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Friday, December 15, 2017

From Ian:

Kevin Williamson: It is time to cut off financial support to Abbas
Abbas boasts that the Palestinian state and the Palestinian National Authority no longer receive U.S. aid, but that isn’t quite true. The United States is a very large contributor to UNRWA, the relief agency for Palestinian “refugees.” (There aren’t any Palestinian refugees, really, but, unlike the rest of the world’s peoples, Palestinians inherit refugee status.) The United States is also a large contributor to other U.N. programs and international organizations that provide aid to the Palestinians, who, thanks to their incompetent and malevolent leadership, have no real economy to speak of. In 2016, the United States gave more in aid to the Palestinians than any other country did.

It is time to rethink that.

UNRWA is a troubled and troubling organization on its best day, an encourager and enabler of Palestinian radicalism. The prospects for peace probably would improve if it were dissolved. But, short of that, the United States should consider accommodating President Abbas’s demand and stepping away from the situation for a while, taking our aid money with us. If President Abbas must have his obstinacy and his cheap theatrics, then let him pay the full price for them. Let’s see how much loose change Erdogan can scramble up from the cushions of his ottoman. The haul is likely to be disappointing.

The United States has global interests, and one of those is seeing to the interests of our allies, including Israel. President Abbas thinks the United States has no role in future peace negotiations in the Middle East. One could not blame Americans for thinking much the same thing about him. What’s certain is that American power and American interests will be here when President Abbas has joined the footnotes, and the powers that be in the Islamic world would do well to meditate on that fact.
The Uncomfortable Truth About Swedish Anti-Semitism
This past Saturday, a Hanukkah party at a synagogue in Goteborg, Sweden, was abruptly interrupted by Molotov cocktails. They were hurled by a gang of men in masks at the Jews, mostly teenagers, who had gathered to celebrate the holiday.

Two days later, two fire bombs were discovered outside the Jewish burial chapel in the southern Swedish city of Malmo.

Who knows what tomorrow may bring?

For Sweden’s 18,000 Jews, sadly, none of this comes as a surprise. They are by now used to anti-Semitic threats and attacks — especially during periods of unrest in the Middle East, which provide cover to those whose actual goal has little to do with Israel and much to do with harming Jews.

Both of these recent attacks followed days of incitement against Jews. Last Friday, 200 people protested in Malmo against President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The protesters called for an intifada and promised “we will shoot the Jews.” A day later, during a demonstration in Stockholm, a speaker called Jews “apes and pigs.” There were promises of martyrdom.

Malmo’s sole Hasidic rabbi has reported being the victim of more than 100 incidents of hostility ranging from hate speech to physical assault. In response to such attacks, the Simon Wiesenthal Center issued a travel warning in 2010 advising “extreme caution when visiting southern Sweden” because of officials’ failure to act against the “serial harassment” of Jews in Malmo.

Today, entering a synagogue anywhere in Sweden usually requires going through security checks, including airport-like questioning. At times of high alert, police officers with machine guns guard Jewish schools. Children at the Jewish kindergarten in Malmo play behind bulletproof glass. Not even funerals are safe from harassment.
Exodus: Jews Flee Paris Suburbs Over Rising Tide of Anti-Semitism
Klein later points out the irony that Paris today is a city “where keffiyeh-wearing men and veiled women speak Arabic on every street corner” but where “soldiers are walking every street that houses a Jewish institution.”

Sammy Ghozlan, the president of the Jewish communal security organization BNCVA, told 20 Minutes that it was vital “not to underestimate the antisemitism we experience on a daily basis.”

“For a long time, Jews were targeted through their symbols — today, people themselves are targeted directly,” Ghozlan said.

As Breitbart Jerusalem has reported, the experience of Jews in Paris is much the same across the rest of the country. More and more are feeling so unsafe that they now feel they have no other choice but to move to Israel for safety.

They are continuing a trend that has seen tens of thousands of Jews quit the country in the past decade.

More than 5,000 departures were recorded in 2016 on top of the record 7,900 who left in 2015 and 7,231 in 2014. In total, 40,000 French Jews have emigrated since 2006, according to figures cited by AFP.

On the evidence, that number will not be falling anytime soon.
David French: What if America Won a War and No One Cared?
The momentous news of ISIS’s defeat was greeted, in large part, with silence. Why?

The announcement came on Saturday. Just three days before the Alabama special election that transfixed the nation, and on the same day that President Trump fact-checked the Washington Post’s Dave Weigel, Iraq’s prime minister declared victory in the war against ISIS. Iraq — with indispensable American help — has regained control of its cities and its border with Syria. ISIS has been reduced to a shadow of its former self.

The victory isn’t confined to Iraq. American-allied forces control ISIS’s former capital in Syria, and the world’s largest jihadist army is gone. Bands of insurgents still prowl the countryside, and ISIS cells exist across the world, but the war against the “caliphate” is over. It’s been won.

So why does no one seem to care?

It was exactly three years ago that the Middle East was in crisis. The ISIS blitzkrieg had brought Iraq to its knees. Jihadists controlled immense sections of Iraq and Syria. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi spoke from Mosul’s Great Mosque, declared himself “Caliph Ibrahim,” and called on Muslims across the world to join him in his jihad.

They answered his call by the thousands. They flocked to Syria and Iraq from North Africa, Europe, and Asia. Britain was rocked by reports that more of its Muslim residents had joined ISIS than joined the British military. ISIS initiated genocide. It threatened the Kurds. It threatened Baghdad. Americans old enough to remember the fall of Saigon began to wonder: Was history repeating itself?

For veterans of the Iraq War like me, these were extraordinarily painful months. Friends died over there. Others lost limbs or suffered terrible wounds. Every man and woman who served in Iraq sacrificed something, even if it was “only” a year of their life. And now our nation looked like a bystander to a calamity. Through withdrawal, we’d squandered the military victory of the Surge. Through withdrawal, we’d empowered our enemies.

So close and yet so far
King Herod's grand Third Palace is being systematically destroyed by the Palestinians, who are stripping its stone and building homes around it • The site is in Area A, meters from Israeli-controlled territory, but the Israeli government can do nothing.

Here is a lesson that teaches us how the Palestinians today treat remnants of the past. Following the revolt led by Mattityahu and his sons (the Macabbees) against the Greeks in 167 BCE, Jews had sovereignty in the Land of Israel for some 200 years, until the Herodian era. Forty years after Mattiyahu the Hasmonean and his sons first relit the Temple menorah and found that its oil miraculously lasted eight days, their descendants built grand winter palaces at the mouth of the Parat stream, at the entrance to Jericho. King Herod, who excelled at building – but also at killing and destruction – built three more palaces of his own nearby.

The Hasmonean palaces are located in what is today Area C, which is under full Israel control, but they can only be accessed via Area A, where the Palestinians are in full control. Most of Herod's Third Palace, the grandest of the trio, lies within Area A.

Recently, a team from the Kfar Etzion Field School visited the site and was appalled to find that the Palestinians, who received the excavated and orderly site as part of the Oslo Accords, had built housing around it. Some homes were constructed on the grounds of the palace itself. The remains of the palace are being systematically demolished to construct a road. The historic edifice is being stripped of its stone, and the supporting pillars and arches have been defaced.
Melanie Phillips: Open antisemitism in Britain. Who cares Not the anti-racist left
A demonstration was held in London last week in protest at President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It featured the usual suspects: the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition, Friends of Al Aqsa, War on Want, Socialist Worker.

Nothing surprising about any of that. The far left — along with significant NGOs — is motivated by a vicious loathing of Israel and support for those committed to its extermination. It’s hardly news, therefore, that they would react so virulently against the idea that the Jewish people are fully entitled, legally, historically and morally, to declare that Jerusalem, which was only ever the capital city of the Jewish people’s own national kingdom, remains its capital city today.

Oh –– and Jewish Voice for Labour, which claims not to be anti-Zionist but merely to “uphold the right of supporters of justice for Palestinians to engage in solidarity activities”, was also at the demo.

Well, this is the “right” that JVL upheld last at last week’s “solidarity” activity. Watch here as the demonstrators chanted “Khaybar Khaybar, ya yahud, jaish Mohammed, as yahud”.

This translates as “Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jews, the army of Mohammed will return” — a reference to the Muslims’ slaughter of the Jews of Khaybar in 628 CE.

For Islamist extremists and terrorists, this is a touchstone historical event which they seek to re-enact today. Chanting this is to declare their intention to do so. It is effectively incitement to murder Jews. And it was chanted on the streets of London, at a demonstration supported by Jewish Voice for Labour and under the noses of the “hate-crime” obsessed British police.

Of course, the police don’t speak Arabic. But shouldn’t someone, somewhere in the British security apparatus have worked out by now that it might be useful to deploy a few Arabic speakers at such events because they invariably feature a spot of incitement to genocide?
Caroline Glick: Policy speeches vs policy
Over the years, the US has been unable to tell its allies from its enemies because they were fluid.

As McMaster rightly recalled, for years the Saudis behaved like the Qataris. And they also served as the anchor of the US alliance system with the Sunni Arab world.

Even today, as Crown Prince Muhammad and Saudi Arabia and Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in Egypt make unprecedented steps to fight both jihadist forces and the ideology of jihad, the US cannot know whether either leader will be alive tomorrow or if they will have a sudden change of heart and leave the US high and dry.

Yet despite the uncertainty about their future, today we have more clarity than we had in the past.

Today it is obvious that Iran, its satellites Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Gaza and its allies Turkey and Qatar are the ascendant enemies of the US and its allies.

The forces willing to confront and fight them – Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE – are also self-evident.

True, Muhammad and Sisi may not be around forever. But the steps they have already taken to move their nations and Sunni Islam more generally away from jihadist ideology and practice are unprecedented.

Their actions to date have earned them Washington’s support.

The significant positions McMaster set out on Tuesday will in all likelihood be reflected in the document Trump will release on Monday. But as the arms transfer to Lebanon, Tillerson’s remarks in Paris, and the administration’s incoherent position on Qatar make clear, even the best national security strategies are not worth the paper they are written on unless they are translated into real policies implemented on the ground.
Last stand for UN hypocrisy
At last week’s Security Council meeting, US Ambassador Nicky Haley once again called out the world organization, saying: “The UN has done much more to damage the prospects for Mideast peace than to advance them.”

She’s right. Accustomed to getting special treatment at the UN, the Palestinians and those who support them and their relentless efforts to delegitimize Israel have been served notice by a cold splash of reality.

For the past nearly 25 years, since the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993, the UN has been used as a battering ram against Israel, whose resolutions have provided cover to the Palestinians to avoid negotiations with Israel.

The “days of rage” threat rings hollow, as the Palestinians have run out of excuses.

Are they serious about a resolution of the conflict, or would they prefer the path they have perfected at the UN, which is to promote their nihilistic campaigns of defamation against Israel? If anyone is entitled to rage, it is Israel, which has led an orphan-like existence in a world body supposedly founded on higher values.

The recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital suggests new thinking about right and wrong in how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is viewed. Will other countries, long tied to the misguided conventional wisdom of the past, follow suit? Let’s hope the first test, at last week’s Security Council meeting, is the last at which hypocrisy on this issue reigns.
Haley: Iran’s Fingerprints ‘All Over’ Conflicts, Terrorist Groups in the Middle East
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Thursday unveiled recently declassified evidence that she believes proves Iran is violating international law by funneling missiles to Houthi rebels in Yemen.

"Its ballistic missiles and advanced weapons are turning up in war zones across the region," Haley said at a press conference at the Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C. "It's hard to find a conflict or a terrorist group in the Middle East that does not have Iran's fingerprints all over it."

Haley then pushed back against Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif's recent New York Times op-ed, in which he argued that Iran's military activities comply with international law, saying that a newly released report tells the opposite story of what Zarif claims.

"It tells the story of Iran as the arsonist. The report shows the Tehran regime not putting out fires, but fanning the flames of conflict in the region," Haley said. "In its strongest language yet, the secretary general's report shows violation after violation of weapons transfers and ballistic missile activity. The United States welcomes this report, as should every nation concerned about uranium expansion."

Haley added that the report makes a "convincing case" that Iran is illegally providing the Houthi militants in Yemen with dangerous weapons.

"The report provides devastating evidence of missiles, conventional arms, and explosive boats of Iranian origin used by the rebels in Yemen, all of which violate U.N. resolutions," Haley said. " The United States and our partners went to great lengths to support the U.N. investigations into Iranian violations by declassifying evidence, so that the world could better be informed of the extent of Iran's maligned activities. "

UN chief: Iran may be defying UN on missiles, OK on nukes
U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned Wednesday that Iran may be defying a U.N. call to halt ballistic missile development even as it complies with the nuclear deal with six world powers.

The U.N. chief says in a report to the Security Council that the United Nations is investigating Iran's possible transfer of ballistic missiles to Houthi Shiite rebels in Yemen that may have been used in launches aimed at Saudi Arabia on July 22 and Nov. 4.

The U.S. Mission to the United Nations said Ambassador Nikki Haley would hold a news conference Thursday in Washington to highlight current U.N. findings as well as Iran's "destabilizing activities in the Middle East region and elsewhere in the world."

In the report, Guterres stressed that the nuclear deal remains "the best way" to ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program.

He said President Donald Trump's Oct. 13 decision not to certify the agreement under U.S. law created "considerable uncertainty" about its future. But, he added, "I am reassured that the United States has expressed its commitment to stay in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action for now." Trump, however, has left open the possibility of pulling out of the nuclear deal.

Guterres welcomed support for the treaty from its other parties – China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany, the European Union and numerous other countries.
Trump’s announcement a rare strategic opportunity
Trump was unimpressed by the threats from Ramallah, Amman and Ankara. The refusal to give in to threats, blackmail and uncompromising stances—along with the message that the Palestinians have no veto right—is a very important precedent for the continuation of the diplomatic process. It’s time to stop the irrational policy of trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Twenty-five years of sticking to the same paradigm have led to a deadlock. Trump’s move has the potential of turning the tables and encouraging creative thinking outside the familiar parameters.

It’s important to stress that the announcement did not change the acceptable framework for negotiations (two states subject to the parties’ agreement, the core issues would be determined in negotiations, no change in the status quo), but the US policy opened a window for new ideas and for challenging the principle of “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”

Israel should leverage this positive move and examine its own working hypotheses vis-à-vis the Palestinians. The Israeli government has a rare strategic opportunity to shape the agreement with the Palestinians according to more convenient parameters than the ones the Obama administration tried to impose.

On the conscious level, the “Jewish Jerusalem” narrative presented by Trump touched the exposed nerves of the Palestinians, who are having trouble accepting the Jewish historical affiliation with Jerusalem. They have enjoyed UNESCO’s resolutions on Jerusalem and failed to understand that in the diplomatic arena (which they have favored in recent years), both sides have maneuvering options.

On the practical level, the speech demonstrates to the Palestinians, contrary to what they may believe, that time is not on their side. An ongoing serial postponement of any compromise would only help Israel achieve its goals at their expense.

Only about a year ago, the situation was completely different. In the final months of its term, the Obama administration used UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which gave the Palestinians a feeling that the parameters most important to them would be determined before the negotiations. As a result, they were in no rush to enter the talks. The discourse raised by then-US Secretary of State John Kerry’s comments, that Israel would be lost without an agreement, was even more damaging. It served as a significant incentive for the Palestinians to insist on parameters that Israel could not accept. Resolution 2334 actually had the opposite effect of what was expected by its initiators.
Sderot kindergarten hit by rocket invites US VP to light Hanukka candles
Less than a week after a rocket exploded in their playground, children from the Rimon Kindergarten in the southern town of Sderot penned a letter inviting US Vice President Mike Pence to visit during his upcoming trip to Israel.

In the letter, signed by the children and their kindergarten teachers, they wrote, “It was very hard to wake up in the morning and find out that our kindergarten was struck by the rocket, but our parents and teachers, Sima, Tali and Nili, kept us calm and promised that everything is going to be alright.”

The rocket hit the kindergarten when it was closed last Saturday evening. However, windows were shattered, with a large hole in the glass, and shrapnel hit the side of the classroom.

“There is now a gaping hole in the middle of the playground,” the children wrote. “We thank God that no one was injured and that all our toys remained intact.”

They added: “The people of Sderot are good-hearted and our parents work hard to protect us from in the constant threat of attacks. Even though the situation here is frightening, our teachers and parents have always taught us to remain hopeful and pray that one day we will have peace with our neighbors in Gaza.”

At the bottom of the letter, the children added a drawing and invited Pence to join them in lighting Hanukka candles and eat sufganiyot, traditional Hanukka donuts.
Rivlin to pardon convicted soldier on Independence Day
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin will shorten convicted IDF soldier Elor Azariya's sentence as part of a pardoning on Israel's Independence Day, Maariv reported.

Azariya is currently serving an 18-month sentence, and will be released in May 2018. Rivlin's decision will shorten Azariya's sentence by a few weeks.

Last month, Rivlin refused to pardon Azariya. In his letter then, Rivlin wrote that "since in September 2017 IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot decided to reduce your four months, out of kindness and mercy, and out of consideration of the fact that you were a soldier in the field, the President feels that...additionally lightening the punishment will harm the strength of the IDF and the State of Israel."

"The IDF's values, among them the purity of arms, are the foundation of the IDF's strength and have always served us in our righteous battle for our right to a national and safe homeland, and in building a strong society.

"The President's decision takes into consideration that you are scheduled to appear before a committee which will discuss whether to reduce your sentence or release you in another three months."
In wake of rockets, farmers in south fear economic disaster
Amid heightened tensions in Israeli communities near the Gaza border as a result of near-daily rocket fire in recent days, farmers in the area told Israel Hayom on Thursday that an escalation of hostilities could harm their livelihood.

"There is a lot of anxiety and uncertainty, and we are praying we won't have to stop the [farming] season in the middle," said Shai Shaked, a farmer from Kibbutz Netiv Ha'asara.

"Those who carry the burden from an economic standpoint are the farmers, who won't be able to work their fields and who invested all their money [in their crops] before the season," Shaked said.

"Up until last month, we invested and put in all our money to launch the marketing season, which, if cut short now, will be a huge financial disaster [and cause] irreversible damage."

Shaked was forced to relinquish greenhouses he owned due to the combustible situation.

"I opted to move all the crops to the northern side, farther away from the Erez border crossing [into Gaza]," he said.

Shaked said that even just a "drizzle" of rocket fire, which residents of the area consider routine, is damaging to farmers.
IsraellyCool: Choose Your Own Adventure: Palestinian Edition
My latest post on Mahmoud Abbas’ speech to the OIC, which included antisemitism and historical negationism, reminded me of the many different versions of the “palestinian” origin story put forward by the palestinians themselves.

It is all rather confusing; so I thought I would make it easier for everyone to follow, using the iconic Choose Your Own Adventure motif.

Gaza crossing reopens after one-day closure due to rocket fire
The pedestrian Erez crossing between Israel and Gaza reopened Friday morning after a one-day closure due to stepped-up rocket attacks from terror groups in the enclave, the IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories confirmed.

The Kerem Shalom crossing, from which goods enter and leave the Strip, will remain shuttered, a COGAT spokesman said.

Kerem Shalom had been closed on Thursday, along with the Erez crossing.

The army said Thursday’s move was made in light of “security events and in accordance with security assessments.”
Police find a rocket, fired from Gaza, inside a kindergarten in the southern Israeli town of Sderot on December 9, 2017. (Israel Police)

While the Gaza crossings are typically closed for Jewish and national holidays, it is uncommon for Israel to shut them for punitive reasons.

For over a decade, Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade on Gaza, which they say is necessary to keep arms and other materials that can be used for military purposes out of the hands of Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups.
Gaza eatery offers discounts to North Koreans, but no takers
A Gaza Strip eatery is offering large discounts to North Korean diners, but is encountering just one problem: There are no North Koreans in the coastal enclave.

Ibrahim Raba, manager of a shawarma restaurant in the Jabaliya refugee camp, says he is offering the 80% discounts to show his appreciation for North Korea's rejection of U.S. President Donald Trump's recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

He has also placed a large photo of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on the glass door at the entrance to his restaurant.

A new fan of the North Korean leader, Raba likes to quote him, saying: "Trump proved he is mentally deranged."

Although Raba knows there are no North Koreans in Gaza, he hopes they will come someday, perhaps after joining other foreign aid workers.
UK’s new Jewish Voice for Labour seeks to throw off the ‘shackles’ of Israel
Deriding the myth of anti-Semitism in the Labour party, JVL seeks to break its Zionist 'monopoly' -- to the delight of BDS supporters

Leaked emails indicate that JVL’s founders quite consciously sought, in the words of one, to “discard the shackles” of “the Israel thing” when drawing up its mission statement, although that statement also made clear the group’s determination to “uphold the right of supporters of justice for Palestinians to engage in solidarity activities, such as Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.”

However, JVL is closely linked to Free Speech on Israel (FSOI), which is explicit in its opposition to Zionism. Founded in 2016 to “counter the manufactured moral panic over a supposed epidemic of anti-Semitism in the UK” and oppose the notion that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, it enthusiastically welcomed the launch of JVL.

Wimborne-Idrissi says JVL and FSOI are “two separate organizations with different aims and objectives.”

There is, though, a close overlap in the leading personnel of the two groups. FSOI’s chair, Mike Cushman, is JVL’s membership officer. Its vice-chair, Jonathan Rosenhead, is JVL’s information officer, while its secretary, Glyn Secker, holds the same position at JVL.

Cushman has a somewhat conspiratorial view of Israel’s role in British politics. Earlier this year, he suggested that Labour had become “a pawn of Zionist organizations that place loyalty to Israel’s interests above advancing the Labour Party”; argued that May’s foreign policy was dictated by “reciprocity for previous career assistance from the Israelis”; and labeled “most senior members of both main parties, with the exception of Corbyn and his close associates, and the Liberal Democrats” part of “the network of Israeli influence.”
Opposition to BDS Intensifies
It has been a bad few months for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

First, the state of Wisconsin adopted a rule in October prohibiting companies that engage in the boycott from receiving local government contracts, joining 23 other American states with similar laws. Then, Australian rocker Nick Cave declared: “I love Israel and I love Israeli people.” He said that his decision to perform in the country in November was an act of defiance against the BDS campaign, which “bullies and censors” artists. And as part of a trade delegation to Israel in December, Florida Governor Rick Scott presented El Al with a Governor’s Business Ambassador Award for its investments in the state of Florida.

For the BDS movement, the bad news keeps coming.

Last month, El Al relaunched the only nonstop flights from Miami to Tel Aviv — with three flights weekly — to meet the increased demand from business people and tourists to visit the Jewish state. Miami is the airline’s sixth North American destination, which already includes nonstop links from New York, Newark, Boston, Los Angeles, and Toronto.

The development is yet another blow to the incitement campaign waged by BDS activists against Israel, who exploit the rhetoric of human rights to advocate for economic and cultural warfare against the only Jewish state in the world, the sole democracy in the Middle East and a steadfast ally of the US.
Security threat to Chanukah menorah lighting event means it will be held in private
Members of the public will be banned from a menorah lighting due to alleged threats from anti-Israel activists, it has been reported.

Councillors will mark Chanukah by welcoming a local rabbi to light candles at tonight’s Brighton and Hove City Council meeting at Hove Town Hall.

But the Brighton Argus reported that the meeting would now take place behind closed doors, due to planned protests by pro-Palestinian activists in the city.

Rabbi Andreas Zanardo of Brighton’s Reform synagogue is expected to light the menorah following an invitation from the mayor.

The local authority told the Argus that no members of the public would be admitted to the building until the lighting was completed.

Police said they had been made aware this morning of a “possible protest” and were “addressing the resources required”.

The paper said sources close to anti-Israel groups in the city had denied any plans to demonstrate.
German City Cancels Hanukkah Festivities Due to ‘Security Concerns’
The city of Mülheim in northwestern Germany cancelled its official Hanukkah festivities, citing ‘security concerns,’ German newspaper Bild Zeitung reported. All the outdoor Hanukkah events due to take place in Mülheim and the adjoining region have also been cancelled, the head of the local Jewish community confirmed.

The German state of North-Rhine Westphalia, where Mülheim is located, has seen an upsurge of antisemitic attacks in the recent years. In the nearby city of Bochum, the Jewish community leaders have urged Jews to stop wearing kippah, the traditional Jewish skullcap that identifies them as Jews, in public. Last month, the local broadcaster Radio Bochum reported that Jews “routinely faced with insults on public streets when they are recognized as Jews.” The broadcaster identified the perpetrators as “Muslim youths.”

A study published by the Berlin branch of American Jewish Committee (AJC) today points to “widespread antisemitism among Arab refugees in Germany.”

“Until now, reports that many new arrivals in Germany espouse anti-Semitism have been largely anecdotal,” said AJC Berlin Director Deidre Berger. “But this new scientific analysis shows that the problem is widespread in the refugee communities from Syria and Iraq. Anti-Semitic attitudes, stereotypes, and conspiracy theories are common, as well as a categorical rejection by many of the State of Israel.”
Florida Town Becomes First U.S. Municipality To Give Police Definition Of Anti-Semitism
On Wednesday evening, Bal Harbour, Florida became the first municipality in the country to implement an ordinance that provides law enforcement with a definition of anti-Semitism, enabling them to investigate such incidents as hate crimes.

Originally passed last month, a second public reading is required by the town bylaws before it can become law. By unanimous vote, the proposed ordinance became law and went into effect immediately upon passage.

“I applaud the Bal Harbour Village Council for standing with me and supporting the passage of this historic ordinance,” said Mayor Gabriel Groisman. “This ordinance protects the interests of our residents by providing our law enforcement officers a clear definition of anti-Semitism, thereby helping to ascertain the intent of persons who engage in unlawful activities, such as assault or vandalism.”

The new law allows law enforcement to use the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism as a guideline, while at the same time permitting police to use their discretion in determining whether an incident can be classified as a hate crime.
Study: Anti-Semitism Rampant among Muslim Refugees in Germany
Anti-Semitism among Muslim refugees is rampant and requires urgent attention, a new study suggests.

But the study commissioned by the American Jewish Committee’s Ramer Institute for German-Jewish Relations in Berlin also suggests that refugees from persecuted minority communities are more likely to take a stand against anti-Semitism and for Israel.

Titled “Attitudes of refugees from Syria and Iraq towards integration, identity, Jews and the Shoah,” the research report was prepared by historian and sociologist Günther Jikeli of Indiana University and the University of Potsdam, Germany, with help from Lars Breuer and Matthias Becker. The study was commissioned by the American Jewish Committee.

The report, based on interviews with 68 refugees, comes amid a series of virulent anti-Israel and anti-America demonstrations in the German capital denouncing the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Thousands of protesters burned homemade Israeli flags and crowded city subway stations chanting anti-Israel and anti-American slogans on their way to rallies. The numbers of refugees among the demonstrators was unknown.

At the same time, in a show of solidarity with Jewish communities in Germany, local imams joined with Christian and Jewish leaders in public celebrations of Hanukkah, including the annual candle-lighting ceremony at the Brandenburg Gate, where Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal of Berlin was joined in a cherry picker by Mayor Michael Mueller. Security has been tightened throughout Germany and at Jewish venues.
German president: Immigrants must reject anti-Semitism, it’s ‘non-negotiable’
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Friday demanded his country’s immigrants reject anti-Semitism, characterizing it as a “non-negotiable” condition for living in Germany.

“There are things which are part of Germany. And one of these is our responsibility for our past: the lessons of two World Wars, the lessons from the Holocaust, the responsibility for Israel’s security, the rejection of any form of racism and anti-Semitism,” said the German president at a Hanukkah event at the Israeli embassy in Berlin.

“For this responsibility, no line can be drawn under the past for later generations – and no exceptions be made for immigrants. It is non-negotiable – for all who live in Germany and want to live here!” he added.

A study published earlier this week found that anti-Semitism among Muslim refugees in Germany is rampant and requires urgent attention.
German Justice Minister: Holocaust must be bigger part of migrant courses
More emphasis should be placed on the Holocaust in integration courses for migrants, Germany's justice minister said, reflecting heightened unease among leading politicians about a spate of antisemitic acts including Israeli flag burnings.

More than a million migrants have arrived in Germany in the last three years, many of them fleeing conflict in the Middle East, causing concern that antisemitism could increase.

German police have reported protesters setting Israeli flags ablaze and using antisemitic slogans in Berlin and other cities in demonstrations against US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

In a piece for weekly magazine Der Spiegel, Justice Minister Heiko Maas wrote that the Holocaust, in which the Nazis killed six million Jews, and its significance needed to become an even more important part of integration courses and migrants should be tested on it in the examination at the end of their course.

"The lessons from the Holocaust need to be one of the guiding ideas in those lessons and not just some chapter of German history," he said.

"Racism has no place in Germany, so everyone who wants to stay in Germany for the long term needs to be clear that we fight the neo-Nazis' antisemitism and we won't tolerate any imported antisemitism from immigrants either," Maas added.
Chicago parents fume over Hitler homework assignment
An 8th grade homework assignment about Hitler has angered parents in a suburban Chicago school.

Students at the Woodland Middle School in Gurnee, Illinois, were assigned last week to “create a comic strip for little kids that exemplifies Europe’s appeasement towards Hitler,” Chicago television channel WGN reported.

The cartoons that were turned in included swastikas and characters dressed like Nazi storm troopers.

One parent posted a picture of the Hitler-themed homework on her Facebook page, which raised questions from other parents.

The school district is investigating the assignment, WGN reported.
New Jersey Imam Who Called for Killing of Jews Will Be Sent for ‘Retraining,’ President of Jersey City Islamic Center Says
A New Jersey imam who delivered two violently antisemitic sermons over the last month is to be sent for “retraining,” the president of the Islamic center where he serves announced on Thursday.

Ahmed Shedeed said that Sheikh Aymen Elkasaby, imam of the Islamic Center of Jersey City, would be meeting with “interfaith scholars” who would “consult with and retrain him,” following sermons in which Elkasaby called for the murder of Jews and attacked the west for having made Muslims the “tail-end of all nations.”

“This is like sending someone to rehab,” Shedeed, the Islamic Center’s president, told The Algemeiner when asked whether Elkasaby would be dismissed from the imam’s position.

“The scholars will help him to learn to deal with these issues,” Shedeed said — adding that Elkasaby had spoken “in the heat of the moment” following US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6. Shedeed also emphasized that Elkasaby was a graduate of the renowned Al-Azhar University in Cairo, which he described as “one of the major universities in the Muslim world facing terrorism and violence.”

In a December 8 sermon made available by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which monitors extremist groups, Elkasaby declared, “So long as the Al-Aqsa Mosque remains a humiliated prisoner under the oppression of the Jews, this nation will never prevail.”

“Allah, wreak vengeance upon the plundering oppressors!” the imam continued. “Count them one by one, and kill them down to the very last one. Do not leave a single one on the face of the Earth.”
Israeli film ‘Foxtrot’ shortlisted for foreign language Oscar
Director Samuel Maoz’s controversial and critically acclaimed feature film ‘Foxtrot’ has been named to the shortlist for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said Thursday.

The Israeli tale of parental grief, trauma and loss is one of nine films named by the academy to the shortlist, which will be whittled down to five finalists by January 23, when all nominees are announced. Ninety-two films had been considered, the Academy said.

“Foxtrot” won the Silver Lion at this year’s Venice Film Festival and swept the Ophir awards, Israel’s version of the Oscars, with eight wins, earning it a place as Israel’s entry for the Foreign Language award.
Yonatan Shiray, now an active combat soldier, in his foxtrotting scene in the award-winning film ‘Foxtrot’ (Courtesy ‘Foxtrot’)

Told in a distinctive three-act structure, Maoz built each section different in style and tone. In the first part, middle class couple Michael and Dafna Feldman are informed that their soldier son, Yonatan, has fallen in the line of duty. The second act is based at an unnamed, remote Israeli roadblock and the last section returns to the family’s Tel Aviv apartment.

The film provoked a storm of controversy earlier this year when Culture Minster Miri Regev, who boasted she had not seen the film, condemned it as a work of treachery, calling for the state to end funding for films that can be used as “a weapon of propaganda for our enemies.”
Jerusalem Cable Car System Will Link Landmarks, Aim to Further Boost Israeli Tourism
A planned cable car system linking key landmarks in Jerusalem “will be yet another boost to tourism” in the capital city, Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said this week.

The project is budgeted at some 200 million shekels ($56 million) and is expected to complement other efforts to streamline access to the Western Wall.

In an effort to avoid any legal setbacks and delays, Israeli officials on Tuesday announced that the cable car system will pass mostly over state-owned land.

Israel’s National Infrastructure Committee, headed by former Member of Knesset Avigdor Itzchaky, was expected to start reviewing the plan this week. The approval process is projected to take about a year, and the system is expected to be up and running by 2021.

This is the first time that a plan from the Israeli Tourism Ministry has been submitted to the National Infrastructure Committee rather than to a local zoning committee. The change is a result of a directive issued by Levin.

The cable car system is designed to take visitors from Jerusalem’s German Colony neighborhood to the Western Wall and then to the Mount of Olives. The initiative was officially unveiled in May, when the Israeli cabinet held a special session in the Western Wall tunnels to mark the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem.
Family of Mumbai Terror Victims Granted State-Owned Home in Israel
Rabbi Nachman and Freida Holtzberg, who lost their son and daughter-in-law in the 2008 terror attack on the Indian city of Mumbai’s Chabad House, have been granted a government-owned apartment in Israel.

Israeli Housing Minister Yoav Galant announced the government’s decision to approve housing for the family during a Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony.

“Tonight, the state returns a moral debt to the family which lost their son, Rabbi Gavriel Noach, and their daughter-in-law, Rebbetzin Rivka, in a horrific terror attack,” said Galant. “I am happy to give them this evening a state-owned apartment in Beitar Illit, which will allow them to provide family support to their grandson.”

The move paves the way for the family to make aliyah and to assist with raising their grandson Moshe in Israel.

In the Mumbai attack, which was carried out by a Pakistani Islamic terrorist organization as part of a larger siege on the city, six people were killed, including Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka. Moshe, who was 2-years-old at the time, survived due to the heroics of his Indian nanny Sandra Samuel.

Moshe, now 11, was sent to live in Israel with his grandparents and nanny, who was given Israeli residency and earned the country’s “Righteous Among the Nations” honorific for non-Jews.
Western Wall dedicates Menorah lighting to Holocaust survivors
The traditional Western Wall Menorah lighting ceremony on Thursday night was dedicated to Holocaust survivors.

The ceremony ushering in the third night of the Hanukka holiday was attended by hundreds of Holocaust survivors and their families, as well as Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, Chief Rabbi of the Western Wall, and Migdal Haemek Chief Rabbi, Dovid Grossman.

"I stand here the holiest place for our people, and in Jerusalem, celebrating the 50th anniversary [of its unification], and in our country, Israel," said Pnina Katzir, 88, who represented the Holocaust survivors. "Israel [will] celebrate its 70th anniversary this [coming] year and we can't find suitable words to describe the magnitude of the event and its significance for Holocaust survivors."

"We survived because of our strong desire to live, because we expelled despair and because we believed that better times would come," continued Katzir. "We went to Israel and established families, that is our pride and our victory," she emphasized.

"The Holocaust survivors who are still with us are like a fire which illuminates the way," added Greg Schneider, who is the Director General of the Claims Conference. "We must commemorate the stories of heroism and the tremendous contribution from those who have had everything taken from them."

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From Ian:

The Anti-Semitic Invective of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
Palestinian President Accuses Jews of ‘Counterfeiting History and Religion,’ Claims Qur’an Says They ‘Fabricate Truth’

Abbas, whose doctorate denied the Holocaust and who accused rabbis of poisoning Palestinian water, is no stranger to anti-Semitic remarks
On Wednesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the Organization of Islamic Cooperation at a summit in Turkey. Understandably, Abbas condemned the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and reiterated Palestinian claims to the city. But then the Palestinian leader ventured into far more disturbing territory: instead of simply assailing the political policies of the United States and Israel, he began to assail Jews. Almost as an aside, Abbas declared:
I don’t want to discuss religion or history because they are really excellent in faking and counterfeiting history and religion. But if we read the Torah it says that the Canaanites were there before the time of our prophet Abraham and their existence continued since that time—this is in the Torah itself. But if they would like to fake this history, they are really masters in this and it is mentioned in the holy Qur’an they fabricate truth and they try to do that and they believe in that but we have been there in this location for thousands of years.

Typically, Abbas presents his critiques of Israel as anti-Zionist rather than anti-Jewish. But of course, the Qur’an does not mention Zionists or Zionism—a modern political movement. It mentions Jews. Thus, according to Abbas, it is Jews who are “really excellent in faking and counterfeiting history and religion,” who “fabricate truth,” and who “are really masters in this.” Ironically, in this passage, Abbas was attempting to argue that the modern Palestinian people is actually descended from the biblical Canaanites, a dubious claim with little evidence to support it. Thus, he accused Jews of being fabricators of history while engaging in the same.

This is far from the first time the Palestinian president has dabbled in anti-Semitic invective.

Abbas Defies Oslo Agreements, Demands Full UN membership
Abbas stressed there can be no peace without Jerusalem being the capital of the Palestinian state, and described President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as a violation of international law and signed agreements. With that, Abbas said, the US disqualified itself from playing the role of mediator in the peace process, and his side will now take its case to the international community.

Abbas then called on the OIC member states to support his nation on 13 distinct points:

1. Limit the foreign relations of OIC members with world countries based on their position on the issue of Jerusalem, specifically with regard to the US declaration.

2. In light of the Jerusalem declaration, it is necessary to take political and economic measures to compel Israel to end its “occupation of the land of the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital and to implement international humanitarian law.” In other words, commit suicide, ASAP.

3. Demand that the countries of the world review their recognition of the State of Israel.
Jerusalem, Israel's Capital: Watch the Masks Fall
When the actual announcement came, nothing happened. Those who were exploiting sensitivities related to Jerusalem -- especially political Islamists, such as Hamas and Hezbollah -- come mainly from the axis of resistance, led by Iran.

While mainstream media shows the oppressor to be Israel and the oppressed to be the Palestinians, the polls tell a different story.

The US Department of State is no less culpable than the mainstream media in failing to play a more vital role in revealing these realities, which could also mitigate the anger and hatred felt towards the US. This Department needs to be reformed from top to bottom to ensure that all diplomats are truly working for US interests. I am sure that it is the Department of State itself that will be the most reluctant to move its embassy to Jerusalem. It is not an exaggeration to say that moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem is the best decision that has been taken by any American President because it lays bare a rotten reality.

Palestinian with suicide bomb belt stabs border guard during protest, is shot
A Palestinian wearing what appeared to be an explosive belt stabbed a Border Police officer in the upper body, moderately wounding him, in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday during a violent Palestinian protest, police said.

“A terrorist approached Border Police officers who were responding to a riot at the Judea and Samaria Square in Ramallah, and stabbed one of them,” police said, adding that they were investigating the possibility that the terrorist was “mingling with journalists and posing as a one” in order to get close to the troops.

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The assailant was shot by the other officers at the scene and was seriously wounded. Some Palestinian media outlets reported that he had been killed.

The apparent explosive belt did not go off. Police said they were investigating if it was a real bomb or only a device meant to look like one. The attacker, still wearing the apparent suicide bomb belt, was taken away from the scene for medical treatment by the Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance service.

The officer was treated at the scene and then taken to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, where he was listed in “a moderate condition with two stab wounds in the upper body.” The hospital said his condition was stable and he was undergoing examinations before being operated on.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the security forces.

“I praise the work of the Border Police force that took out the terrorist,” Netanyahu tweeted, adding that he sends his wishes for a speedy recovery to the soldier who was wounded. “Thank you to our forces who protect us around the clock. Everybody salutes you.”

4 Palestinians, including terrorist stabber, killed in clashes with IDF
Four Palestinians died on Friday afternoon after being shot in clashes with Israeli security forces during protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials said, as thousands of Palestinians demonstrated for a second week against Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

A Palestinian who stabbed an Israeli police officer on Friday before being shot has died, the Palestinian Authority health ministry said, naming him as Mohammed Aqal, 29.

Aqal stabbed and moderately wounded a Border Police officer, before being shot. When officers noticed he was wearing what appeared to be a suicide bomb belt, they shot him again, fearing he would detonate it, police said.

He was taken away by Palestinian medics and later died of his wounds, the health ministry said.

Another Palestinian was killed in clashes in Anata on the northeast outskirts of Jerusalem, the ministry in Ramallah said, naming him as Bassel Ibrahim, 24. It said he had been shot.

Two more Palestinians were killed along the Gaza-Israel border, the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said. They were named as Yasser Sokar, 32, and Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh, 29. The ministry said Abu Thurayeh, who had previously lost both his legs, was shot east of Gaza City in the north of the coastal enclave.
Elliott Abrams: Abbas and Jerusalem
I've known Abbas for about 15 years and it is painful to see this man, generally viewed as a "moderate voice," descend to these depths. He has done it before, and then pulled back when called on it: see his speech to the European Parliament in 2016, when he said Israeli rabbis were calling for the poisoning of water wells in the West Bank and then issued a statement saying he'd been misinformed.

Abbas is now presenting Jerusalem as a Christian/Muslim city whose only connection to the Jews is that they are lying about it and defiling it. It has never been clear to me what he expected to gain from such vile statements, because he will never out-Hamas Hamas, never compete with them successfully in hatred of Jews.

President Trump's statement on Jerusalem was criticized in many quarters as threatening the "peace process." Reading Abbas's speech one cannot avoid thinking "what peace process?" If Abbas is the only, indeed best possible, Palestinian partner for peace and these are his views, what chance is there for a successful negotiation? None, I would think. And this conclusion may be widely shared, even in the Arab world. Many have noted the relatively moderate official Arab reaction, and perhaps Mr. Abbas's speech is his emotional reaction to being abandoned--to his conclusion that Arab leaders have written him off.

That's speculation. What seems to me less speculative is that the "peace process" is damaged not by decisions like the President's, which was so carefully worded and explained, but by the kind of language Abbas used. It was inflammatory, false, and anti-Semitic. I do note that the official Palestinian News Agency version of his speech, linked above, omits the worst anti-Semitic passage. But he said it. The omission only proves that even among Palestinians, there is some understanding that you cannot say those things and then hold yourself out as a leader committed to peace and harmonious coexistence.
In rare rebuke, J Street joins AIPAC in panning Abbas over Jerusalem speech
In a rare reproach, the liberal Mideast policy group J Street rapped Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday for his speech at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which it characterized as “divisive and inflammatory.”

The language mirrored a similar criticism from more hawkish Israel lobbying group AIPAC, which said the Palestinian leader had “set back the cause of peace” with his remarks.

Following US President Donald Trump’s controversial decision last week to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — while setting in motion plans to move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv — Abbas on Wednesday urged the international community to roll back its recognition of Israel and said the Palestinians would no longer work with the US and threatened the Palestinians might no longer be bound by commitments agreed to in earlier peace talks.

He also refused to recognize any historical Jewish connection to Jerusalem.

“We will tell the Israelis that we are no longer committed to any agreement from Oslo until today,” Abbas threatened. He declared that the PA intended to return to the United Nations to circumvent negotiations and gain full membership.

“If there is no Palestinian state along the June 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital, there will not be peace in the region, in the territories or in the world,” he said. “They must choose.”

While recognizing the Palestinian leader’s frustration with the Trump administration, J Street said it “rejected” his rhetoric and stated that the Palestinian national movement still needed the United States to advance its agenda.

“The US can and must play a vital and productive role in facilitating negotiations toward a comprehensive two-state solution,” the statement said. “The harmful actions of President Trump can be overturned by future administrations and leaders who understand the value of serious diplomacy and the urgent necessity of resolving this conflict.”
Israel’s leaders atypically quiet after Abbas asserts their state is invalid
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas this week threatened to cancel his agreements with Israel, appeared to accuse Israel and/or Jews of falsifying history and religion, and asserted that Israel does not meet the criteria for statehood and thus that the international community should reconsider its recognition of Israel.

But while American Jewish groups — including, most unusually, J Street — issued highly critical responses to the PA chief’s address in Istanbul, Israel’s leaders and officials were markedly subdued in their response, apparently preferring not to kick a man when he’s down. Having pocketed the long-coveted American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the Jewish state’s leaders may have decided, for a few days at least, not to pour additional salt on Abbas’s wounds.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a relatively mild response to Abbas’s ferocious speech Wednesday at the Organization for Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s “Extraordinary Islamic Summit,” but his office chose not to directly address some of Abbas’s most incendiary rhetoric, and numerous other Israeli leaders, contacted by The Times of Israel, also chose not to comment. A rare exception was Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, who in a written response, castigated Abbas for what she called his “path of lies” and for denying “the Jewish people’s connection to its land.”
Seth Frantzman: Abbas, Fakhri Nashashibi and the legacy of the mufti
More than 75 years after Nashashibi’s death his life is in stark comparison to the words Abbas uttered in Istanbul. The Palestinian Authority president claimed that Jews are fabricating their historical connections to Jerusalem. “They are really masters in this and it is mentioned in the holy Koran they fabricate truth and they try to do that [fabricate] and they believe in that, but we have been there in this location for thousands of years.”

Abbas’s incitement was in front of the representatives of 50 Muslim countries and almost two-dozen Muslim heads of state. Yet at the same time there is supposed to be a peace agreement and east Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestine.

The contradictions between Abbas’s rhetoric and the desire for a peace agreement are one of the central problems in the conflict. There are many other challenges as well, such as the inability to disentangle Jewish and Palestinian areas in the West Bank.

But at the heart of the conflict since the 1920s has been a persistent denial of the existence of Jewish history. It has not been a denial shared by all. There were many other chances to embrace a different and more compromising view of history. That history is buried near Salah a-Din Street in east Jerusalem.

It is perhaps not an irony that Fakhri Nashashibi was buried near the street named for the Kurdish sultan Salah a-Din who had amicable relations with Jews. The Jewish sage Maimonides was a court physician to Salah a-Din. If these historical figures could see the abysmal state of affairs in Jerusalem today and the incitement, they would be shocked. They would have been shocked by the speech in Istanbul.
‘Tis the Season to Recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital
Does Jewish statehood begin as a result of illegitimate 19th century colonialization? Or the reestablishment of native Jewish communities in a place that the Jewish people have called home, and lived in, for more than 3,000 years?

Why did the Jews of Europe decide to create a Jewish state in the land of Israel? The answer is not the Holocaust. The answer is also not because of the fall of the British Empire.

It is because the Jews are the prototypical aboriginals returning to an ancient homeland. According to historian Martin Gilbert, for more than 1,600 years, the Jews formed the main population of “Palestine.” For much of this time, the land was ruled by independent Hebrew kingdoms under Kind David and his successors. The name Israel was switched to Palestine by the Romans after their conquest — in an attempt to de-Judaize the kingdom.

For centuries, Jews all over the world ended their Passover seder by reciting the words l’shana hahah bireryushalayim –– “next year in Jerusalem.”

These words weren’t written by a Likud government, or by the Trump administration. They were written nearly 1,000 years ago. In fact, in the ancient Hebrew Bible, Jerusalem is mentioned 669 times.

Some people are up in arms over America’s policy “deviation” on Jerusalem. In truth, not only is this declaration in line with the prior US policy dating back to 1995, but also with national Jewish policy, dating thousands of years earlier.

It’s a long overdue Hanukkah miracle.
JPost Poll: Skyrocketing support for Trump among Israelis
At a time when President Donald Trump’s popularity has fallen in his own country, his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and start the process of moving the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv has significantly increased his support among Israelis, according to a Smith Research poll taken on Wednesday for The Jerusalem Post.

When 500 adults representing a statistical sample of the adult Israeli population were asked whether the Trump administration is more pro-Israel, more pro-Palestinian, or neutral, 76% of the respondents said it is more pro-Israel, 2% said more pro-Palestinian, 14% said neutral, and 8% said they had no opinion or did not know.

Among Jewish respondents, 77% said the Trump administration is more pro-Israel, 1% said more pro-Palestinian, 15% said neutral, and 7% said they had no opinion or did not know. Among Arab citizens, 69% said the administration is more pro-Israel.

By contrast, the Smith Research poll taken closest to this point in the presidency of Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, found that only 4% of Jewish Israelis considered his administration more pro-Israel than pro-Palestinian. That poll was taken after Obama, in a speech in Cairo, compared Palestinian suffering to the Holocaust, came to the Middle East without visiting Israel and sparred in the White House with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over Iran.

The poll taken on Wednesday was the fourth conducted by Smith Research about how Israelis view the Trump administration since he was sworn in as president last January. Due to his campaign promises, Jewish Israelis received him warmly, with 79% saying in January that they expected his administration to be more pro-Israel.
Erdogan: Turkey Seeking to Annul Trump Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital at UN
Turkey is launching an initiative at the United Nations to annul a decision by the United States to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.

Erdogan was speaking two days after a Muslim leaders meeting in Istanbul condemned US President Donald Trump’s decision, calling on the world to respond by recognizing eastern Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.

“We will work for the annulment of this unjust decision firstly at the UN Security Council, and if a veto comes from there, the General Assembly,” Erdogan told crowds gathered in the central Anatolian city of Konya via teleconference.

The United States is a permanent Security Council member with veto powers, meaning any move to overturn Washington’s decision at the council would certainly be blocked.

Jerusalem, revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, is home to Islam’s third-holiest site and has been at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades. Israel took control of eastern Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in an action not recognized internationally.

Trump’s decision broke with decades of US policy and international consensus that the city’s status must be left to Israeli-Palestinian talks, leading to harsh criticisms from Muslim countries and Israel’s closest European allies, who have also rejected the move.
Mohammed bin Salman Doesn’t Want to Talk About Jerusalem
Saudi Arabia, the protector of Islam and home to its two holiest sites, is a good place to judge the impact on President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on U.S. interests in the region.

Set aside the reaction of terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, and their state sponsors in Tehran and Damascus. And the angry responses from the Palestinian Authority and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, with its large and boisterous Palestinian population, were certainly to be expected. The real question is how America’s friends one step removed from the circle of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would react. If there were a place one might reasonably expect to hear Muslims expressing thunderous outrage at the handing of Jerusalem to the Jews, it would be in the corridors of power in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

It didn’t happen.

Last week, I was in Riyadh leading a delegation of more than 50 supporters and fellows of the Middle East think tank I direct. On Wednesday, just hours before the president made his Jerusalem announcement, we spent five hours in meetings with three different Saudi ministers, discussing everything from crises with Yemen, Qatar, and Lebanon, to the kingdom’s ambitious “Vision 2030” reform program, to the possible public offering of the state oil company Aramco.

By this time, the White House had delivered numerous background briefings to foreign diplomats and the media, so the essence of the impending declaration was well known. But despite many opportunities, the word “Jerusalem” was never uttered.
IsraellyCool: The Fight They Should Be Having
It is ironic that the only time an emergency summit is called by the Islamic world, it’s to do with Israel.

When hundreds of thousands of Syrians are murdered, there is only a muted response at best.

When violence soars in Yemen, only quietness is in the air.

Something like 6700 Rohingya Muslims were killed in Myanmar in the last month, but not a word.

But when Donald Trump recognises a 3000-year-old fact that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, then suddenly the Muslim world explodes in uncontrollable fits of anger and rage!

Jordan’s idiot king, claims ‘palestinian injustice fuels Middle East violence.’

Turkey’s hypocritical leader calls Israel a terrorist state and accuses it of killing children.

The same Turkish leader who happily allowed the Mavi Marmara, a boat filled with many terrorists and no aid, to sail to Israel to cause trouble – which it did,
Kredo: State Department Employing ‘Pretzel Logic’ in Defiance of Trump’s Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital
President Donald Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital last week, but the State Department will not recognize that fact on official documents, maps, and passports, saying boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem are subject to final status negotiations.

"We're working with something here I like to refer to as pretzel logic, and it's something we see from this State Department quite often, especially when it comes to issues like Israel," Kredo said.

Kredo said hostility toward Israel is deeply embedded at the State Department. His sources told him that career diplomats at the agency strongly opposed Trump's decision to make the recognition announcement last week.

"The White House really dragged the State Department along on this," Kredo said, adding that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was forced to call Arab leaders about the announcement.

"Twisting and turning to not actually fully implement the president's will," Kredo said of the State Department.

Asked by anchor Liz Wheeler if Tillerson was responsible for bucking Trump's policy, Kredo said that while he is the one at the top, the anti-Israel sentiment came more from State lawyers and entrenched diplomats.

EU distances itself from Trump with 'firm commitment' to 2 states
In an apparent rebuke of U.S. President Donald Trump's recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, leaders of the 28-nation European Union reiterated Thursday their "firm commitment" to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and to their longstanding position that Jerusalem should be the capital of both Israel and a future Palestinian state.

The announcement was made by European Council President Donald Tusk, who is presiding over the leaders' summit in Brussels.

"EU leaders reiterate firm commitment to the two-state solution and, in this context, the EU position on Jerusalem remains unchanged," he tweeted.

On Dec. 6, Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and announced that the U.S. would relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The declaration was a sharp departure from decades of U.S. policy, which held that the fate of Jerusalem should be decided through negotiations.
Malaysia former PM calls Trump a 'villain' for Jerusalem plan
Muslim-majority Malaysia's former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad on Friday called US President Donald Trump an "international bully" and a "villain" for his move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Trump last week reversed decades of US policy by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and said the United States would move its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in the coming years.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest barriers to a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace. Israel considers Jerusalem its eternal and indivisible capital and wants all embassies based there.

Palestinians want the capital of an independent state of theirs to be in the city's eastern sector, which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed in a move never recognized internationally.

The anger from Trump's decision "will lead to what is called terrorism", the 93-year-old Mahathir told a a protest rally in front of the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
PMW: Fatah calls for rage
Since US President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel Abbas' Fatah Movement has encouraged Palestinians to riot and "rage" in several posts on Facebook. The posts have included images of Palestinians with rocks and slingshots, demonstrations and burning tires.

One post quoted a Fatah song that encourages terror:
Posted text: "I am coming towards you, my enemy, from every home, neighborhood, and street
[Official Fatah Facebook page, Dec. 11, 2017]

The text is a quote from a song by Fatah exposed by PMW in 2014. The full lyrics promise violence with "cleavers and knives":
"I'm coming towards you, my enemy, from every house, neighborhood and street
Our war is a war of the streets...
We're going down from every house with cleavers and knives
With grenades we announced a popular war
I swear, you won't escape, my enemy..."
[Facebook, Fatah - The Main Page, Nov. 22, 2014]

A branch of Fatah's military wing the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades called for continuation and escalation of "the intifada":
Gary Lineker, you were duped: Palestinian youths were held in a corridor, not a cage
If anyone should know that one camera angle isn’t enough for a full analysis, it’s Gary Lineker.

But a storm erupted on Twitter on Tuesday after the Match of the Day host shared a video tweeted by Ben White, a notorious activist with a history of vile and intolerant anti-Israel statements.

The video, originally shot by B’tselem, shows Israeli soldiers strong-arming Palestinian youths to a checkpoint, where they were detained.

Mr Lineker’s tweet contained just one word: “Sickening.”

Predictably, outrage followed. Many expressed disgust at the soldiers’ behaviour.

Others, such as prominent international human rights lawyer Arsen Ostrovsky, chastised Mr Lineker for sharing content from “an extremist and bigot”.

Hamas calls for another 'Day of Rage'
The Hamas organization in Judea and Samaria is calling on the Palestinian Arab public to escalate confrontations with the "occupation" and take part in “Day of Rage” activities that will take place on Friday at all points of friction.

A statement issued by Hamas on Thursday said that the Al-Quds Intifada would escalate with all its might and that "the soldiers of the occupation and the villages of its settlers" would pay the price of the attack on Al-Quds, the Palestinians and their holy places.

Mass rallies are scheduled to take place in the large cities in Judea and Samaria immediately after Friday prayers, and from there the crowd is expected to confront IDF troops.

In Gaza, Hamas is organizing a mass rally to take place along the main road of Gaza. Riots are expected there as well.

The rallies are in protest of U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement from last week that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Thousands protest Trump in Arab-Israeli city of Sakhnin
Thousands of Arab citizens of Israel demonstrated Friday in the northern city of Sakhnin against US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital with speakers stressing that there will be no peace unless east Jerusalem becomes the capital of an independent Palestine.

Demonstrators, some of whom came from as far away as the Negev, carried Palestinian flags and signs saying "Jerusalem and al-Aksa are a red line" as they made their way through the city streets to municipality square. Mohammed Barakeh, head of the High Follow Up Committee, which is the representative body of Israel's Arab citizens called on all Arab and Islamic countries to withdraw their ambassadors from Washington to protest Trump's move.

Raja Zaatry, an official of the Follow Up Committee, quoted Barakeh as telling the crowd: "Jerusalem will not be alone. All the Palestinian people will defend her. The rights of the Palestinian people do not derive from the declarations of American imperialism."

"There will be no peace without East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state," he said.

"We won't surrender to the threats of the rightist government," Barakeh said, adding: "the criminals of the government are Netanyahu, Bennett and Lieberman."
'Dogs and Americans not allowed'
A store near the Palestinian Authority-controlled city of Jericho responded to President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last week with a decidedly unwelcoming gesture to any American passersby.

The store, located in Aqabat Jaber, near Jericho, recently added a sign reading “Dogs and Americans are not allowed to Enter”, aping racist signs of the 20th century, after last Wednesday’s declaration.

Yoav Mordechai, chief of the army’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), publicized a photograph of the anti-American sign.

In an Arabic Facebook post, Mordechai slammed the store owners for hanging the sign, saying it was reminiscent of Nazi-era incitement.

“We are shocked, first of all as human beings, and second off as Jews who recall similar signs being put up against our people in stores in Nazi Germany during the 1930s.”

“Residents of Judea and Samaria: Do you understand how serious this is? Wake up! This is more proof that Palestinian incitement is reminiscent of [those] dark days.”
Nazareth to observe most Christmas festivities despite anger over Trump
Nazareth Mayor Ali Salam decided Thursday to keep most Christmas festivities intact despite anger over US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“Our message is we love Jerusalem, we’ll never abandon you under any circumstances,” he said at a press conference in which he announced that singing performances on outdoor stages that are normally part of Nazareth’s Christmas Market would be canceled.

He termed Trump “wretched” and said the US president had “stabbed” Palestinians with the Jerusalem decision.

But he also noted that “there are commercial interests of the city and we are used to hundreds of thousands coming for this season.”

After the press conference, it was erroneously reported that Salam had canceled the Christmas Market. But, according to the Al-Arab website, the municipality issued a statement denying this. It said that “the cancellation only applies to artistic performances on stages,” and that outdoor stalls would remain, the lighting of the Christmas tree will take place Sunday as scheduled, programs in the Old City will proceed, and a parade will be held on December 23.

“Christmas season in Nazareth is the season of good and blessing and we are completely vigilant that commercial interests won’t be damaged,” the statement said.
Middle East TV Correspondents Prepared for an Armageddon That Didn’t Arrive
Middle East television correspondents donned flak vests, helmets, and other military gear last week in anticipation of a crushing wave of violence and hysteria they were certain would follow President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Experts on the region who uniformly opposed Trump's move—which the U.S. Senate voted 90-0 in favor of as recently as last summer—predicted utter chaos and essentially called for the U.S. to yield its foreign policy to the veto of a mob.

They might have been more comfortable in their regular clothes. In an unsurprising development, the promised "days of rage" gave us much roaring but comparatively little violence.

While stating a fact and removing a bargaining chip from a non-existent peace process, the Trump administration's decision didn't do much to the status quo except to reaffirm the ignorance of the so-called experts.
Jerusalem Marathon sees spike in registration after US declaration
U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital may have led to a rise in foreign registration to the Jerusalem Marathon, officials say.

Some 100 foreign runners have signed up since Trump's Dec. 6 declaration, representing some 12% of the overall registration from abroad. Moreover, according to municipality officials, registration from outside Israel is 30% higher than in the equivalent period last year.

The marathon will take place on March 9, 2018. Some 900 runners from 47 countries have registered for the marathon so far, and officials expect the final number of competitors to total some 3,500.

Officials say the number of African participants has increased by some 50% compared to the equivalent period in 2017. The U.S. has led the pack so far, with 123 registered participants, followed by Germany, Poland and China.

The upcoming marathon will comprise six different races, with the over-arching theme being the 70th anniversary of the city's reunification in the 1967 Six-Day War.

"The marathon generates millions of shekels for the city's hotels, businesses and its entertainment industry, and is a boon to the livelihood of Jerusalemites," Mayor Nir Barkat said this week. The marathon is expected to generate some 10 million shekels ($2.8 million) in revenue.

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When you live your entire life knowing that you have hundreds of millions of Arabs publicly supporting your every word, you tend to get a bit skittish when things start to fall apart.

Arab News (and many other services) reported yesterday:
The US administration is serious about getting a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians, but its proposed plan is still being put together, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said.

“We believe the Trump administration is serious about bringing peace between Israelis and Arabs,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, a former ambassador to the US, told France 24 television late on Wednesday.

“They were working on ideas and were consulting with all parties, including Saudi Arabia, and they are incorporating the views represented to them by everybody. They have said they would need a little bit of time to put it together to present it.”
This is not the narrative that the Palestinians want the world to think about the US and Trump.
 Secretary-General of the Palestinian People's Party Bassam Salhi described the statements made by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubair on the work of the American administration on a "peace plan" as ridiculous.

Bassam al-Salhi expressed his strong rejection of the statements made by al-Jubayr, in which he claimed that there was "a serious American peace plan to be proposed by the Trump administration."

Salhi said in a press statement Friday that this position is absurd and contradicts the Palestinian, Arab, Islamic and even international positions, which clearly expressed their rejection of US policy and considered it to undermine the entire "peace process".

He stressed that the Palestinian position to end American care for the political process is serious, and the Arab countries are required to respect this position and that there is an effort to hold America accountable. 
You see? All Arabs are required to parrot Palestinian talking points! Just like BDS claims that anyone who does anything with Israel is "violating" their own edicts. 

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The "Institute of Middle East Understanding," which claims to be an independent organization meant to provide accurate information about the Middle East to journalists,  published this tweet:

Of course, this is a photo of Jews flocking to the Kotel this past Sukkot.

The Reuters article referenced indeed had that photo as a slideshow of different aspects of Jerusalem, but only the IMEU implied that this photo shows actual protests.

The IMEU's Twitter feed is filled with anti-Israel vitriol and lies. One can only wonder at how many lazy journalists rely on this organization to poison their minds in order to avoid doing any research of their own.

(h/t Arnold R)

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To all you editorial writers, self-professed Middle East exports, diplomats and others:

1. Trump's declaration did not destroy the peace process. Pretending it destroys the peace process destroys the peace process.

2. Trump's declaration did not recognize all of Jerusalem as Israeli.

3. Trump's declaration did not preclude Jerusalem also being a Palestinian capital one day. (I think it's a very bad idea, but he never even implied it.)

4. Trump's declaration didn't cause terror or violence. People who purposefully misinterpreted Trump's words incited violence and organized violent demonstrations.

5. The initial violence in the territories after the declaration was directly orchestrated by the Palestinian Authority. (It closed its schools to increase the number of demonstrators.) The riots weren't spontaneous.

6. Everyone agrees that Jerusalem within the Green Line is Israeli under international law. Israel can do there what any country can do. There was never a shred of legal support for Jerusalem to be considered an international city  - because the Arabs rejected the 1947 UNGA resolution that proposed it.

7. No matter whether the world accepts it, Jerusalem is Israel's capital, because that's where its government is. A state can declare its capital; no outsider can change that. Trump merely stated the obvious.

8. The idea that Jerusalem must be accepted as the capital of a Palestinian state before it can be accepted as the capital of Israel is wholly arbitrary and purely anti-Israel. It pre-judges the outcome of negotiations, the exact charge falsely given to recognizing  Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

9. Jerusalem has been universally accepted as the capital of the Jewish nation way before Israel was reborn and even before modern Zionism. 

10. Earlier this year, Russia recognized pre-1967 Jerusalem as Israel's capital, today. There is no contradiction between that position and what Trump said. Yet there was no uproar over that recognition. 

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