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Friday, December 9, 2016

From Ian:

Amnesty International Attacks Democracies, Forgives Islamist Tyrannies
"Morally bankrupt." — Salman Rushdie, author with a $600,000 bounty from Iran's regime on his head, speaking of Amnesty International.
Amnesty sponsored a rally in Brussels, where Islamist speakers celebrated the 9/11 attacks, denied the Holocaust and demonized gays and Jews.
It seems that Amnesty turned its back on the battle of human rights in favor of a grotesque anti-Western bias. The Economist accused Amnesty of "reserving more pages to human rights abuses in Britain and the United States than in Belarus and Saudi Arabia."
Amnesty's secretary general compared Soviet forced-labor camps, where millions died of hunger, cold and executions, to a US military base where no prisoner has died, and which has prevented countless innocent civilians from being blown up.
"Canada is obliged to arrest and prosecute Bush for his responsibility for crimes under international law including torture", said Susan Lee, Amnesty International's Americas programme director. Amnesty also charged Obama of "war crimes."
Alan Dershowitz summarizes Amnesty's definition of Israel's "war crimes": "Whatever Israel does to defend its citizens."
A report by NGO Monitor detailed Amnesty's "systematic flaws in the reporting of human rights abuses; limited understanding of armed conflict leading to erroneous claims and incorrect analysis; and violation of the universality of human rights, including a consistent institutionalized bias against Israel through double-standards." There are even Amnesty's officials who called the Jewish State "a scum state."
What a Real Civil Rights Hero Thought of Jews, Zionism and Anti-Semitism
The real measure of a Civil Rights Leader is how he reacts to the persecution of others. On this crucial responsibility Bayard Rustin — the Civil Rights leader and strategist who worked as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s right hand man and organizer of the 1963 "March on Washington" — was always a step ahead.
A great test of Rustin's commitment to fighting anti-Semitism came during the 1968 School-Teachers' Strike in New York City. As Paul Berman wrote in The New Republic:
"In that strike, a social democratic trade union was pitted against a wave of neighborhood black nationalists demanding community control over the schools (and over the teachers' contracts). To support the teachers' union was, for Rustin and [A. Philip] Randolph, too, the obvious choice to make. Rustin became a top aide to Albert Shanker, the teachers' leader. ... Unfortunately the strike broke down into tribal warfare -- Jewish schoolteachers verses black neighborhood activists -- and Rustin, as a result, found himself in the novel and horrible circumstance of opposing an aroused black citizenry. Leaders more timid than himself, and more crafty, looked for ways to avoid taking sides during those very nasty months."
"But", writes Berman, "Rustin was incapable of drawing back." He had found "the Jewish rank and file" of the union "subjected by their opponents to all sorts of anti-Semitic vilification," and "he made a point of standing up against anti-semitism" — and did so very publicly, railing against "these young Negroes spouting material directly from Mein Kampf" in a 1968 speech to the B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation League.
Rustin was not an unbiased observer of these events. Not long after the Yom Kippur War was brought to a close, Rustin wrote in the Chicago Defender that "Israel, as a progressive and democratic nation, is the ultimate reflection of traditions which run throughout Jewish history and culture. Wherever Jews are, they stand firm for the extension of human rights for all people."

Holocaust survivor preaches forgiveness of Nazis as ‘ultimate revenge’
On an early November day, a parcel of pickup trucks cruise Terre Haute streets, flying large Trump campaign flags in their wake. In this Indiana college town, lined with cookie-cutter fast food outlets and a token Indian buffet, South Third Street looks like any other. Except here, between car mechanics and nail shops, stands an incongruous mom-and-pop Holocaust museum.
With its small stature, the unimposing gray CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center building is a modest monument. It memorializes the 1,500 pairs of twins used by Angel of Death Josef Mengele at Auschwitz and the story of its petite founder, Holocaust survivor and Mengele twin, Eva Mozes Kor.
In 2003, the CANDLES museum was razed in a firebomb attack. It rose again two years later, but the attacks against Kor herself have not ceased. Today, the museum and its robust online presence are the launchpads for Kor’s parallel messages of survival and — controversially — forgiveness.
The feisty octogenarian, who has lectured on her Holocaust experiences throughout the world since 1978, is heralded by many as a visionary peacemaker. Concurrently, in another vocal, mostly Jewish crowd, she is at times scathingly condemned as a scandalous traitor to her people.
There are other Holocaust survivors who speak against hatred — though not forgiveness — such as Judith Altmann, who was born in Jasina, Czechoslovakia, and whose family was murdered by the Nazis. “I certainly have all the reasons in the world to hate, but hate destroys you, not them. Use your energy for good things and for better things,” Altmann has said.
WJC releases video on N. African Holocaust
In order to complement its work for survivors of the Holocaust in Europe, the World Jewish Congress has launched this two-minute long video to reveal the little-known story of the Holocaust in North Africa. The video summarises the impact of the Nazi, Vichy and Fascist regimes on the Jews of North Africa. It does, however, exaggerate the numbers who were killed. They did not amount to thousands - 600 Jews died in the Libyan labour camp of Giado.

Planning the Holocaust in the Middle East: Nazi Designs to Bomb Jewish Cities in Palestine
During the spring of 2016, the former mayor of London, Ken Livingstone​,​ ​claimed ​that ​Adolf Hitler had supported Zionism in the 1930s. When this claim ​was discredited, he refused to apologize and claimed that Hitler was a supporter of Zionism “before he went mad and ended up killing 6 million Jews.” Supporting this assertion, Livingstone cited a book by the Trotskyite writer, Len​ni Brenner. ​ ​A review of the published scholarship and ​original German governmental​ documents ​show​​ the intensity of​ the Nazis​’​ hostility toward the establishment of a Jewish state. Archival evidence reveals that as a means of striking out against Zionism, the Luftwaffe even considered bombing Jerusalem on the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.
“Partial Truths Are More Dangerous than Outright Lies”
During the spring of 2016, former mayor of London Ken Livingstone claimed that Adolf Hitler supported Zionism in the 1930s. When confronted about this claim, he refused to recant and said that Hitler was a supporter of Zionism “before he went mad and ended up killing 6 million Jews.”1 To back this assertion, Livingstone cited a book by the Trotskyite writer, Lenni Brenner.2 During a Q&A at the Oxford Union in the summer of the same year, Livingstone was asked about his comments on Hitler’s alleged backing of Zionism in the 1930s.3 He defended himself with a laundry-list of supposed collaborations between Nazis and Zionists, which he described as “just historical facts.”4 He then referred to a confrontation between himself and Labour MP John Mann. Mann had intercepted Livingstone as he entered the BBC’s headquarters and called him “a Nazi apologist,” who was attempting to “rewrite history.”5 The Oxford interviewer pressed Livingstone on this, asking whether he could be perceived as “lauding Hitler.”
Academics Unpack BDS, Antisemitism at Media Watchdog’s Annual Conference
Many colleges and universities “don’t govern in a consistent way when it comes to Israel” and apply a “double standard” to how they treat Jewish victims of prejudice, Lawrence Summers said at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America’s (CAMERA) national conference on December 4.
Academics and campus professionals gathered for the media watchdog’s conference — held at Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts — to discuss the complexion of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, as well as rising campus antisemitism.
“The goal of the conference was to learn from professors, students and others on the ground who know campus realities firsthand,” CAMERA Executive Director Andrea Levin told “And we learned a lot. It was powerful to hear how politically correct attitudes often work against Jewish students at a time of rising antisemitism. It was also impressive to learn about the positive impact of outspoken faculty and students.”
Summers, President Emeritus of Harvard, said in his speech that campus officials are “respectful of the feelings and rights of every minority on campus but Jews.”
Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, director of AMCHA — a non-profit that monitors and combats antisemitism on campus — said at the conference that “many Jewish students feel not only that the campus is against Israel, but against them….Students are threatened because of their Jewish identity.”
Cary Nelson and David Greenberg: Students are shouting down pro-Israel speakers — and silencing free speech
As anti-normalization spread as a tactic, it acquired a higher status. Advocates of BDS — the campaign to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel — began to grant this “principle” a quasi-theological character, lending its application to campus events an air of moral urgency and ethical superiority. By last year, BDS supporters had a transcendent reason to voice their contempt for academic freedom when they refused to participate in “normalizing” dialogue about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to block campus access to speakers deemed sympathetic to Israel.
As a result, such incidents proliferated. In October 2015, former Israeli Supreme Court chief justice Aharon Barak, noted for his support of Palestinian rights, had his own UC-Irvine talk interrupted and curtailed. The following month the world-renowned Israeli philosopher and New York University faculty member Moshe Halbertal had a University of Minnesota lecture disrupted. In February, Israeli Arab Bassem Eid was relentlessly heckled by BDS activists at the University of Chicago; in April, they blocked Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat from speaking at San Francisco State University.
In other cases, anti-normalization prompted people to prevent a speech simply because it was co-sponsored by a Jewish student group. At Brown University in March, the transgender activist Janet Mock canceled a speech after 160 anti-Israel students objected because the campus Hillel chapter was among the sponsors.
Anti-Israel speakers have also faced calls to have their invitations rescinded. In 2013, the University of Michigan withdrew an invitation to Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alice Walker, who has compared Israel to Nazi Germany. In 2011, the City University of New York withdrew an honorary degree to playwright Tony Kushner, a fierce critic of Israel, only to quickly reinstate it. These incidents, too, are completely unacceptable, but — significantly — they were one-offs, not the result of a policy espoused by an international campaign.
The growing practice of silencing pro-Israel speakers — of denying them the right to be treated as equals in campus debates — constitutes a dire threat to academic freedom. In our deeply polarized times, it is more important than ever that universities create opportunities for students and faculty to hear and engage with ideas that they don’t share. Their leaders must defend more vocally than they have thus far the free-speech rights of all speakers on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They must do so now, before the shouting down of unpopular views becomes, for lack of a better word, normalized.
The challenges faced by Jewish students at UK Universities
Today, the National Union of Students (NUS), the body representing seven million students in the UK, has its national conference. One Jewish delegate, Izzy Lenga, has written an article “Why I won`t be at tomorrow`s NUS NEC meeting”, in which she describes the hostile environment that Jewish students are facing on campus in general, and from student leadership in particular.
The current President of the National Union of Students is Malia Bouattia, who has said that British government policy is controlled by the Zionist lobby, and whose language is so extreme that a government committee said it “smacks of outright racism.” The current President of the Union of Jewish Students said that Malia Bouattia`s attempt to deal with concerns of Jewish students have been half-hearted.
This is part of a general climate where many British students are scared to openly mention their connections with Israel, and the atmosphere is so hostile that Israeli students at British universities sometimes do not even reveal their country of origin.
Merkel’s party praised for labeling BDS anti-Semitic
The Anti-Defamation League on Thursday praised German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party for decrying the movement to boycott, divest and sanction Israel as “coarse anti-Semitism.”
“Who today under the flag of the BDS movement calls to boycott Israeli goods and services speaks the same language in which people were called to not buy from Jews,” the Christian Democratic Union party said, according to the ADL. “That is nothing other than coarse anti-Semitism.”
“It is highly significant that Germany’s largest party and the moral authority of modern Germany have made clear the fundamental linkage between BDS and anti-Semitism,” the ADL’s CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a press release.
“At a time when efforts to isolate and delegitimize Israel are on the rise, it’s critical for society’s leaders to take a stand and call it out,” he added.
Merkel, who faces increasing pressure to pursue more right-wing policies ahead of next year’s elections, ruffled feathers earlier this week when she set out a tough line on integration, including a ban on the Muslim veil.
“The full veil must be banned wherever it is legally possible,” she told the annual gathering of her center-right party on Tuesday.
Toronto Sun-Canada Editorial: BDS Movement Only Divides Us
Ontario’s legislature struck a real and meaningful blow against anti-Semitism Thursday by endorsing a motion to condemn the anti-Israel BDS movement.
BDS stands for “boycott, divestment and sanctions.” It’s a Palestinian-led movement that has attempted to persuade individuals, unions, universities, community groups and governments around the world to apply economic and political pressure against Israel – by targeting Israeli companies.
Its purported goal is to influence peace and stability in the region, but in reality the group demonizes Israel – for example, by comparing the democracy to 20th century Apartheid South Africa – and employs divisive tactics to isolate Israel internationally.
The motion adopted by Ontario MPPs Thursday, promoted by Thornhill Conservative MPP Gila Martow, recognizes BDS as a movement that encourages “hatred, hostility, prejudice, racism and intolerance” and promotes “the differential treatment of Israel.”
Regrettably, the NDP chose to vote against the motion, which in our view is a vote for intolerance.
Ontario Lawmaker Sought to Counter Anti-Israel "Psychological Terrorism" on Campus
The Ontario legislature has endorsed a motion put forward by PC MPP Gila Martow celebrating its ties with Israel and standing against any movement promoting hatred or racism.
In particular, the motion centred on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which targets Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, although the group insists it is not motivated by anti-Semitism.
The motion, which passed Thursday in a 49-5 vote, says, “(MPPs) recognize the longstanding, vibrant and mutually beneficial political, economic and cultural ties between Ontario and Israel, built on a foundation of shared liberal democratic values; endorse the Ottawa Protocol on Combating Anti-Semitism; and reject the differential treatment of Israel, including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.”
A similar bill, introduced by former PC leader Tim Hudak, was rejected by the legislature in a spring vote.
The Sun asked Martow why it was important to her to address the BDS movement in a new motion.
The silence about campus anti-Semitism
Interestingly, Ahmad told me he abstained from the vote, saying there were arguments on both sides. I put it to him that BDS was marginalising Jewish and Israeli students, and asked if he thought his abstention would make some think he was indifferent to this. ‘Universities are meant to be Safe Spaces for all students’, was his reply.
While Safe Spaces have become an insidious means of censorship – with safety coming to mean safety from ideas you dislike – Jewish and Israeli students often feel physically intimidated on campus. Just last week at King’s College London, students had to walk through airport-style security to attend an event where an Israeli writer was due to speak. Forget some students wanting to be protected from ‘uncomfortable’ ideas, pro-Israel student societies now need an entourage of university security in order to hold events.
City University management has refused to condemn the motion. And student journalists, such as myself, have been stonewalled. The only response I’ve managed to glean from the City press office was a shallow explanation of what the BDS motion really means (in their odd interpretation), and how it doesn’t necessarily mean Israeli goods or academics will be boycotted.
Even if they’re not actively campaigning for BDS on campus, students’ union and university officials are standing back and watching as a truly ugly climate develops.
Major US Jewish Group Calls on Qatar to Remove Antisemitic Titles From Doha Book Fair
A leading US-based Jewish human rights group has called on the Qatari government to remove antisemitic titles from an international book fair currently taking place in the Gulf state’s capital.
In a letter sent this week to Qatari Culture and Sports Minister Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al-Ali, Dr. Shimon Samuels — the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s director for international relations — said, “Just as our organization would express outrage at anti-Islamic material, we request you to take measures to proclaim that Qatar rejects incitement to hatred and violence against Jews.”
The contract signed by exhibitors at the 27th Doha International Book Fair, Samuels pointed out, forbids any publications that insult Islam. “We urge you to add Judaism, Christianity and other faiths to create a platform of solidarity among all believers,” he wrote. “Continued manifestations of hatred at the [book fair] cannot serve Qatar’s image or interests.”
Samuels also voiced “special indignation” over the presence of the embassies of the US and France, as well as UNESCO, “at their dedicated pavilions amidst the vilest antisemitic and conspiracy theory titles” at the book fair.
Facebook Struggles to Put Out Online Fires in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
When fires raged across Israel last month, Anas Abudaabes began to type on his laptop. What came out would land him behind bars and ignite a debate over whether he had tried to fan the flames of hatred, in this case literally.
On his Facebook page, Mr. Abudaabes wrote that “we should call our thugs to do what is necessary,” noting that “dry grass is faster to burn.” Arabs should pray for lightning and strong winds, he wrote, while those in Jerusalem and Haifa, where blazes were most intense, should “pour gas” on what was being called the “fire intifada.”
Mr. Abudaabes, 29, a businessman, insisted it was satire and was released after nearly four days. But he was hardly the first arrested in Israel for seeming to encourage mayhem on Facebook, nor will he be the last. Facebook has become the battleground in a global struggle between free speech and incitement, and in few places is that more pronounced than in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.
Facebook and other social media companies announced this week that they would team up to better track and reduce online terrorist propaganda. But European leaders were unsatisfied, arguing that the companies have been slow to review and take down hateful posts, and they pressed for more action.
In this part of the world, the debate is not just theoretical. Terrorism is an everyday reality, and the role that Facebook and other social media sites may play in inspiring it generates deep emotion. Israel has pushed to combat online provocation that it links to bloodshed. Palestinians consider a crackdown on Facebook posts just another tool of repression by an occupying power.
IsraellyCool: Latest #FakeNews: Palestinian As Guinness World Record Youngest Doctor Lie
Seems pretty clear: Google are placing that factoid (from the World Bulletin website) front and center: Palestinian Muslim woman Iqbal/Eqbal was set by the Guinness World Records as the youngest doctor in the world.
But here’s the deal. The Guinness Book of World Records has a site. To do proper searches you need an account. And when you do the search, this is what you see:
That’s right. Palestinian Muslim woman Iqbal El-Assad is most definitely not the youngest doctor in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
Furthermore, she does not seem to be mentioned anywhere in the Guinness Book (under two different spelling variants).
In other words, this is completely made up. It is fake news, and it is being spread by Google, perhaps because they are being ‘gamed.’
BBC ignores latest Hamas terror infrastructure in Gaza civilian district
On December 7th Hamas announced the deaths of two of its operatives working in a tunnel in Shuja’iya about half a kilometer from the border with Israel. Additional operatives are apparently missing since the tunnel’s collapse.
“Two Hamas terrorists were killed while working on an attack tunnel intended for an infiltration from Gaza into Israel collapsed in the territory near the border with Israel, according to a statement issued by the group.
Gaza’s Health Ministry said another Palestinian was injured in the incident. Hamas said they were working in a “resistance tunnel.””

This latest evidence of Hamas’ efforts to reconstruct its terror infrastructure in civilian neighbourhoods has once again gone unreported by the BBC and audiences continue to be deprived of the full range of background information necessary for proper understanding of past or future Israeli actions in the Gaza Strip.
On the other hand, BBC News did find the time and the column space this week to ensure that its audiences were made aware of some short-lived “guerrilla artwork” in Tel Aviv.
Western Media Confused After Discovering Israel Not Involved in Most Middle East Conflicts (satire)
Due to escalating tensions in Middle Eastern countries, arriving Western journalists were shocked to discover that the Middle East has a ton of conflicts, and very few are even remotely related to Israel.
“I always write about the ‘Middle Eastern’ conflict being Israelis vs. Palestinians, but it turns out, the Middle East is a huge, complex, messed up region,” a BBC journalist exclaimed. “Who knew?”
Despite heavy media attention on Israel, a deeper analysis has uncovered that the Middle East / Northern Africa geographic areas are, to use a technical term, ‘ridiculously fucked up’. Between ISIS in Iraq and Syria, a Syrian civil war that just won’t quit, a Yemeni civil war, a coalition fighting in Yemen, a failed Libyan government, two ousted Egyptian leaders, a FUBAR-Iraq, and Iran funding proxy terror organizations while marching toward nuclear arms, the Elders of Zion apparently had their hands quite full over the past several years.
“Let’s take what’s going on in Yemen for example,” a New York Times reporter said. “It gets super complicated when you have a predominantly Muslim country that’s fractured along sectarian lines, with Saudi Arabia and Iran, two other Muslim countries, arming the two opposite sides…… yada, yada, yada, my brain is starting to hurt. It’s a lot simpler to just reinforce the Judaism vs. Islam narrative, so historically, that’s what we’ve tried to do.”
Upon learning about the range of problems facing the Middle East, leaders of the BDS movements said, “Well, we can still blame it all on the Jews, right?”
IsraellyCool: Antisemite Josh Bonehill About To Bunk With Bubba
Remember Jew hater Joshua Bonehill, who once pledged to financially back Galloway’s re-election campaign?
Well, he’s been found guilty of harassing UK Labour MP Luciana Berger with antisemitic posts, and is set to go to jail.
A racist internet troll has been found guilty of harassing a Labour MP with a series of anti-Jewish rants sent after the jailing of a fellow far-right extremist.
Joshua Bonehill-Paine, who turned 24 on Wednesday, wrote five hate-filled blogs about Luciana Berger, the MP for Liverpool Wavertree, after Garron Helm was sent to prison for four weeks in October 2014.
The jury at the Old Bailey deliberated for just over one hour and 15 minutes before finding Bonehill-Paine guilty of racially aggravated harassment.
White supremacist, neo-Nazi posters hung at Boston school
Posters promoting a white supremacist, neo-Nazi organization were discovered on the Emerson College campus in Boston.
At least seven posters from the American Vanguard organization were found Monday in a lecture hall and a student residence, the local media reported Wednesday.
“The racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric of American Vanguard has no place on our campus as a community that cherishes the diversity of ideas and people acting together in shared interests as a sustaining and core value,” Emerson President Lee Pelton said in an email Tuesday to students.
Pelton said the identity of who hung the posters is not known and the college’s Police Department is conducting an investigation.
“The posters were not put here to propagandize but rather to intimidate and silence,” his email said. “However, we will not be silenced. We will raise our strong voices of protest and our unassailable belief in the enduring power of our common humanity.”
American Vanguard says in the “Manifesto” section of its website that “White America is under attack … While millions of our countrymen languish in poverty and our infrastructure crumbles, our jobs are shipped overseas and billions sent to Israel.”
Son of 'Sopranos' Co-Star Arrested for Vandalizing SUNY Dorm With Swastika Graffiti
The son of actor Michael Imperioli, who played Christopher Moltisanti on HBO‘s mega-hit series “The Sopranos,” was arrested on Wednesday for spray-painting a swastika on a bulletin board of a State University of New York (SUNY) Purchase dorm, The Journal News reported.
Vadim Imperioli, 19, faces a charge of criminal mischief for the Nov. 20 vandalism, and his arraignment is scheduled for Jan. 17, according to Capt. Doug Larkin of the New York State Police.
This isn’t the first time Vadim, whose father is Sicilian-American and mother is Russian, has had trouble with the law, according to The Journal News. He was put on three years probation for vandalism in California and is currently facing a petty larceny charge. At a hearing on Tuesday related to the latter, Assistant District Attorney Catalina Blanco Buitrago told the judge that the teen has two open cases in court and “a disregard for the property of others.” She also said there is a possibility that the criminal mischief charge he is up against will be upgraded to a felony. In response, the judge raised Vadim’s $5,000 bail by $1,500 and rebuked him for getting into more trouble.
When neo-Nazis have doubts, there’s a number to call
Felix Benneckenstein was a rising star on Germany’s far-right scene, a young songwriter whose rousing guitar anthems made white nationalism sound romantic and rebellious.
But when fellow neo-Nazis attacked a friend, Benneckenstein found the doubts he’d ignored for years coming to the surface.
“It was a rude awakening,” he recalled. “You have an idea of what’s wrong with the world and believe you’ve discovered hidden truths… And to then realize that everything you’ve done to yourself and others in the past years was built on lies is a bitter moment.”
After almost a decade on the far-right fringes, the 30-year-old is now part of a small but effective network of former neo-Nazis helping people to leave the scene. Spread across Germany, they work closely with an organization called EXIT that provides quick, unbureaucratic advice to extremists who want out.
At a time when extreme nationalism is on the rise in Europe again, EXIT has helped hundreds of neo-Nazis start a new life, according to its founder Bernd Wagner, a former East German police detective. He says EXIT has an edge over government-run programs because those answering its hotline have dropped out of the far-right movement themselves.
US House passes bill to ease return of Nazi-looted art
A bill to ease the return of Nazi-looted artworks to their original owners or heirs passed the US House of Representatives on Wednesday.
The Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act, or HEAR Act, must now pass the Senate.
The bill aims to lengthen the statute of limitations for returning stolen artwork to six years from the date that the art in question is identified and located, and evidence of ownership has been presented.
In some past cases, current holders of stolen art were able to avoid restitution because states had statutes of limitations as short as three years.
“With the House’s approval of the HEAR Act, Holocaust victims and their families are one step closer to a clear legal path to recovering art stolen by the Nazis,” said Ronald Lauder, chairman of the Commission for Art Recovery and president of the World Jewish Restitution Organization.
Berlin rabbi welcomes next German president Steinmeier as ‘proud friend of Jewish people’
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s appointment as the country’s next president is a welcome move for the Jewish community, according to the rabbi of the Jewish community of Berlin, Yehuda Teichtal.
“The fact that he will in February become the president of the Federal Republic of Germany is for the Jewish community a very positive sign,” Teichtal told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday. Describing Steinmeier as a “uniter,” he said the minister has always brought together people of different minorities.
“He has always expressed a warm, positive approach, not just of reconciliation to the Jewish community, but also of a present and future active Jewish life,” Teichtal stressed.
He recalled Steinmeier’s attendance as a guest of honor at the Jewish community center inauguration in Berlin nine years ago. Steinmeier did not just accept the invitation and pay lip service, but stayed all day, an example of how he goes “above and beyond the call of duty,” according to Teichtal.
“His warm approach is something he has carried throughout the years,” he said. “Numerous times he has participated in Jewish events across entire spectrum.”
Israel to ease citizenship process for same-sex couples
The naturalization process for foreign same-sex partners in Israel will be the same as that of their heterosexual counterparts, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit reported Thursday to the High Court of Justice.
According to Mandelblit's guidelines, couples of the same sex who present foreign marriage documents will be able to undergo the same procedure to receive citizenship for the foreign partner as do heterosexual couples.
The move by Mandelblit's was made in response to a petition presented by the The Israeli Gay Fathers Association, which claimed gay couples have been discriminated against for years in the immigration process. The group complained that same sex couples were forced to go through a seven-year waiting period before the state would give its recognition.
For heterosexual couples, the transition period lasts four years, resulting in the foreign partner receiving full citizenship.
Top cop from Boston marathon bombing probe gets counter-terror training in Israel
Three years after the Boston Marathon bombing, the city’s police commissioner and a delegation of senior Massachusetts law enforcement officials traveled to Israel to train and learn from the country’s most elite counter-terrorism experts.
Sponsored by the ADL, the 14 officers, who arrived on Monday for one week, represent state, federal and local law enforcement, including campus police chiefs from MIT, Northeastern University and Suffolk University.
“We’ve been running local [delegation] trips to Israel for many years to provide American law enforcement with access to top Israeli police officials, so they can learn and share techniques in fighting terrorism,” said Robert Trestan, director of the ADL’s Boston office on Thursday.
Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, who ran in the 2013 marathon, and then led the exhaustive eight-day ground operation after two terrorist siblings detonated two pressure-cooker bombs that killed three and wounded dozens, said the visit has been insightful.
“I always heard about how well Israel’s police deal with terrorism, and to come and see their system and learn about their techniques – how they train the officers – I was pretty impressed,” said Evans, who was the top uniformed Boston officer during the April 15 marathon attack.
“For me, with the Boston Marathon, and terrorism coming to America recently, I’m learning quite a lot.”
Junior Mr. Universe credits Orthodox upbringing for success
Kobi Ifrach stood on a stage in England wearing nothing but gold body paint, a Speedo and an Israeli flag. He had just become the first Israeli to win the Junior Mr. Universe bodybuilding competition.
Back home in this northern Israeli town, Ifrach’s haredi Orthodox parents were cheering him on. Days earlier they had lit Shabbat candles and prayed for his victory.
Ifrach, 20, left the path of strict Jewish observance during high school and now abides instead by the strictures of bodybuilding — working out for hours every day and following a carefully regimented diet. But he remains close with his family and credits much of his success to the discipline of his religious upbringing.
“Since you’re young, they teach you to have a strict order to your days. You have to wake up in the morning and pray and wrap tefillin, and you take this discipline with you wherever you are in life,” Ifrach told JTA. “I still have this order and this discipline of doing the things I need to do.”
Ifrach grew up in Zichron Yaakov, the youngest of eight brothers and sisters born to Moroccan immigrant parents. The children attended haredi Orthodox schools.
Mark his words: Justin Bieber to perform in Israel in 2017
Canadian pop star Justin Bieber will perform in Israel as part of his Purpose World Tour, it was announced Thursday. The singer is scheduled to perform on May 3, 2017, at Tel Aviv's Yarkon Park.
Bieber, one of the world's most famous pop stars, first performed in Israel in 2011, when he was just 17. Despite a successful concert before some 20,000 fans, the visit did not go smoothly, as the teen sensation clashed with the paparazzi while visiting Israel's holy sites.
Israeli fans will have to shell out 350 shekels ($92) for tickets in the grass area, NIS 790 ($209) for Golden Ring tickets and NIS 1,190 ($314) for the VIP section. Tickets are scheduled to go on sale on Saturday, but members of Bieber's Israeli fan club enjoyed an early sale on Thursday.
Bieber won popularity after posting songs on YouTube when he was just 13. His 2009 debut album, "My World," sold millions of copies worldwide and made him one of the youngest success stories in contemporary pop music.
Greek Energy Company to Invest $1 Billion in Israeli Gas Fields
The Greek energy company expects to produce gas from the Tanin and Karish offshore fields by 2020.
Greek oil and gas exploration company Energean, which has acquired the Karish and Tanin offshore gas fields, says that within six months it will present Israel's Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources with its plan to develop the fields. On Tuesday, the Israeli government's Petroleum Council recommended acceptance of the deal in which Energean will buy the fields from Delek Group Ltd. (TASE: DLEKG) and Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL) for $148 million.
Karis and Tanin together contain an estimated 68 billion cubic meters of natural gas. Energian says that it estimates gas production could begin by 2020 and that the cost of developing the fields will be about $1 billion.
Energean chairman, CEO and founder Mathios Rigas said, “We are delighted to have received the approval of the Israeli Government on this transaction and for their swift consideration of the matter. The acquisition of Karish and Tanin and their development is a significant step for Energean, but it is also a big milestone for Israel in developing its gas strategy, by bringing competition in the local market. Energean is committed to delivering a mutually beneficial and successful development and gas sales program as partners with the Israeli government.”
Israel, Greece, Cyprus Agree on European Gas Pipeline
Ministers of the three countries met in Jerusalem today and agreed to push for a pipeline to Europe, which wants to reduce dependence on Russian gas.
At a meeting today in Jerusalem, government ministers from Israel, Greece, and Cyprus today agreed to continue their promotion of a natural gas pipeline from Israel to Europe. Senior ministry officials also attended the meeting, including Israel Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources director general Shaul Meridor. Israel Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz and colleagues Greek Minister of Economy, Development, and Tourism Giorgos Stathakis and Cypriot Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry, and Tourism Georgios Lakkotrypis agreed to hold a joint meeting on the subject with European Union Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arais Canete.
The current working assumption is that the cost of a pipeline to northwestern Greece and from there to Italy and Bulgaria will be $5.7 billion, and will be economically worthwhile at prices of $7-9 per BTU. Energy sources believe that this estimate of the cost is at least $2 billion lower than the true cost, and that this per BTU price is likely to be non-competitive within a few years, and certainly at a time when Russia is selling 175 BCM a year to Europe, amounting to 43% of all the gas consumed there in 2015, at an average price of $4.40 per BTU.
On the other hand, the European Energy Commission today announced that it would consider Europe's 124 bilateral energy contracts in order to create a unified regulated market that could reduce Europe's great dependence on Russian gas. Another important point is that the greater the quantities of gas transported through the proposed pipeline, the more economically worthwhile it will be. If additional gas fields are discovered in Israel, and if a corresponding measure currently being promoted by Lakkotrypis succeeds, the pipeline will become more worthwhile.

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From The Boston Globe:

Sunday, Dec. 11, the Boston Chamber Symphony inaugurates a residency at Brookline’s Temple Ohabei Shalom with a program including Sergei Prokofiev’s “Overture on Hebrew Themes.” It was composed in 1919, while Prokofiev was living in New York City, but commissioned by colleagues from St. Petersburg who had formed a sextet — clarinet, string quartet, and piano — called the Zimro Ensemble. Dedicated to Zionism, Zimro performed Jewish-themed repertoire and raised funds for a proposed “Temple of Art” in Palestine. The group left St. Petersburg in 1918, touring Siberia, the East Indies, and Japan before coming to America. Clarinetist Simeon Bellison asked Prokofiev for a piece to anchor Zimro’s Carnegie Hall debut, providing the composer with a number of musical themes (which, in fact, Bellison may well have written himself). Prokofiev played the piano at the premiere.

...Prokofiev, though, left America, eventually returning to the Soviet Union. He sometimes dismissed his Zionist overture (the work’s almost relentless parade of four-bar phrasing struck him, in retrospect, as graceless) but nevertheless orchestrated it in 1934. Largely, Prokofiev remembered, while sitting in artist Pyotr Konchalovsky’s garden, having his portrait painted. “How are the Jews coming along?” Konchalovsky would ask, before suddenly, brusquely instructing the composer not to move.
Most online versions of the overture are from the original 1919 version, but here is one of the rarer orchestral versions:

 As this site notes:
The Overture on Hebrew Themes was the first work to witness Prokofiev’s unexpected interest in Jewish music. It was also the first independent work (excluding arrangements) written by him in the United States. And Prokofiev was the first known Russian composer to base a Jewish score not on Jewish liturgical chants, but on klezmer tunes.(11) The history of this work is described in detail in his autobiography:
In the fall of 1919 the Jewish “Zimro” ensemble came to America. It consisted of a string quartet, clarinet, and piano, all of them fellow students of mine at the Petersburg conservatoire. The official purpose of their concert tour was to raise funds for a conservatoire in Jerusalem. But this was merely to impress the Jewish population of America. Actually they barely made enough to keep themselves alive. They had a repertoire of rather interesting Jewish music for diverse combinations of instruments: for two violins, trio, etc. They asked me to write an overture for a sextet, and gave me a notebook of Jewish themes. I refused at first on the grounds that I used only my own musical material. The notebook, however, remained with me, and glancing through it one evening I chose a few pleasant themes and began to improvise at the piano. I soon noticed that several well-knit passages were emerging. I spent the next day working on the themes and by evening had the overture ready. (12)
There is much more at that link about Prokofiev and his relationship with Jews.

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From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: Western spring or European winter?
People will only fight and die for nations to which they feel proudly attached. No one will willingly fight and die for the EU.
Current prospects, however, are alarming.
The erosion of national identity has created vicious group politics. These fights will probably escalate both verbally and physically. Here’s how this is likely to play out.
Muslim extremists will fight Jews and Israel in particular and Western society in general. The fascists will fight Muslims, Jews and liberals.
Liberals will support Muslim extremists because the fascists are fighting them, will continue to demonize Israel and Jews and will attack conservatives – who will thus vote in ever greater number for the far Right.
The more Islamist violence there is, the more the reaction against Muslims will increase; the more the Left will then support Muslims and demonize all who oppose them, thus encouraging more Muslim violence.
Jews will want to fight nobody at all but will get it in the neck from all sides.
Trump and Brexit offer some hope that this can be avoided. Restoring pride in Western national identity and the defense of the nation unifies rather than divides people. But if Trump or Brexit are seen to fail those who voted for them, all bets are off. The extremes of both Left and Right will be waiting, with their hobnailed boots on.
Caroline Glick: Israel’s first project with Trump
Israeli officials are thrilled with the national security team that US President-elect Donald Trump is assembling. And they are right to be.
The question now is how Israel should respond to the opportunity it presents us with.
The one issue that brings together all of the top officials Trump has named so far to his national security team is Iran.
Gen. (ret.) John Kelly, whom Trump appointed Wednesday to serve as his secretary of homeland security, warned about Iran’s infiltration of the US from Mexico and about Iran’s growing presence in Central and South America when he served as commander of the US’s Southern Command.
Gen. (ret.) James Mattis, Trump’s pick to serve as defense secretary, and Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Michael Flynn, whom he has tapped to serve as his national security adviser, were both fired by outgoing President Barack Obama for their opposition to his nuclear diplomacy with Iran.
During his video address before the Saban Forum last weekend, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that he looks forward to discussing Obama’s nuclear Iran nuclear deal with Trump after his inauguration next month. Given that Netanyahu views the Iranian regime’s nuclear program – which the nuclear deal guaranteed would be operational in 14 years at most – as the most serious strategic threat facing Israel, it makes sense that he wishes to discuss the issue first.
But Netanyahu may be better advised to first address the conventional threat Iran poses to Israel, the US and the rest of the region in the aftermath of the nuclear deal.
Vic Rosenthal: The Third Lebanon War will be the Last Lebanon War
But today Hezbollah is entirely different from Hamas. Tehran has built it into an existential threat. If war breaks out we will have to unleash as quickly as possible the most powerful conventional weapons at our disposal against the rocket launchers. Look at the map! Perhaps such an attack would kill tens of thousands in Lebanon. But there’s no alternative. Israel is a tiny country with a concentrated population. We can’t absorb hundreds of missiles an hour, especially accurate ones with heavy payloads. We can’t afford to wait, not even a few minutes, once it starts.
Incidentally, if Hezbollah and Iran want to reap the benefit of the human shield strategy, then now is the time to do it. I suspect that Trump and his advisors would be less biased against Israel than the present administration, and therefore less likely to interfere with Israel’s response. Our enemies probably agree with me, and this means war is more likely in the next two months than at a later time. Maybe that’s why our officials have made the effort just now to ensure that Iran and Hezbollah understand the consequences of their possible actions.
It only makes sense to threaten Iran as well. The regime would be happy to sacrifice Lebanon and its people to destroy Israel, and the regime is pulling the strings, not Nasrallah. There need to be consequences for Iranian leaders too.
Evil is growing stronger and good is retreating. Deterrence may put off the reckoning for a time, but unless something completely unforeseen happens, the day will come when our PM will have to give the order to save one nation by destroying another. I’m glad I’m not the one to do it.

UK Labour Leader Corbyn Attends London Launch of Anti-Israel Book Authored by ‘Students for Justice in Palestine’ Founder
The leader of the UK’s Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn — long dogged by accusations of personal and party-wide antisemitism — met Tuesday evening with the founder of an internationally renowned anti-Israel student group, The Algemeiner has learned.
According to information gathered by covert campus watchdog group Canary Mission, Corbyn attended the London book signing of Dr. Hatem Bazian, senior lecturer at UC Berkeley and father of Students for Justice in Palestine.
Pictures from the evening — hosted by the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) as part of a promotion tour for Bazian’s new book, Palestine…It Is Something Colonial — show the two men posing together.
“The fact that Britain’s opposition leader took the time to attend Bazian’s event and show solidarity with one of the most notorious fathers of anti-Israel agitation in academia indicates that Bazian’s influence is increasing,” Canary Mission said.
The meeting should “alarm” Britain’s Jewish community, Canary Mission said, as Corbyn is showing “open support for the demagogic founder of SJP, who once called for an intifada in the US and created the most influential student vehicle for the delegitimization of the Jewish people’s history and very identity.” (h/t Jewess)
Corbyn Attends Khomeinist Event With Press TV and Israel Hating Extremists
Jeremy Corbyn attended an event hosted by a Khomeinist group on Wednesday night with Press TV and an infamous Israel hater. Guido can reveal Corbyn was at an Islamic Human Rights Commission event launching a book on Palestine by Hatem Bazian. It was chaired by Amina Taylor, who works for the Iranian regime’s television channel Press TV. The Islamic Human Rights Commission is a notorious Khomeinist group – it organises the Al-Quds Day protests in London, an annual anti-Israel demonstration initiated by Ayatollah Khomeini and attended every year by supporters of the terror group Hezbollah. Last year the IHRC gave their ‘Islamophobe of the Year’ award to the murdered staff of Charlie Hebdo.
Bazian, the author pictured with a smiling Corbyn above, is a renowned hater of “Zionists“. Some examples of his tweets include: “Should Jews Have To Pay Reparations for Slavery?” and “Israel lobby manufactured UK Labour Party’s anti-Semitism crisis”, not to mention rant after rant about “Jews” and the “Israel lobby“. Bazian has been involved in numerous anti-Semitism rows, he set up a group which has repeatedly been accused of harassing Jewish students. Corbyn said he was too busy to visit Israel’s Holocaust memorial, he found the time to hang out with Khomeinists, Press TV and Israel-hating extremists this week…
UN blacklist of companies working in settlements advances
The Fifth Committee of the United Nations is set to decide next week whether to allocate funds to ensure that a motion by the body’s Human Rights Council to create a “blacklist” of companies operating in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights can be implemented.
The Human Rights Council motion had passed in March with no countries voting against. The resolution required UN human rights officials to produce a database of “all business enterprises” that have enabled or profited from the growth of Israeli settlements, Haaretz reported on Friday.
The proposal, put forward by the Palestinian Authority and Arab states, included a condemnation of settlements and called on companies not to do business with Israeli settlements.
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon expressed concern about the upcoming Fifth Committee decision, and said the Jewish state had formulated a set of steps in order to fight the vote, Israel Hayom reported.
“We will not be silent in the face of this shameful step,” Dannon said, “The UN’s will to blacklist Jewish businesses and businesses connected with Israel and to boycott them, is reminiscent of dark periods in history,” he added.
“It is known that the Human Rights Council has become an anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli body, but it can not be that the UN is continuing to assist in this surreal process.”
John Kerry at the 2016 Saban Forum — Misrepresenting Two-Statism
Palestinian destruction, not Israeli construction
Thus, when Kerry bewails the massive increase in the Jewish population in the “West Bank” as some sort of “mitigating factor” for Palestinian violence, he seems totally unmindful of the chronology of the events that took place.
After all, the gruesome wave of carnage instigated by the Palestinian Arabs began almost immediately after the commencement of the Oslo Process, before any significant “settlement activity” took place in its wake, clearly indicating that it was Israeli concessions, not Israeli intransigence, that ignited the violence.
It was not Israeli construction beyond the pre-1967 lines, but Palestinian destruction inside those lines that comprised the epicenter of the problem that confounded the ill- conceived Oslo Process.
Unless these inconvenient facts are confronted honestly, there is scant chance of contending with their ramifications — and for formulating policy that can contain the violence that flows from them.
Yet, rather than face the recalcitrant realities squarely, Kerry attempted, disingenuously, to sidestep or circumvent them. He thus tried to resurrect the disproved and discarded delusion of a “New Middle East,” with the promise of regional peace and prosperity being unlocked only once some agreement based on far-reaching and perilous territorial concessions by Israel is reached.
This is an absurd position to adopt. For it implies not only that the Arab world is unable avail itself of much of the benefits Israel could offer it from alternative sources, such as the US, EU, China and Korea, to name but a few, but that Arab countries would purposefully put their own development on hold for the sake of their Palestinian “kinfolk,” for whose fate they have demonstrated the most appalling indifference in the past.
Peace process should not be 'all or nothing,' says EU ambassador
Rather than cling to an “all or nothing” peace process, the international community should promote smaller advancements in areas such as water, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, the European Union’s ambassador to Israel said at seminar in Tel Aviv on Thursday. "We've spent too much time promoting an Israeli-Palestinian solution that is all or nothing," he said.
"We have got to revise our approach to the peace process, which would allow us to address the issue of water and a number of other issues also," he continued.
"What we need to do is build up basic confidence on the ground through an approach of small steps." Faaborg-Andersen was speaking at a roundtable discussion titled, “Can Water Bring the Political Process to a Safer Shore?”
The discussion included Israeli water and security experts and politicians as well as European ambassadors, and was hosted by EcoPeace Middle East, the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) and the German government’s Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Israel.
In addition to expressing support for smaller collaborations in water and the environment, Faaborg-Andersen also discussed the potential for reviving the Joint Water Committee, the Israeli-Palestinian water management authority created after the Oslo Accords. While doing so would not necessarily be a game-changer, he said, it would be a positive step.
U.S. Wants to Send Guantanamo Detainee to Israel for Trial - But There's a Snag
The Obama administration has asked Israel to take and prosecute a Kenyan captive held at Guant谩namo since 2007, the Miami Herald has learned.
U.S. intelligence authorities have linked Mohammed Abdul Malik Bajabu, 43, to a 2002 terror attack on an Israeli hotel in Mombasa, Kenya. Israel is interested, according to U.S. officials aware of the offer, but is awaiting cooperation from the FBI, whose agents interviewed Abdul Malik sometime after he got to Guant谩namo in March 2007.
A leaked May 2007 prison profile describes Abdul Malik as having “admitted that he participated in the planning and execution” of two terrorist attacks that targeted Israelis on the same day, Nov. 28, 2002 in Mombasa. A car-bombing of the Israeli-owned Paradise Hotel killed 13 people, mostly Kenyans, around the same time an unsuccessful surface-to-air missile attack targeted an Israeli Arkia airliner carrying 271 passengers near Mombasa airport.
Abdul Malik has never been charged with a crime at the war court, suggesting what is alleged is beyond the reach of military commissions. In June, the Obama administration’s parole-style board for uncharged captives declared him too dangerous to release, a “forever prisoner,” or indefinite detainee in the War on Terror.
David Singer: Trump and Putin need Security Council Resolution to Defeat Islamic State
The chances of President Obama rising to the occasion seem very remote.
Regrettably the conflict is set to escalate unless Trump and Putin can agree on joint action to defeat Islamic State.
Their first step should involve obtaining a Security Council Resolution under Articles 42 and 43 of the UN Charter authorising the use of military force and obliging all member States to contribute such forces and resources as are necessary to defeat Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
A Security Council Resolution is vital – if the mistakes of America's 2003 invasion of Iraq are not to be repeated.
Whilst Russia and America continue to fiddle, Syria and Iraq bleed and burn.
It is time to start getting serious.
Why is the Middle East so disappointed with Obama?
A few months ago, an Arab state in the Persian Gulf received intelligence about an arms ship that was scheduled to leave Iran on its way to Yemen to arm rebel Houthi forces.
The Gulf state decided to pass the intelligence on to the Americans and give them everything they knew – the ship details, the weapons and the timetable.
As the days passed though, nothing seemed to be happening. The ship was still on schedule, set to leave soon for the short trip from Iran to Yemen.
So the Gulf state decided to go with an alternative plan and reportedly passed the information about the ship to the Mossad, Israel’s vaunted foreign intelligence service. Israel reportedly took the tip seriously and delivered a stern warning to Iran that if the ship set sail it would be stopped before reaching the shores of Yemen.
As a result, the ship never left Iran.
This story is making the rounds in Washington where I heard it this week from a former top US official who recently visited the Persian Gulf. I don’t know if it is true, and it doesn’t really matter since it accurately reflects the sentiment of frustration with the US throughout the Middle East, a feeling shared by Israel, Egypt, Jordan and most of the Arab countries in the Gulf.
British foreign minister says Saudi and Iran stoking proxy wars in Middle East
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said that Saudi Arabia and Iran are stoking proxy wars across the Middle East while some politicians in the region are abusing Islam, the Guardian newspaper reported.
Britain has a long alliance with Saudi Arabia which is a major customer for British defense companies, though Britain's ties with Iran have been tumultuous since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Johnson, who was appointed foreign minister by Prime Minister Theresa May in July, told an audience in Rome last week that the absence of real leadership in the Middle East had allowed people to twist religion and stoke proxy wars.
"You’ve got the Saudis, Iran, everybody, moving in, and puppeteering and playing proxy wars. And it is a tragedy to watch it," Johnson was shown saying in footage posted on the Guardian's website.
It is unclear from the footage whether he specifically accused Saudi and Iran of twisting religion, though the Guardian newspaper reported that Johnson had accused Saudi Arabia of abusing Islam.
IDF map of Hezbollah positions revealed as fabrication
A map of southern Lebanon released this week by the Israeli military that ostensibly showed Hezbollah positions, infrastructure and armaments along a section of the Israeli border was a fabrication, the army admitted Thursday.
The map, tweeted by the army Tuesday, appeared to feature over 200 towns and villages, which the IDF said the organization had turned into its operations bases, along with over 10,000 potential targets for Israeli strikes in the event of a new war with the terror group.
“This is a war crime,” the army asserted in its tweet.
A caption on the photo claimed that it had been “declassified,” in what was construed as an IDF attempt to build a case for future military action, and a warning to the terror group itself, demonstrating Israel’s superior intelligence-gathering capabilities.
But on Thursday, based on an analysis by Twitter user JudgeDan48, it emerged that the map had in fact been prepared by the IDF spokesperson’s desk. The ostensible demarcations of Hezbollah positions were in fact patterns of dots, positioned on the map of southern Lebanon.
Secrets stolen in cyber attack on German firm making Israeli subs
Cyber attacks by hackers earlier this year led to the theft of technical trade secrets from a German steel-making giant that sells submarines to Israel, Essen-based ThyssenKrupp AG said Thursday.
“ThyssenKrupp has become the target of a massive cyber attack,” the corporation said.
The cyber attacks were reportedly detected in April and traces of the breaches were traced back to February of this year.
The company stated that it has not identified hacks into its marine systems unit, which manufactures the likes of military submarines and warships sold to Israel.
ThyssenKrupp, one of the world’s largest steel makers, attributed the breaches to unnamed attackers located in southeast Asia engaged in what it said were “organized, highly professional hacker activities.”
The German company did not specify which documents had been stolen, nor the extent of their losses.
Congress okays $600m. for Israel missile defense
A day ahead of a government shutdown deadline, Congress scrambled on Thursday to wrap-up unfinished business, voting decisively to send President Barack Obama a defense policy bill, including more than $600 million for missile defense cooperation with Israel.
The Senate passed the defense legislation by a wide margin, 92-7, a week after the House overwhelmingly approved the measure, 375-34.
The legislation includes the approval of some $600.7 million for US-Israel missile defense cooperation for the 2017 fiscal year, with provisions specifically authorizing $268.7 million in research and development funding for US-Israel cooperative missile and rocket defense programs; $62 million for procurement of the Iron Dome rocket defense system; $150 million for procurement of the David’s Sling medium-range missile defense system; and $120 million for procurement of the Arrow-3 long-range missile defense system.
Some $10 million in additional funds are earmarked for US-Israel anti-tunnel cooperation.
The money is not part of the massive defense package agreement, also known as the memorandum of understanding, signed between the two countries earlier in the year. The new package will grant Israel $3.8 billion annually — up from the $3 billion pledged under the previous agreed-upon MOU — starting in 2018 and through 2028.
IDF arrests armed Gaza man who crossed into Israel
A Palestinian man from Gaza armed with a knife and a grenade was arrested Friday morning, shortly after crossing into Israel from the northern Strip, the Israel Defense Forces said.
He had already entered Israel by the time he was detained by IDF troops, but had been under surveillance throughout the infiltration.
The man was handed over to the Shin Bet domestic security service for questioning.
This is the second time in less than a week that a Palestinian has been detained entering Israel from Gaza.
On Saturday evening an unarmed man was reportedly detained just north of the border fence in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, and was taken in for questioning by the IDF.
Obama Administration Turns Palestinian-American Terrorist Into Victim
After years of silence, the Obama administration has finally spoken out about an American citizen who was killed in Israel.
There’s just one catch: The focus of the administration’s sudden concern is not for an American who was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist. Its focus is a Palestinian-American terrorist who tried to murder Israelis.
On February 26, Mahmoud Shalan, a Palestinian with US citizenship, attempted to stab Israeli soldiers to death at a security checkpoint near Ramallah. The soldiers shot back in self-defense, wounding Shalan. IDF doctors and Magen David Adom emergency personnel administered first aid to the terrorist, but he died of his wounds.
The US Embassy in Israel demanded that the Israeli government launch a full-scale investigation of the Shalan incident. For some reason, the embassy did not demand that the Palestinian Authority (PA) investigate why Shalan, who was a resident of PA territory, was trying to murder Israelis. Nor do I recall the US Embassy ever urging the PA to investigate when its own policemen have murdered American citizens in Israel.
Well, the Israeli government did conduct an investigation. The conclusions were straightforward. The Israeli Military Advocate General reported to the Obama administration that Shalan tried to commit murder, and that the soldiers were justified in returning fire. Therefore, the soldiers were not prosecuted.
In Syrian skies, Israel flies a tricky path
For the second time in a week, Lebanese and Syrian media have reported Israeli strikes deep inside Syria against military targets. The alleged attacks come after months of relative quiet from Israel. So what’s changed?
Last Wednesday, it was reported that Israeli planes attacked two targets, a weapons depot belonging to the 38th battalion of the fourth division (which is commanded by Bashar Assad’s brother, Maher) and a Hezbollah convoy as it was making its way along the Beirut-Damascus Highway.
And a week later, on Wednesday morning, Syrian state media alleged that Israel fired several surface-to-surface missiles from inside the Israeli Golan Heights at a military airbase near Damascus. The impact from the missiles caused a huge fire but no injuries, and the explosions could be heard from a great distance away. Both strikes were reported to have occurred in the early hours of the morning.
Several scenarios could explain the sudden uptick in strikes.
Perhaps the recent series of military successes and achievements by Bashar Assad’s army has re-whetted the Syrian president’s appetite: firstly, to restart manufacturing new weapons and rockets in factories located in the territories he has recently reconquered, and secondly, and most importantly, to renew the transfer of weapons from Syria to Hezbollah.
Hezbollah denies it promised Russia no attacks on Israel
Hezbollah said on Friday that there is no truth to reports it assured Russia there would be no military response to the alleged Israeli strikes on its forces in Syria on Wednesday, according to a Hezbollah statement read out on its Al-Manar TV station.
The terror organization said the reports were an "invention."
"These reports are a total lie and fabrication," the statement read.
Despite the strong denials, Hezbollah did not explicitly promise an attack, leaving doubt as to whether one will be forthcoming.
The Syrian regime accused Israel of firing surface-to-surface missiles targeting the Mezzeh Air Base near Damascus on Wednesday, causing damage but no casualties.
Hezbollah’s Al-Maydeen television channel said the group “was almost certain” that the Israel Air Force carried out the strikes from Lebanese airspace.
If Hezbollah does strike at Israel, it would not be for the first time since the end of the 2006 Second Lebanon War.
In West Bank, Fatah Vote Shows Politics an Old Man's Game
The recent conference of the ruling Fatah party sent a disheartening message to young Palestinians: Most of those elected to top positions were in their 60s and 70s, signaling that politics under octogenarian President Mahmoud Abbas is an old man's game and that it is unlikely that fresh ideas on winning statehood will emerge from this group of veteran loyalists.
Apathy seems widespread among educated Palestinians in their 20s and 30s. Many have given up on trying to break into what they see a closed political system, especially at a time when there's no realistic path to ending Israel's half-century-old occupation.
Others are left to choose between potentially career-killing involvement in grassroots opposition movements that could even land them in jail or a years-long slog through the ranks of Fatah.
Abbas an unchallenged leader
The Fatah conference, which ended last weekend, crowned Abbas the unchallenged leader, boosting his ability to deal with the West and Arab states, said pollster Nader Said. For Palestinians, though, it meant prolonging a situation that “most people see as ineffective, unable to bring about a political solution, and corrupt to a large extent,” he said.
Abbas has led the Palestinians since 2005, but has little to show for his efforts.
An intense round of peace talks with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert failed to yield an agreement, and brief negotiations with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the past eight years quickly fizzled due to deep disagreements.
Ramallah to name street after Fidel Castro
The municipality of Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority, will dedicate a street to the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro as a “gesture of gratitude.”
“Castro bravely faced the world, the Palestinian people admire and love him,” said a statement from the Palestinian Authority, according to the Latin American Jewish news service Iton Gadol. The decision was made by the city’s Central Council “in recognition of Castro’s support for the Palestinian people and former leader Yasser Arafat.”
Located six miles north of Jerusalem, Ramallah serves as the de facto administrative capital of the Palestinian Authority, where Arafat established his headquarters, the Muqata. Historically an Arab-Christian town, Muslims now form the majority of the population.
Castro’s death at the age of 90 was announced on Nov. 25 by his brother, Raul, Cuba’s current president.
The Fatah party of P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas issued a statement of mourning, claiming Castro was a “world leader and great friend of the Palestinian people.”
In 1973, Castro suddenly announced the rupture of relations with Israel and declared its recognition of the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
Cairo blast near pyramids kills 6 Egyptian police
An explosion on a main Cairo thoroughfare killed six police and wounded another three on Friday, in what appeared to be the deadliest attack on security forces in several months.
The state-run MENA news agency said the explosion took place near a mosque on Pyramids road, the main avenue leading from the city center out to the Giza pyramids, which is often used by tour buses. It says the blast targeted security forces, without elaborating on what caused the explosion.
Insurgents have carried out a number of attacks in Egypt since the 2013 military ouster of an elected Islamist president. The violence has been concentrated in the northern Sinai Peninsula, but there have also been several attacks on the mainland, including in the capital.
An AP reporter at the scene said the bombing appeared to have targeted two police SUVs parked along the road at a mobile checkpoint. The explosion completely destroyed one of the vehicles and severely damaged the other. Dozens of people gathered at the scene as police cordoned off the area.
Turkish Minister: Self-Exiled Erdogan Foe Will ‘End Up Dying in US, Buried in Jewish Cemetery’
Fethullah Gulen — the self-exiled Islamic preacher accused by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of being behind the failed July 15 coup attempt against him — will “end up dying in the US and be buried in a Jewish cemetery,” a Turkish government minister said on Wednesday, according to a Hurriyet Daily News report.
“There is nothing left for FETO (the Turkish government’s acronym for Gulen’s movement),” Forestry Minister Veysel Eroglu was quoted as telling the Turkish Parliament in Ankara. “The US is also saying farewell to it…they cannot rise again.”
In an ongoing post-coup crackdown, Erdogan’s government has had over 100,000 Turks arrested or dismissed from their public sector jobs.
In September, Turkey submitted a formal request for the US to extradite Gulen, a one-time close ally of Erdogan turned bitter enemy who now lives in Pennsylvania.
Turkey’s Jewish population — which at its peak in the 1920s totaled around 80,000 — currently stands at around 15,000.
According to the 2015 Anti-Defamation League Global 100 poll, 71% of Turkish adults hold antisemitic attitudes.

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Hamas is celebrating its 29th anniversary today. It released this video showing its masked members going through Gaza streets in their many, many white Toyota pickup trucks.

Spokesman Abu Obeida said that this year, 22 Hamas members were killed during preparation of jihad activities - meaning work accidents and tunnel collapses.

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The Gamal Abdel Nasser Secondary School for Boys east of Gaza City was destroyed during Operation Protective Edge.

UNICEF and the UNDP have contributed to rebuilding the school up to modern standards, to be the first "child-friendly" school in Gaza. It will have lots of open space, larger classrooms, and new labs.

The cornerstone ceremony was held this week.

Let's look at what this school teaches, since the UN has two separate agencies that support it so much.

Here is a video taken at the school in 2013 where students celebrated a depiction of an attack on an Israeli position, kidnapping a soldier and with a student finally destroying it with an RPG:

In 2014, the school hosted a speech by Ramez al-Halabi, a terrorist who had been in Israeli prison for eleven years for his involvement in planning two suicide bombing attacks, one in Kfar Darom (probably this one, that killed American Alisa Flatow and seven others) and the other in Netzarim (probably this bicycle bombing that killed 3).

Here are some paramilitary drills of students at the school in 2014:

Now it can be rebuilt to teach the next generation of terrorists,

Thanks to the UNDP and UNICEF.

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

This is a harrowing, and ultimately uplifting, account of how a Jewish family and community in Shomron dealt with the arson fire that devastated it:

By: Rochelle Cohen, Neve Tzuf (Halamish):

Nobody is going to believe me when I tell them that having to flee with our community in the middle of the night, close the door on our house, convinced I would never see the house again, and leaving behind our firefighting son, and friends, and then returning to what is only a very partial and unlivable house, has been a positive experience, but that is the case. Why? let me share  with you a little.

I am Rochelle Cohen, though those of you who remember me will have known me as Rochelle Goldstein. I made Aliyah from Melbourne 27 years, ago, and while I never lived in Caulfield my parents, John and Judy Goldstein did move to Caulfield and loved being part of the community for about 20 years

My family and I have lived in Neve Tsuf, a medium sized yeshuv [village], for the last 20 years, since the birth of our eldest child, Yael, My husband Doron (Darren originally from Sydney), and I chose to live in a yeshuv as that is where we felt we would be best able to contribute to the ongoing building up of the country. We are a community of over 260 families, of all age groups, which is somewhat unusual and we found very attractive.

The founders of the yeshuv, who were the group hardest hit by the fire are in their 70's and 80's, and of course we have many young couples, many of whom are children and grandchildren of those already living there. Neve Tsuf is a beautiful place, surrounded by one of Israel's few natural forests, on top of a hill that overlooks the coastal plains, and we are about 20 minutes from Modi'in, where my mother and brother's family live.

But I have still not explained in any manner what happened the other night, or how on earth I could claim that it was a positive experience.

So, we ate Shabbat dinner at close friends. The husband of that family happens to be the head of the volunteer fire brigade, and my 18 year old son is a volunteer with them for a number of years, There was much lively discussion about the devastating fires all over the country, clearly arson, the handiwork of Arab terrorists that we deal with on a constant basis.

After dinner we went with our hosts to the Bar Mitzvah Oneg Shabbat [Friday night gathering], at our shul [synagogue] hall, of close mutual friends, which was lovely, and then we walked back to our home with one of the Bar Mitzvah guests, whom we were hosting. It was a really enjoyable evening, as when I came in the door we found all our children from the 20 year old to my youngest of 8 all busy in a very lively card game that may have involved shrieking and screaming, but a great deal of laughing too. Eventually we convinced them that we all needed to go to sleep and bade goodnight to our guest, climbing the stairs and preparing for bed. The girls, Shalhevet (15), Ateret-Adi (12) and little Efrat (8), all came in to say good night, and maybe squeeze in another half hour before they would be forced to go to bed, and then we declared our room off limits and sent them out.

I was just falling asleep when Ateret-Adi came back. "Imma" she said, "there is a lady down stairs who really wants to talk to you". Confused to wandered downstairs and she said to me that there were flames to be seen coming from the bottom of the hill in the forest adjacent to our house.

That was it. I turned and shrieked, "Fire, fire, everyone grab a jumper, shoes, and a coat, and let's go", and that's what we did.

I woke our poor sleeping guest, threw a coat on her, it was freezing that night. We had, at Eitan's insistence, packed a bag of just a few things, clean underwear and Tefillin. etc, that was by the front door, just in case, I handed the kids bags, checked the house. We knew the drill, disconnect the gas, kill the electricity, leave doors unlocked for the firemen, leave windows closed, count the kids, leave no one behind, and go. My firefighter had left so fast I had not even said goodbye, but that was alright, he did what needed to be done. He was a good boy, and donned his firefighting boots, not wearing his favourite new hiking boots, so they would not be ruined.

And out into the night we went. By the time we left the house, maybe two minutes after the initial screeching of FIRE the flames were getting close and huge. The kids were a little ahead of us and asked again which way to go. I said go to the Rimels, where we had eaten the night before, they are in the centre of the yeshuv, it will be safer. We are coming.

And so into the night my children herded each other along, comforting and holding. We began the same walk, but hammering on neighbour's doors as we went. My husband went back twice to our immediate neighbour, in their wooden house, trying to convince them to leave, they thought they still had time. They refused him twice, but must have gotten out because I know they are safe and the only remains of their home today are the front steps.

I caught up with my girls while Doron continued banging on doors. Collecting our friend and her family, where I had sent the children we realised that their well-located house away from the forest was no safe haven as the flames were coming up the street, so our we all went into the night, a seriously religious Yeshuv, all running in pyjamas, but so what. At that point the alarms were sounded, people told to evacuate towards the exit of the yeshuv, in cars, so the cars started moving.

Our cars were not an option as they were in the fire zone. My girls by this time found themselves carrying children and babies, not necessarily sure of whose children and babies they were. And then we piled them in ones and twos into passing cars, seat belts be damned, arranging to meet at the designated spot.

When we met up the order came, via our phones, to move to the next yeshuv, Ateret, about 10 minutes away. There was debate. Those with family not far decided to go there and some found friends of ours said they were going to his parents in Modi'in. Great, I said, here are Shalhevet and Ateret-Adi. Take them to my mother. I told them that while I had never sent them sitting on knees and unseatbelted in cars, I said this is the time when one danger our weighs the other. I kissed them and off into the night went my babies.

I grabbed my (not so) little baby, the 8 year old Efrat, Yael, the 20 year old, who was still carrying someone's baby, and we began looking for another car with space only wanting to go as far as Ateret, how could I go further knowing that Eitan was here, fighting fires? We found parents for the baby, returned her, a car with space and the girls and I hopped in. Doron declaring he could hardly leave with Eitan here.

As we approached Areret we turned back to look at our yeshuv. We live at the highest point of the yeshuv, immediately next to the water tower. And from our vantage point on the road we could clearly see the water tower as it was totally lit up by the flames licking it. At that point I turned to the girls and said you realise the house is gone, that's it and it does not matter. The only thing that matters is that Eitan and all the others come out safely.

And that was the point, I realised that was the only thing that mattered.

The people of Ateret wrote a new definition for hospitality, they were waiting for us, directing us to their homes, where beds were made up, or to the boy's yeshiva, for as the boys were not there for shabbat we had all there rooms. We decided to stay there together in case Eitan came looking for us.

Together sort of. Yael had things to do. She began by looking at me and the clothes I had pulled on. She said Imma, you usually have a pen and paper in the pocket of what you are wearing,I thought she wanted me to remove them, it was still shabbat after all. Give them to me, please, she said, I am going to go room to room and make lists of who is where so we can account for everyone.

And off into the night she went. Finding the lost members of families, making phone calls
to see no one was left behind. Searching with a local nurse for insulin for someone who needed it.

At some point Doron turned up,  and we took to comforting Efrat, friends, the families around. Patrolling the streets that gave us a vantage point of our own yeshuv, still lighting up the sky, and thinking about Eitan.

By morning I realised that Eitan was not coming so I told Efrat that we would move to her very close friend's house. And we did. Knocking gingerly on the door at 7:30 on shabbat morning, I found three other families from Neve Tsuf, camped out, but as soon as the mother of the house heard my voice she came running out of her bedroom saying where were you, we were waiting for you. And that is where we spent the day, Efrat's friend gave her shabbat clothes, in fact many of the second graders were wearing her clothes, and somehow our host family who were no expecting guests this shabbat fed all 26 of us with hugs smiles, and a wonderful lunch.

You may wonder about the Bar Mitzvah [the boy who turned 13] . He was called up in front of 2 yeshuvim [communities], and despite the tension, lack of sleep and disappointment, that poor boy was magnificent and read beautifully. The familes in Ateret arrived at shul with bags of lollies to pelt at him, the Rav presented him with the chumash [Bible/Torah] they give the local boys, and they put on a kiddush [literaly the blessing for the wine said Friday night and during the Sabbath day but also refers to a small party held after the services end] for everyone, before making sure that every last refugee had somewhere to eat and be. We had such a warm wonderful shabbat that if you forgot for a moment why we were there, I might have said it was one of the nicest shabbatot [Sabbaths]in a long time.

And as Shabbat went out Eitan called, and everything was alright. His voice meant that he was alive, he was unharmed everyone was safe. Yes, our house was burnt, not to the ground, we are one of the lucky ones, but the three children's room a charcoal shells. No roof, no anything. Slight black remnants of the beds my kids had been lying in only hours before, that's it.

But I have my husband, my children, my friends and neighbours, and nothing else matters.
The Arabs want to set us on fire, the children in their beds. For them, our houses were a bonus, their objective was to burn the entire community in their beds. They failed and we are stronger. There is fire burning in the hearts of Jews everywhere. From the first hour things started arriving. Clothes, house hold goods, help. People.

We are all on fire and nobody is going to put this fire out. The outpouring of love from everyone is unbelievable. Naturally my mother and brother and sister-in-law have done everything imaginable for us, but so have their friends, and friends of friends, and total strangers, and people I have never heard of. We had to ask to tell people no more, the shul hall is literally overflowing with sheets, towels, clothes, shoes, and more.

But the hall is also full of people, sorting, helping fixing, piling. People everywhere. Somebody arrived with a truck from the northern Galil and asked me who was in charge, I said just ask anybody under 18.

The yeshuv found me a rental, are fixing it up for us, brought in yeshiva boys and ulpana girls to pack up our home to keep what remains safe from further damage, carry out the furniture unharmed, clean the rental, find beds, and fridge and washing machine, etc to put there. We noticed a bus parked in front of our house, and when we walked inside, found a group of men from Baltimore working inside with their Rav.  And they won't let me work, claiming I have all the paper work to go through, they will go the slave work.

I ran round the yeshuv yesterday organising various matters and there were chain gangs everywhere of people. Young boys with ropes around them pulling up half burnt trees in places that tractors can't reach. The kids, by which I saw young ones from 13 or 14, and naturally through to the men in their 20's and 30's, clearing, lifting, cleaning, carrying, You would think that nobody has a job to go to, everyone is wearing a new hat and has a new area of responsibility, and their full time job is to rebuild and help.

The girls, small, adult, and everything in between are fixing, cleaning, packing, feeding, hand holding, did I leave anything out?

They are burning, Burning with the desire to help. Burning with the need to build, rebuild and be built, burning with sympathy and empathy. We are burning.

We know how the fire began. The same Arab who was caught throwing molotov cocktails at cars a few months ago drove around the outside of the yeshuv, forest lined, and lobbed molotov cocktails into the drought dry forest on a night a gale force winds. And once there was a spark the rest spread, as they say, like wild fire. But the government is always slow to declare this an act of terror from a legal perspective, so it is unclear who will be footing the bill for rebuilding and when.

One of my daughter's friends, whose house narrowly escaped being burnt, told her about her fears for her grandfather. Her grandfather, who used to live in the yeshuv, and is buried in the cemetery at the bottom foot of the forested hillside, survived the Nazis. Her fear was that he may have survived the crematoria but would be burnt by the Jew haters after his death.

Avigail Ben Nun, one of the founders of the yeshuv, now in her 80's, and homeless, escaped the Nazis walking from Belgium to Switzerland has declared that we we rebuild it all, bigger, better, more beautiful, and we will.

I still don't know how we will rebuild, but it will be done because the evil people have lit a fire in us that will not be extinguished, and when they thought to ignite and destroy, we will let the fire of unity and love and caring burn on. The personification of ahavat yisrael [love of Israel] and achva [love/unity that everybody that I have encountered since has convinced me that good must come from all of this. And it will, because together we will win.

Those same Arabs who want to push us into the sea, but have not yet worked out how, seem  to think that by setting fire to the country we will run for the sea, and be gone. But they are wrong, we will let the fires burn, our fires, the fires of rebuilding and the fires of caring. I am already planning the party when we make a chanukat bayit [dedication party/ceremony] in our built home, and all the wonderful caring people who have given us the strength to get there are not only invited but expected to turn up.

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