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Monday, August 29, 2016

From Ian:

NGO Monitor: Norwegian Government Joins BDS-Funding Framework
Norway has joined Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland and the Netherlands in funding the Human Rights & International Humanitarian Law Secretariat, allocating to the framework NOK 5 million (over $600,000) in the second half of 2016. The HR/IHL Secretariat is an intermediary that distributes funds to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) active in BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) campaigns and other forms of demonization against Israel. It is managed by the Institute of Law at Birzeit University (IoL-BZU) in Ramallah and the NIRAS consulting firm, based in Sweden.
According to an internal report, 80% of the HR/IHL Secretariat’s distributions are allocated to core NGO funding. NGO Monitor research shows that out of 24 core recipients, 13 support BDS, receiving $5.78 million (more than half) out of an operating budget of $10.38 million over the course of four years. Some grantees have also promoted antisemitic rhetoric and have apparent links to the PFLP terrorist organization. Core group members receiving funding include BADIL, Al-Haq, Addameer, and MIFTAH, all vehemently anti-Israel NGOs at the forefront of BDS campaigns.
Norway’s decision to join the HR/IHL Secretariat on June 1, 2016 contrasts sharply with the criticism and debates in the Swiss and Dutch Parliaments regarding the donor framework. In June, the Dutch government passed a resolution calling for a review of its funding to the Secretariat due to its support of BDS. The Swiss Parliament is due to vote in its Fall session following a motion signed by 41 Members of Parliament questioning its funding to the Secretariat.
According to Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, “The objectives stipulated in the Norwegian agreement — promoting gender equality, good governance and democratization — are entirely disconnected to the realities of the HR/IHL framework. None of these terms applies to the activities of BDS grantees, leaving major questions regarding the Norwegian government’s decision making process and the requirement for due diligence.”
Reply to Ruby Hamad’s Don’t ask athletes to set aside politics ‘in the spirit of the Olympics’
Is there even one Palestinian in the Lebanese Olympic team?
There are few things more hypocritical than Lebanese claiming to snub Israel because of what we allegedly do to the Palestinians. If there is one country in the Middle East whose treatment of the Palestinians most closely resembles Apartheid-era South Africa it is Lebanon.
This response should have been released during the 2016 Rio Olympics but I only read Ruby Hamad’s justification for not even trying to follow de Coubertin’s ideals for the games into the second week and other projects took precedence.
In the name of all the competitors, I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honor of our teams.
Olympic Oath

Never mind, Her piece has gone viral and the same false arguments continue to rise even when thoroughly debunked.

IsraellyCool: Whatever Happened To Peyman Yarahmadi, The Crying Iranian Wrestler?
It is the video that has just now gone viral (weirdly enough, given it is part of a documentary from 2013) – a young Iranian wrestler crying after being told he might have to forfeit his next match.
Watching it, I could not help but feel sorry for the young man, who obviously just wanted to compete and do his best, yet was being told he might just have to feign injury to get out of competing against an Israeli. And of course I felt anger towards the coach and the regime, which encourages such unsportsmanlike, hateful, and cowardly behavior.
I also wondered whatever became of the young wrestler, whose name is Peyman Yarahmadi.
Interestingly enough, in May of this year, he competed in “United in the Square,” the seventh annual Beat the Streets gala wrestling competition – held in New York City’s Times Square. He was defeated by former Olympic gold medal winner Jordan Burroughs.
Which begs the question: why are the Iranians ok with competing with US athletes – even on US soil – but not Israeli athletes, given the US is supposedly the Great Satan to our Little Satan?
Perhaps institutionalized antisemitism has everything to do with it after all.

Shmuley Boteach: Israelis Seem Blind to the Seriousness of BDS
You’d think it would be obvious to Israelis that their country is being demonized around the world. You’d guess that they’d be well aware that a hypocritical United Nations is regularly condemning them while turning a blind eye to near-genocide of Arabs across the border in Syria. You’d imagine that 7 million Israelis are aware that they’re up against an onslaught of billions who are unsympathetic or hostile.
Amazingly, they’re not.
Yes, the Israeli people are deeply familiar with BDS. And yes, they know that European antisemitism has reared its ugly head yet again, just 70 years after the Holocaust, in the form of grotesque anti-Israel bias. But fighting this global onslaught is simply not a priority for the Israeli people. It’s not very high on their radar screen. After my speech, I found myself in spirited debate with my listeners, many of whom felt I was overstating the case. Israelis, in their opinion, have far bigger fish to fry, like stabilizing the security situation, creating affordable housing, reducing unemployment and growing the economy.
As an American Jew who visits Israel frequently, I can posit a number of reasons for this glaring omission.
First, for Israelis, Israel’s foremost threat is understandably not a public-relations debacle but physical annihilation. Every day, Israelis face an existential threat from potential Iranian nukes, Hezbollah terror raids, Hamas rockets and Palestinian stabbings and bombs. The last thing that’s on their mind is a couple of students out in Berkeley who want to pass a BDS motion at the student council.
Second, Israelis survive through sheer toughness and pure grit. They know they are a nation alone. They are conditioned not to give a flying damn about what people think of them. A nation of people who are proud to call themselves “Sabras,” the famous cactus fruit with its prickly exterior, is hardly going to start worrying what Socialist Worker activists in Trafalgar Square think of them.
Report: 5-Star Hotel in Rhodes Distinguishes Israelis From Other Tourists With Blue Wrist Bands
Israeli visitors are tagged differently from other guests at a five-star resort in Rhodes, Greece Israel’s Channel 10 reported on Sunday.
According to the report, the plastic wrist bands given to guests at the Imperial Hotel – to enable them unlimited entrance to the spa and other facilities – are color-coded (in blue) only for customers from the Jewish state.
When asked about this procedure, a representative of the hotel told the network’s Orly Vilnai and Guy Meroz that the colors simply identify the country of the guest’s origin. However, an investigation into the matter by the TV duo revealed that this was not the case – and that only Israelis were given a specific color to wear, while tourists from various European countries were given bracelets of all colors.
An Israeli airline adviser said he was unaware of this practice.
“When it happens and everyone keeps quiet, nothing changes,” said Yehuda Zafrani. “This story has to be told.”
Ryan Bellerose: Why I Think I’m Going To Rock As B’nai Brith Advocacy Coordinator for Western Canada
Aussie Dave: B’nai Brith Canada recently announced the appointment of Israellycool’s Ryan Bellerose to the newly created position of Advocacy Coordinator for Western Canada. Based in Calgary, Ryan has been tasked to help re-energize the B’nai Brith presence throughout Western Canada, and will regularly visit communities across Alberta and B.C.
Ryan explains why he thinks he is a good fit for this position.

I have been getting a lot of support regarding taking a position with B’nai Brith Canada, and I also received a few messages asking me “ Why B’nai Brith?” So I thought I should take a few minutes to explain my rationale.
I am kind of known for being blunt. I think the main reason that what I say resonates with people is because I don’t try to baffle them with bull – I just speak plainly and without any pretense. I know that this turns some people off, but those people are not my target audience. My audience consists of young people and people who are tired of the same boring monotone status quo and PC droidism that has taken over this space. They feel like they get enough flowery words and prefer truth unvarnished.
There is a perception that because a lot of pro-Israel people like to hear the sound of their own voice and have the very Jewish predisposition towards verbosity, somehow it is an effective way to communicate. It also very corporate and to be quite honest, tends to alienate the average person who in today’s world of soundbites and YouTube, needs a reason to pay attention. They tune people out very quickly and you can tell because of the lack of engagement. When people stop listening to important messages you have a problem.
Why gunning down cartoonists has had the desired effect
Say what you will about the rights and wrongs of machine-gunning cartoonists at their easels, it is an invigorating lesson to those creative types in their garrets contemplating a putdown or a pas de deux with the prophet. In 2016, the threat of Islamic violence sits like a ticking gargoyle on every writer's desk, on every painter's palette, and in every filmmaker's studio.
I proposed a novel to a publisher in which a sexual encounter between two Australian schoolboys, one of them a Muslim, is secretly filmed and exposed on Facebook. There follows a sort of queer/religious Montague/Capulet tale of unrest in which the deadweight of family, community, and belief bear down on a young person – and that young person either survives, or succumbs. Don't know. Haven't got to that part yet. And, anyway, it's wrong to give away the ending of a book.
Now, being neither Muslim nor gay, there is a fair amount of presumption in the task. But "presumption" is just another word for "fiction". Most bookshops have a presumption and a non-presumption section.
The publisher thought the idea was great, but … he warned we must tread carefully. He said he'd talk to his guys. This could be dangerous for booksellers. This is not an abstract issue, he said. He made it clear he wasn't saying not to do this. But he had his company to think of.
I told him literature had to be brave, or it wasn't worth the ticket, and he agreed. We both said a few things about how brave literature had to be. And we meant it, too. Still, he said, we live in strange times. And the last thing he wanted was, in three years' time, to be sitting there with his head in his hands at the news of a dead bookseller.
Clinton Foundation donor denied entry to US on terrorism claims
A Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire who donated millions to Clinton-family nonprofits was denied a visa to enter the United States last year on terrorism-related grounds, according to a new report.
Gilbert Chagoury, who donated millions to the Clinton Foundation and in 2009 pledged $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative, was denied entry last summer amid a review of his ties in Lebanon to Hezbollah, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.
The Trump campaign quickly renewed its call for a shutdown of the Clinton Foundation.
“The fact a major Clinton Foundation donor was denied entry into the US over ties to the terrorist group Hezbollah is deeply troubling, especially when this individual had access to top aides at Hillary Clinton’s State Department,” Trump spokesman Jason Miller said Sunday, calling for the release of Clinton’s schedules and the shutdown of the charity.
The Trump team also released a new Web ad Sunday accusing the Clinton Foundation of being a “slush fund” that “sold access to the State Department.”
“Hillary Clinton’s corruption has been exposed again,” the ad says.
Chagoury, who owns Africa’s largest construction company, had unique access to the State Department, Hillary Clinton’s e-mails revealed.
Huma Abedin’s mom linked to shocking anti-women book
As secretary of state, women’s-rights champ Hillary Clinton not only spoke at a Saudi girls school run by her top aide Huma Abedin’s ­anti-feminist mother, but Clinton invited the elder Abedin to participate in a State Department event for “leading thinkers” on women’s issues.
This happened despite ­evidence at the time that Saleha M. Abedin had explored the religious merits of sexual submissiveness, child marriage, lashings and stonings for adulterous women, and even the ­circumcision of girls.
The elder Abedin, whose daughter helps run Clinton’s presidential campaign, did take a pro-gender-equality stance on at least one issue: Muslim women’s right to participate in violent jihad alongside men.
As The Post first reported, Huma’s mom edits the Journal of Muslim Minority ­Affairs, which has suggested that America had 9/11 coming to it, because of “sanctions” and “injustices” the US allegedly imposed on the Muslim world.
The journal also opposed women’s rights as un-Islamic, arguing that “ ‘empowerment’ of women does more harm than benefit.”
But that’s not all.
In 1999, Saleha translated and edited a book titled “Women in Islam: A Discourse in Rights and Obligations,” published by the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs. Written by her Saudi colleague Fatima Naseef, the book explains that the stoning and lashing of adulterers, the killing of apostates, sexual submissiveness and even female genital mutilation are all permissible practices ­under Sharia law.
“The wife should satisfy her husband’s desire for sexual intercourse,” the book states on Page 202, even if she is not in the mood. “She has no right to abstain except for a reasonable cause or legal prohibition.”
MSM Cover-Up: President Hillary's Biggest Security Risk Is Anthony Weiner
Our thoroughly corrupt mainstream media will not tell you this, but Anthony Weiner isn't just married to a Hillary Clinton staffer, he is married to Hillary Clinton's right-hand woman, her closest aide and confidante Huma Abedin. The two are so close, Bill Clinton presided over Huma and Anthony's wedding.
And what do we have in Weiner that the MSM refuses to discuss? A massive security risk if Hillary is elected president.
After already being busted twice for sexting, it looks as though Weiner was busted yet again over the weekend, this time while sexting with his own infant baby in the photo. The fact that Weiner deleted his Twitter account this morning tells you the new sexting stories are probably true.
Weiner's recklessness is astounding. First, he sexted as a sitting Congressman. Then he sexted while running for the Mayor of New York. Now he is apparently sexting while his wife's boss is in a close race for the presidency. How do you even begin to explain this kind of pathology?
What won't this man do?
What isn’t he capable of?
Then there is the issue of blackmail, especially at the hands of a foreign government.
BREAKING: Huma Finished With Weiner
Trump bashes Clinton for calling ex-KKK member her 'mentor'
The Trump presidential campaign has attempted to make a link between Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton and the Ku Klux Klan.
On Saturday evening, Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump shared a tweet in which he wrote "Crooked Hilary getting desperate. On TV bashing Trump. @CNN, she forgot how she said a KKK member was her mentor."
The tweet was referring to the late Robert Byrd, a United States senator from West Virginia and one of the longest serving US senators in history. In the 1940s, Byrd was an active member in the Ku Klux Klan, even creating a local chapter of the group. However, he dropped his membership before entering politics in the early 1950s, and in later years heavily apologized for his involvement with the group.
When Byrd passed away in 2010, Clinton mourned him as a "friend and mentor."
The ‘Operational Art’ of Fighting BDS
Fortunately, fighting against the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement does not require the same level of operational artistry as does organizing one giant army to kick another giant army out of Kuwait. But the multi-step planning and pre-positioning of material before the battle associated with the “operational art” does have an analog in propaganda warfare.
By way of illustration, one of the best counter-attacks of the now predictable Israel-Apartheid Weeks took place at Columbia University this Spring when a group of pro-Israel students erected a 12-foot-high inflatable Pinocchio right next to the BDS-ers “Apartheid Wall,” causing the boycotters to fly into a panic and run to the administration to get the “threatening” puppet pulled down.
As described earlier, this was a brilliant use of surprise that pushed the enemy off-balance. And now that Columbia’s experience has taught us what that enemy will do in response (i.e., demand administrative action to get an opposing displayed removed), there are different combinations of planning and logistics that can be done to take advantage of likely repeats of this scenario. For instance:
  • A pro-Israel campus group can research the official steps needed to set up their counter-display and, if appropriate, start the process of obtaining appropriate permissions. This will obviously eliminate the element of surprise we saw at Columbia, but it also gives our side the chance to mirror the exact same steps the boycotters have taken to set up their displays, restricting the choices of the powers-that-be to permitting or rejecting both displays (either of which is a victory for our side).
  • If our side chooses to repeat a surprise display, having an attorney and reporters (or, better yet, several of each) ready to challenge any attempt to take down Pinocchio (or whatever else we come up with) can tie up decision-makers long enough to ensure no action is taken until “Apartheid Week” is over. This tactic takes advantage of the generally timid nature of administrators who will do whatever they can to avoid either a lawsuit or bad press.
  • When Pinocchio came down at Columbia, the students behind that political action immediately began a “#FreePinocchio” campaign on Twitter that had some impact on campus discourse over the issue. So imagine what can happen if other groups prepare a full-on campaign along these lines in advance, papering campus with fliers, running articles and letters in the newspaper, and making sure the only subject under discussion during “Israel Apartheid Week” is how thin-skinned censors of the BDS “movement” ran to daddy to stop other people from exposing their lies.
German Public TV demonizes Israel’s water policy report, unleashes storm of criticism
ARD reporters Susanne Glass and Markus Rosch wrote on the station’s website that they could not find Israeli experts because of the “Jewish holiday.” They did not specify to what “holiday” they were referring. In any case, critics said there was no time-sensitive requirement for the report and that the journalists should have waited to secure comments from Israeli hydrology experts.
Two days after the ARD report, BILD journalist Antje Schippmann spoke with two Israeli water experts – Uri Schor, spokesman of the Israeli Water Authority, and Haim Gvirtzman of the Hebrew University’s Earth Science Institute, widely considered one of Israel’s top hydrologists. Both experts rejected Messerschmid’s assertions in the highly detailed BILD report on the politics of water in Israel and the disputed territories.
Glass and Rosch, however, defended Messerschmid, who has worked for 20 years as a hydrologist for international organizations.
Rosch and Glass cast doubt on the existence of Engelmeier’s Facebook post, which readers and journalists located on her Facebook page, and it is unclear why Rosch and Glass could not find the MP’s FB post.
German tax payers fund the ARD and its Tagesschau program, which broadcast the water report, is viewed by some 5 million people.
In a Friday article on the website of Mena- Watch alleging Rosch “demonized” Israel, the German journalist and expert in modern anti-Semitism, Alex Feuerherdt, said Rosch’s “unwillingness to research” is not merely “sloppy” journalism but “politically damage the Jewish state.”
AJC campaign urges 50 US governors to reject BDS
The American Jewish Committee has launched a program to obtain the signatures of all 50 state governors on a declaration rejecting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and criticizing its goal of isolation instead of engaging with Israel.
The “Governors United Against BDS” petition already has the signatures of 16 governors and officials at AJC have said that they have “every confidence” that the overwhelming majority of governors will sign on.
“We, the undersigned governors, reject efforts to demonize and delegitimize Israel – America’s democratic ally in the Middle East – through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement,” reads the declaration.
The statement says that “the goals of the BDS movement are antithetical to our values and the values of our respective states” and that the movement “seek[s] to isolate Israel – a pluralistic nation with deep cultural, familial, security, educational, scientific and commercial bonds with our state and with the United States as a whole – rather than recognize the profound mutual benefits of our engagement with it.”
At Stockholm rally, Lapid accuses Swedish FM of anti-Semitism
Appearing at a pro-Israel rally in Stockholm on Sunday, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid accused the Swedish foreign minister of anti-Semitism, for attacking Israel in a way that did not reflect the reality on the ground.
“If the Swedish foreign minister is so worried about the state of human rights in the Middle East, she should talk about the use of children as terrorists or human shields, the discrimination against the LGBT community in the Palestinian Authority, the incitement disseminated by the Palestinian Authority against Jews akin to [Nazi propaganda newspaper] ‘Der Stürmer,’ the exploitation of women in Gaza, and the human rights situation in Iran,” Lapid told the 500-strong crowd who turned out for the annual “Taking Back Zionism” rally.
Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom sparked a row in December last year, when she accused Israel of carrying out “extrajudicial executions” in response to a spate of attacks by knife-wielding Palestinians.
She followed this up in January with a demand for “thorough” investigations into the killing of Palestinians by the Israeli army.
In the wake of last November’s terror attacks in Paris, she also identified the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as one of the factors explaining why “there are so many people who have become radicalized” — comments Israel called “appallingly impudent.”
StandWithUs LIVE Interview Yair Lapid
Sweden rallies to celebrate Israel and call out Antisemitism in Stockholm with the Sionistiska Federationen i Sverige.

Highlights From Omri Casspi’s Recent “Cultural Tour” in Israel
You may recall Israeli NBA basketballer Omri Casspi brought some NBA players and other sportspeople and celebrities to Israel as part of the 2nd annual Omri Casspi Foundation trip. I was all over that trip like a team all over their opponents during a full court press. Ok, maybe a half court press.
Now NBPA (The National Basketball Player’s Association) has come out with this highlights clip from the trip.
Omri Casspi x #FromThePlayers Host Israeli Cultural Tour

French doctor, 33, realizes his dream of IDF service
A 33-year-old French doctor broke the mold when he enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces four months ago. Fifteen years older than the recruits who were beginning their mandatory service with him, Dr. David Smadja was the oldest lone soldier in IDF history.
Smadja, the son of doctors living in Paris, completed his medical studies in France and made aliyah less than two years ago, aged 31. He studied Hebrew in an ulpan, an intensive Hebrew language program, before joining the IDF.
After completing basic training, he continued on to a course in military emergency medicine, and began working as a doctor in the Givati Brigade's Shaked Battalion on Sunday.
"I studied medicine for 11 years in France, including completing a residency as an eye doctor in the U.S. and Paris," said Smadja, who has two brothers, one also a doctor and the other a tour guide in Israel.
"The decision to make aliyah and serve in the army came to me over 10 years ago, when my brother, who is two years older than me, came to Israel and served as a lone soldier in the Paratroopers' Special Forces. My parents and I visited my brother in Israel many times. I was impressed with the country and the army, and I decided that I also wanted to go for it," he said.
Government ministry appoints first Arab legal advisor
A Christian Arab has been nominated to become the legal advisor to the Ministry of Development in the Periphery, the Negev and the Galilee, making him the first Arab ever to occupy the position of a legal advisor in a government office.
Maron Halifah, a 34-year-old resident of Haifa, began his career in 2005 under then Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres. He then moved to the President’s Residence where he served as deputy legal advisor and in 2009 returned to his former position which later evolved into the aforementioned office under the leadership of Silvan Shalom.
Three years ago Halifah switched positions once again and became the legal advisor in the northern district to the Israel Fire and Rescue Services before taking on his new post.
“This is a pride which has broken a kind of glass ceiling for the first time,” Halifah commented. “I hope that this will open the way for others to reach the top and shatter the conventions. I feel at home in the office and everyone is like one big family. It is fun to be here and to work for residents of the periphery.”
Halifah added that for him, working for the state was second nature and was a goal which had been instilled into him from a young age.
Number of Arab teachers in Jewish schools rises by 40%
The number of Israeli Arab teachers working in Jewish state schools has increased by 40% in recent years to reach 588 in the last school year, up from 420 just three years ago, the Walla news website reported Monday.
The jump is the result of an Education Ministry program to integrate Arab teachers of English, mathematics and science, among other subjects, into Jewish schools, reducing the surplus of teachers in the Arab sector and promoting coexistence.
The program, launched in 2013, is run jointly by the Education Ministry's Teaching Personnel Department and the Merchavim Institute for the Advancement of Shared Citizenship in Israel.
According to Education Ministry figures, the school subjects with the biggest jump -- 76% -- in the number of Arab teachers are English, math and science. The number of Arab teachers instructing Arabic language classes at state schools also increased by 40% from 2013 to 2016.
In first, short story on Ethiopian Jewry added to national literature curriculum
In a first, the new literature curriculum in Israeli schools for the upcoming school year will include an award-winning short story by an Ethiopian-Israeli author, as part of a set of education reforms to the school program recommended by the Biton Committee.
The committee, which submitted its recommendations to Education Minister Naftali Bennett in July, was tasked with determining ways to balance Israel’s educational curricula to include greater emphasis on the story of Jews from Muslim lands and Jews from Ethiopia. For decades, the curricula have been criticized for an allegedly biased emphasis on European, or Ashkenazi, Jewish history, to the neglect of Jews from other traditions and cultures.
The short story — through it’s the tale of an elderly couple making their way to Israel and the many difficulties they face along the way and once they arrive — is essentially the story of thousands of Jews who made the journey from Ethiopia to Israel
Written by Germaw Mengistu, an Ethiopian-born Jew who came to Israel in 1991, “A Dream at the Price of Honor” (Hebrew link) will be taught in Israeli junior high schools and high schools starting next month.
Israeli Olympic medalist raises over $50,000 for charity in eBay auction
Israeli Olympic bronze medalist, judoka Yarden Gerbi, has auctioned off her name patch from the recent games in Rio for a whopping $52,100.
The winning bid was placed by a so-far unidentified bidder on Sunday before the online auction closed on Monday.
In total, 87 bids were placed by 22 bidders for the Israeli athlete's name patch with an autographed dedication.
Gerbi, who won a bronze medal in the women’s 63-kg judo competition at the Rio Olympics said she will donate the proceeds of the auction to charity.

The proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center to be used to purchase medical equipment, Gerbi said in her description on the auction website.
Israeli directors win MTV award for Coldplay music video
The Israeli directors of a popular music video for British rock band Coldplay’s song “Up&Up” won an MTV Video Music award for best visual effects on Sunday night in New York.
Israel natives Vania Heymann and Gal Muggia were also nominated in the category of “best direction,” but fell short to Melina Matsoukas, the director of pop sensation Beyoncé’s “Formation” music video.
The “Up&Up” video, released in May, was the third single released from Coldplay’s new album, titled A Head Full of Dreams.
Heymann and Muggia’s production featured a unique interpretation of the whimsical, from a digital perspective, and includes the juxtaposition of everyday objects and environments and situations unnatural to them: Paratroopers are captured diving into a bowl of pasta rather than the earth below, a stingray floats above a sea of surfers, a dryer contains the depths of the sea, a volcano spews popcorn rather than lava and the Empire State Building stands tall in a cereal bowl. It is bizarre, unique and beautiful.
Musicians rally in memory of pride parade stabbing victim
A year after 16-year-old Shira Banki was murdered at the 2015 Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade, her parents have announced the establishment of a new organization dedicated to educating the public about tolerance.
The organization, "Shira Banki's Path," will hold lectures, classes and a series of podcasts about historical figures who fought for the inclusion of others.
A Headstart crowdfunding campaign has been launched to finance the organization's educational programming.
A number of prominent Israeli musicians have contributed to the campaign in a show of support, many of them offering tickets to their concerts. Among the artists who have contributed are journalist and playwright Yehonatan Geffen, rocker Yehuda Poliker, hip hop group Hadag Nahash, and singers Shlomi Shaban, Efrat Gosh, Nadav Abukasis, Rona Kenan, Danni Bassan, Aya Korem.
Gene Wilder, beloved for his epic comedy roles, dies at 83
Gene Wilder, the frizzy-haired actor who brought his deft comedic touch to such unforgettable roles as the neurotic accountant in “The Producers” and the deranged animator of “Young Frankenstein,” has died. He was 83.
Wilder’s nephew said Monday that the actor and writer died late Sunday at his home in Stamford, Connecticut, from complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
Jordan Walker-Pearlman said in a statement that Wilder was diagnosed with the disease three years ago, but kept the condition private so as not to disappoint fans.
“He simply couldn’t bear the idea of one less smile in the world,” Walker-Pearlman said.
Wilder started his acting career on the stage, but millions knew him from his work in the movies, especially his collaborations with Mel Brooks on “The Producers,” “Blazing Saddles” and “Young Frankenstein.” The last film — with Wilder playing a California-born descendant of the mad scientist, insisting that his name is pronounced “Frahn-ken-SHTEEN” — was co-written by Brooks and Wilder.
“One of the truly great talents of our time,” Mel Brooks tweeted. “He blessed every film we did with his magic & he blessed me with his friendship.”

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Last month I had the chance to briefly visit the Ohel Yitzchak synagogue which is immediately to the north of the Western Wall, outside the northern security gate.

The story behind the synagogue is very interesting. it is, in many way, the story of Jews in Jerusalem since the 19th century.

The building is an exact replica of the original synagogue which was first built in 1904 by the community of Shomrei HaChomot (Guardians of the Walls) that originated in Hungary. The building suffered many hardships, was abandoned during the 1936-1939 pogroms, and was destroyed during the War of Independence in 1948 as part of the methodic destruction of most synagogues in the Old City by the Jordanian army. It was rebuilt in 2008 by the Western Wall Heritage Foundation and is currently used for prayers both on weekdays and holy days.

The wave of Jewish settlement in the 19th century brought about an expansion of population enclaves outside the walls of the Jewish Quarter, when early settlers purchased lands, mainly in the Muslim Quarter of today, and set up courtyards for their communities. One of the areas in highest demand was the Hebron Quarter, a section close to the Western Wall and the Temple Mount, which in its heyday housed 5,000 Jews from various communities.

With this happening, the Shomrei HaChomot community purchased a large courtyard at the edge of the Quarter in 1867. ...
The construction of the Ohel Yitzhak synagogue is finally completed in 1904. It is one of the most magnificent synagogues in the Old City....It has been told that no roof and dome were constructed on the synagogue, as was common in that period, for fear that the Muslims would feel that the synagogue’s roof was higher than the Dome of the Rock and destroy it. So, they built a simple tiled roof on the Ohel Yitzhak building.

During the 1921 pogroms the students at the Or Hameir Beit Midrash were forced to vacate the premises and move to Batei Ungarin in the nearby Meah She’arim neighborhood, outside the Old City walls. They returned several years later, but had to leave once again during the 1936-1939 pogroms, this time forever. The apartments were rented out to Arabs who lived in the building until 1948, when the synagogue was destroyed during the War of Independence by the Jordanian army, together with all the other magnificent synagogues in the Old City.

With the liberation of the Old City during the Six Day War, ownership of the Ohel Yitzhak Synagogue was once again given to the Hungarian community. The building was in total ruins but the community did not have sufficient funds to conduct renovation work. A book store, Rishon L’Zion HaAtika, the first Jewish-owned store in the Old City since the War of Independence, was opened on the ground floor.

In 2008 restoration of the synagogue was completed, precisely reflecting the synagogue that was destroyed in 1948, and one can even see the north-eastern corner of the original building. Only the roof of the building is different and has been constructed according to the original plan, with a dome on its roof.
Note that there were thousands of Jews, and many synagogues, in the "Muslim Quarter" before 1948.

Also note that while Muslims claim that they aren't antisemitic because they lived together with Jews before 1948, they are very upset over the idea of living with Jews in Jerusalem in the 21st century, even when Jews are only rebuilding the exact same structures they had before they were burned down. Which makes one question exactly how tolerant they really were before 1948. (The 1921, 1929 and 1936 pogroms pretty much answers that question.)

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From Ian:

MEMRI: Iraqi Writer: The Iraqis' Suffering Is Greater Than The Palestinians'; We Should Put Ourselves First
On July 3, 2016, Iraqi writer Haidar Sabi argued, in the daily Al-Zaman, that although the Iraqis are suffering as much as or even more than the Palestinians, the Arab world empathizes only with the Palestinians, abandoning the Iraqis to their fate. As proof of his statements, Sabi compares Iraqi and Palestinian death tolls, the overall situation of both, the devastation and destruction each faces, and the support each receive; he concludes that the Iraqis are far worse off. Some 1,500 Palestinians carried out suicide attacks in Iraq, he says, while Iraq is a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause; he concludes with a call to Iraqis to put themselves first, to rebuild their identity and their country, and only then to reach out to help others.
It should be mentioned that Sabi's article joins several articles by Iraqi writers in the past year criticizing the Palestinians. For example, on February 9, 2016, Haidar Jarallah wrote in the online Saudi daily Elaph that the large number of Palestinian suicide bombers in Iraq (which he puts at 1,400) indicates a Palestinian hatred of Iraqis, and prompts speculation over whether the Iraqis should stop sympathizing with the Palestinian struggle and instead normalize relations with Israel. In another article, published July 31, 2015 in the pro-Iranian Iraqi daily Al-Akhbar in response to an attack carried out by a Palestinian in Diyala Governorate, writer Jawad Al-Matayr complained about Palestinian ingratitude for the Iraqis' longtime support, and noted that they had acted the same towards Kuwait, cheering Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of the country in the first Gulf War even though Kuwait had hosted Palestinians for years.

The Palestinian Scouts hero who murdered my father
What follows is the text of a letter that I sent to Mr. Scott Teare, Secretary General of the World Organization of the Scout Movement. The WOSM is the umbrella organization for164 National Scout Organizations, including the Zofim in Israel and the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in the United States.
Dear Mr. Teare,
On October 13, 2015, Baha Alyan and an accomplice, boarded public bus number 78 in Jerusalem and committed a heinous terrorist attack. They brutally murdered three innocent civilians, and injured fifteen others. My beloved father, Richard Lakin, was among those murdered. Alyan and his accomplice shot my 76-year-old father in the head, and then, after he fell to the ground, stabbed him multiple times in the head, face, chest and stomach, severing most of his vital organs.
My father was a kind, gentle-hearted man who dedicated his life to education and promoting peaceful coexistence. Generations of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts passed under his loving wing as principal of Hopewell Elementary School in Glastonbury, Connecticut, USA. In 2007 he published a book called “Teaching as an Act of Love” summarizing his life’s work and educational philosophy. The message of his book is that every child is a miracle that should be nurtured with love.
This week I was shocked to discover that the Palestinian Scout Association (PSA), which six months ago was accepted as a full member in the World Organization of the Scout Movement, is training its scout leaders to see a cold-blooded terrorist murderer as their role model. The PSA leadership training course that started last week is named the “Martyr – Leader Baha Alyan Course,” after the terrorist Alyan who murdered my father. Below is a screen shot of the PSA website showing a picture of the terrorist murderer Alyan in Palestinian Scouts uniform. On the website is an article about the course.

Conversations with the Palestinians of 1967: Has Anything Changed?
Editor’s Note: In the period immediately following Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War of 1967, Menahem Milson, then a young instructor in Arabic literature at the Hebrew University, had occasion to meet and converse at length with Palestinian writers, intellectuals, and public figures—engaging them in debate over Zionism, Israel, and the prospects of reconciliation, helping them experience Israeli life at first hand, and in some cases forming enduring personal connections.
In 2010, Milson retrieved and reconstructed his notes from those long-ago encounters and published the results in the Israeli journal Kivunim Ḥadashim (“New Directions”). To read them now in English, supplemented in a few cases by memories of later interactions with his Palestinian interlocutors, is to invite reflection on what, if anything, has changed in Arab attitudes toward Israel over the event-filled decades since 1967, and what has remained all too obdurately the same.
The Debate That Never Happened
One day in April 1967, some two months before the outbreak of the Six-Day War, I was summoned to the office of the Hebrew University’s then-rector, Nathan Rotenstreich. A distinguished professor of philosophy, Rotenstreich had recently initiated a joint student-faculty discussion forum, and he wanted me to chair a panel on the status of the Arab minority in Israel. A committee would choose the question being debated and the participants, who were required to circulate the key points of their talk in advance to allow time for the audience to prepare.
The question assigned me as chairman was: “Can Arab Intellectuals Advance in Israeli Society?” The topic had been suggested by Robert Shershevski, a member of the committee, who had also asked to be one of the speakers. An expert on the economy of developing nations, Shershevski had been born in Warsaw in 1937. His father and grandfather were murdered by the Nazis; an only child, he had survived along with his mother and grandmother and came with them to Israel in 1949. An esteemed and popular lecturer, he was also involved in public issues, including that of the Arab minority.
(VIDEO) 2001 Sbarro Pizzeria bombing mastermind: “I chose it after I saw the crowds of people”
The cold-blooded pleasure in killing that confronts Israelis.
We have written numerous times about the suicide bombing of the Sbarro Pizzeria in Jerusalem in 2001, which killed 15 people, including two Americans and several children.
Most recently Miriam Elman documented the bombing and the mastermind, Ahlam Tamimi, Never forget: Sbarro Pizzeria Massacre, Jerusalem, Aug. 9, 2001.
Ahlam not only masterminded the bombing, she announced it on Palestinian television as a student news show host.
Ahlam is from the Tamimi Clan of Nabi Saleh, whose best known member is Bassem Tamimi, controversial for his use of children for try to provoke confrontations with the Israeli police for the purpose of obtaining viral video and images.
The Tamimi Clan is treated as heroes by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, and by anti-Zionist leftists (including some Jews). Ahlam, who was released from prison as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange and now resides in Jordan, remains a “much-loved” figure in Nabi Saleh.
Ahlam repeatedly has stated that the has no regrets about the bombing and would do it again:
Will Obama be remembered more fondly by Israel than might be expected?
Ensnared by events, Barack Obama ended up as a Democratic president who endorsed indefinite armed conflict and targeted killings.
US President Barack Obama’s dreams of undoing the Bush administration’s war on terror were upended by a rogue piece of underwear which ensnared him.
That is a gross oversimplification, but according to New York Times reporter Charlie Savage’s already classic book, Power Wars, the December 25, 2009 attempted airplane underwear bombing of Northwest Airlines Flight 253 by Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was a distinct turning point and hard reality lesson for the relatively new president finishing his first year in office. After the attempted underwear bombing, he was constantly on the defensive for being weak on fighting terror and reversed several planned liberal moves.
What were the main themes of Obama’s presidency in the realm of national security and human rights? How did these themes impact Israeli policy in the same overlapping areas?
There are many books by former top officials and analysts on every side of the spectrum.
The Secret War Against the Jews
It is no secret that nations spy on each other. They always have. Just think of Moses and Joshua sending spies into Canaan. That’s what you should expect and be prepared for, both defensively and offensively if necessary — whether it is through individual contacts, so-called diplomats, arms dealers, shady fifth men, electronic surveillance, or hacking. The benefit of Internet technology is that it is less and less possible to hide what nefarious activities go on.
We have known for a long time that where there are peace treaties, in addition to the publicly available official terms, there have always been unofficial side deals, national and personal, not divulged to the public for all kinds of reasons. Some will call it diplomacy (warfare through lies); others will call it wise counsel. We have just had an example of the Internet revealing such a side deal.
An American planeload of cash notes in various currencies was photographed arriving in Iran. After it had been checked by the Iranians, another plane took off in the other direction carrying released hostages. No, said Obama, this was not trading for hostages. The money was part of a previously agreed restitution of Iranian money originally intended for an arms deal that the US held back when it imposed sanctions. Yes, pull the other leg. That’s why it happened just now and in secret and within hours of releasing hostages. And why in cash? There can be no other reason than that Iran wants cash to fund terrorism in such a way that it cannot be traced.
Of course, the US government will tell you that the deal with Iran was a success. They won’t tell you what other side deals were made. I guess it all depends on how you define success. But in truth Obama’s only doing what state representatives and senators do all the time. You scratch my back, I’ll fund your pet project and pass it through Congress without anyone knowing about it.
Jordanian Report: Israel Agrees to US-Initiated Peace Summit; Palestinians Demand Preconditions
According to a report in the Jordanian press, Israel has agreed to a US-initiated three-way peace summit, while the Palestinian Authority is demanding preconditions, Israel’s Channel 10 reported on Sunday.
The government-owned newspaper Al Ra’i reported that the administration in Washington recently proposed the renewal of talks between Israel and the PA under its auspices. However, said the report – based on statements made by a PLO Executive Committee member – while Israel insisted that these be held with no preconditions, the PA said it would only consent if Israel first halted settlement construction and released another tranche of convicts.
“We welcome any activity whose goal is to move the political process forward, but there are conditions that Israel has to fulfill in order for the meeting not to deal solely with economic relations,” said Wassel Abu Yousef. “We are currently interested in progress along the lines of the French initiative.”
Amid talk of new peace pushes, Palestinians hold firm to preconditions
Palestinians officials rejected a recent US proposal for a trilateral peace summit with Israel, a Palestinian official said on Sunday, amid reports that efforts for possible talks hosted by Moscow were pushing forward.
Senior PLO official Wasel Abu Yousef told the Jordanian daily al-Ghad that the US had been informed of the PLO’s “firm stance” for two requirements to be met before any meeting with the Israelis: a freeze of construction in the settlements and the release of the fourth batch of prisoners promised to the Palestinians during negotiations in 2014.
A separate PLO official close to the negotiations department told The Times of Israel he hadn’t heard of any such American proposal for a trilateral summit.
A senior official in the Palestinian Authority President’s office contacted by The Times of Israel also said he hadn’t heard of the proposal.
The PLO official close to the negotiations department, who wished to remain unnamed, said the US is trying to figure out something to bypass the French initiative, but said the Palestinian requirements for resumption of talks are still the same: a freeze on settlement construction and release of prisoners.
Israeli officials say they are willing to hold talks, but rebuff Palestinian demands for preconditions.
IDF officer agrees with Hebron shooter: wounded assailant was still a threat
The Elor Azaria trial resumed on Monday with an IDF Lieutenant first class officer who was present at the scene being called to the witness stand.
The officer, not Azaria's direct commander, said that he told the soldiers not to get too close to the wounded Palestinian and to wait for the bomb disposal expert to arrive.
The officer also mentioned that higher up commanders arrived after the incident and told him that it was not a standard incident and was severe.
A bomb expert told the court early Monday morning that explosive procedures were not followed after the incident.
The expert stated that the body of the terrorist did not undergo an explosive check and should not have been moved without proper clearance.
Ambulance driver in Hevron: 'I felt terrorist posed a threat'
Elimelech Karzan, an ambulance driver who was present at the scene of the incident in Hevron in which Sgt. Elor Azariya shot a wounded terrorist, testified today on Azariya's behalf.
"I felt threatened at the scene," he said. "I parked the ambulance near the terrorist and got out of the car armed with a weapon. The medical team decided to evacuate the injured soldier in my ambulance. Suddenly, I noticed that the terrorist was moving."
He added: "At this point, I was apprehensive that the terrorist would activate an explosives belt or pull out a weapon, because he was wearing a closed-up coat on a hot day, and it was suspicious[...]
"Everyone started yelling: 'He has an explosives belt on!' and it was frightening. I was then very apprehensive about the terrorist. I got back in my ambulance and drove from the scene, and suddenly I heard shooting[...] It was clear to me that they had neutralized the terrorist."
In his cross-examination, the Prosecutor asked Karzan repeatedly about his feeling of fear at the scene, and Karzan replied that it had indeed existed, in light of how events had unfolded at the scene.
Manslaughter probe launched into IDF shooting of Palestinian man
The Military Police are currently investigating a soldier from the ultra-Orthodox Netzah Yehuda Battalion on suspicion of manslaughter, following the shooting of a Palestinian suspect. The investigation is expected to continue over the next few days.
The incident took place on Friday, when a Palestinian man, named as Eyad Zakaria Hamed, 38, was spotted by an IDF patrol charging at a security post at the entrance to Silwad, a Palestinian town by the community of Ofra, a few miles northeast of Ramallah.
The troops engaged the suspect, opening fire and killing him. As no weapons were found on Hamed's body and conflicting reports arose as to the course of the incident, suggesting he might have been shot in the back, the Military Police are conducting an investigation, as is the battalion.
An IDF source said the soldiers acted within the military's rules of engagement.
Illegal Arab construction threatens Shavei Shomron
The Regavim movement petitioned the Defense Ministry today (Sunday) and the Civil Administration to intervene in illegal construction and development work taking place in the Northern Samaria region.
The work is being conducted by Arabs from the village of Nakoura east of Shavei Shomron and adjacent to the access road to the community.
Oved Arad, director of the field department at Regavim notes that the work is being performed with heavy machinery in the area overlooking the access road to Shavei Shomron. The work generally takes place on weekends.
"The timing is not accidental. This is a familiar occurrence which is designed to use the vacation days of the Civil Administration's Inspection Department to create facts on the ground" says Arad. "Significant groundwork is taking place to prepare the area for construction of what would be an entire illegal neighborhood."
A few years ago the Defense Ministry placed a concrete wall to serve as a buffer between the road and the community like similar buffers which have been set up on Road 6 and on some highways near Jerusalem. However the illegal neighborhood being planned by the Arabs here would be located in an area above the road with a clear view of the houses in the community, rendering the buffer ineffective.
Palestinian water wars boiling over in Sa'ir
The Palestinian Water Authority and the Sa’ir Municipality are at odds over the disappearance of large amounts of water from Sa’ir, a town of 25,000 northeast of Hebron, as the region experiences water shortages.
The PWA, which coordinates and regulates the distribution of water in the Palestinian territories, said in an August 12 statement that it had uncovered an ongoing water-theft operation in the village.
A number of Sa’ir residents have long made illegal openings in the village’s pipes, diverting water without the knowledge of the water authority. However, in this case, the authority accused the Sa’ir Municipality of being behind the theft and, in coordination with the Palestinian Customs Authority, arrested 13 municipal employees, including Mayor Kayed Jaradat.
Thousands turn Nablus funeral into protest against PA
“With our blood and soul, we will sacrifice ourselves for you, oh Abu al-Ezz,” some 12,000 mourners chanted at a funeral procession in Nablus on Sunday that turned into a demonstration against the PA.
“Oh PA, why, why, we have been killed by the [Israeli] army and now by you,” the participants continued, furious about the death their comrade, Ahmed Halawa (aka Abu al-Ezz).
Palestinian and bright yellow Fatah flags were waving in every direction surrounding the body of Abu al-Ezz, as more participants joined the masses.
Halawa, a former leader of Fatah’s Aksa Martyrs Brigade and captain in the Palestinian Police, was suspected of being the mastermind behind the killing of two Palestinian Authority security personnel on August 18. After initiating a security operation in Nablus, PA forces arrested Halawa and brought him to the city’s Jneid Prison, where security personnel allegedly beat him to death provoking popular condemnations.
“You [Palestinian] Authority of spies, we don’t want [Akram] Rajoub or [Mahmoud] Abbas to be president... We have had enough, Nablus get cracking,” the participants shouted.
The participants continually attacked PA President Mahmoud Abbas, Nablus Gov.
Akram Rjoub and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, calling for them to be held accountable.
JCPA: Egypt and Jordan Fear a Hamas Victory in the West Bank
King Abdullah of Jordan led a large delegation to Cairo on August 24. There he met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to discuss the situation in Syria and Iraq, the danger of Islamic State terror, the U.S. presidential elections, and other developments in the Middle East.
Naturally, another main topic of their talks was the Palestinian arena and particularly the municipal elections slated for October 8, 2016, in the West Bank and Gaza.
Jordan supports the Egyptian initiative to convene talks between Israel and the Palestinians and, according to Jordanian sources, Abdullah believes that only Egypt is capable of reconciling rival Palestinian factions within the dominant Fatah organization. That, in turn, is a condition for the Egyptian initiative’s success; it would enable the Palestinians to present a unified diplomatic position in future negotiations with Israel.
What concerned el-Sisi and Abdullah in their meeting, however, was that Hamas might win the upcoming local elections, meaning that its power would spread from Gaza to the West Bank as well.
Given Hamas’ ties with the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, where its political arm, the Islamic Action Front (IAF), is a serious opposition force, the strengthening of Hamas in the West Bank could have dangerous implications for the Hashemite Kingdom’s stability where elections are scheduled for September 20, 2016.
Expert: West Bank Disorder Result of Abbas’ Failure to Prepare PA for Statehood
The Palestinian Authority’s failure “to build itself as a state-like entity” is at the root of ongoing unrest in West Bank territories under its administration, Pinchas Inbari, a longtime Arab affairs correspondent for Israel Radio, wrote in an analysis published Wednesday by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
In recent weeks, at least five Palestinians, including two policemen, have been killed as a result of factional infighting in Nablus. The man suspected of leading the shooting attack on the officers was later arrested and beaten to death by Palestinian security forces.
These incidents, which have been accompanied by cases of “vandalism, arson attacks on cars, shootings during daylight hours, and blocking roads with burning tires,” are symptomatic of the “anarchic conditions in Nablus,” Inbari wrote.
While the PA fears losing control of the West Bank and allowing it to “revert to the rule of clans,” it has been reluctant to send its forces into refugee camps in Nablus for fear of facing violent opposition. The camps are a stronghold of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a terrorist group established on the eve of the second intifada as the armed wing of Fatah, the party currently led by PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
“As a strategy against Israel, the PA has been trying to upgrade itself to statehood in international forums and the United Nations,” Inbari observed. “It has not, however, taken care to build itself as a state-like entity, and at present its lack of national cohesion poses a threat to its existence.”
Radical Palestinian organization: Boycott local elections
A radical Islamic Palestinian Arab organization on Sunday issued a statement expressing opposition to the upcoming local elections slated for the Palestinian Authority (PA)-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria and in Gaza.
The organization argued in its statement that democracy was created by the West as a means to subjugate people, especially Muslims, and that the Palestinian Authority was established to serve the western-Zionist-Crusader enterprise in Muslim countries and particularly in “Palestine”.
In fact, the organization claimed, the PA plays the role of the military governor of the “occupation” – that is, Israel – in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
The organization further claimed that the Oslo Accords are not based on Islam, canceled the Jihad, and gave the enemy legitimacy to occupy “Palestine”. Moreover, it argued, the Jihadist role of the Islamic nation, originally intended to release “Palestine” from the Jews, was replaced by a humanitarian role by providing food and medicinal aid.
The extremist organization went on to call on Palestinian Arabs to boycott the local elections, stressing that Islamic law is a way of life which deals with all issues, including purity, worship, values ​​and foreign and domestic policy.
Hamas recently opened offices in Tunisia, official says
Hamas recently opened up official offices in the Tunisian capital, Tunis, a senior leader from the terror group revealed on Sunday.
Moussa Abu Marzouk told the Tunisian news channel el-Bilad that Hamas has “new-old” offices in Tunis, publicly acknowledging the headquarters for the first time.
The Hamas leader said the offices were opened with the blessing of the Tunisian authorities. He did not specify when the offices were opened.
The Islamist terror group kept its main offices in Damascus until 2012, when war and political upheaval forced the group’s political leadership to move to Qatar. Hamas also keeps official offices in Turkey.
Iran deploys S-300 missiles around major nuclear site
Iran has recently deployed advanced S-300 missiles around one of its key nuclear sites, Israel's Army Radio reported Monday.
According to Iranian state media, the Russian-made long-range defense system was deployed near the Fordo underground uranium enrichment facility.
Protecting nuclear facilities "is paramount under all circumstances. Today, Iran's sky is one of the most secure in the region," Agence France-Presse quoted Iranian Air Defenses Commander Gen. Farzad Esmaili as telling the country's IRIB TV channel on Monday.
The channel aired a video showing S-300 missile batteries being trucked into Fordo. One battery was shown being placed into position, raising its missile launchers toward the sky next to other counter-strike weaponry.
Iranian media aired the footage following a speech by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to air force commanders, including Esmaili. In his speech, Khamenei stressed that Iran's military power "was for defensive purposes only."
"Continued opposition and hype on the S-300 or the Fordo site are examples of the viciousness of the enemy," Khamenei said. "The S-300 system is a defense system, not an assault one, but the Americans did their best for Iran not to get hold of it."
Iran to start construction on two more nuclear plants
Iran said Sunday that it will soon start construction on two nuclear plants in the country, as part of a deal with Russia announced two years ago called Bushehr Phase II.
The two additional plants are also set to be built in the port city of Bushehr in southern Iran in additional to the one that is already operational. The Russian-built plant was completed in 2011.
The spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said that “in the coming weeks, we will try to hold the final talks and then soon after announce a date for starting the construction of the power plants,” according to the semi-official ISNA news agency.
Kamalvandi said the funds, an investment of some $10 billion, have been earmarked on the orders of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Two weeks ago, Iranian MP Seyed Hossein Naqavi Hosseini said Iran in cooperation with Russia had “a good experience of building [the] Bushehr nuclear power plant,” adding that the design for the news plants had been completed by the AEOI.
Commercial Airliner Flying Fighters, Weapons from Tehran to Damascus
At a time when Iran is investing the Nuclear Deal to develop its fleet, U.S. media sources renewed fears that Iranian air companies linked to the Revolutionary Guards would use those jets to send weapons and fighters to Syria.
A report published by Forbes said Iranian commercial aircraft routinely violate international aviation rules by transporting arms and military personnel to Syria, and therefore, “selling aircraft to Iran will expose manufacturers to the risk of becoming complicit in such activities.”
Forbes said Iran was trying to ink a deal to buy up to 500 aircraft over the next decade.
The magazine said: “Iran remains the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in the world and is still number one on the recently-released Basel Anti-Money Laundering Index Report of 2016, which assesses the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing in 149 countries.”
The report coincides with the comments of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who expressed his country’s worries regarding Iran’s transfer of weapons to Yemen.
Also, the international community is worried from an Iranian activity towards refueling conflicts in Arab countries, which Tehran says was protecting its security and national interests.
Israeli to be extradited to US over sale of military parts to Iran
The Israeli Supreme Court on Sunday rejected an appeal by an Israeli man against extradition to the US, where he has been charged with selling arms — including spare parts for fighter jets — to Iran.
Arye Eliyahu “Eli” Cohen, 66, from Bnei Brak, was arrested at the request of the US authorities at Ben Gurion Airport in May 2014, as he was trying to flee the country.
Cohen had been indicted in a federal court in Connecticut for illegally exporting spare parts for F-4 and F-14 combat aircraft to Iran, illegally moving military equipment out of the US and money laundering.
If convicted, Cohen could face up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine for breaking laws prohibiting the sale of arms to Iran.
The Supreme Court said in a statement Sunday that Cohen should be rendered to US authorities “in order to stand trial for the commission of federal offences of trading military spare parts with Iran.”
Bennet: Iran Deal Is ‘Going Well’
Democratic incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet (Colo.) said the Iran deal is “going well,” and that it is “obvious” that billions in sanctions relief to the Islamic Republic could go to support terrorist activities.
Bennet, a supporter of the deal, gave an interview with the Denver Post to discuss the nuclear agreement a year later, and how it is affecting his reelection campaign.
“I think the deal is going well, so far,” Bennet said. “Obviously, we have to be vigilant. … Some people say, ‘Well, how can you trust Iran and do a deal with Iran?’ The whole point is that I don’t trust Iran. I don’t trust Iran. That’s the point.”
Since the deal was signed last year, Iran has launched ballistic missiles in violation of a United Nations resolution, expanded its terror network in Latin America, violated international law by detaining U.S. sailors, and prepared to reopen nuclear sites that were shut down as part of the deal.
Bennet said Iran has adhered to the terms of the deal “in general.”
“I think they have violated United Nations sanctions with respect to ballistic missile activity, and that’s why as part of my consideration of the deal, I introduced a bill—that has not passed yet—with Sens. (Ben) Cardin and (Chuck) Schumer, who both opposed the Iran deal, to track Iran’s use of funds and track their support for proxy terrorist activities and state in clear legislative language that all options including military force remain on the table,” he said.
Turkey accuses Syrian Kurds of ‘ethnic cleansing’
Turkey on Monday said it would continue targeting a Syrian Kurdish militia in Syria if it failed to fulfill promises to retreat east of the Euphrates River, accusing the group of ethnic cleansing.
“The YPG (People’s Protection Units) first of all… needs to cross east of the Euphrates as soon as possible. So long as they don’t, they will be a target,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
“In the places where it has moved, the YPG forces everyone out — including Kurds — who do not think like it does and carries out ethnic cleansing,” he added.
Ankara had said it had killed 25 Kurdish “terrorists” on Sunday as it pressed on with a two-pronged operation inside Syria against Islamic State jihadists and the YPG.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 40 civilians were killed in Turkish shelling and airstrikes, claims that were strongly rejected by Ankara.

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The UN released a report on rebuilding Gaza after the 2014 war.

It mentions something that one never sees mentioned:

While the vast majority of people who are repairing or rebuilding their homes are able to access materials, as long as they have the funds and legal property/land rights, the sharp reduction of cement imports in April and May 2016, and the subsequent artificial ceiling of 90 trucks of cement per day through the Gaza GRM, are causing delays in accessing material, particularly for building of new houses. 
In fact, the report says that 101,759 households that were damaged during the war have acquired materials for repair.

Some other interesting items that one would not know from the media:

Also, the UN wants Israel to import more goods from Gaza.

To fully harness the productive capacity of Gaza’s agricultural sector, the current restriction on exports – including transfers to the West Bank - must be addressed, including by improving the conditions for exporting fresh produce and allowing a larger quantity of produce to be exported to Israel4  and delivered to the West Bank on a more predictable basis. 
4. Currently, 250 tons of tomatoes and 55 tons of aubergines are permitted to enter Israel weekly. No other produce is officially allowed, though in practice, other items are occasionally allowed to enter on an adhoc basis. 
Israel, in fact, is the only country in the world who the UN says must buy and consume Gaza products; the possibility that Israeli consumers don't want to support the economy of a Hamas-run enclave being irrelevant.

Also, while the report makes many demands on Israel to improve the situation in Gaza, it asks literally nothing from Gaza's other neighbor, Egypt. It doesn't demand Egypt provide more goods or construction materials or electricity; it doesn't demand that Egypt allow Gazans to enter and exit through the Rafah crossing - Gazans' fellow Arabs from Egypt are fully justified in their role of the "blockade" even while Israel allows millions of tons of materials to enter Gaza.

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The Washington Post reports:

For a quick reality check on the current stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there’s no better place to visit than this little village of miserable huts and sheep pens in the middle of nowhere.

The hamlet in the hills south of Hebron has become an improbable proxy in a cold war waged among Jewish settlers, the Israeli government, Western diplomats, peace activists and the 340 or so Arab herders who once inhabited caves on the site and now live in squalid tents.

Israel’s military authority in the West Bank wants to demolish the Palestinian community, contending that the ramshackle structures made of old tires and weathered tarpaulins were built without permits and must come down.

The Palestinian residents insist they are not squatters but heirs to the land they have farmed and grazed since the Ottoman era.

They say Israel wants to depopulate the area of Arabs and replace them with Jews.

“It’s ethnic cleansing,” said Nasser Nawaja, a resident of the village, who also is employed by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, which opposes the demolition.

That is nonsense, said Josh Hasten, international director for the pro-settler group Regavim, which has been pushing the Israeli government “to stop kicking the proverbial can down the road” and shove these “illegal squatters” off the land.

Hasten described Susiya as a phony village and part of a plot funded by the European Union and supported by the Palestinian Authority to assert rights that do not exist and create a “de facto Palestinian state” on land that should belong to Israel.
So, did Susiya exist as an Arab village before 1948?

The question should be an easy one to answer.

Plenty of travelers to the area in the 19th century noted that there were ruins there from an ancient synagogue. But none noted any Arab residents.

Here is everything Wikipedia says about it:

Ottoman era
In his book The Land of Israel: A Journal of travel in Palestine, Henry Baker Tristram wrote "We rode rapidly on through Susieh, a town of ruins, on a grassy slope, quite as large as the others, and with an old basilica, but less troglodyte then Attir. Many fragments of columns strewed the ground, and in most respects it was a repetition of Rafat."[73]

Victor Guérin noted in 1863: "I see before me extend considerable ruins called Khirbet Sousieh. They are those of a city important bearing whose homes were generally well built, like attested by the vestiges that still remain, and possessed several buildings built in stone."[27]

In 1883, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine says "This ruin has also been at one time a place of importance...".[31]

Maps of the 19th century which made the distinction sometimes depicted Susieh as a ruin and sometimes as a village.[74] For example, the Palestine Exploration Fund map of 1878 and the Guérin map of 1881 showed it as a ruin, while the earlier Zimmermann map of 1850, the van de Velde[75] maps of 1858 and 1865, and the Osborn map of 1859 showed it as a village.[74]

British Mandate

The Bartholomew's quarter-inch map of Palestine by The Edinburgh Geographical Institute[76] and the F.J. Salmon map of 1936[77] show Susya as ruins.
The only evidence of an Arab presence there comes from maps - contradicted by other maps - that show Susiya as a village rather than as ruins. Wikipedia reproduces the detail of one of the maps, but the text says that this map is from the the F.J. Salmon map that identifies Kh. Susya as ruins, not as a village.

So were there any Arabs living in or near the ruins?

There are two obvious places to look - the official census of  Palestine of 1922 and the official census of Palestine of 1931 by the British.

I looked in both places for the words Susya, Sousieh, Sussiya, Susieh, Susiya and every other spelling I could find. I looked at every reference to the word Khirbat or Khirbet (or "Kh.") and Qadima since it was also referred to in articles as Khirbet Susya or Susya Qadima.


The Wikipedia article in a separate section claims that there were some nomadic residents who lived in caves in Susiya during certain seasons but whose permanent homes were in Yatta and Dura. However, the British census noted nomadic populations as well.

In fact, that census also noted areas where there were nomadic populations who moved in and out of areas depending on the seasons, but Susya is not mentioned, even though  a separate section of

The British census lists hundreds of villages, but Susya is not mentioned at all in any variant of its spelling.

It appears that Regavim is correct, and the Europeans and others like Rabbis for Human Rights who insist that Susiya is some sort of ancient Arab village is nonsense.

See also this earlier article on the same topic from a different angle.

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Sunday, August 28, 2016

David Collier uncovered a gem of a video:

Many people have long surmised that external activists told several groups of Palestinians what they needed [to pretend to be in the forefront of calling to boycott Israel.] Then civil groups, some only made up of a couple of members, effectively sided with Hamas. They signed on the dotted line and BDS was born. The tail effectively wagging the dog. Whilst this has long been assumed, the evidence did not exist. Now it does. Watch the video. Bookmark it.

Having seen [Ilan] Pappe on many occasions, I know he holds the Palestinian ability to self-lead in total disdain. A typical self-righteous elitist. There is never a speech when he does not let his ego run away with him as he criticises them. As can be seen from the snippet in the video, he ‘begs’ them to lead. When Salah makes the comment about the Palestinian call for BDS, Pappe cannot resist. The exchange is stunning.

Pappe the activist, who at every single opportunity promotes BDS by suggesting that BDS began as a call from within civil society, now claims that is not true. He also seems to acknowledge that for ‘historical records’, it is important that people think this is the case. This conflict exists because if you remove the ethical underpinning of that boycott, the entire movement collapses. How can a humanitarian organisation side with a boycott that is put together by a few radical extremists and actually hurts the weaker members of civil society?

Illan Pappe would have been there at the time BDS was put together. So when we have Pappe clearly indicating a problem with the historical record we have to sit up and take note. What Pappe seems to be suggesting is that the Palestinians did not call for boycott, but rather were told to call for boycott. We can also see from the reaction by Salah, that the bog standard academic Palestinian activist is unaware of this deception. So whenever you see the suggestion that “The Palestinians called for Boycott”, you know now that is not true. Even on the edge of the far left, in the halls of the liberal humanitarian organisations, the very pillar of BDS has just fallen apart.

And let’s not forget, the head of a department of a UK university seems to have just suggested, it is okay to distort the historical truth if it suits your agenda.

It doesn't take long to see that the calls to boycott Israel predated the official, supposedly Palestinian-led BDS movement by years.
The BDS campaign is a product of the NGO Forum held in parallel to the UN World Conference against Racism in Durban, South Africa, in August and September 2001. The NGO Forum was marked by repeated expressions of naked anti-Semitism by non-governmental organization (NGO) activists and condemned as such by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson who chaired the Conference.

The Forum’s final declaration described Israel as a “racist, apartheid state” that was guilty of “racist crimes including war crimes, acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing.” The declaration established an action plan – the “Durban Strategy” – promoting “a policy of complete and total isolation of Israel as an apartheid state…the imposition of mandatory and comprehensive sanctions and embargoes, the full cessation of all links (diplomatic, economic, social, aid, military cooperation and training) between all states and Israel” (para. 424).

The use of the apartheid accusation, which is the foundation of the BDS movement, is deliberate – drawing a false parallel to Apartheid South Africa. According to BDS proponents, if Apartheid South Africa was worthy of a boycott and sanctions campaigns that eventually led to the downfall of that despicable system, “Apartheid Israel should be subject to the same kind of attack, leading to the same kind of result.”
I found an anti-Israel book written in 2003 - two years before the BDS movement - that listed the boycott and divestment initiatives at that time:

Collier gives more o a background on the radical elements involved in telling "Palestinian civil society" to pretend to lead the boycott campaign that they had started but that had not gained any traction.

And Pappe was undoubtedly involved in these discussions.

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From Ian:

PMW: PMW asks “World Scout Movement” to cancel PA Scouts’ membership
Palestinian Media Watch has requested of the World Organization of the Scout Movement that it cancel the membership of the terror promoting Palestinian Scout Association (PSA).
This comes in response to the PSA's opening a course for training scout leaders named the "Martyr Leader Baha Alyan Course." Baha Alyan, a former Palestinian Scout Leader who is being presented as a role model for the new Palestinian Scout Leaders, was a terrorist murderer. He boarded a bus in Jerusalem last October armed with knives and a gun, and together with an accomplice he murdered three Israelis: Alon Govberg (51), Haviv Haim (78) and Richard Lakin (76).
The course for scout leaders was organized by the Committee for Training and Developing Leadership of the PSA. Six months ago, the World Organization of the Scout Movement accepted the Palestinian Scout Association as a full member.
The PSA's choice to present a terrorist murderer as a role model for future scout leaders contradicts the goals and mission of the World Organization of the Scout Movement.
PMW has sent the World Organization of the Scout Movement the following request to cancel the membership of the Palestinian Scout Association, so it will not be a co-sponsor of this terror promoting course:
Rowan Dean: The mysterious epidemic of mental or psychiatric illnesses
The world of mental health and wellbeing has been rocked to its core by a bizarre global outbreak of inexplicable nervous breakdowns. Researchers are struggling to find a common cause or factor that may link or in some way help explain what is behind this mysterious epidemic of mental, or psychiatric, illnesses. Thus far experts remain baffled as to any similarities between the cases, which to date have been reported with their own specific medical terminology.
Homophobicus orlanditis: In this disturbing case, a young man from an ethnically diverse and culturally rich background that coincidentally has strong traditional taboos against such modern practices as man on man copulation or woman on woman coupling and yet who exhibited no previous symptoms of any mental disorder whatsoever mysteriously suffered an acute breakdown of his nervous system (or homophobicus orlanditis), when he found himself inexplicably confronted by a tutu-wearing group of cavorting drag queens in a "gays only" nightclub in an American tourist resort. Symptoms of the mysterious breakdown included loudly and repetitively shouting out guttural slogans with strong flat vowel sounds whilst expressing his neurological disturbances via the means of shooting everybody dead. Diagnosis: Unknown mental illness.
Catholicus intoleranza: In this extremely rare case, a young man and his associate, both from ethnically diverse and culturally rich heritages that coincidentally hold strong traditional taboos against the faith-expression practices of so-called "non-believers" and yet who exhibited no previous symptoms of any mental disorders mysteriously suffered an acute and simultaneous breakdown of their nervous systems (suspected catholicus intoleranza) when they found themselves accidentally confronted by one old priest and two nuns swinging a bowl of incense in front of their faces in a French medieval town. Symptoms of this unusual twinned nervous breakdown include both individuals simultaneously breaking into guttural verbal manifestations with unusual linguistic quirks whilst displaying signs of acute psychological disturbances via the means of slitting the priest's throat. Diagnosis: Unknown mental illness.
NYTimes: Can Israel and the Arab States Be Friends?
Israel and Saudi Arabia have no formal diplomatic relations. The Saudis do not even recognize Israel as a state. Still, there is evidence that ties between Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Arab states and Israel are not only improving but, after developing in secret over many years, could evolve into a more explicit alliance as a result of their mutual distrust of Iran. Better relations among these neighbors could put the chaotic Middle East on a more positive course. They could also leave the Palestinians in the dust, a worrisome prospect.
A recent case in point was a visit to Jerusalem last month by a Saudi delegation, led by a retired major general, Anwar Eshki, that included talks with Dore Gold, a senior Israeli Foreign Ministry official. The meeting was notable because it was openly acknowledged. General Eshki and Mr. Gold reportedly began secret contacts in 2014; they went public last year by appearing together at an event in Washington.
Israel and the Sunni Arab states last fought a war in 1973. Now, after decades of hostility, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel is seeking to engage his country’s former enemies. Meanwhile, since coming to power 18 months ago, King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his son Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have shown a surprising willingness to take foreign policy risks.
The Israelis and the Saudis have reasons to work together. They share antipathy toward Iran, the leading Shiite-majority country. Both are worried about regional instability. Both are upset with the United States over the Iranian nuclear deal and other policies, including those dealing with Syria. For some time, Israeli and Saudi officials have been cooperating covertly on security and intelligence matters.

Continued bipartisan support for the Jewish state and the future of US-Israel ties
WITH THE American presidential election less than four months away, it’s natural for supporters of Israel to ponder how US-Israel relations will be affected by the outcome. Yet, too often, we focus on the relationship on the micro level ‒ in this instance, the posture toward Israel likely to be taken by a Clinton or Trump administration ‒ when we should be focusing more on the macro level: the current state of support for Israel in the US and the very real prospect of diminishing support in the not too distant future.
Not surprisingly, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has emerged as a significant point of contention on the presidential campaign trail, making it easy for the pro-Israel community to get caught up in the moment.
This was manifested most strikingly in May, when US Senator Bernie Sanders, who eventually lost out to Hillary Clinton for the nomination of the Democratic Party, named three outspoken critics of Israel to the party’s platform-drafting committee: Cornel West, a philosopher and professor emeritus at Princeton University; James Zogby, the president of the Arab American Institute; and Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison. Both West and Zogby back the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement; Ellison has been openly critical of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
The Republicans, including Jewish conservatives, were quick to pounce, claiming that their opponents were falling under the sway of “radical” individuals whose positions are hostile to Israel. In late June, the Republican Jewish Coalition released three Internet video ads targeting each of the Sanders appointees and attacking the Democratic Party. In turn, the Democrats ‒ and progressive Jewish groups ‒ accused the Republicans of, once again, using Israel as a “political football.”
The issue here isn’t what ended up as the settled-upon text of the Democratic platform, which, in any event, is largely symbolic.
'First Temple Mount, then Mecca'
The Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem blasted plans to construct a cable-car system above the capital to bring visitors to the Western Wall in the Old City, calling the proposal “dangerous”.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has pushed the plan, which is intend to alleviate pressure on existing transportation infrastructure to the Old City, as well as serve as a tourist attraction, giving riders a bird’s eye view of the city.
"The cable-car will enable people to reach the Old City without a car or a bus,” said Barkat. “What you see today is not the way Jerusalem will look in the future. Tomorrow I want to bring ten million tourists to these places, but without an infrastructure of trains, cable-cars, a fast train (to Tel Aviv), hotels, et cetera, we will not be able to enjoy this unique experience. In order to bring people from around the world, in order to understand who the real boss is in this city, we need to create infrastructure."
The head of the Supreme Muslim Council, Sheikh Ekrima Sa'id Sabri, spoke to the Arabic Al-Quds newspaper, claiming that the planned cable-car was part of a larger effort to cement the city’s Jewish character, and constituted an assault on the Islamic Waqf. He added that the project would desecrate Muslim cemeteries in the area.
Sabri, who has a long history of making provocative and anti-Semitic statements, has in the past denied that six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, and has cited the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion to justify his views.
Sabri dubbed the cable-car plan “illegal” and demanded it be abandoned immediately.
Will UNRWA schools in Jerusalem be part of the incitement crackdown?
Over the past few weeks, there have been a number of news stories in the Israeli media that Israel will finally "crack down on incitement in east Jerusalem schools" and that "the Jerusalem Municipality is censoring textbooks designated for Arab students in Jerusalem" in order to delete the war education which has dominated Israeli Arab schools in Jerusalem ever since these schools began to adopt the virulent PA curriculum introduced in August 2000.
The latest one of those news stories appeared on Arutz Sheva.
However, before jumping to conclusions that a new policy is about to be implemented thoroughly, it is vital to note that representatives of the Israel Ministry of Education testified at Knesset Parliament Education Committee on Oct. 27, 2015 that they do not supervise or oversee UNRWA schools, curriculum or the UNRWA teachers that operate in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem Municipality Education Department officials reported to me in an interview three years ago that 42% of the Arab students in Jerusalem study in UNRWA schools.
Israel Resource News Agency, the news outlet that I run in Jerusalem, has submitted an official formal inquiry to the Israeli government and the Israeli Knesset Education Committee, to ask if and when UNRWA schools will now be included in the "crackdown on incitement in east Jerusalem schools."
We await an answer.
If UNRWA schools are not included in the crackdown on incitement in Jerusalem schools, that crackdown will be meaningless.
StandWithUs+: Kick Antisemitism Out of Sports
When countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Malaysia, or Qatar bring politics into sports, everyone suffers - especially the athletes who spend countless hours training.
In this clip, an Iranian boy is forced to forfeit a sports match by Iran because he has to play against an Israeli.
Similar antisemitic incidents have occurred with all the above countries listed. Of course the antisemitism and obsessive Israel hatred is not acceptable, but here you see the anguish from the athlete's perspective as well.
An athlete's future should not be defined by the politics of the Muslim countries which are antisemitic.

Hebron soldier was right to shoot, civilian security official testifies
The manslaughter trial of Sgt. Elor Azaria, the IDF soldier who shot and killed a disarmed Palestinian assailant in Hebron, resumed Sunday, with the judge beginning to hear witnesses for the defense.
Eliyahu Libman, civilian security chief for Hebron’s Jewish settlers, told the Jaffa military court that there was no justification for the accusations against Azaria, stating that in past cases soldiers had shot to kill attackers without being put on trial.
“In terrorist incidents I witnessed, I saw with my own eyes that in every instance in which a terrorist attacked, soldiers shot him in the center of mass until he was neutralized… and [shot] a bullet to the head to ensure that the terrorist could not set off a suicide belt or continue the attack. These soldiers never went to court,” he testified.
Azaria shot Abdel Fattah al-Sharif dead nearly 15 minutes after the latter was shot and wounded by soldiers he had tried to stab, as he lay wounded and unarmed on the ground. Azaria has been charged with manslaughter. His main defense claim has been that he shot Sharif because he saw him moving and feared that the Palestinian was wearing an explosive belt and was trying to set it off, endangering troops in the area.
Duma survivor Ahmed Dawabsha taken to home of Hamas terrorist
Ahmed Dawabsha, the six-year-old Palestinian boy who was badly injured in a Jewish terror attack last year that killed his parents and baby brother, on Saturday was reportedly taken to visit the home of a Hamas terrorist who gunned down three people in a West Bank shooting attack last November.
Ahmed was taken to the demolished Hebron-area home of Mohammed Abdel Basset al-Kharoub by his grandfather Hussein Dawabsha in a show of solitary with the Hamas gunman, the Hebrew-language Ynet news reported.
The two were joined at the Kharoub’s family home in Dir Smat by Mohammed al-Qiq, a former Palestinian prisoner who protested his incarceration by Israel by launching an unprecedented 94-day hunger strike.
Al-Kharoub last November opened fire with an Uzi submachine gun on a line of traffic near the Alon Shvut settlement in the West Bank, killing three people and injuring five others.
Among his victims was American Jewish teenager Ezra Schwartz, 18, Alon Shvut resident Yaakov Don, 51 and Palestinian Shadi Arafa, 24. Al-Kharoub was captured in the attack.
Poll: Hamas will win the Palestinian elections
Public opinion polls conducted by the Arab World Institute for Research and Development indicate that Hamas-affiliated lists will triumph in the Palestinian Authority's upcoming elections.
The Palestinian Authority is set to run local elections in its cities on October 8th.
Despite recent crackdowns by the ruling Fatah party on Hamas members and affiliates, Hamas seems to be gaining support among the voters of the PA.
By the numbers:
60 percent of PA voters are expected to participate in the elections.
In Judea and Samaria, Fatah is expected to receive 34 percent of the parliament seats, tied with Hamas at 33 percent, while 9 percent of votes are expected to go to independent parties, and 4 percent to other Islamic organizations.
In Gaza: Fatah would garner 32 percent of the vote, Hamas would take the election with 37 percent, Leftist organizations would win 9 percent, and other Islamic factions would bring up the rear with 6 percent.
In Hebron, Fatah faces a civil war at the polls
Wednesday noon, downtown Hebron. Registration for the various slates for the upcoming local elections will be closing in roughly 36 hours, and it is hard to sense anything unusual in the air. Those who see themselves as candidates are meeting with their advisers and their friends in anticipation of the official announcement of their candidacy, but no election posters have yet gone up in the city.
The well-known restaurants here — Al-Khalil, Abu Mazen, the Pasha’s Palace — are full of customers, and one would be hard-pressed to say that the residents are all that excited about the municipal elections planned for October 8.
The talk of the day, of all things, is an incident that took place here just about two weeks ago, when an argument between two kids devolved into a deadly armed battle between two clans in the city.
Yet although the public in Hebron seems somewhat indifferent to the elections, for the Fatah party, tensions are as high as the stakes.
These are the first elections in more than a decade in which voting is taking place at the same time in both Gaza and the West Bank, and Hamas and Fatah are going head-to-head.
Egypt to open Rafah crossing for Hajj pilgrimage
Egyptian authorities are set to open the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza for three days on Tuesday to allow Palestinian Arabs to cross for the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, the Ma'an news agency reported Saturday.
The director for the Palestinian side of Rafah crossing, Hisham Adwan, told Ma’an that the Egyptian authorities informed him that the crossing would be open from Tuesday until Thursday.
Egyptian authorities have kept the Rafah crossing virtually sealed since a terrorist attack in the Sinai Peninsula in October 2014, though they have temporarily reopened the crossing several times since that specific attack, most recently in early July.
Sources in Egypt have revealed that Hamas terrorists had provided the weapons for the lethal October 2014 attack, which killed 30 soldiers, through one of its smuggling tunnels under the border to Sinai. Hamas denies the allegations.
In the past, Hamas has blamed Israel or Egypt for the closure of the crossing, but it has recently changed its tune and is now blaming the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA), led by chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
At last: Stunning victory for Mail on Sunday campaign as £12billion foreign aid budget will be slashed to fund the war on terror
The Mail on Sunday's campaign to tackle the UK's bloated foreign aid budget scored a massive victory last night – when the Government decided that tens of millions of pounds can be diverted to fund the war on terror.
In a radical break with the David Cameron era, new International Development Secretary Priti Patel is to cut spending on traditional aid projects and use the money to help promote 'national security and the national interest'.
It could lead to Defence Secretary Michael Fallon handing to Ms Patel his responsibility for funding British troops combating Islamic insurgencies in global hotspots – freeing up more of his resources for frontline troops.
The move is a major U-turn and comes after The Mail on Sunday and its readers protested against wasteful and corrupt aid projects.
During our campaign, supported by more than 235,000 readers who signed a petition to force a Commons debate, we exposed handouts to Palestinian terrorists, how North Korean officials were flown to Britain for English lessons and how music teachers were sent around the world to teach children to sing.
Report: Non-Jewish U of Sydney Student Linking Antisemitism, Anti-Zionism Interrupted During Presentation, Given Low Grade
A University of Sydney student was prevented from completing a Holocaust-studies presentation highlighting links between modern antisemitism and anti-Zionism, the Australian Jewish News (AJN) reported on Thursday.
According to the report, halfway through the presentation by the non-Jewish student, the class tutor interrupted and said, “We don’t want people to get the wrong idea about you.”
AJN reported that the student, who believes the low grade he received was the result of expressing his opinion, has since pulled out of the course.
Vic Alhadeff, CEO of NSW (New South Wales) Jewish Board of Deputies, told AJN, “It’s outrageous that a student would be warned against creating a link between modern antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment.”
“Not only is this a suppression of valid discourse, but it’s academically dishonest and denies the fundamental truth that such a link exists,” he said.
Matthew Lesh, a research fellow and free speech expert at the Australian think tank the Institute of Public Affairs, slammed the tutor’s actions as “disgraceful,” telling AJN, “Students should be free to express their views in class, not interrupted and punished.”
“This incident is sadly just another disturbing attack on freedom of speech on campus,” he said, describing universities as turning into “closed intellectual workshops, where only certain ideas are allowed to be expressed and the rest are silenced.”
Responding to the student’s claim, a spokesman for the University of Sydney told AJN that the institution is “extremely concerned” by the incident, “and would like to investigate this matter further.”
So @MarcLamontHill, should we boycott breakthrough Tel Aviv U melanoma research?
Marc Lamont Hill is a professor at Morehouse College, frequent cable news commentator, and host of his own shows on BET and VH1.
Lamont Hill has voiced support for “revolutionary struggle” against Israel, which he recorded on a video for a Dream Defenders trip to express solidarity with Palestinians against Israel:
Lamont Hill also is a supporter of the anti-Israel Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement, specifically the academic boycott of Israel.
This spring Lamont Hill announced that he was voting in favor of a resolution at the American Anthropological Association to boycott Israeli academia under the expansive guidelines of the BDS movement. The boycott failed to pass by a very slim margin.
Among other things, the BDS academic boycott guidelines forbid any cooperation with Israeli academic institutions or any individual faculty members representing such institutions. Israeli universities are not permitted to attend conferences, and cooperation of any nature, including research, is barred. Student interactions are barred under the “anti-normalization” portion of the boycott. There are no exceptions based on field of study.
IsraellyCool: WATCH: Palestinian: It Would Be “Sh*t” If BDS Shut Down Factories In Israel Employing Us
It is no secret I am no fan of Shmuley Boteach, aka The Bobblehead Rav, whose ego is so large, it has me constantly saying this.
Yet I am sharing this new video of his, because – despite Shmuley managing a way to find a way to talk about himself again – it portrays an important reality of life here.
Palestinian worker in the West Bank tells Rabbi Shmuley that BDS is "sh't"

BBC’s ME bureau chief flags up Hamas treatment of journalists
On August 22nd the BBC’s Middle East bureau chief put out this Tweet:
The link leads to the following statement from the Foreign Press Association (FPA):
Readers may recall that two years ago, during the conflict between Israel and terror groups in the Gaza Strip, the FPA found it necessary to put out an even more strongly worded statement concerning Hamas’ treatment of foreign journalists at the time.
Back then, however, BBC audiences were not informed – even via Twitter – of restrictions placed on journalists by the terror group.
Former State Department Negotiator: ‘Cash-for-Prisoners’ Controversy Has Bolstered Image of Growing US Weakness in Middle East (INTERVIEW)
The recent “cash-for-prisoners” controversy has played into the hands of Iranian hardliners and helped bolster the image of growing US weakness in the Middle East, a former US State Department Middle East negotiator told The Algemeiner on Friday.
“Let’s be clear, this was not ransom in the traditional sense,” Aaron David Miller, currently a vice president at the Wilson Center think tank in Washington, said about the transfer by the US of $400 million to Iran on the same day this past January that four Americans were released from Iranian captivity. “But I think it makes us look bad and it feeds the narrative that the Iranians have outfoxed, outmaneuvered an outnegotiated us.”
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed published earlier this week, Miller, who worked for two decades as a State Department analyst adviser — and negotiator on Middle East issues in Republican and Democratic administrations — called the Iranian regime a “force to be reckoned with” in a “region of weak Arab states, alongside a Russia willing to assert its power, and a Washington constrained by a nuclear accord that has expanded Iran’s ambitions.”
More than a year after Iran and six world powers agreed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Miller summed up for The Algemeiner on Friday his view of what he called a “highly imperfect” deal by borrowing a line from a legendary rock star.
Iran arrests nuclear negotiator on spying allegations
Iran’s judiciary confirmed the brief detention of a member of Iran’s negotiation team with world powers on suspicion of “infiltration,” the state’s official news agency said Sunday.
Hard-line news outlets said last week that the authorities detained a dual Iranian-Canadian national, Abdolrasoul Dorri Esfahani, who was a member of a parallel team working on lifting economic sanctions under last year’s landmark nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
The Sunday report by IRNA quoted judiciary spokesman, Gholamhosein Mohseni Ejehi, as saying, “(News of) the arrest of the infiltrating spy is true. He was released based on bail. Yet, his charge is not proved.”
He added that the case was still under investigation, but did not provide any more details and did not identify Efsahani by name.
Reuters quoted the state media as saying that Ejehi called the detainee a “spy who had infiltrated the nuclear team.”
Turkey's Diyarbakir Airport shelled by rockets in suspected Kurdish attack
Four rockets were fired at Diyarbakir Airport insouth-eastt Turkey by suspected Kurdish militants, causing airport staff and passenger took shelter inside the airport's terminal building for safety, according to Dogan news agency.
The intended target of the heavy bombardment was a police checkpoint located near the VIP lounge, added the agency. The shelling missed, with rockets landing on wasteland close around midnight (local time) on Saturday, 27 August, said broadcaster NTV.
Diyarbakir governor Huseyin Aksoy said there was no disruption to flights and there were no casualties at the airport which is used by both military and civilian functions.
The airport is known as the unofficial capital of the Turkish Kurds and the location of violent attacks this year, in reprisals for Ankara's offensive against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the country's southeast.
The PKK, which is considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region here since 1984.
The rocket attack comes days after Turkey forces launched an offensive in Syria against Kurdish miltants.
Turkish air strikes kill at least 35 civilians in Syria
Turkey's army and its allies thrust deeper into Syria on Sunday, seizing territory controlled by Kurdish-aligned forces on the fifth day of a cross-border campaign that a monitoring group said had killed at least 35 villagers.
Turkish warplanes roared into northern Syria at daybreak and its artillery pounded what security sources said were sites held by Kurdish YPG militia, after the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported fierce overnight fighting around two villages.
Turkey's military said 25 Kurdish militants were killed in its air strikes. There was no immediate comment from the YPG, but forces aligned with the Kurdish militia have said it withdrew from the area targeted by Turkey before the offensive.
Turkey, which is also battling Kurdish insurgents on its own soil, sent tanks and troops into Syria on Wednesday to support its Syrian rebel allies. The Turkish-backed forces first seized the Syrian border town of Jarablus from Islamic State militants before pushing south into areas held by Kurdish-aligned militias. They have also moved west towards Islamic State areas.
Syrian-Jewish Families Resettled in Louisville
Three of the remaining Jewish families in Syria were quietly brought to the United States and settled in Louisville, Kentucky.
The 13 Jewish refugees, including seven children, were smuggled out of Damascus, where they had been living amid the raging civil war since 2011. The families posed as Christian refugees to enter Sweden earlier this year, according to Point of No Return, a blog about Jewish refugees from Arab and Muslim countries.
The families were described as able to speak multiple languages, well off and having done business with the Assad regime, according to the blog.
A Conservative synagogue in Louisville helped the families enter the US and resettle in the southern town, which has already absorbed thousands of Middle Eastern refugees over the past five years.
Israeli Researchers Invent Mind-Controlled DNA Nanobots for Potential Treatment of Brain Disorders From Epilepsy to Depression
Taking a cue from science fiction, Israeli researchers have invented mind-controlled nanobots that have the potential to treat “challenging” brain disorders, the UK’s Daily Mail reported on Friday.
According to the report, researchers from Bar-Ilan University and the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya created the first-of-their-kind microscopic DNA robots to treat disorders such as epilepsy, schizophrenia and depression.
The shell-like structure of the nanobots was formed using DNA origami — which creates non-arbitrary two- and three-dimensional shapes — with a hollow inside. Drugs could potentially be placed inside the nanobot, the report said, and locked with particles of iron oxide.
Using electromagnets, doctors would be able to control the release of the drug over a specific time-span, heightening its effects. Even more remarkable, researchers said, was that the release process can now also be controlled using human brainwaves.
Now, for the first time, scientists have successfully used thought to get the nanobots to release drugs while inside a living creature after placing them in cockroaches, the report said.
Chinese Companies Invest Big in Israel
The Chinese telecommunications conglomerate Xinwei Telecom Technology Group is buying Israeli satellite operator SpaceCom for $285 million, representing the latest of several recent Chinese purchases of Israeli companies and technologies.
The purchase is pending the successful launch of Spacecom’s Amos-6 telecommunications satellite, which was built by Israel Aerospace Industries. It will launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Sept. 3, Space News reported.
Chinese companies invested about $500 million in Israeli companies last year, according to an analysis by the Ettinger Report. Israel’s trade with China is $11 billion, which represents 10 percent of Israel’s overall trade balance and double its 2010 trade balance.
Israeli technologies of special interest to Chinese companies include agro-technology and irrigation. In 2015, China’s Bright Food acquired Israel’s dairy product maker Tnuva for $2 billion. In 2011, China’s National Chemical Corp. bought Israeli pesticides and crop protection company Adama for $2.4 billion.
Former defense minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer dies at 80
Former defense minister Binyamin “Fuad” Ben-Eliezer, a career general, politician and one-time leader of the Labor Party who became embroiled in allegations of graft in his later years, died Sunday at the age of 80.
Ben-Eliezer was being treated at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv when he passed away from complications stemming from dialysis treatment.
He is survived by his wife and five children.
A former Labor Party leader and presidential candidate, Ben-Eliezer had suffered from a rash of health issues for a number of years, and in December 2014 underwent a kidney transplant. Several months later, he was hospitalized with a serious case of influenza, at which time he was hooked up to life support until his condition improved. He was hospitalized three weeks ago in Rishon Lezion, and transferred to Tel Aviv earlier Sunday, where he was pronounced dead.
Born in southern Iraq, Ben-Eliezer went on to have a storied career as a military commander, politician and peace negotiator in Israel. He was known for being the first Israeli minister to meet with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in 1994 and for his convivial relationship with Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak.

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