Money Jihad

Zakat Financing Jihad

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 15:55

Long time readers of SFW know that we have explained repeatedly that zakat has been used to fund Jihadists because Shariah mandates it.

Here we have an article on the subject from a Muslim writer in the Pakistani media acknowledging the fact that zakat funds Jihadists and pointing out that the Pakistani government has done nothing to stop the flow of money.

There is probably a good reason for this: there is no mechanism in Shariah for cutting off zakat funds from those waging Jihad…

The month of Ramzan is one of the seasons which militants use to secure their yearly finances. While extremist and militant groups are set to raise funds during the holy month, Pakistan’s government has not taken any concrete measures to stop them from doing so.

Apart from routine fund collection through charity and donations, banned groups have three major sources of financial supplies: zakat collection in Ramzan; collection of animal hides on Eidul Azha; and foreign funding. Even if one of these supply lines is blocked, it will have huge impact on the militants’ operations.

The militants’ media publications are still available, which carry appeals for donations. Pamphlets containing such appeals can also be found on notice boards of some mosques. Banned groups are still operating in cyberspace and attracting people to contribute to their cause.

It is interesting to know how these groups collect funds through couriers. Wealthy Arabs in the Gulf States, who take the religious obligation of zakat very seriously, deem madrassahs in Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Bangladesh as deserving entities for their charity. They usually assess and set aside their zakat before Ramzan and engage local religious scholars in these countries to distribute it among the deserving. Pakistani madrassahs, religious parties and militant groups remain in contact with these religious scholars, who keep them on the list of the deserving. Religious scholars either visit the Gulf countries themselves or send their represen-tatives as couriers to collect zakat. Most militant groups also send their couriers to collect such donations.

Once officials investigating the collection of animal hides on Eidul Azha found links between organised money laundering and banned militant groups. Militant groups use animal hides as a cover to legitimise funds received from abroad, by showing that the money had been generated by selling the hides.

Most militant groups in Pakistan are continuously changing their organisational structure, networks, and tactics and introducing new ways of generating funds. Many of them have also created permanent sources for finances. Militant groups have established public welfare wings to cover their activities.

After they were banned, many groups resurfaced as charity organisations to boost their image among the masses as well as to avoid government restrictions. This ploy has not only helped them gain social acceptance but also enabled them to expand their support base.

http://www.thestatesman.com/news/opinion/zakat-and-militant-finances/72541.html

 

 

European tour operators evacuate thousands from Tunisia after attack

Sat, 06/27/2015 - 22:13

Tour companies were evacuating thousands of foreign holidaymakers from Tunisia on Saturday, a day after a gunman killed 39 people at a beach hotel in an attack claimed by Islamic State. Tunisia's Prime Minister Habib Essid said most of the dead were British, and Britain's foreign office said 15 Britons had been confirmed killed in the attack in the resort town of Sousse, 140 km (90 miles) south of the capital Tunis. It was the second major attack in the North African country this year, following an Islamist militant assault on the Bardo Museum in Tunis in March when gunmen killed a group of foreign visitors as they arrived by bus.


Ramadan Reminders of Zakat

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 17:20

Ramadan starts on 17 June and, as usual, with the onset of Ramadan, the Islamic media is littered with reminders for Muslims of the importance of Zakat, the obligatory charity tax that is one of the 5 pillars of Islam.

Zakat is also one of the most troubling aspects of Islam for non-Muslims and one of the most troubling aspects of Shariah-compliant finance, since zakat is an integral part of the Islamic financial system.

The accompanying diagram of zakat illustrates the problem. Included in the list of “Zakat Deserving People” front and center is the category of “In Cause of Allah.”

Widely circulated, authoritative Shariah texts, including Reliance of the Traveler defines this category as those who are fighting in Islamic military operations for whom there is no allotment on an army roster.

In other words: irregular combatants. They are properly called Jihadis, though in the West we normally refer to them as terrorists…

06/13 Links: Israel ‘exceeded legal standards’ in Gaza conflict, military group tells UN

Sat, 06/13/2015 - 17:00
From Ian:
Key Preliminary Findings of the High Level International Military Group on the Gaza Conflict
From 18th – 22nd May 2015, the High Level International Military Group, made up of 11 former chiefs of staff, generals, senior officers, political leaders and officials from the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Holland, Spain, Italy, Australia and Colombia visited Israel for a fact-finding mission on the 2014 Gaza conflict. We were led by General Klaus Naumann, former Chief of Staff of the Bundeswehr and Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, the most senior officer in the Alliance, and Giulio Terzi, former Foreign Minister of Italy. Also in the group were Ambassador Pierre-Richard Prosper, formerly US State Department Ambassador at Large for war crimes issues; and Mr Rafael Bardaji, former National Security Adviser to the Government of Spain.
This was part of a longer term project by our group, whose principal concern is how civilian lives can be protected and military forces can fight effectively when operations must be conducted in a densely packed civilian area. We will be producing a full report this autumn.
Our mission to Israel was unprecedented. We were the first such multi-national group of senior officers to visit the country. We were granted a level of access to the Israeli government and Defence Force that has not been afforded to any other group, from the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Minister of Defence, Moshe Ya’alon, right down to the field commanders responsible for fighting the battle on the ground.
We were well aware of the allegations made by some governments, the United Nations, human rights groups and the media, that Israel acted outside the laws of armed conflict in Gaza. Some have suggested that the IDF lacked restraint or even deliberately targeted innocent civilians.
Our findings lead us to the opposite conclusion. We examined the circumstances that led to the tragic conflict last summer and are in no doubt that this was not a war that Israel wanted. In reality Israel sought to avoid the conflict and exercised great restraint over a period of months before the war when its citizens were targeted by sporadic rocket attacks from Gaza. Once the war had begun, Israel made repeated efforts to terminate the fighting. The war that Israel was eventually compelled to fight against Hamas and other Gaza extremists was a legitimate war, necessary to defend its citizens and its territory against sustained attack from beyond its bordersMajor-General Jim Molan (Ret.): “Israel’s war was just,” reports Australian general after mission on Gaza conflict
Given our examination of the cause of Operation Protective Edge, it would be indefensible to argue that Israel wanted it, init­iated it or sustained it, or that ­Israel acted in anything other than defence of its citizens. On this basis alone, Israel’s war was just. It will be interesting to see if the imminent UNHRC report and the ICC inquiry can deliver fairness. Many do not understand it is not illegal to kill civilians in war as long as that is not the purpose of your actions, hence the appalling term “collateral damage”. Unlike our fight in Iraq or Afghanistan, Israel fights repeatedly in the same neighbourhood, and so its understanding and its intelligence is far superior to anything that I have enjoyed in similar targeting decisions that I have made.
While acknowledging the tragedy of death in war and given the immense capability of the IDF, it stands to Israel’s everlasting credit that far more did not die. But from the very top of the command chain down to the infantry and ­pilots, the personal moral position that individuals took was mirrored in the targeting processes, decisions on the ground and in the real care taken.
War can brutalise, but the Israelis scrupulously “cared” for the Palestinians. By contrast, Hamas was an enemy whose central strategy was to directly target the Israeli population and who repeatedly used their own population as human shields, both of which in any fair system would constitute major war crimes.
The women of the kibbutz were proud of their sons, but they would also be proud of what one senior Israeli commander whose soldier son was about to deploy to Gaza, recounted.
“Come back alive,” he said in farewell, “but come back human.” I wonder what the Hamas version of this farewell would be.
Jim Molan is a retired major-general in the Australian Army.Who is Guilty of War Crimes in the Gaza War?
Israel is accused of a disproportionate response to Hamas rocket attacks. Is this accusation true? How does Israel compare to other military forces fighting asymmetrical wars?



Israel ‘exceeded legal standards’ in Gaza conflict, military group tells UN
A multi-national military group comprised of former chiefs of staff, generals and politicians submitted a report to the United Nations on Friday indicating that Israel went to great lengths to adhere to the laws of war and to protect Palestinian civilians during last summer’s 50-day war with Hamas in and around the Gaza Strip.
The report was submitted to the official UN probe into Operation Protective Edge, the UN Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry, which is expected to issue its own report in the coming days. The findings are set to be discussed at the end of the month before the Council.
The High-Level International Military Group on the Gaza Conflict in 2014 held a fact-finding mission to Israel between May 18-22. It was sponsored by a pro-Israel group, was reportedly given unprecedented access to senior officials, and investigated allegations of war crimes and disproportionality.
The group found that “during Operation Protective Edge last summer… Israel not only met a reasonable international standard of observance of the laws of armed conflict, but in many cases significantly exceeded that standard.”
They wrote that “in some cases Israel’s scrupulous adherence to the laws of war cost Israeli soldiers’ and civilians’ lives.”Thomas Wictor: Israel didn’t kill 500 Palestinian children
Almost a year after Operation Protective Edge ended, Jew-haters are once again making the ludicrous accusation that Israel killed more than 500 children during the conflict. The true number will never be known, but it’s time to put this fairytale to rest once and for all.
We’ll use the list of names provided by the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights (AMCHR), a tally which comes from the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MOH). Right away we begin to see problems.
The AMCHR says 504 children were killed, but it lists 317 boys and 190 girls. That’s 507, not 504. Thus we have definitive proof that the press are merely stenographers for the Palestinians. Nobody at the Telegraph even bothered to count the names, and neither did the AMCHR. This was a propaganda exercise, and a sloppy one at that.
Although Palestinian media and “human rights” outlets got the names of the dead from the Ministry of Health, there are so many falsehoods that we simply can’t know who died.'Bosnian fans stepped on Israeli flag, hurled anti-Jewish chants'
Perhaps Israel national team soccer player Ben Sahar was on to something.
The forward made waves before Friday’s Euro 2016 qualifying match against Bosnia - which Israel proceeded to lose 3-1 - when he said that “the hostile Muslim spectators at the game [in Zenica] will spur us on.”
His comment raised eyebrows, yet it appears that his concerns were well-founded. Pictures emerged of mobs of Bosnian fans stepping on a replica Israeli flag before the match. There were also reports that some extremist fans were chanting anti-Israel and anti-Jewish slogans.
Two goals by striker Edin Visca and a penalty from Edin Dzeko helped Bosnia to a 3-1 win, reviving the hosts' chances of reaching the finals in France.
Visca scored in the 42nd minute after Israel took a surprising lead against the run of play a minute earlier through striker Tal Ben Haim.On 65th Anniversary, Looking at UNRWA and its Hamas Ties
On April 18, two roadside bombs exploded in the Gaza Strip. Neither of the IEDs planted by Salafi jihadists opposed to Hamas rule in the enclave caused serious damage, but both explosions targeted United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA) facilities. While the incidents were widely reported, there has been little questioning of why UNRWA buildings were targeted by those opposing Hamas. The logical conclusion is that in the eyes of those who planted the devices, Hamas and UNRWA are identified as cooperating entities.
Back in 2004, confirmation of UNRWA’s relationship with Hamas came from the very highest level when the U.N. organization’s long-time Commissioner-General, Peter Hansen, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, “I am sure that there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll and I don’t see that as a crime.” Hansen left his post soon after.
According to its critics, UNRWA allows the Palestinian Authority and Hamas to dictate what will be taught in UNRWA schools, including incitement against the State of Israel, the aspiration to martyrdom, and the demonization of Jews. Hamas is alleged to control the UNRWA teaching staff union and through those teachers, feed young and impressionable minds a diet of anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic indoctrination. UNRWA vehemently denies this charge.ISIS Jihadist Tweets Pamela Geller's Home Address, Urges Followers to '#GoForth'
International Business Times (IBT) reports that a man believed to be British Islamic State jihadist "kingpin" Junaid Hussain tweeted free speech activist Pamela Geller's home address, apartment number and all, accompanied by the hashtag "#GoForth."
The tweet came just hours after a third man connected to a plot to kill her and to murder Boston police was arrested. Hussain's Twitter account, under the name Abu Hussain al-Britani, has since been suspended.
Just last month, two terrorists were killed and one security guard injured in Texas during a controversial “Draw Muhammad” contest organized by Geller, who heads a group called the American Freedom Defense Initiative. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.UN-Sanctioned Saudi Blood Libel: Another Obstacle to Peace
Although Israel has been providing free medical treatment to Syrian refugees as well as Palestinians from the disputed territories and even from Gaza, the U.N. World Health Organization singled out Israel as the one country in the world to be condemned for violating human health rights. Saudi Arabia, which sits as a member of the U.N. Human Rights Council, sponsored the exercise in the absurd.
If hypocrisy needed a poster child, the despotic and brutal regime of Saudi Arabia, which is currently bombing Yemenite civilians into oblivion and is advertising job openings for additional executioners (growth industry in Saudi Arabia), more than set the standard.
Worse, a majority of the so called “civilized” nations of the world supported the resolution, showing that subservience to the power of oil trumps any semblance of integrity in the international community.
The Saudis can be dismissed. It is unnecessary to delineate their acts of brutality. These have long appeared before the world. The Saudis’ hypocrisy is a mainstay of their propaganda. If not for their oil, their anti-Israel vitriol would be disregarded, as one day the changing nature of the energy market will cause it to be.
With the exception of naive, leftist college students who are taught that the U.N. is a citadel of virtue, no one will take a Saudi-sponsored resolution seriously.Why the Iran Nuclear Deal is a Hard Sell
With the June 30 deadline for a deal with Iran over its nuclear ambitions looming ominously, the Obama administration is having a hard time persuading a skeptical public that these negotiations are going to tame the Tehran regime.
On the two critical issues—preventing Iran from weaponizing its nuclear program, and rolling back the expansion of Iranian political and military influence throughout the region—all the evidence suggests that the White House is engaged in what Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the former head of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, has bluntly called “wishful thinking.”
“It is clear that the nuclear deal is not a permanent fix but a placeholder,” Flynn told the House Foreign Affairs Committee this week. Iran, he continued, has “every intention” of building a nuclear weapon, and the desire of its Islamist regime to wipe Israel off the map is “very real.”
“Iran has not once contributed to the greater good of the security in the region,” Flynn declared, before concluding that “regime change” is the best means of preventing the mullahs from obtaining a nuclear weapon.Nuclear Deal-Breakers?
With less than three weeks to go before the P5+1 countries are slated to finalize the framework for a nuclear deal with Iran, an examination of where things stand today is in order.
The good news is that the regime in Tehran, ruled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is not likely to sign the agreement it ostensibly reached with the U.S., the U.K., France, Russia, China and Germany on April 2 in Lausanne.
The bad news is that U.S. President Barack Obama would rather risk having a mushroom cloud explode over the Middle East than let his fantasy of a diplomatic solution to global jihad go up in smoke.
None of this comes as a surprise. Obama’s dream of achieving a nuclear deal with the Islamic republic has been almost as great as his obsession with forcing Israel to establish a Palestinian state. And in each case, the fact that the realities on the ground make it impossible is of no consequence to him.State Dept Struggles to Explain Massive Nuke Concessions To Iran
State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke claimed Friday that the “goal posts haven’t moved” in Iran negotiations as he struggled to explain the administration’s latest concessions.
The United States is in negotiations with Iran in regards to their nuclear program. During Friday’s press briefing, Rathke struggled to define what concessions or conditions were required for the Iranians to meet for a nuclear deal to be achieved.
Associated Press reporter Matt Lee pressed Rathke to clarify what the United States objectives are for the negotiations.
LEE: But what if the concerns aren’t addressed? What if the access that they give doesn’t address the concerns? You already got the deal. They’re already getting sanctions relief. Or are you saying that if the concerns aren’t addressed at some point down the road, then they’re not going to get the sanctions relief that they would have gotten for that part of –
RATHKE: I’ve laid our position out clearly. It hasn’t changed.
LEE: Well, I’m very confused because it does seem that the goal posts seem to be moving.
RATHKE: No the goal posts haven’t moved.State Dept Struggles to Explain Massive Nuke Concessions To Iran


Iran reportedly stepping up shipments of arms, cash to Taliban
The Iranian government reportedly has stepped up shipments of weapons and money to the Taliban in Afghanistan in recent months.
According to The Wall Street Journal, which cited Afghan and Western officials in its report, Iran's motivations for stepping up support for the militants are to prevent ISIS from gaining a foothold in Afghanistan and providing a check on U.S. influence ahead of the planned withdrawal of most American troops by the end of 2016.
The report quotes a Taliban fighter as saying that the militants receive weapons from smugglers paid by Iran's government who traffic the contraband through the remote border region where Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan meet. Among the weapons Taliban units allegedly receive are mortars, machine guns, rifles, and rocket-propelled grenades. Iranian Professor: The Costs of Enriching Uranium Have Hurt Iran
In a public debate last month against an advisor to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollahi Ali Khamenei, Prof. Sadegh Zibakalam of Tehran University, who is associated with the reformist movement in Iran, argued that Iran’s enrichment program has been expensive for the country with little benefit. His remarks were translated Tuesday by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
Zibakalam argued that enriching uranium has huge direct operating costs, but the penalties for having an illicit enrichment program has hurt Iran even more. Zibakalam suggested that Iran would have been better off buying enriched uranium and incurring neither cost.
Zibakalam, who was sentenced to prison last year for questioning Iran’s nuclear program, made several references during the debate to not being allowed to express an opinion about the nuclear program. In a different forum last year, Zibakalam said that Iran’s threats against Israel were the reason Iran’s nuclear program is viewed with suspicion.Egypt opens border with Gaza for the first time in months
Egypt opened its borders with the Gaza Strip for the first time in months Saturday, allowing Palestinians to enter and leave the isolated coastal strip.
The Rafah border crossing will operate for six hours a day for the coming three days and 15,000 people Palestinians have applied to exit to Egypt, said Maher Abu Sabha, head of the Gaza side of the crossing. He said those were humanitarian cases and included medical patients, students and Arab residents whose residency permits were about to expire. However, he said only 1,500 of those were actually expected to pass through.
Rafah is Gaza’s only gateway to the outside world with no Israeli control. Egypt has kept it mostly closed since the militant Hamas group seized control of the coastal strip in 2007. The closure worsened after Egypt’s military ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood member, in 2013. Hamas is an offshoot of the Brotherhood.
Egypt has opened the Rafah crossing in both directions only five days this year. Last month, it allowed the return of Palestinians stranded in Egypt.BDS activists playing by unprincipled rules
BDS activists constitute a fraction of students, and they know passing divestment resolutions means nothing. No university has divested. But divestment is a hood ornament. The long game is about winning over tomorrow’s decision-makers and persuading them to turn on Israel.
Which leads to the worst hypocrisy of all. Though they routinely cling to their First Amendment rights as they excoriate Israel, no one shuts down free speech like BDS activists.
They refuse to engage in dialogue with their counterparts. They shout down pro-Israel voices on campus. There is no debate. For BDS supporters, when it comes to Israel, case closed.
Guess what, BDS people? Case not closed. You know full well the Israeli-Palestinian issue is complicated. Since Israel isn’t going anywhere, the only moral way out is a peaceful solution.
If you want really want peace — and so many of you drape yourselves with the mantle of “peace activist” — then practice peace. You don’t have to break bread with Israel supporters, but at least break the ice.
If you’re so right about everything, what are you afraid of?Fighting the good fight
While this year I was spared the dubious pleasure, I have come across my fair share of mid-lecture protests.
Anti-Israeli students often stage walkouts, which is a form of silent protest. They stand up en masse during the lecture, reveal shirts bearing prints of the faces and names of children who were killed in the Gaza Strip, place duct tape over their mouths and walk out. Once outside the lecture hall, their protest becomes very loud.
We always ask them to stay, to ask us the hard questions, to deal with the issues. We explain that the road to peace includes bilateral dialogue, and if they believe in peace they should stay. They never do.
Arriving at the University of Pittsburgh, we met a relatively aggressive protest rally, and needed the help of campus security to make our way across campus.
"You see that student?" The security guard, pointing to a young man, asked us as we made our way to the lecture hall. "I see him in every rally. Last week he protested for the release of wild geese, for the boycott of North Korean products, and for having peanut butter snacks in the cafeteria. It's his only chance to get any dates."Orange CEO sows confusion on Israel trip aimed to resolve dispute
The CEO of French telecom giant Orange, in Israel on a visit he said was designed “to clear up the confusion” over its dealings here, failed to clarify the company’s plans for business and investment in the Jewish state, and instead seemed to sow further uncertainty.
Stephane Richard, who met on Friday with both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former president Shimon Peres, said in a TV interview Friday night that his firm was not withdrawing from Israel — “absolutely not,” he said — and would keep doing business here. But asked in a follow-up question whether “the brand of Orange will go out of Israel,” he answered, “I don’t know. We will see.”
He also claimed that comments he made last week in Cairo about wanting to withdraw from Israel were misunderstood and distorted, but did not clarify how Orange would resolve its relations with the Israeli firm Partner, which has the rights to its brand in Israel.Jews are Excluded from European Universities. Does it Ring a Bell?
The case of Orange, the French mobile phone company that is considering abandoning the Israeli market, was on the front pages of all major newspapers. But there is a silent boycott of the Jewish State which is more insidious, latent and even more dangerous because it undermines Israel's cultural superiority and cuts Israel's link with the rest of the world.
In 2002, the year of the beginning of the academic campaign against Israel, Paul Zinger, the head of the Scientific Association of Israel, revealed that more than seven thousand scientific research projects are sent from Israel abroad every year. Dozens of scientific papers were returned that year, with the terse explanation: "We refuse to examine any document from Israel". That phenomenon now seems out of control.
"The academic boycott is illegal according to all academic organizations in the world," says Professor Zvi Ziegler, a mathematician at the Technion (Institute of Technology in Haifa) and head of the main scientific forum fighting the boycott. "It is against progress, so you will not find universities or European academics who officially boycott Israel. But many do silently, behind the scenes".
Among the silent measures taken by the boycotters is refusing to participate in conferences held in Israel, ignoring requests to write letters of recommendation for Israeli scholars looking for promotions, and refusing contributions from Israeli scholars.
This happened to Oren Yiftachel, a leftist Ben Gurion University scholar, whose publication, sent to the magazine Political Geography, was refused by their saying that they did not accept anything that came from the state of the Jews. Finland’s Anti-Israel Disgrace Spawns New Activist Group
Finland excluded the centrist JNF from its "World Village Festival," but the pro-Israel forces did not take that sitting down.
The head of the Finnish branch of ICAHD, Skysy Räsänen, crowed that banning the JNF was “a victory for the BDS movement.”
KEPA also pointed to testimonies by, amongst others, Rabbis for Human Rights, as justification for banning the JNF.
While the JNF was mild in its response, there were some who were less so.
One organization, a brand new pro-Israel group that calls itself VOIS – Voice of Israel in Scandinavia, is a spin-off from a larger pro-Israel organization.
VOIS was galvanized by the rejection of JNF from the Festival. It set up a presence outside the gates to the Festival, and handed out pro-Israel literature, engaged with those entering the Village, and directly challenged the organizers of the event on the JNF ban.
One member of the group marched into the Village and spoke directly to Jonas Bistrom, KEPA’s development policy specialist. This VOIS member, Kenneth Sikorski, sought to engage Bistrom about the exclusion of the JNF from the Festival. Specifically, as Sikorski told the JewishPress.com, Bistrom was asked whether the WVF asked the JNF for a response to the allegations leveled against it, before the decision was made to exclude the pro-Israel organization. Sikorski also pressed Bistrom on whom KEPA had relied in making the exclusion determination.Israel crisis averted in Missouri as biology professor’s anti-Zionist course nixed
A University of Missouri (MU) fall 2015 honors tutorial that pro-Israel students felt would promote bigotry and misinformation on their college campus has been cancelled. “Perspectives on Zionism,” which was scheduled to be taught by self-proclaimed “post-Zionist” and “Nakba Jew-in-law” George Smith, was nixed due to no enrollment, according to a June 10 announcement.
Yet the catalyst behind the cancelled course—Smith, a tenured biology professor who pushed for a curriculum that the instructor himself said would have included works by anti-Zionist authors such as Ilan Pappé, who has accused Israel of ethnic cleansing—is very much active.
The pro-Israel community welcomed the news of the course’s cancellation.
“I can now walk away with the knowledge that there is no interest among students [at MU] to take biased classes like Smith’s,” said Destiny G. Albritton, former president of MU’s Christians United for Israel (CUFI) campus chapter.
“We salute the MU administration for upholding academic standards and being a model other schools can emulate,” Roz Rothstein, CEO of the Israel education organization StandWithUs, said.Northwestern University Rabbi Calls for Stronger Action After Latest Antisemitic Incident on Campus
A rabbi at Northwestern University said the school must take serious action against antisemitism on campus, following yet another incident of anti-Jewish graffiti on university grounds this week.
“We need the university to be aware of it, conscientious that it is painful, and vigilant in terms of trying to educate the student population about the important of diversity and what these types of hurtful symbols mean,” Chabad Rabbi Dov Klein told the Algemeiner. “Whether it’s a symbol against the Jewish community, against the African American community [or] against the Arab community, these things are not tolerated.”
Construction workers on campus discovered the antisemitic vandalism on Monday morning at the construction site of the new Kellogg School of Management building, The Chicago Tribune reported. The daubed images included a swastika which was painted over by construction personnel later that day.
The incident was the second case of antisemitic vandalism to take place at Northwestern in the past two months. In April, university police found a swastika drawn on the wall of a study lounge in the school’s library.CAMERA: Christian Zionism: The Antidote for the World's Oldest Hatred
In what was an historic, precedent-setting event, the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) sponsored a conference titled “People of the Land: A Twenty-First Century Case for Christian Zionism” in Washington D.C on April 17, 2015. This meeting was reportedly the first of its kind in that scholars presented academic arguments in support of a Christian Zionism that is rooted in two thousand years of ecumenical theological traditions.
This symposium was significant in that the content presented in eleven papers represents an essential, and long over-due, scholarly contribution to the dialogue about Zionism in the Christian world. The combined presentations made a theological and historical case for a Christian Zionism that is substantively different than the Zionist movement supported by dispensationalists and proponents of an End Times eschatology.
As IRD President Mark Tooley pointed out:
Contrary to common critique, Christian Zionism is not a modern political movement, popularized by Left Behind fiction — it dates to the early Church Fathers.
In other words, Christian Zionism did not begin with the belief in premillenial dispensationalism first introduced in the nineteenth century through the work of John Nelson Darby and made popular in the United States through the Scofield Reference Bible. Rather, Christian Zionism is rooted in theological traditions as old as the Church itself.ADL Concerned Over Spike in Antisemitic Crimes in New York
The Anti-Defamation League expressed concern over the latest New York Police Department’s crime report, which indicated higher levels of antisemitic crime so far this year.
“The increased number of reported antisemitic incidents is significant and troubling,” said ADL Regional Director for New York Evan R. Bernstein.
But the ADL does not believe that the spike in incidents, 53 hate crimes against Jews this year, are a cause for alarm, said Bernstein.
The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force said there was a 29 percent rise in antisemitic crimes this year, over the same period in 2014.Anti-Semitic incidents reach all-time high in Canada
Recorded anti-Semitic incidents reached an all-time high in Canada last year, indicates B’nai Brith’s annual audit.
The yearly tally, released June 11, shows there were 1,627 reported anti-Semitic incidents in 2014, a 28 percent increase over the year before.
The previous record was 1,345 incidents in 2012.
Most cases last year – 84 percent or 1,370 incidents – involved harassment; there were 238 reported incidents of vandalism, or 15 percent of all cases; and 1 percent of recorded incidents, or 19 cases, involved violence.
Reported incidents of vandalism in 2014 declined over the year before by nearly 40 percent. But cases of harassment increased by nearly 30 percent.Mexican girls’ cheer-dance team does Nazi-themed routine
A cheer-dance team in Mexico drew criticism Friday for a routine in which they displayed flags with swastikas, dressed in pseudo-military outfits. One girl also appeared to toss a Nazi salute to the crowd.
The performance by about two dozen girls aged 10 to 16 and one boy came at a cheer-dance competition in the western city of Guadalajara at the end of May.
The girls wore red armbands, camouflage dance outfits and carried red flags as they strutted in marching-style formations.
A video of the performance drew condemnation when it began to circulate Friday on social media sites.
On local news sites, many readers said the girls probably didn’t know much about the Nazis, and blamed the event organizers and the team’s choreographer for the questionable routine.Hungarian ex-mayor fired over anti-Semitic tirade
A Hungarian county’s government fired a former department chief after he was heard making anti-Semitic sentiments in a recording that surfaced online.
Imre Sisak, a former lawmaker for Hungary’s Socialist Party, MSZP, was fired Tuesday from his position as the head of a department within the local government of the northern country of Nógrád, ATV reported.
In the audio recording, which surfaced online in April, Sisak rants about how “foreign trade companies are all run by dirty Jews” and describes the Jewish people as “a vile, dirty folk.” He referenced the late Jewish mayor of Paszto, Laszlo Kramer, as an example proving his point. Kramer passed away in 2013. Sisak served as Paszto’s mayor from 1998 to 2014.
According to ATV, Sisak eulogized Kramer after his passing, highlighting in a statement the late mayor’s “readiness, devotion to his voters and town, willingness to help and constructive attitude.” He also credited Kramer with “greatly contributing to the town, including by setting up an ambulance post.”Israeli Water Experts Present Green Walls at Expo Milano
Israeli water experts traveled to the 2015 Expo Milano on food production, culture and diplomacy, to present the latest Israeli water-saving technologies.
Among advancements Israeli innovators presented were so-called green walls, vertical gardens soiled directly into indoor and outdoor walls.
The Israeli team showed a green wall that had been planted along the Israeli pavilion at the event. The wall was about 230 feet long by 39 feet high, planted with rice, wheat and corn, and managed through a computer program and mobile app, Chinese Xinhua news reported on Thursday.Smart energy for off-the-grid rural towns
A new demo village in southern Israel’s Arava Desert showcases cutting-edge Israeli solutions for housing, energy, water and agriculture needs of populations out of reach of national water and energy grids in any part of the world.
The village, built in the environmentally forward Kibbutz Ketura ahead of last December’s sixth annual Eilat-Eilot Green Energy Conference, is a central feature of the Eilat-Eilot Off-Grid Hub, a project of the nonprofit Eilat­-Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative.
The village has three solar-powered model structures constructed by volunteers from Kibbutz Lotan’s Eco-Building Program – a thatch-roofed communal building with simple yet innovative sources of natural light and ventilation; a straw-and-wool insulated plywood house roofed with palm leaves (for ventilation) and metal (for protection from the elements); and a dome-shaped, thermally balanced “Earth Bag” house made with sacks of local soil.
These structures spark creative thinking about inexpensive, sustainable green building, says Tomer Weinstein, manager of the Eilat-Eilot Off-Grid Hub.Britain’s Prince William Praises Jewish Unity Amid Threats
Britain’s Prince William praised the country’s Jews on Thursday for staying unified amid threats against their community, the UK’s Jewish News reported.
His remarks were made in London at his first ever speaking engagement at a Jewish event.
“During a year when many in the Jewish community have had cause to feel under threat, for no reason other than simply the fact of your Jewishness, your unity is all the more precious,” he said at Jewish Care’s 25th anniversary dinner at Alexandra Palace. “Your commitment and loyalty to one another, and to society more widely, is ultimately what keeps you strong.”
Addressing more than 1,400 guests at the event, the Duke of Cambridge said British Jews deserve “particular praise” for caring for one another and for their generosity throughout history. He added, “The results of your commitment to one another within the Jewish community are obvious – the real and loving care that thousands of elderly and vulnerable people receive, among the many works that you carry out.”
The Prince also paid tribute to Jewish Care as a leader in providing health and social care services, especially in relation to dementia, to vulnerable members of the Jewish community in and around London. The organization operates a Holocaust Survivors Center that William said serves as “a second home” to its residents.

American teenager pleads guilty to charges of helping Islamic State

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 13:09
A 17-year-old from Virginia pleaded guilty in court on Thursday to charges of conspiring to help Islamic State militants, the first time the United States has prosecuted a minor as an adult in such a case. Ali Amin, of Manassas, Virginia, used Twitter and his blog to provide instructions on how to use the virtual currency Bitcoin to send funds to the militants, according to court documents. Prosecutors said Amin also helped another Virginia resident, Reza Niknejad, to travel to Syria to join the group that has taken control of areas of Iraq and Syria over the past year in a campaign marked by mass killings and beheadings.

06/01 Links Pt2: UN grants observer status to Hamas-linked NGO; Turkey's 'Jerusalem Fetish'

Mon, 06/01/2015 - 13:00
From Ian:
UN grants observer status to Hamas-linked NGO
Israel slams decision saying the British-based Palestinian advocacy group is a 'front' for Hamas
A British-based Palestinian advocacy group allegedly linked to Hamas was on Monday granted an observer status at the United Nations, in a move that sparked ire among Israeli officials.
The decision to approve the application of the Palestinian Return Center (PRC) was made by the 19-member Committee on NGOs, which is understood to be dominated by Israel's regional arch enemy Iran.
Israel's UN mission issued a statement condemning the decision.
The group, which does not acknowledge Israel's right to exist, has denied allegations by the Israeli government and other bodies that it acts as “a front” for Hamas. Yet in 2010 it was outlawed in Israel over suspected Hamas links.
Twelver[sic] members of the Committee on NGOs voted in favor of the motion (Including Iran, Pakistan, Sudan, Turkey, Venezuela, China and Cuba), three were against in (USA, Uruguay and Israel), and three abstained (India, Russia and Greece). Burundi was absent from the vote.
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor slammed the decision, saying “Until today, the UN has given Hamas discounts and let it strengthen its activities. Now, the UN went one step further, and gave Hamas a welcoming celebration at its main entrance, allowing it to be a full participant.
"According to this script, one day we may find Hezbollah sitting at the Security Council and ISIS voting at the Human Rights Council. This is the peak season for the UN’s Theatre of the Absurd." (h/t Yenta Press)JPost Editorial: Jew Hatred
Turkey’s Jews are looking for a way out in part because they are concerned by anti-Semitic comments made by the leaders of the Islamist Justice and Development Party. In 2013, for instance, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused an “interest rate lobby” of backing the widespread anti-government protests that he said were aimed at bringing down the economy and toppling his government. This was a thinly veiled attack on “Jewish banking interests.”
Last May, after Freedom House downgraded press freedom in Turkey from “partly free” to “not free” – thus putting the country in the same category as Libya, South Sudan, Ukraine, and Zambia – Erdogan said the move was motivated by Jewish and American interests.
“Could you expect a Freedom House ranking of world media to draft a positive about Turkey while David Cramer, a Jew, or James Woolsey, a CIA boss, or Donald Rumsfeld, a drug baron, are at its helm?” he asked.
Instead of admitting that there has been a serious crackdown on freedom of the press, Erdogan has instead deflected criticism by deploying conspiracy theories.
In Ankara and Buenos Aires, in the corridors of FIFA and Tehran, Jew-hatred blinds people to the facts, undermines the rational process of learning from mistakes and is ultimately self-destructive. Venomous anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism can only be obstacles to rational decision- making.
World powers should especially be reminded of this truth as they deal with the Iranian regime, which does not hide its hatred toward Israel, ahead of the scheduled deadline for a nuclear deal at the end of this month. Turkey's 'Jerusalem Fetish'
It is truly fascinating that Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, a professor of political science, believes that Jerusalem, built a millennium before the birth of Islam, is originally a Muslim city. And that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, -- Saudis should please not get offended -- thinks Jerusalem is the Muslims' "most important Mecca."
Jerusalem has always had a spectacular place in a Turkish Islamist's heart and mind. But pre-election fervor in Turkey has lifted their "Jerusalem fetish" to new heights.
Turkey's Islamists today look like Egypt's second president, Gamal Abdel Nasser, a Pan-Arab nationalist, and his army commanders almost half a century ago. On May 16, 1967, Nasser ordered U.N. Emergency Force Commander, Indar Jit Rykhye, to evacuate his force from the Sinai buffer zone within 48 hours. When Rykhye asked one Egyptian commander if Egypt was aware of the consequences, the commander replied: "Oh sir, I'll meet you at lunch in Tel Aviv." The UN force left, and Egypt and Israel were left alone to fight the 1967 war. This author does not know where the Egyptian commander had lunch the next day, but definitely not in Tel Aviv. His words, however, may have inspired Turkey's leaders.
Prime Minister Davutoglu, formerly foreign minister, has reiterated countless times since he joined the Turkish cabinet in 2009 that, "We will have prayers at the al-Aqsa mosque in the Palestinian capital 'Quds' ([Jerusalem]." This wish remains to be fulfilled. But that does not discourage Turkish leaders from cherishing increasing doses of "Jerusalem-fetish."
When a Kurdish politician said in a public speech that "Jerusalem is the holy city for the Jews," a furious Davutoglu held a rally and said at the top of his voice: "Jerusalem is our holy place;" and that he would never allow the city's "Islamic character" to change.


Seth Frantzman: Success and pitfalls of Palestinian anti-normalization
In the worldview of anti-normalization the theory is that while peace activists holding hands next to Damascus Gate and singing brings together Jews and Arabs in an example of coexistence, this makes Israeli rule appear benign.
The main thrust of anti-normalization activists is devoted to pressuring Palestinians not to cooperate with Israeli Jews. Professor Mohammed Dajani fell afoul of this in March 2014 when he took students from Al-Quds University to visit Auschwitz. He told an interviewer at Moment Magazine what happened next: “Students marched to my office holding placards that said ‘depart you normalizer’ and handed my secretary a letter warning me not to come back to the university.”
Dajani was critiqued in the Palestinian media. In another interview the professor noted that while Palestinians do not object to organizations that discuss moderation and peace, “They are against normalization of relations with Israel and the Israelis. But you cannot disconnect one from the other... if you believe in moderation you believe in peace and reconciliation... you can’t make peace with the other without dialogue with the other.”
But the anti-normalization agenda says it is better to sever relations with Israelis entirely, whether it is academic cooperation, peace hugs, research or anything.
A Palestinian woman who works with Israeli peace activists and appeared on a radio show hosted by Israelis told me she was criticized by her friends as a “normalizer.”
“They said I should cut off all ties with Israelis and Jews,” she said.
The violent attack on the hug event was indicative that those who think they are opposing “normalization” often can’t tell the difference between Palestinians, Israelis, Jews or foreign activists. Ben-Dror Yemini: BDS is a threat to Israel's very existence
ISIS? Iran? North Korea? The industry of lies spun by the BDS movement is convincing more and more people that Israel is the source of evil in the world. Make no mistake: This is not a campaign against settlements. It's a war on the legitimacy of the Jewish state. All reasonable forces, from right and left, must act against the economic, academic, and cultural boycott which has become a strategic threat. Yedioth Ahronoth is enlisting in the fight back.
Support for Israel in the United States is at its peak. But it's an illusion. On campuses, at research institutes, and in media outlets, there has been a consistent, protracted, and dangerous erosion of support for Israel.
It is already invading politics. Sidney Blumenthal was a senior advisor to Bill Clinton. His son, Max Blumenthal, has become a prominent and venomous activist on campuses against Israel's very existence. This isn't what happens in every Jewish family. Far from it. But that's the trend.
Israel is enduring one of the most systematic attacks against its existence. You don't need to be part of the BDS movement in order to be on the anti-Israel front.
When a member of Breaking the Silence appears at events sponsored by BDS, that is not criticism. That is demonization.
When Peter Beinart, one of the leaders of the Jewish left in the United States, who defines himself as a Zionist and Orthodox, claimed that on Lag BaOmer of 2014 Jews committed a pogrom against Palestinians, he was not working to criticize. He spread a blood libel.
When Richard Goldstone published the report bearing his name, he caused a propaganda hit to Israel, even though he recanted after some time. And the list is a long one.
The success of BDS is particularly impressive because it is a movement that uses the language of rights, but deals in practice with denying Israel's right to exist. The result is a major deception. Cruz Accepts "Defender of Israel" Award, Promises Unwavering Support
Accepting the "Defender of Israel" award from the World Values Network at the Third Annual Champions of Jewish Values International Awards Gala last Thursday night, Senator Ted Cruz said that "The nation of Israel has never been in more jeopardy."
As a presidential candidate, he made his support for Israel crystal-clear, and spoke strongly against the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran.
Among his comments were calls for moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, for defunding the Palestinian Authority because of incitement against Israel and partnering with HAMAS, and for defunding the United Nations if it continued to target Israel.
Regarding the BDS movement, which he called "anti-Semitism, plain and simple," Cruz said that any U.S. University that boycotts Israel will forfeit federal taxpayer dollars.
His 15-minute remarks were interrupted after virtually every sentence with loud whoops and applause from a room that included such notables as Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Elie Wiesel, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Dermer, Israel's ambassador to the U.S.In slog for White House, Graham hacks path through Mideast
When kicking off his campaign Monday, South Carolina’s senior senator is sure to blast President Barack Obama’s withdrawal of troops from Iraq, insist on the need to strong-arm Iran over its nuclear program and work to subdue the violent Islamic State fighters who have gained footholds in Iraq and Syria.
Yet in the early days of the 2016 campaign for president, Graham has already gone further than most of his rivals for the GOP nomination in saying how he would tackle such problems, while acknowledging the potential costs of his strategy.
Graham wants to put an additional 10,000-plus US troops into Iraq, adding to the several thousand there now working as trainers and advisers only. He says it could take even more troops to stabilize the Middle East over time, adding “more American soldiers will die in Iraq and eventually in Syria to protect our homeland.”
The Islamic State extremists, Graham argued at a recent campaign stop, “want to purify their religion and they want to destroy ours and blow up Israel. Every day they get stronger over there, the more likely we are to get hit over here.”
He added, “I don’t know how to defend this nation, ladies and gentlemen, with all of us sitting here at home.”
It’s a calculated risk for the 59-year-old three-term senator and retired Air Force lawyer who surprised many when he began to hint earlier this year he would run for president.Farhud ingrained on our history
The Iraqi government formed a commission of inquiry to investigate the riots, and found that the Nazi propaganda broadcast from Berlin was a key factor, and that the prolonged incitement against the Jews had prompted their murders by Muslim rioters.
The committee also found that actions by Grobba and then-Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini, who fled to Iraq in 1939, had contributed greatly to the Farhud.
Still, despite its significance in modern Jewish history, the Farhud is relatively unknown in Israel, and its events are excluded from the education system's curriculum.
One must wonder why the Mizrahi narrative goes untaught in Israel. How many Holocaust survivors from Libya, Morocco or Tunisia have even been interviewed by the media?
The history of European Jews in studied in Israel as if it is the history of the Jewish people as a whole, and there is borderline criminal neglect in teaching the Sephardi heritage. Students are taught about the toll World War II and the Holocaust took on Europe to great extent, but they know nearly nothing about the toll it took on the Jewish communities in Libya, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, and so on.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev would be wide to introduce the rich culture of Sephardi Jews into the curriculum, as they now make up over 55% of Israelis.
Edy Cohen is a research fellow at Bar-Ilan University.Jewish guys with Nazi guns
For a lowly ex-GI with little fondness for military punctilio, the offer was too good to turn down and off I went in Gorn’s jeep. We soon arrived at the unit’s encampment and I quickly noticed that something was missing: There were no anti-tank guns in sight, only one wooden replica of a cannon.
When I pointed out the omission, Gorn assured me that as soon as the Israeli infantry captured a gun from the enemy, we would be in business.
Indeed, within a short time, the unit welcomed a 17-pound artillery piece that had been seized from the Jordanian Legion. We made do with this venerable weapon until the battle of Faluja, where Israeli troops surrounded a sizable Egyptian force under the command of one Col. Abdel Nasser, later to become president of Egypt.
The beleaguered Egyptians fought stubbornly, but one day our unit, part of the encircling Israeli force, received a perfect present – a shipment of anti-tank guns from Czechoslovakia that was originally destined for Germany’s Wehrmacht. The weapons were so new, they were still wrapped in the original oilcloth, which we quickly ripped off to discover a curious emblem stamped into the side of the gun barrel – a big, fat swastika.
Irony doesn’t get much better than that – a bunch of Jewish guys firing a swastika-emblazoned gun at the enemy.Slain soldier’s niece lobbies to bring down theater over play inspired by killer
As on the night of April 25, when a 26-year-old medical student stood outside the Arabic theater holding a photo of the murdered uncle she never met — IDF soldier Moshe Tamam — while inside, a play based on one of the men serving a life sentence for his killing — Walid Daka — unfolded on stage.
“I was physically attacked by one of the actresses. They also called me a ‘murderer’ and a ‘Nazi,’” Ortal Tamam said of the protest. “It was a terrible night.”
Now, Tamam, a genetic researcher, is spearheading an effort to get the theater’s funding pulled entirely. In a little over a month, she has garnered nearly 13,000 signatures on an online petition, and says she has the backing of Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog and Kulanu chair Moshe Kahlon to boot.
Following complaints from the Tamam family, the Haifa municipality suspended its NIS 1.2 million ($300,000) in annual funding from the theater and set up a panel of inquiry to evaluate the content of the play and its future steps. The panel has since met twice, and was expected to announce its decision next week.
But the Al-Midan management maintains the play, “A Parallel Time,” while admittedly partly based on Daka’s life, is simply a fictionalized account of the day-to-day activities of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, and does not address, nor does it glorify, acts of terror.Welfare Jihad in Europe
Anjem Choudary, a British-born radical Islamic cleric who lives off the British welfare state, has repeatedly urged his followers to quit their jobs and claim unemployment benefits so they have more time to plot holy war against non-Muslims.
Choudary believes that Muslims are entitled to welfare payments because they are a form of jizya, a tax imposed on non-Muslims in countries run by Muslims, as a reminder that non-Muslims are permanently inferior and subservient to Muslims.
In 2010, The Sun reported that Choudary takes home more than £25,000 ($39,000) a year in welfare benefits. Among other handouts, Choudary receives £15,600 a year in housing benefit to keep him in a £320,000 ($495,000) house in Leytonstone, East London. He also receives £1,820 council tax allowance, £5,200 income support and £3,120 child benefits. Because his welfare payments are not taxed, his income is equivalent to a £32,500 ($50,000) salary. By comparison, the average annual earnings of full-time workers in Britain was £26,936 ($41,000) in 2014.
Although analysts are divided over the question of how many followers Choudary actually has, no one disputes the fact that he is far from alone in exploiting the British welfare system.
British taxpayers have footed the bill for the Moroccan-born Najat Mostafa, the second wife of the Egyptian-born Islamic hate preacher Abu Hamza, who was extradited to the United States in October 2012. She has lived in a £1 million, five-bedroom house in one of London's wealthiest neighborhoods for more than 15 years, and has raised the couple's eight children there.
Abu Hamza and his family are believed to have cost British taxpayers more than £338,000 in benefits. He has also received £680,000 in legal assistance for his failed U.S. extradition battle. The cost of keeping him in a British prison since 2004 is estimated at £500,000.Legal Insurrection: Israelis shelter in place near Gaza
All along the Gaza border, Israel is building shelters and people are staying.
Our journey off the usual tourist trail through Israel continued today with a visit to border areas near Gaza.
Sderot is famous for being the closest Israeli town to Gaza, and the first and most frequent target. The Sderot Media Center has a wealth of information.
Because Sderot is so close, the town has only 15 seconds warning once a launch is detected. 
There are bomb shelters everywhere, including on the street (see Featured Image – “Shalom” painted on a bomb shelter) and in the playground, where the bomb shelter is in the form of a large caterpillar so as to make it more welcoming to children.
Individual homes and apartment buildings are being retrofitted with “safe rooms” at government expense.
We met with Sderot’s security chief, David Shneor, who showed us the underground facility used during times of crisis as the town’s emergency response command center.JCPA: Intra-Arab Rifts the Real Reason for Palestinians’ FIFA Failure
The Palestinians’ failure to get Israel expelled from Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) is no cause for Israeli complacency. The reason that the Palestinian attempt failed has less to do with Israeli diplomacy, and more to do with intra-Arab rifts.
Behind the intra-Arab rift stands tension between Qatar, on the one hand, and Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States, on the other. The latter view Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup in Doha in 2022 as an effort to promote the Muslim Brotherhood’s agenda on the world stage. The Gulf States watched with concern as Qatar recruited FIFA President Sepp Blatter to its cause. In response, they backed Prince Ali of Jordan against Blatter in order to stop the Brotherhood from gaining access to Europe via the World Cup.
There are other political concerns at stake as well. Qatar has earmarked Jibril Rajoub, the head of the Palestinian Football Association, Fatah activist and former head of the Palestinian Preventive Security Force, to succeed Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas once he steps down. Rajoub, for his part, maintains close ties with Hamas in Gaza. (His counterpart in Gaza is Abd al-Salam Haniyeh, son of the Hamas prime minister.) The issue of freedom of movement between Gaza and the West Bank is aimed at creating a convenient link between Hamas and the West Bank. Thus, Qatar’s backing of Rajoub as eventual PA president is aimed at opening the West Bank to Hamas.Say it Loud, Say it Clear: No World Cup for Qatar
In a normal world, it wouldn’t be Israel that is the target of a campaign for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions. The tiny Gulf emirate of Qatar is a far better candidate.
Why Qatar? There are many reasons. Let’s start with its internal system of governance. Although a smattering of ordinances inherited from the period of British rule remain in place, Qatar is a state based on Islamic sharia law. Practically, that means you can be stoned to death for blasphemy, apostasy and, of course, the paramount “crime” of homosexuality. And if you’re a non-Muslim about to fall in love with a Muslim in Qatar, don’t—such “illicit” sexual relations will result in your receiving several lashes.
About 2 million people live in Qatar, but only 10 percent of the population, at most, possess the rights accorded to full Qatari citizens. There’s a word for that, and it’s frequently applied, deceitfully and wrongly, to Israel. I’m talking about apartheid, of course. The term is far more accurate in the Qatari case because, as in South Africa during the bad old days, a wealthy, privileged, and enfranchised minority rules over a downtrodden, disenfranchised majority. The group that suffers most from this grotesque system are Qatar’s migrant workers, estimated at approximately 1.4 million, who come to the emirate to earn money for their families back in countries like Bangladesh and Nepal, and who end up, quite literally, as slaves in private houses or on construction sites.FIFA suspect uses fake news in defense
Warner, 72, was arrested in Trinidad and Tobago last Wednesday on bribery charges as part of a massive bust of top soccer officials. He was pushed out of FIFA four years earlier amid another bribery scandal, which he blamed at the time on “Zionists.”
In a video uploaded to his personal website Sunday, Warner held up a printout of an article from the satirical news site the Onion titled “FIFA Frantically Announces 2015 Summer World Cup in the United States.”
He goes on to suggest that US efforts to prosecute former FIFA officials stemmed from the country’s “failed bid to host the World Cup.”
“The US applied to hold the World Cup in 2022 and they lost the bid to Qatar — a small country, an Arabic country, a Muslim country,” Warner said in the video recording, which was also uploaded to Facebook and YouTube. “I could understand the US embarrassment.”Helsinki Environmental ‘World Village’ Bans Jewish National Fund
The Finnish “World Village festival emphasizing the environment has banned the participation of the Jewish National Fund (JNF), the largest environmental organization in Israel. The Finnish government feigned it was powerless to interfere in the boycott and told the Israeli Ambassador to Helsinki that it has no say in the matter because the “Maailma Kylässä” festival is a “private event.”
Dan Ashbel, the Israeli ambassador to Finland, said:
I wonder how this scandalous decision is consistent with values such as eco-friendliness, fairness, tolerance, and the desire for peace. I wonder if the rest of the organizations in the festival are required to stand up to the same criteria.”
However, the Finnish government’s security forces were able to convince the World Village to ban the Freedom of Speech village, warning that an exhibition supporting the freedom of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine to publish cartoons of the Muslim prophet Mohammed might cause violence.
The JNF has planted 240 million trees since 1901, and Israel is one of only two countries in the world that registered a net increase in the number of trees at the beginning of the 21st century.United Church of Christ and The "Big Lie"
In just a few weeks, on June 26-30, the opening gavel will sound on United Church of Christ (UCC) General Synod. Two of the many proposals this national Synod will entertain call on the church to divest from Israel, and one of them will propose declaring that Israel's actions towards the Palestinians constitute "apartheid."
The UCC, representing approximately 1.2 million members in 5,100 churches in the USA, is just one of the member churches of the World Council of Churches (WCC), which insists on making Israel the whipping boy of a misguided "peace and justice" agenda. In June, UCC member delegates will have an opportunity to determine the direction of their denomination.
Sadly, the UCC delegates' choices regarding Israel will be based on documents, "proofs" and appeals built upon a foundation of lies, false choices and political fantasies that accuse Israel of being an "Apartheid State" and an "illegal occupier of Palestinian land."
The UCC's attacks against Israel are not alone on the Christian world stage. The UCC is but one small example of a growing number of Christian groups that advocate against Israel by using what some have called "The Big Lie."George Galloway would rally support for Palestinian cause if he became London Mayor
George Galloway has said he will use his position to rally support for the Palestinian cause if he succeeds in his campaign to become mayor of London.
The Respect Party leader said he would not call for the city to be an "Israel-free zone" as he did in Bradford when he was an MP there.
But he said that he would use the mayoralty to promote his "moral position" on the conflict in the Middle East.
"The mayor is not the pope and the mayor is not the president and he is not the prime minister or the foreign secretary," he told the BBC1 Sunday Politics programme.
"Of course, it's unimplementable. It is a moral position and my moral position on Palestine is well known.
"It would certainly be my aim to encourage the huge swell of pro-Palestinian support in London. Palestine has more supporters in London than anywhere else in the country."
The maverick left winger announced that he would be standing in next year's mayoral election after he lost his Bradford West parliamentary seat to Labour in last month's general election. Pro-Israel lobby to be formed in Polish parliament
Seventy years after the Holocaust, the Jewish state will be getting its first-ever pro-Israel caucus in the parliament of Poland, at an historic launching ceremony Monday in Warsaw.
The Israel Allies Foundation will launch its 32nd Israel Allies Caucus around the world when its representatives and those of the World Jewish Congress meet with Jewish and Christian leaders in Poland to mobilize support for Israel through faith-based diplomacy.
The new Polish Parliamentary Israel Allies Caucus hopes to garner support for the State of Israel through their shared Judeo-Christian values.
“As anti-Semitism continues to rise in Europe and around the world, it is moving to witness this historic initiative by members of the Polish parliament to publicly support the Jewish state just 70 years after the Holocaust,” said former MK Shai Hermesh, chairman of WJC-Israel.
Besides Hermesh, the Israeli delegation includes Knesset Christian Allies Caucus director Josh Reinstein, Israel Allies Foundation European Director Andras Patkai, WJC Israel executive director, Sam Grudwerg, Col. Moshe Leshem, Dr. Laurence Weinbaum, and Israel’s Ambassador to Poland Anna Azari.Guardian descends into bizarre anti-Israeli dreamland…literally
By way of a perverse kind of optimism, there have been those among us who have predicted that at some point the anti-Israel brigade in Britain would eventually run out of steam. After all, once you’ve flung totally false charges of racism, imperialism, colonialism, ethnic cleansing, Nazism, war crimes etc for long enough, surely you’ll just get bored and move on. But where?
If the latest preposterous offering from the Guardian is anything to go by, you go into dreamland, literally. Think I’m making this up? Try this from Dr. Giles Fraser, whose author byline describes him as “priest-in-charge at St Mary’s Newington in south London and the former canon chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral.”
Dr Fraser’s article is headlined, Little wonder that my dreams in Nablus are so disturbing, and it begins with him waking up at 3am in his hotel in Nablus after dreaming about a ginger cat and some animal described as a cross between a mouse and a spider. After a short while, he goes to sleep again:
“But dreams return. I am walking down the street with a woman, next to a large concrete wall. I can hear panicked shouts, the sound of a large number of young people on the other side. Suddenly, one of the panels of the wall rotates, like a revolving door.
“Through the opening I glimpse people running away from something, but the source of the panic is unclear. She goes through the concrete door. I do not. The door closes. I hear more shouting. I don’t know if I should have gone through with her. All I know is that we are separated. I wake again, sweating, confused, frightened.”
The Guardian sympathetically portrays extremist group ‘Students for Justice in Palestine’
If the Guardian had checked the links at Canary Mission’s site, or engaged in even a minimal amount of original research, they would have easily established that the group’s claims regarding the extremist nature of SJP are completely accurate.
- SJP was founded in 2001 by Hatem Bazian, an extremist who endorsed an intifada in Palestine and the U.S., and expressed support for Islamist attacks on American soldiers in Iraq.
- SJP has staged events in which Israel was compared to Nazi Germany.
- SJP chapters hosted antisemitic speakers.
- SJP chapter events have included Hamas and Islamic Jihad supporters.
- SJP members have physically assaulted Jewish students on campus and often disrupt pro-Israel events.
- Protests organized by SJP chapters have included hate-speech and chants such as “From the River to the Sea Palestine will be Free” – calling for the destruction of the Jewish State.
- SJP members have been condemned for using social media site to post antisemitic graphics. In 2014, SJP’s Tumblr account actually published a Nazi propaganda poster, captioned “Liberators”, seen here:
Finally, note the photo (seen at the beginning of this post) the Guardian used – a still shot taken from an SJP rally at Northeastern University in Boston in 2014 – designed to portray SJP activists in a sympathetic light.
As you can see in the following clip of the very protest in question, members of the group can be heard chanting their support for another violent intifada.Kevin Connolly continues the BBC’s amplification of anti-Israel delegitimisation
Once again, no effort was made by Connolly to provide listeners with the necessary background information which would help them understand why the Israeli army and intelligence services should be interested in the activities of people such as Mahmoud Sarsak or Omar Abu Rois. And whilst Connolly again interviewed Israeli footballer Yossi Benayoun along with former Israeli diplomat Alan Baker, neither of those interviewees represent an official Israeli response.
As readers may be aware, in the end Jibril Rajoub withdrew his original motion from the FIFA agenda – for the time being at least and much to the chagrin of many. Interestingly, there has to date been no coverage of that development in the story on the BBC News website’s Middle East page.
The outstanding feature of all the BBC’s coverage of this latest Palestinian attempt to delegitimize Israel in the international arena is of course that – in common with its coverage of stories relating to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions – the corporation has on the one hand failed to adequately explain to its audiences the political motivations lying behind the move whilst simultaneously giving uncritical and unqualified amplification to spurious labels such as “racism” and “apartheid”.
That editorial policy makes the BBC a self-conscripted partner in the carefully orchestrated campaign to portray Israel as an entity which no right-minded person can countenance and that of course is an issue upon which the publicly funded broadcaster must be held to account. 42+1 years on BBC still refrains from using the word terror
On May 27th the BBC World Service sent the following Tweet to its one hundred and ninety-four thousand followers.
The link promoted in that tweet leads to a filmed report which was actually first broadcast a year ago. As was noted here then, the synopsis to that report about the 1972 Lod Airport Massacre makes no use of the words terror, terrorism or terrorists.
That observation still stands. Hollande warns of resurgent anti-Semitism
French President Francois Hollande reiterated statements against anti-Semitism at a ceremony honoring a part-Jewish victim of the Nazis along with three other resistance fighters.
Hollande made the statements on Wednesday, at a ceremony for the reburial of the resistance fighters’ remains in the French republic’s Pantheon in Paris.
“Seventy years on, these hatreds re-emerge,” Hollande said of the racism promoted by the Nazis and their French collaborators during Germany’s occupation of France. The haters have “different faces and under different circumstances, but always with the same words, and the same intentions. They target innocents, journalists, Jews and policemen,” Hollande said.
He also linked Nazi hatred to the killing of 17 people in Paris, in a series of attacks by Muslim fanatics in Paris in January. On Jan. 11, millions took to the streets in Paris to protest the killings.Belgian cop says he’d ‘kill each and every Jew’
A junior police officer in Belgium is facing dismissal after saying he would kill “each and every Jew” during a debate on Facebook this past Friday.
“The word Jew itself is dirty. If I were in Israel, frankly, I would do to the Jews what they do with the Palestinians — slaughter each and every one of them,” wrote the officer, who was only referred to as Mohamed N. in Belgian media.
The debate quickly spiraled as the officer ignored requests from others in the discussion to tone down his statements, according to a report in Belgian paper Le Soir.
The officer was going by the pseudonym Bebeto Gladiateur.
“If this is true, this gentleman will see the door. There is no question about it,” Le Soir quoted Molenbeek Mayor Françoise Schepmans as saying. “The guardians of the peace assume a role of mediation in the community. They are the image of communal authority. His words shocked me… I cannot tolerate such an attitude of a communal agent.”Music used as resistance to the Nazis captures new audiences
It might be hearing the survivors’ haunting voices, singing Yiddish songs recorded after the Holocaust, or maybe it’s listening to romantic songs from the “cabaret” at Westerbork, where Jews awaited weekly transports to death.
With many back-stories to choose from, a new wave of researchers and artists is elevating “music as resistance” to the forefront of Holocaust education. A leading project is the traveling mega-production called “Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezin,” a memorial concert for the musical prisoners of the Nazi camp Theresienstadt, also known as Terezin, outside Prague.
Launched in 2002, the production hinges on a lavish, full orchestra performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s seminal Requiem, a Roman Catholic funeral mass. It was this complex Latin arrangement that Jewish conductor Raphael Schachter, imprisoned in Theresienstadt, chose to perform with a chorus of 150 fellow prisoners in 1943.
To build their story around the 84-minute Verdi masterpiece, “Defiant Requiem” creators interspersed it with live narration, video testimony from Theresienstadt survivors, and “show” footage shot by Nazis inside the camp. The finished product has been performed more than 30 times around the world, and recently wrapped a coast-to-coast US tour.Midburn – The freedom to be different
It’s three in the morning, and I’m lying on a mattress inside the Kino Time Resonance Pyramid, absorbing the throbbing, pulsating music emanating from the highest-quality loudspeakers. My audial senses saturated, I emerge into the star-filled Negev landscape as multitude lasers paint psychedelic pictures in the sky.
Draped in ubiquitous desert dust, I walk past the enormous pile of glowing embers that a few hours earlier was “Adam and Eve,” a towering wooden effigy of a man and woman that had imploded in a pyrotechnic orgy.
Hundreds of happy, dust-covered revelers dance like there’s no tomorrow in half-a-dozen installations around the sprawling site of Midburn, the Israeli version of the iconic Burning Man festival held annually in the Nevada desert.
The second Midburn, which ended a week ago near David Ben-Gurion’s home kibbutz, Sde Boker, attracted some 6,000 people, more than twice last year’s number – making it the third-largest event of its type anywhere.
It almost didn’t happen, due to police concerns about issues including public nudity, but Midburn spokesman Eyal Marcus told ISRAEL21c that compromises reached in court at the last minute let Midburn go forward.Hyundai seeks Israeli tech for its ‘connected cars’
Korean car company Hyundai aims to become a leader in connected car technology – and it wants to use Israeli tech talent to accomplish that goal.
The company is sponsoring its first app hackathon contest (Hebrew), with developers of the best apps getting a NIS 100,000 prize and a contract with Hyundai Israel, and possibly, Hyundai agencies in other parts of the world.
The car of tomorrow may not be ready to fly, but it is ready to be tricked out with all sorts of communication technology that will help drivers get where they need to go more safely, possibly more quickly – and definitely more enjoyably. Already standard on some higher-end 2015 models are entertainment systems that integrate Internet radio apps (TuneIn, IheartRadio, Stitcher), direction apps (Waze, Google Maps), and communication apps (connections to smartphones, messaging systems).
Hyundai already incorporates these apps in some of its models (notably the i-35, one of its higher-end offerings), but it wants to go further – hence the i-Way hackathon, said Hyundai Israel director Davidi Piamenta.
“Unlike other companies, we have developed our own API, and participants in the contest will have access to it,” Piamenta told reporters at a press conference Sunday. “We want as many ideas in the first stage, after which we will cull the top three. Those apps will win prizes of NIS 100,000, NIS 30,000, and NIS 15,000.”Indian PM set to make historic first visit to Israel
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to visit Israel during the coming year, in what will be the first state visit by an Indian prime minister to the Jewish state. No firm date has yet been fixed for the trip.
The visit was announced by Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, who revealed she is also planning on traveling to the region in the near future, with stops in Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. Swaraj said the purpose of the tour was to strengthen India’s ties with regional governments.
The Modi trip would culminate a steady improvement in bilateral ties since Israel and India formalized full diplomatic relations in 1992.
However, it would not be the Indian politician’s first time in Israel; Modi visited Israel during his term as chief minister of Gurajat province, a position he held from 2001 to 2014.

Modi, who was elected prime minister last year, has made developing cooperation with Israel a focus for his government’s diplomatic policies. (h/t Herb Glatter)Tens of thousands attend NYC Israel solidarity parade
Tens of thousands of people gathered in the streets of New York on Sunday to mark the 51st annual Celebrate Israel Parade.
American and Israeli politicians joined 30,000 other people who marched up Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue in a show of solidarity with Israel for the all-day event marking Israel’s 67th birthday.
A number of Knesset members, including Minister without portfolio Ofir Akunis, Minister of Science, Technology and Space Danny Danon (Likud), Avraham Naguise (Likud), Yoav Ben Tzur (Shas) and Revital Swid and Ksenia Svetlova (Zionist Union) represented the Israeli parliament at the parade.
New York Mayor Bill De Blasio also attended the event.
Some 35 organizations including the Israeli government, Nefesh B’Nefesh and the UJA Federation of New York, sponsored this year’s parade entitled “Israel Imagines Peace.”
Close to 100 soon-to-be immigrants to Israel from the Tri-State area participated in the march, according to Nefesh B’Nefesh.

U.S. President Obama visits family of journalist slain by ISIS

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 12:47

U.S. President Barack Obama met on Thursday with the family of American journalist Steven Sotloff, who was beheaded last year by Islamic State militants. The White House said Obama met with Sotloff's parents Art and Shirley and his sister, Lauren, while he was in Florida for fundraising and a briefing on the upcoming hurricane season. "The president expressed his and the first lady’s condolences for Steven’s death," White House spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said.


05/21 Links Pt1: PA TV: Jews "control the media, the money, the press; How to meet ‘Palestinians’

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 07:00
From Ian:
PA Antisemitism: Jews "control the media, the money, the press, the resources"
Another expression of Palestinian Authority Antisemitism appeared on government-controlled PA TV earlier this month. The host of a weekly program on Islam, Imad Hamato, who is also a professor of Quranic Studies at the University of Palestine in Gaza, stated that Jews engage in profiteering and control "the money, the press and the resources."
Hamato also stated that Israel, which he calls "a cancerous tumor," is trying to "Judaize" everything and influence the mind of "the Arab intellectual" so that he will accept Israel as "an entity that has a right to live":
"Israel has worked hard to Judaize the land, [but] it did not stop at that. [Israel] worked to realize something else: the Judaization of culture, [so that] the Arab intellectual embraces the idea of acceptance of Israel as a recognized body and as an entity that has a right to live. Israel, the invading country, the cancerous tumor - which we have already called a cancerous tumor in the past - many intellectuals today talk about coexistence and offering our hands in peace, and [say] Israel is part of the region. The noblest Arabs in terms of their Arabness were those who spoke up and said: 'Israel does not exist!' Those who did not say that were ostracized. Now, whoever says that Israel should exist is met with approval... They [the Jews] are usurers. See, the usury money and usurer banks, those who control the money in the world can be counted on one hand - a few individuals - and all of them belong to the Jewish world. They control the media, the money, the press, the resources, the plans." [Official PA TV, May 1, 2015]
Hamato has previously used PA TV to disseminate Antisemitic statements. As documented by Palestinian Media Watch, Hamato stated that Jews are behind all that is wrong in the world and that humanity will never "live in comfort... peace or fortune or tranquility" as long as "the Jews are causing devastating corruption throughout the land." Jews "control the money, the press, the resources"‎ - Muslim preacher on PA TV


How to meet ‘Palestinians’
Peter Beinart complains that Republican presidential hopeful Scott Walker visited Israel and didn’t meet any ‘Palestinians':
The trips Jewish groups organize for American politicians include more Christian holy sights than the ones they organize for their own members. But what they have in common is that Palestinians are talked about, yet rarely spoken to. Which means that politicians like Scott Walker return to the United States thinking they know something about Palestinians when, in important ways, they know less than when they left.
Maybe I can help him learn more. What have ‘Palestinians’ been up to lately? Here is some data (slightly abridged) from the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center:
During the past year there has been an increase in the number of vehicular attacks carried out in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, and they have become a frequent modus operandi of the campaign the PA and Fatah call the “popular resistance.” The campaign takes many forms, including the throwing of Molotov cocktails, rocks and stones, and stabbing and vehicular attacks. It enjoys the support of the PA and Fatah.
Since the beginning of 2015 there have been six vehicular attacks and/or attempted vehicular attacks; one Israeli civilian was killed and ten injured, eight of members of the Israeli security forces. Three attacks took place in Jerusalem and three in Judea and Samaria. The number of vehicular attacks began rising in the second half of 2014; during the year there were twelve vehicular attacks, half of them in Jerusalem (compared with two such attacks in 2013).David Singer: Pope Francis Has Joined The Evil-Doers
Abbas – Israel's putative "partner for peace" – leads an Organisation that claims the entire territory of former Palestine as another exclusive Arab fiefdom – denying the Jews any political rights in their biblical, ancestral and internationally sanctioned homeland.
Abbas's continuing refusal to recognise Israel as the nation State of the Jewish people has been a major roadblock to the successful conclusion of negotiations between Israel and the PLO.
Pope Francis – like his predecessor Pope Benedict – is apparently prepared to ignore that Abbas and the PLO remain sworn enemies of the Jewish people - pursuing the total elimination of the Jewish State by armed struggle as documented in the 1968 PLO Charter.
The Pope has strayed from the eternal message of the Psalms - the key to the spirituality of the Old Testament and an essential and permanent part of Christian prayer.
Psalm 28 in the New Jerusalem Bible declares:
Do not drag me away with the wicked, with evil-doers, who talk to their partners of peace with treachery in their hearts.
Repay them as their deeds deserve, as befits their treacherous actions; as befits their handiwork repay them, let their deserts fall back on themselves.
They do not comprehend the deeds of Yahweh, the work of his hands. May he pull them down and not rebuild them!



PMW: PA Adopts 'One State Solution' as Official Policy
While Israeli politicians continue to debate the merits of the “two-state solution,” their Palestinian interlocutors have long moved beyond that model for the solution of the Middle East conflict.
For Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, the idea of a “greater Palestine” - that would stretch from “the river to the sea” - is now an official policy.
If this policy had until now been elucidated verbally in Arabic, by “minor” government officials – allowing the PA to say that they had been speaking out of turn or voicing personal opinions – it has now taken on a much more official persona.
In a series of videos and images discovered and released by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), the PA's official propaganda ministry has made clear that when the PA says “Palestinian state,” it means not just Ramallah and Jenin, but also Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Beersheva.Netanyahu to EU Foreign Policy Chief: ‘I Support the Vision of Two States’
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he is “not for a one-state solution” in a meeting with European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Wednesday.
“I support the vision of two states for two peoples — a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state, and I look forward to discussing with you how we can advance that vision forth in a practical, secure, and responsible way,” Netanyahu told Mogherini, adding that his position on the issue “has not changed.”
The prime minister also said that the “peace and security of the region and the world demand that we insist on a better deal” with Iran over its nuclear program. The deadline for a final agreement between Iran and world powers is June 30.France to push 18-month timetable for Mideast peace
France’s upcoming bid for a renewed Middle East peace push at the UN sets a timetable of 18 months for a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians and threatens French recognition of Palestine should negotiations fail, newspaper Le Figaro reported Wednesday.
The report states that the resolution being drafted by Paris, and which is expected to be brought before the UN Security Council later this summer, calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, with certain land swaps agreed upon by the parties, and Jerusalem serving as the capital of both nations.
The document being formulated by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says the sovereignty of the demilitarized Palestinian state must be guaranteed, with a gradual Israeli pullout from Palestinian territory. It also says Israel’s security concerns must be addressed, and any Palestinian arms-buildup or terrorist activity prevented.Khaled Abu Toameh: In visit with EU foreign minister, Abbas repeats demand for settlement freeze, release of prisoners
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday discussed with EU Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini the latest developments surrounding the Middle East peace process.
Following the meeting between Abbas and Moherini in Ramallah, Chief PLO Negotiator Saeb Erekat reiterated the PA’s demand for a freeze of settlement construction and the release of Palestinian prisoners incarcerated before the signing of the Oslo Accords.
Erekat said that Abbas stressed during the meeting that he was in favor of the resumption of the peace process with Israel, but only after the Israeli government accepts the Palestinian demands, which also include acceptance of the two-state solution.
“We are making every possible effort to salvage the peace process,” Erekat told reporters after the meeting. “There’s great cooperation with the Arab League committee entrusted with discussing a new resolution that would be submitted to the UN Security Council. We’re also working together in international forums, including the International Criminal Court. All what we are doing is aimed at preserving the two-state solution as we face an Israeli government that has chosen the language of settlements, dictates, detentions and assassinations.”Norwegian FM Warns Netanyahu: Pressure on Israel Forthcoming
The international pressure on Israel to come to a solution with the Palestinians will only grow stronger after Iran and the P5+1 world powers sign a nuclear deal at the end of June, Norway's Foreign Minister warned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday.
According to a Haaretz report Thursday morning, Netanyahu and Borge Brende, who is considered friendly to Israel, held a notably long 90-minute meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
During the meeting, as reported by a Norwegian diplomat, Brende told Netanyahu that given the impending resumption of serious international pressure on Israel, Netanyahu's new government would need to come up with its own diplomatic measure.
According to the diplomat, Netanyahu responded positively to the friendly advice, saying, "I hear you loud and clear."
Should Netanyahu want to resume negotiations with the Palestinians, Brende asserted, he would have to agree to at least one of three conditions presented recently by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
The three conditions include: freezing construction in Judea and Samaria, releasing all Palestinian prisoners jailed prior to the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993 and consecutive talks for no more than a year, with a Palestinian state established by the end of 2017. PA Diplomat: We'll Submit Two Lawsuits to ICC
A senior diplomat in the Palestinian Authority (PA) announced on Wednesday that the PA will submit two suits against Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on June 25, reports the Xinhua news agency.
Nabil Abu Zneid, the PA’s ambassador in the Netherlands, was quoted as having told Voice of Palestine radio that the two suits are related to the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, as well as to last summer’s fighting in Gaza.
"Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki is to head a high-ranking Palestinian delegation that comprises rights groups, and will submit the two suits against Israel to the international court on June 25," said Abu Zneid.
He added that "the train has already departed the station and Israel has to hurry up to catch it, because refusing to deal with the ICC would be a wring Israeli choice."Iran Complains Israel Threatened Nuclear Attack
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon threatened to attack Iran with a nuclear bomb according to Iran’s U.N. ambassador Gholam-Ali Khoshrou.
As a follow-up, an Iranian military official made similar comments in a report Thursday by the regime’s Fars (Read: Farce] News Agency, which added that Ya’alon said Israel “will kill kids” in attacks on Iranian-backed Hezbollah.
Here is what Ya’alon actually said at a conference in Israel last week when he spoke about what steps Israel might have to take to defend itself:
We should be sure that it is a military necessity….
I do remember the story of President Truman, who was asked, ‘How did you feel after deciding to launch the nuclear bombs at Nagasaki and Hiroshima, causing at the end [200,000 fatalities]?’ And he said, ‘When I heard from my officers that the alternative is a long war with Japan, with potential fatalities of a couple of million, I saw that it is a moral decision.’
We are not there yet. But that’s what I’m talking about: certain steps in cases in which we feel like we don’t have the answer by surgical operations or something like that.
Iran threatens '80,000 rockets at Tel Aviv and Haifa' over distorted Ya'alon comment
Iranian officials have been thrown into a fit over distorted comments attributed to Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon that have swept across the internet and include popular anti-Israel sites.
A report by Iran's Fars news agency on Wednesday claimed that the defense minister supposedly said “We are going to hurt Lebanese civilians to include kids of the family. We went through a very long deep discussion … we did it then, we did it in [the] Gaza Strip, we are going to do it in any round of hostilities in the future,” while speaking at an unnamed "conference in Jerusalem."
The quote was most likely based on Ya'alon's comments from the May 5 Shurat Hadin conference. He was recounting targeting decisions in which he was involved when it first became apparent that Hezbollah was purposely placing weapons in civilian homes in Lebanon. He said that “If we don’t intercept the rocket-launchers in advance, civilians will be hurt, if not killed. If we hit the launchers, it will hurt or kill Lebanese civilians.” He said a “long, deep discussion” regarding the “moral and legal considerations” took place before the final decision to strike the rocket launcher.
Another quote attributed to Ya'alon, for which a basis could not be found, claimed that Israel would act "as the Americans did in 'Nagasaki and Hiroshima, causing at the end the fatalities of 200,000.'"
In response, Iranian Major General Rahim Safavi threatened Israel with violence, saying that "the Zionists and the US are aware of the power of Iran and Hezbollah, and they know that over 80,000 (Iranian) missiles are ready to rain down on Tel Aviv and Haifa."Report: U.S. Was Informed of Sanctions-Busting Iran Airplane Deal But Did Not Stop It
Israel informed American authorities of an Iranian airline’s efforts to buy Airbus jets, in violation of American sanctions, but the U.S. didn’t prevent the purchase, Reuters reported today.
“Israel learned from intelligence sources about this very significant breach of the sanctions in advance of it occurring,” the Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.
“We flagged the issue to the U.S. administration,” the official said. “Unfortunately, the deal still went through and there was no success in preventing it.”…

[An Israeli] official said the aircraft were sold to an airline that had been blacklisted by the United States “because of its involvement with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards” and Lebanon’s Hezbollah guerrillas.

A State Department official asserted to Reuters that “if there is sanctionable activity, we will take action.” As part of the nuclear negotiations, the United States has allowed the sale of spare parts to Iran, but not the sale of aircraft.Facing Saudi Blockade, Iran Says It Will Allow UN Inspection of Yemen Aid Ship
The captain of an Iranian aid ship, which is being escorted by two Iranian warships to Yemen, said that he will dock in Djibouti and submit to a United Nations inspection, Reuters reported today. The decision delays a confrontation with Saudi Arabia, which is blockading Yemen.
Earlier in the day, the Iran Shahed’s captain had said the ship was due to enter the Bab al-Mandeb strait linking the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea, bypassing Djibouti on the Horn of Africa and heading for the Yemeni port of Hodaida.
“We have decided to dock our ship in Djibouti so the United Nations inspection protocol can take place,” Hossein Amir Abdollahian was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency….
Iran has said the ship is carrying humanitarian aid for Yemeni civilians. Hodaida’s port is under Houthi control.

The captain also said that Iran would send a plane to Djibouti tomorrow. Iran previously sent two aid planes directly to Yemen, but they were turned back by the Saudi Air Force.Iran: Israel helping Saudis fight Houthis
Saudi Arabia has hired Israeli military experts to help in their war in Yemen, sources close to the Saudi government allegedly told Iran’s Fars News Agency.
The unconfirmed report published on Tuesday could well be false and part of Tehran’s media campaign against its Sunni opponents in the region.
“The Zionist experts supervise the Saudi-led coalition’s operations against Yemen directly in addition to intelligence and military coordination between the two sides,” the sources told the Iranian news outlet.Treasury says it won’t pay $1.1 billion judgment to Iran
Israel has refused a Swiss court order to pay compensation to Iran in an arbitration case, it emerged Wednesday. The court ordered the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company to transfer $1.1 billion to the Islamic Republic in a ruling over oil supply agreements dating back to before Tehran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.
“Under the laws of trade we cannot transfer funds to an enemy country,” a statement issued by the Finance Minister said Wednesday.
A judicial official quoted by Iranian state news agency IRNA said Tao, an Israeli firm registered in Panama, was ordered earlier this month to pay the compensation to the National Iranian Oil Company, in a legal tussle dating back to 1989.
In 1968, the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company was established as a joint Israeli-Iranian venture to carry Asian oil from Eilat to Europe via a network of pipelines that reach from Eilat to Ashkelon and up the length of Israel’s coast to Haifa.
According to the EAPC website, the company currently operates 750 kilometers of pipeline in Israel.
As relations between Israel and Iran were severed in the wake of the Islamic Revolution, the Tehran partner dropped out of the arrangement and the company is now managed only by the Israeli side.
However, for years Iran has continued to demand that Israel pay back debts acquired when the arrangement was still valid.Pentagon approves massive $1.9 billion arms sale to Israel
The details of the possible sale were sent for congressional review this week after being approved by the Pentagon, the US Department of Defense said in a statement Tuesday.
If the agreement is finalized, Israel will receive a supply of precision-guided munitions consisting of 750 bunker buster bombs, 3,000 Hellfire missiles, 250 medium-range air-to-air missiles and 4,100 glide bombs, in a deal worth $1.879 billion.
In addition, the package includes 14,500 missile guidance systems — known as tail kits for Joint Direct Attack Munitions — which convert unguided bombs into GPS guided missiles.
A shipment of these weapons will enhance Israel’s military capabilities and boost defense cooperation between Israel and the US, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which coordinates major arms deals, said in a statement.
“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to US national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability,” the statement read.Should Israel Take Obama’s Iran Payoff?
For months, President Obama has been trying to find a way to silence Israeli objections to a nuclear deal with Iran. Up until now, Prime Minister Netanyahu has been adamant in his opposition to what he and many Americans feel is an effort to appease the Islamist regime that will have catastrophic consequences for the security of both the United States and Israel. But, if reports are correct, the Israeli government is preparing to make the best of an awful situation by accepting a massive military assistance package from the U.S. in exchange for what an unnamed senior administration official describes as “some quiet from the Israelis.” While it can be argued that expediency demands that Netanyahu seek to get what help from the Americans that he can, with the outcome of the nuclear negotiations still hanging in the balance, this isn’t the moment for the Israelis to go into the tank for Obama on Iran.
As the Israeli press is reporting, the Americans are prepared to pay what the administration official called, “a hefty price” for Israel’s silence in the upcoming months as a nuclear agreement is debated in Congress. That price will supposedly include up to 50 advanced F-35 fighter jets and anti-missile batteries. Given the importance of maintaining Israel’s qualitative edge over potential Arab and Iranian foes, it’s a tempting offer. Especially alluring for the Israelis is the prospect of more Iron Dome batteries as well as funding for more short-range David’s Sling batteries and the long-range Arrow-3 missile defense.
If, as seems likely, there is nothing Israel can do to prevent the U.S. from appeasing Iran and signing a weak deal that may not even guarantee rigorous inspections, then perhaps the only rational alternative is to accept a bribe from the administration for their silence. The same reasoning led some Arab countries to attend a summit here last week which, though boycotted by the kings of both Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, resulted in a U.S. promise about selling them more advanced military hardware. Even if it was accompanied by a weak guarantee of their security that impressed no one, let alone Iranians, the Arabs were not so proud that they turned down U.S. assistance.Senior security source: Massive arms deal with US 'not linked to Iran deal'
The massive US arms sale to Israel, approved by the State Department this week, is not tied to the emerging deal between the international community and Iran over its nuclear program, a senior Israeli security source has said.
The source described on Thursday the $1.87 billion deal, which includes large numbers of precision guided bombs, hellfire missiles for combat helicopters, and bunker busters, as being "part of a multi-year plan, that was updated after Operation Protective Edge [in Gaza last year]."
The source described the package being at the stage of requiring "routine approval in Congress after Pentagon approval."
He stressed that the deal has "no link with the [P5+1] deal with Iran [over its nuclear program]," and that it had no connection to the large-scale weapons deals that occurred recently between the US and Gulf states.IDF Blog: Globalization of Aerial Threats Calls for Globalization of Defense
This week, air force commanders from around the world gathered in Israel to address the globalization of aerial threats. The first international air defense conference included representatives from Israel, Poland, Germany, Greece, the U.S, the U.K, Canada, Italy and the Netherlands.
The rapid globalization of aerial threats presents the need for a global response. Israel is no stranger to such threats, as was evidenced most recently during Operation Protective Edge. After the operation, Israel’s Iron Dome established itself as the model for air defense worldwide. With a nearly 90% success rate, it is the most efficient missile defense system of its kind.
“The Israeli industry occupies a center-field position in the international scene of aerial defense. Regarding the development of advanced protection systems, Israeli systems have more than justified their reputation in the last conflict,” explains Brig. Gen. Shachar Shohat, Commander of the Israel Air Defense Force.
In continuation with previous collaborative efforts with ally armies (i.e., the “Nobel Dina” joint exercise with the US Navy and Hellenic Navy, the “Nobel Shirley” aerial exercise with the U.S Air Force), Brig. Gen. Shohat was joined on May 19 at the IAF base in Palmachim by his colleagues to commence a productive collaboration in a first-of-its-kind conference. The main objective was to construct a plan geared towards improving each army’s collaborative effort in combating the globalization of aerial threats.
“The globalization all over has also reached the military field. The Western world is facing, in many dimensions, the same threats. We have to act together for the security of our societies.” -Maj. Gen. Robert Lowenstein, German Air Force Commander.Hezbollah: We'll Apply Strategies in Syria to Conquer Galilee
Hezbollah officials say they are preparing to use the strategies and techniques they learned fighting Syrian rebels along the border with Lebanon to conquer Israel's northern Galilee region.
The Iranian-backed Shia Islamist group has been making steady gains in its hard-fought campaign to wrest control of the Qalamoun region in Syria from Sunni rebels, including jihadists from Al Qaeda's Nusra Front, despite itself incurring significant losses.
But although that battle is still ongoing, a series of remarks by Hezbollah officials and propaganda outlets, translated by MEMRI, reveal that the terror group still has its eye on a future conflict with Israel.
Among them was Hezbollah official Hashem Safi Al-Din, who told Lebanon's Al Mustaqbal newspaper that "the resistance can replicate its newly acquired experience from the Al-Qalamoun mountains and Syria in the Galilee."Cheering Arab Crowds Greet Return of Vehicular Terrorist’s Body [video]
Last night, at midnight, the police returned the body of vehicular terrorist Amraan abu Dahim to his family in Jerusalem’s A-Tor neighborhood for burial.
Amraan ran over two policemen yesterday, and was then shot and killed by another policeman.
The family was only be allowed to have 20 people attend the funeral.
To ensure the funeral didn’t turn in another Martyr’s Day Parade, the police collected a NIS 20,000 collateral from the Arab terrorist’s family.
But that didn’t stop their terrorist-supporting neighbors from greeting the ambulance on the way.Khaled Abu Toameh: Report: Iran stops cash flow to Islamic Jihad organization
Iran has stopped funding the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization, which is already facing a severe financial crisis, the Palestinian daily Al-Quds reported on Wednesday.
According to the paper, the organization has not been able to pay salaries to its members for the past four months due to the crisis.
It said that the dispute between Iran and Palestinian Islamic Jihad erupted after the group refused to issue a statement supporting the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The Iranians, the paper said, demanded that the organization issue a statement condemning the Saudi-led airstrikes on Houthi targets in Yemen.The Emergence Of 'Galilee Forces' – Palestinian Forces Fighting Alongside Syrian Regime
In recent weeks, fierce battles have raged on several fronts between supporters and forces of the Syrian regime and the Syrian opposition, from Idlib in the north of Syria to Rif Dimashq in the south to the Al-Qalamoun mountains on the Lebanese border. Both sides see these campaigns as highly critical ones that could win the war that is now in its fifth year, and are sending more and more troops to those areas.
In addition to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Lebanese Hizbullah, and the Shi'ite Iraqi, Afghani, and Pakistani militias, Palestinian forces are also fighting alongside the Syrian regime. According to the Revolution Forces of Syria website, the main Palestinian forces fighting alongside the regime included the 60,000-strong Palestinian Liberation Army – "the military wing of the PLO" – and Liwa Al-Quds, led by Muhammad Sa'id, which comprises several thousand residents of Palestinian refugee camps near Aleppo.
This Palestinian loyalty towards the Syrian regime is unsurprising, in light of the fact that over the years, Syria has served as a base and a refuge for armed secular Palestinian groups, and, until recently, for Islamic groups such as Hamas. Against the backdrop of the fighting in the Al-Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus, and ISIS's entry into the camp, the alliance between the Syrian regime and the armed Palestinian groups has become closer, and the Palestinian Authority (PA) even announced that it supported the regime's actions vis-à-vis the camp.
In recent days, a new Palestinian group, the Galilee Forces (Quwat Al-Jalil) or Galilee Brigade (Liwa Al-Jalil), has emerged and is fighting alongside the Syrian regime in Al-Qalamoun and Rif Dimashq; this group is the military wing of the Palestinian Youth Return Movement, and is led by Fadi Al-Mallah, aka Abu Al-Fidaa.Daniel Pipes: As Syria's chemical weapons return, Obama is MIA
The famed “red line” warning that Barack Obama issued in August 2013 to Bashar al-Assad of Syria was arguably the defining foreign policy moment of his presidency: an unequivocal warning to a rogue leader to desist from war crimes or pay the price.
When the incident ended in a blur, with Russian-backed promises that the Assad regime would hand over its chemical agents, responses were bifurcated. The president and his allies hailed this as a monument of diplomacy, whereby a plausible threat led bloodlessly to a major improvement in behavior. In contrast, critics presented Obama as a paper tiger who raged with threats that collapsed when offered meaningless assurances by a well-established liar.
For two years, there was no verdict; the two sides kept making their points without closure. But now, closure is at hand.
That’s because there are currently there are multiple reports of the Assad regime using chlorine in barrel bombs, plus the discovery of traces of ricin, sarin. and VX.Bashar al-Assad's airmen laugh as they drop barrel bombs on fellow Syrians
New footage has emerged showing Syrian aircrew using barrel bombs, one of the most feared weapons in President Bashar al-Assad’s arsenal.
The video footage, which contradicts Mr Assad’s claim that no munitions of this kind have ever been used by his forces, shows an airman crouching inside a Syrian military helicopter, chatting to his neighbour as he lights the fuse of a barrel bomb.
Once the white touch paper is burning, the man casually pushes the weapon out of the aircraft and sends it hurtling towards the ground.
Barrel bombs are metal cylinders packed with high explosives and pieces of shrapnel. These weapons, which have no targeting or guidance mechanisms, are simply rolled out of helicopters as they fly over rebel-held towns and villages. Syrian Regime Helicopter Drops Barrel Bombs on Idlib Province


Libyan Cleric Justifies Beheadings and Body Mutilation "to Strike Terror in the Heart" of the Enemy
In a May 16 interview with Al-Tanasuh TV, Libyan Cleric Muhammad Bouajila, a member of the Libyan Ulema Association, explained that in principle, beheadings and body mutilation are prohibited, but are allowed under certain circumstances "especially if this serves to strike terror in the heart" of the enemy. Sheik Bouajila further commented that Muslims should fight non-Muslims who refuse to convert to Islam or pay the jizya poll tax. Al-Tanasuh TV is owned by Sadiq Al-Ghariani, Mufti of Libya who is associated with the Libya Dawn forces.

How Obama Lost Ramadi
The fall of Ramadi to the fighters of the Islamic State is a disaster for the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. The taking of the city brings IS to just over 60 miles from Baghdad. In addition to showcasing the low caliber of the Iraqi security forces, the events surrounding the fall of the city lay bare the contradictions at the heart of Western policy in Iraq.
Prime Minister Abadi had ordered the garrison in Ramadi to stand firm. He hoped to see a successful stand in the city as a prelude to a government retaking of Anbar province, over half of which is still in IS hands.
But in a manner reminiscent of the fall of Mosul in June 2014, Iraqi security forces ignored orders to defend Ramadi, and fled eastwards to the neighboring town of Khalidiyeh. This left Ramadi to the tender mercies of the fighters of the Islamic State, who have reportedly since slaughtered at least 500 people. It is important to note that even U.S. airstrikes were not sufficient to prevent the debacle.
As of now, Shia militias are heading for the city's outskirts. A militia-led counterattack is expected in the coming days. A further advance eastwards by the Sunni jihadis, at least in the immediate future, is unlikely.
So what is behind the failure of the Iraqi security forces and the continued advance of the jihadis?Krauthammer: Obama Is 'Either Delusional or Cynical' On ISIS
Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer said on “Special Report” Tuesday that the Obama administration must be “either delusional or cynical” given its statement that overall, the battle against ISIS has been a success.
“I would hope cynical, because otherwise we’re in deep trouble,” he remarked. “This is a tremendous defeat. It isn’t only a geographic defeat, the fact that Mosul is gone, Fallujah is gone and now Ramadi is gone. It’s that the Iraqi army once again ran.”
“You know, our whole idea is that we will train the Iraqi army,” Krauthammer said. “If you train people who want to fight but don’t know how to fight, that will work.. We actually had that opprotunity in Syria.”
“With Iraq we have the exact opposite, soldiers in name only who want to paid, with corrupt officers and sectarian officers who don’t want to fight. All the training in the world is not going to help them.”‘Birthplace of civilization,’ Palmyra faces final ruin by jihadists
The destruction of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Palmyra would be an “enormous loss to humanity,” the head of the organization warned Thursday, after Islamic State fighters seized the ancient Syrian city and archaeological site.
“Palmyra is an extraordinary World Heritage site in the desert and any destruction to Palmyra (would be) not just a war crime but … an enormous loss to humanity,” said Irina Bokova in a video published by the Paris-based group.
She added that she was “extremely worried” about recent events there and reiterated an appeal for an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of military forces.
“At the end of the day, it’s the birthplace of human civilization. It belongs to the whole of humanity and I think everyone today should be worried about what is happening,” added the UNESCO chief.Turkey: 7 Soldiers Arrested in 'Syria Arms Consignment' Case
A Turkish court on Sunday remanded in custody seven serving soldiers accused over the interception last year of an alleged consignment of arms bound for Syria, state media said, according to AFP.
Following police raids in previous days, a total of 10 soldiers appeared before the Istanbul criminal court, the Anatolia news agency reported.
After hearings that lasted all day, three were allowed to go free while seven were arrested ahead of trial and will now be sent to prison.
They have been charged with membership of a terrorist group, impeding the work of the government and espionage.
The arrests are the latest in a string of detentions related to the stopping and searching of trucks in the southern provinces of Hatay and Adana near the Syrian border in January 2014 on suspicion of smuggling arms into Syria.
Documents circulated on the Internet claimed the seized trucks were Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT) vehicles delivering weapons to Syrian Islamist rebels fighting President Bashar Al-Assad.In final days, Bin Laden urged followers to kill Jews
Documents swept up in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound portray a leader cut off from his underlings, disappointed by their failures, beset by their complaints and regretting years of separation from much of his extensive family.
Focus your fighting on America, not each other, the sidelined al-Qaeda chief exhorts his followers. In a videotaped will, he urges one of his wives, should she remarry after his death, to still choose to live beside him in paradise. He also directs her to send their son to the battlefield.
Despite some surprising quirks in the collection, the overall message of the 103 letters, videos and reports made public Wednesday hews to the terror group’s familiar mission: In the name of God, find a way to kill Americans. Kill Europeans. Kill Jews.
“Uproot the obnoxious tree by concentrating on its American trunk,” bin Laden writes in a letter urging al-Qaeda affiliates in North Africa to not be distracted by fighting local security forces and to avoid Muslim infighting.

Top Democrat sounds 'alarm bells' over Obama rhetoric on Islamic State

Tue, 05/19/2015 - 14:02

A senior House of Representatives Democrat said Tuesday that the White House’s description of supposed progress in the war against the Islamic State should ring “alarm bells,” and called the fall of the city of Ramadi to the extremists “a very serious and significant setback.”


Monitor: Islamic State dead in Syria raid climbs to 32

Sun, 05/17/2015 - 05:45

At least 32 Islamic State members, including four of its leaders, were killed in air strikes and a U.S. special forces raid that targeted the group in eastern Syria, a group monitoring the Syrian war said on Sunday. U.S. officials said the raid killed a senior Islamic State leader identified as a Tunisian who helped to manage its black-market sales of oil and gas to raise funds. British-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights gathers its information from sources in the region. The operation in the eastern Deir al-Zor province marked a departure from Washington's strategy of relying primarily on air strikes to target militants in the area.


Al Aqsa preacher says to fight all infidels who don't convert or pay jizya

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 10:00
From MEMRI:



In an Al-Aqsa Mosque address, posted on the Internet on May 1, Sheik 'Issam Amira said that polytheist enemies should be given three options: "They must convert to Islam, or pay the jizya poll tax, or else, you should seek the help of Allah and fight them." "You should fight them even if they do not fight you," Amira stressed.

Following are excerpts:


Issam Amira: Today, our honorable Islamic scholars talk about defensive Jihad. "Fight for the sake of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress, for Allah does not like transgressors." In other words, you should always be polite, never go against anyone, and never point your weapon at anyone, unless someone attacks you. In all other cases, everything must be peaceful. No!

When you face a polytheist enemy, you should give him three options: They must convert to Islam, or pay the jizya poll tax, or else, you should seek the help of Allah and fight them. You should fight them even if they do not fight you. Seek the help of Allah, and fight them. Let the scholars hear this: You should seek the help of Allah and fight them. Only when they fight you? No! When they refuse to convert to Islam, and refuse to pay the jizya. In such a case, it is meaningless [to let them] keep enjoying their life in this world, eating from the sustenance bestowed by Allah, yet disbelieving in Him. No! against their will, we shall subjugate them to the rule of Allah, without forcing them to convert to Islam.Of course, there was an immediate outcry and denunciations from the moderate Muslims upon hearing about this.

Just kidding!

Amira once taught in UNRWA schools. He became involved with Hizb ut-Tahrir and now preaches at a mosque in Beit Safafa, but often preaches at Al Aqsa.

Saudis under time pressure to break Yemen stalemate

Tue, 04/28/2015 - 09:56
By Noah Browning and Angus McDowall DUBAI/RIYADH (Reuters) - The frontlines of Yemen's messy civil war have barely moved after weeks of Saudi air strikes and fighting between rival factions, but behind the scenes there are faint signs of shifts that could alter the balance on the ground. At stake is the stability and political future of a country that is home to al Qaeda's most active international wing, has become a theater of rivalry between top regional powers Saudi Arabia and Iran, and sits on main shipping routes. "By reading the map of all Yemen's battles and military clashes, both the air strikes and the internal Yemeni battles, one can see that the front is in the same place it was the day it all started, and neither side could push its advantage," political activist Bushra al-Maqtari wrote in the al-Araby al-Jadeed newspaper on Sunday. The Houthi militia and allied army units loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh still hold central and southern areas they seized in late March and early April, but have failed to quash resistance from forces backing the exiled government.

Money Jihad Blog Sets the Record Straight on Halal Certification

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 13:15

Don’t assume that Halal is benevolent. The system of zakat as well as certification fees bely a nefarious aspect, as detailed by Money Jihad blog…

“Fact check” on halal-terror links ignores facts

https://moneyjihad.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/fact-check-on-halal-terror-links-ignores-facts/

04/21 Links Pt1: Why Arabs Loathe Hezbollah; Obama Kept Iran's Short Breakout Time a Secret

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 07:00
From Ian:
Khaled Abu Toameh: Why Arabs Loathe Hezbollah
Tariq al-Hamid, a prominent Saudi editor and political analyst, said that both Iran and Hezbollah have "gone haywire" as a result of the Saudi-led coalition's air strikes against the Iranian-backed Houthi militias in Yemen.
Al-Hamid pointed out that Iran and Hezbollah were now frustrated because of the severe blows that their allies have been dealt in Yemen. "They were hoping that the Houthi control over Yemen would boost the morale of their followers, who are already frustrated because of what is happening to them in Syria," he said. "All the crazy folks in the region are now targeting Saudi Arabia. What is the difference between Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda? And what is the difference between Iran and the Islamic State? The answer is simple; they are all trying to establish a foothold on the border with Saudi Arabia."
Addressing the Hezbollah leader, a Saudi blogger wrote: "You must pay the price for the crime you committed against Lebanon in 2006, when you destroyed Lebanon through your light-heated actions. All what you were seeking back then was to rally as many Arabs and Muslims behind you through your dirty trick." Another blogger wrote: "It is time for the Arab countries to arrest the terrorist Nasrallah and bring him to trial for his interference in Yemen's affairs and crimes against Syria, as well as his betrayal of his country, Lebanon."
Nasrallah and his Hezbollah terrorist group are now more isolated than ever in the Arab world. Until a few years ago, Nasrallah was seen as a "hero" of the Arab world because of his fight against Israel.
Now, however, many Arabs seem to have woken up to the reality that Nasrallah is nothing but an Iranian puppet whose sole goal is to serve his masters in Tehran. This, of course, is good news for moderate Arabs and Muslims in the region. But it remains to be seen whether the U.S. Administration and other Western powers will also wake up and realize that Iran and its proxies pose a real threat not only to Israel, but also to many Arabs and Muslims.The Emergency
Let us be clear about what the White House is considering. It is threatening to cease protecting Israel from the jackals at the United Nations and other international organizations. These words from the Obama administration came the same week that the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women singled out Israel—alone among the UN’s 193 member nations—as the worst abuser of women’s rights in the world. In brief, Obama is signaling his desire to Europeanize American policy toward Israel.
Two weeks later, Obama told Friedman: “It has been personally difficult for me to hear…expressions that somehow…this administration has not done everything it could to look out for Israel’s interest.” Why? “Because of the deep affinities that I feel for the Israeli people and for the Jewish people.”
Translation: Some of my best friends are Jewish.
Many liberal American Jews think of Obama as their friend. He is not—not the friend of any Jew who understands his people are under unique and unprecedented threat. Obama is working to strengthen not only Iran’s hand but also the hand of those in the United States who believe the relationship between the U.S. and the Jewish state should be cleaved.
Nor is Obama a friend of Israel, for his policies are now aiding and abetting the nation that poses a literally apocalyptic danger to the Jewish people. If this deal is signed on June 30, Barack Obama will have made the world a far less safe and far more dangerous place—and by signing it, he will have signaled his willingness to see the Jewish future sacrificed on the altar of his own ambitions.
The threat is not immediate. The emergency is.Why I began labeling Guardian Readers and their ilk “The Fascist Left”
Madeleine Albright was the first woman to become the United States Secretary of State when she was sworn in on January 23, 1997.
According to Wikipedia “Albright was raised Catholic, but converted to Episcopalianism at the time of her marriage in 1959. She did not learn until adulthood that her parents were originally Jewish and that many of her Jewish relatives in Czechoslovakia had perished in the Holocaust, including three of her grandparents.” It was during her tenure as Secretary of State that she learned of her Jewish religious background (or so she claimed at the time).
It was when her family history was mischievously ‘revealed’ by Britain’s Guardian Newspaper that I became forever alienated from that racist publication. They editorialized that the knowledge of her antecedents made for an unbridgeable conflict of interest between her Jewish ‘past’ and her senior American administration position as Secretary of State and therefore she had no choice but to resign from that position. It was a moment of shocking clarity for me, my Damascene conversion.
We do not ever repudiate a persons’ right to express themselves because of their race, their religion, their color, their ethnicity, their sex or their sexuality. That is one of the fundamental rights that inhere in a democratic system. To state that a politician should not have an opinion is absurdly illogical. In fact, I cannot stress enough how infantile the Guardian editorial was. If we assume the sanity of the Guardian Newspapers’ editorial staff then the only possible explanations for making such a statement was either temporary insanity or a concealed agenda.


Russia Wants to 'Redesign' the Middle East
Russia’s goals in the region have been opaque for analysts, even more so for people unfamiliar with Russian politics. Spokesman for the White House Josh Earnest belittled the Russians by suggesting the missile sale was all about badly needed currency.
But Fainberg says that that is hardly the entire picture. The money Russia would make from the deal is extremely limited and cannot hope to make a massive impact on a Russian economy in its sixth year of recession.
“Basically we often quote economic reasons and these are valid, real reasons. But the ultimate and decisive reason is of a geopolitical nature meaning Russia wants to ultimately redesign the Middle East to its best interests and this explains the intensification of its activities in the past weeks whether in Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen or Iran. For Russia it is also about containing the spread of Sunni fundamentalism through its Southern borders. The number of Chechen fighters in Iraq and Syria has been on the rise.”
Abbas is an interesting point in the Russian approach to the region. While Russia is clearly closer to Iran and Syria than the Turks or Saudis, they are doing more outreach to the Palestinian Authority than Hamas, the latter being more closely aligned to Iran. That is indicative of a Russian effort to have influence in every place that it can, even to the point where it sometimes has to make choices that will inversely upset one country while benefiting another.
How would Putin “redesign” the strategic layout of the region? By running Russian interests through what it perceives as the potentially most powerful country in the Middle East: Iran.Should Israel Abandon Neutrality on Ukraine?
Russia has worked hard to improve its relationship with Israel since the end of the Cold War, so while Russia would not be affected dramatically by an Israeli shift into Ukraine’s corner – a scenario Fainberg does not advocate nor consider realistic – it would still be an affront to the Kremlin.
“It would create a crisis in ties, but would not affect Putin’s image within Russia and wouldn’t affect Russia any more than the [European] sanctions affect Russia already.”
Some have suggested Israel and Russia have had a mutual understanding about the balance of power in the region, which by the looks of thing has eroded with the S-300 announcement. Yet, there is no clear indication as of now that Russia is looking to sell even more armaments to Israel’s rivals. That could change if Israel plays too assertive a hand in responding to the sale, suggests Fainberg.
“A crisis with Israel would not harm selling of arms to Israel’s enemies. On the contrary, there are plenty of potential buyers.Yet Russia does consider Israel as a military superpower and a key actor to deal with in the region.”More PA Lobbying from the State Dept Briefing Room
Can you imagine if some Jewish reporter for, say, JewishPress.com, repeatedly prodded the State Department spokesperson to provide additional funding to Israel during the daily State Department Press Briefings?
How long do you think something like that would go on before someone, whether from the State Department, one of the other media outlets, or one of the reporter’s employers told the Jewish reporter to stop being so unprofessional or they would be removed from the State Department press briefings?
So what is the deal with Said Arikat?
Why does no one raise an eyebrow when when, month after month, Arikat acts as a lobbyist for the Palestinian Authority instead of a professional journalist? Why is Arikat permitted to whine over the reduction in funding to the PA, and to beg the State Department to intervene?Jennifer Rubin: Obama is prepared to give Iran anything and everything for a deal
If Israelis are expressing “shock and amazement Friday night at US President Barack Obama’s stated openness to Iran’s demand for the immediate lifting of all economic sanctions, and his defense of Russia’s agreement to supply a sophisticated air defense system to Iran,” they should not be. The president will give the Iranians anything and everything to get his deal. “It’s deeply troubling that President Obama declined to publicly reject Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s demand that all economic sanctions against Iran be lifted upon concluding a final nuclear agreement,” Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) told Right Turn. “The president is clearly leaving open the door for significant sanctions relief to Iran up front to secure a controversial deal that will neither significantly nor permanently dismantle Iran’s vast capabilities to make nuclear weapons.” Remaining sanctions would be rendered a mere nuisance after that.
This massive concession is bound to run into widespread opposition in Congress and from our Gulf allies who already fear Obama is ceding domination of the Middle East to Iran. Such a deal would also test how far Hillary Clinton is willing to appease the left in the Democratic Party. Will she embrace the sort of deal that gives Iran cash up front for terrorist activities, leaves it with a nuclear infrastructure, does not allow go anywhere/anytime inspections and does not force Iran to reveal possible military dimensions of its nuclear program? If so she is destroying her image as a tougher-than-Obama foreign policy thinker and ceding the biggest foreign policy issue of our time to the Republicans.
The president who once declared the framework a “historic” deal has been forced to concede there is no deal. Now he’s signaling the final deal will be much worse than he or his defenders ever suggested was possible. He promised to dismantle Iran’s nuclear weapons program; now he is locking it in. He once insisted on robust inspections and gradual lifting of sanctions. Those will go by the wayside too. Ultimately, Congress, the 2016 presidential candidates, our allies and the American people will need to explain that total appeasement — which is where this is heading — will not be acceptable. They will then have to devise the means for stopping Obama or immediately reversing his “diplomacy” (which is more like promising to make a ransom payment). Unfortunately for the Saudis, that likely means beginning an arms race as they seek a bomb of their own. It’ll be quite a legacy if Obama gets his way.Obama Kept Iran's Short Breakout Time a Secret
The Barack Obama administration has estimated for years that Iran was at most three months away from enriching enough nuclear fuel for an atomic bomb. But the administration only declassified this estimate at the beginning of the month, just in time for the White House to make the case for its Iran deal to Congress and the public.
Speaking to reporters and editors at our Washington bureau on Monday, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz acknowledged that the U.S. has assessed for several years that Iran has been two to three months away from producing enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon. When asked how long the administration has held this assessment, Moniz said: "Oh quite some time." He added: "They are now, they are right now spinning, I mean enriching with 9,400 centrifuges out of their roughly 19,000. Plus all the . . . . R&D work. If you put that together it's very, very little time to go forward. That's the 2-3 months."
Brian Hale, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, confirmed to me Monday that the two-to-three-month estimate for fissile material was declassified on April 1. France’s Position on the Emerging Nuclear Agreement with Iran
In sum, France favors taking a tough stance toward the Iranians. The stick of sanctions must be waved during the negotiations, while acting from a position of strength and demanding additional concessions on Tehran’s part. At the same time, France understands that President Obama has made a strategic decision and is very determined to sign an agreement. Although France is neither interested in confronting the United States nor able to, it will maintain its firm policy while realizing that, in international relations, compromise is necessary. France will wait for a final decision by the U.S. Congress and try to gauge the mood in Tehran, being well aware of Iran’s domestic struggles and of the illness of Supreme Leader Khamenei. (According to French intelligence he has terminal prostate cancer and, according to medical assessments, no more than two years to live.) In light of all these considerations, France will toe the line with the United States and sign the agreement along with it, whether at the end of June or later depending on these various factors.
This posture also affords France a certain advantage, especially with regard to the Arab states. If and when new problems should arise in the future over implementing the agreement, France will put the full onus on President Obama. Indeed, regarding the conflict in Syria, France has accused the United States of irresolution, and the relations between Hollande and Obama have been tense ever since.
Even though France’s position is closer to Israel’s, France does not explicitly demand that all Israeli concerns be reflected in the agreement – whether recognition of Israel’s right to exist, the ballistic-missiles issue, or Iran’s terror activity. France, like the United States, has been focusing on Iran’s nuclear program, not on its overall strategy and hegemonic aspirations in the Middle East.State Department won’t rule out $50B ‘signing bonus’ for Iran
The State Department on Monday would not rule out giving Iran up to $50 billion as a so-called "signing bonus" for agreeing to a nuclear deal later this year, according to comments made to journalists following reports that the Obama administration had formulated a plan to release tens of billions of frozen Iranian funds.
Experts have said this multi-billion dollar "signing bonus" option, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, could be the largest cash infusion to a terror-backing regime in recent memory.
A cash release of $30 to $50 billion upon reaching a final nuclear agreement would come in addition to the more than $11 billion in unfrozen assets that Iran will already have received under an interim nuclear accord reached in 2013.
When asked to address these reports on Monday, State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf attempted to dodge the issue and then accused reporters of getting "spun up" on the issue.
Asked whether Iran could receive $50 billion "on day one after signing" or verbally agreeing to a nuclear deal, Harf told reporters that she would "look into it." Watchdog Group: White House Gaslighting Journalists Over Iran
The group cited President Obama’s move on Friday to placate Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei’s latest demand for immediate sanctions relief upon signing a deal. While the Obama administration insisted it had not shown flexibility and offered no new concessions, it was simultaneously preparing to phase out sanctions in such a way that would offer the Iranians immediate and significant economic relief, the Israel Project said.
“They’re trying to borderline-gaslight journalists by insisting that there was no new concession, that the President didn’t signal any new flexibility, and that sanctions relief will still be phased out. That line is falling a bit flat – Obama said what he said – but now the question is how they intend to square the circle,” the group asked in an email sent to reporters. “How do they make sanctions relief phased in principle, so they can keep saying they didn’t cave, but instantaneous in practice, so that the Iranians will take the concession?”
An infusion of $50 billion dollars would increase Iran’s GDP by more than 10 percent and “signal the end of meaningful financial pressure,” the group wrote. It would allow Iran to “march across the Middle East, which would panic our Arab allies.”Former White House Official: “Coercive Component” Needed in Deal to Prevent Iranian Nuke
When Fisher pressed about how enforcement could work if Iran was found to be cheating over the course of the deal, Doran termed this question “the crucial one.”
The way the president has set this up, he has incentivized Iran to pocket huge benefits up front. This has put them in a position to be able to go for a bomb when they want in a position of much greater economic strength and diplomatic strength. Because the very process of the negotiation is destroying the sanctions regime we established, which is the greatest nonmilitary instrument we have for coercing them. This is the fundamental flaw at the heart of the coercion strategy.
He’s going to use his waiver authority to free up all this money that is in escrow accounts across the globe that is going to pour into Iranian coffers nearly immediately. At the same time, the United Nations Security Council is going to bless the agreement, which is then going to free up the Europeans and others, including the Russians and the Chinese, to engage in commercial activity with the Iranians. And so we will have effectively gutted the sanctions regime.
Iran’s status in the international community is going to be greatly improved, and then there’s going to be an international commercial lobby and a diplomatic-military lobby, which includes the Chinese and the Russians, in favor of the new order in which Iran is a citizen in good standing in the international community that they can do business with.
Iran refuses IAEA inspectors second entry to Parchin base
Iran will not grant the International Atomic Energy Agency a second entry to the Parchin military base, the spokesman for Iran's Atomic Energy Organization said on Monday.
"Parchin is a military base," Behrouz Kamalvandi said at a news conference in Tehran. "They [the IAEA] have been raising the issue for years. It is important for their propaganda. They know we will not allow them to visit the Parchin base again, but they think raising the issue benefits the propaganda."
Kamalvandi said that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, while serving as Iran's chief negotiator years ago, had allowed the IAEA to enter the Parchin military facilities for inspection.
"In a meeting between President Rouhani and [IAEA chief] Yukiya Amano, President Rouhani reminded him that 'when you requested to visit the facilities in Parchin for the first time, I said yes, you can go to Parchin and everywhere else, and you can collect samples. But it can be allowed just for once as it is a military base. A second visit will not happen.'"Americans Eager to Sell Iran the Rope to Hang Them
Back in the 1970s, columnist George Will memorably characterized the eagerness of American businesses to do business in the Soviet Union as proof that they loved commerce more than they loathed Communism. Propping up a tottering evil empire that threatened Western freedom was nothing compared to the chance to make a buck. A generation later, we’re seeing the same phenomenon on display as other groups flock to Iran now that President Obama has made it possible, if not likely that it will be legal for Americans to do business in the Islamic Republic. As the New York Times reports today, though they were chaperoned by minders who kept them out of the presence of dissidents or other victims of the regime, one such group still found it impossible to escape being confronted with evidence of the theocracy’s hate-filled ideology. But, as with other hopeful, profit-minded pilgrims to other totalitarian regimes, participants preferred to see the country as one big market rather than one big prison whose rulers are intent to do harm to the West.
Like the Times’s own disgraceful journalistic tourists to Iran, such as Roger Cohen and Nicholas Kristof, the group featured in today’s article gushed over the welcome they received and the wonders of Iran’s ancient culture, friendly people, and market potential. The delegation of venture capitalists and business executives organized by a group called the Young President’s Organization got a red carpet tour as well as constant assurances that they and their money will be safe in Iran. When they had the temerity to ask about billboards across the country that proclaimed the regime’s trademark “Death to America” slogan, they were told that this was the product of a bygone era and that a “new Iran” was emerging. That seemed to comfort them, as did the likely inference that the presence of American cash would speed along the transformation of Iran.
But it’s likely that along with tourist sites and meetings with Iranians that said the right thing about wanting to re-engage with the West, these young entrepreneurs and executives didn’t find out much about the way the theocracy oppresses dissidents and religious minorities. Nor is likely that they learned much about the way the regime and its various military arms operate businesses that finance international terrorism as well as an arms buildup that threatens the region. It’s likely they also heard the same tripe about Iran’s right to civilian nuclear energy (in a nation overflowing with massive oil reserves).WaPo Reporter To Be Charged with Espionage in Iran
Jason Rezaian, 39, a reporter for the Washington Post, will be charged by the Iranian government with espionage, “conducting propaganda against the establishment,” “collaborating with hostile governments” and “collecting information about internal and foreign policy and providing them to individuals with malicious intent,” according to his attorney, Leila Ahsan, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Ahsan said that her client, who has been jailed for nine months, was in good health but his isolation from the world has sapped his well-being. Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron said Ahsan and Rezaian met for 90 minutes on Monday and that Rezaian could receive a 20-year sentence.
Last July 22, Rezaian, his Iranian wife Yeganeh Salehi, who writes for the National newspaper in Abu Dhabi, and two other anonymous journalists were arrested; his wife and the two journalists were later released. Rezaian had previously written for The San Francisco Chronicle.Obama Vows ‘Ironclad’ Support Of Israel If Israel Destroyed By Iran (satire)
President Barack Obama sought to reassure Israel and its allies in the US that an impending deal with Iran over the latter’s nuclear ambitions would not compromise his commitment to backing the Jewish State if it is completely obliterated by Iran’s atomic weapons.
The president met with Jewish leaders at the White House today, and told them his administration does not intend to withdraw even an ounce of support for Israel in the event of a ballistic missile attack that wipes the country off the map, a goal Iran’s leadership has publicly declared. Jews and israelis need not worry, said Obama, for if Iran follows through on its goal of destroying Israel, the US would maintain its commitment to vetoing UN Security Council resolutions that single out the Jewish State for condemnation. He also promised that existing trade agreements would be honored, and that offers for help would remain open.
Jewish leaders welcomed the president’s declaration, but admitted they had hoped for more concrete demonstrations of Obama’s commitment to Israel. “I must confess I was looking for a statement that the US might be willing, for example, to extend loans or some other form of aid to Israel after Iranian nukes remove her from the face of the Earth,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, a former Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations. “Alternatively, he could affirm his resolve to pay lip service to the notion of a Jewish national home. But what the president did say is certainly a step in the right direction.”Arabs Attack Jerusalem Councilman's Home - For the 49th Time
In a shocking collapse of security and law enforcement, the home of Jerusalem Councilman Arieh King in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Ma'ale Hazeitim on the Mount of Olives was attacked last week - this makes the 49th time that King's house has been struck by Arab terrorists.
King announced on his Facebook page that the firebomb attack, in which two masked Arab terrorists hurled four Molotov cocktails at his home in an attack captured on security cameras, marks 49 times he has been targeted since August 2013. The attack caused damage to his possessions, and police were unable to locate the assailants.
"I told police officers that (next time - ed.) will be the 50th attack, I will not be able to stop my special team (my 4 boys) to take (sic) the law in their own hands,"'I sought to kill Jews,' said terrorist who rammed car into Israelis at Jerusalem bus stop
The east Jerusalem Palestinian who rammed his car into Israelis waiting at a bus stop in the French Hill section of the capital last week told police that he was intent on “seeking out Jews to murder,” authorities permitted the press to report on Tuesday.
Khaled Koutineh, 37, from Anata, was arrested for running over and killing Shalom Yohai Cherki, 25, and seriously injuring a young woman.
In the initial days after the incident, police said they had not yet determined whether Koutineh hit the bus stop by accident or if it was a racially-motivated attack, saying the incident required further investigation.
“It is possible and there is a very strong basis to now say that this was a terror attack,” Danino said on Saturday, calling it one of several “devastating” terrorist attacks to strike the capital over the past few months.Iranian spy sentenced to seven years after being found guilty of espionage.
An Iranian-born Belgian national was sentenced to seven years at Central District Court in Lod on Tuesday after being convicted of charges that he spied for Iran.
In September of 2013, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) apprehended Ali Mansouri at Ben-Gurion International Airport carrying photographs of the US Embassy in Tel Aviv and other sites.
The Shin Bet alleged that Mansouri was apart of a special operations unit within Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard, sent to Israel to locate potential terror targets for the Islamic Republic.
According to the Shin Bet, Mansouri was promised $1 million to use his position as a businessman to establish companies for Iranian intelligence services in Israel in order to "harm Israeli and Western interests."
Mansouri's defense attorney Avigdor Feldman said that no appeal was expected from his client.Replacing carpet at Jerusalem shrine reveals religious rift
It began as a routine remodeling project: Muslim authorities replacing an old carpet worn thin by masses of worshippers at the Dome of the Rock, the iconic, gold-topped shrine that overlooks the Old City of Jerusalem.
But there is no such thing as routine remodeling when it comes to the most contested piece of real estate in Jerusalem, where the presence of a mere screwdriver can threaten to ignite religious tensions.
The carpet has sparked a verbal holy war over the hilltop compound, which is revered by Jews and Muslims whose competing claims often spill over into violence.
Israeli archaeological authorities say the repairs were carried out behind their backs, and an Israeli government minister urged an immediate halt to the work, claiming it might cause irreparable damage. Frustrated Israeli researchers say previously undocumented ancient floor designs were discovered when the old carpets were peeled off, but they didn't get a chance to document the designs before workmen covered them up with the new carpet.
And some researchers claim the Bible's deepest secrets may lie beneath some of the newly exposed floor designs.
"Something is there. I don't know what. But something is hidden there," said Israeli archaeologist Zachi Dvira, who studies the site.Khaled Abu Toameh: PA ministers leave Gaza after Hamas placed them on house arrest
PA ministers who arrived in the Gaza Strip earlier this week returned to the West Bank after Hamas imposed severe restrictions on their movements and contacts.
Palestinian sources said Hamas had placed the ministers under house arrest in their hotel, preventing them from receiving or talking to anyone.
The 10 ministers were dispatched to the Gaza Strip as part of the Palestinian Authority government’s effort to solve the problem of thousands of public employees who have not received their salaries for several months. The ministers were accompanied by 30 senior government officials.
“Hamas has banned the ministers from leaving their hotel,” the sources said.
“They are also prohibited from meeting with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. They are literally under house arrest.”New Hamas import tax leaves Gaza merchants fuming
A new import tax imposed by Hamas on commodities entering the Gaza Strip has left local merchants fuming, with some threatening to stop importing food products into the Hamas-controlled Strip altogether.
On Saturday, members of Hamas’s parliamentary bloc Change and Reform approved the National Solidarity Tax law, imposing a new levy on “non-basic” commodities such as meat, fruits and vegetables, clothing, and electronics. Flour and medicine will be exempt from the new tax, Hamas parliament member Ahmad Abu Halbiya told Turkey’s Anadolu news agency.
“The purpose of the law is to ease the suffering of the poor in the Gaza Strip,” Abu Halbiya said, explaining that the percentage of the tax will be raised gradually, eventually reaching 10% in some cases. “Residents will not feel it,” he asserted.Ex-President Morsi beats death penalty, sentenced by Egypt court to 20 years in prison
An Egyptian court sentenced ousted President Mohamed Morsi to 20 years in prison without parole on Tuesday for the killing of protesters in December 2012, in a decision broadcast on state television.
It was the first ruling against Muslim Brotherhood leader Morsi since the army toppled him in 2013 after mass protests against his rule. The decision can be appealed.
The fall of veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011 paved the way for what was unthinkable for decades - the Brotherhood ruling the most populous Arab country.
However, in a twist of fate, Morsi's handpicked army chief, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, toppled him in 2013, bringing Egypt's secular-nationalist state security apparatus and intelligence service back to power after mass protests against the Islamist president's rule turned bloody.
A tough crackdown was then launched against the Brotherhood in which thousands were detained and hundreds were put on trial.Egyptian Given Life Sentence for 'Spying' for Israel
An Egyptian court on Sunday sentenced to jail a man convicted of “spying for Israel” in the Sinai Peninsula, judicial officials said, according to AFP.
Two Israeli accomplices of the jailed Egyptian were tried in absentia and also given life terms, the officials added.
In a verdict delivered by a court in North Sinai, the three were also slapped with fines of 10,000 Egyptian pounds (about $1,130) each. In Egypt, a life sentence amounts to 25 years.
Prosecutors said the convict, Salamah Mohamed Suleiman, received money and was also given a house in Israel in return for providing his Israeli handlers with information about Egyptian security forces and jihadists in North Sinai.
Suleiman also illegally travelled to Israel five times -- the first visit being in 2011 -- to work out the details of his mission that intended to "harm Egypt's national interests", the prosecution said, according to AFP.
Sunday’s verdict comes several weeks after an Egyptian man was sentenced to life in jail and a woman to 15 years for spying for Israel.Egypt sentences 22 members of Muslim Brotherhood to death
An Egyptian court sentenced 22 members of the Muslim Brotherhood to death on Monday over an attack on a police station in a district outside Cairo in 2013, judicial sources said.
The assault was part of a wave of violence that rocked the country after the army removed elected Islamist president Mohamed Morsi from power following mass protests against his rule in June 2013.
One other defendant, who is a juvenile, was given a 10-year sentence, the sources said. A lawyer for the convicted men said they would appeal.
The defendants were convicted of murder, attempted murder and the destruction of public facilities, among other charges during an attack on the police station in Kerdasa district, in which one policeman was killed.Belly dancer is sentenced to six months in prison for 'insulting Egypt' by wearing a costume resembling their national flag during a performance
An Egyptian court has sentenced a popular Armenian belly dancer to six months in prison for 'insulting the Egyptian flag' after she wore a tight dress in its red, white and black color scheme.
The court in Agouza, west of Cairo, said Sofinar Gourian, popularly known as 'Safinaz', was fined £15,000 after being found guilty in a case raised by a private complainant.
She is expected to avoid jail time, however, after paying £10,000 bail and launching an appeal against the six month prison sentence.
Insulting the flag was made illegal by decree under Egyptian President Adly Mansour who ruled for a year after the army overthrew an elected but divisive Islamist president in 2013.
The change in law made it a crime to raise, display or sell an Egyptian flag if it is damaged in any way, or even if the colour has faded.'ISIS leader al-Baghdadi hurt, no longer in control of daily operations'
Reclusive Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been recuperating for weeks from serious injuries sustained as a result of a March air strike in western Iraq, the British newspaper Guardian is reporting on Tuesday.
The daily cited an Iraqi source as saying that Baghdadi’s injuries were initially so severe that it forced him to relinquish day-to-day control of ISIS.
The Guardian reported that the ISIS high command was so concerned about their leader’s condition that they began making contingency plans in the event that al-Baghdadi would die.
The ISIS leader was seriously wounded by an attack launched by the US-led coalition in the al-Baaja district of Nineveh, close to the Syrian border.
Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Abadi confirmed this past November on his Facebook account that al-Baghdadi was injured by a US airstrike near Mosul. The post also said Baghdadi's deputy was killed in the attack. ISIS to Western Christians: "You Won't Have Safety ... Until You Embrace Islam"
Approximately two months after the Islamic State (IS) published a video depicting its members slaughtering 21 Coptic Christians in Libya, on Sunday, April 19, the Islamic jihadi organization released another video of more Christians in Libya being massacred, this time for not paying jizya—extortion money demanded of the "People of the Book" according to Koran 9:29.
Two scenes appear in the 29-minute-long video published by al-Furqan, the Islamic State's media wing. The first scene consists of a group of Christian Ethiopians dressed all in black, on their knees, with their arms tied behind their backs. Masked IS members stand behind the Ethiopians with rifles aimed at their heads. According to the video, this scene takes place in the city of Fezzan. The Christian captives are called "Worshippers of the cross belonging to the hostile Ethiopian Church."
The second scene shows more Christian Ethiopians dressed in orange uniforms and standing on the shores of Barqa, the same region where 21 Egyptian Christians were earlier decapitated for refusing to convert to Islam.
Other scenes include the narrator referencing the fatwas of medieval jurist Ibn Taymiyya that proclaim all Christians "infidels." Then Abu Malik ibn Ans al-Nashwan, apparently one of the group's leaders, appears saying that "The dealings of the Islamic State with Christians under its authority is according to Allah's Sharia [Islamic law]. Jizya [tribute] is imposed on those who accept, and war on those who resist."Turkey angered by Copenhagen sculpture
Plans to install a sculpture commemorating the Armenian Genocide in one of Copenhagen's busiest squares have Turkish officials up in arms.
A sculpture that will be placed in the heart of Copenhagen in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide threatens to further derail the already-strained relations between Denmark and Turkey.
The nine-metre high sculpture, entitled ‘The Draem’ (Danish Remembrance Armenian Empathy Messenger), is to be placed in the square Kultorvet for ten days in May to mark 100 years since upwards of 1.5 million Armenians were killed by the Ottoman regime.
The plans have elicited a protest from the Turkish Embassy in Copenhagen.Turkish FM says Erdoğan, Obama to open mosque in US
After Turkish Foreign Minister announced that President Barack Obama "accepted in principle" to join President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a trip to Maryland to open a mosque, a White House spokesperson has said there were "no presidential visits or travel to announce" at the moment.
On April 19, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, who was on a three-day visit to Washington, visited the Turkish-American Culture and Civilization Center in Maryland that also has a medium-sized mosque, and lunched with representatives from the American Muslim community.
“During a phone call, President [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan asked President [Barack] Obama to accompany him in opening the center together and President Obama accepted his offer in principle,’” Çavuşoğlu told the representatives, according to Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency. If Obama’s schedule allows at the time of the opening, he will accompany Erdoğan, he added.
"We don’t have any conversations to read out for you. And no travel or Presidential engagements to announce," Mark Stroh, a White House National Security Council spokesman, told daily Hürriyet on April 20.
The complex has been built on a large area and consists of a coffee house, gift shops, cultural center, amphitheater and exhibition hall, computer lab, library, Turkish bath/hamam and guest house.

Coptic Solidarity Condemns ISIS Murder of Ethiopian Christians and Continued International Torpor

Mon, 04/20/2015 - 06:00
Coptic Solidarity condemns these monstrous murders in the strongest terms and urges the international community to urgently protect Christians and other minorities in the region and to defeat ISIS. The video shows two different Islamic State affiliate groups who have each captured about 15 Ethiopian Christians. Jizya is a tax mandated in Sharia law that non-Muslims must pay in order to be allowed to stay alive, having refused to convert, in an Islamic state. At that point, the video switches back and forth between scenes of the Christians wearing orange jump suits on the beach in Barqa being brutally beheaded with knives, and the other group of Christians in the desert area of Fezzan in southern Libya dressed in dark suits each being shot in the back of the head.

04/19 Links: The fake sincerity of pro-Palestinian commentators; Beinart's neo-Neturei-Kartism

Sun, 04/19/2015 - 08:00
From Ian:
Chloe Valdary: The fake sincerity of pro-Palestinian commentators
This process usually occurs when the acolytes of armchair social justice mistake colloquy in echo chambers for sincere concern for the wellbeing of others. Politicians, professors and journalists alike carry on mindlessly suggesting untenable and, worse, immoral prescriptions that ostensibly help Arabs living in Gaza and the West Bank but which in fact bring about their demise. The logic of these academics, when put to practical use, reads more like a satirical pamphlet than advice intended to be taken seriously:
• Let’s prove we love Palestinians by creating a state which, under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority, has already robbed them of international aid, persecuted their minority population, and withheld from them the dignity of basic civil liberties – such as the right to vote, and the right to choose one’s own religion.
– Every pundit on CNN (et al) who advocates for a Palestinian state, without fully comprehending what they are calling for.
• Let’s prove we love Palestinians by championing the tunnel complex built by Hamas – even though those tunnels were built with the blood of Gazan children who were deemed to be expendable by the Hamas regime.
– Al Jazeera (et al) which, when describing the tunnel system as a “Palestinian assertion of political autonomy and resistance” failed to realize that it was symbolically standing on the graves of innocent Gazans in order to push a brutal political agenda.
• “Let’s prove we love Palestinians by suggesting that Hamas was ‘resisting’ against oppressive Israeli policies in the 2014 conflict even though Hamas reigns brutally over its own people á la Joseph Stalin.
– Every member of the glib pep squad that is Students for Justice in Palestine (et al) who serve as proxies running interference on campus for regimes that persecute their own people.Natan Sharansky: When did America forget that it’s America?
I am afraid that the real reason for the U.S. stance is not its assessment, however incorrect, of the two sides’ respective interests but rather a tragic loss of moral self-confidence. While negotiating with the Soviet Union, U.S. administrations of all stripes felt certain of the moral superiority of their political system over the Soviet one. They felt they were speaking in the name of their people and the free world as a whole, while the leaders of the Soviet regime could speak for no one but themselves and the declining number of true believers still loyal to their ideology.
But in today’s postmodern world, when asserting the superiority of liberal democracy over other regimes seems like the quaint relic of a colonialist past, even the United States appears to have lost the courage of its convictions.
We have yet to see the full consequences of this moral diffidence, but one thing is clear: The loss of America’s self-assured global leadership threatens not only the United States and Israel but also the people of Iran and a growing number of others living under Tehran’s increasingly emboldened rule. Although the hour is growing late, there is still time to change course — before the effects grow more catastrophic still.PMW: "There were between one and two million Jewish victims" of the Holocaust, says official PA daily
On the occasion of the Israeli remembrance day for the victims of the Holocaust last week, a regular columnist in the official Palestinian Authority daily wrote an op-ed in which he recognized the fact that the Holocaust occurred and targeted Jews. But although the writer even called it "a catastrophe," he reiterated false statements that have long been part of PA policy regarding the Holocaust, minimizing its scope and blaming the Zionist movement for participating in evil.
The PA daily repeated the claim that Jews have exaggerated the number of victims and that it was not 6 million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust, but only "between one and two million":
"Estimates regarding the number of Holocaust victims differ. The supporters of the Zionist movement have exaggerated the number of victims, claiming that it amounts to 6 million, whereas others, unbiased researchers, have estimated that there were between one and two million Jewish victims." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 18, 2015]
The writer hinted to an oft-repeated accusation that Jews were themselves at fault because their non-Jewish fellow citizens wanted to be rid of them due to the inherent Jewish evil:
"Regardless of the number, the bottom line is that a catastrophe that harmed the Jews in Europe occurred, due to matters concerning the relations between the European nations and the Jews living among them. "
The writer also repeated the claim that Zionists wanted "to increase the Jews' suffering" in the Holocaust in order to blackmail Europe into supporting Israel - "the Zionist colonialist project", to further Jewish immigration to Israel and to create more "compassion" for the Jews:
"The Zionist movement wanted to achieve a series of goals: First, to take advantage and use this [the Holocaust] to blackmail the European states financially and politically to make them support the Zionist colonialist project. Second, to bully the Jews to immigrate to the Israeli ethnic cleansing state, which was [then] in in the preparatory stages of establishment. Third, to increase the Jews' suffering and abuse in order to take advantage of the world's compassion for them."


Nazi invasion of London EXPOSED: World's top Holocaust deniers... filmed at secret race hate rally where Jews are referred to as the 'enemy'
Nazi sympathisers, Holocaust deniers and their supporters from across the world have held a sickening secret rally in Britain at which speakers unleashed anti-Semitic rants, referring to Jews as ‘the enemy’ and ‘children of darkness’.
The meeting of the shadowy organisation will fuel fears of a growing resurgence in hatred towards Jews across Europe. The vile event was observed by a Mail on Sunday undercover team.
Held in London’s Victoria, the meeting was, said experts, the most significant gathering of Holocaust deniers Britain has ever seen, with speakers invited from Spain, Canada and the United States.
Today, the largest Holocaust remembrance event ever held in Britain will mark 70 years since the liberation of concentration camp Bergen-Belsen by the British Army.
But last Saturday, just a short walk from New Scotland Yard, it was clear that the sinister anti-Semitic conspiracy theories which led to the extermination of six million Jews are still fostered by a poisonous few.Beinart's neo-Neturei-Kartism
It now appears, well, at least to me, that Peter Beinart's odyssey from his family's Betar/Revisionist roots to anti-Zionism is reaching full expression. Seemingly self-delighted with his outrageous opinions and more invidious action-suggestions of boycott (supposedly selective but he forgets that not all who read him are as smart as he thinks he is), he now has published a call with the message that
Instead of helping left- and right-wing American Jews talk to each other about Israel, let’s help them find a common Jewish identity beyond Israel.
He acknowledges that he is treated with disdain in some quarters. Nevertheless, he has friends amongst these people and what sustains their relationships is --- studying Judaism. Israel is too contentious a subject and among the bonds of communal connection that Jews share, Israel is but one of them, the others being "a shared memory of oppression" even though "the sense of exclusion that once forged solidarity among American Jews weakens" as the memory of the Holocaust fades (tell that, Peter, to Nashville), "Jewish culture" (his example is the bialy) and the third is “tikkun olam” (which in his extreme secular liberal/progressivism means (the idea that Jews bear a special responsibility to the strangers in our midst [but "in our midst" originally meant within the Land of Israel but we know Beinart's perversions of Jewish history, religion and culture, don't we?]).
As for history, he falsely claims that "the Holocaust created an American Jewish consensus in support of the Jewish State". Not quite. The extermination of 6 million Jews only suppressed the political ideology that Binart now seeks to, pardon the cross-religious literacy, resurrect. VIDEO: Jewish reporter harassed in Paris street
We have run several posts about Walking While Jewish in European cities, and the resulting street harassment.
Here is another example. Call it “Reporting While Jewish” in Paris.
Miri Michaeli Schwartz is a reporter for Israel Channel 10 News.
She was doing a report on the streets of Paris regarding the search for the downed Green Wings flight a number of weeks ago, when some Arab men noticed the Hebrew lettering on her microphone. They surrounded her and began to harass her.
She just recently posted the short video, which only show a small part of the incident, on her facebook page

ISIS Supporters Hand Out Israeli Heaters In Gaza Giveaway
Palestinian ISIS supporters in the Gaza Strip are giving away Israeli space heaters to local civilians.
Images posted in in an ISIS forum show supporters handing out space heaters from Sachs, one of Israel’s leading electronics companies, in boxes relabeled with the ISIS logo and a message that reads: “These are provided by the soldiers of the Islamic State. Don’t forget to pray for us.”
The electronics were distributed as part of a tradition called Zakat, an Islamic tithing for the poor, which ISIS has capitalized on to build political support in Gaza, just as it has in other areas throughout the region. ISIS fighters in Syria, Iraq and Libya have routinely invested in charity to strengthen their ties with the local communities under the Islamic State’s control. In some areas of Iraq, ISIS also collects tithes to pay for zakat gifts to the poor, based on people’s assets or wealth, using forms like the one shown below.PM: Israel sees S-300 sale to Iran with ‘utmost gravity’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said Israel treated Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to supply advanced S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Iran with “utmost gravity.”
“Israel views with utmost gravity the supply of S-300 missiles from Russia to Iran, especially at a time when Iran is stepping up its aggression in the region and around the borders of the State of Israel,” he said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.
The prime minister also reiterated Israel’s stance about the framework long-term nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, saying it didn’t address Iran’s regional military aspirations.Putin warns Israel not to sell arms to Ukraine
Russian President Vladmir Putin warned Israel Saturday against a “counterproductive” sale of weapons to Ukraine, in response to his own divisive decision to supply the advanced S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Iran.
“It’s the Israeli leadership’s choice,” the Russian leader said. “It’s their right to do what they think is appropriate.” But, he warned on Russian state-run media, “It will only lead to another round of conflicts, to a rise in the number of victims — and the outcome will be the same.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Putin Thursday in a failed attempt to convince the Russian president to refrain from selling the system to the Iranians.
Israeli media reported last week that Israel was mulling arms sales to Ukraine in the face of Moscow’s resolve to go through with a delivery of the S-300 system to Iran.Ready for the truth about Iran? Khamenei wants to destroy us
Why are so many "experts" amazed that there is no deal with Iran? It's certainly not because Western negotiators weren't willing to meet the mullahs halfway; they were eager to compromise, even to drop longstanding demands, in an effort to reach agreement.
The surprise shows that we don't grasp the nature of the Iranian regime, which is why the pundits and the diplomats are so often forced to scramble for explanations when things don't go according to scheme.
Our basic error, from which all the others flow, is that we think our offer of a strategic alliance — President Obama's "outstretched hand" — is attractive to Iran. It isn't. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei doesn't want a deal with us; he wants to destroy us. When he calls us the "Great Satan" or when he leads chants of "Death to America!," he means it.
Khamenei wants to go down in Islamic history as the man who defeated America, not the imam who signed a deal with the devil. He's willing to accept our surrender, but he won't forge a partnership with Obama.Iran leader derides ‘silly’ US threats, but urges his military to be ‘prepared’
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged the country’s armed forces Sunday to increase their “defensive preparedness,” hitting out at a US warning of possible military action. He also reportedly called the US and Israel the most serious threat to the world.
Khamenei told commanders and troops in a speech that Iran “will never accept such silly remarks,” a jab at General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, though he did not name him.
Dempsey said Thursday that should ongoing diplomacy with Iran fail, “the military option… to ensure that Iran does not achieve a nuclear weapon is intact.”Khamenei calls Iran's ambition for nuclear weapons a 'myth'
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday the United States had created the "myth" of nuclear weapons to portray Iran as a threat, hardening his rhetoric before nuclear negotiations resume this week.
Khamenei has supported the talks but has continued to express deep mistrust of the United States. As the highest authority in Iran, the withdrawal of his support could cause the negotiations to collapse.
"They created the myth of nuclear weapons so they could say the Islamic Republic is a source of threat. No, the source of threat is America itself," Khamenei said in comments cited by the semi-official Fars news agency.
"The other side is methodically and shamelessly threatening us militarily ... even if they did not make these overt threats, we would have to be prepared," he said in an address to military commanders.Israeli TV: Obama ‘president of Iran’
Barack Obama is the president of… Iran? Channel 2 news accidentally bestowed that honorific upon Obama Saturday night when reporting on a press conference by the US president.
The mistake, in an on-screen ID tag, came at a time when Israeli concerns over the US-Iran relationship are particularly acute.
Ties between America and Israel have grown strained in recent months as Obama attempts to work out a nuclear deal with Iran, on terms Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu furiously opposes.PreOccupied Territory: In Nod To Zionist Control, Woman On New $20 Bill To Be Golda Meir (satire)
The campaign to replace the visage of President Andrew Jackson on the American twenty-dollar note with that of a woman came to an end today with an announcement by the Federal Reserve that it had made its selection: Golda Meir, an Israeli leader who served as Prime Minister from 1969-1974. The Fed announcement explained that the selection was made in keeping with the need to please the US’s Zionist overlords.
Meir’s countenance was chosen over previous frontrunners Harriet Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, and Wilma Mankiller. A Federal Reserve spokesman told reporters that the organization, which instructs the Bureau of Printing and Engraving on the design and production of the various denominations of currency, felt compelled to acknowledge the central role that the International Zionist Conspiracy plays in American governance, while maintaining the quest to honor a woman with a place on the $20 bill.
“The role of the Federal Reserve has always been one of balancing competing interests, albeit generally of a strictly fiscal or monetary nature,” said Fed representative Learned Elder. “In this case, however, there wasn’t much of a competition – we were able to find an inspirational woman who also happened to be an influential Zionist.”1.15 million flags to fly on Independence Day
In celebration of Israel's 67th birthday, Israelis will fly an estimated 1.15 million blue and white flags, a 15% increase over the previous year.
According to the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce, Israel citizens and businesses will shell out roughly NIS 11 million for flags of all shapes and sizes.
Put end to end, they would reach around 940 million meters in length, according to Avi Marom, of the chamber's textile branch.
There was a 10% spike in orders for giant flags for decorating buildings, and a 12% increase in purchases from local authorities.
"The largest flag purchased this year is 687.5 meters long," Maron said.Netanyahu pays homage to fallen brother as Israel prepares to honor war dead
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu visited the gravesite of his brother, Yoni, on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem on Saturday night, kicking off a somber week that will culminate on Wednesday with national remembrance for Israel's fallen soldiers.
Yoni Netanyahu was the only Israeli soldier killed during the 1976 raid launched by special forces who successfully extricated over 100 Israeli and Jewish passengers of an Air France jet that was taken hostage by Palestinian and German terrorists.
The events of Entebbe are believed to have had a profound impact on Netanyahu, who went on to write numerous books about terrorism before embarking on a successful diplomatic and political career that eventually brought him to Israel’s premiership.
At the time of the operation, Netanyahu said during a memorial two years ago, he was studying in the US, and the moment he heard IDF soldiers had landed in Entebbe, he knew his brother had to be there, and called his parents.Bereaved families to Ya'alon: Prevent joint Israeli-Palestinian memorial service
Criticism against the annual Remembrance Day ceremony held by the organization Combatants for Peace has intensified. The ceremony is a private initiative that allows members of bereaved Israeli and Palestinian families to come together to mourn their losses attributed to the ongoing conflict.
According to a report by Army Radio on Sunday, this year 107 bereaved Israeli families from Samaria sent a letter to Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon demanding that he prevent visas from being issued to the Palestinian families wishing to enter Israel to participate in the ceremony.
"The ceremony is provocative and demeaning to Remembrance Day and to the memory of the fallen soldiers," the letter read. "We are appalled that the Israeli government would allow such a joint memorial event to be held in memory of our enemies who are the reason for the murder and injury to our boys who enlisted in the army to protect the people and the land, and our boys living in Israel who died, if only because they were Jews." Second victim of Jerusalem terror attack still in serious condition
Shira Klein, 20, who was wounded in Wednesday’s apparent terror attack in Jerusalem’s French Hill neighborhood, remains in serious but stable condition.
The attack claimed the life of 25-year-old Yohai Sherki, the son of prominent rabbi Ouri Sherki who is well known in the city’s francophone community. Sherki died of his injuries on Thursday morning and was buried later that day.
Klein is hospitalized in the intensive care unit of the capital’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, where she is kept sedated and connected to machines that assist her breathing, according to Hebrew media reports.Arab Mob Hurls Rocks at Beit El, IDF's 'Hands are Tied'
At least 70 Palestinian Arabs from the Jalazun village approached Beit El on Friday evening, locals stated Saturday night, and began throwing rocks at IDF soldiers stationed nearby, Border Police officers who arrived at the scene, and Jewish homes in the community.
Several of the rocks hit the yard of the Koren family as the children were playing outside, a representative told Arutz Sheva - "and, by a miracle, no one was hurt."
One rock caused "thousands of shekels" of damage to a shed on the property, however, which was filled with medical equipment.
Security forces responded with riot control measures; six terrorists were injured in the attack. Just two rioters were arrested and taken into police custody for questioning. Two men who plotted to bomb Mamilla open mall in Jerusalem sentenced to prison
Two east Jerusalem residents who planned a massive terror attack at Jerusalem's outdoor Mamilla mall during the High Holidays in 2013 were sentenced to lengthy prison sentences at the Jerusalem District Court on Sunday.
Both defendants, Ahmad Rishek, who was given a ten year prison term and Ismail Abu Mfalfal, who received an 8-year prison term, were convicted of conspiracy to aid an enemy during war and attempted manufacturing of a weapon in January.
Rishak, 23, from Shuafat, and Abu Mfalfal, 27, from Abu Dis – were indicted in September 2013. They were not charged with attempted murder, which carries a more serious sentence, because they were caught early in the planning stage.
They and other Hamas members from Ramallah and Jerusalem were led by Hamdi Romana, 22, of Ramallah, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said.
During the investigation by the IDF and the police, security forces uncovered an explosives lab in Romana’s home, including instruction manuals on how to construct bombs, the Shin Bet stated.Hamas Toughens Conditions for Releasing Soldiers' Bodies
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal has introduced strict conditions for any future transaction with Israel regarding the return of the bodies of two soldiers killed in Operation Protective Edge.
Last October, there was talk in Hamas of a swap of Arab terrorists in exchange for the bodies of Givati Brigade officer Hadar Goldin and Golani Brigade combat soldier Oron Shaul, although the deal never materialized.
Now, in an interview with Tayaf radio in Gaza, Mashaal said Hamas would not sign any agreement to release terrorists in exchange for the bodies, "before Israel fulfills its earlier commitments regarding the release of prisoners" - a reference to the fourth tranche of terrorist releases Israel halted in 2014 after the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas declared a unity government.
Mashaal also demanded that all terrorists rearrested after being released during the 2011 Gilad Shalit deal be re-released. PreOccupied Territory: Those Sons Of Apes And Pigs Must Stop Dehumanizing Us By Saeb Erekat, Palestinian Negotiator (satire)
The key to Israeli-Palestinian peace lies with the people, not with the politicians. A stable, lasting accord must be based in mutual respect for the other’s sovereignty and human dignity. That is why those descendants of apes and pigs must cease their dehumanization campaign against the Palestinian people.
Whether or not negotiations between us and Israel are taking place – and we all know whom to blame for the current impasse – they will only succeed, when they eventually resume, if each side sincerely commits to portraying the other as worthy of all the rights inherent in being human. That is the only way to guarantee that an agreement will be honored. Someone better beat that into the Israelis’ heads, because they, like most subhumans, only understand force.
It is merely one more arena in which Israeli hypocrisy abounds. They claim to want a negotiated solution, but reject negotiations predicated on a non-negotiated premise. They insist on universal access to holy places, but ignore the Muslim desire to deny that access. They build a barrier, ostensibly to keep out “terrorists,” but ignore its deleterious impact on the Palestinian suicide bomber industry, knowing that literally dozens of families of such bombers depend on Palestinian Authority pensions for their livelihood – at the same time painting a society that engages in such attacks as barbaric. Characterizations of anyone as less than fully human must stop, and the first ones to stop must be those simian, porcine Jews.Lancet accused of editorial misconduct
On March 31 2015, hundreds of physicians from across the globe submitted a complaint to the Senior Management and Board of Reed Elsevier concerning “egregious editorial misconduct at The Lancet that is unacceptable in general and also gravely violates your own published Editorial Policies”.
The signatories include 5 Nobel laureates, 4 knights and a Lord.
The letter protests "the grossly irresponsible and damaging editorial misuse of The Lancet for political purposes" as well as the "abject failure of the owner/publisher, Reed Elsevier, to enforce appropriate ethical standards of editorship.", citing as examples, the publication of the fraudulent MMR vaccine article, as well as last years "Open Letter to Gaza"
The Lancet, owned by Reed Elsevier, is one of the major general medical journals. It has been misused by its editor-in-chief, Dr Richard Horton, as a vehicle for his own eclectic personal and political agenda, at times characterized by flagrantly irresponsible publications. The worst examples of this are the MMR vaccine scare of 1998 and “An open letter for the people in Gaza” by Manduca et al published on July 22, 2014.Zoabi to Talk 'Israeli Apartheid' with American College Students
MK Hanin Zoabi (Joint Arab List) is taking her recent, court-sanctioned reelection and using it to do what she does best - attack the Jewish state. And this time, globally.
Zoabi will be the featured speaker at an anti-Israel event sponsored by the New York University (NYU) chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).
Entitled "Israeli Racism and Apartheid: An Insider's View - A Talk with Parliament Member Haneen Zoabi," the event will take place this coming Friday night at 8 p.m. in Manhattan for students and interested parties alike.
Described by SJP as a "Palestinian citizen of Israel and a feminist paliementarian," Zoabi will give what the student club describes as an insider perspective on the "Israeli Apartheid" experienced by "Palestinian citizens."
Despite this so-called "apartheid," it is ironic that Zoabi, who, whether she admits it or not, comes to NYU as a representative of the Israeli Knesset, is speaking about discrimination in that same country. In Sydney Soon, A Campus Law School Hass Fest
The rather squalid all-day event that's going to take place in the Staff Common Room of the Law Faculty at the University of New South Wales campus in the Sydney suburb of Randwick on 24 April was excitedly touched on about a fortnight ago in a video (I wouldn't bother, if I were you) by a veteran Aussie Israel-basher of Jewish birth, Vivienne Porzsolt (of "Jews Against The Occupation", one of those would-fit-into-a-telephone-booth outfits).
With former NSW parliamentarian (Greens, need you ask!) and publisher Sylvia Hale (the Hale half of Hale and Iremonger), Ms Porzsolt went on the Flotilla in 2010 and had a nice little adventure.
In the video mentioned above she sits alongside Peter Slezak, another Israel-bashing "as-a-Jew", who's going to be a speaker at the Randwick hate-fest.
The keynote speaker will be the notorious Israel-bashing Ha'aretz journalist Amira Hass, who's currently already in Australia working her mischief magic among the we-hate-Israel set. (Sorry, folks, this dinner to meet her in Sydney is all booked out!)Real People — Not Bus Stops
While the article written underneath the bizarre headline makes clear what happened, one has to wonder if whomever wrote the misleading headline even took the time to read the story. Unfortunately, the headline is perhaps the most important part of an article since many news readers simply skim through the paper, whether online or in print. Based on the headline, how could anyone understand that this was an act of terrorism against two innocent people rather than a crash at an inanimate bus stop?
This is not the first time that headline writers have gotten it wrong when it comes to acts of terrorism against Israelis. After a similar attack in 2011, we reported on headlines at the BBC, the Associated Press, and Sky News — all of who described the target of an attack as a bus stop, rather than the real people who were victims of the terrorist.Guardian publishes essay falsely charging Israel with ethnically cleansing Jerusalem Palestinians
There are multiple distortions, errors and misrepresentations of fact throughout an 1800 word essay published by Teju Cole at The Guardian on April 17th, titled ‘Slow violence, cold violence – Teju Cole on East Jerusalem‘. However, the most egregiously false charge leveled at Israel by Cole – a writer and literary critic who has contributed to the New York Times, New Yorker, Financial Times, and The Atlantic – is that Palestinians are being ethnically cleansed from Jerusalem.
Here are the relevant passages.
As in other neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem – Har Homa, the Old City, Mount Scopus, Jaffa Gate – there is a policy at work in Sheikh Jarrah. This policy is two-fold. The first is the systematic removal of Palestinian Arabs, either by banishing individuals on the basis of paperwork, or by taking over or destroying their homes by court order.
The second aspect of the policy is the systematic increase of the Jewish populations of these neighbourhoods
This two-fold policy, of pushing out Palestinian Arabs and filling the land with Israeli Jews, is recognised by all the parties involved. And for such a policy, the term “ethnic cleansing” is not too strong: it is in fact the only accurate description.

First, it’s important to note that Jews were the ones ethnically cleansed from east Jerusalem following the Jordanian occupation of that section of the city in the aftermath the 1948 war. That’s the only reason why east Jerusalem was – for the first time in the city’s history – Jew-free between 1949 and 1967, thus giving rise to the media misnomer of a “historically Arab east Jerusalem”.Stone-Throwing, Lost in Haaretz Translation
"Haaretz, Lost in Translation," that enduring phenomenon of Haaretz's English translators deleting information about Arab violence or wrongdoing which had appeared in the Hebrew original, strikes again.
This time, Haaretz translators transform a Palestinian stone-thrower who was fatally shot as he was engaged in violence against Israeli troops into a non-violent marcher who was shot for no offense greater than feeling rage over his cousin's death.
The original Hebrew version of Levy's article Friday notes that the crowd of Palestinian mourners had been throwing stones.

The relevant sentence, underlined in red, means (CAMERA's translation):
Thousands accompanied him on his final journey and at the end hundreds of enraged youth approached the checkpoint at the exit of the city, and threw stones.
For some reason, this violence on the part of the Palestinian crowd was does not appear in the English article.New ISIS video purportedly shows shooting, beheading of 30 Ethiopian Christians
A video purportedly made by Islamic State and posted on social media sites on Sunday appeared to show militants shooting and beheading about 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya.
Reuters was not able to verify the authenticity of the video but the killings resemble past violence carried out by Islamic State, which has expanded its reach from strongholds in Iraq and Syria to a conflict-ridden Libya.
The video, in which militants call Christians crusaders and say they are out to kill Muslims, showed about 15 men being beheaded on a beach and another group of the same size shot in their heads in Libya's southern desert interior.
Both groups of men are referred to in a subtitle as "worshipers of the cross belonging to the hostile Ethiopian church".Never Again Should Include Endangered Yazidis
In April, the renewal and rejuvenation of Spring join with faith and remembrance. Faith and hope are embodied in the celebrations of Passover and Easter; darker memories are stirred by the commemorations of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) and of the Armenian Genocide.
On Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) 2015, Jews will gather around the precious remnant of aging survivors. We will touch yellow stars of David, view documentaries showing the tracks at Auschwitz approaching the Arbeit Macht Frei sign, avert our eyes from the images of endless piles of corpses near the mouths of the crematoria and the walking corpses following liberation. We will give voice to our deepest fears over the resurgence of deadly antisemitism in Europe and relentless attacks demonizing the state of Israel-home to the largest Jewish community in the world.
But this year, the Jewish community and everyone else for whom memory is a sacred trust should also be looking at haunting images of the Yazidis, the people targeted for extinction by ISIS. Having sustained mass murders, the starvation deaths of their children, and the mass abduction of their women, they might soon be reduced to a historical footnote.Electric vehicle industry keen on SoftWheel technology
Israeli startup SoftWheel, which already has the wheelchair and bicycle world talking about its groundbreaking suspension system within wheels, is now eyeing the electric vehicle market.
Daniel Barel, CEO of Softwheel, told ISRAEL21c that several car manufacturers have already approached the Tel Aviv-based company about its technology that can reduce wasted energy and absorb shocks for a smoother ride, but refused to disclose any names.
SoftWheel’s technology ups the ante on current tire and suspension systems with its wheels automatically responding to changes in the terrain. The company is currently focused on improving wheelchair and bicycle wheels but hopes to crack the automobile, airplane and mass transit markets as well.Israeli economy sees highest growth in years in Q4 2014
The Israeli economy grew 7% in the last quarter of 2014, the highest rate of growth in recent years, the Central Bureau of Statistics reports.
The 7% growth in Q4 of 2014 represents a stark contrast to the 0.3% growth in the third quarter of the same year -- when Operation Protective Edge was under way -- and a mere 1.5% in Q2. Total economic growth for 2014 stood at 2.8%, compared to total growth of 2.7% for all of 2013.
In general, the numbers indicate a real improvement in the economy in the last quarter of 2014: Israel's total economic value crossed the trillion shekel threshold and reached its highest-ever amount: NIS 1.09 trillion ($278 billion). Per capita economic growth grew by 5% in Q4.
The improvement in the living standard in those same months was reflected in new car purchases, which jumped by 75.5%, as well as in purchases of refrigerators, televisions, and washing machines and dryers, which all increased by 22.1%. Purchases of clothing and footwear increased by 10.3%, while spending on airfare for trips abroad rose by 8.1%. The only decreases noted were of newspapers and medications, which were down by 1.7%. Zionism in Animation: Bringing Hasbara to 21st Century
A new crowdfunding campaign, arriving just in time for Yom Haatzmaut [Israel's independence day], looks to "tell the story of Zionism" through a series of 100 short animated clips.
The project, entitled "Zionism in Animation," sees itself as a way to "inform and educate" Jews around the world about the history and culture of the Jewish state, in the hopes of strengthening their connection to both Judaism and Israel.
Telling the story of Zionism in an "attention-grabbing way" is the primary goal of the project created by Jerusalem-based Rogatka animation stuio owner Shlomo Blass.
Accorging to Zionism in Animation's website, many Jews do not know enough about the return to their homeland, and particularly with the digital revolution, animated content fills a gaping hole in engaging Millennials in Zionist education. Zionism in Animation - Crowd Funding Campaign

Ohio man who trained with Islamic militants charged with supporting terrorism

Thu, 04/16/2015 - 12:39

By Mark Hosenball WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Columbus, Ohio, man who trained with Islamic militants in Syria has been arrested and charged with supporting terrorism and making false statements, the U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday. Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, 23, a naturalized American, had been instructed by a Muslim cleric to return to the United States and carry out an act of terrorism, a federal indictment said. The indictment said Mohamud told an associate that he wanted to go to a military base in Texas and "kill three or four American soldiers execution-style." Mohamud's brother was killed fighting with the Nusra Front, the Syria-based affiliate of al Qaeda, the indictment said.


Sudan votes in elections boycotted by opposition groups

Mon, 04/13/2015 - 05:46

By Shadi Bushra and Khalid Abdelaziz KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudanese voters trickled in to polling stations on Monday at the start of a three-day election boycotted by the main opposition parties, with President Omar Hassan al-Bashir set to extend his quarter-century in power. The presidential and parliamentary polls are the first since Sudan saw its south secede in 2011, losing a third of its land and nearly all of its oil production. He has also promised to maintain stability, warning against a change in government while the region is embroiled in violence from Libya to Yemen. In Sudan, security forces are tackling insurgencies in the western territory of Darfur and along the border with South Sudan.


IS rocket attack kills 5 militiamen in Sirte

Sat, 04/11/2015 - 21:10
A Libya Dawn fighter reacts next to bodies of Libya Dawn fighters who were killed by Islamic State militants in Bin Jiwad, in Misrata, in this March 18, 2015 photo.

IS rocket attack kills 5 militiamen in Sirte

Sat, 04/11/2015 - 19:16
A Libya Dawn fighter reacts next to bodies of Libya Dawn fighters who were killed by Islamic State militants in Bin Jiwad, in Misrata, in this March 18, 2015 photo.

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