Thursday, May 12, 2022

  • Thursday, May 12, 2022
  • Elder of Ziyon

The Iraqi House of Representatives completed the first reading of a proposed law banning normalization and establishing relations with "the Zionist entity".

The details are insane.

The preamble says that it aims to "criminalize normalization with the Zionist entity and prevent the establishment of any diplomatic, political, military, economic or cultural relations" with Israel.

The draft law also includes the criminalization of travel, communicating, establishing relations, and promoting Zionist ideas and principles by any means, whether public or secret, including conferences, gatherings, literature, merchandise, social media and the virtual world.

This proposed law considers all those included in the expression "normalization" and "establishing relations" as a crime punishable by death or life imprisonment.

As paranoid and insane as the law is, the explanations for it are even crazier.

The Minister of Culture, Atef Abu Seif, said that "the Israeli occupation is always trying to penetrate through culture to Arab societies because the conflict with the occupier is over the narrative and identity, and the occupation always seeks to steal the Palestinian land and history."

Abu Seif stressed that "all attempts to occupy Arab consciousness will fail because the depth and rootedness of Arab culture is greater than all the lies and myths that are being marketed."

If Iraqi Arab culture is so strong, then it should be immune to the Zionist lies and attempts at normalization, and there is no reason to pass the law, is there?

The law shows not strength but sheer terror at the loss of the one unifying Arab theme: that Israel is the ultimate evil. It is the legal equivalent to placing one's hands over one's ears and screaming "no no no no NO!" 

It is not a law against Israel - it is a law against getting infected with Zionist ideas and thoughts. 

It is an attempt to place Iraq in quarantine from ideas that its people might be interested in learning.

Imagine, an Iraqi can be imprisoned for chatting with a Zionist on Twitter. Which means if you don't like a particular Iraqi, just email him or her a copy of an Israeli newspaper.

This draft law is a complete violation of freedom of speech and freedom of thought. I have a feeling that Amnesty and Human Rights Watch will not say a single word in opposition to this. Their hate for Israel is far greater than their interest in human rights.

On a more serious note, I have about 150 Twitter followers from Iraq. I hope that they stay safe. 

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

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Read all about it here!



Wednesday, May 11, 2022

  • Wednesday, May 11, 2022
  • Elder of Ziyon
Based on this Haaretz article, assuming that the numbers are accurate, it is highly likely but certainly not absolute that Palestinian bullet killed Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh.

It is still unclear whether Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed by Israeli fire or Palestinian gunmen while she was covering a military raid in Jenin on Wednesday, according to an initial investigation conducted by the Israel Defense Forces.     

The probe shows that Abu Akleh was about 150 meters (328 feet) away from Israeli military forces when she was shot and killed.

Soldiers from the elite Duvdevan Unit fired a few dozen bullets during the raid in Jenin, the investigation shows, but whether it was Israeli or Palestinian gunfire that killed the Al Jazeera reporter is unknown. 

Wednesday evening saw feverish rounds of communication between Israel and the Palestinian Authority regarding whether the bullet removed from Abu Akleh’s body would be turned over for examination in Israel.

The bullet, which struck her in the head, is 5.56 millimeters in diameter and was shot from an M16 rifle. But since such rifles are used by both the Israel Defense Forces and Palestinian cells in the West Bank, the information is insufficient to determine which side fired the bullet.

IDF sources say that in the course of an arrest outside the Jenin refugee camp, hundreds of bullets were shot at Israeli troops, who responded by firing dozens of bullets at specific targets. These include a gunman who they spotted on the roof of a house,  an armed man peering from a window and others.

Most of the Israeli fire was directed southwards, while Abu Akleh and a Reuters photographer who was wounded were positioned to the north of the Israeli forces. Nevertheless, it appears that some Israeli fire was directed northwards as well.
Some educated conjecture:

No one targeted Shireen. Neither side would benefit from killing her. She was likely killed by a bullet that was aimed at another target.

The article says "hundreds" of bullets were shot at IDF troops, while the Duvdevan unit only fired "dozens" of bullets. Based on the audio of the fighting, this seems likely.

From the geolocation analysis people were doing on Twitter, most of the Palestinian fire was towards the west or northward. This article says only "some" Israeli fire was aimed northward, towards Akleh.

So, let's say 300 Palestinian bullets, only half of them northward - 150 bullets in that direction.
Let's say six dozen Israeli bullets, 30% aimed northward - that is 22 bullets in that direction.

So, back of the envelope calculation says 87% of the bullets aimed northward were Palestinian bullets.

The chances that an IDF soldier shot the bullet that killed her becomes far less likely when you consider that professional soldiers under central command and with an awareness of the laws of armed conflict and the repercussions of a mistaken gunshot do not fire randomly and shoot at very specific targets. Palestinians in Jenin with rifles are ar more likely to shoot in a general direction hoping to hit any soldier. 

The odds are overwhelming that Palestinian bullets hit the Al Jazeera reporters and the tree they were near.
Participants in a funeral in Jenin, April 22, 2022

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From Ian:

Einat Wilf: The BDS Pound of Flesh
Fresh from my experience as an Israeli, I was able to recognize the same dynamic starting to play out on American campuses. When I attended college in the United States in the mid-1990s, liberal, left-wing Jews could comfortably be pro-Israel and even active in AIPAC without any fear of repercussions or social pressure to hand over a pound of flesh. That changed with the emergence of J Street, IfNotNow, and Jewish Voices for Peace, until we arrived at the present condition, in which a Jewish student who does not show herself to be an ally of Students for Justice in Palestine, or does not agree that “Zionism equals racism,” or that Zionism is a form of apartheid, and Nazism, and white supremacy, and whatever other supreme evil will be identified next, cannot be considered a good Jew. This escalation in anti-Israel activism among some young Jews no longer seemed like a natural and excusable choice shaped by different generational circumstances, but the result of a relentless campaign of bullying.

Over the last several months, as a visiting professor at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., I taught a course called “Zionism and Anti-Zionism.” In the many hours I spent discussing student life with students and faculty alike, it became apparent that the anti-Zionist activism on campus—the college version of the pound of flesh dynamic—was not primarily a form of social protest or political expression, but a form of bullying. The anti-Zionist activists, like classic bullies, deliberately targeted the real and perceived frailties of their Jewish peers—fear or shame in the expression of one’s Jewish identity, with its calls to Jewish solidarity and deep connection to a faraway foreign country.

The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement has been one of the most effective expressions of the pound of flesh bullying tactic, inviting young Jews to participate in the cause of “social justice” only to ultimately demand the mutilation of their Jewish identity. BDS has demanded that diaspora Jews not only criticize Israeli government actions, but sever their connections with Israel completely.

The issue is not limited to campus or student life. Last fall, the D.C. chapter of the Sunrise Movement, an organization “mobilizing young people to make climate change an urgent priority across America,” pulled out of a rally to support voting rights because the Jewish organizations also participating supported Israel. The groups that Sunrise mentioned—National Council of Jewish Women, the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center, and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs—are some of the most progressive organizations in American Jewry, devoted to numerous left-wing causes. No matter. These organizations, by their mere presence at an environmental rally, were sullying a noble cause. Unless, that is, they were willing to give up a pound of flesh: their Zionism.

In January, Big Duck, a Brooklyn-based marketing firm with several nonprofit clients, declined to work with the Shalom Hartman Institute over its connection to Israel. This led Shalom Hartman to issue a statement identifying Big Duck’s decision as “a moving of the goalposts on BDS from Israel to North American Jewish organizations,” the never-ending pound of flesh demand in practice. The institute correctly noted that this “applies a standard on North American Jewish commitments that would exclude the vast majority of the members of our community.” In other words, the ancient goal of making it harder and harder for Jews to be fully Jewish, until it eventually becomes impossible.

My choice to step back from the pound of flesh dynamic was a personal one. But I have since met many Jews, older and younger, who shared with me their confrontation with the same challenge and sense that they need to make a similar decision. Extracting oneself from this toxic dynamic is not only the right thing to do, but also a key to mental health. Anti-Zionist bullying takes an emotional toll, and it cuts to the deepest levels of our Jewish identities. Rather than try to find out how many pounds of flesh it would take to make the bullies go away, the only effective response is to resist them with confidence. It’s hard to bully a proud people; it’s impossible to bully a people who know they have nothing to be ashamed of, and who don’t need or seek anyone else’s approval in the first place. The only response to anti-Zionism, in other words, is Zionism.
Harvard, BDS and the Nazis
The editors of Harvard's student newspaper have just urged a boycott of the Jewish state and praised a campus group that has celebrated a murderer of Jewish college students. In the 1930s, the editors of the same newspaper asserted that Harvard should grant an award to a Nazi official who promoted anti-Jewish boycotts and celebrated murderers of Jews.

Is there a basis for comparing today's editors of The Harvard Crimson to their pre-World War II predecessors?

The Crimson's editors last week accused Israel of committing "crimes against humanity" and endorsed the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. One presumes the editors are aware of the fact that BDS founder Omar Barghouti has said his goal is not to oppose "settlements" or "occupation," but rather to "oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine."

The editorial heaped praise on the "colorful" and "spirited" anti-Israel activities organized on campus by the Harvard College Palestine Solidarity Committee. For some reason, it did not refer to the Committee's 2015 post of a video that justified knife attacks against random Israeli Jews, or its 2016 event in support of Rasmea Odeh, the convicted murderer of two Hebrew University students in Jerusalem.

It would not be a stretch to imagine that if Ernst "Putzi" Hanfstaengl were alive today, he would be an enthusiastic supporter of the BDS campaign, the Palestine Solidarity Committee and Rasmea Odeh.

The shameful story of Hanfstaengl and Harvard was documented in the landmark 2005 book The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower by Prof. Stephen Norwood.
Jonathan S. Tobin: Can the UN's antisemitism problem be solved?
For decades, supporters of Israel have debated what to do about the United Nations. Should they ignore it as a talking shop that makes a lot of noise but can't impact events on the ground in the Middle East? Or should they treat its growing efforts to smear Israel as an "apartheid state" a genuine threat to the Jewish state?

Many Israelis, including those in the government, have trouble taking the United Nations seriously. Israel's first prime minister and founding father, David Ben-Gurion, famously dismissed the concerns of Moshe Sharrett, who served as his foreign minister and initial successor, about the importance of the world body. Using the Hebrew acronym for the UN (UM), Ben-Gurion disputed the idea that without UN backing in the 1947 Partition Resolution, the Jewish state wouldn't have been founded.

"Not at all," Ben-Gurion responded. "Only the daring of the Jews founded this country and not some 'Um-shmum' resolution."

That sentiment expressed his admirable philosophy that the actions of the Jews were far more important than the opinions of the non-Jewish world. Several decades later, it still accurately sums up the way many Israelis feel about the United Nations, which is even more hostile to their nation than it was in Ben-Gurion's time.

The world body's bias against the Jewish state is baked into the cake due to the dominance of Islamist, Marxist and Third World nations that buy into the lie that Zionism is racism. That bias has been expressed in many ways over the years—from the General Assembly's passage in 1975 of the infamous "Zionism is racism" resolution to its role in convening the 2001 Durban Conference on Racism, which became an anti-Semitic hatefest.

The United Nations and its various agencies are a ticker tape of reports, programs and resolutions aimed at undermining the Jewish state's security and bolstering the Palestinians' century-old war on Zionism. The UN Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) is solely focused on ensuring that the descendants of Palestinian Arabs who fled the country during Israel's 1948 War of Independence remain stateless refugees to be used as propaganda to delegitimize the existence of a Jewish state.
  • Wednesday, May 11, 2022
  • Elder of Ziyon
  • ,
After I saw that Amnesty blamed Israel for the death of Shireen Abu Akleh (see below,) I made this:

Amnesty's tweets:

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Read all about it here!



                                                          --Interview with Jonathan Hoffman--

Eleven Days in May tells the story of the 2021 Gaza war on Israel from the terrorists’ perspective. That is to say, the film preys on the emotions of the viewers to make them side with those bent on pushing Israel and its residents, into the sea. As Eleven Days would have you believe, 60 children were killed in Gaza, and that is all you need to know.

Jonathan Hoffman

You don’t need to know, according to those who brought the film to fruition, that a terrorist father endangered his child’s safety by failing to remove him to a less dangerous location than by his side. You don’t need to know, say the producers, financers, and screeners of the film, that the “children,” who were murdered, were, in many cases, teens who received extensive training in the use of arms, and who were well educated to use those arms against Jews. You don’t even need to know the identity of the aggressor or the timeline, according to those who brought you Eleven Days in May. Because if you knew those things, you might not hate Israel. You might not hate the Jews enough. And that, after all, is the entire point of the film.

That, at least, was the impression of Jonathan Hoffman, who viewed the film on May 8. Hoffman, an instrumental figure in the defeat of Jeremy Corbyn, has made it his life’s work to advocate for Israel and to oppose antisemitism. The former vice chair of the UK Zionist Federation and adviser to Labour Against Antisemitism, Hoffman found the film to be an appalling exercise in antisemitic propaganda and incitement. A player on social media with more than 2000 Twitter followers, Hoffman wrote about the film on his activist blog in ‘Eleven Days in May’: Terrorist Propaganda Showing at a Picturehouse Cinema Near You!

Jonathan Hoffman was responsible for funding and publicity, and was the spokesperson for this anti-Corbyn campaign before the 2019 election

Demonstrating at the final Corbyn rally before the December 2019 election

October 2020 Countered Palestine Action anti-Elbit demonstration in Holborn They threw paint at us and at the building The court case in which Jonathan is a witness is ongoing.

Based on what Hoffman reports, Eleven Days in May is a dishonest, hate-filled screed against Israel. What is the purpose of the film? What, if anything, should Israel and those who care about her, do to combat the lies? Hoffman graciously consented to answer these and other questions:

Varda Epstein: You have called Eleven Days in May a “terrorist propaganda film.” Can you explain what you mean by this? Are you saying that the film actually promotes terrorism?

Jonathan Hoffman: This is a film that could only be made with the involvement or co-operation of Hamas in Gaza. To depict the children that were killed but to withhold all context is pure propaganda. It’s precisely like making a film lamenting the German children who were killed in World War Two but omitting all context, in order to win sympathy for the Nazis.

Varda Epstein: According to your blog piece, Eleven Days in May is being screened at 9 theaters in London, plus another 5 locations in Britain. Are these cinemas frequented by specific sectors? Who is most likely to see the film?

Jonathan Hoffman: Picturehouse has a reputation for showing ‘independent,’ ‘socially significant’ films. Of the 14 cinemas where Eleven Days is being screened, fully 12 belong to the Picturehouse group. No specific sectors frequent these theaters—the risk is that regular people will watch the film in order to learn more about the Middle East conflict. The only lesson they will take from this film, however, is the slanderous lie that Israel Kills Children. 

"Much the same hopes and dreams and ambitions of children everywhere."

My children never had this hope, dream, or ambition, ever. How about yours?

Summer camp Gaza, 2021, doing maneuvers in a terror tunnel with a gun. Same as any other child, right?

Son gets a lesson on how to murder Jews from his terrorist father. Both were killed in an airstrike in Gaza, 2021. *sad noises*

Just another innocent child killed in Gaza in 2021

Loss to humanity. Tsk. 

He deserves to be remembered--when the lying mainstream media tells you that Israel is murdering children.

Varda Epstein: The advertising blurb for the movie states, “Over the course of 11 days in May 2021, over 60 children were killed in Gaza. They should never be forgotten.” We know that several Israelis sit on the board of directors of Cineworld, owner of Picturehouse, the entertainment company which in turn, owns 12 of the theaters in which Eleven Days is currently being shown. How can it be that Israeli Jews would be a party to the screening of such a skewed portrayal of the facts, clearly meant to appeal to emotions and incite further violence against innocent Israeli civilians? Is it realistic to think that any Israelis are unaware that Gazan terrorists struck Israel first, unprovoked, with some 4,500 rockets? What do you think these particular Israelis want viewers to come away with after seeing this film? 

Jonathan Hoffman: As far as I know the only Israelis involved are the Greidinger brothers, through their part ownership of Cineworld, which in turn owns Picturehouse. I have written to Mooky Greidinger to ask if he knew about this film. If he did – and yet failed to stop it being shown in Picturehouse cinemas – I am utterly horrified.  Similarly if he only learnt about the film from my blog but failed to terminate its showings. Please note that I am not trying to get the film banned. But just because a film is made does not mean that a cinema is obliged to show it or that Netflix (for example) is obliged to make it available to subscribers.

Varda Epstein: Are Israeli victims of Gazan rocket attacks even referenced in the film? Is the proper timeline presented to the viewers?

Jonathan Hoffman: No and no.

Not mentioned in Eleven Days in May, Israeli child Ido Avigal (5), of Sderot, who was critically injured when a rocket launched from Gaza penetrated the safe room of his family's apartment. His mother and younger sister were both wounded in the attack. The three were transferred to hospital, where Ido succumbed to his wounds on May 12. 

Varda Epstein: Award-winning actress Kate Winslet serves as narrator for Eleven Days. Do you think this says something about her political outlet? Should the Jewish community be taking note of her participation as a stamp of approval on incitement against the Jewish people of Israel?

Jonathan Hoffman: As far as I am aware, Winslet does not have a history of denigrating Israel. Now she needs either to explain why she failed to learn the truth about Operation Guardians of the Wall – or if she DID know the truth, why she nevertheless agreed be the narrator of this film. It is not an option to remain silent.

Varda Epstein: Comedian Russell Brand called Eleven Days in May “A beautiful film!” Why do you think Russell Brand seems to be everywhere there is incitement to violence against the Jewish people of Israel, since at least 2014? Why is he so focused on this topic? 

Jonathan Hoffman: Because he’s an idiot who latches unthinkingly onto the latest fashionable fad on the Left.

                               Russell Brand interviews deranged Holocaust survivor, Gabor Maté

Varda Epstein: Aside from skewing the events as if Israel attacked Gaza, and not the other way around and aside from failing to mention that Gazan children are purposely put in harm’s way to create news and photo ops for the anti-Israel media, how else does the film fail to depict the truth?

Jonathan Hoffman: I would refer readers to my blog for a detailed critique. A short summary of the film’s falsehoods and omissions:

·         Israel blamed for evictions from Al Aqsa

·         Lies about Sheikh Jarrah

·         Lies that Israel fired hand grenades in Al Aqsa

·         Fails to mention the thousands of rockets fired into Israel

·         Fails to mention that Israel achieves record low ratio of civilian to combatant casualties in asymmetric warfare 1:1

·         Fails to mention deaths from Hamas rockets that fell short

·         Fails to identify 17 year olds who died who were terrorist supporters 

·         Fails to identify children of terrorists who were killed in attacks on the terrorists.

·         Fails to mention that Hamas tunnels caused deaths of children, because a street on top of one collapsed.

·         Falsely claims that Israel fired missiles at a child.

Varda Epstein: Are film viewers made aware that many of the “children” killed in Gaza were actually teenage militants or in close proximity to adult militants?

Jonathan Hoffman: No.

Varda Epstein: How do the filmmakers either present or get around these inconvenient facts?

Jonathan Hoffman: They omit them.

Varda Epstein: Who do you suspect funded this film? Why is the film being aired now, at this specific juncture?

Jonathan Hoffman:  Some of the funding came, I believe, from Revolution Films, co-owned by Michael Winterbottom who is a co-director of the film. UNICEF’s logo appears on the credits at the end.  I really hope they didn’t fund it. If they did then I will urge my government in the UK to protest.

Varda Epstein: Isn’t this just one more attempt to smear Israel for an audience already filled with anti-Israel, antisemitic hate? Does it matter? Assuming it does matter, and we need to somehow act, what is it we can or should do about Eleven Days in May?

Jonathan Hoffman: Yes. It matters because it increases the danger for Israel and for Jews everywhere, plus, it’s antisemitic – or Don’t Jews Count? I urge everyone to protest to Mooky Greidinger: or via

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

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

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From Ian:

Bassam Tawil: Palestinians Lie to Murder Jews; U.S. Rewards Them
The terrorists and their families are saying that they actually believe the lies of the Palestinian leaders that the mosque is being attacked, violated and desecrated by Jews. They are saying that this is the reason they are sending Palestinians to murder Jews on the streets of Israeli cities.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, with whom the Biden administration is currently talking, even had the gall to repeat the blood libel against Israel and Jews when he issued a statement "condemning" the murder of Israeli civilians in Elad.

Please note: in the very same breath that Abbas "condemns" the murders of Israeli civilians, he continues to push his people to murder Jews for allegedly desecrating the holy sites in Jerusalem.

Palestinian leaders not only normally lie to their people about the fictitious "danger" facing the mosque; they also lie to the Americans and Europeans, who continue to believe that Abbas and his team are sincere about making peace with Israel.

Americans and Europeans additionally fail to grasp that by using the Aqsa Mosque as a pretext for terrorism against Jews, the Palestinian leaders are also aiming to rally Muslims against Western "infidels" around the world.
PMW: PA incited riots, violence, and terror - leads to death of Al-Jazeera journalist
PA repeatedly incited terror during Ramadan, retelling its libel that Al-Aqsa is being “desecrated” by the presence of Jews on Temple Mount

PMW will be releasing a bulletin tomorrow documenting 15 additional examples of PA demonizing any Jewish presence on the Temple Mount and/or calling for violence and terror in the name of defending the mosque

PMW has already released numerous bulletins in the last two months documenting the incessant recent terror promotion of the PA

Responding to PA incitement to murder, Palestinian terror, mostly originating from the region of Jenin, has murdered 19 Israelis across Israel

This morning Israeli forces entered Jenin for the purpose of arresting additional terrorists before they could commit more terror attacks

Israeli forces were fired on by Palestinian terrorists. During the firefight Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh was shot and killed. It has not yet been determined how she was killed.

Regardless of whose bullet killed the journalist, the Palestinian terrorists who initiated the gunfight and the Palestinian Authority itself which called for the violence bear full responsibility for all casualties.
IDF chief announces special panel to investigate death of Al-Jazeera journalist
Defense Minister Benny Gantz addressed the Knesset plenum on Wednesday just hours after Al-Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh was killed while covering IDF activity in Jenin, saying Israeli forces would never deliberately target a journalist.

"I would like to express my sorrow over her death; Israel considers it paramount to protect human life and freedom of the press," Gantz told lawmakers. He added, "IDF troops would never deliberately hurt journalists, and any attempt to suggest otherwise lacks any validity."

He also defended Israel's public diplomacy campaign to explain the unfolding of events that led to the tragic death of the reporter, whose circumstances are still being investigated. "The MKs and others who are lamenting the work of our information agencies and the IDF SPokesperson's Unit are making baseless accusations; I would like to lend my support to the fighters and the entire gamut of units that have been partaking in this effort to provide security for Israelis and to reveal the truth as it is," Gantz said. He noted that "according to an initial investigation the IDF has conducted over the past several hours, it appears that no [Israeli] fire was directed toward the reporter, but we will continue our investigation; in fact, footage taken at the scene shows massive and indiscriminate fire by Palestinian terrorists."

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi announced the creation of a special panel to investigate the incident.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called the Al-Jazeera offices in Israel in order to express his condolences on the death of Abu Akleh. "Palestine lost one of its truth warriors, someone who tried to convey the Palestinian story to the world and was witness to the crimes of the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people," Abbas said.

A senior official in the Palestinian Authority told Israel Hayom that Ramallah categorically rejects the Israeli assertion that Palestinian terrorists were responsible for Abu Akleh's death. The official added that the PA plans to petition the US in order to launch an independent investigation that would include Palestinian investigators but no Israelis.
Bennett: PA accusing Israel of reporter's death without concrete evidence
Following the death of Al-Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh on Wednesday during a clash between IDF troops and terrorists in the West Bank city of Jenin, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett refuted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' attempts to blame Israel "without any concrete evidence."

The Qatari news channel alleged Abu Akleh and Ali Samoudi, who was wounded, were hit by Israeli fire, but the IDF said that the two were casualties of Palestinian fire. The military said it was investigating the incident.

Abu Akleh, 51, was covering the clash when she reportedly suffered a single shot to the face. Samoudi, who sustained a gunshot wound to the back, was hospitalized in stable condition.

In a statement, the IDF said its troops had shot back after coming under "massive fire" in Jenin, an infamous Islamic Jihad stronghold, and that "there is a possibility, now being looked into, that reporters were hit – possibly by shots fired by Palestinian gunmen."

A second statement posted on Twitter read, "In the last few hours, IDF and Israeli security forces conducted counterterrorism activity to apprehend terror suspects in the Jenin refugee camp. During the activity, dozens of Palestinian gunmen fired at and hurled explosive devices toward the soldiers. The soldiers responded with fire toward the gunmen and hits were identified. The IDF is investigating the event and looking into the possibility that journalists were hit by Palestinian gunmen."

Al-Jazeera blamed Israel for Abu Akleh's death, tweeting, "Our colleague was killed by the Israeli army while covering the attack on the Jenin refugee camp."

By Daled Amos

The Hamas terrorists would like you to know that they are in charge.

That was the goal a year ago when they successfully precipitated the Israeli retaliation in response to yet another series of massive Hamas rocket attacks, numbering over 3,000 rockets. But there are just so many times that Hamas can cavalierly invite destruction in Gaza, reminding Palestinian Arabs living there just how poorly the terrorist group governs the area.

So now Hamas is pushing a new narrative: Hamas is claiming to be the protector of Jerusalem. More than that, in pursuit of that new role, they are claiming to be the force behind this year's deadly attacks on Jews.

But not everyone is buying it.

Eyal Zisser, a lecturer in the Middle East History Department at Tel Aviv University, writes that in reality, Hamas is scared out of its wits:

Hamas is trying to cause a flare-up in Judea and Samaria and among the Arab Israeli public because it fears a direct confrontation with the Israeli military on the Gaza border, for the State of Hamas will be the one to pay the price for any fighting in the strip. Hamas’s policy projects no sophistication or boldness, only weakness.

According to Zisser, Hamas is taking credit for something that is actually out of its hands -- and even the hands of the Palestinian Authority: the Palestinian Arab street. It is something that might be ignited and incited, but it is not something that can be controlled -- "The Palestinian arena, including the Arab Israeli public, is characterized by a lack of leadership, a lack of direction, and internal chaos."

But that is not preventing the terrorist group from playing this new angle for all it is worth.

And according to an article last month by The Jerusalem Post's Khaled Abu Toameh, others believe what Hamas is saying. One of their leaders claimed that some countries and even the UN turned to the terrorists in an effort to avoid an escalation in the violence during Ramadan.

And unlike Zisser, Abu Toameh is of the opinion that "Hamas has once again shown that there is no ignoring its role in events taking place in Jerusalem and the West Bank."

Both Jordan and the PA are also taking Hamas seriously.

Last week, Abu Toameh wrote about the PA, Jordan in bid to prevent Hamas takeover of Temple Mount:

Palestinian sources pointed out that activists belonging to Fatah, the ruling faction headed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, have been deployed at the compound in the past two weeks in a show of force and a warning to Hamas supporters.

In addition, the Jordanian-controlled Wakf Department, which administers the affairs of the Aqsa Mosque compound, has instructed its security guards to remove Hamas banners from the area, the sources said. The guards were also instructed to stop worshipers from bringing fireworks and other objects into the compound.

According to a PA official, Israel and Jordan are close to an agreement on the Wakf's responsibilities, which would include hiring new guards, both replacing guards who have retired and increasing the total number of guards. One sticking point seems to be Israel's insistence that the new guards pass a security clearance.

One idea not mentioned is installing security cameras.
Remember those?

The original idea for having cameras on the Temple Mount was that it would make it possible to spot people trying to smuggle weapons into the Al-Aqsa Mosque. At the time, both Jordan and the Wakf turned it down -- this despite the fact that The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi and the Great Mosque of Mecca in Saudi Arabia both have cameras as a security precaution.

Maybe Jordan will reconsider the idea this week.

This Friday Jordanian King Abdullah II and his son, Crown Prince Hussein, will be meeting with Biden. According to Jonathan Schanzer, Senior VP at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies:

The Hashemite Kingdom has recently made a push for a greater agency on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, amidst flaring tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.

Such statements resonate among Jordan’s Palestinian citizens, who account for as many as 80% of the Jordanian population. The King may seek to press this during his meeting with President Biden.

This might be more than just an issue of religious motivation and dedication. Schanzer points out that Jordan is suffering from problems with both its economy and COVID. In addition, internally there is dissatisfaction with the way King Abdullah is running the country. He may see strengthening his role in the mosque as part of a solution to his domestic problems rather than as a distraction from dealing with them.

After all, championing the Al Aqsa Mosque seems to be helping Hamas. It's only natural that the king will want to reinforce his own claims to it.

Another push for increasing Jordan's role is coming from Mansour Abbas.

Last month, his Ra'am party froze its membership in Bennett's coalition during the wave of attacks at the time. One of the conditions for its return to voting with the coalition was a summit between Israel and Jordan focusing on an outline for “returning the status quo” of the Al Aqsa Mosque.

But it might be easier to press ahead with a stronger role for Jordan if it would stop being so antagonistic towards Israel.

In advance of Friday's meeting, Washington issued a statement that “Jordan is a critical force for stability in the Middle East and strategic partner and ally of the United States.” That would be easier to believe if Jordan was not adding to the instability.

Just last month:

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said there was a need for an emergency meeting of Arab League foreign ministers to discuss the "Israeli escalation,"

o  In the Jordanian parliament, Prime Minister Bishar al-Hassuna praised Palestinians "who throw stones at Zionist forces defiling the Al-Aqsa Mosque." 

o  Jordan condemned Israeli authorities for allowing Jewish worshipers on the Temple Mount -- despite the longtime understanding that Jews are allowed to visit there, just not pray there.

o  According to state media, King Abdullah himself said that Israel's "unilateral" moves against Muslim worshippers seriously undermined the prospects for peace in the region.

o  While speaking to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the king blamed Israel for "provocative acts" in the mosque compound that violated "the legal and historic status quo" of the Muslim holy shrines. 

o  Israeli Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar noted that the remarks made by senior Jordanian officials feed "attempts by extremist and terrorist elements, such as Hamas, to ignite the territory through a false anti-Israel campaign."

So much for Jordan being "a critical force for stability in the Middle East."

King Abdullah II's future as ruler of Jordan likely is tied to the influence and control he can exert over Al Aqsa. But the enemy that is standing in his way is Hamas -- not Israel. However, joining in the pile-on accusing Israel of bad intent and praising Palestinian Arabs for their attacks is also a quick and easy way for the king to earn credibility among his own people.

That Biden shows more support for Abdullah than for the Abraham Accords is itself not encouraging for the future stability in the region or for continued US support in the Middle East.

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  • Wednesday, May 11, 2022
  • Elder of Ziyon

Jordanian officials have been loudly claiming that they have exclusive rights to the holy places in Jerusalem.

Amman's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, Ayman Safadi, said that "there is no Israeli sovereignty over the city's holy sites."

So let's look again at exactly what the Israeli-Jordanian peace agreement says.

Article 9 - Places of Historical and Religious Significance and Interfaith Relations
1. Each Party will provide freedom of access to places of religious and historical significance.
2. In this regard, in accordance with the Washington Declaration, Israel respects the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem. When negotiations on the permanent status will take place, Israel will give high priority to the Jordanian historic role in these shrines.
3. The Parties will act together to promote interfaith relations among the three monotheistic religions, with the aim of working towards religious understanding, moral commitment, freedom of religious worship, and tolerance and peace.
The first paragraph makes it clear that Jews should be allowed to visit the Temple Mount. Probably more than the twice a day, five says a week they have now. And when Jordanian leaders say that Jews are not allowed there at all, they are violating this agreement.

The third paragraph, like the first, is routinely disrespected by Jordanian officials, where they do not allow that Jews have any historic or religious rights in Jerusalem.

The second paragraph is key. The first sentence says "Israel respects the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem." At the time, the special role was that Jordan controlled the Waqf which was responsible for the religious and civil arrangements.

What does "respect" mean in a legal document?

It can mean that Israel must defer to Jordan's role. But it can also imply that Israel is the real party controlling the sites, and it promises to show respect for Jordan's role - which doesn't mean that Jordan has legal rights over the area and Israel's being somewhat altruistic in letting Jordan keep its role.

I believe that the second sentence makes that latter meaning more likely: "When negotiations on the permanent status will take place, Israel will give high priority to the Jordanian historic role in these shrines." It sounds like Israel has all the rights, and it voluntarily concedes them in the interest of neighborly relations. But if there are overriding reasons for Israel to take over, its priorities may override the others.

At any rate, Jordan's insistence that it has legal control over the Temple Mount is not at all supported by the signed agreements with Israel.

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  • Wednesday, May 11, 2022
  • Elder of Ziyon

This morning, Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Aqleh was killed by a bullet to her head during a firefight in Jenin between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants.

That's all we know for sure.

But the reactions to her death show a huge difference in how each side cares about the truth.

From the Israeli side:

“During the operation in Jenin refugee camp, suspects fired an enormous amount of gunfire at troops and hurled explosive devices. [Israeli] forces fired back” the Israeli army said in a statement.

“Hits were identified,” the military added, although there were no reports of Palestinian casualties beyond the two journalists.

The army said it was “looking into the possibility that journalists were injured, potentially by Palestinian gunfire.” In video from the scene, Palestinian gunmen can be seen firing off rounds; at one point, one Palestinian says that an Israeli soldier was hit by gunfire [and was on the ground, no IDF soldier was injured - EoZ].

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the government backed the soldiers’ actions.

According to the information in our hands right now, there is a good chance that armed Palestinians, firing wildly, brought about the tragic death of the journalist,” Bennett said in a statement.
But on the Palestinian and pro-Palestinian side, even the idea that an errant bullet from their side might have accidentally hit the journalist is absolutely forbidden to say.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called Abu Aqleh’s death an “execution” and “an ugly crime.” The Hamas terror group accused Israel of “deliberately assassinating” her.

Palestinian health officials and witnesses rejected the possibility that Abu Aqleh was killed by errant Palestinian gunfire. In footage seen by The Times of Israel, the journalists can be seen more or less on their own — with no armed Palestinians or Israeli soldiers apparently nearby.

“The assessment is that she was killed by Israeli gunfire, and witnesses at the scene attest to this as well,” a Palestinian health official said in a phone call.
This should be easy to solve: just obtain the bullet and see what kind of gun it came from. 

Yet the side that is adamant about their innocence is equally adamant that this evidence is literally buried:

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said Israel had offered the Palestinians a joint pathological investigation into “the sad death of journalist Shireen Abu Aqla.”

“Journalists must be protected in conflict zones and we all have a responsibility to get to the truth,” Lapid said in a statement.
Lapid is interested in transparency, and while normally the IDF does its own investigations, they are willing to work with Palestinian pathologists in order to ensure that no one can accuse its investigation of being biased.

But from the Palestinian side:

The Palestinian Authority has thus far refused the request, Israeli officials said. Ramallah has yet to officially comment on the Israeli offer.

“I believe they refused because they have no interest in uncovering the truth,” said Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar.
The Palestinian Red Crescent quickly removed her body. The Palestinians rushed to bury her in Jenin. (CORRECTION: They had a funeral procession but she is being buried tomorrow.)
Ran Kochav, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, told Kan public broadcaster. "We proposed to the Palestinians to open a swift joint probe. If we indeed killed her, we'll take responsibility, but it doesn't seem to be the case....If the Palestinians cooperate we'll have better answers."

Her coworker who was also shot immediately blamed Israel, but that means there are other bullets that can be recovered - and the Palestinians on the scene seem not to want those bullets to be examined. 

While we might not know who killed Abu Aqleh, but we can see very clearly that only the Israeli side is interested in the truth, no matter which way it points. And the Palestinians do not even want the possibility that she was killed by their side to be in the conversation.

This is a consistent pattern with all such incidents over the years. Israel admits when its side makes a mistake, the Palestinian leaders don't want to admit that even wildly shooting terrorists on their side, acting independently, could possibly be at fault for anything. This happens with Gaza rocket misfires that kill Palestinians as well - they never admit it even when normally anti-Israel organizations like PCHR or the UN say it came from their side.

The truth is not clear right now. But here, as always, only one side is interested in the truth, while the other side is only interested in using this as propaganda.

That is enough reason to believe the Israeli side implicitly whenever incidents like this occur.

And any media that reports the Palestinian claims without reservation are just as uninterested in the truth as the Palestinians themselves, and should be treated accordingly.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2022

From Ian:

Bret Stephens: Zionism Remains a Freedom Struggle
Students of 20th-century decolonization agree on one thing: It was a mess.

The partition that would divide India from Pakistan, the border drawn on five weeks’ notice by an English civil servant named Cyril Radcliffe — a man who had never so much as visited the subcontinent — resulted in a death toll estimated at up to 2 million people, as well as the forced displacement of another 14 million. The European scramble out of Africa and Asia created a slew of nations whose new borders rarely corresponded to ethnic, sectarian, or tribal lines, leading to decades of oppression and violent conflict.

Israel emerged from the same shambolic process. Promises were made in the Balfour Declaration of 1917 only to be withdrawn in the White Paper of 1939. Policies such as the wartime restrictions on Jewish immigration were capricious and cruel. The partition plan proposed for Mandatory Palestine was unworkable. The borders foisted on the proposed Jewish state were indefensible. Inevitably, the result was violent and chaotic. Whatever view one takes of the birth of Israel, its rights and wrongs, it was of a piece with the tragic circumstances of its era.

Most postcolonial states have spent decades trying to work their way out of this kind of rubble. Just as Israel has never fully settled territorial claims with all of its neighbors, neither has Pakistan with India (over Jammu and Kashmir), or Cyprus with Turkey (over northern Cyprus), or Armenia with Azerbaijan (over Nagorno-Karabakh), or Morocco with the so-called Sahrawi Republic (over Western Sahara), or Georgia with Russia (over Abkhazia and South Ossetia), or, most recently, Russia with Ukraine (over Ukraine itself).

A complete list would be much longer, but this one already provides a sense of just how unexceptional the Israeli–Arab conflict really is. Equally unexceptional have been the reasons why it has persisted for so long. Wherever ethnic groups are locked into conflict, the competition for power tends to be zero-sum. Sectarian strife is especially difficult to resolve because it involves value systems that are self-justifying, nonrational, and prone to fanaticism. Borders are hard to agree on when they involve not just land and resources, but also memory and meaning.

There is also a profound tension between the claims of collective identity and those of personal liberty. Americans may think of the words “independence” and “liberty” as indissoluble, if not interchangeable. But there has never been any guarantee of the former leading to the latter.

Look closely at the history of decolonization and it is mostly a story of foreign imperialism giving way to local tyranny. Jomo Kenyatta helped free Kenya from British rule only to preside as a tyrant until his death. The same goes for the revolutionaries who defeated the French in Algeria. Each supposed liberator left his people with even fewer civil rights, legal protections, and economic freedoms in their independent states than they had enjoyed under colonial rule.

The Jewish state might easily have succumbed to the same dynamics. In David Ben-Gurion, it had a charismatic founding father who could have sought a dictatorial path. The prominent role of the military in Israeli life, along with the constant threat of invasion, has given generals a position in politics that elsewhere is the stuff of coups and juntas. And the country has always felt the tension between the claims of identity and freedom. It lies at the heart of controversies such as the 2018 nation-state law, the egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall, marriage laws, and the exemption of Israeli Arabs from military service.

Yet Israel’s commitment to democratic and liberal values for its citizens has been resilient and profound. Why?
Cary Nelson: The Anti-Israel Politicisation of the US Academy: The Next Phase is Happening at California and Illinois
The University of California and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign UIUC are on the verge of green-lighting academic departments taking official stands on controversial political topics, including Israel. Cary Nelson, President of the American Association of University Professors from 2006 to 2012, argues this unprecedented change will sacrifice protections for individual academic freedom in the service of collective political action, substantially undermine the university’s status as an unbiased site for the exploration of views and the pursuit of truth, undermine public confidence in the apolitical character of the university mission, and all these effects will only increase over time.

For the last year I have argued repeatedly to all who would listen that May 2021 represented a watershed moment for the anti-Zionist politicisation of the academy.[1] That month Women’s and Gender Studies programs organised an international campaign for departmental endorsement of a statement identifying Israel as a moral and political outlaw. On my own campus four academic programs either signed that statement or issued one of their own; Gender and Women’s Studies, Asian American Studies, Urban and Regional Planning, and History.

Neither I nor colleagues elsewhere have been able to find earlier examples of academic departments taking official stands on controversial political topics. Even during the Vietnam War, during the 1970s when opposition to the war was near universal in the academy, individual departments did not do so, though some faculty senates did. But in May of last year academic programs for the first time officially represented themselves as vehicles of anti-Zionism. They did so without acknowledging that Zionism is the national movement of the Jewish people, seeking Jewish political self-determination in their ancestral homeland. They find nothing nuanced, let alone anything positive, to say about Israeli society. In contrast to occasional statements on social issues reflecting broad campus consensus, academic units were now endorsing a political position that sharply divided students, staff, and faculty. More recently, a new and more decisive phase of departmental politicisation has been in process, not only in the University of California but also on my own campus, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

California’s system-wide academic senate is considering whether to establish departmental politicisation as a guaranteed right. The faculty senate of UIUC, the flagship campus of the University of Illinois system, may be on the verge of doing the same.[2] The Illinois senate committee that drafted the policy recommendation, the Committee on General University Policy, has urged its adoption; its recommendation is now being reviewed by the Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure.[3] Some Faculty members in both states have expressed their opposition to department political statements, so far to no avail. If the California and Illinois systems endorse departmental politicisation, other campuses are likely to follow. Given the international character of the list of departments signing the May 2021 anti-Zionist statement, among them programs in Britain and Canada, some universities in other countries may follow the US example.

The Caroline Glick Show: Harvard stands with the terrorists. Who do the Jews stand with?
Following the Harvard Crimson’s adoption of the BDS movement and its goal of Israel’s annihilation, and in the face of a new act of barbarous jihad by ax-wielding Palestinian terrorists, in the week’s Mideast News Hour, Caroline Glick talks with professor Avi Bell of Bar-Ilan University and Dan Diker of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. They discuss the escalation of the political war against Israel, what stands behind it, and what Israel and Diaspora Jewry must do to fight back effectively.

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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 14 years and 30,000 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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