Tuesday, August 30, 2016

From Ian:

Give the UN Immunity for Terror?
The technical legality of this assertion is dubious. If any local employee of the United Nations, let alone, one of an embassy or consulate anywhere, is considered to have the immunity tradition accords actual diplomats the entire concept is called into question. It’s bad enough when real diplomats commit crimes and then are allowed to return home, albeit in disgrace. More common is when diplomats involved in spying—an activity not wholly unrelated to the business of foreign policy.
But while those with diplomatic passports must be accorded a fair amount of latitude for countries to feel free to exchange representatives, giving employees of UN agencies a free pass for blatantly illegal conduct is absurd. Even more outrageous is the notion that those who aid terrorist organizations should be treated with kid gloves.
This UN demand is especially egregious when one considers the record of both the UN and other philanthropic groups in Gaza. The same week that Borsh was arrested, an employee of the World Vision humanitarian group in Gaza was also apprehended for siphoning off for Hamas tens of millions of dollars donated from well-meaning foreigners that were intended to help Palestinian children. Another recent controversy has centered on Hamas infiltration of the Save the Children organization in Gaza. Meanwhile, the United Nations Relief Works Agency was found to have hired members of Hamas and allowed its facilities and schools to be used by the terrorists for storing weapons during the 2014 war.
But rather than take responsibility for this fiasco that occurred in their name, the UN thinks Borsh and every other Palestinian working for them in Gaza ought to be given impunity for misdirecting international aid to terrorists. Israel is right to ignore this request and to vigorously prosecute all those who abuse their UN jobs in this manner.
The UN has been a cesspool of corruption and anti-Semitism for so long that to speak of salvaging its reputation is a fool’s errand. Yet this incident shows how little the world body actually cares for the welfare of ordinary Palestinians, who are being shortchanged of desperately needed assistance to bolster their Islamist rulers’ military infrastructure. By invoking diplomatic immunity, the UN is calling into disrepute a basic principle upon which the entire structure of its efforts rests.

Kerry: ‘The Media Would Do Us All A Service’ If It Ignored Terrorism. ‘People Wouldn't Know What's Going On.’
US Secretary of State John Kerry just uttered something stupid again. This time it was in Bangladesh where he met with the country’s top officials in the capital of Dhaka and explicitly stated that the media should cover terrorism less so that "people wouldn't know what's going on." Here’s the full quote (emphasis added):
Remember this: No country is immune from terrorism. It's easy to terrorize. Government and law enforcement have to be correct 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. But if you decide one day you're going to be a terrorist and you're willing to kill yourself, you can go out and kill some people. You can make some noise. Perhaps the media would do us all a service if they didn't cover it quite as much. People wouldn't know what's going on.
The Secretary of State’s Orwellian rhetoric drew loud applause from the majority Muslim audience attending the press conference at the Edward M. Kennedy Center in Dhaka.
Kerry’s own department refused to comment on the Secretary’s shocking statements when pressed by reporters on Monday. "I'm not able to speak for Secretary Kerry,” stated a State Department spokesman.
As The Weekly Standard observes, this isn’t the first time Kerry has warned the media about covering terrorism.
BBC’s 2014 claim of an attack on a UN school shown to be inaccurate
Obviously footnotes need to be added to the relevant reports still available online in order to clarify to members of the public that the claim that the UN school was attacked is inaccurate.
Likewise, a similar clarification needs to be added to the BBC News website article titled “Gaza conflict: Disputed deadly incidents” which is also still available online and in which audiences are told that:
“Locals have told the BBC there were no militants in or near the school.”
Since the end of the conflict between Israel and terror groups in the Gaza Strip two years ago, investigations into several of the incidents reported by the BBC have shown (see related articles below) that audiences were at the time given inaccurate and misleading information.
To the best of our knowledge, none of the specious reports which still remain available online (and form part of what the BBC terms ‘historical record’) have been amended to inform the general public of the outcome of investigations into the incidents and to correct inaccurate and misleading information included in their content. The failure to take such necessary steps risks the waste of publicly funded resources on complaints relating to those reports due to the fact that the BBC’s editorial guidelines state that if content is still available online, it may legitimately be the subject of editorial complaints.

  • Tuesday, August 30, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
The never-ending series continues....


“This is a pride which has broken a kind of glass ceiling for the first time,” Halifah commented. “I hope that this will open the way for others to reach the top and shatter the conventions. I feel at home in the office and everyone is like one big family. It is fun to be here and to work for residents of the periphery.”

Halifah added that for him, working for the state was second nature and was a goal which had been instilled into him from a young age.

“I grew up in a family that educated me to contribute and to integrate into the country in any way possible. I entered public service after tests and bids as is completely standard procedure. Since then I progressed with hard work and no rest,” he explained.

(h/t Yigal)



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"Aren't you afraid of the soldiers?" the reporter asked the old Arab man.

A resident of Jenin, approximately 60 or 70 years old was sitting on a pile of rubble. He was calmly sitting there, not doing much of anything. He was surprised by the reporter's question. I watched the exchange on Israeli t.v., it was an interview conducted in Arabic, and there were Hebrew subtitles at the bottom of the screen so viewers like me could understand what the residents of Jenin had to say.

This scene is seared in to my brain, an exchange I will never forget. It was during Operation Defensive Shield (2002). Terrorists had committed so many atrocious attacks on Israelis (suicide bombings in restaurants, a hotel, attacking people in their homes etc.) it had become necessary to take the battle to the terrorists. They knew the IDF was coming and had time to booby-trap much of Jenin, making it a horrific place for a battle. The IDF ended up having to bulldoze a section of buildings which gave impetus to the media to begin screaming that the army had committed war crimes (false allegations they later had to apologize for).

"Me? Afraid? Of who?" asked the old man.

"The soldiers" said the reporter.

The scorn on the old man's face fascinated me. "Of course I'm not afraid of the soldiers!" he answered. "I'm not a terrorist! I don't have a bomb. Or a gun. Or a knife!"

I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. This old Arab man knew what all the residents of Jenin knew, what everyone knows. What the media never ever reports. He had absolutely nothing to fear from the Israeli soldiers because he was not a terrorist and not involved in anything that could be construed as terror related activities.

He knew the truth. I know the truth. How many of the average media consumers around the world know the truth?! American university students? Average Europeans?

The term, media consumers is apt. People consume what is on their plate. Whatever the media puts out gets eaten, swallowed whole. Very few questions are asked.

The plate goes down on the table, so you eat. It's automatic.

The major media companies have all kinds of slogans referring to their truthfulness, accuracy and fairness. They promote their news channels with action filled non-commercial commercials where the presenters talk about quality journalism, about wanting to uncover the stories, to see the action and bring it to the audience in a first person, unfiltered manner.

And most people just eat what they are given.

But what if the food isn't clean? What if the media is not presenting fair and balanced, no-spin news?

Many are beginning to recognize problematic journalism, inaccuracies and sometimes outright lies. The journalists are presenters rather than reporters, their "investigations" are more propaganda than anything resembling ethical, investigative journalism. Research and fact checking are considered passé. When it comes to covering Israel, the lies are blatant. Prejudiced unethical journalism has become the norm rather than the exception.

Countless organizations have been set up to counter media lies about Israel. Grassroots groups, concerned citizens are working hard, day and night, to set the record straight. Slowly it's working. HonestReporting campaigns, for example, have influenced major media sources, forcing them to correct inaccuracies.

Countering the media mistakes and inaccurate reporting (read: lies) is a never-ending task. Stories with the same narrative, told and retold, become truth if uncorrected. The anti-Israel movement uses media stories as fuel for their actions, as justification for policies and propaganda to influence others to hate Israel. Hate incites terrorism and people die.

For Israel, it is literally a matter of survival to keep hold of the truth and make sure it is known to all.
The problem is that the lies are so insidious, they go far beyond inaccurate or slanted reporting. Often the lies are in what you are not being told.

Have you ever asked yourself, what are they not showing me? What else is here that they aren't talking about?

Scenes like the conversation with the old man in Jenin are things you will never see on your television screen or get from any international mainstream media source. They don't fit the narrative.
The media lies by publishing stories that are incorrect but also by omitting truths. The strange thing is that the truth is not hidden, one just has to look in order to see it.
Europeans and BDSers may be ignorant of Israeli reality or may simply prefer to believe the propaganda. In contrast, the terrorists know the truth. They understand the Israeli spirit. They believe our kindness and morality is our weakness and use it against us.
This is why Hamas and Hezbollah hide behind human shields. That's why storing weapons and attacking from mosques, schools, hospitals and clinics has become their modus operandi.
They are willing to damage their civilians because they know that we are not willing to do so, that we prefer to hurt ourselves rather than hurt their innocent women and children.
They attack our children and try to kidnap our soldiers because they know that each child of Israel is precious to us. They know we will endanger ourselves in order to save even a single individual. 
To the media Israel is a war machine, not people. The media never shows the heart of Israel.
The terrorists know better.

The question is, what will you do the next time you hear something about Israel? 



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From Ian:

New Arab city in Israel refuses to take in UNRWA 'refugees'
The new Arab city of Rawabi being built in Samaria (Shomron) with Israeli approval refuses to allow "Palestinian refugees" from UNRWA camps to relocate to the city. This, despite past statements to the contrary, and the general impression that the need for a new Arab city was partly because of the suffering of said 'refugees', especially those still living in refugee camps.
So reports investigative journalist David Bedein of Israel Resource News Agency.
"The new Palestinian Arab city of Rawabi," writes Bedein, "has publicized in all stages of its development that it would build schools that would promote peace and reconciliation". He quoted Bashar al-Masri, Rawabi's chief developer, as telling the Guardian for a story on Rawabi, “We are not what they are led to believe, a bunch of terrorists…"
And yet, the town refuses to accept refugees – and why? "Because that would violate the PLO doctrine of the 'inalienable right of return' to homes which they left in Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Be'er Sheva, Tzfat, Ashkelon and more," writes Bedein.
This occurred in 1948 at the establishment of the Jewish State when the Arab leadership promised those fleeing that they would return to their homes once the Jews were slaughtered. When that failed to occur, the Arab world refused to resettle those who fled, purposely maintaining the only instance of multi-generational "refugeeism" in the world while Israel resettled and successfully absorbed an equal number of Jewish refugees from Arab lands during the same period.

Caroline Glick: The end of Mahmoud Abbas
Like it or not, the day is fast approaching when the Palestinian Authority we have known for the past 22 years will cease to exist.
PA leader Mahmoud Abbas’s US-trained Palestinian security forces have lost control over the Palestinians cities in Judea and Samaria. His EU- and US-funded bureaucracies are about to lose control over the local governments to Hamas. And his Fatah militias have turned against him.
Palestinian affairs experts Pinchas Inbari of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and Khaled Abu Toameh of the Gatestone Institute have in recent weeks reported in detail about the insurrection of Fatah militias and tribal leaders against Abbas’s PA.
In Nablus, Fatah terrorist cells are in open rebellion against PA security forces. Since August 18, Fatah cells have repeatedly engaged PA forces in lethal exchanges, and according to Inbari, the town is now in a state of “total anarchy.”
In Hebron, tribal leaders, more or less dormant for the past 20 years, are regenerating a tribal alliance as a means of bypassing the PA, which no longer represents them. Their first major action to date was to send a delegation of tribal leaders to meet with King Abdullah of Jordan.
Even in Ramallah, the seat of Abbas’s power, the PA is losing ground to EU-funded NGOs that seek to limit the PA’s economic control over the groups and their operations.
All of this fighting and maneuvering is taking place against the backdrop of the encroaching PA municipal elections, scheduled for October 8.
Does the Times Want Middle East Peace?
Something very odd has been happening in the Middle East and, as Sunday’s editorial in the New York Times illustrates, it has a lot of liberals seriously depressed. What’s bothering them? It turns out their collective noses are out of joint about progress toward Middle East peace and the fact that the Palestinian campaign that seeks to avoid direct talks and isolate Israel is failing. If that wasn’t bad enough, a series of diplomatic breakthroughs are happening on the watch of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the man that the Times and the so-called “peace camp” has been busy slandering as an opponent of peace.
After several decades of unremitting hostility, some of the fiercest opponents of Israel are starting to view the Jewish state very differently. Covert ties with Saudi Arabia are now becoming more open. Egypt, whose cold peace with Israel remained frozen in open hostility since Anwar Sadat’s assassination, has a government that is no longer shy about treating Israel as an ally if not a friend. Jerusalem’s relations with much of the Third World, especially African nations, are also warming up.
Those who care about thawing tensions between Jews and Arabs should be applauding all of this. That’s especially true of those voices that spend so much time deploring Israel’s isolation and the idea that it is an armed camp that is locked in perpetual combat with the entire Muslim and Arab world. But the Times and others on the left are lukewarm about these positive developments for their own reasons.
The first is that Israel and its Arab neighbors have been drawn together in large part through their mutual antipathy for Obama administration policies, and most specifically about the Iran nuclear deal. The Times has been one of the principal cheerleaders of the pact, which its advocates incorrectly claim has ended the nuclear threat to Israel and the Arab states. But those nations that are targeted most directly by Iran—Israel and Saudi Arabia—understand that U.S. appeasement of Iran advances the latter’s drive for regional hegemony as well as merely postponing the moment when it will achieve nuclear capability. The coming together of other Middle East nations in reaction to this travesty is evidence that those most at risk consider Obama’s false promises and his desire for a general U.S. retreat from the region a clear and present danger to the region.

  • Tuesday, August 30, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
Supposed experts have made the argument that the Hamas police forces in Gaza are considered civilians under international law and any attacks on them are therefore a war crime.

Here are some of the Hamas police going through training exercises, from the Hamas Ministry of the Interior Facebook page. 

Do they look civilian to you?










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  • Tuesday, August 30, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
UNRWA issued a press release on August 26 in the name of spokesperson Chris Gunness:
UNRWA has not been given an opportunity to review the evidence but we have seen the explanation on the Israeli Military Advocate General’s website. In the circumstance it is therefore impossible for us to make specific comments about the way the case has been conducted.

According to the UN Secretary General’s Board of Inquiry, the incident took place at an UNRWA school which had been designated as an emergency shelter on 18 July. Between 2,700 to 2,900 people were sheltering there. The Israeli Army launched a precision-guided missile striking the road outside the school, which had opened its gates. 15 persons in the vicinity were killed, including a guard hired by UNRWA. As many as 30 people were injured. The Secretary General’s Board of Inquiry found that the missile was targeting people passing on a motorcycle.

We notified the Israeli Army on 33 separate occasions that this school in Rafah was being used to accommodate the displaced, the last time only an hour before the attack.

This raises serious questions about the conduct of military operations in relation to obligations under international humanitarian law and respect for the inviolability and sanctity of United Nations premises under international law.
But the Secretary General report said quite a bit more than just that Israel was "targeting people passing on a motorcycle." It said:
The Government of Israel stated to the Board that an examination of the incident was being undertaken at the request of the Military Advocate General. IDF had fired an aerial-launched missile at the motorcycle, which had been carrying three militants belonging to Palestinian Islamic Jihad. By the time it became apparent that the strike would coincide with the moment the motorcycle would pass by the school gate, it was no longer possible to divert the missile.
At least the UNSG was honest enough to note what the preliminary results of the IDF investigation showed. UNRWA didn't even give Israel that courtesy. Instead, it implies that the Israeli investigation was a whitewash:

UNRWA has consistently called for accountability. Investigations into such incidents are crucial and UNRWA has provided evidence in the process. We remain determined to ensure that incidents are thoroughly investigated.

UNRWA itself is not a tribunal or a judge. We have called for accountability in this case and in others that took place during the 2014 war. Any indication that responsibility was being evaded would be a matter of grave concern.
However, the Military Advocate General report on the incident - which UNRWA didn't even bother to link to, let alone quote - is detailed, and does not attempt to whitewash anything:

The factual findings, collated by the FFA Mechanism [General Staff Mechanism for Fact-Finding Assessments] and presented to the MAG, indicate that the school was designated as a "sensitive site" on the relevant operational systems of the IDF. In accordance with the IDF's operational instructions, any military operation to be conducted in the vicinity of such sites requires the adoption of special precautions. The fact that the school was serving at the time as a shelter for civilians who had evacuated from their homes was also noted on the relevant systems.

It was further found, that on 3 August 2014, the IDF observed three people riding on a motorbike, who were identified, on the basis of up-to-date intelligence information, as military operatives. From the moment that the decision to strike the operatives was made, the IDF carried out aerial surveillance on the motorbike's path, and surveyed a wide radius of the estimated continued route of the motorbike, in order to minimize the potential for harm to civilians on the route or in proximity thereto. The final destination of the military operatives was not known to the operational authorities. The strike on the military operatives was planned for execution by means of a precise munition, with a reduced explosive load, in a way that would allow for the strike's objective to be achieved, whilst minimizing the potential for harm to civilians or passing vehicles.

It was further found, that a period of time after the munition had been fired, and mere seconds before it reached its target, the motorbike entered a traffic circle with a number of different exits, and left it via one of them. The FFA Mechanism's findings indicate that with the means that were at their disposal, and under the visibility conditions prevailing at that time, the operational authorities were not able to discern in real-time the group of civilians that were outside the school, in proximity to the route along which the aforementioned motorbike was travelling. It was further found that, in any case, at the moment upon which the motorbike exited the traffic circle and started to travel along the road bordering the wall which surrounded the school, it was no longer possible to divert the munition which had been fired at the motorbike.

The strike on the motorbike riders occurred immediately after the motorbike passed by the gate of the school. As mentioned above, it is alleged that as a result of the strike between seven and fifteen people in the vicinity of the school's gate were killed (as indicated above, the number of fatalities varies from report to report). According to the findings of the FFA Mechanism, three military operatives were among the fatalities.

After reviewing the factual findings and the material collated by the FFA Mechanism, the MAG found that the targeting process in question accorded with Israeli domestic law and international law requirements.

The decision to strike was taken by the competent authorities, and the object of the attack was lawful – military operatives. The attack complied with the principle of proportionality, as at the time the decision to attack was taken it was considered that the collateral damage expected to arise as a result of the attack would not be excessive in relation to the military advantage anticipated to result from it (essentially, it was considered in real-time that the strike would only harm the military operatives targeted). This assessment was not unreasonable under the circumstances, in light of the fact that aerial surveillance of the routes which the motorbike was predicted to take, which had commenced when the decision to strike was taken, had not shown any civilian presence on those routes.

Moreover, the attack was carried out in conjunction with various precautionary measures, such as the selection of the munition used to carry out the strike, which aimed to mitigate the risk to civilians and passing vehicles. It was also found that under the circumstances, the operational authorities had not foreseen that that the strike on the motorbike would take place in the vicinity of the school, and that, in any case, at the time at which it became clear that the strike would occur in proximity to the school, they did not have the capacity to prevent the strike from taking place in that location. The fact that, in practice, civilians who were uninvolved in the hostilities were harmed, is a tragic and regrettable result, but does not affect the legality of the attack ex post facto.

In the wake of the incident, a number of operational lessons-learned were implemented by the IDF, as regards the methods for carrying out aerial strikes in similar circumstances, with the aim of minimizing the risk of reoccurrence of similar incidents in the future.
UNRWA is pretending that it is not trying to act as a judge, but this is exactly what it is doing by ignoring everything the exhaustive Israeli investigation uncovered and instead implying that the entire thing is a lie and that the MAG report was not a real investigation.






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  • Tuesday, August 30, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon


From The New Arab:
Israeli companies have announced their intention to organise a beer festival on the historic Islamic cemetery of Mamilla in Jerusalem this week.

The festival was endorsed by the local Israeli authority who posted the event on their website. According to an announcement for the event, there will be around "120 different varieties of local and international beers on offer over two days."

The festival is organised on the territory of the Islamic cemetery Mamilla.

The Israeli governments have turned large parts of it into a public park under the name "Independence Park" after dredging and removing most of the graves which cover an area of more 200 acres.
Last year, Gulf News said that the entire purpose of the festival is to anger Muslims:

The festival is an intentional provocation to enflame Palestinian anger, according to Fakhri Abu Diyab, head of the Palestinian local committee in defense of Jerusalem.

Any type of festive celebration at a cemetery is disrespectful and inflammatory, let alone festival styled around an alcohol theme. In Islam, consuming alcohol is forbidden.
The Gulf news article also renames the cemetery (which was originally named after a Christian saint) the "Ma’amanallah Cemetery in occupied East Jerusalem."

In 1945, the Supreme Muslim Council de-consecrated the entire cemetery and planned to build a business park - and a public park as well, to be called the Salah ed Din (Saladin) Park.

But when Jews enjoy a park that Muslims wanted to build on that same spot, suddenly the cemetery becomes sacred again.


The Muslims at the time justified this use of the cemetery by noting that other Muslim cemeteries had been de-consecrated for public use, such as one at Herod's Gate and one in Jaffa. 

There have been no graves in the area of the park for many decades.

As I've noted before, the infamous Mufti of Jerusalem once re-directed the sewage system of the Palace Hotel he was building into the cemetery,

It appears that the sacredness of Muslim holy spots is directly correlated to the presence of Jews.


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Monday, August 29, 2016

From Ian:

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

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

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

  • Monday, August 29, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
Last month I had the chance to briefly visit the Ohel Yitzchak synagogue which is immediately to the north of the Western Wall, outside the northern security gate.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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During the recent Democratic National Convention (DNC), many “pro-Palestinian” activists complained about what they perceived as a lack of interest and support for their cause. As the ambitious Linda Sarsour – who has been hailed by the Obama White House as a “Champion of Change” – put it bitterly on Twitter: “The ‘most progressive’ platform in history of DNC except on Palestine. Actually it’s more to the right its [sic] ever been.”

One problem with this complaint is that there is absolutely nothing “progressive” about Palestinians – quite the contrary: they are so much “to the right” that they make US social conservatives like the Tea Party Republicans look almost progressive by comparison. Already a year ago, I made the case that, given Palestinian views, it is rather bizarre that “progressives” would be so eager to champion the “Palestinian cause.” This post was in part based on an extensive survey of Muslim societies published in 2013 by the respected US research center Pew, and as EoZ reported back then, Palestinians emerged as one of the most religiously conservative and extremist societies of all surveyed Muslim-majority countries. EoZ highlighted some of the rather shocking results in an infographic.

So 89% of Palestinians would like to have Islamic Sharia law as “the official law of the land” in Palestine; 87% believe a wife “must always obey her husband;” 81% think people who commit adultery deserve to be stoned to death, and 62% want the death penalty for Muslims who leave Islam. How “progressive” is that?

Then there is the little matter of the longstanding Palestinian support for terrorism. As surveys going back some two decades demonstrate, Palestinians have always firmly backed terror attacks targeting Israeli civilians – whether it’s Hamas rocket attacks, suicide bombings of restaurants or buses, or so-called “lone wolf” attacks. Just how immensely popular the killing of Israelis is among Palestinians was again demonstrated recently, when the supposedly “moderate” Fatah faction tried to shore up its support ahead of municipal elections by listing the killing of 11,000 Israelis as the group’s top achievement.
But even when the target is not Israel, Palestinians remain enthusiastic supporters of terrorism: in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, Pew monitored support for Osama bin Laden among Muslim publics for almost a decade, and Palestinians always emerged as bin Laden’s most ardent admirers. This is all the more noteworthy because the specific survey question Pew asked was quite convoluted and seemed designed to generate results that would minimize support for the Al Qaeda leader: survey participants were asked if they had “confidence” in Osama bin Laden to “do the right thing regarding world affairs.” Remarkably enough, in 2003, bin Laden actually inspired more “confidence” in Palestinians than Yassir Arafat. Bin Laden for President of Palestine – how progressive is that?



To be sure, prominent “progressive” proponents of the “Palestinian cause” in the US – like Ali Abunimah or Max Blumenthal – don’t really have a problem with Palestinian support for terrorism; indeed, they themselves are outspoken supporters of the terror group Hamas. Unfortunately, White House-endorsed “Champion of Change” Linda Sarsour also seems prepared to justify terrorism. As she declared some two years ago on Twitter: “Israel steals more land and they expect the Palestinians to sit back? Then Palestinians are the terrorists? I am beyond words.” [Archived here]. At the same time, Sarsour also wondered if there are “still people out there who actually think a two-state solution is viable? SMH [shaking my head] at whoever they are.” [Archived here].

So it seems fair to conclude that when Linda Sarsour campaigns for the rights of Palestinians, she doesn’t really mean a Palestinian state that would peacefully co-exist with Israel. Of course, she can claim that this view faithfully represents how Palestinians feel, since an overwhelming majority of Palestinians believe that their “rights and needs” require the elimination of Israel.

Maybe that’s progressive – and western democracies, where majorities of people don’t share this view, are just too reactionary.

But it is instructive to examine a bit closer how Sarsour’s “pro-Palestinian” views reflect on supposedly “progressive” politics in the US.

A few days ago, Sarsour posted a tweet urging people to “Follow @P_I_A_Mag, first Palestinian American magazine in the US;” she added a photo of herself holding two issues of the magazine.



As marked in the screenshot, the top issue she holds has an article about Rasmea Odeh; a recent article about Odeh in the magazine is quite long, but requires that readers are familiar with the case. The Wikipedia entry about the Odeh case introduces it as follows:

“Rasmea Yousef Odeh (born 1947/1948; also known as Rasmea Yousef, Rasmieh Steve, and Rasmieh Joseph Steve)[2][3] is a Palestinian woman and former United States citizen. She served as associate director at the Arab American Action Network in Chicago, Illinois. […] Odeh was convicted in 1970 by an Israeli military court of involvement in fatal terrorist bombings, and in 2014 by a US federal jury of immigration fraud. She was sentenced to life in prison in Israel for her involvement in two terrorist bombings in Jerusalem in 1969, one of which killed two people, and involvement in an illegal organization, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). She spent 10 years in prison before she was released in a prisoner exchange with the PFLP in 1980.[…] Odeh was convicted of immigration fraud on November 10, 2014, by a jury in federal court in Detroit, Michigan, for concealing her arrest, conviction, and imprisonment for the 1969 bombings.”

Professor William A. Jacobson has provided extensive coverage of the case on his blog Legal Insurrection; particularly useful in the context here is a post written a year ago that highlights “The Sickening Deification of Rasmea Odeh” by anti-Israel activists in the US. In this post, Jacobson refutes claims that Odeh is innocent of the terrorist murder charges and highlights efforts to transform Odeh into an icon “as part of a continuing effort by anti-Israel activists to co-opt and hijack the Black Lives Matters movement.”

Right – what could be more progressive than convincing Black Lives Matter (BLM)-activists that Jewish lives don’t matter and that therefore a convicted terrorist who murdered two young Israelis should be one of their heroes?

Linda Sarsour seems to fully support this approach.

So it was hardly surprising that Sarsour simply shrugged off recent protests about the inclusion of bigoted anti-Israel views in a newly released BLM platform. As far as Sarsour is concerned, spuriously accusing Israel of committing genocide is worth losing an important ally like the veteran Anti-Defamation League (ADL). So Sarsour took to Twitter and declared: “If ADL has conditions on which Black lives matter and when they matter, then their support isn’t needed.” Of course, the ADL didn’t put conditions “on which Black lives matter and when they matter,” the ADL simply didn’t want to support a movement that seems resolved to echo a 21st century version of the Nazi slogan “The Jews are our misfortune.”

If there is one constant in the long history of antisemitism it is the notion that whatever you see as your biggest problem, it is somehow the fault of the Jews. Nowadays, it’s the fault of the world’s only Jewish state.

And it seems that for “progressives” like Sarsour, black lives matter most when they can somehow be manipulated into adopting a murderous Palestinian terrorist as their hero while at the same time accusing Israel of genocide and other evils in the service of the “Palestinian cause.”



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From Ian:

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

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

  • Monday, August 29, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
The UN released a report on rebuilding Gaza after the 2014 war.

It mentions something that one never sees mentioned:

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

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




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

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

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


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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 11 years and over 23,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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