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Friday, April 20, 2018

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Time to cut JVP down to size
Jewish Voice for Peace is a marginal group, by all accounts. The Jewish-run, anti-Zionist organization has perhaps a couple of dozen employees and anywhere between a few dozen and a couple of hundred committed activists in the US. Its positions – that Israel is evil and must be destroyed and that Jews should be disenfranchised and ostracized because they support Israel – is anathema to the overwhelming majority of American Jews.

Yet despite the fact that its bigoted positions are rejected by just about everyone, this group, which the Anti-Defamation League has listed as “the largest and most influential Jewish anti-Zionist organization in the United States,” is becoming increasingly influential in the US.

As the ADL report on JVP notes, in recent years, the little group has received millions of dollars in donations and has vastly expanded its operations. It has 35 chapters across the US including at several campuses. It has nearly a half million followers on Facebook and 75,000 followers on Twitter.

JVP doesn’t only attack Jewish supporters of Israel. It also attacks Judaism. JVP’s “rabbinical council” issues resolutions and publications in the name of the Jewish religion that are inherently antisemitic.

In 2012 for instance, JVP’s “rabbinical council” published an “alternative Haggada,” which included anti-Israel themes inside the Passover story of the liberation of the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt. One of the four cups of wine for the Passover Seder was dedicated to the BDS movement. Readers were instructed to add an olive to the traditional Seder plate to symbolize Palestinian suffering under Israeli rule.

JVP is open about its determination to serve as a Jewish fig leaf for antisemitic groups and operations. Its website states this mission explicitly, arguing that the group’s Jewish veneer gives it a “particular legitimacy in voicing an alternative view of American and Israeli actions and policies” and the ability to distinguish “between real antisemitism and the cynical manipulation of that issue.”

Melanie Phillips: In Britain and Poland, Anti-Semitism’s Ugly History Repeats Itself
In Britain, liberals are in a similar state of denial over their anti-Semitism. This is because they view themselves as anti-fascist and anti-racist and so think it is simply impossible they could be anti-Jew.

In fact, anti-Semitism on the left has a long lineage. Marx himself, after all, was virulently anti-Jewish. There’s more to it, though, than just being anti-capitalist or even anti-Zionist. The modern left has junked Biblical morality for libertarian lifestyle choice. And the Jews represent the conscience they are at such pains to deny.

I came up against this years ago without realizing the full implications until much later. As I recount in my memoir Guardian Angel, also published recently, when in the 1990s I started writing about the undermining of the traditional family I was called an “Old Testament fundamentalist.” And when in 1982 I first questioned the double standard over Israel at the anti-racist Guardian newspaper where I then worked, I was told that since the Jews claimed moral superiority over everyone else they should be judged by higher moral standards.

Despite such attitudes, the left believes that because it stands for the betterment of the world it embodies unimpeachable virtue. Anyone not on the left is therefore not just wrong but evil. Only the right can be anti-Semitic. It is therefore impossible for the left to be so. If they were to admit it, their entire moral and political personality would fall apart.

Anti-Semitism, however, is not created by one viewpoint or another. It is a form of derangement which observes no political or cultural boundaries. Whether in London or Warsaw, if it is not recognized as such it will not merely remain a permanent stain on those societies. It will eventually destroy them.
Delusions of Justice
American Jews should wake up to which side their most dangerous enemies are on.

Since the election of Donald Trump, prominent American Jews, notably in the Reform movement and among the intelligentsia, have lamented the resurgence of right-wing anti-Semitism, seeing it as the greatest threat to their community in the United States. The rise of xenophobic and often marginally anti-Jewish parties in Eastern Europe—even with fewer Jews left there to persecute—has deepened the alarm. Yet by far the greatest threat to Jews, not only here but also abroad, comes not from zombie fascist retreads, but from the Left, which is increasingly making its peace with anti-Semitism.

This shift was first made clear to me about 15 years ago when, along with my wife Mandy, whose mother is a Holocaust survivor from France, I visited the legendary Nazi-hunters Serge and Beate Klarsfeld. They predicted that the primary threat to Jews in Europe increasingly would come not from the centuries-old French Right, some of whom had supported the Nazis, but from the Left, in alliance with a growing Muslim population. Time has proved their assertion to be, for the most part, on target. In Sweden, for instance, never known for its persecution of Jews, only 5 percent of all anti-Semitic incidents, notes the New York Times, involved the far Right, while Muslims and leftists accounted for the rest. Germany’s recent rash of anti-Semitic incidents has coincided with the mass migration of people from regions where hostility to both Jews and Israel is commonplace. At European universities, where pro-Nazi sentiments were once widely shared, anti-Israel sentiments are increasingly de rigueur. The growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, aimed at cutting all ties with Israel, often allies itself with anti-Jewish Islamist groups, some with eliminationist agendas for Palestine’s Jews.

Of course, anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are not identical. One can criticize some Israeli policies—as many American Jews do, for example, on the expansion of settlements—without being an anti-Semite. But, as the liberal French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy argues, targeting the Jewish state while ignoring far more brutal, homophobic, and profoundly misogynist Muslim states represents a double standard characteristic of anti-Semitic prejudice. European progressives increasingly embrace this double standard. Generally speaking, the further left the European politician, the closer his ties to Islamist groups who seek the destruction of Jews in Palestine. Many left-wing parties—the French socialists, for example—depend more and more on Arab and Muslim voters, who come from countries where more than 80 percent of the public holds strongly anti-Jewish views. The Left’s animus toward Jewish causes has spread to Great Britain, where Labour Party head Jeremy Corbyn counts the leaders of openly anti-Semitic groups like Hamas and Hezbollah as allies. If Corbyn becomes Britain’s next prime minister—no longer inconceivable, given his strong showing in the last election—the consequences for Israel, and for Britain’s dwindling Jewish community, could be troubling.

Some, like Barcelona’s chief rabbi, think that it’s time for Europe’s Jews to move away, and many, particularly in France, are already doing so. Europe’s Jewish population (roughly 1.4 million) is less than half what it was in 1960, and a mere fraction of its pre-Holocaust size (9.5 million). (h/t MtTB)

Sohrab Ahmari: The ADL Smears Mike Pompeo
When the Anti-Defamation League tapped Jonathan Greenblatt to serve as its CEO in 2015, there were concerns that the Obama White House alumnus would turn the venerable civil-rights group into an arm of the Democratic Party. Alas, those concerns have proved well-founded. Witness Greenblatt’s letter this week opposing Mike Pompeo, President Trump’s choice for America’s next secretary of state, for the flimsiest of reasons.

Running to more than 5,000 words, the letter accuses the CIA director of fanning bigotry with irresponsible statements about radical Islam. Greenblatt goes so far as to suggest that Pompeo’s attitudes are redolent of classic anti-Semitism. That’s a serious charge. It is also utterly baseless. If Pompeo is “Islamophobic,” then so is the ADL. As it turns out, the secretary of state-designate and the ADL have remarkably similar views on the nature of the Islamist threat.

Let’s compare Pompeo’s allegedly culpable statements with the ADL’s long record of public advocacy on radical Islam, the homegrown Islamist threat, and Islamist ideologues and networks operating in the U.S. homeland.

The Silence of American Muslim Organizations

The ADL fulminates against Pompeo for suggesting that some American Muslim organizations don’t go far enough in condemning terrorism and the ideologies that inspire it.
How a Jewish civil rights group became a villain on the far-left
The ADL declined to comment for this article, but the positions it has taken in recent years make it an unlikely target of some left-wing organizations. The group has been an outspoken Jewish voice against right-wing racism and bigotry. It has released reports and statements on far-right extremist activity and filed an amicus brief against the Trump administration’s travel ban. It has convened mayors to fight hate and opened a center in Silicon Valley to combat cyberhate.

Its CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, who came to the ADL in 2015 after a stint at the Obama White House, has not been shy about criticizing US President Donald Trump for statements targeting Muslims or praising far-right demonstrators. This week, Greenblatt urged scrutiny of his pick for secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, for his anti-Muslim activities.
Protesters gather outside a Starbucks in Philadelphia, Sunday, April 15, 2018, where two black men were arrested Thursday after Starbucks employees called police to say the men were trespassing. (AP Photo/Ron Todt)

Next month, the ADL will take part in the Starbucks training, which comes in response to the outcry over the arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia branch of the coffee giant who were waiting to start a meeting. Along with the ADL, the training will also be led by the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund, the liberal think tank Demos and the Equal Justice Initiative, a civil rights group.

But along with its work on bias, the ADL engages in pro-Israel activism that has pit it against groups that share its domestic agenda. In 2016, the ADL called out the Movement for Black Lives after it published a platform accusing Israel of apartheid and genocide. It has sparred with Linda Sarsour, the Palestinian-American liberal activist and an organizer of the Women’s March, over her anti-Zionism. It welcomed the adoption by Congress of the Taylor Force Act, which conditions certain American aid to the Palestinian Authority on ending the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s practice of paying families of jailed and deceased terrorists.

And as opposition to Israel has become increasingly common in leftist activist circles, the ADL’s talking points supporting Israel have made it a target. IfNotNow, a grassroots group opposing Israel’s occupation, has staged sit-ins in the lobby of the ADL’s office building. Last month, after the ADL criticized Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and his backers, IfNotNow accused it of downplaying the threat of white supremacy.

The left-wing attacks on the ADL gained a wider audience Tuesday when Women’s March co-organizer Tamika Mallory, who recently came under fire for supporting Farrakhan, a virulent anti-Semite, denounced Starbucks for cooperating with the Jewish group.
David Collier: Attacking Jews, the whole antisemitism crisis, will ‘be positive for Labour’
It is a sickening thread. Many of the threats and dangers are contained within the single thread. The threat of deselection. There is the idea that the entire antisemitism issue is part of a hidden agenda. Then the notion that the Zionists are a cancer and it is ‘time to get’ them. Of course the ‘foreign agent’ of ‘paid’ performance is referenced.

The most troubling of them all is the point made by Alan Maddison. Maddison was for a while (and may still be) a strategist for the Jewish Voice for Labour group. He is the man behind many of the distorted claims over antisemitic statistics. In this thread he is actually suggesting the entire crisis may bring about a nett gain in votes for Labour. The claim that if Labour is seen as the party taking on the ‘elite’ (the ruling Zionists), Labour’s chances may be improved rather than damaged in an election.

This is the mindset of the people behind Corbyn’s defense. The idea that between the classic Jew-hate in parts of the ‘white British’ population and the anti-Jewish racism in sections of the BAME community there will be enough power to take this party all the way to Downing Street. Attacking Jews becomes a vote winner. If that thought doesn’t scare you – little will.

It backed Israel before Balfour: Corbyn stance is stark shift from early Labour
Avi Gabbay’s decision last week to break links with Jeremy Corbyn may have little practical effect – the British Labour leader’s contemptuous brush off indicates how little he cares about the relationship – but it has huge symbolic value.

As Gabbay correctly noted, Labor and its British sister party have “a long history of friendship” based on the latter’s close ties to the Jewish community and traditionally strong support for the state of Israel.

But his warm references to the former British prime ministers Harold Wilson, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown both diplomatically skated over some awkward history and failed to capture the length and depth of Labour’s Zionist credentials.

By the time the British government formally committed itself to the cause of a Jewish homeland in Palestine in November 1917, the fledgling Labour party had already stolen a march on it.

Three months prior to the publication of the Balfour Declaration, the party issued the first draft of the War Aims Memorandum, its vision for the post-war world. Written by Arthur Henderson, the Labour leader, and Sydney Webb, the party’s intellectual driving force, it declared: “The British Labour Movement expresses the opinion that Palestine should be set free from the harsh and oppressive government of the Turk, in order that the country may form a free state, under international guarantee, to which such of the Jewish People as desired to do so may return, and may work out their salvation.”
University of Winchester Academic Who Defended Corbyn Now Being Investigated for Antisemitism
An academic at the University of Winchester in the United Kingdom is being investigated after making disparaging comments on Jews and Israel on social media.

Jane Dipple, a lecturer in media and communication, was found to have shared an article by the neo-Nazi website “The Daily Stormer,” with the headline, “BBC to Replace Male Jew Political Editor with Female Jew,” HuffPost UK reported on Tuesday.

“As [conspiracy theorist David] Icke said… it’s the rampant zionism across the media that is actually damaging the Jews,” she wrote under the article.

Dipple also accused Zionists of attempting to create a “pure race” and questioned the need for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, an intergovernmental Holocaust education group. “How about a Palestinian f***ing wall alliance and a being starved and bombed alliance and having our country stolen form [sic] us alliance.. for f***’s sake,” she exclaimed.

A supporter of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, Dipple was also a member of the controversial Facebook group Palestine Live, which included posts featuring Holocaust denial and peddling conspiracy theories about Israel’s alleged involvement with the Islamic State and in the 9/11 and 7/7 terrorist attacks.
Jeremy Corbyn has declined to congratulate the state of Israel on the 70th anniversary of its foundation. Corbyn tweeted last year about the 70th anniversary of Pakistan’s independence, yet yesterday his social media accounts were silent on Israel’s big day.

This morning’s Mail reveals that the man who stars in Labour’s new election broadcast rather unfortunately previously referred to “evil Jews“. Turns out it’s not just the people who appear in Labour PPBs that have dodgy views, it’s the people that make them as well…

The film in question was produced by filmmaker Jake Bowers. A look through his tweets finds that, in a discussion with a UKIP MEP about gypsies who voted for Brexit, Bowers wrote “I suppose even the Nazis required Jewish Kapos to sell the idea of walled ghettos”.

Bowers also shared approvingly a Facebook video of the notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan:
D.C. City Council Member Who Blamed Snow on Jews Visits Holocaust Museum, Leaves Early
City Council member Trayon White Sr. (D.) did not appear during the visit to have a working knowledge of the Holocaust, the Washington Post reports.

Though the visit was meant to rehabilitate his image, his lack of knowledge and desire to learn about the Holocaust confused his tour guides.

At one point during his visit on Wednesday, White was looking at a photo of a woman shuffling down a street in Norden, Germany. She had a sign hanging from her neck that read, "I am a German girl and allowed myself to be defiled by a Jew," and she was surrounded by Nazi stormtroopers.

White asked, "Are they protecting her?"
White's tour guide, Lynn Williams, said, "No. They're marching her through."
"Marching through is protecting," White said.
"I think they're humiliating her," Williams replied.

After seeing photos of German troops executing Catholic clergy in Poland by firing squad, White asked, "Were they actually manufacturing these weapons?"

He subsequently disappeared from the tour, which was only half over. Members of White's staff stayed on.

Rabbi Batya Glazer, who accompanied White on the tour, explained the walling in of Polish Jews at an exhibit on the Warsaw Ghetto.
One aide asked if it was similar to "a gated community."
"Yeah, I wouldn't call it a gated community," Glazer said. "More like a prison."

At the completion of the tour, White was found standing alone on a sidewalk outside the museum.
"I’ll be coming back to see more of the museum. I didn’t get a chance to see the whole thing," he said.
D.C. Legislator Who Said Jews Control The Weather Allegedly Donated To Anti-Semite Farrakhan's Event
Trayon White Sr. (D-Ward 8) has been asked for details of the $500 donation he made to the Nation of Islam’s Saviours’ Day Event in Chicago, where Farrakhan declared “powerful Jews are my enemy,” and stated Jews “were responsible for all of this filth and degenerate behavior that Hollywood is putting out turning men into women and women into men.”

White’s January 29 donation is particularly egregious because it came from his constituent services account, which is comprised of funds of private money raised by lawmakers for community causes. As The Washington Post reports, “The funds must benefit D.C. residents, according to campaign finance law. They are often used for things such as helping a constituent in a bind pay a utility bill or to send flowers to someone in mourning.”

White said he was unaware of the $500 donation but the fund’s treasurer, Darryl Ross, contested that, saying, “He said to me, ‘I want you to make a payment to the Nation of Islam for Saviours’ Day.’ So I went on the website to get the information I needed in order to make the payment.”

According to campaign finance officials, White has until May 3 to explain the donation.
IsraellyCool: My Days on Twitter May Be Numbered
Yesterday, I was greeted on Twitter with this message:

The offending tweet? A retweet of an antisemite from 2014, in which I mocked them!

German LGBT group closes bank account to protest BDS activity
The prominent Magnus Hirschfeld Foundation - named after a gay German-Jewish scientist who was persecuted by the Nazis - terminated its account with the Bank for Social Economy over the financial institution's enabling of organizations that support a boycott of the Jewish state.

Sources from the Magnus Hirschfeld Foundation told The Jerusalem Post on Friday that the "the foundation closed its account" with the bank.

The closure of the account was immediately praised by leading Jewish human rights organizations. Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the head of the Jerusalem office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Jerusalem Post on Friday that "I am happy that the organization [Magnus Hirschfeld Foundation] did the right thing from a Jewish perspective."

Zuroff, the Wiesenthal Center's chief Nazi-hunter, said that that the Magnus Hirschfeld Foundation is "showing Jewish solidarity and made the right steps to close the account and we hope other Jewish organizations that have accounts with the Bank for Social Economy will follow suit."

The Bank for Social Economy holds numerous accounts that wage boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) activity against Israel. In February,Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan urged the Bank for Social Economy (Bank für Sozialwirtschaft) to shut down an account for the anti-Israel BDS group Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East.
Natalie Portman Embraces Boycott of Israel, Refuses ‘Israel’s Nobel Prize’
Natalie Portman, the Israeli-born Oscar-winning actress, has informed a prominent pro-Israel foundation that she will not attend their event and claim its most coveted prize due to Israel’s recent efforts to prevent Hamas terrorists from killing Jewish citizens, according to an announcement.

The Genesis Prize Foundation, which awards internationally renowned individuals for their commitment to Jewish values, announced late Thursday that Portman would "not to travel to Israel for the June 28 Ceremony organized in her honor," according to a statement from the organization.

Portman’s camp appears to believe that Israel’s recent efforts to combat attacks on its border from Hamas terrorists and affiliated militants have created an environment that is not compatible with her appearance in the Jewish state for the award.

"A representative of Ms. Portman notified our Foundation that: ‘Recent events in Israel have been extremely distressing to her and she does not feel comfortable participating in any public events in Israel’ and that ‘she cannot in good conscience move forward with the ceremony,’" according to a press statement. "After a number of conversations with Ms. Portman and her representatives, we have been advised that Ms. Portman’s decision is firm and will not be changed."

While Portman, perhaps best known for her work alongside Jar Jar Binks in The Phantom Menace, has positioned herself as a proud supporter of Israel, it appears she will not step foot in the country as a result of recent efforts by Israel to secure its borders against unlawful intruders, who have been met with a violent response in recent weeks after they stormed the Israeli border and took aim at Jewish forces.

Representatives for Portman did not respond to a request for comment.
Ronn Torossian: Shame on Natalie Portman
Israeli born Actress Natalie Portman today announced she would not take part in the prize ceremony for the Genesis Prize, slated to be held in Israel in June 2018. The Genesis Prize Foundation, which awards what it calls the “Jewish Nobel,” had previously named Ms. Portman this year’s awardee, until she notified Genesis that“ [r]ecent events in Israel have been extremely distressing to her and she does not feel comfortable participating in any public events in Israel” and that “she cannot in good conscience move forward with the ceremony.”

The Genesis Prize Foundation cancelled the prize ceremony, saying that its organizers “fear that Ms. Portman’s decision will cause our philanthropic initiative to be politicized, something we have worked hard for the past five years to avoid.”

Shame on Natalie Portman for bowing to those who boycott Israel.

Israel’s Culture Minister Miri Regev hit it right on the head noting that,“ …Natalie Portman fell into the hands of the BDS supporters. Portman, a Jewish actress born in Israel, joins those who tell the successful, wondrous founding of the State of Israel as 'a tale of darkness and darkness.'

Sane people must agree with Hillel Neuer of UN Watch who told Portman that “If 30,000 rioters were at your borders & approaching your family in Los Feliz, and they were orchestrated by a terror group that advocates the murder of all Jews, I believe you would 'in good consicience' support officers doing their best to protect you.”

Israel is the only real democracy in the Middle East, where all religions are protected, where women have equal rights. Israel is a beacon of light.

Shame on Natalie Portman for standing against Israel.
MEMRI: French Activist Henda Ayari On Her Salafi Past, Alleged Rape By Tariq Ramadan, And Struggle To Help Women Who Fell Prey To Extremists
French women's rights activist Henda Ayari, a Salafi-turned-liberal Muslim, accused Swiss Muslim thinker Tariq Ramadan of raping her at a Paris hotel in 2012. In an interview on the Egyptian Dream TV channel on April 7, Ayari, who has founded an NGO to help, among others, women subjugated by Islamic extremists, told her life story and recounted what had happened when Ramadan allegedly lured her to a hotel room and raped her. Ayari, who describes herself as a "secular feminist who defends women's rights," said that she wrote her book, "J'ai Choisi D'être Libre," describing her path from Salafism to liberalism, after the 2015 Bataclan terror attack, when she realized the danger inherent in political Islam and the Salafis. The book included a chapter on "Zubair," whom she later identified as Ramadan. She admired and trusted him "like a big brother or an imam," she said, describing the alleged encounter. "All of a sudden, his behavior changed. He became very violent toward me." Ayari further said: "I thought I was going to die that night because he choked me and slapped me," alleging that Ramadan had said to her: "This is what you are asking for because you don't wear the hijab." Ramadan is currently being detained in France on charges of raping two women. Several other women have made similar accusations against him.

"I Wrote That I Had Used To Be An Imprisoned, Oppressed Woman – Today, I Am A Free Woman"

Henda Ayari: "I decided to write my book following the [2015] Bataclan terrorist attack. I was shocked when I saw the victims, the killings, and the blood on TV. I realized that political Islam and the Salafis constitute a danger. I was coerced into marriage when I was 20. I went to Tunisia on vacation, and within a day, I was married to a Salafi man I did not know.
Iqra Khalid story goes from bad to worse
Liberal MP Iqra Khalid, who was under fire last year for her advocacy of the controversial motion 103, is now facing similar questions.

Conservative politicians are demanding answers as to why she introduced Palestinian Greek Orthodox Archbishop Atallah Hanna, who is a supporter and apologist for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, at an event in Mississauga over the weekend.

“A week after the gassing of Syrian children, Liberal MP Iqra Khalid brought greetings to one of Assad’s worst apologists on behalf of Justin Trudeau. Canada needs an answer why this happened,” Conservative Senator Linda Frum posted to social media, leading a charge that was later echoed by MPs in Question Period.

Khalid’s response? “Like any MP, I engage with a diverse array of individuals, stakeholders and groups in my community – many of them I don’t agree with,” she posted online, adding “I’m proud that our government has forcefully condemned the Assad regime and I too condemn in the strongest of terms the recent chemical attacks. I’ve worked hard on these issues in my subcommittee on international human rights.”

The blowback was heavy – with critics noting that it’s a bit much to hide behind the cloak of “diverse” stakeholders as justification for posing in smiling photos with questionable individuals.

And while Hanna is the one getting all of the attention, it was the man he and Khalid had gathered to honour who deserves a bit more coverage as well. It was at that same event that Khalid gave out an award to Amin El-Maoued, who does public relations for the group Palestine House, which lost federal funding in 2012 due to its “pattern of support for extremism,” as the federal government put it.

“I met brother Amin about three years ago,” Khalid says in a video of last weekend’s event that was removed from online but reposted by my colleague Candice Malcolm.

If she’s known him for a while, does she know about his less than flattering activities? El-Maoued appears to have played a leading role in a protest last summer that was investigated by Peel Regional police for anti-Semitic chants.
Michael Lumish: This Week on Nothing Left
This week Michael Burd and Alan Freedman speak with Rev Fred Nile about conservative politics and his participation in a joint Jewish-Christian event in Sydney to mark Israel’s 70th birthday, and then hear an interview Michael conducted with ‘Robert’, a Gaza supporter at the recent rally in Melbourne and the holder of some very strange views.

The guys then follow up on the situation of Jeremy Corbyn and UK Jewry with British blogger Richard Millett and academic Frank Furedi.

And while Isi Leibler is taking some time off, Michael and Alan catch up on the latest in Israel with Arnold Roth.

3 min Editorial: Israel’s right to exist
11 min Rev Fred Nile, Christian support for Israel
36 min Discussion and then Gaza supporter ‘Robert’ at Melbourne rally
50 min Richard Millet, UK blogger on Corbyn and UK Jewry
1 hr 10 Frank Furedi, UK academic on Corbyn and UK Jewry
1 hr 28 Arnold Roth in Israel
German neo-Nazis mass for festival on Hitler’s birthday
Hundreds of neo-Nazis were expected to congregate Friday, which marks Adolf Hitler’s birthday, for a two-day festival in a small eastern German town where anti-fascist groups have vowed counter-protests.

A major police deployment aims to prevent violence during the “Schild und Schwert” (Shield and Sword, or SS) festival near the Polish and Czech borders that is expected to also attract eastern European extremists.

“You will see police on every corner,” the local police chief told a regional newspaper, with hundreds of officers to brought in from other states, while Polish authorities across the Neisse river border also said they would step up patrols.

Some 1,100 police will be backed by water cannon and with boats patrolling the Neisse border river, on the bank of which the festival is held, reported the local Saechsische Zeitung.
Fury as replicas of Nazi gas canisters used to murder millions of Jews during the Holocaust are sold at Australian gun show
A Melbourne gun show has come under fire for selling replica gas canisters of the same type used in Nazi concentration camps.

A father and son, who requested to remain anonymous, were visiting the show over the weekend have told how they had to leave the venue in a 'badly shaken state.'

'Seeing replica canisters of Zyklon B for sale was one of the most confronting, traumatising and shocking sights that I have ever seen,' the father told the Herald Sun.

The replica canisters were displayed over the weekend at the Melbourne Arms and Militia Fair, a gathering held annually in the city.

The event organiser Jeffrey Pannan said that while Nazi collectables are legal they are distasteful.

He explained that as long as what is displayed by exhibitors at the show is legal he doesn't have a problem.

He added, however, that he would remind future exhibitors at the show to refrain from displaying such items.
California man charged with hate crimes over threats to Jews
A Southern California man pleaded not guilty Thursday to hate crimes after prosecutors said he threatened prominent members of the Jewish community and had a “kill list” that included the names of people in the entertainment industry.

Nicholas Rose of Irvine pleaded not guilty to making criminal threats and violating civil rights, with sentencing enhancements for hate crimes.

It’s unclear whether the 26-year-old has an attorney. He has a court appearance set for April 27.

A family member called the Orange Police Department on Monday and reported that Rose said he wanted to kill people and specifically threatened the Jewish community, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

Police arrested Rose at his home Tuesday after saying they found “kill lists” of prominent Jewish community members, steps titled “killing my first Jew,” as well as references to churches and a synagogue in the area.

He also had .22-caliber ammunition, prosecutors said.
Syracuse University suspends engineering frat after 'racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic' videos
Syracuse University has suspended an engineering fraternity after videos surfaced showed members engaged in "racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic [and] sexist" acts and using slurs.

The independent student newspaper The Daily Orange obtained the videos filmed at the Theta Tau house after they were posted on a secret Facebook group.

On Wednesday, school Chancellor Kent Syverud denounced the videos as “extremely racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, sexist and hostile to people with disabilities.”

The graphic video shows a person forced to his knees while he repeats “an oath” that uses several racial slurs to describe African-Americans, Hispanics and Jews.

“I solemnly swear to always have hatred in my heart for n-----s, s---s and most importantly the f--king k---s,” the person on his knees says. He then makes a sexual gesture.

In another recording, a person uses anti-Semitic language while yelling at other people, making a reference to the gas chambers of the Holocaust.

“You f--king k---s, get in the f--king showers,” he said, according to The Daily Orange.
Sri Lanka beefs up tourist hotspot security after Israelis beaten up
Sri Lanka announced Friday it would establish new police posts and step up patrols at popular resorts after a spate of sexual attacks and violence targeting foreign tourists.

Police chief Pujith Jayasundara said 20 new stations would be established at vacation hotspots to protect visitors from scalpers and criminals, despite concerns his force was already overstretched.

“I wish we had more men and resources for this job, but we are making adjustments to our deployments to ensure better productivity,” Jayasundara said.

He added the measures were decided after a Dutch tourist was sexually harassed and several other tourists were assaulted by a gang at a hotel in the southern resort town of Mirissa last week.

Five Israeli tourists were beaten up in the same area this week and 14 men have been arrested over the two incidents, police said.
Artists return German music award over rappers’ Holocaust lyrics
Several artists have returned their Echo Awards in Germany to protest the award won by two rappers whose lyrics boasted of having “bodies more defined than Auschwitz inmates.”

In response to the award controversy, BMG, which distributes releases by Kollegah and Farid Bang, has announced a campaign against anti-Semitism.

At the awards ceremony on April 12, a speaker condemning the rappers received a standing ovation.

The award recognizes sales, not the content of the album, but the awards committee has pledged to rethink how it will choose winners, according to Variety.

Kollegah and Farid Bang won the Echo Award for having 2017’s best-selling hip-hop album.

In their lyrics, along with the boast about their physiques, they call for “another Holocaust; let’s grab the Molotov” cocktails.

The BMG campaign is focused on teaching schoolchildren about anti-Semitism. The distributor has pledged 100,000 euros, about $123,000, to the campaign.
Fox Adapting Israeli TV Show; Two Other Series Win Awards at Cannes
The latest in a long string of Israeli TV formats picked up by Hollywood studios is “Nevsu,” a primetime series about an Israeli family headed by an Ethiopian father and Ashkenazi mother.

For American viewers, the Fox TV network is renaming the show “Culture Clash” as a pilot focusing on a blended family created by an Ethiopian refugee (played by Biniam Bizuneh) and a white Midwestern woman (Beth Behrs) in Minnesota.

“Nevsu” creators Yosi Vasa, Shai Ben-Atar and Liat Shavi have a hand in producing “Culture Clash” along with “Empire” and “Monster’s Ball” producer Lee Daniels and “Modern Family” executive producer Vali Chandrasekaran.

Meanwhile, earlier this week Israeli TV shows won two of the five awards at the inaugural Canneseries festival in France: “When Heroes Fly” (best series) and “Miguel” (best special performance).
19 must-see concerts in Israel this summer
Pop sensations, heavy metal icons, indie dance duos, Latin music stars, a legendary reggae master and many more world-famous musical artists are on Israel’s impressive spring-summer concert lineup. As the weather begins to heat up, Israel’s music calendar is following suit, with highly anticipated performances from April to September.

1. Backstreet Boys (April 22, Live Park, Rishon LeZion)
The Backstreet Boys are returning to Israel with their 25th anniversary world tour, “Larger Than Life,” based on their Las Vegas residency. The last time the band performed in Israel was in 2015, when they sold out three consecutive shows. This year, they will perform their ’90s hits on one night only.
Backstreet Boys performing in Las Vegas. Photo via Facebook

2. Jamiroquai (May 2, Live Park, Rishon LeZion)
For the first time, British funk and jazz band Jamiroquai will be performing in Israel. Though the band is best known for its Grammy-winning hit “Virtual Insanity,” the play list will include songs from its first new album in seven years, “Automaton,” released in March 2017 to favorable reviews.
Gal Gadot makes 'Time 100' list
Israeli actress and icon Gal Gadot was named on Thursday as one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people of 2018.

Gadot, who rocketed to stardom playing Wonder Woman, was written about in the magazine by Lynda Carter, who played the same character in the 1970s TV series.

"Gal Gadot brought Wonder Woman to millions of new fans," Carter wrote. "Her portrayal was magnificent and powerful, capturing everything that Wonder Woman represents."

Carter said beyond being a talented actress, Gadot is a wonderful person, and even referenced her IDF service.

"She is a wife and mother; she has served her country, traveled the world, and is hardworking, loving, wise, goofy and full of humanity."

In response, Gadot posted a message of gratitude on social media.

"What a great honor to be on this list with all these incredible people," she wrote. "And thank you to my mama bear @RealLyndaCarter for the love and moving words. You're the queen."

On Wednesday, Gadot was also named to People's 'most beautiful' issue - which hits newsstands on Friday.

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From Roger Cohen in the New York Times, referring to the weekly Gaza riots:
You know pornography when you see it. You know a disproportionate military response when you see it. It’s stomach turning.

Would Roger Cohen consider the killing of 16 civilians in order to silence an enemy TV station for a short time period to be "disproportionate?"

Because NATO does.

In the  Final Report to the Prosecutor by the Committee Established to Review the NATO Bombing Campaign Against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the case is reviewed. In short:

On 23 April 1999, at 0220, NATO intentionally bombed the central studio of the RTS (state-owned) broadcasting corporation at 1 Aberdareva Street in the centre of Belgrade. The missiles hit the entrance area, which caved in at the place where the Aberdareva Street building was connected to the Takovska Street building. While there is some doubt over exact casualty figures, between 10 and 17 people are estimated to have been killed.

 NATO intentionally bombed the Radio and TV station and the persons killed or injured were civilians. The questions are: was the station a legitimate military objective and; if it was, were the civilian casualties disproportionate to the military advantage gained by the attack? .... Insofar as the attack actually was aimed at disrupting the communications network, it was legally acceptable.

Assuming the station was a legitimate objective, the civilian casualties were unfortunately high but do not appear to be clearly disproportionate....

Assuming the RTS building to be a legitimate military target, it appeared that NATO realised that attacking the RTS building would only interrupt broadcasting for a brief period....

 On the basis of the above analysis and on the information currently available to it, the committee recommends that the OTP not commence an investigation related to the bombing of the Serbian TV and Radio Station.
The prosecutor said that there was no reason to prosecute this as a war crime, as the attack on a broadcasting station that killed 16 (according to later reports) was not disproportionate

So, Roger, do you really know a disproportionate military response when you see it? Or only when Israel somehow manages to kill people, a vast majority who are linked to terror groups hiding among tens of thousands of civlians - is that the case that you consider disproportionate?

I can't comment on how well Cohen knows pornography, but his knowledge of international law is sorely lacking.

Actually, there is a phrase to describe what it feels like to read an NYT column that assumes that Cohen's gut instincts against Israel are more accurate than international law. 

The phrase is "stomach-turning."

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From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: An open letter to the Muslim world
Dear Muslim world,

The State of Israel is 70 years old today and I am writing from its capital city, Jerusalem.

I realize that for most of you, the words I have just written will cause your gorge to rise. In Israel, they are a source of jubilation.

Israel’s rebirth as the Jewish national homeland out of the ashes of the Holocaust was in itself an astonishing achievement, unique in the annals of the world.

For it to have survived the unparalleled attempts to destroy it ever since is regarded by many as nothing short of miraculous.

Yesterday was Israel’s annual remembrance day. When the sirens sounded, the country paused and bowed its head. It’s the day when Israel mourns the price in blood it has had to pay for existing at all: 23,646 fallen Israeli soldiers and 3,134 Israeli civilians murdered through terrorism.

More than 26,000 dead—with most of the military casualties consisting of Israel’s precious young who must be conscripted to defend their country—purely because there are people determined to prevent the Jews from living in their own ancestral homeland.

But you know all about that because you are the people killing them.

You are the people who have been trying to destroy the Jewish homeland for the better part of a century. Look how hard you’ve tried. You’ve used war. You’ve used terrorism. You’ve used the Palestinian Arabs as pawns. You’ve used the diplomatic game. You’ve used economic boycotts.

Despite all this, you have been forced to watch as Israel has not only survived but become the strongest state in the region, stronger even than many countries in the developed world.

Einat Wilf with Shany Mor: Celebrating the argument
Zionism and the State of Israel are unique examples of a movement of national liberation, and a state, established as ongoing debates, claim Einat Wilf with Shany Mor. Democratic debate about the character and future of the state has been at once a necessity, a virtue, a strength and a saving grace; in fact it has defined who we are. Here’s to the next 70 years of the argument.

What is the Jewish state? This is the title of a talk I thoroughly enjoy giving, particularly to delegations – mostly of non-Jews – who come to Israel for the first time. At the outset, I promise that, if successful, at the end of my talk, my listeners will be more confused about the issue than they are at present.

In the talk, I walk through the span of Jewish history, emphasising the manner in which modernity gave birth to a wide variety of Jews, including devout atheists and committed Zionists such as myself, all the way to Haredi Jews, whose raising of the walls is in itself a modern phenomenon, conceived in response to the challenge of modernity. Once their heads spins with Zionist atheists, Haredi Jews, Religious Zionists, Reform and Conservative, and just plain Yom-Kippur-synagogue-attending-Shabbat-driving-shrimp-eating Jews, I explain that in the absence of a Pope and a Church hierarchy, and given that Jewish texts and traditions created over thousands of years offer sufficient material to support every possible world view, we have no way to determine what is the ‘right’ way to be Jewish and the ‘wrong’ way to be Jewish. We are then left with no choice but to do what Jews are known for doing: arguing.

From here emerges my definition of the Jewish state – the definition to end all definitions, if I may: The Jewish state is the one state in the world where we get to argue about what it means to be the Jewish state. Herein lies the essence of the Jewish state: the ongoing debate about its very nature. And this has been the case ever since the days of the First Zionist Congress. Zionism and the State of Israel have always been sites of an ongoing and fierce debate about the very fundamental question of what it means to be the Jewish state.

This has been the key insight of Zionism. Contrary to the common view that great undertakings require unity, Zionism progressed through unity-in-diversity. Yes, there was a broad agreement to move forward to some form of Jewish self-government – there was no agreement even that it should be a state – but beyond that, everything has been up for debate.
JPost Editorial: From Truman to Trump
Truman’s conflicting policies seem to reflect conflicting influences. Truman was a Christian Zionist who was a fierce believer in Jewish statehood in the Holy Land for religious reasons. From a moral perspective, he was haunted by the Holocaust and saw in a Jewish state rectification of a historic injustice. Pragmatically speaking, he realized that Americans would oppose large-scale immigration to the US and that the creation of a Jewish state would provide an option.

At the same time, Truman was up against the US State Department and the British government, which were pro-Arab and which, therefore, strongly opposed US involvement in the creation of Israel for fear it would hurt relations with Arab nations. Also, Truman, who sought, and won, the US presidency in the 1948 election, factored in the Jewish vote in electoral considerations. Perhaps he realized that his de facto support for Jewish statehood was enough and that it was politically unnecessary to be more outspokenly pro-Zionist in a way that would hurt his relations with the State Department, the British and the Arab world.

Undoubtedly, Truman’s support was instrumental in helping bring about the creation of the state. The tradition continues with President Donald Trump, who has proven to be a real friend of Israel and who in a tweet for Independence Day, reiterated his promise that next month the US Embassy will move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Still, the real work of building a viable Jewish state was not, and still is not, in the White House or in the UN’s corridors, but on the ground in the Land of Israel. It is no less than amazing that a group of ragtag emigrants from Europe and Arab countries and refugees from the Holocaust, who did not even speak the same language, managed to come together and fight to overcome a vastly larger Arab military force. To this day we have never asked a single US soldier to fight our fight.

As we celebrate the state’s 70th year of existence, its creation remains an odds-defying story of how improbable developments came together leading to a wildly successful endeavor.

And US support for Israel, which began with Truman and continues to this day with President Donald Trump, has been critical to this success.

The Red Mailbox
Back to this memory: I was just returning from the Yom Kippur War and as I walked up the path to my building, I noticed that my mailbox was painted red. It was the only one among all the mailboxes marked in red. Even the few letters in my mailbox were glued together by that red paint.

Of course, I was stunned, even a little angry, and I immediately turned to an elderly gentleman who usually sat at the entrance of the building sipping tea with nana (mint) leaves. He seemed to be some kind of senior leader who took care of the building’s affairs, and he wore a beautifully knit skullcap. I told him that I very rarely had anything to say concerning anything to do with the building and that I could not, for the life of me, fathom what these residents had against me personally so as to so visibly single out my mailbox.

He said that there was no reason to be upset or offended, and that my return alive and healthy may well have been because of them and their actions. He said that they knew that I was away fighting for the State of Israel and the Jewish people and so they painted my mailbox red so that the Angel of Death would skip over my threshold — just like in the Passover story when our ancestors painted their doorposts red so that the Angel of Death would skip over the Jews.

It was at that moment that I realized that the blood flowing in the veins of these new immigrants, whose mentality I could not understand, was the same Jewish blood that flowed through mine. The simple fact was that we were all Jews in our Jewish homeland. In that one moment my whole attitude began to change and I actually began to establish unlikely friendships with some of those neighbors. I understood their love of their fellow Jew, their love of the Land of Israel and their love of the IDF.

This was my lesson in not judging others based on superficial things.

This is my Israel.
Daniel Gordis: Israel's First 70 Years Have Surprised the World
In November 1947, one day prior to the expected United Nations vote on partitioning Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, the CIA urged President Harry Truman not to throw his weight behind the idea. America would have to defend the new Jewish state when it faltered, the CIA’s secret memorandum warned, adding that “the Jews will be able to hold out no longer than two years.”

Several months later, David Ben-Gurion was about to declare the establishment of the State of Israel. Seated among the dozen or so men who would determine the fate of the state-to-be, he famously turned to one of his top military commanders, Yigael Yadin, and asked him if he thought a new Jewish state would survive the military onslaught that the Arabs would inevitably launch. Yadin, who would later serve as chief of staff of the Israeli Defense Forces, replied that he thought the Jewish state would have a 50-50 chance.

Today, those bleak assessments feel like ancient history. As the modern Israeli state celebrates 70 years, the prevailing sentiment is one of extraordinary accomplishment. American Jewish leaders were incensed in 1948 when Ben-Gurion came to the U.S. and spoke about the fledgling state as the new center of the Jewish world; today, that status is nowhere in doubt.

In 1948, there were some 650,000 Jews in Israel, who represented about 5 percent of the world's Jews. Today, Israel’s Jewish population has grown ten-fold and stands at about 6.8 million people. Some 43 percent of the world’s Jews live in Israel; this population overtook American Jews several years ago and is now the world’s largest Jewish community. Israel’s birthrate, even among secular Jews, is higher than that of any other OECD country, and significantly higher than that of American Jews (who now account for some 34 percent of Jews worldwide).
Israel Receives Well-Wishes From Around Globe as It Celebrates 70th Independence Day
Israel has received well-wishes from around the world as it celebrates its 70th Independence Day.

US President Donald Trump tweeted, “Best wishes to Prime Minister @Netanyahu and all of the people of Israel on the 70th Anniversary of your Great Independence. We have no better friends anywhere. Looking forward to moving our Embassy to Jerusalem next month!”

Netanyahu replied, “Thank you, President Trump! We too have no better friend than America. We are greatly looking forward to your moving the embassy to Jerusalem, Israel’s eternal capital.”

Acting US Secretary of State John Sullivan stated, “The State of Israel has prevailed over every challenge it has faced over the past 70 years. In just a short time, the people of Israel have created a successful nation that has flourished and continues to thrive.”

“Israel and the United States have an unshakeable bond that has endured and grown even stronger over the past seven decades,” Sullivan continued. “As President Trump said in Jerusalem last May, ‘…let us never forget that the bond between our two nations is woven together in the hearts of our people — and their love of freedom, hope, and dignity for all.’ The United States will continue to be a steadfast ally of Israel and will stand together with you today, and always.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May said, “Best wishes to those celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the State of Israel. Israel is a close friend and partner of the UK and we fully support Israel as a Jewish Homeland. We look forward to continuing cooperation between our two countries.”
Israel Prize recipient Miriam Peretz moves nation with call to unity
Bereaved mother and educator Miriam Peretz touched the hearts of every Israeli on Thursday while accepting the lifetime achievement Israel Prize for strengthening the Jewish-Israeli spirit.

In a moving speech at the event marking the end of Independence Day, Peretz asked Israelis to celebrate their shared values rather than focus on what divides them

"Among the prize recipients, there are those who have experienced a tragic loss but have continued to hold their heads up high, and they continue to work toward the betterment of society," she said. "If we go out and seek those who are not like us, we will feel and see the happiness that fills their eyes of sorrow; and even if we have a gulf between us, we will know how to bridge it. We all want to live and we all pursue peace; this home belongs to all of us, and no political camp has exclusive ownership over patriotism," she said. " We all want to see our grandchildren build a home here, travel the country and enjoy its scenery. We all hope that we can build an exemplary society based on the values of the biblical prophets and that is why we have a shared responsibility. In this puzzle called Israel, there is a place for everyone and even if only one piece is missing, it will be incomplete. That is why I am unwilling to give up on any part of my nation."

Peretz was born in Casablanca, Morocco, and came to Israel in 1964 at the age of 10 and later became a teacher and school principal. A mother of six, her two oldest sons were killed in the line of duty while serving in the IDF Golani Brigade – Uriel was killed in Lebanon in 1998 at the age of 22 and Eliraz was killed in the Gaza Strip in 2010 at age 31.

After her sons' deaths, Peretz became an inspirational speaker and has devoted her life to educational activity with teenagers and soldiers, and continues to work as an educator.

Arab MKs participate in Palestinian march mourning Israel's founding
Some 10,000 people, including Israeli Arab lawmakers, participated Thursday in a march mourning Israel's founding.

The "March of the Uprooted" is organized by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee and is held annually on Independence Day to mark the displacement of Palestinian refugees during Israel's War of Independence, known in Arabic as the "Nakba" ("catastrophe").

Arab MKs, public figures and mayors in Arab towns, as well as left-wing and human rights activists participated in the march, which took place near Atlit, a coastal town south of Haifa.

Protesters hoisted Palestinian flags and shouted slogans condemning the government and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Some chanted, "This is our land," "We will never give up the fight," and "We'll sacrifice our lives for Palestine."

"This is the day when the Palestinians are united in memory and grief for shattered families. What happened then [in 1948] was a nakba – a human and national disaster by any measure," said Joint Arab List MK Ahmad Tibi.
Global community must recognize Hamas tactics in Gaza
If a protest is worth 1,000 words, then a glance at two very distinct protests is worth an entire thesis on why Israeli-Palestinian peace remains elusive.

As in any democracy, countless non-violent demonstrations take place in Israel and the West Bank in which no one is harmed. For Israeli security forces, even raucous protests are nothing new. However, far from holding peaceful protests on the Gaza border over the past two weekends, Hamas orchestrated violent clashes aimed at escalating the conflict – regardless of the costs to Palestinians and Israelis alike.

Last Saturday, Hamas again mobilized tens of thousands of Gazans to approach the Israeli border fence, where there have been violent (and tragically fatal) clashes with Israeli soldiers.

Within hours of the first such protests on March 31, the UN Security Council convened an emergency session and issued a statement condemning the “killing of civilians.” The UN Secretary General and various Western politicians called for an independent investigation, with a speed and emotion conspicuously absent on other pressing global matters.

All ignored the fact that, according to the Israeli military, most Gazan fatalities were operatives of Hamas and other terror groups, two of whom were killed after firing assault rifles at Israelis. (The Israeli military has said it will investigate any reports of civilian casualties.)

Ironically, Hamas was honest in this regard, publishing pictures of its slain “martyrs” dressed in combat gear. Hamas has since offered payments to protesters who are injured (the more serious the injury, the higher the payment).

Perhaps as disturbing, some in the West claimed that the protest was about legitimate Palestinian rights. They ignored the fact that Hamas’s “great march of return” is a clear statement that the group maintains its claim – expressed in the Hamas Covenant – to the entire land. To insist that Palestinian rights can only be realized by denying the rights of Israelis is to destroy any hope for peace and, ultimately, condemn another generation of Israeli and Palestinian children to conflict.
Ahead of Renewed Riots, Israel Drops Leaflets Warning Gazans Not to Approach Border
The IDF dropped leaflets in the Gaza Strip on Friday warning Palestinians not to approach the border fence with Israel as the military braced for fresh clashes along the frontier.

Thousands of Palestinians were expected to gather along the Israel-Gaza border, as they have every Friday over the past month for mass demonstrations that have turned violent and during which Israeli forces have killed 31 Palestinian rioters.

Each week, rioters have hurled stones and burning tires near the border fence, where Israeli army sharpshooters are deployed.

Israel has accused the Islamist terrorist group Hamas of staging the riots and trying to carry out attacks.

“The Hamas terror organization is taking advantage of you in order to carry out terror attacks. The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) is prepared for all scenarios. Stay away from the fence and do not attempt to harm it,” said the leaflets scattered by Israeli aircraft in the early morning in areas along the border.

Senior Likud MK appeals directly to Gazans in Arabic: ‘Quit terror’
A senior member of the Likud party, who once headed the Shin Bet internal security service, on Friday took to Facebook to issue a direct appeal to the residents of the Gaza Strip to eschew violence and abandon leaders advocating terror against the Jewish state.

Speaking in fluent Arabic, Avi Dichter — currently chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign and Affairs and Defense Committee — warned that the current clashes on the Gaza border with Israel, dubbed the March of Return, risked turning into another great Nakba — the Arabic word for catastrophe, used by Palestinians to describe Israel’s Independence and their displacement in 1948.

“You won’t see any return, not through violence and not through chaos,” he warned.

In 1947, the UN General Assembly offered to split the British Mandate of Palestine into two states — one Jewish, the other Palestinian, Dichter recalled. “You chose to wage war against Israel and that ended with you in Gaza,” he said.

“I know you, Gaza residents. Your memory is like the memory of someone ill with Alzheimer’s disease. Wake up!!”
Greenblatt says Palestinians have 'right to protest dire circumstances'
President Donald Trump’s top Middle East envoy affirmed the right of Palestinians “to protest their dire humanitarian circumstances” in the Gaza Strip adding that they should do so at a safe distance from Israel’s border with the strip and with no violence.

“Palestinians in Gaza have the right to protest their dire humanitarian circumstances,” Jason Greenblatt said on Twitter late Thursday. “Organizers & leaders should focus on that message, not stoke the potential for more violence with firebombs & flaming kites, and must keep a safe distance from the border.” He referred to reports of violent provocateurs among the protesters.

There was no affirmation of the Palestinian “right” to protest in Greenblatt’s previous pronouncement on the protests, on April 5; Instead, it was a stern caution to protest leaders “to communicate loudly and clearly that protestors should march peacefully; should abstain from all forms of violence; should remain outside the 500-meter buffer zone; and should not approach the border fence in any way or any location.”

Saeb Erekat, a top Palestinian negotiator with whom Greenblatt is friendly, said recently that Greenblatt’s statements only consider Israeli sensibilities. Greenblatt had said earlier there was “no truth” to Erekat’s accusation.
Islamic Jihad sets sniper sights on top IDF commanders in threatening new video
The Gaza-based, Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group on Thursday released a video showing IDF soldiers and senior officers in the crosshairs of a sniper, threatening the commanders on Israel’s 70th Independence Day.

In the video, the sniper appears to train his sights on Israeli troops and officers at the Gaza border fence. Among those seen is Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the Defense Ministry’s outgoing head of liaison to the Palestinians, as well as Southern Command chief Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir.

“You murder our people in cold blood and think you are protected, when the scopes of our snipers have been set on your senior commanders,” the terror group wrote in Hebrew and Arabic at the end of the video.

The video shows the sniper in a house in Gaza along with other Islamic Jihad members while observing the generals, who are seen alongside other IDF soldiers.
Israel threatens to kill Hamas leaders in response to Islamic Jihad video
A senior Israeli minister threatened to resume assassinations of Hamas leaders after the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group on Thursday released a video showing IDF soldiers and senior officers in the crosshairs of a sniper.

“The threats by the PIJ Terror organization to shoot at IDF officers by snipers from Gaza, constitutes crossing a red line,” Transportation and Intelligence Minister Israel Katz tweeted. “Hamas must know that any attack on IDF commanders at the border to Gaza will immediately lead to a renewal of targeted killings of the Hamas leadership.”

Iranian general warns all Israel air bases ‘within reach,’ no escape but the sea
The vice commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards warned Israel Friday that its airbases are “within reach” and Iran’s “hands are on the trigger and missiles are ready,” in apparent reaction to Israel’s publication on Tuesday of a map showing five Tehran-controlled bases in Syria, and boasted that Israel will have nowhere to go but the sea.

“Israel: Don’t trust in your airbases; they’re within reach,” Hossein Salami wrote on Twitter, also making similar comments in a fiery speech.

Israel, said Hossein Salami, was living “in the dragon’s mouth.” Both northern and western Israel were “in the range of our missiles,” he threatened, in a speech given in Tehran.

“Wherever you are in the occupied land, you’ll be under fire from us, from east and west. You became arrogant. If there’s a war, the result will be your complete elimination,” he said.

“Your soldiers and civilians will flee, and you won’t survive. And you’ll have nowhere to run, except to fall into the sea.”
Area C is Strategically Vital for Israel
This dispute should be presented in its true colors. It involves contrasting understandings of Israel’s national mission and the issue of reclaiming the Jewish ancestral homeland, as well as different ways of assessing the security aspects of the situation. The dispute is not between those advocating judicious pragmatism and those caught up in an ideological vision that ignores the constraints of reality. The latter, too, are committed to pragmatic navigation that surmounts obstacles. It appears, though, that not only are the two parties’ goals different, but their compasses are differently calibrated.

In line with the traditional security concept of the pioneering Zionist movement, my pragmatic navigation regards extensive settlement of Area C as the key to strategic stability. The more Israelis settle in this area, the more others will come to view Israel’s presence as an unalterable reality with which it is best to reconcile. That is why the EU chose to get so openly involved in shaping this territory in the Palestinians’ favor.

Goodman’s recommendations run counter not only to the vision of the settlement enterprise in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley, but also to the way in which Rabin viewed Israel’s national interests in this territory.

“The only way to maintain the existing situation is to change it.” With those words Goodman ended his article. I certainly agree. The dispute, however, is over the direction of the change. Contrary to Goodman’s recommendations, Israel must increase its settlement activities with the goal in mind of three million Jews living in Area C, notably the Jordan Valley. Given that this area is almost totally bereft of Palestinian population, such a development is bound to strengthen Israel’s national security while having a negligible impact on its demographic balance, and none whatsoever on its continued existence as a Jewish and democratic state.
Romanian minister says country to move embassy to J'lem, but president denies
Romania will soon move its embassy to Jerusalem, Liviu Dragnea, the president of the Chamber of Deputies and a member of Romania's ruling party said Thursday.

Speaking in an interview with the Romanian TV channel ANTENA 3, Dragnea revealed that the decision was made Wednesday night.

Romania will become the fourth country to move its embassy to Jerusalem, following the United States, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed in a speech to diplomats at the President's Residence in Jerusalem Thursday that more countries were on the way. He said preferential treatment would be given to the first 10 countries that move their embassies.

"One way to advance peace is to move your embassies here," Netanyahu told the diplomats. "President Trump's decision to move his embassy here says simply that peace must be based on truth. Recognizing reality is the path to build peace."

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely flew to Romania on April 10 in what her office described as the first leg of a campaign to persuade countries to move their embassies to Jerusalem.
Israeli Writer Amos Oz: All Countries Should Follow Trump and Move Embassies to Jerusalem
Every country should “follow the example of President Trump” and move their embassies in Israel to Jerusalem, famed Israeli author Amos Oz said in an interview published on Wednesday.

The author of A Tale of Love and Darkness made the comment during a conversation with the German publication Deutsche Welle on the 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence. Oz was talking about being born in Jerusalem in 1939, when the Holocaust was starting to unfold, and his views on the city today as it stands. He said he has “mixed feelings” about Jerusalem and was unsure of what will happen to the city in the future, but was certain about what should happen with the embassies in the Jewish state.

Following his remarks about President Trump, Oz — a long-time advocate of the two-state solution — added, “simultaneously there should be an embassy of all countries in the world in East Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Palestine.”

Oz added that he would take part in celebrating Israel’s 70th anniversary. He explained, “If I compare the kind of world into which I was born to the world of today, it’s not that today’s world strikes me as paradise or as heaven, but I was born into the world of Nazi Germany…I think that this very rough, cruel, bloody world of today is less bloody, cruel and hopeless than the world of the early 1940s.”
Netanyahu: At least six states in ‘serious’ talks to move embassies to Jerusalem
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday at least six countries were in talks with Israel to move their embassies to Jerusalem. He implored countries to follow the United States and Guatemala in making the move, saying it would advance peace efforts, and promised “preferential treatment” to the first ten embassies relocated to Israel’s capital.

“We’re happy about [US] President [Donald] Trump’s decision to move the embassy here. It says a simple thing: Peace must be based on truth,” Netanyahu told foreign diplomats at an Independence Day event at President Reuven Rivlin’s official residence.

“Recognizing reality is the way to build peace. You cannot build peace on the basis of lies because it crashes against the rocks of reality,” he added. “The fact that Israel has a capital city, that the Jewish people has had a capital city for 3,000 years named Jerusalem, is undeniable. It is time to acknowledge that fact.

“I am happy to say there are at least half-a-dozen countries seriously talking with us about relocating their embassies to Jerusalem, and thank you Guatemala for doing so. There will be more following in your steps,” the prime minister said, without identifying the countries.
Preparations for US Embassy move completed
Israel and the US have nearly completed the preparations necessary to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The historic move is scheduled for May 14.

Among the preparations are road signs, as well as an access road for the Embassy built behind the current US Consulate.

The new Embassy will be an interim embassy facility in the Arnona neighborhood of Jerusalem, converting what is currently used as a US consulate into a temporary embassy. It will house US Ambassador David Friedman's office, and a small portion of the staff currently located at the embassy in Tel Aviv.

The Arnona compound will be expanded, with the addition of a new annex, likely by the end of 2019.

On Thursday, a report claimed that US President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner would represent the administration at the Embassy's opening ceremony.
EU Parliament passes law against Palestinian incitement
The European parliament in Brussels adopted on Wednesday legislation preventing the transfer of funds from the European Union's PEGASE to the Palestinian Authority, if those funds are to be used for education to hatred.

THE EU Parliament's Committee on Budgetary Control approved the change in March and this week it received the final approval.

PEGASE, which is described as a mechanism "to channel EU and international assistance as a contribution to the building of the Palestinian State," is the PA's main source of funding.

The new legislation determines that classes and instruction program funded using EU funds must reflect shared values such as peace, liberty, tolerance and non-discrimination in the education system.

The Israeli research institute IMPACT-SE at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which studies and analyzes official text books around the world, aided the European Union in formulating the legislation.

The institute's chief executive officer Marcus Sheff pointed out that "it's very strange that the PEGASE foundation has been transferring some 3 billion euros to the Palestinian Authority over the past 10 years - with large parts of this money going to the Palestinian education system - while all of those years the EU made no real attempt to ensure that the Palestinian students receive an education that is in line with European values of peace and tolerance."
Israeli checkpoint stops another massacre
I’ve had some very interesting correspondence lately. One exchange was with a senior official of a major American Jewish organization. Another was with a prominent Jewish writer.

Each of them had been publicly quoted as criticizing Israel for “occupying” the Palestinian Arabs. I wrote to them to point out that way back in 1995, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin withdrew Israel’s forces from the areas where 98% of the Palestinians reside—thus effectively ending the “occupation.”

In both cases, they sent me the same response. They claimed the “occupation” still exists, because Israel maintains checkpoints that hamper the Palestinians’ freedom of movement. Likewise, former U.S. envoy Dennis Ross has claimed that Israel “controls the movement” of Palestinians and therefore is still guilty of “occupying” them.

This week, one of those checkpoints stopped yet another massacre of Israeli Jews. It happened at the northern checkpoint called Reihan. A Palestinian Arab truck driver tried to cross from Palestinian Authority territory into Israel. The soldiers did a routine check of the vehicle’s roof. They found a quantity of powerful explosives hidden in the truck’s air conditioning system.
Hamas lays down conditions for prisoner swap
The Hamas terror organization insists Israel release all of its terrorists and follow the Geneva Conventions during the time the terrorists are in prison.

Hamas does not follow the Geneva Conventions.

In a statement, Hamas promised to redouble its efforts to release all terrorists via an "honorable deal."

As a precondition to a prisoner swap, Hamas insisted Israel release all "Shalit deal" terrorists who were re-arrested due to renewed involvement in terror activities.

IDF soldier Gilad Shalit was captured in 2006 in a Hamas attack. He was released in 2011, in exchange for over 1,000 convicted terrorists. Since then, Hamas has promised and carried out additional kidnappings, in efforts to replicate a similar deal.

Hamas demanded Egypt, which has served as a go-between on the issue, press Israel to release the Shalit deal terrorists. They also requested that the Red Cross press Israel to implement the Geneva Conventions.

Turning to the imprisoned terrorists, Hamas said, "Our enemy does not understand anything but the language of force," promising to do everything in its power to force Israel to release them.
Key faction threatens to boycott rare PLO parliament session
A Palestinian Liberation Organization faction said on Thursday it would not attend a meeting of the most important Palestinian political congress in years because it wants more factions to be included.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said it would boycott the rare Palestinian National Council session, after a requested postponement to allow factions like Hamas and the Islam Jihad to attend was not granted, the group said in a statement issued in Cairo on Thursday.

The PFLP is the second-largest PLO faction after Fatah, the group headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who also heads the PLO. The faction's absence would be a blow to Abbas' efforts to win a broad consensus on resolutions.

"The PFLP's decision will lead to weakening the legitimacy of the PNC meeting and the legitimacy of decisions it may take," said Gaza-based political analyst Hani Habeeb.

The 700-member council session is scheduled to convene in Ramallah on April 30 to discuss U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital last December, a shift in U.S. policy that has outraged the Palestinians.

State Department Maintains Iran Not Violating Nuclear Deal
A senior State Department official maintained in a tense exchange before Congress this week that Iran is not violating the landmark nuclear deal, despite evidence the Islamic Republic continues weapons and enrichment activities that go against the intention of the agreement.

State Department official David Satterfield, an acting assistant secretary in the bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, told lawmakers on Wednesday that Iran continues to abide by the deal.

Under tense questioning by Rep. Lee Zeldin (R., N.Y.), Satterfield repeated a line of talking points rejected by many Republicans in Congress.

"Has Iran violated the letter of the JCPOA?" Zeldin asked, using the official acronym for the deal.

"The IAEA has not found significant violations," Satterfield responded.
US: Russia, Syria trying to 'sanitize' chemical attack site
The Pentagon said on Thursday that while there were no signs the Syrian government was preparing to launch a chemical weapons attack, President Bashar Assad still retained the ability to launch limited attacks.

U.S. assessments following the U.S., British and French joint missile strikes on Syria last weekend show they had only a limited impact on Assad's ability to carry out chemical weapons attacks.

"They do retain a residual capability. It is probably spread throughout the country at a variety of sites," said Lt. Gen. General Kenneth McKenzie, joint staff director.

"They will have the ability to conduct limited attacks in the future, I would not rule that out," McKenzie said during a Pentagon briefing.

The United States, France and Britain destroyed three targets tied to Syria's weapons program. The most important of them was the Barzah Research and Development Center, which U.S. intelligence concluded was involved in the production and testing of chemical and biological warfare technology.
International inspection vehicles arrive at site of Syria chemical weapons attack
A vehicle that appeared to have a license plate of the kind used by international organizations was in the area close to the site of the suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria’s Douma on Friday under Russian escort, a Reuters witness said.

The arrival of the vehicle comes three days after a UN security team turned back while doing reconnaissance in Douma or the visit of a team of international inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Journalists were not allowed to approach the convoy that included the vehicle by Syrian security forces. The identity of the car's occupants or which organization they belonged to was not clear.

Meanwhile, the United States has said that it has credible information that Russia and Syria are trying to "sanitize" the site of a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria while denying access to the area by international inspectors, the State Department said on Thursday.
Russia’s ‘moral obligation’ not to sell air defense to Syria is over — Lavrov
The US attack on Syria has absolved Russia of its “moral obligation” to hold back on supplying an advanced air defense system to Syria, the Russian foreign minister said Friday.

His remarks came a day after a former head of Israeli military intelligence said that if Syria obtained the advanced S-300 system, Israeli would probably blow it up.

Sergey Lavrov claimed that the Russians had made their red lines clear to the Americans before the attack by the US, UK and France a week ago.

That attack was launched in response to a suspected gas attack mounted on April 7 on Douma, near Damascus, in which more than 40 people were reported killed. Western powers blame the attack on Syrian President Bashar Assad.

It targeted a scientific research facility near Damascus, a chemical weapons storage facility west of the city of Homs, and a third location near Homs that contained both a command post and a chemical weapons equipment storage facility, the US military said.
Haley Stands by Allies, Slams Russia Following Release of Report on U.K. Nerve Agent Attack
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Wednesday spoke to theU.N. Security Council following the release of a report on the nerve agent attack in Salisbury, United Kingdom, calling on members to condemn the use of a Russian nerve agent on British soil.

Haley thanked the U.K. Permanent Representative to the U.N. Karen Pierce for her update on events in Salisbury before discussing the broader danger of chemical weapons attacks of its nature and calling on the international community to take a firm stand against the use of chemical weapons.

"None of us will be immune from this threat unless we immediately start rebuilding our consensus against chemical weapons," Haley said.

Later in her remarks, warned against the danger of the use of weapons of mass destruction becoming "routine."

"There is nothing more troubling than the idea that the use of a weapon of mass destruction becomes routine," Haley said. "Last year it was Malaysia and Khan Shaykhun. Last month it was Salisbury. Last week it was Douma."

Haley also called out Russia specifically, referring to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons's (OPCW) independent report that confirmed the U.K.'s lab analysis that the agent used in the Salisbury attack originated in Russia.
What makes Iron Dome so important to Israelis?
Ahead of the 70th Independence Day celebrations, a majority of Israelis decided the Iron Dome air defense system was the greatest Israeli invention of all times. That was not an easy choice, considering we are blessed with creative minds, scholars and entrepreneurs who excel in world-renowned, out-of-the-box thinking, from academics to the NASDAQ (in which Israel is the most represented country after the US).

In a way, the choice of Iron Dome is obvious: It’s a purely Israeli project, the result of persistent swimming against the current, and it concretely affects a broad range of aspects in the lives of citizens. Iron Dome is not just a military invention, but rather a defense system that helps to prevent wars and potentially bring peace.

The choice of most Israelis is therefore a hopeful one.

The credit for the Iron Dome system goes first and foremost to its developers, eight of whom won the Israel Defense Prize in 2012. That group of eight convinced me of the system’s merits and I decided to authorize its development.

My decision to approve the project faced tremendous pressures from the senior ranks of the defense system, the government and the media saying I should not have done so. When I met the team of developers at Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, I asked them to make an exceptional effort and work on the project two shifts a day. They returned to me and said: “Amir, considering its national significance, we will work nonstop, three shifts a day.” They are worthy of all respect and appreciation.

Two experiences in the past decade made me understand that one cannot compromise the defense of the home front.

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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