my good friend Yohai Ben Zecharia, may God avenge his blood, who was murdered on October 7, as well as to the speedy return of all the hostages,” Shriki told Israel’s Channel 14 News.

Shriki entered the final against Belgian Florian Bayili, ranked No. 1 in the world, as the underdog, but was able to surprise his opponent during the fight. As during previous fights, the athlete wore an outfit with the inscription “Yohai, 7/10/2023.”

In November, Shriki in an Instagram post told the story of how he survived Hamas’s terrorist assault on the music festival near Kibbutz Re’im, which left some 360 people dead.

“On 7/10 I was in Nova with my brothers and close friends. I’ve never described what happened to us. How does a party of fun and beautiful people turn into an area full of corpses and blood? Not a few hours passed and I started to hear that people so close to me were no longer answering. We ran away as fast as possible in every direction and miraculously I made it home. But my friends didn’t,” he wrote.

“I didn’t have time to cry as I already found myself returning to training with all my might for the European Team Championship in Croatia,” Shriki added. “And before I got on the plane, the only thing I knew was that I was going to play the national anthem for all those beautiful people who were murdered in cold blood.”

Late last month, Shriki also won a gold medal in the men’s under-69kg Gi category at the Paris Jiu Jitsu 2024 Grand Prix.

‘We Are All Jews Here’
As of Jan. 1, 2020, there were 27,712 persons named Righteous Among the Nations (Righteous Gentiles) by Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem. All of them are non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. Five of them are American.

In 1994, Varian Fry was the first American named to the list. A New York City native and Harvard graduate with a degree in classics, Fry had volunteered with the Emergency Rescue Committee to go to France to help rescue victims of Nazism. Planning on staying for a month, he arrived in Marseille in August 1940 with $3,000 and a list of 200 Jews he hoped to save. Soon, however, he understood the enormity of his task and judged it “criminally irresponsible” to return home. He stayed until he was forcibly expelled from France 13 months later “for having protected Jews and anti-Nazis.” Fighting the Vichy regime and the U.S. State Department, which tried repeatedly to have him sent home, Fry carried a gun, arranged smugglings into Spain, obtained foreign passports and visas, hired a forger, and with a small staff saved over 2,000 refugees. Mainly interested in writers, artists, and intellectuals, this passionate anti-fascist rescued Marcel Duchamp, Marc Chagall, Jacques Lipchitz, Max Ernst, Hannah Arendt, Max Ophüls, Arthur Koestler, André Breton, and several other surrealist artists.

Martha and Waitstill Sharp were named Righteous Among the Nations in 2005. Waitstill was a minister in the Unitarian Church in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and his wife, Martha, was a noted social worker. They agreed to go to Prague in February 1939 to help members of the Unitarian Church in Czechoslovakia. Once there, they helped smuggle Jews out of the country that had been taken over by the Nazis the month after their arrival. They experienced dangerous encounters with Nazi police but managed to return safely to the United States in August. Once again, however, in late spring 1940, they returned to Europe to help rescue Jewish people from France where they worked with Varian Fry, Hiram Bingham IV, and others smuggling Jews, many of them children, into Spain and Portugal.

Lois Gunden, named “Righteous” in 2013, also rescued Jews in France. Born and raised in Goshen, Indiana, Gunden went to France in October 1941, at the age of 26, to work with the Mennonite Central Committee. Fluent in French, she headed the Ville St. Christophe Children’s Refugee Convalescent Home in Canet Plage in the south of France. It was a 20-room mansion that housed 60 children, mostly those of Spanish refugees from Franco’s Spain and Jewish refugees from Eastern Europe being held in the nearby Rivesaltes internment camp. Gunden continued to run this safe haven for refugee children even after November 1942 when the Germans occupied the entire country. She managed to hide many Jewish children in the home and save them from deportation to Drancy and then Auschwitz. In January 1943, she was detained as an “enemy alien” and transported to Germany. In March 1944, she was released in a prisoner exchange.

On Memorial Day 2021, 76 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, let’s remember the heroics of Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds, the fifth American Righteous Gentile and the only one to have saved the lives of American Jews.

In early December 1944, the 106th Infantry Division, which comprised the 422nd, 423rd, and 424th Regiments, landed in France and traveled by truck across France and Belgium, reaching the Schnee Eifel area in Eastern Belgium near the German border. On Dec. 10, they took up their positions. On Dec. 16, the 422nd was attacked by the Germans in what would become known as the Battle of the Bulge, during which the Germans would capture 20,000 GIs. Although they were cut off and surrounded, the part of the regiment that Edmonds belonged to held out until Dec. 21 when they surrendered to the Germans. After having been forced to march 50 kilometers to Gerolstein, Germany, the men of the 422nd Regiment were loaded into box cars with no food or water and traveled for four days until they reached Bad Orb, Germany. They spent several weeks in Bad Orb, after which they were divided into three groups (officers, noncommissioned officers, and enlisted men). Roddie Edmonds’ group, the NCOs, were then shipped to Stalag IXA in Ziegenhain. There were 1,275 men in this group and Roddie Edmonds was the highest-ranking NCO among them.

It was German policy to single out Jewish POWs and send them to extermination or slave labor camps. Accordingly, in January 1945, the Germans announced that all Jewish prisoners in Stalag IXA would report the following morning. Twenty-five-year-old Master Sgt. Edmonds, who was responsible for all the POWs in Stalag IXA, ordered all prisoners, Jews and non-Jews, to fall out. When the German officer in charge, Maj. Siegmann, saw all the prisoners lined up in front of the barracks that next morning, he said to Edmonds: “They cannot all be Jews.” Edmonds responded: “We are all Jews here.”

Siegmann then pointed a pistol to Edmonds’ head, but Edmonds, refusing to back down, replied: “According to the Geneva Convention, we only have to give our name, rank, and serial number. If you shoot me, you will have to shoot all of us, and after the war you will be tried for war crimes.” The German major turned and walked away. Edmonds had saved the lives of the roughly 200 Jewish prisoners among the 1,275 American POWs.

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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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