Sunday, March 26, 2017

From Ian:

David Brog: Mahmoud Abbas’ Embrace of Terror
Why is there peace between Israel and Jordan? Because King Hussein said “yes” to Israel’s peace offer. He said “yes” because he recognized the humanity of Israelis and the necessity of compromise. He said “yes” because deep down he hated the murder done in his name.
Why is there no peace between Israel and the Palestinians? Because Mahmoud Abbas and his predecessors said “no” to Israel’s peace offers. They said “no” because they fail to recognize the humanity of Israelis and the necessity of compromise. They said “no” because they celebrate and even reward the acts of violence done in their name.
And make no mistake about it, Israel’s peace proposals have been frequent and far reaching. The Israelis offered the Palestinians a state of their own on at least five separate occasions – in 1937, 1947, 1967, 2000/2001 and 2008. In 2008, the territory on offer included effectively all of the West Bank (with land swaps) and the Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. Gaza was already under Palestinian control.
Abbas’ predecessors turned down the first four offers. Abbas turned down the 2008 offer. This rejection puzzled many observers. After all, Abbas was supposed to be different. He was supposed to the long overdue Palestinian moderate. Many still see him that way.
But it’s become increasingly apparent that Abbas is not—and never has been—the benign uncle of Israeli dreams. In our interconnected digital world, new evidence of Abbas’ true character is emerging almost daily. Do you want to know why Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians rages on? Look no further than Mahmoud Abbas’ Facebook page.
David Brog: 350 Wrongs And One Right
Young progressives have an Israel problem. They believe that Israel is occupying the land on which the Palestinians want to build their state, thereby rendering them stateless. And they’re convinced that this makes the Palestinians the last stateless people on planet earth. As Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas phrased it in 2014, “we are the only people on earth still living under occupation. Not acceptable.”
The underlying claim is certainly true. The Palestinians are stateless. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that Israel is to blame for it. National suffering, much like personal pain, can be self-inflicted.
The fact is that the Israelis have offered the Palestinians a state in substantially all of the West Bank and Gaza – or in even larger territories — on five separate occasions. The first offer was made in 1937. The most recent offer was made in 2008. Palestinian leaders turned down each of these opportunities. This history of independence offered and rejected should at least temper the zeal of those seeking to blame Palestinian statelessness on Israel.
It’s also important to note that statelessness is not nearly as rare as Israel’s critics claim. President Abbas’ protestations notwithstanding, the Palestinians are not the only occupied people on the planet. Far from it. The Encyclopedia of Stateless Nations (yes, there actually is such a thing) contains detailed entries for 350 stateless peoples who are actively seeking their independence.

  • Sunday, March 26, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

Twenty-First Century "Hijab Cool"
When I was growing up in the outskirts of New York City in the 1970s there was hardly a hijab to be found.

Of course, when I was growing up in the outskirts of New York City in the 1970s there was hardly a Muslim to be found, either.

There were only a few more Muslims in Kingston, N.Y. or Trumbull, Connecticut than there were Jews living in Mayberry, North Carolina, ten years earlier, with that nice Sheriff Andy Taylor and his cute little boy, Opie Cunningham.

It was only long after 9/11 - as political Islam stridently re-asserted its presence on the international stage - that I focused on political Islam and its relentless hostility toward Gay people, women, and dhimmis throughout the Middle East. Christians in that part of the world have it the worst, as Raymond Ibrahim will be more than unhappy to inform you. Although neither Europe, nor the Vatican, seems to much care, there is a Christian genocide happening right at this very moment throughout much of what was the Byzantine Empire.

To the extent, however, that as a kid I even thought about Muslims I figured that they were pretty much like everybody else. I grew up somewhere in the middle of the middle class, during the early years of the Age of Sesame Street, and my friends were from all across the ethnic kick-ball court.

Irish kids. Black kids. Italian kids. Asian kids. Catholics. Protestants. Jews. It was all just part of the mix and virtually none of us gave a damn one way or the other.

Although I did not realize it at the time, I grew up during a period when the United States, in the aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement, was well into the process of moving beyond racial animosities. I came across the occasional antisemitic slur, because it's not as if all of my neighbors were head-over-heels in love with Jewish people or Gay people or Black people to begin with.

Yet us kids played baseball together and went fishing together and hung out after school. Most of our parents were not particularly bigoted, and considerably less so than were their parents, and we were less so, still. The United States was shedding its prejudicial past as minority groups moved into the professional class, as women gained social and economic equality, and as Gay people, through the efforts of people like Harvey Milk in San Francisco, gained acceptance in the general culture toward the end of the twentieth-century.

Sadly, however, the ideal of ethnic and gendered diversity has been replaced on the illiberal progressive-left by multicultural fragmentation and identity politics as represented by the hijab... all of which moves in a direction entirely counter to Martin Luther King, Jr.s liberal dream of equality.

The hijab is a symbol of Muslim supremacism, not liberal diversity.

It could recently have become a symbol of liberal diversity in the United States if people like faux-feminist icon, Linda Sarsour, had made it so, but they did not. There is nothing essentially anti-feminist about any style of headscarf, so long as it is worn voluntarily, but unfortunately that is not the case for hundreds of millions of women throughout the Muslim world.

If Sarsour, and those westerners unironically adopting an Islamic patriarchal style of women's apparel in the name of feminism, had made it clear that they oppose the rise of political Islam, things might be different. If they had stood up for the 1,200 women victimized by the mass rapes in Cologne on New Years Eve, 2016, things might be different.

But they did not.

On the contrary, contemporary feminism betrayed its essential values precisely because it failed to speak up for the rights of women, Gay people, or dhimmis in either Asia or Europe. Thus it becomes difficult to see how contemporary feminism can possibly be said to stand for universal human rights.

By embracing the hijab western feminism drains itself of ideological content. It stands for everything and nothing, which is precisely why the recent Women's Marches held aloft no specific demands even as they reduced women to their sexual organs and wore pink "pussy hats." Thus, whatever anyone might say about Sarsour, she is not liberal and neither is contemporary feminism.

For most of us from the various abused ethnic minorities who lived for thirteen centuries under the boot of Arab-Muslim imperial rule, the hijab is not a cool western fashionable accessory representative of "hip" culture. 

On the contrary.

For Jewish people - and other dhimmis familiar with their own history - the hijab is, along with the keffiyeh, a symbol of ethnic oppression. The keffiyeh is to many Jews what the Klansmen's hood is to most African-Americans. It represents the intention of violence towards one's own people in order to ensure racist political objectives, by any means necessary.

And the keffiyeh, needless to say, is born of the hijab.

Understand, however, that if the Muslim world had given up on its imperialist tendency to oppress all non-Muslims then I would not care about the hijab. I am no more offended, for example, at the Christian cross, or a nun's habit, then I am at the Flying Spaghetti Monster, because none of those things represent hostility toward Jews. Christianity traversed the European Enlightenment of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and came out the better for it because it heightened the value of self-criticism within Christian culture resulting in a humanistic sensibility.

Whereas Catholicism formally renounced its doctrinaire Jew-hatred in Vatican Council II, Islam has never done any such thing and God knows that they need to. 

The cultures under Islam, including most of those in the West, have simply not gone through a similar liberal reformation and couldn't give a fig about western-left liberal notions concerning the freedom of the individual. From the seventh-century until the present, most of the Muslim world treats women like chattel, murders Gay people outright, and seeks the elimination of Jewish self-determination and self-defense on the very land of Jewish ancestry.

Whatever else the hijab represents it has absolutely nothing to do with western liberalism, feminism, or universal human rights.

The corporate embrace of the hijab, much like the now-and-again corporate embrace of hip socialist iconography, is a way of co-opting cool for the purpose of making a buck. 

In The Conquest of Cool, historian and The Baffler publisher, Thomas Frank, argues that the New York advertising agencies were key in creating the 1960s counterculture and I feel reasonably certain that Mad Men's fictional Don Draper - who at the end of the series we are led to believe created the famous 1971 "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" Coke ad - would have agreed.

In the meantime, while Madison Avenue seeks to make a few bills marketing the hijab, the western-left is shedding itself of liberalism.

The primary question facing contemporary western feminism, therefore, if they wish to maintain anything resembling ideological credibility, is just how they square one of the world's foremost symbols of patriarchy, the hijab, with their alleged devotion to women's equality?

Michael Lumish is a blogger at the Israel Thrives blog as well as a regular contributor/blogger at Times of Israel and Jews Down Under.






 

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  • Sunday, March 26, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon



In a region rife with ironies, one of the least reported is that the same people who lecture to Israel about discrimination are far more discriminatory towards Muslims than Israel is.

There was much coverage about Israel passing a law to limit the heavily amplified Muslim call to prayer to during normal daytime hours. Yet most (if not all) European countries restrict the call to prayer far more. In most European countries, many Muslim communities are so worried about Islamophobic backlash that the amplified call to prayer is not requested to begin with. In places where it is allowed, it is often restricted to Fridays only, or only twice a day in the case of the East London Mosque. In Norway it is limited to Fridays only and cannot exceed 60 decibels.

Even the Netherlands, which explicitly allows the Muslim call to prayer as law, "the way in which it is carried out, the permitted volume and the number of times (it is not normally allowed for all five daily prayers) is pragmatically regulated by the local authority. In Amsterdam, for example, as in many other places, it is only allowed on a Friday, and in all cases there is a decibel limit that must not be exceeded."

All of these laws are far more strict than Israel's.

All of these restrictions in virtually all European countries are far greater than Israel's law. Yet no one speaks about it as a violation of human rights. Only Israel is singled out for its much milder restrictions. And I can tell you that even they are not being enforced yet, as I heard the amplified call to prayer as early as 4:10 AM from my Jerusalem hotel.

Similarly, Israel has no restrictions on Islamic dress. Even the full burqa is allowed. Yet in Europe there are heavy restrictions on the Islamic veil and headcovering:

Several Belgian municipalities have used municipal by-laws on face-covering clothing to ban public wearing of the niqab and burqa.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, lawyers, prosecutors and others employed in judicial institutions can not wear the hijab to work.

In 2016, a legal ban on face-covering Islamic clothing was adopted by the Bulgarian parliament.

The government of Kosovo banned the headscarf in schools in late 2009.

A legal ban of face-covering Islamic clothing was adopted by the Latvian parliament.

In December 2016, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said the wearing of full-faced veils should be prohibited in Germany "wherever it is legally possible".

In Austria, the ruling coalition agreed in January 2017 to prohibit full-face veils (niqab and burka) in public spaces such as courts and schools.

France became the first European country to ban the full-face Islamic veil in public places in 2011.

A law banning the full-face veil came into effect in Belgium in July 2011.

Several towns in Italy have local bans on face-covering veils.

In Spain, the city of Barcelona announced a ban on full Islamic face-veils in some public spaces such as municipal offices, public markets and libraries in 2010.

In Denmark in 2008, the government announced it would bar judges from wearing headscarves and similar religious or political symbols in courtrooms.

It is illegal to wear a face veil in public in the Tessin region of Switzerland.

The European Court of Justice ruled that employers have the legal right to ban staff from wearing the Islamic headscarf.

Beyond the call to prayer and the restrictions on clothing, Switzerland has banned building minarets on mosques since 2009. Slovakia has passed a law which will effectively ban Islam from gaining official status as a religion. In the French town of Charvieu-Chavagneux, the mayor bulldozed a mosque in 1989 and today Arabic is forbidden to be taught in schools.

Israel has no such restrictions.

Yet the EU spends money to teach Israelis tolerance. Israel has far more Islamic terror attacks than all the European nations combined yet the EU lectures Israel on how it fights terror - in ways that are far more tolerant of Islam than Europe is.

Who should be teaching whom about tolerance? 






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  • Sunday, March 26, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
March 13:
Palestinian schools in occupied East Jerusalem said on Monday that they will observe a one-day strike on Tuesday to protest dictates by the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem.

The schools were told to shut down for Spring vacation at the same time the Israeli schools go on holiday, which the Palestinian Ministry of Education said would interfere with its high school exam, tawjihi, schedule for the Palestinian schools.

The ministry said the new Israeli interference in the Palestinian schools' schedule is political and aimed at undermining the education these schools provide.

It said it strongly opposes the new Israeli dictates and program, saying “they are part of the war Israel is waging against education in Jerusalem,” which, it added, “is a violation of all conventions and laws that call for the right to education.”
Because the Palestinian Authority values education and abhors a forced vacation on students, they shut down their schools.

Makes perfect sense.

March 26:
The Hamas-run Ministry of Interior in Gaza closed the Palestinian side of the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel on Sunday morning, denying residents of the besieged coastal enclave passage in both directions.

Spokesperson for the ministry Iyad al-Buzm said in a statement that the crossing would remain closed until further notice in order for Gaza's security serves to undertake "procedures" in response to the killing of 35-year-old Mazen Fuqahaa in Gaza City on Friday, which Hamas has branded as an assassination by Israel.

Erez is the only land crossing between Gaza and Israel for the use of Palestinian civilians. While travel is heavily restricted by Israeli authorities as part of a crippling blockade on the coastal enclave in place since 2007, the Hamas-implemented closure came as a rare measure.

Al-Buzm added that the ministry would allow “humanitarian cases” to return home from Israel, but did not say humanitarians cases would be permitted to leave the blockaded Palestinian territory.
Hamas blames Israel for killing a terrorist so it punishes Gazans by turning Gaza into a prison.

Makes perfect sense.





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  • Sunday, March 26, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Wikipedia:

The Steiger Award or Der Steiger is an international award established in 2005 and presented annually by the award organization based in Bochum, Germany. The title refers to steiger (mining foreman), reflecting the qualities of responsibility, honesty, openness and hard work valued in the Ruhr region where the award is presented.
The award was created by private initiative and is presented annually to individuals who are notable for accomplishments in charity, music, film, media, sports, the environment and building of the European community.
 Looking at the Steiger Award page for this year, it describes the accomplishments of those that it gives the award to.

But the person that received the main award has a biography that is strikingly short of actual accomplishment.

STEIGER AWARD Special award for President Abbas

The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will be honored on 03.25.2017 at the STEIGER AWARD ceremony where he is getting a special prize on hopes for peace on Saturday.

President Abbas will personally accept the award at the Zeche Hansemann in Dortmund.

Mahmoud Abbas was born 1935th He studied at the University of Damascus and a doctorate at the University of Moscow. From 1996 to 2004 he was the Secretary General of the PLO, in 2003 he became Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority. Since 2004 he is Chairman of the PLO, he was elected president of 2005.
So, he actually hasn't accomplished anything except to be chosen as Arafat's successor in a kleptocracy and imaginary government.

I wonder how many of the Germans behind this award are aware of Abbas' history with Holocaust denial in his thesis and subsequent book.

Why exactly did Abbas get this award?
With the award, the jury would like to give a clear signal in slow-moving peace process between Israel and Palestine. 
 Um, OK.

Except if that is true, and the award is more to encourage the peace process than to recognize accomplishments towards peace,  then shouldn't they have given it to Netanyahu at the same time?

This award shows how screwed up the world is and how the West has swallowed Palestinian propaganda whole.

Even if you don't like Netanyahu, his accomplishments as a national leader far outweigh Abbas'.  And he has proposed more peace plans and frameworks than Abbas has.

And he is not a serial liar and Holocaust denier. He doesn't encourage terror attacks nor does he reward terrorists and their families.

But from reading the media, you would think that Abbas is the man of peace and Netanyahu is the warmonger. And clearly the people behind this award feel the same way.

In this case, it is especially jarring that the fun-house image of reality allows a true antisemite to be given a prestigious German award.

(The irony of an antisemite receiving the award has not been lost on German bloggers, either. )




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Saturday, March 25, 2017

From Ian:

Anne Bayefsky: Say what?! UN Human Rights Council declares Israel world's No. 1 human rights violator
According to the U.N.'s top human rights body, Israel is the worst human rights violator in the world today. That’s the result of the latest session of the UN Human Rights Council which wrapped up in Geneva on Friday by adopting five times more resolutions condemning Israel than any other country on earth.
President Trump’s administration is currently a member of this reprehensible body. To borrow Elie Wiesel’s counsel to President Reagan not to pay his respects at a German graveyard containing Nazi SS remains: “That place, Mr. President, is not your place.”
The Bush administration refused to join the Council when it was created in 2006.
On March 31, 2009, President Obama – fully aware of its entrenched anti-Israel and anti-Jewish bias – made jumping on board one of his very first foreign policy moves. Moreover, in an unscrupulous attempt to control his successor, the former President obtained yet another three-year term for the United States on the Council that began on January 1, 2017.
If President Trump were to choose a swift departure from the Council as one of his very first foreign policy moves, it would demonstrate a principled reset of American values and priorities on the world stage. March 31, 2017, the anniversary of Obama’s decision, would be an auspicious date to make that point.
The reasons for leaving are many. Here are a few:
After London terror attack, UK blasts UNHRC anti-Israel bias
The United Kingdom blasted the United Nations Human Rights Council for its biased treatment of Israel and for failing to condemn Palestinian terrorism in a strongly worded speech it delivered in Geneva on Friday.
“Today we are putting the Human Rights Council on notice,” UK Ambassador Julian Braithwaite told the UNHRC as it wrapped up its 34th session. He spoke just after the 47 member UNHRC had approved four resolutions that condemned Israeli actions against the Palestinians and one that called on it to return the Golan Heights to Syria.
The UK supported two of the resolutions, abstained on another two, and voted against the one with regard to the Golan Heights. Out of a similar concern with regard to bias, the US, traditionally has been the only country to consistently vote against all UNHRC resolutions that involve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Golan Heights. In this session, the US and Togo, voted against those texts.
But Braithwaite warned that it would follow the US in rejecting all resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, if the UNHRC did not treat Israel proportionally.
In this session out of the 10 condemnations issue against individual countries, five were leveled at Israel.
“If things do not change, in the future we will adopt a policy of voting against all resolutions concerning Israel’s conduct in the Occupied Syrian and Palestinian Territories,” Braithwaite said.
He spoke just two days after a terrorist attack in London claimed the lives of five people, including the assailant.
Statement from family of Edward Joffe on Rasmea Odeh plea deal
Yesterday we reported that Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh had agreed to a plea deal in her immigration fraud case, Terrorist Rasmea Odeh cops plea deal, to leave country.
Under that plea deal, Rasmea would avoid prison time, but would require her to forfeit her U.S. citizenship and be deported (likely to Jordan initially). Her plea hearing will be held on April 25, 2017 at 2:30 PM, at federal court in Detroit.
The plea on immigration fraud resulted from Rasmea’s failure to disclose on her visa papers (in 1994) and naturalization papers (2003) that she had been convicted in Israel in 1970 of the bombing of the SuperSol supermarket in Jerusalem, killing Hebrew University students Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner.
The family of Edward Joffe, two brothers and a sister, provided me with this statement on the plea deal:
“Although Odeh will not serve further prison time for the Immigration Fraud crimes of which she is guilty, we believe that after a long and difficult trial and appeal, it is time for her to be stripped of her US citizenship and deported without further delay.
While it would have been helpful to have seen some kind of repentance for her horrendous acts, her plea does show admission of guilt in our eyes. We hope that her misguided supporters will now recognize her guilty plea for what it is, and desist from pretending she is a victim.
The true victims are the two young men Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner whom she murdered.
We want to commend the US Department of Justice and especially US Attorneys Barbara McQuade and Jonathan Tukel for resolutely prosecuting this case with exceptional competence and professionalism.”


Friday, March 24, 2017

From Ian:

Jewish Voice For Peace Defends Jew-Killing Palestinian Terrorist
Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), an anti-Semitic group masquerading as a pacifist organization, wrote a press statement on March 23 defending Rasmea Odeh, a convicted Palestinian-Arab terrorist who slaughtered two Jews in a Jerusalem supermarket bombing in 1969. Odeh, who lied to U.S. immigration authorities about her conviction and imprisonment in Israel for the bombing, will be deported back to Jordan instead of facing prison time for committing fraud.
In response to her imminent deportation, JVP wrote the following statement:
When a leader like Rasmea Odeh who fights for justice chooses to leave a fight, she knows the game is rigged.
Rasmea is leaving the U.S. court system, weighed down by the ever-present shadow of Israeli military regime which has already punished and tortured her.
Does Rasmea, Palestinian leader and seeker of justice, have a real chance for a fair trial in the current political climate and courts?
In the context of a Justice Department led by racist attorney general Jeff Sessions, a prosecutor with a record of demonizing Rasmea and her supporters, and a new indictment that turns her immigration trial into a repeat of the false charges of terrorism against her, Rasmea has made the difficult decision to leave the home and community she has built in the U.S. over the last 20 years.

JVP not only defends Odeh over the Justice Department rightfully pursuing the immigration fraud case against her, but it also labels her a freedom fighter and a "seeker of justice." It blames the "racist" Jeff Sessions for calling for her deportation based off "false charges of terrorism" against her. However, former Palestinian-Arab terrorist Aisha Odeh (no relation) implicated Rasmea in the same supermarket bombing that she was arrested, convicted, and imprisoned for.

This Ongoing War: Our daughter's smiling killer: "Shocked" that US "decided to go after her for no obvious reason"
The following article was published by Al Jazeera in Arabic on Wednesday and in English yesterday (Thursday). It's an entirely uncritical account of a notably vicious convicted murderer's version of why she should be left alone and not have to face justice. The reporter does not challenge a single one of her claims.
Our comments are interspersed below.
Ahlam al-Tamimi: 'We only wanted freedom'
Al Jazeera speaks to freed Palestinian prisoner, wanted by the US for helping in a Jerusalem cafe bombing 16 years ago | Ali Younes | @ali_reports |
Amman, Jordan - Ahlam al-Tamimi, 37, never imagined that the quiet life she led for several years in Jordan would be turned upside down when the United States Department of Justice filed criminal charges against her demanding her extradition from Jordan and placing her on the FBI's most wanted list.
Our comment: She was freed via an extorted commutation of sentence. Israel was extorted by the Hamas terrorist regime which illegally held captive and incommunicado an Israeli combatant, Gilad Shalit, for five years, eventually trading him for 1,027 convicted Arab terrorists imprisoned by Israel. Tamimi was one of them. Not a single prisoner received a pardon. Instead, their sentences were conditionally commuted - with the conditions including an undertaking never to engage again in terrorism or incitement to terrorism.
Tamimi was serving 16 life terms after confessing to being the mastermind of the Sbarro pizzeria massacre, an especially sickening and horrific terror attack that targeted children and woman. Tamimi was the one who did the actual targeting and, as she has boasted repeatedly, picked the target with great care. She brought the bomb by bus and taxi from a PA-controlled town in the Samaria district into Jerusalem. That bomb was a young newly-religious fanatic from well-to-family: not poor, not uneducated, not living in misery and despair: a human bomb. He was equipped with an explosive-laden, purpose-built guitar case on his back. Tamimi walked him to the central Jerusalem intersection where the Sbarrro pizzeria stood and where, after giving her time to flee to safety, he exploded while standing next to our 15 year-old daughter and her closest friend, the 16 year-old daughter of our neighbours. Both girls, and 13 other innocent victims, were killed. About 130 others, many of them on the street outside the pizzeria, suffered often horrendous, life-changing injuries.
Omar Barghouti Lying With A Straight Face
A group called BDS Norway have uploaded to YouTube this interview with BDS movement founder Omar Barghouti, filmed not too long before he was arrested for being a tax cheat.
The video is an exercise in “counting-the-lies” – the fact he can say what he does with a straight face makes more understandable how he could also cheat on his taxes.
Note in particular:
  • His claim his “refugee background” was a reason he got involved in BDS. As a reminder, he was born in Qatar, before moving to Egypt, the US and only to Israel after marrying an Israeli-Arab woman.
  • His father being one of the founders of terror group PLO in 1964, 3 years before the so-called occupation
  • Him speaking about a “long heritage of non-violent palestinian popular resistance.”
  • “We never lie about our goals.” You just did.

  • Friday, March 24, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Reuters:
American University of Beirut, a recipient of U.S. government aid, has agreed to pay $700,000 to settle a civil lawsuit over accusations that it assisted three organizations linked to the militant group Hezbollah, federal prosecutors said.

As part of its deal with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan, a party to the lawsuit, the university also agreed to revise its policies, prosecutors said in a statement on Thursday.

The agreement resolved a case originally filed under seal by an unnamed complainant.

American University of Beirut receives funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said in the statement, "For years, the American University of Beirut accepted grant money from USAID, but failed to take reasonable steps to ensure against providing material support to entities on the Treasury Department's prohibited list."

The U.S. Attorney's Office said the university in the Lebanese capital admitted to training representatives of al Nour Radio and al Manar TV, media groups that the U.S. Treasury Department lists as branches of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah.

Between 2007 and 2009 the university provided the training in workshops to representatives from al Nour and al Manar, who were allowed to participate among a larger group of journalists, a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

For instance, one workshop was titled "Citizen/Online Journalism" and provided instruction on how to produce blogs, videos and podcasts, prosecutors said.

Federal prosecutors said the university used its website to connect students with Jihad al-Binaa, another organization that the U.S. Treasury Department has said is linked to Hezbollah.

American University of Beirut (AUB) said in a statement on Friday that its conduct had been neither "knowing, intentional or reckless."

The $700,000 penalty levied on the university will be paid to the U.S. government.
I'll try to find out more details, but this is good news all around.

(h/t David)




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  • Friday, March 24, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
From The Register, a snarky information technology news site:
Until just minutes before we hit publish on this story, Google was using a YouTube channel run by a fan of Hezbollah to promote potentially lethal drones.

Despite a backlash from advertisers, Amazon, Adobe and Google were among the tech titans advertising on the now-shuttered "Party of Allah"* YouTube channel – which we imagine was not the group's "official" YouTube, though there was no way to verify this.

The Trichordist blog, which has been recording the use of brands on YouTube for five years, found Google's Home (its version of Amazon Alexa) being promoted. We found ads for Adobe Cloud Services and Amazon's Alexa developer initiative. But the most intriguing was for a drone.

The palm-sized Kudrone may not pack much of a punch – but it's remarkable that Google is promoting it at all, given concerns that terror groups are increasingly taking advantage of low-cost consumer drones.


Hezbollah itself – it's both a militant group and a political party in Lebanon, where its paramilitary wing is rumoured to outsize the country's army – has been using drones since 2004. Just recently researchers warned [PDF] of the difficulty of preventing a drone being used on a civilian population. Even a "nanodrone" can still deliver a lethal payload; two years ago a drone was used to land a bottle of radioactive sand from Fukushima on the roof of the office of Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Google claims to have prevented ads being served on "over 300 million YouTube videos and removed 100,000 publishers from its AdSense program". Earlier this week Google promised to make better "tools" to advertisers allowing them to choose – but no significant shift in the content it hosts.

Google's "Community Guidelines" say it forbids "hateful" and "harmful or dangerous" content.

The terror research initiative at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands explains that Hezbollah operates an extensive criminal network in Europe, including arms and narcotics smuggling, and in 2013 the US blacklisted four fund-raisers for raising money for the Lebanese organisation.

We asked Google for details of the revenue share with the individual or organisation running the Hezbollah channel, but have yet to hear a reply. In fact, within an hour of alerting them to the ads, The Party of Allah YouTube channel had been "terminated for violating YouTube's Community Guidelines".
It sounds like the controversy over Google's serving ads to unsavory groups is making it far more interested in policing itself than ordinary complaints used to.

Amazing how much monetary incentives work.

(h/t James)



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From Ian:

Ruthie Blum: Westminster Carnage, Turkish Delight
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan didn’t know he was going to get so lucky on Wednesday, when a threat he issued instantly materialized.
Indeed, the Islamist leader of the former modernizing democracy was probably happily amazed at the news of the terrorist attack in London, as it came on the heels of a speech he delivered in Ankara warning, “[i]n no part of the world, no European, no Westerner will be able to take steps on the street safely and peacefully.” This fate would befall them, he said, if they “continue to behave like this.”
Of course, Erdogan was not personally responsible for the rampage of UK-born Khalid Masood, who managed to murder three people before being killed by police. Nor had he specified what he meant by claiming that the West would not be safe.
He did, however, caution that Turkey is “not a country to push, to prod, to play with its honor, to shove its ministers out of the door, drag its citizens on the floor.” He had a point; it is only Erdogan and his goons who are at liberty to drag Turkish citizens on the floor.
This was not the point he was trying to make, however. No, Erdogan denies that he imprisons anyone he considers critical of his regime. But he has to do that when he spends so much time accusing Europe of human-rights abuses.
Douglas Murray: Pray for London, for Antwerp, for Nice: this is Europe’s new normal
The hashtag ‘PrayForLondon’ is trending on social media. But so is ‘Antwerp’. Because no sooner were we invited to pray for London than a man of ‘North African descent’ was narrowly prevented from doing something similar in the Belgian city. This is life as usual in Europe now, of course. But among the endless replays to date – and the endless replays yet to come – there are several things worth noting about Wednesday’s attack in London.
The first is that the perpetrator – now identified as one Khalid Masood – was in one sense unusual. A recent comprehensive analysis published by my colleague Hannah Stuart found that among Islamist-related offences in the UK the most common age of the offender was 22. So at 52 years old Khalid Masood was some decades older than the average attacker. Although this is wholly speculative, that is a possible reason why he avoided being regarded as an imminent threat by MI5. There has only been one other individual in the UK who has sought to participate in remotely similar acts at Masood’s age.
The second thing worth noting is that by the jihadists’ own lights Masood’s attack was an expression of failure. It demonstrated once again that people inspired by Isis in the UK aren’t able to get hold of the kind of munitions they would like. Put another way, the fact that Wednesday’s attacker used a car and a knife is not a demonstration of operational strength.
After more than a decade of bomb plots successfully thwarted by our police and security services, the mass casualty bomb attack remains out of reach for Isis supporters in Britain. Likewise, although Isis recruits have been able to attack Paris with Kalashnikov rifles, a mix of geographical good luck and hard work by the authorities has meant Isis supporters have not been able to acquire such arms in the UK. Had they been, then Westminster would have been the scene of even greater carnage on Wednesday. This is not entirely good news, of course. For as in Israel in recent years, while vehicle and knife attacks show that the terrorists can’t get hold of anything else, the downside is that anyone can get hold of such weapons and there is not very much that the authorities can do to stop them.
Melanie Phillips: In the midst of grief, still confusion
In the aftermath of yesterday’s dreadful terror attack on the Palace of Westminster, which has so far left four victims dead and around 40 people injured, many of them seriously, the Prime Minister Theresa May today addressed the House of Commons.
Among other remarks by Mrs May which struck the right tone of steely calm, there was however this exchange. A Conservative MP, Michael Tomlinson, said:
“It is reported that what happened yesterday was an act of Islamic terror. Does the Prime Minister agree that what happened was not Islamic, just as the murder of Airey Neave was not Christian, and that both were perversions of religion?”
To which the Prime Minister answered:
“I absolutely agree. It is wrong to describe what happened as Islamic terrorism; it is Islamist terrorism—a perversion of a great faith.”
To which one can only groan, head in hands: here we go again. Since 9/11 the British political establishment has refused to acknowledge that the jihadi terrorism being conducted in the name of Islam is actually inspired by… Islam. Islamic jihadi terror has instead been called “un-Islamic” or even “anti-Islamic” or “ a perversion of Islam” or “a warped ideology”. Everything but what it actually is: terrorism inspired by a fanatical but legitimate interpretation of Islam.
This Week - London Terror Attack tribute to Keith Palmer


  • Friday, March 24, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon


This is too funny.

On March 3, Syrian-Jordanian cleric Sheikh Muhammad Sa'id Hawa delivered a Friday sermon in which he disputed that Palestinian children are taught hate. He instead said that Palestinian children were nurtured, along with their mother's breast milk, with the notion that Palestine as pure Muslim and Arab land, which was plundered by the Jews. "What racist hate speech are they talking about?" he asked.






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  • Friday, March 24, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon


Mahmoud Abbas is on a three day trip to Germany to try to find yet another way to avoid direct talks with Israel by enlisting others to pressure Israel instead, without Palestinians having to make any compromises.

In the name of "peace."

Before his meetings with Angela Merkel, he spoke at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation NGO. According to Arab media, he said that Germany could play an important role in mediating peace.

Abbas also said "The nation of Palestine, throughout its long history, has been a beacon of radiating and generosity,  and our people are an extension of the 3500 year old Canaanite civilization 3,500 years ago, with urban communities thousands of years old."

Both his assertions that Palestinians seek real peace and that they are Canaanites are equally true.

Some national leaders get pilloried for playing fast and loose with the facts. And some are honored for it.

(German speakers who want to mine his speech for other doozies can watch it here.)



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