Thursday, August 25, 2016

  • Thursday, August 25, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
File photo
Terror groups in Gaza shot another rocket towards Israel on Thursday evening, but it fell short.

A rocket that was reportedly fired from the area of the former Jewish settlement of Netzarim and it exploded near the central eastern border of Gaza. Gaza media reported of the sounds of a huge explosion both from the launch site and the crash site.

There were no casualties.

It appears that the jihadist groups in Gaza are restless...

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From Ian:

Alan Dershowitz: Are Jews Who Refuse to Renounce Israel Being Excluded From ‘Progressive’ Groups?
Last year, Rabbi Susan Talve, a longtime activist on race issues in the St. Louis area was told that her advocacy for Israel was incompatible with the objectives of Black Lives Matter: “Solidarity from Ferguson to Palestine has become a central tenet of the movement,” she was informed, because “Israeli and U.S. state oppression are deeply interconnected.” Similarly, a student who attended a Black Lives Matter rally at Northwestern University last year was told, “you support Israel, so you cannot also support us.”
Recently, that seems to be the response of many of the hard Left activists who dominate so-called “progressive” social justice movements.
Over the past several years, progressive Jews and supporters of Israel have had to come to terms with the reality that those who do not reject Israel and accept the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement’s unique brand of bigotry are no longer welcome in some progressive circles. And while both the Democratic and Republican parties have embraced the importance of the U.S. alliance with Israel, that dynamic is under threat more so than at any point in my lifetime.
The self-described “progressive wing” of the Democratic Party — represented by radical and often repressive organizations such as MoveOn, CodePink, Occupy Wall Street, and Black Lives Matter (BLM) — has become openly opposed to the nation state of the Jewish people. Increasingly, these organizations demand that their members and “allies” renounce support for Israel and for Zionism in order to belong. Using the pretext of intersectionality — a pseudo-academic theory which insists that all social justice movements, except those supportive of Jews or Israel, are inexorably linked — anti-Israel activists have successfully made opposition to Israel and support for BDS a litmus test, especially for Jews, to belong to “progressive” movements focused on a wide range of issues.
Earlier this year, supporters of the LGBTQ community in Israel learned this lesson the hard way. BDS activists together with a local Black Lives Matter chapter broke up a gay pride event, because it featured a presentation by an Israeli group. The protestors claimed that the event organizers had engaged in “pinkwashing” the Israeli occupation by showing solidarity with the Israeli LGBTQ community.

UN wants Israel to free staffer accused of aiding Hamas
The United Nation’s legal department “demanded” Israel release an employee of the international organization on Thursday, who has been accused of aiding the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip, according to Israel’s ambassador to the UN Danny Danon.
Waheed Abd Allah Bossh, 38, an engineer in the UN’s Development Program, was arrested by the Shin Bet security service in July. He is suspected of funneling resources to the terrorist group.
According to the international organization, all UN employees are entitled to diplomatic immunity. The group’s legal department also demanded that UN officials have access to Bossh while he is being held in a Beersheba jail.
The letter, which referred to Beersheba by its Arabic name Bi’ir as-Sab, was sent to the Israeli UN delegation this week.
Danon refused the UN’s request. “We do not grant immunity to terrorists trying to harm our citizens,” he said, according to a statement released Thursday by his office.
After World Vision Scandal, Palestinian Aid Groups Face New Scrutiny
The case of World Vision isn’t an isolated incident, said Yona Schiffmiller, director of the NGO Monitor’s North America office. “There is an ongoing fundamental problem that exists in the NGO/humanitarian aid community. It doesn’t want to take security concerns to heart.”
There are similar cases of financing terrorism under the guise of charity, dating back to the 1970s, said Colin P. Clarke, a RAND Corp. political scientist and international security expert.
The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Provisional Irish Republican Army are just two examples of groups that have used the scam, he said.
In Bosnia, Algeria, and Afghanistan, insurgents benefitted from considerable support provided through religious charities, whose donations increased in the wake of publicized insurgent military success or media-focused campaigns depicting civilians suffering in these countries.
While Clarke contends that donors, and the NGOs that administer the funds, are probably unaware of where the money goes and assume it helps provide medical, legal and other types of aid to suffering civilians in war torn countries.
But groups like Hamas set up a social service wing, called Dawah, along with its military arm, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.
“You cannot separate between them,” Darshan-Leitner said. “You cannot designate money to benevolence and think it will not get to the military. That’s just how it is.”

  • Thursday, August 25, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon

El Nashra (Lebanon) reported on new archaeological studies in Israel, as reported in English by Christian News:
An ancient synagogue recently discovered in Israel has been deemed an important find for Christians as it confirms text found in the New Testament.

The synagogue, uncovered in Tel Reches Peak near Mount Tabor in the Galilee, dates back to the second temple era. Researchers found a large room nine meters high by eight meters wide, which was lined with benches of limestone blocks. A foundational pillar was also discovered in the rubble.

“This is the first synagogue of its kind in the Galilee villages,” Dr. Motti Aviam, a researcher at the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology, told YNet News. “In Migdal, for example, there is a synagogue but that is a big city. Here we are talking about a magnificent agricultural area about four Dunam in size where buildings are decorated with frescoes and stucco articles.”

“Jewish families lived in the estate but due to the fact that the nearest synagogue was four kilometers away (a distance deemed too far from a community according to Jewish law) the owner of the estate built the synagogue for himself and for the dozens of workers in his employment,” he explained.

Avaim said that the synagogue appeared to be a simple structure, most likely used for reading the Torah and delivering sermons. He noted how the synagogue aligns with biblical text.

“The New Testament describes how Jesus delivered sermons in a synagogue in Capernaum and other synagogues in the Galilee,” Aviam outlined.

“During the same period, Jesus was still a Jew who observed Jewish rituals and requirements and like many rabbis, he delivered sermons in synagogues,” he said. “Christianity … placed an emphasis on His sermons at synagogues in the Galilee. This makes the place very important for Christians.”
El Nashra emphasizes how this synagogue supports the New Testament narrative.

But it doesn't quite make the leap that this shows that Jews lived in the area way before Islam.

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 Vic Rosenthal's Weekly Column

It’s hard to understand Vladimir Putin’s attitude toward Jews.

On the one hand, Putin-controlled media continues to pour out vulgar anti-Jewish memes, including a recent TV program in which Jews sunk the Titanic, blew up Chernobyl and took down the World Trade Center. And Russia has surprising connections and influence in European radical right-wing political parties like Hungary’s Jobbik, France’s National Front and more.

On the other hand, at the same time, Russia is hosting a conference of 500 European rabbis in order to discuss the problem of Jew hatred in Europe, and in January Putin even suggested that Jews fleeing Europe should go to Russia. Jews “should come here, to Russia. They left the Soviet Union; now they should come back,” he said.

On the one hand, there appear to be good relations between Putin and Israel’s PM Netanyahu. Arrangements in place to prevent accidental clashes between Israeli and Russian air forces operating in Syria seem to be working. It does not seem to be the case that Putin is preventing Israel from taking action against attempts to transfer game-changing weapons to Hezbollah.

On the other hand, Russia is supplying modern weapons to Iran, and it appears to be cooperating with the Iranian regime’s project to control the arc of land from its eastern border through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to the Mediterranean, as well as opening a direct line through Anbar province in Iraq, via  Jordan, to Israel’s midsection. This is not “good for the Jews.”

When Putin occupied Crimea two years ago, he claimed that Ukrainian nationalists who overthrew the pro-Russian Yanukovych government were neo-Nazis who threatened Jews. He might have been partially right, but Jews there are also accused of being allies of the right wing. Vicious anti-Jewish propaganda has appeared, which the nationalists claim is produced by the FSB (the current incarnation of the Russian secret security service) to discredit them. 

The explanation is not that Putin likes Jews or that he dislikes them. It is simply that the Jews and Jew-hatred are convenient and helpful tools for achieving his objectives. Some of these are to weaken the EU and NATO and destabilize Europe, at which he has been spectacularly successful. This is why Putin wants to strengthen the right-wing movements – to create as much chaos in Europe as possible. 

You may recall that NATO was originally established to contain Soviet expansionism by building a nuclear-armed wall around the USSR. Today it is a quaint relic of that period, almost toothless. NATO didn’t stop Putin from taking Crimea and isn’t likely to send its tanks or bombers to protectUkraine, Abkhazia, South Ossetia or Transnistria

The Jewish state, too, can be helpful to Putin. In the Middle East, his immediate goal is to weaken the influence of the US over the region, both inobjective geostrategic ways, by placing military assets in critical spots – S-400 air defense systems in Crimea and Syria, bombers in Iran, bases in Syria – and diplomatically, by driving wedges between the US and its traditional allies, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel. 

The US, either by incompetence or design, has played into Putin’s gambit. Both the US and Russia have wooed the Iranian regime, but only Putin has received anything in return. The Iranians have pocketed US concessions made during the nuclear negotiations without ending their hostility to the US, their support of terrorism or their intention to obtain nuclear weapons (which may have been delayed by a short period, if at all). 

In addition to the strategic benefits Russia gets from its alliance with Iran, the American attempt to appease Iran has damaged relations between the US, its (former) Sunni allies and Israel; this is a definite plus from Moscow’s point of view. 

As Obama continues to pressure Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians and to restrain her from taking action against Iran, Putin is offering help, both in controlling Iran and Hezbollah and as a mediator (along with Egypt) with the Palestinians.

Putin’s longer-range goal is to replace the US as the dominant power in the Middle East. This will place him in conflict with Iran, which also wants the role of top dog. Putin understands Iran’s expansionist ambitions. It would be rational for him to want to place limits on the regime, especially in regard to her nuclear weapons development. Iran is developing or may already have a nuclear-capable missile that can reach Moscow. I don’t believe that Russia wants to see such missiles with nuclear warheads in her backyard, 1500 km. from Moscow. Putin is willing to partner with Iran in order to achieve his objectives, but he very much intends to be the controlling partner.

Can Putin be trusted? No, of course not. Regardless of the propaganda flowing from his psychological warfare factories, he is not sentimental about Jews. The ex-KGB officer is not sentimental about anything. But I think he is smart enough to understand the potential stability that a strong Israel – the only nation in the Middle East that can at the same time be powerful without also being tempted to engage in aggression against its neighbors – would give to the eastern Mediterranean region, which incidentally contains large reserves of natural gas.

Unlike Obama, who I believe is both stupid and irrationally anti-Israel, Putin is both smart and rational, and the smart, rational thing for him to do is to allow Russia to benefit from a powerful but nonthreatening Jewish state that is prepared to view her as an ally.

Within the next few years it will become clear if he sees it this way too.

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From Ian:

Jews are 'adept at working the American political system' aided by 'the memory of the Holocaust' - extraordinary claim made by journal where Huma Abedin was assistant editor
An Islamic journal where Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton's top aide, was assistant editor published an article accusing Jews of 'working the American political system' – and being aided by the 'memory of the Holocaust'.
Abedin, who is vice-chair of Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, spent 12 years as an assistant editor for Journal of Minority Muslim Affairs.
Her mother, Saleha Mahmood Abedin, is the journal's editor-in-chief and has been accused of espousing the views of the Muslim Brotherhood through the publication.
Huma Abedin's brother, Hassan, is an associate editor and her sister, Heba, is an assistant editor.
Huma Abedin was listed on the journal's masthead for more than a decade after she joined Clinton's team in 1996, rising from White House intern to one of the presidential nominee's closest confidantes.
She is a likely pick for chief of staff in a Clinton administration.

Khaled Abu Toameh: The "Mountain of Fire" Erupts Against Abbas
Five Palestinians, including two PA police officers, were killed in the worst scenes of internecine violence to hit the West Bank in recent years. Abbas was either playing the businessmen for fools or hoping that they share his deaf and blind state.
The violence in Nablus did not come as a surprise to those who have been monitoring the situation in the West Bank in recent months.
In fact, scenes of lawlessness and "security chaos" have become part of the norm in many Palestinian cities, villages and refugee camps -- a sign that the PA may be losing control to armed gangs and militias. Palestinians refer to the situation as falatan amni, or "security chaos." An article published in Gatestone in June referred to the growing instances of anarchy and lawlessness in PA-controlled areas in the West Bank, first and foremost Nablus.
Palestinians refer to Nablus as the "Mountain of Fire" -- a reference to the countless armed attacks carried out against Israelis by residents of the city since 1967. Current events in Nablus, however, have shown how easily fire burns the arsonist. The Palestinian Authority is now paying the price for harboring, funding and inciting gang members and militiamen who until recently were hailed by many Palestinians as "heroes" and "resistance fighters." Unsurprisingly, most of these "outlaws" and "criminals" (as the PA describes them) are affiliated in one way or another with Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction.
Nablus, the so-called Mountain of Fire, is now threatening to turn into a volcano that is set to erupt in the face of Abbas and his PA government.

  • Thursday, August 25, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon

During the Gaza war in 2014, media reported that Israel bombed the Gaza power plant, multiple times. For example, this Daily Beast article said "on Tuesday {June 22], the Israelis hit the Gaza power plant." JJ Goldberg of The Forward also said, on June 23, that Israel bombed the power plant.

And then, on July 29, many media outlets reported that Israel targeted and destroyed the Gaza power plant. The Guardian reported it by saying "Flames and clouds of black smoke billowed over Gaza's only power plant on after it was destroyed during the most relentless and widespread Israeli bombardment of the current conflict." and "Israel's attack on the Gaza power plant on Tuesday is likely to fuel speculation that the enclave's civilian infrastructure is being deliberately targeted in the continuing war against Hamas."

Ken Roth of HRW also accused Israel of deliberately attacking the power plant.

As we reported soon after, the power plant was not destroyed - it went back online two months later.

Now with the release of the IDF's latest investigation on incidents from the war, we can see what really happened.

The factual findings, collated by the FFA Mechanism, and presented to the MAG, indicated that the power plant in Nusseirat 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 findings further indicated that, in the course of the military activity taking place in the area, the power plant was struck four times over the course of the period from 22-29 July 2014 (the difficulty in specifying the precise dates of the strikes results from differences between the various reports, which provide different dates for the same strikes).

In regard to the first three incidents of damage to the power plant, it was found that the damage did not occur as the result of any direct or intentional attack, aerial or otherwise, by IDF forces. The FFA Mechanism could not rule out the possibility that the power plant facilities may have been damaged by shrapnel, or artillery fire that went off course during the combat. This, in light of the considerable military activity that took place in the vicinity of the plant, between IDF forces and squads affiliated with terror organizations. As well as in light of the fact that terror organizations located a large number of terror assets adjacent to the power plant – at times at a distance of mere tens of meters (such assets included launching pits in which rockets and mortars were stored, medium range rocket launchers, the openings of combat tunnels, weapons caches and more). Evidence has also been obtained which indicates that a portion of the damage may have been caused as the result of rocket fire by Palestinian terror organizations.

After reviewing the factual findings and the material collated by the FFA Mechanism in regard to the three incidents of damage referred to above, the MAG found that the damage to the power plant in Nusseirat had not occurred as a result of a direct or intentional attack by IDF forces operating in the area. In light of the above, and since all avenues for the further examination of these incidents had been exhausted, the MAG ordered these cases to be closed without opening a criminal investigation, in the absence of a reasonable suspicion of criminal misconduct by IDF forces.
Hamas and its terrorist comrades deliberately placed military target adjacent to the power plant specifically to discourage Israel from firing. And there is evidence that they damaged the plant themselves!

And what about the major airstrike that was widely reported to have "destroyed" the power plant?

As regards the fourth incident of damage, which occurred on 29 July 2014, the FFA Mechanism found that on the day of the incident, an IDF armored force operating in the area identified a squad of terror operatives, bearing anti-tank weaponry ("anti-tank squad"). The anti-tank squad was identified while it was close to what would later turn out to be the fuel tanks of the power plant. In light of the imminent threat posed by the squad to the armored force, the force fired, in a measured and direct manner, at the anti-tank squad, using the most precise munition the force had at its disposal. It appears, that as a result of this fire, one of the power plant's fuel tanks was damaged (the power plant itself was not hit).
In war, when a tank unit becomes aware of an anti-tank squad, the obvious response is to fire immediately before being fired upon. But Israel is asked to do much, much more.

More astoundingly, it tries to.
The fire which was carried out by the IDF force over the course of the incident was aimed at a military object – an anti-tank squad of the terror organizations, which posed an immediate threat to the force. The attack on the squad 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 from it. This estimation was not unreasonable under the circumstances, when taking into consideration the immediacy of the threat posed to the force by the anti-tank squad, and in light of the fact that the force was not aware of the nature of the facilities in proximity to which they identified the squad.

Moreover, the attack was carried out in conjunction with various precautionary measures, including the selection of the munition used (taking into account the distance between the force and the anti-tank squad, and the weaponry that was at the force's disposal), and the way in which the fire was carried out. These measures were carried out in order to minimize, to the extent possible under the circumstances, the collateral damage expected to result to structures and facilities in the vicinity of the target. In light of the immediacy of the threat, and the danger which was posed to the IDF force, the force did not have any latency in which to enquire into the nature of the facilities in proximity to which it had identified the squad, and the potential consequences, immediate, or long term, of collateral damage thereto.

In light of the above, the MAG did not find that the actions of IDF forces raised grounds for a reasonable suspicion of criminal misconduct. As a result, the MAG ordered the case to be closed, without opening a criminal investigation.

At the same time, the MAG made a recommendation to the relevant operational authorities that they review the processes for the integration of the operational instructions concerning operations carried out in proximity to "sensitive sites", as well as the ways in which IDF forces' ability to locate and identify such sites might be improved.
Imagine being in a gunfight where the other person can shoot you whenever they want to, but you have to make sure that you adhere to lots of rules and regulations about how you can shoot, and with what weapon that would neutralize your opponent with the minimal force possible. You must spend months before the gunfight determining and mapping out every possible place that your bullet can ricochet just in case you get into a battle at this very location. Also, you must get permission from supervisors and lawyers to ensure that you are cleared to fire with the weapon and ammunition you chose before every engagement.

That is what the world demands of the IDF.

More amazingly, it is what is what the IDF nearly always does.

Not surprisingly, these facts are not part of normal reporting that the media and NGOs engage in. It is easier for them to airily and ignorantly accuse Israel of randomly firing weapons in the general direction of the enemy out of a sense of vengeance and anger rather than act like a professional army must.

HRW stated, flatly, "Damaging or destroying a power plant, even if it also served a military purpose, would be an unlawful disproportionate attack under the laws of war, causing far greater civilian harm than military gain."

Amnesty stated, “The strike on the power plant, which cut off electricity and running water to Gaza’s 1.8 million residents and numerous hospitals, has catastrophic humanitarian implications and is very likely to amount to a war crime. There can be no justification for targeting a civilian structure that provides crucial services to so many civilians. The scale of the consequences of this attack are devastating and could amount to collective punishment of Gaza’s population."

Both Amnesty and HRW assume both that the power plant itself was destroyed, and that Israel targeted it deliberately.

The idea that a Hamas anti-tank unit was next to the power plant about to fire is not even on the radar of their "military experts." Or, perhaps, they believe - against the laws of armed conflict - that Israeli tank gunners must voluntarily allow themselves to be killed rather than defend themselves.

Either way, it points out how ignorant, biased and hateful these NGOs are. Comparing their pseudo- and instant analysis with the painstaking findings of real military experts reveals that these NGOs are like schoolkids confidently explaining physics to Einstein.

Their gross ignorance is not reported by the equally clueless media, which eagerly publishes  their lies and accusations that are based on pre-determined conclusions rather than facts and real research.

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Here's a case where social media works beautifully.

On Sunday morning, I wrote an article about an antisemitic series published in an Egyptian paper that included Holocaust denial. I noted that the series was being republished by the Palestinian media outlet Wattan TV.

The Tayara Herzl blog noticed my report and pointed out that Wattan TV was one of the Palestinian media outlets that are funded by George Soros, as revealed by the recent DCLeaks incident.

Later that afternoon, I reported on the findings from that blog.

Yair Rosenberg of Tablet then took the ball and ran with it:

On Monday, Tablet informed [Soros' organization] OSF that Wattan was distributing these anti-Semitic articles and asked the organization for comment. Soon after, the pieces were taken down from Wattan’s website, although no correction or apology was posted to educate misled readers. This morning, OSF issued the following statement condemning Wattan and promising better oversight in the future, though it did not withdraw funding:

The Open Society Foundations unequivocally condemn the anti-Semitic content published on Wattan News that promotes dangerous falsehoods about the Holocaust. We are shocked and disappointed that Wattan News, an organization we fund and one that has played an important role in contributing to informed debate on Israel and Palestine, would allow such deplorable content to appear on its website. The Open Society Foundations support Israeli and Palestinian civil society groups that defend democracy and human rights, and we firmly believe this work must be based on respectful, informed, and fact-based dialogue on all sides. Wattan News has informed us that they have removed the offending content which appeared in a column for outside contributors and are putting in place procedures to ensure that such a serious lapse in editorial oversight will not take place again.

Oddly, few mainstream media outlets have reported on the contents of the Soros leak, even as similar hacking dumps from groups like Wikileaks have received regular press write-ups. The Wattan News incident suggests that this neglect is a mistake—that there may be much more that is worth investigating in the leak’s contents, and that the public interest is ill-served by ignoring them.

I could not find the OSF statement anywhere on its website, so its statement was not exactly publicized outside the Tablet article. And, as Rosenberg notes, Wattan didn't apologize or explain its decision to publish the articles; it simply removed them because it didn't want to upset its embarrassed grantor.

Still, it shows that bloggers and writers can work together to make an impact, even if the guilty parties are more interested in minimizing damage rather than fixing the underlying problems.

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  • Thursday, August 25, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon

Newsweek wrote in 2014:

In a house in Rafah in southern Gaza, near the Egyptian border, Nabil Siyam, aged 34, slowly lays out pictures of his family. He only has one arm, the other was blown off by an Israeli bomb during the summer war. The pictures show his wife, Shireen, and their children – Mustafa, 9, Ghaida, a girl aged 8, Abdul Rahman, 6, Badruddin, 5 and Dalal, also a girl, aged nine months. All but Badruddin were killed by the same bomb; the little boy lost a kidney and now plays on his father’s lap. Also killed were two of Nabil’s brothers, two of his brothers’ wives and three of their children, who lived in this house.

Staring ahead with bloodshot eyes, Nabil, a vegetable farmer, says that when war broke out in July the family felt safe here. Gazans nearer the border came to this area to flee shelling where they lived. Nobody could escape into Egypt, which had closed its crossing at Rafah, and obviously it wasn’t possible to escape across the Israeli border into the line of fire. On the other side was the sea. “Everyone was trapped.”

On 21 July, Israeli rockets hit the house next door and, at 6am, Nabil and his terrified family fled. “We ran into the street, children were with mothers. We got 10 meters away when I heard a drone. I heard the sound of the bomb – it is a special sound – and looked up. The Israelis must have seen us. Drones see everything. The next thing I knew was a cloud of dust and I looked around for my children.”

As well as the 12 members of Nabil’s family, who died outright in the bomb, two cousins were badly injured, including 15-year-old Mohammed, who lost a leg and was transferred to a Palestinian hospital in east Jerusalem for surgery. Fighting for his life he was transferred again, this time to Turkey, so doctors could remove shrapnel from his lung. “If I die I want to come home to be buried with my family,” Mohammed told his grandfather, who accompanied him to Turkey
There were many other articles about the Siyam family and how Israel callously murdered them for no reason.

In war, the truth is the first casualty. And so it is in this case. Unfortunately, it takes a long time for even the most professional army to investigate and uncover the facts, well after people are already convinced that they know what happened from sloppy media and NGO reporting.

In this case, the many news outlets that flatly blamed Israel for the deaths of the Siyam family were wrong.

The 13 members of the Siyam family and relatives were killed by mortars shot by terror groups that fell short in Rafah.

As the IDF investigation that was just released says:

The factual findings and the material collated by the FFA Mechanism and presented to the MAG indicate that no attack – aerial or otherwise – that could have resulted in a strike on the family as alleged was carried out by IDF forces in the area in question and on the relevant date. The FFA Mechanism also ruled out the possibility that the types of munition described in a number of the reports had been utilized.

Nonetheless, it was found that at the relevant time, and in close proximity to the Siyam family's residence, terror organizations in the Gaza Strip fired a series of mortars, aimed at the territory of the State of Israel. A number of these launches were "failed launches", wherein the mortar shells that were aimed at Israeli territory, fell within the territory of the Gaza Strip. Images showing the points of impact of the munitions that struck the Siyam family and the surroundings of their residence, which were provided to Israel by one of the organizations and transferred to the FFA Mechanism for examination, also indicate that the strike in question was not caused as the result of an aerial attack as alleged in the majority of the reports. The FFA Mechanism and the MAG Corps made representations to the legal representative of the organization which had claimed that the strike on the Siyam family had been caused by IDF munitions, in order for them to present evidence that would support such an allegation. These representations did not receive a response.

After reviewing the factual findings and the material collated by the FFA Mechanism, the MAG found, that contrary to the allegations, it could be concluded, with reasonable certainty, that the members of the Siyam family were not harmed as a result of IDF activity.
Notice how much the IDF did to investigate this. Besides painstakingly cataloging all its strikes from planes, drones and tanks, it also managed to gather photographs of the damage, calculating the trajectories that must have created the types of damage seen and correlating them with its own separate evidence of mortar and rocket fire that were shot from Gaza. No news organization or NGO has the capability to do anything close to this, and it is easier for them to flatly blame Israel rather than even consider that the strike came from the many terror groups who wantonly shot rockets and mortars by the thousands during the war - even though there have been many documented cases of Gaza casualties from Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets in that war and previous ones.

It appears that the organization that made the legal complaint against Israel that did not respond to requests for more information that would buttress its blaming Israel was the Al Mezan Center.

Will Newsweek and other media outlets that reported as fact that the family was killed by an Israeli airstrike issue a correction, two years after the fact? It seems highly improbable.

Will Amnesty adjust its "Gaza Platform" to incorporate this new information? The very idea is laughable, given how inaccurate that tool is and Amnesty's refusal to correct its many errors, all against Israel.

Will B'Tselem adjust its statistics? That is the most interesting question.

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

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

From Ian:

Anniversary of 1929 Hebron Massacre and Ethnic Cleansing of Jews
Hebron is a hot spot in many ways. Hebron and its immediately surrounding Arab areas are the single largest source of terror attacks during the so-called Knife or Stabbing Intifada.
It’s also a place where anti-Zionist and left-wing “liberal Zionist” American Jews love to gather to protest the Jewish “settlers” who live in a tiny section of the city. That section is under Israeli military control by agreement with the Palestinian Authority, with good reason. Hebron has a long history of violence directed at Jews.
Hebron also is the place of the Cave of the Patriarchs, which I visited in 2015.
Hebron had one of if not the oldest continuous Jewish communities in the world, dating back several hundred years at least. Until 1929.
On August 23, 1929, the Arabs attacked the Jews of Hebron along with numerous other Jewish communities.
But in Hebron it was particularly vicious. It was a blood frenzy in which the Jews were set upon with particular glee and slaughtered with knives, machetes and anything else available.

David Collier: HGSS, Jewish News and Yachad, shutting the mouths of the London Zionists
A Jewish newspaper in the UK smears a Zionist movement in a badly researched hatchet job, a London synagogue bows down to pressure and cancels a Zionist event. A scene from an antisemitic horror movie? No, this is the actual state of affairs ofJewish London in 2016. Read on for a Beyond the Great Divide exclusive:
Questions now need to be asked about just where British Jewry is heading. Are the ‘red fascists’ taking hold in our community?Background
Over the last few months, I have received several invitations from grassroots activist group ‘Campaign 4 Truth‘. Some of the speakers have been impressive. ‘Campaign 4 Truth’ are unashamedly Zionist. I only wish more of our established ewish community bodies could take a page from some of the grassroots groups and proudly wave the Israeli flag.
One of the more recent invites was for an event with an Israeli organisation called ‘Im Tirtzu’ that was due to take place on September 11th. It was scheduled to be held at HGSS, the ‘orthodox’ ‘United’ Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue.
Im Tirtzu
Like many of the groups currently campaigning against the delegitimisation of Israel, ‘Im Tirtzu’ are not without their critics. Just a few months ago, a horrendous name and shame campaign backfired badly, and brought criticism against ‘Im Tirtzu’ from across the political spectrum. The main focus of ‘Im Tirtzu’s’ campaigns are the NGO’s that sit to the very left of the Israeli political spectrum. Groups that are now under the microscope, such as B’tselem, Breaking the Silence and more importantly the donors that enable the activities of these groups. In the opening paragraph on the Wiki page for ‘Im Tirtzu’, it says this:
“Im Tirtzu is mostly known for its campaign against the New Israel Fund, foreign government-funded NGOs, and alleged bias in university curriculum”.
No surprise then that the Chief Executive of the New Israel Fund, Adam Ognall, appears to be a primary source for the article in the Jewish News.
Russian 'documentary' claims Jews behind Titanic, Chernobyl and 9/11
A documentary recently aired on a Russian television station with a potential reach of 100 million viewers laid blame for some of history's greatest calamities at the feet of the Jews.
According to The Jewish Chronicle, the short film, which aired on Russia's REN TV, claimed that Jews were behind the sinking of the Titanic, the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl and the September 11 terror attacks.
The new version of the documentary was updated from a 2012 broadcast which had claimed that 300 Jews, Illuminati and Freemasons had plotted to sink the Titanic in order to sow chaos and conquer the world.
The updated broadcast aired on the private network added the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union to the conspiracy, along with 9/11 and Chernobyl.
Russia's Ministry of Education and Science has previously condemned REN TV's "documentaries" as "the most harmful pseudoscientific project (for spreading of myths, delusions and superstitions)," according to the Chronicle.

Judean Rose
by Varda Meyers Epstein

Yesterday I wrote the most beautiful piece about Yarden Gerbi, the Israeli judoka and bronze medalist. Yarden, you see, is auctioning off her Olympic back number. She's going to donate the proceeds to benefit children with cancer. It's the second time Gerbi's done that: auctioned off an important keepsake from an important competition for the sake of these kids.

And I just love her for that.

The truth is, I loved her already. I loved her wild and spontaneous leap into the stands—still sweaty and disheveled from the match—to hug and be hugged by the small number of audience members holding Israeli flags. I loved the way Yarden, with a shy smile, lovingly underscored with her finger, the Israeli flag on her gi, as if to say, "I did it all for you, my beloved Israel," knowing full well the cameras were catching the gesture for posterity, and not giving a damn that the world hates us, hates Israel.

She, Yarden, loves Israel.

And so I love her.

But back to the back number. This was a feel-good story about Israel that I had seen on Facebook and I realized it could be the perfect thing to write up for a website I've been trying to break into without success. Getting a piece placed on that website's a business thing. Something I do for work.

I write for a living, you see. Writing is actually my day job. And my job is to write articles with a tie-in to the work of the organization I work for, Kars4Kids. That means writing about parenting, education, nonprofits, and charity, for instance.

The pro-Israel stuff I write?  That's something I do on my own time. Because no one pays bloggers to write about Israel.

But yesterday, I came across that story about Yarden Gerbi and not for the first time I thought, "Wouldn't it be awesome if I could kill two birds with one stone and write up a story that both shows Israel in a good light and has a tie-in to my org?"

So I went back to that website, the one I've been trying to break into, and I did what I call "deep reading." I read about 15 articles on the website to get an idea of the type of articles they offer, and the tone of the writing itself. While there were many articles on celebrities and home beauty treatments, there were also pieces about the U.S. election and yes, several stories about the Olympics.

I saw no articles on Israel or Yarden Gerbi. Whether by intention or accident, I didn't know. But clearly, I'd found a niche not yet covered. Which I saw as a good thing. It meant I had a higher chance of placing my story there. Maybe.

I noted the website had a strong feminist bent, and lots of feel-good stories. I decided the Gerbi back number story, written in the informal chatty style of the website, was actually exactly the kind of thing that would fly.

Well, that's not quite true. I knew that the typical reader there was bound to be liberal left. And Israel is, shall we say, not exactly beloved by the liberal left.

But that's not always a bad thing. Controversy generates reader engagement so it's good for page views. And there was nothing in the story about Gerbi that anyone, liberal or otherwise, could find offensive. Except for the fact that the story is about Israel and Israelis.

What can I say? I'm a cockeyed optimist. Seeing nothing that could possibly offend in the story itself, I ran with it. I wanted to think that liberal left readers would exercise tolerance.

And seriously? It was a gorgeous story about a strong woman with a generous heart.

So I wrote it up. I included the back story. I'd noted that many of the articles on the website had gifs in them so I looked for a video of that wild leap into the stands, and then created a gif on Giphy. (It was something I'd never done before and I was kind of proud of that. Heck, I'm 55. And I can do cool things on the Internet.)

I included Yarden's Facebook post.

And I provided a better formatted quote of the English part of her post:

Three years ago, when I won the World Championship, I auctioned the special back number I was awarded with the title of world champion. The winner of the back number was Tal Keidar, and together we managed to raise $3800, all of which was donated to the children's oncology ward of Ichilov Hospital.
I decided to auction my signed Rio Olympic back number (the auction will close on the 29th of August).
In addition, if the winner of the back number is Israeli (the auction is open worldwide) I will gladly hand over the item personally. Once again, all the money raised will go directly to the same ward in Ichilov – child cancer patients. I don't know how much money I will raise, but I know that any amount will help.
When I visited the ward with Professor Bickles I met amazing kids who are heroes, doing their best to fight and keep high spirits.
I recently found out that Liran Or, a sweet and loving girl with whom I was in contact with, had passed away. That's the reason I decided to donate to the same ward.
Please, share the link and spread the word about the auction. And most importantly, keep healthy.
Yarden Gerbi
I further noted that the bidding (on e-bay) had reached, $13,000—about three and a half times the amount Gerbi  raised with her World Championship back number, with several days left to bid. And I mentioned that Israel's private giving comes in second only to that of the United States, with a link to a study by Johns Hopkins on the subject (True fact: Israel's private giving is 1.34% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), compared to the U.S. at 1.85% while for context Japan stands at 0.22%, and Germany at 0.13%)

I called my piece Yarden Gerbi: Bronze Medalist, Heart of Gold, because that's really how I see her and what I wanted to say about her. She's the epitome of feminine strength, but she's got this warm, loving, generous heart and soul. To me, she models a certain feminine ideal and is someone to emulate for her love of country, hard work in the ring, and charitable work on behalf of sick children.
Anyone else would have wanted to keep that back number as an important keepsake. Something to display on the wall of your den, something to show your children and grandchildren.

But that's not important to Yarden. Sportmanship is what matters, caring for others, and love of country.

Those are the things that matter to her.

So I finished up my piece. I looked it over once, twice, three times. Played with a line here, a line there.

Then I submitted it and crossed my fingers (well, not really, but you know, I hoped real hard).

I submitted it as a breaking news story, because it's a time-sensitive story. Today, it's already old news.

I waited an hour, two hours, three. And I imagined that if I were editor, I'd tell my staff to always keep an eye on breaking news submissions. Because the other stories can wait.

But still more time went by.

So I dropped them a line and said, "Hey. This is a time-sensitive piece. If you can't use it let me know so I can submit it elsewhere."

Not long after I heard from the editor.

Dear Varda,
Thank you for thinking of (______), and for sending us "Yarden Gerbi: Bronze Medalist, Heart of Gold" to consider for publication. We're going to have to pass this time, as we are very full on content these days and have to be extremely selective. We encourage you to pitch this elsewhere and to keep pitching to (______) anytime!
(Jewish-sounding name)
As rejections go, this one is encouraging. She's telling me I can write and she welcomes further submissions. But something didn't pass the smell test for me.

Now, maybe I'm oversensitive but I'm always concerned that a rejection means more than it appears on the surface when I'm dealing with a liberal-toned website. And when I do get something printed, I am always a little nervous when I tell a publication where to send the check (Israel). So I decided it was time I did some research on this particular editor, who by the way, connected with me on LinkedIn after my first submission, which further encouraged me to keep pitching her.

Google informed me this editor had worked for The Daily Beast, which was Peter Beinart's former blogging home and a place where I'd received a thrashing by Amy Schiller in 2012, in a piece called, The Pro-Holocaust Vote:

There’s a special kind of bracing refreshment when a commentator proclaims outright that a vote for Obama is a vote for the Holocaust, as Varda Epstein did in her op-ed in yesterday’s Times of Israel. Epstein brings in the ultimate manipulation trump card to make her closing argument for Mitt Romney, vis a vis his allegedly tougher stance on Iran: “All Americans need do to prevent a nuclear Holocaust of 6 million Israeli Jews is to pull a different lever on Election Day."
In a single sentence Epstein manages to exemplify everything that has gone awry with Israel’s perceived significance in U.S. politics. The Holocaust (Epstein would do well to note that it’s only capitalized in reference to an actual historical event, not a hypothetical future scenario) is the most profound trauma for the Jewish people and many others in recent history. Yet to equate the totalizing genocide of the Nazi regime with Iran’s as yet hypothetical development of nuclear capability Is irresponsibly, crudely alarmist.
(From a distance of four years on and many Iran deal violations later, I'd like to ask Schiller: How's that JPCA thing working out for ya?)

Having established that the editor of (______) formerly worked alongside people like Beinart and Schiller, I did some more sleuthing. I googled her name with the words "Jewish" and "Israel." Only one item came up. It was an article she'd written a year ago. In it, she mentions being able to speak Hebrew and having attended a Jewish day school. So far, so good. But then I found this:

I felt oddly defensive, kind of like when non-Jews criticize Israel, even though I'm about as left on the topic politically as you can get.
And the light went on. I had my answer. Here is someone who believes that Israel occupies and oppresses another people. Here is someone who is ashamed of her people and believes the land God bequeathed her and her children belongs to another people.

Here is the reason my article was rejected. The real reason.

And then I wondered why she encouraged me. And whether she knows that I live in Judea, which she likely thinks of as the "West Bank."

Does she really like my writing and think I might someday write something she can use? Or is she just gathering intel?

I told myself to stop imaging things. But I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, and couldn't sleep.

I submitted my piece elsewhere, and haven't heard back. And now it's old news, so probably wasted work.

But maybe not wasted time. I learned something here.

Even if I'm not quite sure what it means.

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  • Wednesday, August 24, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
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A mass grave from the Farhud, the 1941 riots in Baghdad that killed hundreds of Jews and injured 1,000.
Baghdad, August 24 - Rashid Muhammad, 90, has seen technological and economic advancement in his many years, but still considers his youth in Iraq a better time to live, because life was simpler then and Jews didn't fight back.

The retired merchant, whose family still runs the home furnishings business he founded in 1950, spoke in an interview about growing up under British, then Arab, rule at a time when the complex concerns of modern commerce and politics had yet to emerge, and violence against Jews brought little in the way of direct consequences if the political winds were blowing a certain way.

"We had a grand time during the Farhud," reminisced Muhammad, referring to the June, 1941 riots targeting Jews and Jewish-owned establishments. "Things were pretty straightforward back then. I had my friends, and our families all went to the same mosque where we learned the same values, among which was a heavy dose of Nazi propaganda. So we did what was obvious. I personally used my handprint to mark Jewish-owned homes in red ink so the mobs would know whom to target, and that was just thrilling. I mean, after a day or two the British came back and killed a few hundred rioters and looters, but it wasn't out of any great love for the Jews. It was the attitude - and, I would say, the freedom - to do what we'd wanted to do for ages that I'm talking about."

"The Jews had no weapons and no way to fight back - they were completely at the mercy of their neighbors," he continued. "It's not that simple anymore. Things have gotten a lot more complicated in the decades since. Technology, politics, health care, and Jew-killing aren't nearly as straightforward as they used to be. It used to be the doctor would come to your home when you got sick, and there were only a few available treatments anyway. Now there are tests up the wazoo and treatment options have to be explained like you wouldn't believe. Also, we killed or expelled most of the Jews within ten years of the Farhud, and nothing happened to us as a result. I miss those days."

Muhammad concedes that the increasing complexity of life might be a function of his changing perspective as he ages, and not an objective shift in life's complexity. "I have to admit I see the same simple thrill I used to have when I now look in the eyes of a young Iraqi setting out to join Daesh, who disdain nuance, and I know I could never be that excited about ideology anymore. It's not the way it used to be, when our victims couldn't defend themselves, and their pathetic situation only served to confirm their inferior position in our minds. I miss that."

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From Ian:

Egyptian athlete takes photo with Israeli flag, sparks outrage
Twelve days after Egyptian judoka Islam El Shehaby refused to shake the hand of his Israeli opponent, the country is again up in arms over one of its Olympic athletes, and Israel is again the reason.
This time, after recently participating in a beach volleyball match in Rio, female athlete Doaa Elghobashy photographed herself posing with a fan draped in an Israeli flag.
The photo was posted to the Facebook page of the Israeli Embassy in Egypt, and to the web page of pro-Israel organization Stand With Us, which reported that it received the photo from one of its members in Brazil.
The 19-year-old Elghobashy, who had already made headlines at the Olympics for playing in a hijab (a veil that covers the head and chest), responded by saying she did not notice the Israeli flag. She told reporters: "This is a conspiracy against me. If I had known that flag would be in the picture, I would not have taken it."
She also suggested that "it's possible this picture was edited in Photoshop and the flag was inserted there to try and hurt me."
Several commenters on social media sites in Egypt vilified Elghobashy, but there were those who came to her defense.

Where are the Palestinian Gandhis?
The spate of “lone wolf” terrorism against Jews that began last October has further eroded our dream of living in peace with our Arab neighbors. It is easy to scoff at anyone who suggests that we need to continue pursuing peace. Nevertheless, we need to ask ourselves if it is possible to prevent future tragedies without establishing peace. A few decades ago, the Lubavitcher Rebbe proclaimed that Israel must establish unquestioned military superiority over the Arabs so they wouldn’t even contemplate fighting us. But he said that was only the first step to creating peace.
Since making Aliya a year-and-a-half ago for the second time in my life, after 27 years in the U.S., I have made “peace” my hobby. I have spoken to many Jews and Arabs (admittedly more of the former than the latter), and almost all of them say they want to live in peace with the other. However, they almost all say they have become disillusioned. They believe that the other side doesn’t really want peace but rather to engage in murder.
There is no need to argue to this readership that Jews want peace. We are a nation of שלום רודפי. But I have heard many Jews ask, “Where are the Palestinian Gandhis?” The belief is that if such figures existed, we would have achieved peace by now. This is also the question posed by Julia Bacha, a documentary filmmaker, in her excellent Ted Talk titled, Pay Attention to Nonviolence.
The answer to Bacha’s rhetorical question is that there are Palestinian Gandhis – many of them. But we don’t know of them because the media doesn’t pay attention to them. I will be informing you here about one of such individual, Ali Abu Awwad. Before I discuss him, a little background.
Muslims and Jews must combine to champion tolerance and stop the Isil-inspired hatred across the Middle East
Christianity has been part of the essential fabric of the Middle East for two thousand years. Far from being a Western import as some, incredibly, now seem to suggest, it was born here and exported as a gift to the rest of the world. Christian communities have been intrinsic to the development of Arab culture and civilisation.
This central role in our region and civilisation is why it is abhorrent to us, as a Muslim and a Jew, to see Christianity and Christians under such savage assault across our region.
We are appalled not only by the sickening attacks on our fellow human beings. We also know that to lose Christianity from its birthplace would be to destroy the richness of the tapestry of the Middle East and a hammer blow to our shared heritage. The reality is that we are all one community, united by shared beliefs and history. But this is increasingly denied, with Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or Daesh as it is known in our region, taking the lead both in justifying and carrying out these attacks. The most recent issue of its publication Dabiq, headlined “Break the Cross”, explicitly rejects the fundamental belief that we are all People of the Book.
Fighters from al-Qaeda linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) marching in Raqqa, Syria
Daesh peddle an apocalyptic vision that harks back to a mythic Golden Age which is solely the creation of the warped minds of today’s jihadists. They are in the same mould as those whose misguided zeal turned Christian Europe in the Middle Ages into a byword for fanaticism and oppression. Daesh want to take us to a new Dark Age, an age made even darker by the dangers that the gifts of science and technology pose in their hands.
It is not just Christians, of course, who they have made targets for their hate. The search for religious purity poses a universal threat. As we have seen all too often, fundamentalists display a particular loathing for co-religionists whose views do not conform to their own. Daesh has shown itself as prepared to slaughter indiscriminately other Muslims as it has Jews, Christians and others, whatever their nationality: Jordanian or Egyptian, American, British or European.
HRH Prince Hassan of Jordan, is the founder and president of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies
Dr Ed Kessler is director of the Woolf Institute

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