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Thursday, March 22, 2018

From Ian:

The Latest Israel Boycott Lie
When you complain that the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement discriminates on the basis of national identity, you are nowadays met with a contemptuous sniff. Proponents of an academic boycott insist that individual Israeli academics are not targets; rather, institutional arrangements with Israeli universities—study abroad programs, for example—are. Similarly, the cultural boycott does not target individual Israeli artists, but artists and artistic groups that enjoy some sort of government sponsorship. Look, dummy, they say, our guidelines are crystal clear! This “is a boycott of Israeli cultural institutions, not Israeli individuals.”

In the case of the academic boycott, this distinction between individuals and institutions is paper-thin. Until fairly recently, the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel had this to say about its commitment to principle: “In principle, since the call is specifically for institutional, not individual boycott, [activities involving Israeli academics] do not violate the boycott. However, all academic exchanges with Israeli academics do have the effect of normalizing Israel and its politics of occupation and apartheid.” Therefore, “academics could consider whether equally valuable contributions might not be made by non-Israeli colleagues; whether an invitation to a Palestinian intellectual might be preferable; whether the exchange is intellectually or pedagogically essential.” In other words, we’re against boycotting individual Israeli academics, but please see what you can do about boycotting Israeli academics.

Comically, the guidelines explain that individual academics are being boycotted because the movement is decentralized, not because BDS advocates should try to avoid exchanges with Israeli academics despite the fact that they literally just said that was the preferred outcome. “It may also be that as a consequence of the boycott Israeli academics are now having a harder time publishing outside the country, participating in formal exchanges, sitting on boards and international committees, and the like,” the guidelines continued.

These guidelines have quietly disappeared, but their disappearance probably has more to do with their foolish revelation of BDS hypocrisy than a change of heart.

Alan Dershowitz on Israel at 70: ‘A Light Unto the World’
Ahead of Israel’s 70th birthday in May, longtime Harvard University Law professor, attorney and author Alan Dershowitz announced that he is donating an ambucycle to Israel’s volunteer medic organization — United Hatzalah — in honor of his 80th birthday.

JNS interviewed Mr. Dershowitz about this gift, to hear his thoughts on Israel at 70, and to ask what the next seven decades in Israel might look like.

Q: What prompted you and your friends to donate an ambucycle to United Hatzalah for Israel’s 70th anniversary?

A: There is a group of guys I’ve known since kindergarten. We’ve known each other for 75 years, more or less. And we try to spend several weekends a year together, and try to get together on New Year’s Eve. We all went to yeshivah in Borough Park in Brooklyn together.

We went different ways, but we are still very close. We are turning 80 this year, and we thought it would be nice commemoration of our birthdays to do something that saves lives, and I can’t imagine a charity more worthy than Hatzalah. It has led the way in quick availability on the scenes of acts of terrorism. And so we all agreed to make contributions and to dedicate this ambucycle on Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel’s Independence Day).

Q: What do you think of when you reflect on Israel at 70?

A: No country in the history of the world ever contributed more to the welfare of humankind in such a short period of time than Israel. Hatzalah is a perfect representative of that.

In Hatzalah, you have Jews and Arabs, Christians and Muslims, atheists, religious secular, etc. all working together to save lives. It represents the best of Israel. People call Israel the startup nation, and I call it the life-saving nation.

Israel has saved lives through its medical technological breakthroughs, through its agricultural breakthroughs and through its pharmaceutical breakthroughs. Israel saves lives in teaching the world how to prevent terrorism, in teaching the world how to absorb immigrants. … Israel has really been a light unto the world for 70 years, and I think it’s important to commemorate and look forward.

Children throughout Norway to collect millions for PA terror
School children throughout Norway will be sent out via “Operation Day's Work” to collect millions for BDS NGO KFUK-KFUM Global ("Y Global") to help mobilize protests against Israel.

Norwegian newspaper the Aftenposten reported that revenues from this year's Operation Day's Work, which will take place on November 1, "will go to support Palestinian youth".

Operation Day's Work is the students' annual solidarity campaign where youth throughout the country work one day and earn income for different projects.

Representatives from schools across the country voted for the project under the Elevtinget, the Student Organization's National Assembly or "Pupil's Parliament". It is the second largest country meeting in Norway, after the National Organization in Norway trade union association. At the meeting students from all over Norway meet to discuss "how Norwegian schools can be the best possible".

The NGO's application to the Student Organization's National Assembly to be chosen for Operation Day's Work states the project's purpose to be "empowering youth for sustainable peace in Palestine." It includes a detailed budget for disbursal of monies to projects like "Palestine, East Jerusalem, Gaza YWCA" costing 16,080,000 kroner, and various "evaluation", "administration", and "follow-up" items totaling a budget of 19,000,000 kroner.

"The entire program is based on a series of educational and awareness raising trainings and campaigns for the targeted youth." The application states the program's overall theme is "gender and human rights", with extra emphasis on "transformation from passive subjects to active citizens and ending the occupation through promoting a just peace in Israel and Palestine."
How Facebook and Social Media Promote Terrorism
The social media networks have the ability and the means dramatically to limit the manipulation of their services by terrorist groups, but they do not exercise this control. Instead, they rely on users to report any unsavory activity. The social media networks continue to permit terrorist groups to use their services openly and brazenly to promote their groups and their hate-filled doctrines. The propaganda arms of many terrorist organizations continue to use the social media networks, primarily Facebook, to spread their messages to ever expanding audiences. Organizations and individuals who are designated as terrorists on U.S. and international watch-lists are able flagrantly to open social media accounts even though virtually all the social media companies are headquartered in the United States.

The conclusion is that the social media companies are adopting an adversarial case-by-case approach to enforcing a ban on terror incitement on their platforms.

Beyond the rhetoric and the pleas for action, the social media applications have not -- and it appears will not -- self-enforce common-sense restrictions prohibiting terrorist groups from disseminating their radical messages and criminal exploits online, and they continue to shirk their own responsibility for these posts.

The failure by the social media networks to enforce the prevention of terror-related content on their sites is, in fact, a direct violation of the Antiterrorism Act and the Material Supply Statutes; the general public is also in its right to have the protections of the Community Decency Act of 1996 cover content on social media.

It goes without saying that the laws along with their subsequent enforcement must adopt to this fairly new mass communications and mass media reality to force these platforms to assume complete responsibility or else be regulated by the government as if they were a utility, so that this unmitigated threat to the safety of millions of people around the world can be stopped.
IsraellyCool: Why The 6th Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism Was a Huge Disappointment
The last two days, I attended the 6th Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism, in Jerusalem.

Let’s start with the positives. The networking was good. And the food. I also got to meet Mayim Bialik and Tzipi Hotovely, both who proved to be charming in real life. And kick-ass.

But as a forum for combating antisemitism, it was a bust.

Here was the main problem: The issue of antisemitism in the Muslim world was largely ignored or minimized, even though it is the most pernicious form of antisemitism in the world today.

You can see the agenda here. Out of all the sessions, only one was dedicated to the topic: Antisemitism in Arabic Language Mass Media – New Tools and Strategies for the Advance of Inter-Semitic Understanding. Another session on monitoring antisemitism dealt with it to some extent. And apparently in the very last session of the conference (which I ditched, due to fatigue and frustration), the former Prime Minister of France, Manuel Valls, dealt at length with the issue, but more focused on Islamist factions in France and Europe. Other than that, antisemitism in the Muslim world was hardly mentioned and, in some cases, almost dismissed when brought up by participants in the Q&A.

As far as I am aware, the constant incitement against the Jews by the PA and Hamas was not mentioned, let alone discussed.

On the other hand, the antisemitism of the far Right was mentioned time and again. (In fact, the Israeli government was criticized more than once for its relationship with far Right parties in Europe).
Ryan Bellerose: The “Good Old Days” of Terrorism
It sounds silly, even offensive, doesn’t it. To think that there were “good old days of terrorism” – but bear with me for a second.

In its early days, terrorism somewhat made sense. You could “negotiate” with people who had an ethos, a set of goals which while nebulous and often obtuse, were still goals. Early terrorists were often inspired by socialism, the rhetoric was “liberation theory” and even though most of us knew that these people were nothing more than murderous psychopaths, they at least gave the appearance of being guided by a cause. The saying “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” came from this belief that early terrorists were fighting FOR something rather than just randomly attacking civilians. They made demands that at least somewhat made sense. “Free our imprisoned brothers and sisters” – their insults were always about capitalism and freedom and deep down those things resonate even with people who are averse to terrorism. I mean who doesn’t love freedom and the idea of sharing wealth instead of hoarding it?

Terrorists were seen as the extension of those coffeehouse hippies who ranted about socialism and the evils of capitalism and who just decided to be more proactive in their methods. But, to anyone paying attention, those hipster-looking, beret-wearing Che shirt idiots were not “freedom fighters, but the opposite – they wanted to take away our freedoms; our freedom of movement and our freedom to feel safe. and for most of us who are non-Jews, we didn’t feel like they were targeting US; I mean, sometimes a few would die, but it wasn’t targeted. We were just sometimes collateral damage.
Judge Approves Expansion of Anti-BDS Lawsuit Against American Studies Association
A Washington D.C. District Court judge has allowed the expansion of a lawsuit filed against leaders of the American Studies Association (ASA), according to a statement released Tuesday by the Louis D. Brandeis Center, which has assisted in the lawsuit. The defendants used the association to promote an academic boycott of Israel.

The lawsuit, which was initially brought in April 2016 by ASA members Michael L. Barton, Simon Bronner, Charles D. Kupfer, and Michael Rockland, alleged that ASA officials who promoted an academic boycott of Israel violated the association’s charter.

E-mails uncovered during the litigation process showed that the pro-BDS members of the association conducted a covert campaign to gain control of the ASA and use it to promote their anti-Israel activism.

Among the allegations added to the lawsuit, the statement says, are the “the defendants deliberately limited nominations for the ASA National Council to pro-boycott candidates, strategically hid their pro-boycott agendas when they stood for office, withheld pertinent information about the boycott resolution from voting members, and froze membership rolls prior to the vote to prevent those opposed from voting.”

In addition, four defendants were added to the complaint, including, John Stephens, the Executive Director of the ASA, Jasbir Puar, J. Kehaulani Kauanui, and Steven Salaita, who led the stealthy campaign to promote the anti-Israel boycott within the ASA. Puar, Kauanui, and Salatia are also all leaders of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI), a leading proponent of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) in academia.

Arab prof. under fire as president's apology turns to ‘declaration of war’
A Palestinian professor at San Francisco State University found herself embroiled in controversy on Wednesday after dozens of organizations condemned her for posting anti-Zionist messages to the school’s official site.

Last month, SFSU President Leslie Wong made a public apology to the university’s Jewish students for refusing to state in a year-old interview that Zionists would be accepted on campus.

“My comments about Zionists and whether or not they are welcomed at San Francisco State University caused a lot of anguish and deeply hurt feelings,” Wong said in a statement published on February 23.

Soon after the apology was issued, however, Professor Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi took to the official site of the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas (AMED) program at the university’s College of Ethnic Studies and posted a message that equated the statement “to a declaration of war.”

“I consider the statement... from President Wong, welcoming Zionists to campus, equating Jewishness with Zionism, and giving Hillel ownership of campus Jewishness to be a declaration of war against Arabs, Muslims, Palestinians and all those who are committed to an indivisible sense of justice on and off campus,” Abdulhadi’s Facebook post reads.

Wong issued the apology after SFSU’s Hillel branch issued a complaint stating that they were “disappointed and frustrated about the lack of concrete action steps” to stem a tide of anti-Israel sentiment on campus.
Ken Livingstone Continues to Stick His Foot in His Antisemitic Mouth
So let’s get this straight. Livingstone is adamant he never used the words “Hitler was a Zionist”, but admits saying “Hitler was supporting Zionism.” Ken, you are an idiot.

And an antisemite. Livingstone bases this on the Haavara Agreement, which some Jews saw as a way of saving some of their brethren, even though it meant doing a deal with the devil. For the record, some Nazis saw it as a way to solve the “Jewish problem”, by concentrating the Jewish population in a single foreign entity. And Hitler’s own support for it is not even clear. What is clear is that to say Hitler supported Zionism – the national movement of the Jewish people that supports the re-establishment of a Jewish homeland in the territory defined as the historic Land of Israel – is an outright lie. And anyone repeatedly making the claim can safely be assumed to be a vile Jew hater.

Of course, he will deny it. This is just a way to silence his opposition to Israel, after all.

“What they are upset about is that I have spent all my career criticising the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians. And here we are, seventy years on, almost to the day since the creation of the state of Israel and you’ve still got millions of Palestinian refugees living in squalor in Gaza and other refugee camps.”

If Ken was truly intellectually honest, he would realize that Israel is not the reason for the existence of these refugee camps. The Arab world and their enablers are. After all, had they absorbed the palestinian Arabs like Israel absorbed Jews from around the world, the refugee problem would cease to exist – as would this “tool” they have to try and destroy Israel demographically in the future.
Jeremy Corbyn told the launch of Labour’s local election campaign this morning that he will not delete his Facebook account: “Social media is a great way of communicating because our message doesn’t have to be moderated”. That’s one way of putting it.

Guido can reveal Corbyn is still a member of a second anti-Semitic Facebook group called “History of Palestine”. Here’s just a few examples of the vast amount of extremely anti-Semitic content regularly posted in the group. As of this morning he remains a member. Not much “moderation” going on, as Jezza would say…
Chris Williamson’s latest act of support for Jackie Walker met with “utterly chilling” silence from Labour MPs and media
Chris Williamson, a Labour MP and a member of the Shadow Cabinet until January, has appeared as the warm-up act for disgraced Labour activist Jackie Walker, who has twice been suspended from the Labour Party over allegations of antisemitism.

Mr Williamson gave a lengthy speech before the performance of Ms Walker’s show, The Lynching, during which he said it was a “real pleasure and a privilege” to be sharing a platform with Ms Walker. He said that he would be “absolutely delighted” were she reinstated within the Party, and that both Ms Walker and Ken Livingstone had been unfairly accused of antisemitism, claiming: “We’ve got these ridiculous suspensions and expulsions from the Party…in the most grotesque and unfair way.”

The Lynching is Ms Walker’s attempt to put across her side of the story, explaining her views and justifying the comments that have led to her becoming such a controversial figure, such as her appalling lie that Jews were the “chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade”. The show’s tagline is “To oppose Israel is not to be antisemitic”, despite the fact that Israel is not mentioned in any of the comments that led to her being suspended by Labour twice.

The Labour MP for Peterborough, Fiona Onasanya, had also been billed as a support act, but she pulled out, tweeting: “I am vehemently opposed to antisemitism and was invited to speak out against racism, but will not be attending.”
Mossad Confirms: Jeremy Corbyn Probably Not That Big a Deal (satire)
Sources within Mossad, Israel’s national intelligence agency, have confirmed to The Mideast Beast that it has better things to worry about than Britain’s Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, and that on balance he isn’t the biggest existential threat to the State of Israel.

“Iran continues to race towards possession of nuclear weapons, ISIS is still around, and the Syrian army continues taking out its frustrations on its own people. So with all that in mind we don’t consider the ramblings of some old socialist to be number one on our list of concerns,” said one Mossad official.

“Yes I know he said that Hamas and Hezbollah were his ‘friends’, but we think he rates them more in the ‘hey we really should do something, some time’ level of friendship, than the ‘hey you need a kidney’ type friendship.

“His demands for an arms embargo of Israel will certainly cause a stir once we work out exactly what arms we really need to import from the UK. Let me get back to you on that, it will be probably be the next Tuesday after never.”

“But we probably will be denying him a visa, because anyone that won’t sing their national anthem during a commemoration for men and women that saved his country from being overrun by the Nazi’s seems like a bit of a dick.”
The BBC’s partisan coverage of the Ahed Tamimi case continues
In the past three months the BBC has produced at least thirteen reports on this story but only in one of those – aired on the BBC’s domestic channel Radio 4 – have audiences been provided with any information concerning the background to the charge of incitement against Ahed Tamimi. In all the other reports (and in all those provided to international audiences) the fact that Ahed Tamimi called for violent acts against Israelis has been concealed.

Some of the thirteen reports have included interviews with three different Israeli politicians and one former IDF chief prosecutor.

In addition to numerous interviews with Ahed Tamimi’s father – together with links to the family’s social media platforms – and quotes from her lawyer, BBC reporting on this story has promoted quotes from and campaigns run by inadequately presented partisan political NGOs and activists including B’tselem, Jonathan Pollack, Amnesty International, Avaaz and Human Rights Watch.

Significantly, although video footage filmed by Tamimi’s mother has been generously promoted in many of the reports, the part of that footage showing Ahed Tamimi urging others to carry out acts of violence has not been presented to BBC audiences at all.

In summary, the BBC’s treatment of this story has overwhelmingly diverted audience attention away from the background to the main charge of incitement against Ahed Tamimi and propagated the deliberately misleading notion that she was arrested, tried and imprisoned for a “slap”.

The BBC’s repeated promotion of partisan NGOs that have been campaigning on this case once again highlights the fact that the corporation which is committed to providing its audiences with “accurate and impartial news […] of the highest editorial standards” has in this case chosen to abandon impartiality and accuracy – and instead lend its voice and outreach to one-sided promotion of a blatantly political campaign.
NY Times Mum on Palestinian Leader's "Son of a Dog" Slur
On Monday, the Palestinian president called an American ambassador a "son of a dog." On Tuesday, a handful of U.S. news outlets mentioned Mahmoud Abbas's verbal attack on Ambassador David Friedman, the top U.S. diplomat in Israel. The New York Times was not among them.

It is a striking omission from a paper that, at other times, seems fixated on events in that part of the Middle East. Indeed, the same newspaper that ignored Abbas's slur, which the U.S. State Department slammed as "outrageous and unhelpful," had in 2016 covered a much milder critique by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the previous American ambassador. After Netanyahu described a statement by ambassador Dan Shaprio as "unacceptable and incorrect," the New York Times not only covered Netanyahu's response in a news story, but also focused an editorial on what it described as his "unfair" remarks.

How is it newsworthy when a prime minister says an ambassador's words are "unacceptable and incorrect," but not when a president describes an ambassador as a "son of a dog"? The skewed news judgment is likely to deepen concerns that the New York Times tends to ignore or downplay news that reflects poorly on the Palestinian government while shining a bright light on perceived missteps by the Jewish state.
More context free portrayal of Jenin on BBC Radio 4
In the first story listeners hear a completely context-free account of the second Lebanon war in 2006. The artist is described as having played “a ragged duet with the bombs falling on his home town” and “playing trumpet on the balcony while the Israeli air force was bombing Beirut”.

“You would see a hundred kids dead or a hundred persons. Then the second day it’s a hundred and seven. Then the third day it’s sixty-seven and you’re almost happy to say oh, it’s less than yesterday.”

How that war began and what was happening on the other side of the border have no place in this story – and neither does the all-important context of the Hizballah HQ in a specific neighbourhood of Beirut.

The second story’s location is Jenin and Ahmed Tobasi sets the scene by telling listeners that “when Israel was created” his grandparents left their village and “came here to Jenin refugee camp”. No context – such as the invasion of Israel by surrounding Arab states – is provided at all.

Wallen’s own account of her visit to Jenin is similarly devoid of context.

“On the surface Jenin city and its permanent refugee camp seem quite comfortable. As a privileged visitor you can begin to feel that life here is normal. But then you remember the journey: the separation barrier, checkpoints and soldiers. The watch towers dotting the ancient landscape.”

While Wallen tells listeners that the Freedom Theatre’s director was “assassinated”, she does not clarify that the murderer was a Palestinian. After Tobasi has admitted his membership of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Wallen gives an account of the second Intifada that promotes the notion of equivalence between Palestinian terror attacks and Israeli counter-terrorism measures.
Paris Taxi Driver Threatened To Kill Passenger Because He Was an Israeli Jew
An Israeli tourist visiting his brother in Paris has claimed that a taxi driver in the French capital threatened to slit his throat after realising that he was a Jew from Israel during the journey.

Israeli Ronen Edri told his story on a programme from Television production company Keshet earlier this week saying that it had been one of the most terrifying moments of his life, Israeli newspaper Maariv reports.

“I grabbed a taxi going to visit my brother in Paris, asking the driver to take me down to the address,” Edri said and after he asked the driver to turn down the radio in the vehicle the driver said, “Who are you? What do you think you are? You do not live here, you have no rights here, you are not even the owner of this vehicle.”

He said the driver cursed at him in French and said, “I’ll show you what Muslims do to people like you.”

Edri told the taxi driver to stop or he would not pay him the cab fare. Soon afterwards, the taxi driver rang up a friend on his mobile phone.
Polish government distances itself from PM’s father
Poland’s government distanced itself Thursday from comments made by the prime minister’s father, who claimed Jews willingly entered ghettos during the German occupation of Poland to get away from their non-Jewish neighbors.

The comment by Kornel Morawiecki, a senior lawmaker and father of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, is the latest episode in weeks of bitterness that have erupted over a controversial new Holocaust speech law.

Kornel Morawiecki claimed in a recent interview that Jews were not forced into ghettos by Germans but went willingly because “they were told there would be an enclave where they could get away from nasty Poles.”

The comment is historically inaccurate. It is also seems to minimize the tragedy of the Jews while at the same time suggesting they partly brought the tragedy upon themselves out of anti-Polish hatred.

The deputy foreign minister, Bartosz Cichocki, said the comment does not reflect the position of the Polish government.

Cichocki has led recent talks in Israel aimed at damage control after an angry dispute triggered by the Polish law, which makes it a crime punishable by up to three years of prison to publicly and falsely blame Poland for Nazi Holocaust atrocities.
Nearly 200 years of anti-Semitic conspiracies continue to cloud Rothschilds
The Rothschild family is historically Jewish and famously wealthy. They do not control the weather. Or the US government.

That much is now apparent to Trayon White, a member of the Washington, DC, City Council who claimed, on two separate occasions recently, that the Rothschilds were behind various plots to control the US government, the World Bank and/or the weather. A video he posted to Facebook blaming the Rothschild family for this week’s snowstorm went viral and drew broad condemnation.

“Y’all better pay attention to this climate control, man, this climate manipulation,” he said in the video. “And DC keep talking about, ‘We a resilient city.’ And that’s a model based off the Rothschilds controlling the climate to create natural disasters they can pay for to own the cities, man. Be careful.”

On Tuesday, White issued a lengthy apology, explaining that his comments were based off misinformation and that he did not know his statements were anti-Semitic. He apologized for offending the Jewish community, and has since met with local Jewish leaders as part of his pledge to become educated on the issue.

“I have hurt and disappointed many, including myself, my Council colleagues, constituents and countless members of the Jewish community here and abroad,” he wrote. “In all honesty, if I were of Jewish descent, I would also feel disrespected and offended by such comments. Honestly, I do not [at] all believe the Jewish community controls the weather.”

White is hardly the first to repeat a conspiracy theory about the Rothschilds, who for centuries have been one of Europe’s wealthiest families. Today, two Rothschilds appear on Forbes’ list of billionaires, and the family has investment firms in Switzerland, France and elsewhere. Their wealth dates back to the 18th century, when Mayer Amschel Rothschild, who was born in the local Jewish ghetto, became the banker of Wilhelm IX, a local nobleman.
Colombian Jewish anchor told to quit after refusing to cross herself on-air
A Colombian Jewish journalist was ordered to resign from her anchor post on a daily TV newscast after she refused to cross herself while she was on the air.

Channel 1’s Cathy Bekerman was asked to resign after refusing the order by Yamid Amat, newscast director of the CM& broadcast network, the Agencia Judia de Noticias website reported on Wednesday.

“He told me to cross myself, I did not do it and he asked me to resign at that moment, to which I did not agree,” Bekerman told Colombian media.

The case came to light after radio journalist Azury Chamah, who is Jewish, tweeted about it. According to Graciela Torres, another well-known Colombian journalist, Bekerman showed up in the newsroom two days after the March 14 incident escorted by her father and a lawyer.

“It’s a dark situation for Yamid Amat and his newscast because they could be sued for religious intolerance in a country where there is freedom of worship,” Torres said.

“It is not enough that Cathy’s work situation is ‘solved.’ We expect a public apology from Mr. Amat in light of his discriminatory and violative behavior of freedom of religion guaranteed in the Colombian Constitution,” read a statement released by the Confederation of Jewish Communities of Colombia, the country’s Jewish umbrella organization.
Nazi-looted portrait returned to heirs, will be auctioned
For nearly 80 years, the trail was stone cold for a missing 16th-century Renaissance portrait, looted by the Nazis from an estate in the Netherlands.

But late last year, Christie’s auction house was contacted about its potential whereabouts, and the prized painting was returned to the Los Angeles heir of its owners. It will go on sale next month in New York.

The painting, a portrait by the German artist Lucas Cranach the Elder, had belonged to Fritz Gutmann, who owned a large collection on his estate in the Netherlands. Gutmann and his wife were killed in the Theresienstadt and Auschwitz death camps, and their collection looted by the Nazi high command.

After the war, Gutmann’s son and then grandson searched for the painting, one of the gems of the collection, for decades. The grandson, Simon Goodman (the family changed the spelling of the name), says the painting was listed on an inventory of works recommended for the personal use of Adolf Hitler. “That was the last mention I could trace,” Goodman told The Associated Press. “The trail had gone completely cold.”

But late last year, people in possession of the work, whose identity Christie’s is not making public, approached the auction house to see if it was indeed from the Gutmann collection. “They weren’t sure what they had,” Goodman says.
Making water from the air to keep kids healthy in India
Max Simonovsky’s two-and-a-half-year-old son was well trained in routine handwashing. But one day when the water in his Rehovot neighborhood was shut off for repairs, the boy reasoned that if water wasn’t available, he therefore had no need to wash his hands after playing outside.

The Israeli dad was fascinated by his toddler’s way of thinking and discussed it with friends. They realized that the same line of logic may apply to millions of children in areas of the world that lack running water or electricity.

Further investigation revealed that two leading causes of death in young children in the developing world are diarrhea and respiratory infections. UNICEF and the World Health Organization say both could be significantly reduced by hygiene practices such as handwashing.

Simonovsky had discovered the basis for a social-impact startup, Soapy, which he founded in 2017.

“Better hygiene habits require water, soap and training, and also positive feedback and community support,” says Simonvsky. “We realized we could provide all of that.”

Soapy’s off-grid, solar-powered, self-sustaining hygiene station uses water pulled from the atmosphere. A smart system starts the washing cycle automatically when someone approaches, producing an accurate dose of soap and water. The unit operates around the clock.
Greece’s Energean gets nod to develop 2 Israeli offshore natural gas fields
Greek firm Energean Oil & Gas PLC said Thursday its board has given the green light to a final investment decision that will enable the oil and gas explorer to proceed with the $1.6 billion development of the Karish and Tanin natural gas fields off Israel’s shores.

The company said that $405 million of the $460 million it raised in a recent initial public offering of shares in London will be used to fund its 70 percent stake in the project. The remaining 30% of the project will be funded by Kerogen Capital, Energean’s partner in the project, the Greek firm said in a statement.

The project is also being financed through a credit facility of $1.28 billion underwritten by Morgan Stanley, Natixis, Bank Hapoalim and Société Générale.

Energean said it has already secured long-term gas agreements with some of the largest private power producers and industrial companies in Israel, who have contracted purchases of a total of 61 billion cubic meters (BCM) of gas over a period of 16 years.

Energean will develop the project by setting up a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) facility that will have a gas treatment capacity of 8 BCM per year.

A 90-kilometer gas pipeline will link the FPSO to the Israeli coast and necessary onshore facilities to allow connection to the domestic sales gas grid operated by the national gas transmission company, the statement said.
George Clooney to narrate film on life of Shimon Peres
George Clooney will be the narrator for an upcoming film about the life of former president Shimon Peres.

The film, Never Stop Dreaming: The Life and Legacy of Shimon Peres, is produced by Moriah Films, a division of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and is slated to premiere in New York in June.

The center told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that Clooney recorded his narration several weeks ago and met with Rabbi Marvin Hier, the Wiesenthal Center’s director.

The film is directed and produced by Richard Trank, who managed to record 50 hours of interviews with Peres in the months before his death in September 2016. Former US presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton also make appearances, in addition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former British prime minister Tony Blair and Barbra Streisand.

Obama, Clinton and Blair all attended Peres’s funeral in Jerusalem in 2016. Streisand flew to Israel in 2013 to celebrate Peres’s 90th birthday and perform “Avinu Malkeinu” for him.

The film’s first screening is scheduled for June 13 at the Kennedy Center in Washington.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
Gazans are planning "The Great Return March," a gimmick where thousands of Gazans will try to simply walk into Israel on Land Day, March 30, the first day of Passover.

I mentioned this last month before the date was set.

The subtext of the march is that the IDF doesn't act the way that the Arab media portrays it, because that IDF would simply shoot anyone approaching the border.

The IDF is taking this seriously. According to Arab media, it is installing another layer of barbed wire fencing at the border to dissuade anyone from coming.

Palestine Today has a photo essay of Israeli equipment leveling land and installing barbed wire on Tuesday.

Bradley Burston of Haaretz is cheering the idea of Palestinians "returning" to Israel (paywalled):
 Many [IDF] soldiers, in between prayers and calls of duty, silently hoped against hope that day, truly non-violent protest would take the place of interminable, immutable conflict, and drive a wedge into the mechanics of occupation.
I was one of them. And, now that it seems to be happening, this is my confession: I want this to succeed.
But the protest isn't against the "occupation." It is against the existence of the Jewish state.

Is Burston that clueless as to the meaning of "194," the UNGA  resolution that Palestinians purposefully misread to give them the unlimited right to overrun Israel, or is he malicious?

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

 Vic Rosenthal's Weekly Column

Israel and the Jewish people have no enemy more vile than the PLO and its dominant faction, Fatah.

The PLO was founded in 1964 by the Arab league as a “Palestinian” organization whose goal was the “liberation of Palestine through armed struggle.” In 1969 it was taken over by Yasser Arafat’s Fatah group, which has controlled it ever since. In 1993-4, the Oslo agreements between Israel and the PLO created the Palestinian Authority (PA), which rules the areas in which 95% or more of the Arabs of Judea and Samaria live. The PA is run by the PLO (despite the victory by Hamas in the last PA election, held in 2006) and its Chairman is Mahmoud Abbas, who is also the head of the PLO and of Fatah.

Probably more Israeli Jews have been murdered by the PLO and its factions than any other terrorist group, including Hamas and Hezbollah. The PLO has gone out of its way to kill Jewish civilians and especially children, as it did in the Moshav Avivim school bus massacre (very interesting link), the Ma’alot massacre, and the Bus of Blood incident (also called the Coastal Road massacre). Here is a list of PLO “operations” until 2004. There have been plenty more since.

In the early 1990s the PLO was isolated in its exile in Tunis and other places, with few recent terrorist atrocities to its “credit” (the ugly Achille Lauro hijacking in 1985 was an exception). But in 1993, the so-called “architects of Oslo” – Yossi Beilin, Yair Hirschfeld, Ron Pundak, Uri Savir, and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres – negotiated an agreement with the PLO which recognized it as the legitimate representative of the “Palestinian people,” and brought PLO terrorists back to Israel to form the PA. Here is how historian Efraim Karsh described the result:
For Israel, it has been the starkest strategic blunder in its history, establishing an ineradicable terror entity on its doorstep, deepening its internal cleavages, destabilizing its political system, and weakening its international standing. For the West Bank [sic] and Gaza Palestinians, it has brought subjugation to the corrupt and repressive PLO and Hamas regimes, which reversed the hesitant advent of civil society in these territories, shattered their socioeconomic wellbeing, and made the prospects of peace and reconciliation with Israel ever more remote.

In their naiveté and delusive wishful thinking, the “architects” believed Arafat’s assurances that he had renounced terrorism and would change the PLO Covenant to delete those articles calling for the violent destruction of the Jewish state. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin had his doubts, but could not oppose the fait accompli from the start without being seen as “against peace,” and he soon came under massive pressure from US President Clinton to make a deal.

Arafat immediately began his double game of talking peace in English to the international community and inciting violence in Arabic to his people. Karsh notes,
The next eleven years until Arafat's death on November 11, 2004, offered a recapitulation, over and over again, of the same story. In addressing Israeli or Western audiences, the PLO chairman (and his erstwhile henchmen) would laud the "peace" signed with "my partner Yitzhak Rabin." To his Palestinian constituents, he depicted the accords as transient arrangements required by the needs of the moment. He made constant allusion to the "phased strategy" and the Treaty of Hudaibiya—signed by Muhammad with the people of Mecca in 628, only to be disavowed a couple of years later when the situation shifted in the prophet's favor—and insisted on the "right of return," the standard Palestinian/Arab euphemism for Israel's destruction through demographic subversion.

The supposedly renounced terrorism continued, with Arafat secretly providing funds to terror operatives and even cooperating with Hamas (the one thing they seem to be able to agree upon is the value of killing Jews). After the failure of the Camp David and Taba talks in 2000-1, Arafat sparked the vicious Second Intifada in which the PLO and Hamas together murdered more than 1000 Israeli Jews, mostly civilians, and in which more than 3000 Palestinian Arabs lost their lives.

Most importantly, as soon as he took power Arafat opened what I call the Death Factory, the systematic indoctrination with anti-Israel and anti-Jewish propaganda of Palestinian Arabs in schools and mosques, and via official PA and Fatah newspapers, radio, TV, and websites. More than mere propaganda, the Death Factory teaches Arabs, especially young people, that the greatest achievement in the life of a Palestinian is to kill as many Jews as possible, even – especially – if the killer becomes a martyr in the process. The greatest Palestinian heroes are such martyrs, like Dalal Mughrabi, a young woman who took part in the Bus of Blood massacre. Countless schools, squares, sports facilities, and so on are named after Mughrabi and other exemplars of Palestinism. Hamas, following Arafat’s lead, opened its own Death Factory, featuring children’s TV programs and kindergartens where the children are taught to hate and encouraged to kill as soon as they are able.

Arafat’s successor, the Holocaust-denying, Jew-hating Mahmoud Abbas, has been careful not to be caught directly ordering terrorism. But he continued and expanded the Death Factory, and often lauds captured or martyred terrorists as heroes. In addition to Palestinian nationalism and appeals to Arab honor, traditional antisemitic themes both from the Islamic and European traditions are included. Although the PLO under both Arafat and Abbas has promised numerous times to stop such incitement, it has never done so.

Today, social media have become a force multiplier, amplifying and disseminating the message. In fact, as a result of the autonomous nature of social media, it is doubtful that the Death Factory could be shut down completely even if the PA and Hamas would stop incitement in its own media and schools.

If this were not enough, the PA scandalously pays salaries to the families of terrorists imprisoned by Israel for security offenses, or killed while attempting acts of terrorism. The monthly payments are proportional to the length of the sentence, so the family of a mass murderer who has received multiple life sentences will be paid the most. The PA also will pay to build a new house for the family of a terrorist whose home is demolished. Despite great international pressure – after all, practically all of the PA’s money comes from international donors – Abbas has said that he will never end the program, which in 2016 paid $318 million to the families of “martyrs” and prisoners.

The combination of lifetime indoctrination and incitement with financial incentives has led to a situation in which almost every Arab from the PA, and even some Arab citizens of Israel, have become potential murderers, and in which it is becoming increasingly dangerous to walk the streets or to wait at a bus stop. Arab children as young as 13 have perpetrated terror attacks. Although there has been anti-Jewish terrorism in Israel from the period before the founding of the state, the prevalence of “sudden jihad syndrome” by Arabs unaffiliated with terror groups is unprecedented.

There is no easy solution that doesn’t involve using a time machine to go back to 1993 and intercept the Oslo folly, but there are some things that should be obvious by now:

First and foremost, we must realize that the PLO is an enemy of the state of Israel and the Jewish people. Jews are being murdered regularly by Palestinian Arab terrorists because they are encouraged and paid by the PLO to do so. In effect the PLO has “taken out a contract ” on the Jewish people. Paying a hit man to kill someone is considered murder in civilized countries, and his refusal to stop doing this makes Mahmoud Abbas a murderer. He should be arrested and imprisoned.

We can’t completely shut down the Death Factory because it will continue via social media. But surely we can stop incitement on PA media. TV and radio stations that incite murder or transmit anti-Jewish material can be put off the air. Newspapers can be closed down. Websites can be blocked. We don’t need to ask permission; just do it.

Insofar as the PLO is our enemy, we are not obligated to cooperate with it in any way. In fact, we are at war with the PLO, and cooperation with the enemy in time of war is treason. We should not transfer funds to the PA – which is the PLO under another name – or grant work permits to its citizens. We should encourage our allies to stop funding the PA as well.

We have gotten used to cooperating with the PA because we believe it keeps a lid on terrorism, but what that means is that we are allowing ourselves to be extorted by blackmail and threats. And regardless of our subservience, terrorism continues and grows over time, since we never defeat our enemy.

We don’t have a time machine that would enable someone to snatch the pen out of Rabin’s hand, but recognizing the seriousness of the mistake we made is the first step to fixing it.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
From Ian:

IDF Blog: The Intel operation behind the attack on the Syrian nuclear facility in 2007
For two years, the Military Intelligence Directorate worked with the Israeli intelligence community to collect information about the growing Syrian nuclear facility. It began with a hunch and a collection of sensitive information, continued with the recognition of suspicious buildings, and ended with the identification and destruction of the nuclear facility. Here’s the intelligence process behind the operation, step-by-step:

The beginning stages of intel-gathering

After major discoveries were made from 2005 until the beginning of 2007, it was determined that Syria was acting secretly within the nuclear field.

The Military Intelligence Directorate began to take-on the challenge: the Research Department of the Directorate established a large-scale team to analyze indications of Syrian nuclear efforts and strategies. Later on, the intelligence collection units outside of the military assisted in gathering information.

During this period of time, the Military Intelligence Directorate collected a number of key details that became the grounds for the attack:

  1. Towards the end of 2004: Military intelligence and the Mossad collected information that foreign specialists were aiding a nuclear project in Syria.
  2. January 2006: This was the first time it was suggested that a nuclear facility was being established in Syria. This was an important turning point in the understanding of it. Following this, the Military Intelligence Directorate collected vital information regarding the beginning process of a nuclear facility.
  3. April 2006: A nuclear facility was identified as a result of research conducted by the Military Intelligence Directorate and intelligence community.
  4. November 2006: Additional activity in the nuclear field was observed. With time, more aspects of Syrian nuclear efforts were revealed, specifically intensive contact with nuclear elements necessary for the operation of a nuclear facility.
Palestinian claim to Dead Sea Scrolls may be next up at UNESCO
The next “prize” the Palestinians will likely claim as their own at UNESCO will probably be the archeological site of Qumran and its Dead Sea Scrolls, Shimon Samuels of the Simon Wiesenthal Center said on Wednesday.

He spoke at a panel on the denial of Jewish history in international organizations at the Foreign Ministry-sponsored sixth Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism in Jerusalem.

Samuels chronicled the Palestinians’ success at having attributed to themselves biblical and cultural sites, including Jewish ones, on the World Heritage List since joining the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as a member state in 2011.

The World Heritage Committee ascribed to “Palestine” Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity in 2012; the agricultural terraces of Battir, site of the ancient Jewish fortress at Betar, in 2014; and Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs in 2017.

The Palestinian Authority has a tentative list of 13 additional sites it seeks to register at UNESCO.

Out of that list the Palestinians are next likely to seek cultural ownership of the Qumran Caves and Dead Sea Scrolls, said Samuels, who is the director of international relations for the Wiesenthal Center.

This request may come up at the next meeting of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee this July in Bahrain, he told the conference.

Caroline Glick: A Trump Confidant Turns Against Israel
On Monday, a major American Jewish leader published a call to arms against Israel in the New York Times.

In an op-ed under the headline, “Israel’s self-inflicted wounds,” World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder warned that Israel is driving itself to the brink of disaster.

The implicit message of Lauder’s article is that President Donald Trump is too good to Israel. He needs to adopt a far cooler policy towards the immoral, undeserving Jewish state.

Lauder is no run-of-the-mill American Jewish leader. He has been in the spotlight for 30 years.

Lauder was an intimate friend of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for twenty years. The two men had a very public falling out a decade ago after an Israeli television station partially owned by Lauder broadcast a venomously hostile string of stories against Netanyahu.

Today, Lauder has an even more powerful friend: Donald Trump.

As a New York socialite and heir to the Estee Lauder cosmetics empire, over the years Lauder developed a close relationship with real estate magnate Trump. That friendship extended into the presidential race. And for the past 14 months, Lauder has had closer ties to the President than any other American Jewish leader.

When a man of Lauder’s stature writes Israel is “endangering the future of the country,” most people take his warning seriously.

So is he right? Is it time to man the barricades?

The good news is: no. Lauder’s warnings are no more than a collection of anti-Israel slanders.
Why Does Ronald Lauder Want Israel to be Only Nine Miles Wide?
After a long career in government and Jewish communal service, Ronald S. Lauder just announced his new cause: creating a Palestinian state in Israel’s backyard. People sometimes take on some pretty strange hobbies in their golden years. Lauder’s is not merely strange, but genuinely dangerous to the safety of Israel.

“We must push for a two-state solution,” Lauder declared on Monday in “Israel’s Self-Inflicted Wounds” on the op-ed page of The New York Times.

Let’s consider, first of all, the venue Lauder chose for his announcement. He had many choices aside from the Times. For example, he could have quietly advocated his position within the confines of private diplomatic channels. Or he could have made his case to fellow leaders of Jewish organizations. He even could have—I know this seems outlandish—moved to Israel and cast his vote for a political party that advocates Palestinian statehood.

The only conceivable reason for Lauder to broadcast his plea in The New York Times is to put public pressure on Israel to surrender to his demand. Clearly, he does not respect the wishes of the Israeli public. Nor does he have any regard for the right of Israel’s democratically elected leaders to make decisions based on Israel’s best interests, free of foreign pressure.

This is not Lauder’s first foray into the surrender of Israeli-controlled territory. During Benjamin Netanyahu’s first term as Israeli prime minister in the 1990s, Lauder attempted to negotiate the return of the Golan Heights to Syria. Can anyone imagine what the Golan Heights would be like today with Iranian “volunteers” staring down at Israel if that plan had gone ahead?

Now to the substance of his demand: “the two-state solution.”
Move slashing Palestinian funding hitches ride on massive US spending bill
The Taylor Force Act, which would slash funding to the Palestinians until Ramallah stops payments to terrorists or their families, will likely pass this week as part of a massive US government spending bill.

The act was included in the massive $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill that must pass by Friday night. The bill, which congressional leaders agreed to Wednesday night, is laden with unrelated legislative measures, known as riders.

The inclusion of the measure in the omnibus spending bill was first reported on by Jewish Insider earlier Wednesday.

Taylor Force was an American who was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist in a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv in 2016. The act would cut US funding to the Palestinians by the amount paid out by the Palestine Liberation Organization to Palestinians jailed for terror offenses or their families in the cases of assailants killed during attacks.

Palestinian officials say that only a small portion of the targeted money goes to violent attackers, and that much of the money serves as a welfare program for Palestinians who are imprisoned by Israel, many without charges.
Senate Democrats Prevent Stand-Alone Vote for Taylor Force Act
Senate leaders have added the Taylor Force Act to the omnibus spending bill after two Democratic senators blocked an effort to pass it as a stand-alone bill. The measure would cut off U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority as punishment for its practice of paying salaries and benefits to terrorists and their families, including those who have murdered Americans.

The Taylor Force Act boasts strong bipartisan support, prompting Senate leadership a few weeks ago to hotline the bill, which would set it up to pass by unanimous consent, a parliamentary procedure that expedites passage of noncontroversial legislation. If no senator objects to the move, the measure is passed without the need for a floor vote.

But the Taylor Force Act was blocked after Democratic senators Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Dianne Feinstein of California rejected the hotline, killing the unanimous consent process and forcing the bill to undergo the Senate's lengthy cloture process, several sources told the Washington Free Beacon. Neither Leahy nor Feinstein have publicly opposed the bill.

A spokesman for Sen. Leahy, David Carle, did not deny that the senator objected to unanimous consent, claiming that Leahy "sought an opportunity to refine the bill … and there was no opportunity to debate or offer amendments." When asked whether Sen. Leahy had sought to refine the bill or offer amendments at any point during the six months from February 2017, when it was introduced, to August 2017, when it was debated and then passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mr. Carle suggested that Sen. Leahy was unable to.

"He's not on SFRC," Carle said in an emailed response. "He sought the opportunity to discuss refinements, which is the regular process in the Senate."
Taylor Force Act a Turning Point in U.S. Stance on PA Terror Payments
The leading private advocate of pending US legislation that sanctions the Palestinian Authority for financially incentivizing terrorism pronounced himself “very satisfied” on Wednesday, as the Senate prepared for an imminent final vote on the provisions of the Taylor Force Act.

“It’s a great relief that Congress has gotten behind the Taylor Force Act in a bipartisan way,” Sander Gerber – a prominent New York-based finance executive who has been praised by several US legislators for his vocal support of the legislation – told The Algemeiner.

Named in memory of the former American army officer stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in Tel Aviv in March 2016, the Taylor Force Act passed the House of Representatives by unanimous consent in December 2017. Gerber — who joined forces with the Force family after their son’s murder to counter the PA’s long-established policy of paying salaries and other benefits to convicted terrorists and their families — said he was “very satisfied” with the final version of the act, which will be incorporated into an omnibus appropriations bill currently scheduled for a March 23 vote in the Senate.

Gerber argued that while the legislation will not cut every single cent of US aid to the Palestinians, it carried a political and moral significance far beyond any of its strictly financial measures.

“The biggest impact lies in the requirements on the State Department and the US representative at the UN to make known and report upon the Palestinian ‘pay-for-slay’ infrastructure,” Gerber said.
Slain soldier’s father becomes advocate ‘for right vs. wrong’
Stuart Force never imagined that he would spend his retirement traveling across the United States, knocking on doors on Capital Hill. But that is precisely his life now following the tragic death of his son, Taylor Force, a West Point graduate and U.S. Army veteran who was stabbed and killed by a Palestinian terrorist on March 8, 2016, while on a graduate-school trip to Israel with Vanderbilt University. Ten other people were wounded in the attack.

“If you are ideologically different than most Israelis or anyone else, it still doesn’t give you the right to commit murder and crimes. That is the basic decency that bothers us—that you think you have the right to do this,” Force, 67, told JNS.

Force said that his son Taylor, 28, was a “remarkable” man that did not harbor prejudice or malice towards anyone.

“He was a very accepting person. No prejudices, other than he didn’t like real jerks,” quipped Force. “He had good friends who were Jewish; he really enjoyed their company. When the opportunity came up to go to Israel, he leapt at it.”

Force, who has been touring the country to support the legislation named after his son, spoke at Congregation Beth El-Atereth Israel in the Boston suburb of Newton on March 12 in a program sponsored by JINSA, a pro-Israel think tank, just a few days after the two-year anniversary of his son’s death.
Palestinian rejection said to delay US peace plan announcement indefinitely
The US administration has reportedly decided to delay indefinitely the announcement of its long-awaited peace proposal after concluding that it cannot impose such a deal on the Palestinians.

The Americans reached the conclusion after realizing as well that no Arab country would be willing to cooperate with the plan as long as the Palestinians were strongly opposed to it, a senior Palestinian official told the London-based Al Hayat newspaper in a report published Thursday.

The official said that the US administration had hoped that some of the Arab countries would replace the Palestinians at the negotiating table with Israel after the Trump plan was announced.

However, the official said, the Americans haven’t been able to find find any Arab party willing to accept the plan as long the Palestinians continued to reject it. “This is why the Americans have decided to shelve the plan,” the official added.

“The US administration is searching for a plan that would be sustainable and acceptable to the parties, and this requires additional waiting and consideration,” Western diplomatic sources told the paper.

“It’s not possible to forcibly impose the plan on the Palestinians,” they were quoted as saying. “The Israelis and Palestinians first need to accept the plan. Afterwards, other Arab parties will be included.”

US officials have indicated that the Trump plan is being finalized and will be presented soon. There was no confirmation from the US of Thursday’s report.
PMW: Abbas: US Ambassador to Israel is "son of a bitch"

'World must acknowledge Israeli sovereignty in Golan Heights'
An Israeli policy paper that calls for international recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights was presented at a Tel Aviv conference on Wednesday.

The 88-page document, titled "Observations on the national strategy for the Golan Heights" was written by Zvi Hauser, a former cabinet secretary under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Itzik Tsarfati, a former attorney and chairman of the Coalition for the Israeli Golan, both members of the Kohelet Policy Forum.

The policy paper argues that for the first time in 50 years, "Israel has an opportunity to receive recognition of its sovereignty over the Golan as a consequence of the war in Syria.

"Israel must aspire toward international recognition that the 1967 borders are no longer sacrosanct and of the need to change the border in accordance with the current reality on the ground," the document states.
Most Israelis think moving US embassy will spark violence, but still say do it
A majority of Israelis say moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will spark regional violence, but still support transferring the American diplomatic mission to the capital, according to a poll released Thursday.

The monthly Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University Peace Index survey found that 61 percent of the 600 Arab and Jewish respondents polled said the move was “very likely” to spark violent Palestinian protests.

Nevertheless, 69% Jewish Israelis said the anticipated Palestinian response shouldn’t be an excuse to postpone the opening scheduled for May, while 77% of Arab Israelis said Israel should ask the US to change the move date.

Last month, US President Donald Trump announced the new US embassy in Jerusalem would open on May 14 to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence. The announcement was met with widespread anger among the Palestinians, prompting calls for enormous protest events, the largest of them planned for the Gaza Strip.

The expected protests will also coincide with Nakba Day, a national day of Palestinian mourning marking the “catastrophe” of Israel’s founding, commemorated every year on May 15.
Germany stalls Iran talks over labeling Hezbollah as terrorists
Germany’s government tossed a wrench into the ongoing Iran nuclear talks with the United States, rejecting a US demand to designate the entire Hezbollah organization as terrorist and blaming the Trump administration for its pro-Israel policies.

Two sources familiar with the US negotiations with Germany, France and the United Kingdom over correcting flaws in the Iran nuclear deal told The Jerusalem Post of Berlin’s position and said Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration is the “least cooperative” of the three European powers.

When asked about Germany’s position, a US State Department representative restated President Donald Trump’s demands from January, telling the Post on Monday: “They should designate Hezbollah – in its entirety – as a terrorist organization.”

The representative added that “we are working closely with our European partners to address our shared concerns with the JCPOA [the nuclear deal] and Iran’s malign behavior.”

According to the sources, Germany rejected the demand from the US negotiating team – and President Trump’s position – to outlaw all of Hezbollah, because the Lebanese militia “is linked to Israel-Palestinian peace talks.” The sources also said Germany considers the Trump administration as too pro-Israel.

One source said Britain and France are amenable to sanctioning Hezbollah. There are, however, differences between the French and British positions over what punitive measures to take.
Germany Selling Iran Chemical Weapons Tech, Boosting Anti-Israel Efforts as U.S. Dems Block Trump Ambassador
U.S. officials are increasingly alarmed by a congressional block on President Donald Trump's pick to be the next ambassador to Germany, a holdup that comes as Berlin pursues a host of anti-Israel measures and is growing closer to Iran, according to multiple administration insiders who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

As Democrats in Congress continue to hold the nomination of Richard Grenell, a veteran Republican diplomat who was tapped by Trump to serve as the next U.S. ambassador to Germany, the post remains vacant, sparking concerns the United States is ceding leverage amid sensitive discussions regarding the future of the landmark Iran nuclear deal.

The vacancy also has left the United States with little voice to combat a series of anti-Israel efforts being pursued by the German government. Trump administration insiders are becoming increasingly fed-up with the block on Grenell, telling the Free Beacon that U.S. diplomats currently helming the post have been bungling critical national security priorities, including the Iran portfolio and recent efforts by Germany to sell Tehran sensitive equipment used by the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria to produce chemical weapons.

"The current leader of the embassy is not an ambassador," said one senior U.S. official with direct knowledge of the situation, referring to Kent Logsdon, a former Obama administration official who is serving as the chargé d'affaires ad interim in Berlin.

"He is perfectly nice and steeped in the State Department culture, but irrelevant to serious policy makers," the official said. "He oversees a team that promotes a normalized relationship with Iran and has promoted anti-Trump speakers throughout Germany."

Grenell's absence on the international stage has only become more noticeable in recent months, as the Trump administration pursues a last minute diplomatic effort to strengthen the Iran deal or scrap it by May, sources said.
U.S. and Israel Complete Joint Exercise Juniper Cobra 2018
U.S. and Israeli military forces have just completed Exercise Juniper Cobra 2018, a joint ballistic missile exercise.

Approximately 2,500 American personnel and 2,000 Israeli personnel participated in the exercise, according to the Department of Defense.

The commander for Joint Task Force Israel, U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Richard M. Clark, hailed the exercise for deepening ties between the American and Israeli militaries.

"It was an honor to lead this team of true professionals through completion of U.S. European Command’s top priority exercise for 2018," Clark said.

"Juniper Cobra 2018 proved to be an incredibly challenging and realistic scenario, requiring trust, communication and collaboration with our Israeli partners," Clark said. "The relationships built over the last two weeks help bolster our interoperability and pave the path for future engagements and exercises."

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, and other leaders from both militaries observed the exercises at times.
Kaspersky’s ‘Slingshot’ report burned ISIS-focused intelligence operation
The U.S. government and Russian cybersecurity giant Kaspersky Lab are currently in the throes of a nasty legal fight that comes on top of a long-running feud over how the company has conducted itself with regard to U.S. intelligence-gathering operations.

A recent Kaspersky discovery may keep the feud alive for years to come.

CyberScoop has learned that Kaspersky research recently exposed an active, U.S.-led counterterrorism cyber-espionage operation. According to current and former U.S. intelligence officials, the operation was used to target ISIS and al-Qaeda members.

On March 9, Kaspersky publicly announced a malware campaign dubbed “Slingshot.” According to the company’s researchers, the campaign compromised thousands of devices through breached routers in various African and Middle Eastern countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Kenya, Sudan, Somalia, Turkey and Yemen.

Kaspersky did not attribute Slingshot to any single country or government in its public report, describing it only as an advanced persistent threat (APT). But current and former U.S. intelligence officials tell CyberScoop that Slingshot represents a U.S. military program run out of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), a component of Special Operations Command (SOCOM).
Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi to serve 8 months for slapping soldier
The IDF West Bank prosecution and lawyers for Ahed Tamimi reached a plea deal on Wednesday which will see her serve a total of 8 months in prison.

The deal is not final as it has not yet been approved by the IDF West Bank Court, but if it goes through, Tamimi will serve about five more months, since she has already served around three months.

“Ahed will be home in a few months, but Israel is putting this child behind bars for eight months for calling for protests and slapping a soldier, after threatening her with years in jail,” said Human Rights Watch. “Plea bargains are the norm in Israel’s military justice system, which is characterized by prolonged pretrial detention, abuse of kids and sham trials.”

The IDF rejects criticism of plea bargains, arguing that they are the norm in many Western legal systems.

Coming only days after the IDF West Bank Courts refused Tamimi’s request for her trial to be public, the deal appears to indicate a realization that little more public attention would be garnered by holding a trial.

In February, the court said that it was standard procedure for trials for minors like Tamimi to be held out of public view in order to protect their interests as minors, and the court recently confirmed that decision.

Tamimi’s lawyer, Gaby Lasky, had criticized the decision saying, “It’s strange that the court decided – after sending Ahed into detention until the end of her trial and after her name has already been publicized – that it is in her interests to conduct the trial far off from public view.”

Ultimately, the IDF prosecution also did not oppose the trial being open to the public.
Zoabi calls for ‘mass struggle’ against Israel after Tamimi verdict
Mass resistance and struggle against Israel are necessary to “liberate Palestine,” Joint List MK Haneen Zoabi said on Thursday.

“Ahed Tamimi is not just one, she is a whole generation... We are not waiting for the criminal [Israel] to understand,” Zoabi said. “We need to force it to leave through a struggle. Only a mass struggle will liberate Ahed and the Palestinian people.”

Zoabi made the comments in response to an announcement on Wednesday that Tamimi, a Palestinian teenager whose assault on IDF soldiers stationed outside her home can be seen in a viral online video, reached a plea deal, by which she will serve a total of eight months in prison.

The video sparked emotions for and against Tamimi. Some Israelis expressed pride that the IDF soldiers stood and took the blows and didn’t respond, while others said it made the army look weak. Meanwhile, Tamimi became a symbol for pro-Palestinian groups around the world, with the hashtag #NoWayToTreatAChild trending on social media after her arrest.

The Joint List MK said it is a success for the “resistance” that “Zionism, the last occupier in the world,” is afraid of a child, meaning Tamimi.

According to Zoabi, Tamimi is “being punished not because she committed a crime or hurt anyone, but because she did the right thing, and said to soldiers who were persecuting children: ‘I am not afraid of you.’ And she is a brave teen, and all of the occupier’s courts’ actions only make her courage greater.”

IDF had no right to be in the Tamimis’ yard, Zoabi added, saying: “We need to chase them out until the final stage, their total withdrawal.”

Last week, the Knesset Ethics Committee suspended Zoabi from the Knesset for a week for calling IDF soldiers “murderers,” which the panel said violates MKs’ vow to try to increase public trust in the Knesset.
Two Jordanians jailed for planning attacks for ISIS
Two Jordanians were sentenced on Wednesday to 10 years in jail with hard labor for planning attacks on the Amman embassies of Russia, Iran and Israel, AFP reported.

Jordan's state security court convicted the two men for having manufactured explosives and plotting attacks on behalf of "a terrorist group".

In the charge sheet seen by AFP, the two were accused of belonging to the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group and of planning to carry out bomb attacks in 2016 on the Russian, Iranian and Israeli embassies in Amman.

They were arrested in March 2016. A suicide bombing in June of that year claimed by ISIS near a border post with Syria killed seven Jordanian soldiers.

Jordan has been targeted by several terrorist attacks in recent years, particularly since it became a leading member of the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

At least one hundred detainees have been sentenced to death in Jordan in recent years, many on charges related to membership in Islamist groups, who could face capital punishment.
JCPA: Mahmoud Abbas May Impose New Sanctions on Gaza
On March 21, 2018, a senior source in the Palestinian Authority informed the Al-Khaleej Online website that the new sanctions would come into force at the beginning of April at the latest, and the situation in Gaza will become even more dangerous.
Abbas’ Draconian Measures

Abbas intends to paralyze daily life and increase the level of poverty in the Gaza Strip. According to this source, the sanctions will include the following measures:

Importation of food and merchandise into Gaza will be prohibited.
Restrictions will be imposed on exports and imports.
High taxes will be imposed on tradesmen to put a stop to their activities.
Government employees will face a further wage decrease. Instead of the current 30 percent, wages will be slashed by 50 percent.
Loans will no longer be given.
Welfare payments to 70,000 families in Gaza will be stopped.
Medical care will be cut.
Power will be reduced, and there will be no more payments to the Israeli Mekorot water company for Gaza’s water supply.
Bank accounts belonging to Palestinian officials, companies, and institutions will be closed.
Hamas official: Main suspect in attack on PA prime minister dies after shootout
Two Hamas police officers were killed Thursday morning in a shootout that also killed the main suspect in the bombing of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah’s convoy in the Gaza Strip earlier this month, Hamas said.

The Hamas raid on the Al Nusseirat refugee camp in the Strip came hours after the terror group announced that it had identified a man named Anas Abu Khoussa as the main suspect in the bombing of the convoy.

Salah Bardaweel, a senior Hamas official, initially said that Abu Khoussa and two of his aides were taken into custody. The Hamas-run interior ministry later said Abu Khoussa had been killed along with an accomplice, Abd al Hadi al Ashhab.

A third suspect was arrested.

The ministry had offered a $5,000 reward to anyone who provides information that would lead to the capture of Abu Khoussa.

A spokesperson for the ministry said Thursday morning that security forces had surrounded a house in Al Nusseirat, in the central Gaza Strip, where a number of fugitives were believed to be hiding.

An exchange of gunfire erupted between the fugitives and the Hamas security officers, he added, without providing further details.
PA: Hamas claims that it killed convoy bombing suspect are ‘illogical’
The Palestinian Authority on Thursday dismissed Hamas’s claims that it killed the suspect behind the bombing attack against the convoy of Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah earlier this month, saying its story was “flimsy.”

The PA accused Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, of “creating flimsy and illogical accounts” about the circumstances surrounding Thursday’s raid on a house in the Nusseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, where the prime suspect, Anas Abu Khoussa, was hiding.

Hamas said that Abu Khoussa, one of his aides and two Hamas police officers were killed during the raid.

Hamas official Salah Bardaweel initially said that Abu Khoussa had been arrested together with two of his accomplices. Some reports initially said that Abu Khoussa had suffered moderate to serious wounds during the raid.

However, the Hamas-run Ministry of Interior later announced that Abu Khoussa had been killed during an exchange of gunfire with the Hamas police force that surrounded the house he was hiding in.

A man who was with Abu Khoussa, and who was identified as Abd al Hadi al Ashhab, was also killed, the ministry said.
Palestinian protesters burn Abbas effigy in Gaza rally
Dozens of Palestinians, supporters of a group that is close to Hamas, rallied in Gaza City on Wednesday to protest against Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who recently gave a speech in which he threatened to impose additional financial sanctions against Gaza's rulers.

Activists of al-Ahrar movement, established after Hamas took over Gaza in 2007, burnt an effigy of the Palestinian leader and held posters reading "Abbas does not represent me."

"Because we think that the latest speech by Mahmoud Abbas has caused big damage, we say that we have to, as Palestinians, look to the phase that will come after Mahmoud Abbas. We believe that Abbas has become the main problem for achieving the national reconciliation and achieving the national unity," said Khaled Abu Helal, secretary general of al-Ahrar movement.

Abbas, speaking at a Palestinian leadership gathering on Monday, blamed Hamas for a bomb attack last week on the convoy of Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Gaza, remarks that threatened reconciliation efforts with the Islamist terrorist group.

Abbas said Hamas would have to give up control of the Gaza Strip or risk taking full responsibility for the enclave and its two million residents without any help from his Western-backed Palestinian Authority.
Hamas seeking alliance with Iran, Hezbollah to foil Trump peace plan – report
Hamas has bolstered its relations with Iran and Hezbollah and is consulting with Russia and China as part of an effort to thwart US President Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-announced plan for peace in the Middle East, Palestinian sources in the Gaza Strip said Thursday.

“Hamas is working to forge a Palestinian-Arab-Islamic alliance that would be able to confront Trump’s plan,” a source said.

“Discussions with Iran and Hezbollah on this matter have gone a long way.”

The sources in the Gaza Strip told the London-based Al Hayat newspaper that the discussions between the three parties — Hamas, Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah — were based on the belief that Trump’s plan, which he has described as the “deal of the century,” was the “most dangerous” in the history of the Israeli-Arab conflict.

“Regional changes have put Hamas, Iran, Hezbollah, and the Palestinian cause in front of big dangers,” a source told the newspaper’s correspondent in the Gaza Strip. “This requires unifying all efforts to confront and thwart [Trump’s plan] and safeguard the Palestinian cause.”

It was not immediately clear what type of pushback effort the three would mount in opposition to the US proposal, which reports have indicated is nearly finished.

Hamas is also conducting consultations with Arab, Islamic and foreign parties, including Russia and China, to discuss ways of confronting Trump’s peace plan, the sources said.
Get Hamas Off Twitter
Hamas regularly attacks and incites violence against Israelis.

The result? Hamas openly and proudly claims responsibility for the murder of more than 1,300 Israeli victims.

Disturbingly, Hamas has been allowed to use Twitter to advance its violent and hateful agenda.

This is wrong. Countless democracies, including Canada, the United States, and the European Union have rightly designated Hamas as a terrorist group. This means it is a crime for citizens to be a member or provide material support to this violent organization.

If Hamas can’t open a bank account in Canada, why should it be allowed to have a Twitter account?

Help us cut off Hamas’ link to nearly half-a-million online followers. Join us in calling on Twitter to shut down Hamas’ accounts.

Report: Syria may be building an underground nuclear facility
A Washington-based think tank said Wednesday that Syria may be building a new, underground nuclear facility, but stressed that as satellite images of the activity in the site's suspected area are inconclusive, the purpose of the site remains unknown.

The Institute for Science and International Security issued its review just hours after Israel officially claimed the 2007 bombing of a suspected nuclear reactor in Al-Kubar, in the Deir ez-Zor region in eastern Syria.

In a statement on its website, the Institute for Science and International Security said that the Qusayr site in western Syria "warrants inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency, even though accomplishing such inspections may have to wait until the Syrian conflict ends," and warned that "any nuclear-related facility in Syria could involve considerable assistance from North Korea, given that Pyongyang provided extensive assistance in the construction of the Al-Kubar reactor."

The review of the issue, penned by former IAEA official David Albright together with Sarah Burkhard, Allison Lach and Frank Pabian, said that the institute decided to "revisit a series of claims made in a 2015 Der Spiegel report regarding the Qusayr site in Syria," and noted that Israel's action in 2007 "serves to highlight once again the lack of accounting for Syria's past nuclear weapons program and the location of any assets remaining from that program.

"This includes possibly tens of metric tons of uranium fuel and other equipment or materials associated with nuclear fuel fabrication and plutonium separation, that likely existed as key elements of the Al-Kubar reactor project."
Khamenei: US created Islamic State to distract region from ‘Zionist regime’
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tehran has neutralized US plans in the Middle East, in a speech Wednesday marking the Persian New Year.

“Those who interfere in all the affairs of the world protest and ask: ‘Why does Iran intervene in the affairs of Iraq and Syria?’ What is it to you? The Islamic Republic of Iran has succeeded in neutralizing US plans in the region,” he said.

Khamenei accused the United States of planning to “create oppressive and rebel groups like Daesh [the Islamic State group] to distract people in the region from the Zionist regime [Israel] and keep them occupied with internal conflicts.”

The Iranian leader’s speech was delivered in the holy city of Masshad and broadcast on state television.

Iran has supported the governments of Syria and Iraq by sending “military advisers” and its own “volunteers” along with Afghans and Pakistanis to fight jihadists and rebels.

Its presence in the region has been denounced by the United States as well as France, Britain, Saudi Arabia and Israel.
Saudi Arabia: What About the Hate-Filled Textbooks and Sermons?
Recent analyses by experts on religious freedom cite the continued prejudicial declarations against Christians, Jews and Western civilization in Saudi educational textbooks as evidence that Saudi Arabia still bears ill will against the "infidel" West.

Saudi Arabia has failed to meet agreed-upon deadlines to remove objectionable language from educational texts.

The current Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel bin Ahmed al-Jubeir, seemed falsely to imply that hateful language appears only in past, discontinued textbooks and that current textbooks are being purged of any offensive language.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

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