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Thursday, October 19, 2017

From Ian:

Report: UN Promoting Anti-Semitic Hate Groups, Terrorism
The United Nations has formally endorsed and approved scores of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hate groups that promote terrorism against Jews from within the halls of Turtle Bay and elsewhere, according to a new report that exposes how these organizations have been granted privileged status by the U.N., potentially in violation of the international body's own bylaws.

The U.N. has formally accredited scores of non-profit organizations that use their legitimacy to spread anti-Semitic propaganda promoting terrorism against Israel and Jews, according to an in-depth new expose by Human Rights Voices, a watchdog organization.

The report, which provides pictorial evidence of this behavior, exposes how these organizations use their U.N.-accredited stature to slander the Jewish state and promote terror groups such as Hamas.

The report is likely to galvanize the Trump administration and pro-Israel supporters in Congress to further scrutinize the U.N.'s systematic promotion of anti-Israel propaganda, according to those familiar with the matter.

The Trump administration has already removed the United States from a U.N. cultural organization known as UNESCO due to its repeated efforts to pass anti-Israel resolutions that claim Jewish historical sites do not belong to the state of Israel.
Evelyn Gordon: Outside the UN, BDS Is Losing Badly
Until now, because most boycott initiatives have been small-scale, it’s been possible for people who advocate “just boycotting the settlements” to ignore what that actually means. The irony is large-scale initiatives like the UNHRC blacklist, by publicly spelling out exactly what it entails, make it much harder for people to keep ignoring the truth: that “boycotting the settlements” actually means boycotting Israel.

Nevertheless, this realization isn’t going to sink in without a lot of work on the part of both the Israeli government and Jewish and pro-Israel activists worldwide. Indeed, that’s one of the main lessons of the victories to date.

When the BDS movement first emerged, many well-meaning people advocated ignoring it rather than fighting it on the grounds that fighting it would simply inflate the importance of an otherwise insignificant movement. But victories like those of the past few weeks show why that strategy was wrong. The growing understanding that BDS is anti-Semitic didn’t happen because Israel and overseas activists ignored the movement; it happened because both the Israeli government and overseas activists relentlessly explained the connection between boycotting Israel and anti-Semitism. And a similar effort will be needed to explain that “boycotting the settlements” is just a euphemism for boycotting Israel.

Even though large swaths of polite society are now perfectly comfortable with anti-Semitism as long as they can tell themselves it’s just “anti-Zionism” or “fighting the occupation,” open avowals of anti-Semitism are still taboo. Once stripped of the comforting pretense that it’s not anti-Semitic, BDS will be finished. And groups like the Austrian student union and the Bavarian Green Party are now tearing that pretense to shreds.
Why Europe's New Nationalists Love Israel
There is another path, taken by the United States, which allows that every nation can be "almost chosen," in Lincoln's memorable phrase. It can emulate Israel without seeking to supercede it. What distinguishes American culture is the radical Protestant belief that the City of God cannot be realized in the City of Man, that life is a pilgrimage whose goal is ever beyond the horizon. This concept defines and shapes American literary as well as popular culture, as I tried to show in this essay.

The existence and success of the State of Israel changes everything. It is not merely a promise, spiritualized by Christianity into a vision of another life beyond this one, but a living, breathing people that punches above its weight in every field of human endeavor. Perhaps the people of Israel will help fulfill their mission to be a light unto the nations by example. Europe's new nationalists may attempt to emulate Israel not but superceding it or by asserting their claims for election against each other, but by seeking to identify its virtues.

Post-nationalist Europe bears an irrational hatred of Israel, I wrote in this space in 2014.
The flowering of Jewish national life in Israel makes the Europeans crazy. It is not simply envy: it is a terrible reminder of the vanity of European national aspirations over the centuries, of the continent's ultimate failure as a civilization. Just as the Europeans (most emphatically the Scandinavians) would prefer to dissolve into the post-national stew of European identity, they demand that Israel do the same. Never mind that Israel lacks the option to do so, and would be destroyed were it to try, for reasons that should be obvious to any casual consumer of news media.

It is too early to judge the direction of the new European nationalism, which has some elements that make me cringe, and some that make me release the safety-catch on my Browning. But it also has men and women who do not want to disappear into the dustbin of history and look to Israel for inspiration. (h/t Elder of Lobby)

The Zionist Uncle Who Changed the World
A s Jews in England and around the world prepare to mark the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, let us pause to ponder the respective legacies of Edwin Montagu and Lewis Dembitz. The names of these two Jews are largely unknown today, but they were, each in his own way, central players in the saga of the declaration, and therefore in one of the seminal moments in Jewish history. The former, a dedicated anti-Zionist, did everything he could to prevent this moment from occurring; the latter made his home thousands of miles from Britain and went to his grave surely unaware that the honorable way he lived his life, every day, would one day help bring the Balfour Declaration, and thereby the Jewish State, into existence.

Edwin Montagu was born into the one of the wealthiest Jewish families in England. He was the son of Samuel Montagu, who had been raised to British peerage but was known first and foremost for his zealous observance of Jewish law and for his sympathies to Zionism. Edwin’s life was lived in rebellion against his patrimony; like many members of the Jewish aristocracy known as “The Cousinhood,” he hated Zionism and its notion that Jews all around the world were one people and bound to one another. This, he believed, was not only false, but also raised the specter of dual loyalty for Jews seeking assimilation and aristocratic elevation in Britain. To Britain’s prime minister, David Lloyd George, Montagu complained, “All my life I have been trying to get out of the ghetto; you want to force me back there.”

In 1917, Montagu received the India portfolio in George’s cabinet; he was known for his sympathy for the nationalist aspirations of the Indians but not for those of other Jews. As the only Jewish member of George’s cabinet, Montagu participated in a public anti-Zionist statement asserting that Zionism “regards all the Jewish communities of the world as constituting one homeless nationality,” a notion that the statement “strongly and energetically protests.” Zionism, argued the statement, “must have the effect of stamping the Jews as strangers in their native lands.”

There were prominent British Jews favorable to the Zionist project, including Montagu’s cousin Herbert Samuel. Yet as the British writer Chaim Bermant notes, Montagu was a “particularly formidable opponent, arguing both from the standpoint of the assimilated Jew and as Secretary of State for India.” If the efforts of Montagu were ultimately in vain, it was because the most politically powerful Jew in England was foiled by the most politically powerful Jew in America: Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis.

Brandeis had been raised with no Judaism at all and for much of his life approached Zionism in the same manner as Montagu. In 1905, he informed a Jewish audience that there was no place in the United States for “hyphenated Americans,” adding as late as 1910 that “habits of living or of thought which tend to keep alive differences of origin or classify men according to the religious beliefs are inconsistent with the American ideal of brotherhood, and are disloyal.” Yet he did know of one Jew who clearly saw no contradiction between public Jewishness and patriotic Americanism. That was his mother’s brother, a lawyer by the name of Lewis Dembitz.
In keeping with the spirit of the Jewish New Year, UNESCO may be trying to repent its notorious anti-Israel behavior by electing a French Jew to head the organization whose self-declared mission is to reform it. The fact that the experienced diplomat Audrey Azoulay defeated a reputedly antisemitic Qatari diplomat for the job is the honey on our apple.

It is no coincidence that Azoulay’s victory in the race follows quickly on a US decision to pull out from the UN agency, citing its undeniable anti-Israel bias, an exit that was immediately echoed by its favorite victim, Israel.

The new and (one wishes) improved UNESCO suddenly brings hope for the future under its new management, not the least due to the resolution filed last week in Washington by Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Matt Gaetz defending Israel and condemning UNESCO , including an endorsement to reconsider backing out if reform does occur.

In her upset victory, the former French culture minister defeated Qatari diplomat Hamad Bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari just when the organization was seen ready to continue its anti-historic campaign against the Jewish people by choosing its first Arab leader. The dark horse Azoulay was nominated at the last moment by lame duck president François Hollande and actively supported by France’s new president, Emmanuel Macron, who enlisted French diplomacy to deliver her unprecedented win.
'Restore integrity to UNESCO'
Dear Mrs. Azoulay,

Please accept my heartfelt congratulations on your election as Director General of UNESCO.

In recent years we have been watching in sorrow as this important organization has been losing its professional prestige whilst becoming a tool for political attacks against the state of Israel and against the entire Jewish People. The organization, which has championed the value of imparting historical heritage, is losing its way when it comes to Israel and our important historical sites.

The organization's resolutions have become professionally and historically baseless, serving as a propaganda tool for rewriting history.

This trend has culminated in the recent distorted decisions regarding the declaration of the Temple Mount and of the Tomb of the Patriarchs as Palestinian Heritage sites, completely ignoring the deep connection of the Jewish People to these sites, treating them as a foreign occupier.

These heritage sites and other archaeological sites in the Land of Israel, are a remarkable expression of the extraordinary affinity of the Jewish People to the historical and sacred regions of our people. Whatever the opinion of any individual regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict, there can be no denial of the deep connection of the Jewish People to sites such as the Tomb of the Patriarchs and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

As the Minister of Culture, the Israel Antiquities Authority and the preservation of historical sites are an important part of my portfolio. In that capacity, I have condemned UNESCO's resolutions on Israel, and have strengthened and supported our Prime Minister, Mr. Binyamin Netanyahu, in his decision to join the United States in announcing our withdrawal from the organization.
Israeli President Rivlin: "Israel Is Not Compensation for the Holocaust"
What do 130 Christian broadcasters from 30 countries on five continents who collectively broadcast to more than a billion homes around the world do when seated in the reception hall while waiting for President Reuven Rivlin to make an appearance?

They sing, and the song they sing in Hebrew is “Oseh Shalom Bimromav” (“He who makes peace in His high places”).

It’s not the usual prelude to a meeting with the president of Israel. But then these are somewhat unusual friends of Israel, basing their friendship not on sharing Israel’s technology and other areas of know-how, but in their belief in the Bible.

When Rivlin entered the hall at the President’s Residence on Wednesday, there was a deafening, stand-up ovation.

The four-day event, the first annual Christian Media Summit, which culminated with the address of the president, gave participants the opportunity to view Israel beyond the conflict, and, most important, to experience all the diversity and excitement of Jerusalem.

For Rivlin, it was a chance to once again play his dynasty card with his favorite monologue. “I am a son of Jerusalem; the son of a son of Jerusalem; the son of a son of a son... a seventh generation Jerusalemite.”
Zionism, Explained to a Muslim Friend
A Muslim friend recently asked, "How can we discuss Zionism away from Judaism?" I offered to meet with her and explain it.

The offer has not thus far been taken up, and so I've decided to put my response to the question in writing.

There is a great deal of innocent misunderstanding about what Judaism and Zionism are, and the connection between them. There is also much deliberate obfuscation and misrepresentation in the service of a range of political agendas.

The standard mantra of anti-Israel activists is that Judaism and Zionism are entirely separate from one another. This is a convenient, but entirely false and artificial, rhetorical device for overcoming the widespread perception that many anti-Zionists are antisemites in disguise.

By attempting to separate Zionism from Judaism, anti-Zionists try to delude others (if not themselves) into thinking that one can plausibly claim not to hate the Jewish people or the Jewish religion, but "only" to hate the only Jewish-majority State in the world.
Julie Nathan is the Research Officer for the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.
B’nai Brith CEO maintains Waters making ‘anti-Israel statement’ at shows
As B’nai Brith Canada continued to tour its anti-Roger Waters documentary Wish You Weren’t Here, CEO Michael Mostyn responded to the Pink Floyd co-founder’s outburst at one of his recent Toronto concerts, in which he singled Mostyn out.

Before the intermission at his second Toronto concert at the Air Canada Centre on Oct. 3, Waters, a spokesperson for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, claimed that Mostyn said his shows feature “long, lengthy tirades against the country of Israel.”

“Well, we have 30,000 witnesses here tonight … along with 600,000 other witnesses who’ve been to my shows since we started, who also never heard a single word about Israel in any of my shows. So I just needed to mouth off for Michael Mostyn and that’s it,” said Waters.

Speaking to The CJN from Ottawa hours before a screening of the documentary, Mostyn said he was proud that Waters called him out while on stage.

“We’re very proud that he singled out B’nai Brith,” Mostyn said with a laugh, “because first of all, it means he took note of our campaign.

“He’s taking note of these film screenings that are taking place across the country, coinciding with his shows across the country, and it shows that it’s having an impact and that this campaign is very effective.”

He said the BDS movement itself is anti-Semitic, a point the documentary, which was produced by Canadian author and filmmaker Ian Halperin, tries to drive home.
Anti-Israel Student Org’s National Conference to Focus on U.S., Israel ‘Legacy of Exploitation’
The country's major anti-Israel student organization's upcoming national conference will focus on drawing connections between the "settler colonial" United States and "the Zionist project" of Israel.

The National Students for Justice in Palestine (NSJP) annual conference, to be held at the University of Houston from Oct. 27-29, is themed, "A Reimagined World: Dismantling Walls from Palestine to the Rio Grande."

The group will demonstrate that the United States and Israel share a "distinct legacy of the displacement and theft, enslavement and disenfranchisement, and exploitation and domination of oppressed peoples," according to its website.

Those similarities include the countries' "militarized walls," or Israel's security barrier erected at the West Bank to stem terror activity and the U.S. border with Mexico; "raids" by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement linked to "home demolitions in '67 Palestine," a reference to the 1967 Six Day War between Israel and the armies of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria; and "the water in Gaza and the water of the Rio Grande."

With this being the group's first-ever conference held in the south, NSJP plans to explore the "multifaceted struggles" of the region. They will "intertwine black and Palestinian resistance histories and weave them into a collective liberation," like comparing the Great Migration with Israel's War of Independence.
Despite Threats, Arab Group Remains Committed to Defending Israel on US Campuses
A delegation of Israeli Arabs who are fighting the delegitimization of the Jewish state on college campuses remain committed to sharing their message in the United States, despite facing threats back home and unexpected obstacles from allies abroad.

The team — made up of Muslim, Christian, Druze, Bedouin and Palestinian volunteers — came on behalf of the advocacy group Reservists on Duty, and braved intense pressure to defend Israel publicly, RoD chief Amit Deri told The Algemeiner.

Dema Taya, a 25-year-old Israeli-Arab Muslim, said she received a barrage of abusive comments after her views on her country and plans to join the RoD tour were shared on Arab media.

“I received a lot of messages on Facebook threatening me and attacking me,” Taya recounted in an interview with The Algemeiner. “It was emotionally very difficult for me, because they wrote very harsh comments and insulted me personally, just because I am saying the truth … it was really painful.”

Taya added that some Arab outlets falsely reported that the RoD trip — organized in coordination with Students Supporting Israel — was actually planned by the Israeli government.

“Arab media just brainwashes the minds of young people,” she said. “There are more minorities, Muslim women and men, who think like me but they are afraid to talk because not everyone can stand in front of these attacks.”
Man convicted in plot to behead blogger over cartoon contest
A man who authorities say fell under the influence of the Islamic State group was convicted Wednesday of plotting to behead a conservative American blogger for organizing a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest.

Jurors found David Wright guilty of all charges, including conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries.

The 28-year-old from Everett, Massachusetts, faces up to life in prison when he's sentenced in December.

Federal officials called Wright's conviction a victory for America in its fight against terrorism.

"We can all sleep better now knowing that David Wright, a person who wanted to kill in the name of Islamic State, will no longer be free to walk the streets of the Commonwealth," said FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Peter Kowenhoven.

Prosecutors said Wright, his uncle and a third man conspired to kill blogger Pamela Geller because they were upset she organized a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas in 2015. During the contest, two other men opened fire outside and wounded a security guard before they were killed in a shootout with law enforcement assigned to guard the event.
IsraellyCool: Fairfax “Journalist” Caught Making Stuff Up To Demonize Israel
After some years of some frosty relations, things seem back on track for Israel and New Zealand, which have been negotiating an innovation agreement that would see technology firms from both countries fast-tracked to receive funding from their respective government grants agencies.

There are those who do not support such an agreement, such as BDS-holes, as well as the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union.

And a recent Fairfax report seems to suggest that the reason for the latter’s objection could be BDS-related – specifically this photo and caption accompanying the story.

The only problem is this is an outright fabrication, and Jordan Williams, the New Zealand Taxpayer’s Union executive director, has angrily called them out on it.

The Union wishes to clarify that it is the nature of the agreement – that Callaghan Innovation’s corporate welfare R&D grants will favour companies working with a particular country – not that the agreement is with a particular country.

And in case you think this was an innocent mistake, the article is still up in its original form, 9 days after this objection was raised. No edit, no apology or retraction, no nothing.

Clearly, “journalist” Madison Reidy has an anti-Israel bias – besides the fabricated quote, note how she mentions Israel being in violent conflict with “Palestine,” not Gaza or the PA-controlled territories. And for Fairfax media to allow someone like this to write for them and then allow the lies to stand, even after the dishonesty has been pointed out, is an absolute disgrace.
BBC News ignores a case of UN anti-Israel bias
Despite the fact that numerous international companies do business in additional locations categorised as occupied territories (e.g. north Cyprus, Western Sahara), the UN Human Rights Council has not passed resolutions mandating the creation of a database of businesses operating in any location other than those it views as being occupied Israel.

In recent days BBC audiences have seen and heard a number of reports concerning the UN (for example here, here and here) in which the phrase anti-Israel bias was placed in scare quotes and that bias was described in qualifying terms such as “perceived”.

The BBC, however, has ignored the story of the letters sent by the UNHRC that demonstrate clear anti-Israel bias at the United Nations.
Dutch soccer fans ridicule child Holocaust victims on Twitter
Soccer fans in the Netherlands used a picture of child victims of the Holocaust to taunt a rival team in what Dutch activists against racism called “a new low” for anti-Semitic rhetoric in sports.

The photo featuring two toddlers wearing a yellow star was widely circulated on Twitter under the hashtag #anti020week. The digits are Amsterdam’s area code, which in soccer jargon references the city’s main soccer club, Ajax. The picture, in which one child appears to be nearing tears, also featured the caption “When 020 had only one star.”

Shared by many supporters of the Feyenoord team of Rotterdam, the photo offers an extreme example of how fans of Ajax rivals mock the memory of the Holocaust. Ajax players and supporters are often called “Jews” in recognition of the large Jewish community that had existed in the Dutch capital before 80 percent of its members were murdered in the Holocaust by Germans and Dutch collaborators. Some Ajax fans self-identify as Jews.

Past incidents included songs about burning Jews and the SS, and the use of gas and Hamas, but using archival photos of individual victims is unusual.
Teens arrested in vandalism at Jewish cemetery in Romania
Police in Romania arrested three teenagers accused of destroying 10 headstones at a Jewish cemetery.

The incident occurred over the weekend, police said in a statement Monday about the arrests near the northern city of Reghin, located 200 miles north of Bucharest, the capital.

The suspects allegedly smashed the headstones and drew a swastika on two gates, though police said the swastikas may have been painted on the gates months ago, the Agepres news website reported.

On Monday, the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania said it was “shocked by this new antisemitic act of vandalism.”

“We emphasize that such cases require serious investigation and stiff punishment, in accordance with the legal provisions in force, because lax treatment opens the door to more and more serious violations of democracy,” the federation’s president, Aurel Vainer, said in a statement.

“It is not a coincidence that this outrageous incident took place only a week after the national commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust in Romania.”
Hungarian who helped Jews flee Holocaust honored in Budapest
A Hungarian who printed thousands of passports allowing Jews to flee the country during World War II has been honored with a memorial plaque.

Emil Wiesmeyer’s printing company initially made 4,000 of the basic passports, part of efforts by Swedish special envoy Raoul Wallenberg to save Jews from Nazi death camps.

He then produced about 20,000 more on his own to help Jews make it out of Hungary.

The plaque honoring Emil Wiesmeyer was unveiled Wednesday in Budapest by Szabolcs Szita, director of the Holocaust Memorial Center, and Swedish Ambassador Niclas Trouve

Some 550,000 Hungarian Jews were killed in the Holocaust.
Chinese Social Media Star Cries During Meeting With Holocaust Survivor in Israel
A Chinese social media star broke down in tears during a meeting with a famous 93-year-old Holocaust survivor in Israel, as part of an Israeli-Chinese cultural exchange.

Eight Chinese social media stars were brought to Israel as part of the Foreign Ministry’s “Young Chinese and Japanese leaders” program, which was created by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to strengthen ties between the Jewish state and Asian countries.

The eight bloggers have more than 35 million followers combined on China’s largest microblogging social media site, Sina Weibo, which is akin to an amalgam of Facebook and Twitter.

The bloggers met with 93-year-old Solomon Perel, the author of Europa Europa, a book that has been adapted into an Oscar-nominated movie based on his real-life story of impersonating a Hitler Youth member to survive the Holocaust.

One of the Chinese bloggers, Yan Jingsheng, who is a historian with six million social media followers, broke down in tears once he learned he was shaking the hand of the hero of Europa Europa.

“I read the book, I watched the movie, and I was moved to tears when I was suddenly face-to-face with this hero in real life. I never believed it could happen,” Jingsheng said, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

Perel called meeting the Chinese stars an act of “divine providence.”
Israel pumps new water saving push, as Sea of Galilee dives to century low
In 2009, in the midst of what was dubbed “the worst drought in 900 years,” the Water Authority embarked on a public awareness campaign to reduce the country’s water consumption. Some people expected it would be the authority’s last.

In the past decade, five massive desalination plants have come online, transforming salty seawater into 600 million cubic meters of drinkable water per year, enough to cover 70 percent of the water used by homes and cities across the country. It seemed those ubiquitous “every drop counts” public service announcements were a relic of the past.

Not so fast, said Uri Schor, the spokesperson for Israel’s Water Authority, who is in the midst of designing a large public awareness campaign for early 2018 to encourage people to save water in their homes.

“The fact [that desalination] came online so quickly is amazing,” said Schor. “This hasn’t happened anywhere else in the world.”
WATCH: Czech president strongly defends Israel to European assembly
Milos Zeman, president of the Czech Republic, issued a resounding defense of Israel at an address to the Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg, France earlier this month.

After Zeman's main address on October 10, John Howell of the United Kingdom asked: "What can you do, and what can we do, to bring peace to the Middle East?"

"My response will be probably [a] deep disappointment for you," Zeman said. "I am a friend of Israel... deep friend of Israel, and that is why I think that peace in the Middle East [will] be based primarily on the safety of Israel."

"I know the history of all [the] wars starting [in] 1948," he continued. "Every war was victorious for Israel, but being defeated would mean the end of this state, the Jewish State, and I think, unfortunately, that in some countries or movements, let us mention Hezbollah, Hamas and others... there survives the tenancy to diminish Israel, to destroy Israel."

In conclusion, Zeman offered, "What to do in order to have peace in the Middle East? To disarm the terroristic organizations, and first of all, Hamas and Hezbollah."
Israel to keep funding feeding ground for migrating pelicans
Migrating pelicans can once again stop by for a mouthful of fish in Israel.

The Agriculture Ministry said Wednesday it would keep funding a pet project to feed thousands of Great White Pelicans who fly annually over the country.

The idea is to centralize their feeding ground at a central Israeli reservoir so the birds do not harm the livelihood of farmers by poaching fish from nearby breeding grounds.

The ministry had previously said it was going to stop the project, claiming it was not responsible for feeding migrating animals passing through from Europe to Africa. But under pressure from farmers and environmentalists, it reconsidered.
Samsung considers opening an AI research center in Israel
Dr. Kinam Kim, the president of the Semiconductor Business of Samsung Electronics’ Device Solutions Division, visited Israel in order to examine the option of building an Artificial Intelligence research center in the country, according to a source familiar with the matter who spoke on conditions of anonymity. Mr. Kinam is one of Samsung’s top executives.

If established, the research and development center would employ dozens of engineers, the person familiar with the matter said.

Samsung did not respond to requests for information.

On Monday, chip manufacturer Intel announced it is recruiting dozens of Artificial Intelligence engineers for a new research center in Israel, focused on AI and deep learning technologies. “AI is the hottest field in technology today,” said Yaniv Garty, CEO of Intel’s operations in Israel, in a company announcement on Monday.

Earlier this month, multinational retailer Amazon announced it is opening an Alexa research and development center in Israel, which will employ some 100 engineers, including AI engineers.

Samsung already operates a number of development centers in Israel, as well as a local marketing arm and several investment arms.
Israeli-founded Kite Pharma gets FDA nod for cancer therapy
The US Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved Kite Pharma’s drug for a type of lymphoma based on a technology developed in Israel, in which the patient’s own immune cells fight the cancer.

Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, the Kite biopharmaceutical company was acquired by Gilead Sciences Inc. in August for about $12 billion in an all-cash deal. Kite was founded in 2009 by Israeli-American oncologist Arie Belldegrun, who studied at the Hebrew University and Weizmann Institute of Science. The chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy (Car-T) technology that is at the heart of the medication was developed at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Gilead, which announced the FDA approval, said the list price for the drug, Yescarta, would be $373,000, for one administration of the medication for the treatment of large B-cell lymphoma, a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

“The FDA approval of Yescarta is a landmark for patients with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma,” said Belldegrun. “We must also recognize the FDA for their ability to embrace and support transformational new technologies that treat life-threatening illnesses. We believe this is only the beginning for CAR-T therapies.”
Israel’s NRGene identifies mutation that causes colon cancer
Israel’s NRGene — the only company in the world to map the genome for bread, pasta and wild emmer wheat — has successfully identified a mutation that causes colon cancer, by means of a full analysis of a human family’s genomic profile, and has

“We have shown that our software is able to accurately, quickly and in a cheaper way identify genetic abnormalities and mutations in humans,” said Gil Ronen, the CEO and co-founder of NRGene, in a phone interview. “It can now be used to detect other genetic-borne diseases, from a peanuts allergy to cancer, to get early detection and hopefully prevention.”

After successfully and quickly mapping a number of genomes — of wild emmer wheat, the ancestor of commercial wheat known for its ability to withstand harsh environments and diseases, and of bread wheat and other crops and animals, the company is turning its focus to the human genome and human healthcare, which is a much bigger market, Ronen said. This is the first time NRGene’s technology has been used for human genome analysis.

The study, conducted together with Dr. Henle Ji, associate professor of Medicine (Oncology) at Stanford University, surveyed the genetic composition of a family with inherited colon cancer. DNA samples were collected from the grandparents, parents and children in the family, and NRGene’s software looked for the inherited mutation that causes the cancer. The presence of the mutation causes colon cancer in 60 percent of its hosts, Ronen said.
1917 and the Battle of Beersheba
The prime ministers of Israel, Australia and New Zealand will lead much of the Israeli-based diplomatic corps at commemoration events on October 31 to mark the 100th anniversary of the conquest of Beersheba.

Why is this event so special? The Battle of Beersheba was the first major victory for Britain in World War One. Consider this: going into this battle, Britain had been defeated four times by the Turkish army.

The failure of the British to take the Dardanelles led to the resignation of Winston Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty. His initiative to launch a naval invasion at Gallipoli resulted in 400,000 casualties on both sides and an ignominious Allied retreat.

The British army suffered a humiliating defeat in Iraq (then Mesopotamia) when they were surrounded and surrendered to the Turks at the Battle of Kut.

Under Gen. Sir Archibald Murray, the British army was badly beaten twice at the battles for Gaza.

Murray tried to put a brave face on his humiliating defeat by misrepresenting the casualty figures and claiming that “it was a most successful operation, the fog and waterless nature of the country just saving the enemy from complete disaster.”
Gutsy warriors: Eager Americans who joined Israel in the fight for its life
The now 78-year-old Robert Gandt has been writing books on military themes for decades. He spent eight years flying for the United States Navy and was a weapons test pilot, until he decided to work as an airline pilot so he would have time to write – something he has been doing successfully for years.

He grew up in Kansas, the son of a father who ran a local flying business, and Gandt himself was flying planes solo by the time he was 16.

It is Gandt’s assuredness that makes his new book, Angels in the Sky: How a Band of Volunteer Airmen Saved the New State of Israel, so compellingly readable. It is filled with wondrous stories of a group of men who literally saved Israel in its earliest years, men whom Gandt describes with passion as gutsy warriors who weren’t afraid to break the rules when the situation called for it, men like Gandt himself.

He recreates the early battles of the War of Independence with an unbridled enthusiasm that captures the reader’s heart. These were dangerous and uncertain times, and Israel’s future lay in the balance.

We meet Lou Lenart, a 27-year-old World War II veteran from Pennsylvania who joined the US Marines at 17 determined to kill as many Nazis as he could. He was a crucial part of Israel’s new fighter squadron, whose initial mission was to destroy the Egyptian air base at El Arish.

But when word arrived that the Egyptian Army had advanced to just south of Tel Aviv, the attack on El Arish was aborted, and Lenart was sent to attack the advancing Egyptian brigade. The mission succeeded and buoyed spirits among the Jews.
Breathtaking 1,700-year-old Lod mosaic to finally have a floor to call home
After touring the world, Israel’s most impressive mosaic will finally have a port of its own. Before dropping anchor at the Shelby White and Leon Levy Lod Mosaic Archaeological Center upon its projected completion in 2019, the massive mosaic, decorated with seafaring motifs, had an adventure of its own.

The richly colorful mosaic was discovered accidentally during salvage excavations in 1996 at a central city square in Lod. At a ceremony on Thursday, the cornerstone of the Lod Mosaic Archaeological Center was laid at the site of its discovery by Lod Mayor Yair Ravivo, Israel Antiquities Authority director Israel Hasson, and the center’s main donor Shelby White.

After identifying the importance of the late third century-early fourth century Roman period piece, the IAA was left with a difficult decision. While glorious and mostly extant, without a budget and the means to conserve and display it, its glory would be lost. At the end of the 1996 dig, it was again covered with earth until a donor could be found.

In 2009, when funding was found through the Leon Levy Foundation and Shelby White, the mosaic was again uncovered. It began its travels in the world, and was viewed in Paris, New York, San Francisco, Chicago and elsewhere as plans were slowly drafted for the Lod archaeology center.

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The Palestine Children's Relief Fund styles itself as a "non-political" organization that only cares about Palestinian children's lives.

Here is a snippet of a speech by Hanan ashrawi at their annual dinner in Atlanta this past weekend, where she accuses Israel of having no interest in peace.


Ashrawi gave a speech at another PCRF gathering in 2015 where she accused Israel of attempting to destroy Palestinians not only physically (11:27 -"Israel is a settler colonial project is attempting to complete the Nakba that started in 1947-48") but culturally (" a people [Jews] are attempting to eradicate the very
presence, the very history,  the very culture,  the very identity of another nation and to take over not just that land but that narrative.") She claimed that Israel created towns where they stole Arabic names and Hebraized them, which is the exact thing Arabs have done to Biblical-era sites.

Ashrawi mentioned Israel 85 times in this speech, which seems curious for a "non-political" organization that is only concerned with treating Palestinian children (and most of their actual work does seem to be to treat them, especially Syrian Palestinian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon.)

Hundreds of well-heeled Arabs pay to attend fancy dinners where they tell themselves they care about Palestinian children but the star of the show is spewing anti-Israel lies (and barely talking about Palestinian children, except to say that they are being blown up by Israeli missiles.)

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 Vic Rosenthal's Weekly Column

The Jerusalem Post reports,
Israel's representatives to the judo Grand Slam event in Abu Dhabi have been told that they will once more not be allowed to compete under their country's flag.

The blue-and-white delegation to the final Grand Slam competition of the year is set to include 12 athletes, but Israel Judo Association chairman Moshe Ponte was informed by the organizers that they won't be able to have the Israel flag on their judo uniform, as they do in every other event across the world. Instead of having ISR (Israel) by their names on the scoreboard and on their backs, they will have to take part in the contest as representatives of the IJF (International Judo Federation). The national anthem will also not be played, should an Israeli win a gold medal.

This is something Israelis and supporters of Israel have grown used to.

We are not, in the minds of the Emiratis, a country. And if asked, they would doubtless agree with the spokespeople of the Palestinian Arabs that the Jews are not a people. Maybe even that Jews are not people at all, although this isn’t something they would admit in public.

Miri Regev, our combative Minister of Culture and Sport, wrote a harsh letter. Maybe Abu Dhabi will drop its insulting demand, maybe we will not send our athletes to compete, or maybe we will do what most of the non-Muslim world does over and over (including the government of Israel) in the face of lunatic Muslim demands for submission, and submit.

I’m sick of it.

Here’s a personal story. I’m an amateur radio operator (a “ham”). Many of us engage in competition to contact as many different “entities” as possible. There is a list of 340 entities, defined by political and geographic criteria. Some are normally uninhabited and inhospitable to human presence, and some have few amateurs. They may only be available for short periods of time, as when someone organizes an expensive expedition to a place like Bouvet Island, in the South Atlantic near Antarctica. Contacting a large number of them is quite difficult, and requires patience and time. Amateur radio is in a sense a sport, although perhaps a sedentary one; but like other sports it strives to stay above politics.

The location of a station is identifiable by its call letters, and there are currently 7 or 8 countries (Iran, Yemen, Libya, etc.) who do not permit operators within their jurisdictions to contact stations in Israel. So we are automatically at a disadvantage in competition. But rarely does anyone complain. It is expected. Israel is special.

This is probably less important than Judo, which in turn is less important than the UN Human Rights commission, which has passed about 70 resolutions condemning Israel since 2006, more than all other countries put together; or UNESCO, from which the US and Israel have removed themselves because of its ludicrous bias. Or the UN General Assembly.

But all of these “little” insults add up. Like an abusive relationship in a marriage or between a parent and a child, in which every interaction provides an opportunity for the abuser to belittle and insult the victim, there is a cumulative effect on both the target of the abuse and bystanders. No matter how secure she is, there is a feeling that if she weren’t doing something wrong, she wouldn’t be a target of abuse. And if there is more than one abuser, the effect is even greater.

What begins as verbal abuse between partners becomes physical; and minor physical abuse can become major and even lead to murder. In the international realm, a sustained campaign of delegitimization can be a precursor to war or genocide. It’s happened more than once.

When the state of Israel was founded despite the violent opposition of the Arab world, the conflict surrounding her was mostly contained in the region. The Arabs attempted to enforce an economic boycott, which was only spottily effective. But with the artificial creation of the Palestinian movement in 1967, and even more so with the Durban Conference in 2001 and the program of associating Israel with the modern-day deadly sins of racism, apartheid and colonialism, bullying Israel became a worldwide endeavor. Europeans jumped on the bandwagon with glee, picking up what Richard Landes called a “get out of Holocaust shame free card” by accusing Israel of being worse than the Nazis. And in North America, liberal Jews who wanted to belong to the fellowship of the intersectional Left were easy prey.

Even many Israelis (some of whom work for important media outlets) wilted under the onslaught and began to believe that their country actually was a racist, colonialist enterprise and even an apartheid state.

Another personal story: when I was 8 or 9 years old I had a friend who liked to tell me how dumb I was. One day, after he’d called me stupid four or five times, I picked up a large two-by-four (for non-Americans, a wooden beam about 5 cm by 10 cm thick) and swung it at him. Luckily for both of us, it struck his shoulder instead of his head. My parents explained that I might have killed him, and didn’t I know that I wasn’t dumb? “I know, but I’m tired of hearing it,” I said.

Israel needs to express that she, too, is tired of abuse. Getting a divorce from UNESCO was a good start, although I’m embarrassed that we had to wait for the US to do it first. We should tell the hosts of the Judo competition in Abu Dhabi that their singling out Israel is unacceptable; either they drop their special rules or we will not participate. And we should demand that the International Judo Federation does not accept the results of any contest that does not treat all competitors with respect.

Now I think I’ll try some similar judo on the committee that governs amateur radio competition.

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From Ian:

Alan M. Dershowitz: Why Are So Many Claiming That Iran Is Complying with the Deal, When Evidence Shows They Aren't?
Yet, even if Iran were to comply with the letter of the nuclear agreement, it would still be able to build up a vast nuclear arsenal within a relatively short timeframe. The approach adopted by the Trump administration – articulated in a statement delivered by the president several days ago – is justified by the realities on the ground. By announcing that he is decertifying Iran's compliance with the nuclear agreement, President Trump is giving Congress 60-days to act. Not only is President Trump giving the United States back some of its leverage, but he is also sending a powerful message to the rogue leaders in Iran and North Korea – who are believed to have cooperated on missile technology – that the era of containment and deterrence policies is over. The United States is returning to its original mission of prevention.

Interestingly, in the aftermath of President Trump's address, the Saudi Press Agency reported that King Salman called the U.S. President to offer his support for America's more "firm strategy" on Iran and commitment to fighting "Iranian aggression." Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, offered similar praise for the new U.S. posture, saying in a statement that President Trump "has created an opportunity to fix this bad deal, to roll back Iran's aggression and to confront its criminal support of terrorism." It is no secret that these two previously discordant states are now cooperating in unprecedented ways as they try to counter the threat posed by a nuclear Iran. When Israel and the Gulf States are on the same page, the world should listen.

There are those that argue that by decertifying, President Trump has undercut American credibility and sent a message to the world that it can't count on one American president following through on deals made by his predecessor. But the fault for that lies squarely with President Obama who refused not only to make his deal a binding treaty, but also to seek any congressional approval – both of which would have assured greater continuity. He knew when he signed the deal that it could be undone by any future president.

The goal, of course, is not to undo the deal but rather to undo its sunset provision and to make Iran keep the commitment it made in the prologue: never to obtain "any nuclear weapons."

The available evidence now strongly supports the conclusion that Iran is not keeping that commitment: that it is determined to develop a nuclear arsenal capable of being mounted on intercontinental ballistics missiles. If the current deal is not changed, it is likely that Iran will become the new North Korea – or worse – before very long.
The Big New Palestinian Lie
It is precisely the inflammatory speech of Abbas and his senior officials, expressed at every possible podium, which has been trying to turn the conflict into a religious one.

If any side has turned the conflict into a religious one, it is the Palestinian side, which has long depicted Jews as sons of monkeys and pigs, enemies of Allah, and killers of prophets. When Abbas and other Palestinians accuse Jews on a daily basis of "storming" and "desecrating" the Al-Aqsa Mosque, they are firing the first shots in their religious war against Israel and the Jews.

By turning the conflict into a religious one, the Palestinians are hoping to avoid any discussion about important issues such as security, borders, the status of Jerusalem, anti-Israel incitement and assaults on public freedoms under the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. Palestinian leaders do not feel comfortable discussing any of these issues; that is why they prefer to make the debate appear as if it is about religious issues.
PMW: Mass murderers honored at Palestinian University
Students at the Palestinian Al-Quds Open University (Dura branch) were welcomed this week at a reception for new students by a large banner teaching them who Palestinian "heroes" are. Students looked up to see a huge banner on stage with pictures of founders and heads of terror organizations who are responsible for the deaths of many hundreds of Israelis:
Abu Ali Mustafa, head of PLFP
Fathi Shaqaqi, founder of Islamic Jihad
Ahmad Yassin, founder of Hamas
Yasser Arafat, former PLO and PA Chairman
Salah Khalaf, head of Black September
Abu Jihad, head of the PLO terror organization's military wing

Ahmad Yassin was the founder and leader of Hamas and was responsible for dozens of suicide bombings on buses, on streets and in cafés in which hundreds of Israelis were murdered.

Abu Jihad (Khalil Al-Wazir) headed the PLO terror organization's military wing and planned many deadly Fatah terror attacks in the 1960's - 1980's. These attacks, which murdered a total of 125 Israelis, included the most lethal in Israeli history - the hijacking of a bus and murder of 37 civilians, 12 of them children.

Salah Khalaf headed the terror organization Black September, a secret branch of Fatah established by Yasser Arafat. Attacks he planned included the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics (Sept. 5, 1972) and the murder of two American diplomats in Sudan (March 1, 1973).

The banner at Al-Quds Open University included the logo of the university's branch of Fatah's student movement Shabiba that includes the slogan: "From the sea of blood of the Martyrs (Shahids) we will create a state," as well as the PA map of "Palestine" that presents all of Israel as "Palestine" together with the PA areas in the colors of the Palestinian flag. The logo of Al-Quds Open University also appeared on the banner, next to an additional PA map of "Palestine" in the colors of the Palestinian flag.

Israel called 'child murderers' at Inter-Parliamentary Union, may quit
Days after Israel announced its departure from UNESCO, the Knesset is weighing whether to remain in the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Zionist Union MK Nachman Shai said on Thursday.

Shai’s comments came a day after the Knesset delegation he led walked out of the IPU’s 137th Assembly in St. Petersburg, Russia, after its president did not give MKs their full speaking time and allowed representatives of Arab countries to disrupt them and shout accusations against Israel. In addition, the IPU Committee on Human Rights of Parliamentarians called on Israel to release terrorists from prison.

“We need to check our relations with the organization,” Shai said. “It could be that under the surface they accept anti-Israel agendas. We’ll see in the future.”

Shai expressed disappointment, because Israel has had a longstanding relationship with the IPU, even hosting delegates at a water-technology conference last month.

“We are trying to promote a civil agenda, to help citizens. If they’re becoming political, we have to decide how to proceed. Next time we will approach the IPU differently,” he said.
A marriage of inconvenience
The Hamas-Fatah reconciliation is a marriage of inconvenience that is unlikely to be consummated.

There may have been a lot of dancing and hugging and kissing with last week’s betrothal announcement, but the two parties are a long way from agreeing on a pre-nup. It’s something they’ve repeatedly tried and consistently failed to do in the past.

Egypt was the matchmaker in this loveless marriage.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi’s intelligence ministry brokered the deal as part of Egypt’s effort to reestablish its leadership in the Arab world. Reconciliation between the rival factions is very popular on the streets of Gaza and the West Bank; not so much among leaders reluctant to surrender or even share power.

That’s even before getting to the question of how Israel will respond to a unity government of the Islamist Hamas and secular Fatah – Israel’s uneasy negotiating partner for several decades – meant to politically link the West Bank and Gaza.

The announcement last week in Cairo was a vague declaration of intent. What’s missing is a marriage contract setting forth the rights and responsibilities of the couple. In anticipation of the agreement, Hamas handed over civil control of Gaza, which it seized from Fatah in a bloody civil war 10 years ago. Fatah had won the 2006 parliamentary election, promising to replace Yasser Arafat’s corrupt and incompetent rule with clean government. It failed dismally and wanted to be rid of that responsibility.

Governing is not Hamas’ forte; it is a terrorist organization that has fought three wars with Israel, fired thousands of missiles, launched hundreds of terrorist attacks and killed scores of Israelis.

It has shown no real signs of change. Earlier this year Hamas reiterated its long-standing goal of “liberating Palestine from the river to the sea.”

How can the two longtime enemies merge? Palestinian president and Fatah chairman Mahmoud Abbas demands Hamas disarm and accept the principle of “one authority, one law, one weapon” – his. Hamas, he said, wouldn’t be allowed to keep its army or weapons and must submit to the rule of a single government.
US envoy: Hamas must disarm under Palestinian unity deal
A week after rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation agreement, U.S. President Donald Trump's special envoy to the Middle East said Thursday that if Hamas wants to play a role in any Palestinian government, it must renounce violence and commit to peaceful negotiations with Israel.

Jason Greenblatt's statement Thursday was the first American comment on the advancing Palestinian reconciliation efforts and echoed Israeli demands.

"Any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to nonviolence, recognize the State of Israel, accept previous agreements and obligations between the parties – including to disarm terrorists – and commit to peaceful negotiations," Greenblatt said in a statement.

"If Hamas is to play any role in a Palestinian government, it must accept these basic requirements," he added. Hamas has always refused similar demands in the past.
Netanyahu hails US demand that Hamas renounce terror, recognize Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday hailed the US administration for rejecting any Palestinian government in which Hamas plays a role as long as the terrorist group refuses to recognize Israel and disavow violence.

“I am happy that Jason Greenblatt, President [Donald] Trump’s envoy, made it very clear that Hamas must be disarmed, recognize Israel and uphold previous international decisions,” Netanyahu said at ceremony marking 100 years since the death of pre-state underground fighter Sarah Aaronsohn in Zichron Yaakov.

Greenblatt’s statement reiterated that any Palestinian government “must be committed to these principles,” Netanyahu went on. “We want peace. We want a real peace, and exactly because of that we will not conduct negotiations with a terrorist organization in a diplomatic disguise.”
Masked Hamas terrorists attend the funeral of Mazen Fuqha in Gaza City, March, 25 2017. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Meanwhile, Greenblatt has traveled to Egypt “to meet with senior officials about the status of reconciliation” between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party and the Hamas terror organization, a senior US official said Thursday.

Washington is “closely monitoring the reconciliation efforts,” which were signed last week in Cairo, the official said.
Hamas accuses America of 'blackmail' after US backs Israel on Palestinian unity deal
Hamas on Thursday accused the US of “blackmail” and “blatant intervention in Palestinian affairs” after a statement from US Middle East Envoy Jason Greenblatt demanded Hamas commit to his understanding of the Quartet principles if it would like to participate in the governance of a future Palestinian state.

“Hamas rejects the attempts at blackmail and American bias in favor of Israeli positions… which represent a blatant intervention in internal Palestinian affairs and aim to obstruct reconciliation,” Hamas said in an official statement on its website.

Hamas and Fatah recently relaunched efforts to advance national reconciliation. Last week, the two rival parties reached a deal to restore the Palestinian Authority’s governing authority in the Gaza Strip. However, the two have a long road ahead of them until they can say they have actually achieved reconciliation. In addition to implementing last week's agreement, they need to come to a consensus on several other complex issues.

Hamas also said that, despite Greenblatt’s statement, it would continue its efforts to advance reconciliation.

“The movement affirms it will move forward with the implementation of all the steps of reconciliation and will not pay attention to any attempt to destroy or impede this process,” the statement added.
Egypt scrambles to dwarf 'secret' clauses in Hamas-Fatah deal
Senior Egyptian officials on Wednesday scrambled to downplay the controversy over alleged secret clauses in the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation deal that seek to pave the way for former Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to succeed Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas as the next president of the Palestinian Authority.

Israel Hayom reported Tuesday that Hamas' decision to seek rapprochement with its rival Fatah faction was driven by more than a desire to end the decade-long Palestinian rift and was, in fact, part of a ruse to set in motion a process that would allow Hamas to overrun the West Bank.

On Tuesday, several Fatah officials vowed to thwart the deal if reports of the secret clauses turn out to be true, saying they will not allow Hamas to integrate into the Palestine Liberation Organization and Fatah and usurp positions of power.

A senior Egyptian official confirmed to Israel Hayom Wednesday that Cairo has relayed messages to senior Fatah and Hamas officials to keep a low media profile and refrain from making any statements about the articles of the deal or the existence of any secret appendices, to prevent a situation when the reconciliation fails before the ink on the papers has even dried.

An aide to Abbas said Wednesday that the Palestinian president, who was scheduled to visit the Gaza Strip on Nov. 1, has decided to postpone the visit at the request of Egyptian intelligence officials involved in hammering out the deal.
Why Real PA Unity Won't Happen
The conflict between the PA and Hamas boils down to beards. Hamas security personnel are almost always bearded, while the PA's security personnel sport no beards. A bearded security officer means that the political entity he serves is or aspires to be a theocratic state. A non-bearded member of an official security force means that the state he serves is secular and most certainly anti-theocratic.

Even absent the crucial religious element, the PA/Fatah-Hamas standoff is a bitter zero-sum game and the prospects of true Hamas-Fatah unity are negligible.

In Egypt during the "Arab Spring," it was clear from the beginning to the Egyptian army that the Muslim Brotherhood must be confronted at all costs. The episode ended in zero-sum fashion with President Sisi emerging all-powerful, and Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi locked in jail.

The common denominator is that one side was totally victorious and the other totally defeated. Only a similar showdown in Gaza can decide between PA and Hamas rule.
But it is doubtful whether the Fatah-led PA can muster the strength to make a true bid for absolute power in Gaza, and even more unlikely that it will win a shootout.
Clifford D. May: Trump's third way
U.S. President Donald Trump made a tough call last week. European diplomats and an "echo chamber" in the mainstream media were insisting he "recertify" the nuclear weapons deal his predecessor inked with Iran's rulers in 2015.

But Trump did not do that. He has said repeatedly that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action fails to do what it was meant to do: stop – not just delay – Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Instead and perversely, the deal legitimizes, enriches and emboldens a regime openly dedicated to the defeat of America and its allies. How could he now tell Congress that the deal is "vital to the national security interests of the United States"?

So why not just scuttle the deal as Iran hawks have been urging? A number of reasons, but prominent among them: Iran's rulers would have cast themselves as victims. "We've kept our part of the bargain and this is how we're treated by America's rogue president!" they'd have cried. Other nations committed to the deal would have taken their side. The Atlantic alliance would have been more divided – a clear win for Iran.

In the end, Trump settled on a third option. He declined to recertify the deal but did not abrogate it – for the present. He set in motion a process to correct the agreement's worst flaws. The odds are against that outcome but now it's at least within the realm of the possible.
US tells Security Council to look beyond nuke deal, punish Iran for terror
US Ambassador Nikki Haley urged the UN Security Council on Wednesday to adopt the Trump administration’s comprehensive approach to Iran and address all aspects of its “destructive conduct” — not just the 2015 nuclear deal.

She told the council that Iran “has repeatedly thumbed its nose” at council resolutions aimed at addressing Iranian support for terrorism and regional conflicts and has illegally supplied weapons to Yemen and Hezbollah militants in Syria and Lebanon.

“Worse, the regime continues to play this council,” Haley said. “Iran hides behind its assertion of technical compliance with the nuclear deal while it brazenly violates the other limits of its behavior, and we have allowed them to get away with it.”

“This must stop,” she said.

Haley cited a long list of Iranian violations, including threatening freedom of navigation in the Gulf, cyber-attacks, imprisonment of journalists and other foreigners, and abuses of its people by persecuting some religions and imprisoning gays and lesbians.

She called Iran’s “most threatening act its repeated ballistic missile launches including the launch this summer of an ICBM enabling missile.”
U.S. Amb. Nikki Haley Tells UN: "Nearly Every Threat to Peace and Security in the Middle East Is Connected to Iran"
Thank you, Mr. President.
Our goal in discussing the Middle East is to work on peace, security, and human rights for the region. We can’t talk about stability in the Middle East without talking about Iran. That’s because nearly every threat to peace and security in the Middle East is connected to Iran’s outlaw behavior.

For the international community’s engagement with Iran, this is a time of clarity and opportunity. The United States has now embarked on a course that attempts to address all aspects of Iran’s destructive conduct, not just one aspect. It’s critical that the international community do the same.

Every six months, the Secretary-General delivers a report on the implementation of Security Council Resolution 2231, which the Council unanimously passed. The report has always noted the IAEA’s findings that Iran is implementing the nuclear deal. But then it goes on: it lists the regime’s multiple, flagrant violations on the resolution’s non-nuclear provisions. Every six months, the Security Council is presented with this laundry list of bad news, but somehow manages to only hear the good news. Some countries, to their credit, have called out Iran for its malign behavior. But as a Council, we’ve adopted a dangerously short-sighted approach.

Judging Iran by the narrow confines of the nuclear deal misses the true nature of the threat. Iran must be judged in totality of its aggressive, destabilizing, and unlawful behavior. To do otherwise would be foolish.

This clarity brings opportunity. It gives the Council the chance to defend its integrity. It gives us the chance to work together as a community of nations to uphold the provisions of resolutions we have all worked so hard to pass. The Security Council has repeatedly passed resolutions aimed at addressing Iranian support for terrorism and regional conflicts. But Iran has repeatedly thumbed its nose at those efforts.

U.S. Treasury Ramps Up Sanctions on Iran
The IRGC's control over large portions of the Iranian economy furthers its ability to support these groups and enrich its members.

In order to deny the IRGC the resources and financing it needs to spread instability, we must and we have been engaging our allies and partners, including those in the private sector.

We have consistently raised concerns regarding the IRGC's malign behavior, the IRGC's level of involvement in the Iranian economy, and its lack of transparency. We have pointed out that the IRGC continues to be an integral part of the Iranian economy, including in the energy, construction, mining, and defense sectors.

And as we have urged the private sector to recognize that the IRGC permeates much of the Iranian economy, we have told them that those who transact with IRGC-controlled entities do so at their own risk.

Our fight against Iran's malign activities extends beyond the IRGC. We will continue to aggressively target other organs of state power in Iran that foment instability and support terrorism.

Likewise, we have been pressing Iran to implement a rigorous and effective anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism regime that promotes transparency, forcing it to stamp out terrorist financing and corruption or be excluded from the international financial system.

We will continue to hold Iran accountable to its Financial Action Task Force action plan, and if it fails to meet its commitments, will call on FATF countermeasures to be re-imposed. As long as Iran fails to adequately criminalize terrorist financing, it should remain on the FATF's black list.

We will also continue implementing new measures to pressure Iran to cease its support for terrorism, human rights abuses, and promotion of regional instability for the benefit of international peace and security and also for the Iranian people, who, as the President said, have paid a heavy price for the violence and extremism of its leaders.

And in all of this important work we will continue working very closely with our great ally Israel to constrain this dangerous organization.
Getting tough on Iran without leaving the nuclear deal
On October 13, US President Donald Trump announced his decision not to certify the JCPOA, in contrast to his previous two decisions to certify the deal. Instead, he declared, the administration would work with Congress and US global and Middle East allies to address the flaws surrounding the deal, as well as other aspects of Iran’s behavior, widely perceived to be threatening and destabilizing. This position was reached following the administration’s policy review on Iran, underway over the past nine months, and outlines a new approach that began to emerge already with the statement in April 2017 by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson – delivered the day after Trump certified the JCPOA for the first time – which sketched in broad strokes the direction of US policy on Iran.

Perhaps the most notable feature of the new policy is that it covers the entirety of Iran’s behavior that is viewed negatively by the US, beyond the nuclear program: Iran’s missile program, support for terror, and regional aspirations that threaten the national security interests of the US and its allies in the Middle East. In so doing, the administration has ended the approach of the Obama administration that sought to create a divide between the nuclear and regional manifestations of Iran’s conduct, claiming that the nuclear deal “was working,” and that it was never meant to address other issues. In contrast, the Trump administration has emphasized that the JCPOA did not achieve its objective of a non-nuclear Iran, and that the deal is only one component of overall US policy toward Iran. The message is that there is a connection between the different manifestations of Tehran’s nuclear and foreign policies, and that all must be dealt with in tandem in order to confront effectively the threats and regional challenges posed by Iran.

Also of significance is that Trump signaled that the US administration will no longer refrain from pushing back against Iran’s aggressions and provocations for fear of Iran exiting the nuclear deal. In fact – in a somewhat surprising move – Trump included his own threat of leaving the deal. He stated that if in cooperation with Congress and US allies the administration cannot reach a satisfactory solution to the problems he delineated, he would cancel US participation in the deal. The specific context seems to direct the threat primarily to Congress and US allies in an effort to urge them to work with the administration to amend the deal. However, it is also clearly a message to Iran that the administration is no longer deterred by Iran’s threats of leaving the deal.
Iran guards vow to boost missile program in defiance of US pressure
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps on Thursday vowed to accelerate its controversial ballistic missile program, a day after the US urged the international community to follow the Trump administration’s footsteps and confront Iran over its “destructive conduct” across the Middle East.

“Iran’s ballistic missile program will expand and it will continue with more speed in reaction to Trump’s hostile approach towards this revolutionary organization,” the IRGC said in a statement published by the semi-official Tasnim news agency and translated by Reuters.

The Guard’s statement also blamed the “Zionist regime” along with the White House for implementing “devastating” policies in the region.

On Wednesday, US Ambassador Nikki Haley urged the UN Security Council to adopt the Trump administration’s tough approach to Iran and address all aspects of its “destructive conduct” — not just the 2015 nuclear deal. The Trump administration has threatened to label the IRGC, a hardline militant organization that operates outside the Iranian army at the behest of the country’s supreme leader, as a terror group.
German officials: Iran working to build nuclear-armed missiles
German security officials have accused the Iranian regime of pursuing its goal to build missiles armed with nuclear warheads, the Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel reported.

“Despite the nuclear agreement [reached with world powers in July 2015], Iran has not given up its illegal activities in Germany. The mullah regime also made efforts this year to obtain material from [German] firms for its nuclear program and the construction of missiles, said security sources,” Der Tagesspiegel wrote on Friday.

The paper added, “Iran has [according to the security sources] clearly not given up its long-term goal to become an nuclear power that can mount nuclear weapons on rockets.”

The article by the paper’s security correspondent Frank Jansen cited Iran’s proliferation activities in North Rhine-Westphalia and the drop in acquisition attempts from 141 in 2015 to 32 in 2016. The majority of Iran’s procurement activities in the state were for its ballistic missile program.
What do North Korean Nukes Have to Do with Israel?

Russia rebukes US, Israel for focusing on Iran at Security Council meeting
The Russian ambassador to the United Nations took the US and Israel to task on Wednesday for focusing on Iran during a UN Security Council meeting whose agenda called for a discussion of the Mideast “including the Palestinian question.”

US ambassador Nikki Haley and Israeli envoy Danny Danon both targeted Iran during the meeting, with Haley accusing Iran of “aggressive, destabilizing and unlawful behavior” and urging the Security Council to adopt the Trump administration’s comprehensive approach to the country instead of looking solely at its compliance with the nuclear deal.

Danon had highlighted Iranian support for terror around the world.

“Russia is openly concerned by the fact the Israeli and US delegations didn’t even utter the word ‘Palestine’. This is alarming and saddening because we don’t see any progress whatsoever in the field of Israeli-Palestinian settlement and, more than that, we don’t hear even references to it — something that doesn’t inspire optimism by any means,” Vassily Nebenzia said, according to the Kremlin’s Tass news agency.

Nebenzia said that threats in the Middle East “should not obscure the priority for us to resolve the Palestinian issue because it is fundamental if we want to normalize the situation in the region long-term.”
New York Times Pulls Out All the Stops to Push Iran Deal
Seven to two is the lopsided score of opinion pieces the New York Times has published this month about the Iran nuclear deal.

That’s seven pieces in favor of President Donald Trump keeping the deal, and just two that oppose it, by my count.

As a press critic, I sometimes get feedback that I should focus my attention on the Times news columns rather than its opinion section. After all, how can you have a biased opinion? Opinions are supposed to be opinionated.

Even so, it’s hard to see the unprecedented Times onslaught of cheerleading for the Iran nuclear deal as anything other than the newspaper, as an institution, making a priority of preserving a deal that Israel and its American allies view as a problem. Over the 12-day period from October 2 to October 13, the Times ran seven opinion articles advocating for the deal, which grants Iran hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for unverifiable promises to pause development of nuclear weapons.

The flurry of pro-Iran deal pieces began October 2, with an article by Jeremy Bernstein headlined, “One Very Big Reason Not to Scrap the Iranian Nuclear Deal.”

The Times then ran not just one but two unsigned staff editorials in favor of keeping the deal. An October 5 staff editorial was headlined, “Why Decertifying The Iran Nuclear Deal Would Be a Bad Idea.” In case anyone missed that one, it was followed rapidly by an October 7 staff editorial headlined, “Mr. Trump, Don’t Scrap the Iran Deal.”
Argentina Offered to Supply Iran With Nuclear Technology as Part of Cover-Up Pact on 1994 AMIA Bombing, Former Intelligence Agent Testifies
Argentina offered to supply Iran with nuclear expertise and technology as part of a secret pact exonerating the Tehran regime of responsibility for the July 1994 terrorist bombing of the AMIA Jewish center, a former Argentine intelligence operative told a court in Buenos Aires on Wednesday.

Eighty-five people were killed and hundreds more wounded in the bombing in the Argentine capital, which was coordinated by Iran and its Lebanese Shia proxy Hezbollah.

The former agent, Ramon Bogado, told an inquiry into the collusion between Iran and the government of former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner that the offer of nuclear assistance had been communicated to the Iranians by officials in Venezuela.

Presenting 18 documents to the court which he said detailed the nuclear offer, Bogado — a former agent with the SIDE national intelligence agency — added that it addressed how Iran could circumvent international sanctions to receive nuclear technology. Argentina, which began its own domestic nuclear program in the 1960s, is considered a global leader in nuclear technology.

Bogado told the court that the plans drawn up by officials in the Kirchner government included a provision to create shell companies in Argentina and Uruguay to conduct the transactions with Iran. He stressed that officials at the highest level had known about the scheme, among them Francisco “Paco” Larcher, who served as Kirchner’s deputy secretary of intelligence.
Iranian Leader’s Book Urging Elimination of Israel Among Antisemitic Titles Displayed at Frankfurt Book Fair
Antisemitic and anti-American creeds, including a collection of speeches by Iran’s “supreme leader,” were on full display at last weekend’s Frankfurt Book Fair — the largest event of its kind in the world — according to a Jewish human rights group that monitored the event.

Dr. Shimon Samuels — international affairs director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) — noted that antisemitic literature was particularly visible on the Iranian and Egyptian stands at the fair.

More than 286,000 visitors attended this year’s fair, which brought together 7,300 publishers from over 100 countries. The fair was jointly opened on Saturday by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.

One of the titles on display at the Iranian stand was “Palestine: Selected Statements” — a collection of writings and speeches on the Palestinian issue by Iran’s “supreme leader,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in which Israel’s elimination is repeatedly called for. Published by the Association of Islamic Revolution Publishers in Tehran, the book portrays the elimination of Israel as a sacred Islamic objective. It also recycles classic antisemitic theories, with chapters on”The Hegemony of Zionism over the Majority of News Agencies” and “The Hegemony of Zionism over the Majority of Global Centers of Power.”

The book’s final chapter is entitled, “Israel and America: Doomed to Annihilation.”
The Fall of Kirkuk: Made in Iran
So the long-developed, mostly unseen influence that Iran exerts on both Iraqi and Kurdish political and military life is powerful indeed. All we are seeing this week is its abrupt activation.

As Andrew Bernard noted in a TAI article earlier this week, President Trump’s response on the clashes was to assert that the United States was “not taking sides, but we don’t like the fact that they’re clashing.” This is in effect to accede to the Iranian ascendancy in Iran, given the discrepancy in power between the sides and the deep Iranian and IRGC involvement with Baghdad. Such a stance does not, to put it mildly, tally with the President’s condemnation in his speech this past week of Iran’s “continuing aggression in the Middle East.” It remains to be seen if anything of real consequence in policy terms will emerge from the President’s stated views. For the moment, at least, the gap between word and deed seems glaring.

Meanwhile, the advance of the Shi‘a militias and their Iraqi allies is continuing. The demoralized KRG has abandoned positions further west. In Sinjar, Khanaqin, Makhmur, Gwer and other sites on the Ninawah Plain, the Iraqis are pushing forward. The intention appears to be to take back the entirety of the Plain, where the peshmerga of the ruling KDP, not the PUK, were dominant. Yet they too have so far retreated without resistance. It is not clear at present how far the PMU and the Iraqis intend to go, or at what point the peshmerga will make a stand.

It is a black day for the Kurds, from every point of view. The fall of Kirkuk confirms the extent to which Iraq today is an Iranian-controlled satrapy. And it vividly demonstrates the currently unrivaled efficacy of the Iranian methods of revolutionary and political warfare, as practiced by IRGC throughout the Arab world. (h/t Serious Black)
Reps Push Trump Admin to Bypass U.N. and Help Iraqi Christians, Yazidis Directly
Four House members are pressing the top official of the U.S. Agency for International Development to bypass the United Nations and channel funds intended to help Christians and Yazidis in Iraq directly to Catholic charities and others helping them on the ground.

The urgent push comes amid dire warnings from lawmakers and human rights activists that Christians and Yazidis, already victims of genocide at the hands of the Islamic State, are on the verge of extinction in Northern Iraq, their home for thousands of years.

The lawmakers also point to new evidence of corruption in the United Nations' process for stabilization projects in Iraq.

Republican Reps. Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska, Robert Aderholt of Alabama, and Chris Smith of New Jersey, along with Democrat Rep. Anna Eshoo of California, sent a letter to USAID Administrator Mark Green last week arguing that these communities now face "dire conditions where they desperately need assistance if they are to survive."

"Returning Christians, Yazidis, and others to their rightful place will reknit the once rich tapestry of pluralism and diversity that existed in the region—an effort that is essential to any hope of durable stability in Iraq and the region," they wrote in a letter dated Oct. 12.
Security Council members, EU condemn Israeli settlement activity
UN Security Council members and the EU condemned Israel’s advancement this week of plans for 2,733 settler homes in the West Bank, warning that it could lead to a one-state reality.

“Settlement activity is taking place at an unprecedented pace, it can result in a reality of a state with two citizenship regimes, and this is a situation that is unequal and can lead to disastrous consequences,” France said.

“We are very near the point of non-return,” France added. “It destroyed politically and on the ground the very possibility of having two states.”

Russia, Japan, Sweden and the UK were among the countries that also made statements about the work of the Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria, which on Wednesday ended a three-day meeting to advance the homes.

The European Union said it has asked Israel to clarify its actions and called for it to reconsider its decisions.

Such activity is “detrimental to ongoing efforts towards meaningful peace talks,” the EU said.
In first, European countries to demand Israel pay back for demolished W. Bank structures
Eight member states of the EU are taking an unprecedented move by penning a letter demanding that Israel reimburse them for its decision to take apart infrastructures in the West Bank that were slated to serve as equipment for local schools (serving mostly the Beduin community), France's daily Le Monde reported Wednesday night.

The eight countries also expressed their dismay with Israel's confiscation of solar panels that were paid for by the EU headquarters in the West Bank.

The structures that Israel had taken apart, the letter claims, were all designated to serve residents of the mixed Israeli-Palestinian Area C in the territories, and the Israeli government opted to remove them due to the fact that they were not legally erected or commissioned.

The signatory countries- France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Luxembourg and Ireland- are now demanding, according to Le Monde, that Israel pay them compensation should it decide not to return the equipment it confiscated. The compensation fee each country is demanding stands at 31,252 Euros.

"We sincerely hope that our demands for restitution could be satisfied without preconditions as soon as possible, and should they not be [met], Israel ought to pay compensation without delay," wrote the EU member countries in the letter obtained by Le Monde.
In raids, IDF seizes money, cars from terrorists’ families
The IDF cracked down on the families of Palestinian terrorists and terror suspects on Thursday, seizing tens of thousands of shekels in money paid to them, as well as confiscating some of their cars, the army said.

The raids occurred in the early hours of Thursday morning in three locations in the West Bank: the Deheisheh refugee camp, near Bethlehem; the city of Qabatiya, south of Jenin; and the village of Yatta, outside Hebron.

In Deheisheh, local resident attacked the Israeli troops with rocks, injuring one of the soldiers, the army said.

He was treated on the scene before being taken to the hospital for further care.

The army, in recent months, has adopted a harsher policy toward the families and neighbors of assailants, cracking down on petty crimes like owning an unregistered car.

In a separate raid in Yatta, Israeli troops seized thousands of shekels that the army believes were going to be used to illegally purchase guns.
Israeli Arab man jailed for 6 years for joining Islamic State
The Haifa District Court on Thursday sentenced an Israeli Arab man to five years and ten months behind bars for joining the Islamic State jihadist group in Iraq last year.

In June, the court found 42-year-old Wissam Zabidat, from the northern town of Sakhnin, guilty of several charges, including membership in a terrorist organization, membership in an illegal group, illegal military training, and contact with a foreign agent.

The sentence is the harshest punishment levied against an Israeli citizen for joining the ranks of the terrorist organization in Iraq or Syria.

Wissam and his wife had traveled to Iraq along with their three children and spent over a year with the jihadist group before escaping and making their way back to Israel, the Shin Bet security service said in a statement last October, when charges were filed against the two.

While Wissam fought in the Islamic State’s ranks in Mosul, Sabrin Zabidat worked in one of the terror group’s area hospitals. Their three children, ages 3, 6 and 8, were placed in a local school.
Explosion injures 2 at alleged terror site in Gaza
Two men, reportedly from a terror group, were injured on Thursday by an accidental explosion in the southern Gaza Strip.

The Gazan Health Ministry released a statement saying two men were injured by an “accidental explosion” near Khan Younis and sustained medium injuries.

The Hamas-linked news site Palinfo, along with many other Gazan news outlets, reported the explosion occurred at a site belonging to the “resistance,” which usually refers to Hamas, the terror group which controls the Gaza Strip, but could also refer to a number of other terror groups inside the enclave, including Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Several Hamas operatives have been killed or injured in accidental blasts and tunnel collapses in recent months.
The Streisand effect: EXCLUSIVE: 'Display of prejudice': Police spark a diplomatic incident after using the Palestinian 'symbol of struggle' as a terrorist's headscarf in mock attack on Sydney's trains
Palestine's ambassador to Australia demanded an apology from NSW Police after a fake terrorist apparently wore a symbolic Palestinian headscarf in a training exercise.

Cops simulated a major attack involving two masked 'gunmen' dressed in headscarfs at Sydney's Central Station on Tuesday night - sparking a furious diplomatic row.

Ambassador Izzat Saslah Abdulhadi slammed police because one of the headscarfs resembled the black and white symbol of Palestine's resistance, the keffiyeh.

Mr Abdulhadi claimed it was an 'egregious... display of prejudice' by police.

'The keffiyeh is a symbol of the struggle of the Palestinian people for their right to self-determination and freedom,' he fumed.

But a police spokesman insisted: 'In no way were we trying to stereotype members of the community, and any offence caused is unintended'.

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