On His Birthday, Ayatollah Khamenei Calls for Israel’s Destruction

REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl//File Photo

July 16 was Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s birthday. He celebrated it by calling for Israel’s destruction on Twitter.

Khamenei began the four-tweet thread by stating that the “satanic and vicious” deal that the Trump administration has planned for the Israel-Palestinian conflict “will never happen.”

“The turbulent dream that Al-Quds would be given to the Zionists will never come true,” Khamenei wrote. “The Palestinian nation will stand against it and Muslim nations will back the Palestinian nation, never letting that happen.”

The supreme leader added, “By God’s grace, the Palestinian nation will certainly gain victory over the enemies and will witness the day when the fabricated Zionist regime will be eradicated.”

Such rhetoric is not new for Khamenei; on June 3 he tweeted, “#Israel is a malignant cancerous tumor” that must be “removed and eradicated.”

Khamenei’s tweets come as the Iranian regime is struggling with ongoing protests opposing the regime. The Trump administration re-imposed sanctions on the regime following the United States’ exit from the Iran nuclear deal. The Iranian regime has signaled that they will increase their uranium enrichment if talks falter with the Europeans to save the deal.

Israel Retaliates at Hamas for Firing Projectiles from Gaza

REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Israel and Hamas continued to exchange fire on July 16 after a weekend of the two firing a bevy of projectiles at each other.

According to Haaretz, Israel struck two Hamas locations in Gaza where they believed Hamas was launching the fiery kites and explosive balloons into Israel. Hamas responded by firing a rocket into Israel. There have yet to be any sign of casualties.

This past weekend, Hamas launched over 200 projectiles into Israel, prompting Israel to shellack Hamas with dozens of strikes. Three Israelis in Sderot were injured in the strikes.

Additionally, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are taking measures to prevent fuel and gas from entering Gaza and held a ground incursion military drill as a warning to Hamas.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated the strikes between the two would not stop anytime soon, calling it “a protracted campaign.”

“There is no such thing as a ceasefire which excludes the fire kites and fire balloons,” Netanyahu said, referencing the ceasefire agreement brokered by Egypt on July 14 between Hamas and Israel. “For a hundred years we have been fighting terrorism, fighting it with force. In this place at the moment, this is the line of friction between Islamic terror and the Jewish state, and we are determined to win. It involves an exchange of blows, it’s not over yet.”

Ocasio-Cortez: ‘I Am Not the Expert’ on the ‘Occupation of Palestine’

Screenshot from Twitter.

Twenty-eight-year-old Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez admitted that she was not an expert on the Israel-Palestine conflict after being asked to expand upon her criticisms of Israel.

The July 13 interview, which took place on PBS’ Firing Line, featured Ocasio-Cortez lamenting the “occupation of Palestine” and the “increasing crisis of humanitarian condition” there. Host Margaret Hoover then pressed her to elaborate on what she meant by the “occupation of Palestine.”

“Oh, um… I think what I meant is like, the settlements that are increasing in some of these areas and places where Palestinians are experiencing difficulty in access to their housing,” Ocasio-Cortez replied.

Hoover again asked Ocasio-Cortez to further elaborate, prompting Ocasio-Cortez to chuckle, “I am not the expert on geopolitics on this issue.”

Ocasio-Cortez has also accused Israel of committing a “massacre” at the Israel-Gaza border during the May riots.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center tweeted in response to Ocasio-Cortez’s comments:

Rabbi Andy Bachman, the executive director of the Jewish Community Project of Lower Manhattan, wrote in a Journal op-ed that Ocasio-Cortez’s past statements on Israel suggest that she has “a less than nuanced perspective” and encouraged her to come to Israel with him.

“Jewish people have had a 3,000-year connection to the land. One can walk around Jerusalem’s ancient settlements that were inhabited by Jews from the era of King David to the prophet Isaiah; from Alexander the Great to King Herod and Jesus; through the pain of Roman exile and a thriving Diaspora; and finally to the modern era’s 19th-century Zionist movement, which revitalized the Hebrew language, established a state (through U.N. acclamation) and won independence in 1948,” Bachman wrote.

Bachman added toward the end of the column, “I’ll take you and there introduce you to leaders across racial, ethnic, religious, class and generational spectrums who are working each day in a positive and constructive way to build the two-state solution and the chance for peace for Israelis and Palestinians.”

Housing Law Is Counter to Israel’s Spirit

REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Fifty years ago, the Civil Rights Act of 1968 was enacted. Commonly known as the Fair Housing Act, it prohibited various forms of discrimination “in the sale, rental and financing of dwellings based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin,” according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Since then, HUD has been monitoring trends in racial and ethnic discrimination in rental and sales markets. According to the most recent survey, conducted in 2013, while housing discrimination is illegal, in practice, it unfortunately exists: “(w)hite homeseekers are more likely to be favored than minorities. Most important, minority homeseekers are told about and shown fewer homes and apartments than whites.”

A case in point happened in 1973, when the Justice Department sued a management corporation and its president, Donald Trump, for alleged racial discrimination against Blacks who wished to rent apartments in the New York city boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. When Trump started making noises about a potential presidential run in 2012, rapper Snoop Dogg quipped: “Why not? It wouldn’t be the first time he pushed a Black family out of their home.”

Seriously, in the United States housing discrimination is prohibited by law and generally condemned by public opinion. In Israel, on the other hand, housing discrimination might not only become a practice, but officially allowed by law.

If all goes well for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, then next week the Knesset will pass the Basic Law: Israel as the state of the Jewish people, which he had designated as one of his priorities. That Israel doesn’t need such law is besides the point. The world knows that Israel is a Jewish state, and whoever doesn’t recognize it will not be impressed by this law or another. The main problem with this law is that it shatters the already fragile Israeli democracy.

At the crux of this controversial bill lies article 7b., which says “the state can allow a community composed of people of the same faith or nationality to maintain an exclusive community.” That this idea has already been dismissed by the Israeli Supreme Court two decades ago didn’t deter the initiators of this bill. In 2000, Chief Justice Aharon Barak ruled on the case of the Ka’adans, an Israeli-Arab couple who had been refused permission to buy a plot or home in Katzir, a Jewish cooperative settlement in northern Israel. “We do not accept the conception that the values of the state of Israel as a Jewish state justify discrimination by the state between citizens on the basis of religion or nationality,” wrote Barak in his landmark ruling.

Likkud Minister Yariv Levin called the Ka’dan ruling a “disgrace” and “the destruction of Zionism.” Now, as one of the initiators of the new Nation-State Law, he serves his revenge. And if the Supreme Court insists on holding such discrimination illegal and unconstitutional? No worries, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked is already advancing the “overriding clause,” which will enable the Knesset to override Supreme Court decisions.

As always, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin stepped forward to save Israel’s soul. In an impassioned letter he sent on July 10 to the joint Knesset and Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, he implored members of the Knesset (MKs) to re-examine the repercussions of the specific article: “I also ask for us to look inward, into the depths of the Israeli society: are we willing in the name of the Zionist vision to lend a hand to discrimination and exclusion of a man or a woman based on their origin?”

President Rivlin, who always knew how to reconcile his ardent Zionism with his liberal view, went on to warn the MKs that discrimination will not be limited to Arabs: “The bill before you allows any group, in the broadest of terms and without any monitoring, to establish a community with no Mizrahi Jews, Haredim, Druze and members of the LGBT community.”

What Israel needs in order to strengthen its Jewish character is more Jews who would seek to make the Jewish state their home. The way to accomplish that is by aspiring to become what the prophet Isaiah called “light unto the nations,” not by passing discriminating laws, which only undermine Israel’s democracy and tarnish its name.

Uri Dromi is the director general of the Jerusalem Press Club. From 1992-96, he was a spokesman for the Israeli government.

Lawfare Project Threatens to File Lawsuit Against Irish BDS Bill If It Becomes Law

Photo from Flickr.

The Lawfare Project has threatened to file lawsuit against the Irish government if they a recently passed Senate Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) bill becomes law.

On July 11, the Irish Senate passed a bill that would criminalize the importation and sale of goods from Israeli settlements by a margin of 25 lawmakers in favor, 20 against and 14 abstaining. Those in violation would have to pay a fine or serve up to five years in prison.

The Lawfare Project explained in a press release that such a law would have detrimental ramifications on several American businesses in Ireland – Apple being among them – and would therefore violate American boycott laws.

“We are determined to expose the illegality of the Irish boycott bill under European law, as well as the unnecessary damage that it will inflict on U.S. companies operating in Ireland,” Lawfare Project Executive Director Brooke Goldstein said. “Commercial discrimination on the basis of nationality is shameful in any form, but it is particularly frightening when it emanates from the halls of government—from the same lawmakers who were elected to protect the legal rights of their constituents. We will do everything in our power to prevent this unprecedented state-sanctioned discrimination from becoming law in Ireland.”

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has also issued a statement slamming the bill.

“The absurdity in the course of the Irish Senate is that the boycott will harm the livelihood of many Palestinians working in the Israeli industrial zones affected by the boycott, and Israel will consider its steps in accordance with the developments in this legislation,” the statement read.

No Rabbi – It’s Not Jewish Love for Our ‘Historical, Religious Narrative’ That Prevents Peace

Photo from Pixabay.

On the 10th of Tammuz (in the Hebrew calendar) the last king of Israel, King Zedekiah, was captured by the Babylonians, who had conquered Jerusalem the day before. Zedekiah was captured after he fled Jerusalem through a subterranean tunnel to Jericho. Exactly 2,606 years later, an article was published in the Forward by American Rabbi Philip Graubart titled “‘Letters To My Palestinian Neighbor’ Is Not The Book We Need Right Now.

I have to admit, when I first saw the title, I thought the article would be about how even though most “moderate” elements of Palestinian leadership: (a) engage in blatant Holocaust denial; (b) promote vicious anti-Semitic canards, such as Jews poison water wells; and (c) deny any Jewish historical connection to the land of Israel — all while promoting and rewarding the murder of Jews (such as through the Palestinian Authority’s “Pay to Slay” program), that this article would argue that we need to wait for a massive sea change in Palestinian Arab culture and leadership before Yossi Klein Halevi’s “Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor” could make a credible difference and help advance the peace process.

Instead, this article took the opposite approach and actually accused Halevi of being too jingoistic, too stuck in the Jewish “narrative.”

Imagining a “Palestinian moderate,” who has never assumed leadership among the various Arab groups representing the Palestinians, Graubart posits that after reading Halevi’s book, this imaginary Palestinian Arab moderate might say to Halevi “why waste time with you? … we already agree on the basics.

Reading such a statement raises the question, what “basics” does Rabbi Graubart think Palestinian Arab “moderates” agree on with Halevi? As should be clear from Halevi’s scholarship, he believes Jews have a deep historical, religious and national connection to the land of Israel. As should be also clear to anyone paying attention, the “moderate leaders” among the Palestinians who run the Palestinian Authority (who are also sadly the least rabidly Jew-hating and extremist among the various Palestinian Arabs factions who have any chance of ruling any Palestinian state in the near future), do not believe the Jewish people are even a people, let alone a people who have a deep 3,300 year old love affair with the land of Israel.

As recently as January 15, 2018 Mahmoud Abbas, the “President for Life” of the Palestinian Authority, gave a speech where he said: Israel is a colonial project that has nothing to do with Jews.” This same “moderate” leader not only wrote a thesis back in 1982 at the Russian Academy of Sciences, which denies and trivializes the Holocaust, and is a featured part of the current curriculum in Palestinian Authority schools; he also, on April 30, 2018, gave a speech where he once again trivialized the Holocaust and said that to the extent the Nazis murdered Jews, their murder was not caused by anti-Semitism, but by … “Jewish financial behavior.”

So again, what “basics” does Graubart think the “moderate Palestinian” and Halevi agree on?

Then apparently ignoring the last 100 years of history (at least), Graubart claims that the main problem with Halevi’s book is that it makes claims – mostly about Halevi’s “loving embrace of religious biblical narrative” – that “no Palestinian could accept” and that the “biblical impulse to build settlements in the West Bank [Judea and  Samaria] is precisely what’s sabotaged an agreement.”

So the “moderate” Palestinian Arab leadership turn down offers in 1937, 1948, 1967, 2000, 2001, and 2008 to have the first-ever independent Arab state west of the Jordan River, and it is the desire of Jews to establish and live in Jewish communities in their biblical homeland that “sabotaged” a peace agreement? It wasn’t Arafat’s rejection in 2000 of an offer to have an independent Palestinian Arab state in all of Gaza and over 90% of Judea & Samaria, and his decision to instead launch the Second Intifada, which led to the murder of more than 1,000 Jews? It wasn’t Mahmoud Abbas’s rejection – without a counteroffer – of an even better offer from Israel in 2008? It wasn’t the decision to turn land Israel fully relinquished (the Gaza strip in 2005) into a terror state run by a genocidal organization whose very Charter calls for the murder of every Jew on the planet, including Graubart?

No. According to Graubart, it isn’t Palestinian anti-Semitism, the Palestinian dismissal of any Jewish connection to the land of Israel or even the Palestinian rejection (in favor of violence) of offer after offer to have an independent Arab state in a land where there has never been one before in history that is to blame for the absence of a peace agreement. It is the Jews’ “biblical impulse” to live in Judea that is the problem.

Graubart even disparages the “impulse” of Jews to live in Hebron, one of the most holy and historically important cities for the Jewish people. Hebron, a city where Jews have lived for centuries and where our ancestors in 1929 were literally massacred, ethnically cleansed from and prevented from returning to (by the Jordanian Army after it illegally conquered and controlled all of Judea and & Samaria in 1949). Per Graubart, however, it is the “religious longing” of Jews to live in places like Hebron that is the obstacle to peace, all while 1.5 million Arabs can live among more than 6 million Jews in Haifa, Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv Yafo, etc. without their presence “sabotaging” peace.

There is so much that is problematic with this perspective it is difficult to know where to start. Perhaps the most obvious problem is that, just like most arguments of the “blame Israel” camp, Graubart’s open letter to Halevi implies the Palestinian Arabs have no agency or responsibility for their actions, and that peace (or the lack thereof) is solely a function of what we Jews choose to do (or not do). The other problem is that this article completely whitewashes nearly 100 years of Arab rejection of peace in favor of violence and more than 1,400 years of Arab persecution of Jews throughout the Middle East, as well as the widely held belief among far too many Arabs that Jews can only be second class (dhimmi) in Arab conquered land, never sovereign and independent.

What Graubart’s piece (albeit likely unwittingly) does a great job of capturing, is the growing divide between many secular Jews in the United States  and the overwhelming majority of Jews in Israel. Jews, like Yossi Klein Halevi, who are in Israel considered quite moderate or even left-leaning.

This divide is represented most strikingly in Graubart’s article where he writes the following illuminating and astonishing paragraph directed at Halevi:

“In fact, if your book taught me anything, it’s that we must begin the admittedly difficult process of privileging basic values over national, religious narratives. In discussing Arab rejectionism after the Six-Day War, you write, ‘What people, in our place, would have resisted reclaiming land it regarded as its own for thousands of years?’ But the answer to this question is obvious: a people who valued peace and democracy and human rights over historical/religious narrative. People who weren’t willing to sabotage future peace negotiations by giving in to religious longings, no matter how deeply felt. People who loved peace more than they loved the ancient stories of their people. In other words, people like you and me and many Jews, in Israel and out. But not, sadly, enough.”

Wow. I agree with Graubart on one thing for certain. This is “sad.” It is sad that it is becoming more and more evident that many Jews living in relative safety in the United States  have not internalized the lessons most Jews in Israel have learned from the history of the last 100 years. It also becoming more and more evident that many of today’s secular leaning Jews in America are not very different from the many Jews in America who before 1940 rejected the very idea of Jews seeking sovereignty and independence in our indigenous homeland.

After all, if we just “privileged basic values” (depending – of course – on whose “basic values” we are talking about) “over national, religious narratives,” then why drain swamps, irrigate deserts, establish fence and stockade kibbutzim all over the land of Israel (where you were certain to be plagued by malaria and were almost always immediately attacked by your Arab neighbors)? Why revive Hebrew from being not only our religious tongue but our national language? Why even fight for our freedom and independence against five Arab armies and nearly a half-dozen Arab militias sworn to snuff out our independence before it even happened?

After all, if we value “peace” above everything else, then we could all just give up on our indigenous faith, stop being “stiff-necked” Jews, and convert to either Christianity or Islam or perhaps to the new pseudo-religion of “secular-humanism.” If only, our forefathers had thought of this solution … Plainly, that would have made the Jew-haters much happier and much more “peaceful” toward us.

Thankfully, most of our forefathers didn’t think abdicating our religious values and our “religious longings” to live in Zion was the way to go, as not only would there be no modern state of Israel today, but Graubart would also have needed to find a very different job; as by now the world would have been Jew-free and Judaism would be like the ancient faiths of Minoanism, Mithraism, and Ashurism After all, if we valued “peace” above everything else, including the justice of Jews being able to live anywhere in the land of Israel, then is there anything worth fighting for?

Of course, by Graubart’s definition, the Maccabees would also be disparaged as people who were “willing to sabotage future peace negotiations by giving in to religious longings.” A people unwilling to “love peace more than they loved the ancient stories of their people.” After all, the Hellenists “just” wanted us to accept their “narrative” and to stop insisting on our sovereignty and freedom in our religious, historical and indigenous homeland; just like so many Hellenized or Islamized people do today.

Today, most Palestinian Arabs reject the idea that there were ever Maccabees who fought to liberate the land of Israel and Jerusalem from the yoke of the Hellenists. And this is where Graubart is the most mistaken in his rejection of Halevi’s book. Graubart assumes it is the Jewish respect and love of our “historical/religious narrative” that is somehow the obstacle to peace. The reality is that it is, and has always been, the Arab rejection of Jewish history and our deep connection to the land of Israel that is the obstacle to peace. The Arab rejection of the fact (not “narrative”) that 2,606 years before Graubart published his article that there was a Jewish king named Zedekiah fleeing the Babylonians and their destruction of the first Jewish Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

And that is the ultimate message of Halevi’s book. In order for there to be peace, the Palestinian Arabs are going to have to meet us halfway and stop asking us to accept that their relatively new Palestinian identity deserves two independent Arab states in the former British Mandate for Palestine (as Jordan is the first); all while they reject more than 3,000 years of Jewish history and Jewish sovereignty anywhere in the land of Israel.

As should be painfully apparent, there are many other things wrong with this open letter to Halevi, but the most glaring problem is the willingness to disparage the “historical, religious narrative” of our people, which is at the core for why we finally have an independent and sovereign state in our indigenous homeland after 2,000 years of recurring persecution, oppression and mass murder of Jews in the Diaspora.

Micha Danzig served in the Israeli Army and is a former police officer with the NYPD. He is currently an attorney and is very active with numerous Jewish and pro-Israel organizations, including Stand With Us, T.E.A.M. and the FIDF. He is also a frequent guest on the One America News Network, including shows like The Tipping Point and The Daily Ledger where he is called on to discuss matters related to Israel and the Middle East.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Visit Inspires Israel to Intensify Work on Closing Gender Gap

Leaders of Israeli women’s rights organizations, members of Israel’s Supreme Court and other prominent officials have vowed to intensify efforts to close the gender gap in their country following U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s visit to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Ginsburg was in Israel to receive the Genesis Lifetime Achievement Award from The Genesis Prize Foundation (GPF). All sitting Justices of Israel’s Supreme Court, as well as all living former presidents of the Court, attended the ceremony honoring Ginsburg, who visited Israel for the first time in 23 years. For a video overview of the Justice’s trip, visit:

“My colleagues and I were delighted to welcome Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a living legend for all of us,” said Esther Hayut,  president of the Supreme Court of Israel, who hosted Ginsburg at the Israel Supreme Court. “Her visit was an extremely important reminder of the commitment to gender equality we share with her.”

Ginsburg’s visit became a focal point in a series of events with leaders of Israeli women’s NGOs. It followed The Genesis Prize Foundation’s announcement of grant competitions in Israel and North America, where $3 million in funds will be allocated to support organizations working on such issues as enhancing socio-economic opportunities for women; prevention of violence; promoting gender equality among minority groups in Israel; fighting against harassment in Jewish communal workspaces; and encouraging girls and young women to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Core funding for these competitions comes from The Genesis Prize Foundation and its partner, Israeli philanthropist Morris Kahn.

“The latest Global Gender Gap Report, published by the World Economic Forum [WEF], ranked Israel as 44th out of 144 countries, denoting a position nine places lower than a decade ago,” said Stan Polovets, co-founder and chairman of The Genesis Prize Foundation. “Such a low ranking for such a progressive country as Israel is unacceptable. As is the trend.”

The WEF report attributes Israel’s decline in the rankings to a persistent 40% wage gap between men and women, low levels of women’s participation in politics and senior government posts, and an insufficient representation in top management roles in the private sector.

UC Davis SJP Admits They Want to See Israel Destroyed

Screenshot from Facebook.

Whether they realize it or not, the UC Davis Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter admitted in a recent op-ed they don’t think Israel should exist as a nation.

UC Davis SJP wrote an op-ed for The California Aggie in response to an Aggies for Israel op-ed that accused SJP of leveling anti-Semitic invectives toward Jewish and pro-Israel students in March. SJP claimed in their op-ed they were merely protesting Israeli government policies.

“Palestinian houses are simultaneously being demolished, and Palestinians are being imprisoned, slaughtered and tortured,” UC Davis SJP wrote. “We demand to have our voices heard because the voices of Palestinians are being killed off one by one. We will continue with these efforts because we will not allow the victims of Israeli colonization to be forgotten on this campus.”

The op-ed proceeded to ramble on about how it was hypocritical for students to be pro-Israel and stand with progressive causes, even promulgating the falsehood that the Israeli government forcibly sterilizes African migrants. But SJP let the cat out of the bag in the op-ed’s concluding paragraph.

“It is an ideological fantasy to really believe that progress is possible so long as the state of Israel exists,” UC Davis SJP wrote. “Underlying this naive fantasy is the belief that a state that engages in racist laws, systematic killings and home demolitions can also function as a beacon of peace. The goal of Palestinian resistance is not to establish ‘love’ with those who are responsible for the suffering of the Palestinian people; it is to completely dismantle those forces at play. So continue to watch in ‘horror,’ because we are here to stay.”

In other words: UC Davis SJP doesn’t want any part of a two-state solution, they want Israel gone altogether.

Charline Delkhah, a recent UC Davis graduate who served as the president of Aggies for Israel, explained in a July 9 Aggie op-ed that Jewish and pro-Israel students felt intimidated by SJP’s actions on March 5:

“This year, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) held an event on the Quad sharing stories and poetry and showcasing Palestinian art, literature and clothing. Board members of Aggies for Israel (AFI) attended the event as bystanders and as students of the UC Davis community. Members of SJP decided to use the platform of the event to spew hate at those who showed up. Their ‘invite[s]’ for board members of Aggies of Israel to speak about how ‘they are able to defend a country of genocide and killing,’ were followed up by the yelling of ‘shame,’ (alluding to what was yelled at Jews during the Holocaust). As one may expect, our hearts started racing uncontrollably.

“The hate speech did not end there. A few minutes later, one of the speakers specifically singled me out, ‘invited’ me up again to speak and stated how AFI ‘is complicit’ and that we ‘lie and are hypocritical.’ This speaker continued by saying, ‘[We] are alone on this campus because [we] stand for racism, genocide and massacre,’ and that, ‘The UC Davis community stands for Palestinian people.’ He then turned the direction of the audience to my fellow board members with the intention of intimidating them and silencing their beliefs. In that moment we felt so alone, so scared, so unprotected and subjugated — as if no one cared for us or our protection on campus.”

Delkhah added that UC Davis SJP has been waging a campaign to oust student president Michael Gofman because he’s a pro-Israel activist. She also explained that the UC Davis administration hasn’t taken any action against the campus SJP chapter because of freedom of speech.

“Why are actions like hate speech, anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism going unnoticed?” Delkhah wrote. “Why are Jews and our safety not cared about by the administration? I, along with other members of the Jewish community, demand answers from the administration. We will no longer stay silent on these matters, especially when we do not feel safe on our own campus.”

H/T: Algemeiner

Jewish BDS Activist Barred from Israel

Screenshot from Facebook.

In a twist of irony, a prominent Jewish Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activist has been barred from Israel and she is now whining about it.

The activist, Code Pink co-director Ariel Gold, stated on Facebook that she was turned away from Ben-Gurion Airport and sent back to New York. She claimed that she was hoping to immerse herself into Judaic studies, however, according to the Times of Israel, Israeli officials believe that she was only coming to the country to further the BDS cause.

“Whoever acts for a boycott of Israel and comes here to cause damage, will not enter the country,” Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan tweeted.

In an op-ed for The Forward, Gold stood behind her support for BDS “as a nonviolent means to achieve a just and peaceful end to the 70-year-long oppression of Palestinians.”

“At no point during my interrogation in the Ben Gurion airport was I even asked about the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement,” Gold wrote. “I was asked about the organization CODEPINK, of which I am the national co-director, and which endorses BDS, but this was only after they interrogated me about filming soldiers and knowing Palestinians.”

She also accused Israel of only welcoming Jews “who either support occupation and the right-wing settler agenda, or are willing to be quiet.”

According to Canary Mission, Gold has been arrested for participating in violent Palestinian riots and preventing people from entering American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC)’s conference. Gold also took a photo of herself and another Code Pink member with a #BoycottIsrael banner at the Western Wall.

Gold has also said that she is teaching her children that Zionism is “a racist ideology rooted in ethnic cleansing.”

Back in January, Israel issued a list of 20 BDS organization that were blacklisted from entering Israel. Among those is Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), and Gold is an organizer for them.

Two Pro-Israel Activists Assaulted At Festival By Neo-Nazis

Screenshot from Twitter.

A couple of pro-Israel activists were assaulted by neo-Nazis at a Swedish festival on July 5 after the activists attempted to stop their demonstration.

The neo-Nazis, part of a group called the Nordic Resistance Movement, were outside a pavilion on Gotland and were going to adorn the Israeli flag with their banner. Christina Toledano Asbrink, who is part of the Israel-Sweden Friendship Association, tried to prevent the Nordic Resistance Movement, prompting the neo-Nazis to shake and shove her to the ground.

Israel-Sweden Friendship Association Secretary-General Stefan Dozzi rescued Toledano Asbrink from the neo-Nazis, who were trying to kick and attack her. Dozzi sustained light injuries from the attack.

“I’m so damn pissed and upset,” Toledano Asbrink told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet. “But we will not be cowed into silence. We’re still here.”

No arrests have been made yet.

The festival was part of Almedalen Week, where various Swedes gather to discuss human rights and other political matters. The Israel-Sweden Friendship Association is a pro-Israel Christian organization.

Yad Vashem Slams Joint Israel-Poland Statement on Revised Holocaust Law

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Poland’s heavily criticized law criminalizing speech about Poland’s role in the Holocaust was revised on June 27 to rescind jail time, prompting a joint declaration of victory from Israel and Poland. However, Yad Vashem slammed the joint declaration as revisionist history.

The joint statement, issued by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, stated “that the term ‘Polish concentration/death camps’ is blatantly erroneous and diminishes the responsibility of Germans for establishing those camps.”

Yad Vashem agreed that it was inaccurate to use such a term, but they were irked with the joint statement’s claim Poland’s Government-in-Exile and various underground Poles attempted to help the Jews.

“The existing documentation and decades of historical research yield a totally different picture: the Polish Government-in-Exile, based in London, as well as the Delegatura (the representative organ of this Government in occupied Poland) did not act resolutely on behalf of Poland’s Jewish citizens at any point during the war,” Yad Vashem said in a statement on their website. “Much of the Polish resistance in its various movements not only failed to help Jews, but was also not infrequently actively involved in persecuting them.”

The statement added that Polish aid to the Jews was “relatively rare,” whereas it was quite common for there to be attacks against Jews in Poland. Those that did try to help Jews were just as scared their fellow Poles as they were of the Nazis.

The statement concluded that it wasn’t enough to only repeal the criminal statute.

“The repeal, however, reverses the explicit exception that was made for academic research and artistic endeavor in the wording of the amendment,” the statement read. “Other sections that remain unchanged make it actionable under civil law to impugn the good name of the Polish State and the Polish Nation.”

Yad Vashem concluded, “Our stance in principle is that any attempt to limit academic and public discourse on historical issues to a single unchangeable national narrative by means of legislation and punishment is inappropriate and constitutes a material infringement of research.”

Iranian General Blames Israel for Drought

Screenshot from Twitter.

Iranian Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalali is blaming Israel for Iran’s water shortage, claiming that the Jewish state is stealing clouds from Iran.


According to the Times of Israel, Jalali said in a July 2 press conference, “Israel and another country in the region have joint teams which work to ensure clouds entering Iranian skies are unable to release rain. On top of that, we are facing the issue of cloud and snow theft.”

However, Ahad Vazife, who leads Iran’s meteorological service, acknowledged the obvious reality that “it is not possible for a country to steal snow or clouds.”

“Iran has suffered a prolonged drought, and this is a global trend that does not apply only to Iran,” Vazife said. “Raising such questions not only does not solve any of our problems, but will deter us from finding the right solutions.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has previously offered to share Israeli technology with Iran to alleviate the water shortage. He blamed the Iranian regime for depriving its people of much-needed water.

Meanwhile, the Iranian regime has been struggling to deal with ongoing protests stemming from the dearth of water and an ailing economy. The U.S. and Israel are working to capitalize on the protests and strongarming the regime in Tehran into reining in its nuclear capabilities.

Israel, Australia Cut Payments to Palestinian Authority

Alaa Badarneh/Pool via Reuters

Israel and Australia are joining the United States in cutting payments to the Palestinian Authority (PA) over the body’s financial incentives for Palestinians to commit acts of terror against Israelis.

The Knesset passed a bipartisan bill by a margin of 87-15 that would deduct each shekel used by the PA to pay Palestinian terrorists and their families to a fund allocated toward providing aid for victims of terror attacks.

“We must stop the economic inventive the Palestinian Authority provides to terrorists, an incentive that encourages others to commit terror,” Yesh Atid MK Elazar Stern, a co-sponsor of the law, said. “Every Palestinian youth will understand it doesn’t pay to choose the path of terror.”

Similarly, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced on July 2 that Australia would cease its funding to the PA altogether.

“I am concerned that in providing funds for this aspect of the PA’s operations there is an opportunity for it to use its own budget to (fund) activities that Australia would never support,” Bishop said in a statement. “Any assistance provided by the Palestine Liberation Organization to those convicted of politically motivated violence is an affront to Australian values and undermines the prospect.”

In response, PA spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh called the Israeli law a “declaration of war against the Palestinian people” that would result in “serious repercussions.”

According to the Times of Israel, the PA gave $198 million the families of terrorists in 2017 as well as $160 million to terrorists serving in prison in the same year.

On March 23, President Trump signed the Taylor Force Act into law, which ceases funding to the PA until ends its financial support of terrorism.

Dem Senate Candidate Calls Jerusalem Move An ‘Incitement to Violence’

Screenshot from Facebook.

Texas Senate Democratic candidate Rep. Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke called the moving of the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem an “incitement to violence” at a June 24 campaign event.

Video of the event shows that a woman identifying herself as a Muslim asking O’Rourke where he stood on the move; she called it “arguably one of the worst humanitarian disasters our world faces today.”

O’Rourke responded by calling the move “unnecessarily provocative.”

“Everyone who knows anything about the Middle East, who knows the status of Jerusalem and East Israel, the status of negotiations with the Palestinian Authority and the state of Israel knew there were going to be those that would suffer as a result, as they predictably have,” O’Rourke said.

O’Rourke added that the move hasn’t done anything to help achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and claimed that as an ally to both, the U.S. can leverage Israel into ending West Bank settlements.

“It’s going to be up to those two powers to produce the peace, but we can do a better job and we can certainly stop providing incentives and incitement to violence, which I think that move did,” O’Rourke said.

Since the embassy move happened, there have been riots at the Israel-Gaza border that have resulted in Palestinian deaths – several of whom were terrorists – although since then the size of the riots has declined.

The latest poll shows O’Rourke trailing incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) by 10 points.

H/T: Free Beacon


Hamas Paid Family to Lie About Baby’s Cause of Death At Border Riots

Screenshot from Twitter.

Remember when critics of Israel’s handling of the Gaza riots pointed to the news of an 8-month-old baby dying at the border to substantiate their argument? It is now being reported that Hamas paid the baby’s family to lie about the cause of death.

According to the Times of Israel, a cousin of the baby, Mahmoud Omar, admitted to Israeli interrogators that the baby, Layla Ghandour, had died of a pre-existing blood disease. Her brother had died from the same disease a year earlier.

And yet, her death was initially reported as being due to tear gas inhalation from Israeli soldiers. Layla’s mother had declared to the media, “The Israelis killed her!” Layla’s death soon became a cause célèbre among anti-Israel activists, although a subsequent report from AFP quoted a Gaza doctor who said that Layla had died from a medical condition.

The reason for the discrepancy: Hamas.

“Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar paid Layla’s parents, Miriam and Anwar Ghandour, NIS 8,000 ($2,206) to tell the media that the infant had died due to tear gas inhalation at the Gaza protests,” the Times of Israel reports.

Such instances of Hamas manipulation are not new. For instance, a video was taken at the border in May of a Palestinian using crutches that somehow found the ability to start running:

Additionally, journalist Matt Friedman revealed in a May New York Times op-ed that Hamas had threatened him into reporting a trumped-up casualty figure in the 2008 Israel-Hamas war.

“Early in that war, I complied with Hamas censorship in the form of a threat to one of our Gaza reporters and cut a key detail from an article: that Hamas fighters were disguised as civilians and were being counted as civilians in the death toll,” Friedman wrote. “The bureau chief later wrote that printing the truth after the threat to the reporter would have meant ‘jeopardizing his life.’ Nonetheless, we used that same casualty toll throughout the conflict and never mentioned the manipulation.”

Friedman added that Hamas was emboldened into this kind of action by a Western media that was hungry for an anti-Israel narrative.

“Hamas understood that Western news outlets wanted a simple story about villains and victims and would stick to that script, whether because of ideological sympathy, coercion or ignorance,” Friedman wrote. “The press could be trusted to present dead human beings not as victims of the terrorist group that controls their lives, or of a tragic confluence of events, but of an unwarranted Israeli slaughter. The willingness of reporters to cooperate with that script gave Hamas the incentive to keep using it.”

Salvador Litvak: Can Talmud change your life?

Hollywood filmmaker and Accidental Talmudist Salvador Litvak recounts his journey of how one moment of learning Talmud led to a million followers on Facebook.

“What we learn from the students of Hillel is that you should be able to state the opinion of your opponent in a way your opponent will say, ‘yes, that is my opinion.’ When you do that, you are opening a door for him to say ‘I feel heard. Now I am willing to hear what you have to say.” -Salvador Litvak

Accidental Talmudist Salvador Litvak

From left: David Suissa and Salvador Litvak

Check out this episode!

Birthright, 13 Years Later

Birthright Israel

Traveling is always an adventure, the anticipation of which always inducing a certain amount of anxiety in me.

I am experiencing that now. Exactly one week from today, I will be on an El Al Airlines flight to Israel. I am traveling with my family: my parents, my sister, her husband and their son. We are traveling to the Holy Land for my sister’s best friend wedding.

This will be my fifth time in Israel and the lead-up is making me reflect on my first time there. I was 18-years-old and had just finished my first year of college at UC Santa Cruz. It is hard to believe that was 13 years—a whole bar mitzvah—ago.

I was traveling with the Birthright program, Israel Outdoors, with my friend, Daniel, who I grew up with in Los Angeles. Prior to the trip, we sat down with our fathers at Coffee Bean on Beverly Drive and talked about what we could expect. Beyond the ten days of the Birthright Israel trip, we were extending our time in the country and also visiting Greece and Italy.

Indeed, we hopped around the Greek Islands. In Italy, we went to Venice, Florence, Rome and Pompeii.

Our Birthright trip, however, is what stays with me. We hiked up and ran down Masada. Foolishly, I did the hike in Converse sneakers. I spent way too much time before the trip agonizing about what kind of shoes to bring and in typical fashion I settled on something hip and completely impractical.

Other highlights were camping in a tent among the Bedouins; joining a random family for tea in their home; posing for a photo in a tunnel at an archeological site with all my bros from the group. Of course, I fell for a girl, Rachel, a brunette from Kansas City, but I was too dumb to do anything about it. One of the guys in the group, a married, skinny 30-something-year-old with a baseball cap and a cool attitude who worked in the entertainment industry, came up to me and the other guys my age during breakfast in our hotel one morning and asked us why none of us were trying harder to hook up with any of the girls. In normal me fashion, rather than enjoying the present, I was focused on the future. I had talks with this guy on the bus about how unsure I was about what I wanted to do with my life. I told him I was thinking about a job in entertainment but I did not think I had the social skills to make it in that networking-heavy field. He told me I was crazy for thinking that.

Two of the guys in the group, who were my age, teased me for my other footwear, flip-flops, which I wore almost everywhere, even on nights out. They called me “hippie.” I am sure I wore those flip-flops while singing “Bye Bye Bye” by N’Sync in a karaoke bar in Jerusalem. My friend Daniel and our American guide, whose name I can’t remember, sang it with me.

It is unfortunate I can’t remember our guide’s name; I liked him from the beginning—and when Daniel and I drank too much one night and behaved inappropriately, even for a Birthright trip, he showed us mercy, could tell how sorry we were, and let us off the hook even though the powers that be were thinking about sending us home.

A lot of people criticize the Birthright program for being this indoctrination into blind support for Israel. I did not experience any of that. All I had was fun, and it is a shame that I don’t think about the trip more. Instead I focus on my job, or relationships, or money, or how I need to catch up on the latest Netflix show or I won’t be able to talk to my coworkers about it.

Before the trip, I had my layover at JFK Airport, where everybody from all over the country came together before the chartered flight to Israel. We were getting to know to each other, going around the circle at the gate sharing something about ourselves, and our American guide said he was a Phish fan. I nodded at Daniel in approval.

During the long flight to Israel, Daniel and I passed the time by engaging in our favorite pastime, coming up with fictional band names–Gelato Aficionado was and still is my favorite.

Music has always been a big part of my life. In the Old City in Jerusalem, I bought a Phish T-shirt from a souvenir shop. The shirt spelled out Phish in Hebrew.

How many guys my age have visited that souvenir shop and purchased that very Phish T-shirt while on their Birthright trip?

During that trip, I was tanner and thinner than I will ever be. We were swimming in a waterfall up north near the Golan Heights and Rachel’s friend complimented me on my Vs.

The hike near the Golan, and the military outpost looking out into Syria, are forever in my memory.

I have not thought about these experiences for years. I have had such great experiences in Israel, but I allow these memories to fade in favor of the meaningless problems of the day.

This upcoming trip will likely be the first of many times my two-year-old nephew travels to Israel. He’s lucky to go at such a young age. Even though he won’t remember the trip, one day, perhaps as he is preparing to go on Birthright and freaking out about what shoes to pack, his parents will tell him how he has been to Israel already—and was just as difficult to deal with then.



UN General Assembly Censures Israel’s Actions Against Gaza

United Nations General Assembly hall in New York City.

The United Nations General Assembly voted in favor of a draft resolution censuring Israel on Wednesday.

The 193-member body adopted “Protection of the Palestinian Civilian Population,” following heated debate. The resolution, which censured Israel’s recent actions in Gaza, passed with a vote of 120-8, with 45 abstentions, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Prior to the vote, Danny Danon, Israel’s permanent representative to the United Nations, told the General Assembly support for the resolution amounted to support for Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

“By supporting this resolution, you are a supporting a terrorist organization,” Danon said. “You are empowering Hamas.”

Over the last two months, Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip have held weekly demonstrations at the Israel-Gaza border. Israel has responded to the often-violent protests with military force, resulting in the death of more than 120 Palestinians.

Many of the Palestinians who have been killed in the protests are involved with Hamas, a terrorist organization. Hamas has resorted to unconventional tactics in its latest flare-ups with Israel. The organization has flown kites, set ablaze, into Israel, resulting in agricultural damage inside of Israel.

Many of the protests at the Israel-Gaza border coincided with the U.S. relocation of its embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem last month.

On Wednesday, Danon lambasted the General Assembly for putting forth the resolution, which makes no mention of Hamas.

“I have a simple message for those who support this resolution today: You are the ammunition for Hamas’ guns,” he said. “You are the warheads for Hamas’ missiles.”

Opposed to the resolution’s omission of Hamas, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley proposed an amendment to the resolution, one condemning Hamas. Haley’s amendment garnered a simple majority—62-58, with 42 abstentions—but needed a two-thirds majority to pass.

Prior to the vote on the amendment, Algeria’s representative to the U.N. called the amendment irrelevant to the goal of the resolution and called for a no-action motion on the U.S.’s amendment.

Encouraging member states of the General Assembly to support her amendment, Haley called Hamas’ actions against Israel “counterproductive to peace.”

Joanne Adamson, deputy head of the European Union delegation to the United Nations, called on Israel to use more proportional measures when responding to violence at its border.

“Israel must respect the rights to peaceful protests and ensure the use of proportional measures when protecting its legitimate security interests,” Adamson said. “We urge all parties to take immediate steps to deescalate the situation and to act with utmost restraint to avoid further loss of life.”

“We condemn the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel,” Adamson added.

Algeria and Turkey, on behalf of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, put forward the text of the resolution, which condemns Israel’s “excessive use of force” in Gaza.

South African City Councilor Suspended for Calling City An Ally of Israel

Screenshot from Twitter.

A councilor for the city of Johannesburg, South Africa was suspended on June 12 for praising Israel.

Mayoral Committee Member for Health Mpho Phalatse said over the weekend, “I would like to declare that I am a friend of Israel and the city of Johannesburg is a friend of Israel. Shalom.”

The mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, announced the suspension in a statement and stated that an investigation was pending.

“My disappointment stemmed from the attribution of those sentiments to the City of Johannesburg on a matter of such an emotional and sensitive nature,” Mashaba said, adding that her comments resulted in “a divisive state which is counter to the kind of social cohesion that is needed in our City.”

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) condemned Phalatse’s suspension.

“These are just the most recent instances of attempts to silence South Africans who challenge the anti-Israel narrative,” SAJBD spokesperson Charisse Zeifert said in a statement. “It is all part of an environment in which Israel is being demonized to a degree that bears no relationship to reality.”

Low Turnout in Quds Day Gaza Riots

REUTERS/Amir Cohen

The June 8 riots at the Israel-Gaza border were expected to be particularly violent given that June 8 is Quds Day, when Iran celebrates the Palestinian cause. However, turnout was low, prompting the Israel Defense Forces to declare that the protests “failed.”

Approximately 10,000 people attended the Hamas-led riots, when 40,000 people were expected to attend. About 25% of those 10,000 people engaged in clashes at the border fence, most of whom were men.

Those who engaged in violence threw burning tires, kite and balloons as well as grenades at Israeli soldiers and at Israeli territory. An IDF military post was hit by gunfire, although nobody was injured. A total of four Palestinians were killed and over 600 more were injured, according to Hamas’ Gaza Health Ministry.

And yet, the IDF was expecting the violence to be far worse due to Quds Day.

“The determination and professionalism of IDF soldiers on the Gaza border are proving themselves,” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman tweeted. “Despite the great efforts of Hamas and Iran, less and less terrorists are coming to our border.”

IDF Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon proclaimed on Facebook that Hamas had “failed twice.”

“First by investing money in terrorism rather than in caring for the needs of the population, and then again through Gazans’ reluctance to join the marches,” Rokon wrote.

The violence at the Gaza border has been ongoing since March under the guise of the Palestinians’ “Right to Return” to Israel; in actuality Hamas is attempting to breach the border fence with the hope of launching terror attacks against Israelis.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently defended the IDF’s handling of the violence at the Gaza border.

“When I talk with European leaders, I always say ‘What would you do?’” Netanyahu said in London. “The last thing we want is any violence, or casualties.”

Hamas to Incite Gazans to Dress As Concentration Camp Victims for Border Riots

Screenshot from Twitter.

With another batch of riots set to occur at the Israel-Gaza border on June 8, Hamas plans on inciting Gazans to dress up as concentration camp victims.

Israel’s Channel 2 news is reporting that the protesters will be dressed in black-and-white striped uniforms in order to replicate what Jewish prisoners in the Nazi concentration camps were forced to wear:

The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper condemned the “macabre ploy” in a statement.

“By dressing up kids as Nazi victims, proves the only god this terrorist organization [Hamas] worships is Moloch, the pagan god of child sacrifice, for whom children’s lives are worthless,” Hier and Cooper said. “When will NGOs and U.N. agencies devoted to protecting children finally raise their voices in protests against Hamas’ barbaric tactics, including the use of civilians, children nonetheless, as human shields and cannon fodder for their endless terrorist campaigns? When will the nations like Japan, who supplied beautiful kites for Palestinian children, protest the use of these kites to set fires in Israeli nature preserves and fields?”

The June 8 riots are expected to be particularly violent, as at least 1,500 flaming kites are reportedly being prepared and Hamas is inciting Gazans to breach the border fence. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have already begun warning Gazans to stay away from the border fence and is preparing to strike Hamas targets in Gaza.

IDF: Killed Palestinian Medic Threw a Smoke Grenade, Declared Herself As a ‘Human Shield’

Much attention has been given to Razan Najjar, the 21-year-old Palestinian medic who was killed by Israeli gunfire on June 1. Israel’s critics have claimed that her death was a war crime. However, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are claiming that she was not the “angel” that her defenders make her out to be.

According to a June 7 video released by the IDF, Najjar can be seen throwing a smoke grenade during a riot at the Israel-Gaza border and proclaiming herself as a “human shield.”

“The fact we see her in front of the cameras protecting demonstrators with her body proves how Hamas exploits all classes of Gazan society to its ends and to Iran’s ends,” IDF Arabic Language Spokesperson Avichai Adraee tweeted. “Do medical personnel around the world throw grenades and participate in riots and call themselves human shields?”

Joe Dyke, the Palestinian correspondent for Agence-France Presse (AFP), argued that the IDF took the video out of context, stating that the full quote was her saying that she’s “a human shield and rescuer for the injured on the front lines.”

Regardless, in their examination of the incident the IDF concluded that Najjar’s death was not intentional, claiming that “a small number of bullets were fired during the incident, and that no shots were deliberately or directly aimed toward her.”

The violence at the Israel-Gaza border has been ongoing since March as part of Hamas’ plan to breach the border fence and terrorize Israelis. Protesters have been documented as flying fiery kites into Israeli territory, burning tires and throwing rocks at IDF soldiers. Despite the criticism the IDF has faced, most of the Palestinians killed by Israeli gunfire have been Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists.

IDF Warns That They Could Strike Back Against Hamas for Use of Fiery Kites

REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) warned on June 5 that they may have to launch retaliatory strikes against Hamas for their use of fiery kites against Israel.

According to Haaretz, IDF Brig. Gen. Yossi Bachar gave senior United States military official to opportunity to survey the damage from the kites at the Gaza border, suggesting that the military is preparing for action.

Ever since the riots at the Israel-Gaza border started, protesters used kites that were either lit on fire or had attached explosives on them and flew them into Israeli territory. The result has been 9,000 dunams (approximately 2200 acres) of land destroyed in Israel, according to Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Firefighters have had to deal with at least nine fires raging in Israel on June 5 from the kites, most of which were in the Eshkol region.

Consequently, Israeli military officials think they can’t show any more “restraint,” per Haaretz.

“We will settle accounts with Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the rest of the terrorists acting against us from the Gaza Strip,” Lieberman said in a speech in the Knesset.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on June 3 that funds allocated to the Palestinian Authority would instead be diverted to Israeli farmers whose fields were destroyed by the fires.

Farmers have seen their wheat and irrigation lines destroyed by the fires and there has been some serious damage to forests and parks, prompting the Jewish National Fund to sue Hamas for “environment terrorism” under international law.

“It’s not easy, but we have strength and it won’t break us,” Daniel Rahamim, who supervises irrigation at Kibbutz Nahal Oz, told the Jerusalem Post. “We know we are here because this is our mission – to raise children here and live our lives. It is our home and we won’t give up.”

Netanyahu to Headline AJC Forum

REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/Pool

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be among the leaders headlining the American Jewish Committee (AJC)’s Global Forum on June 10-13 in Jerusalem.

According to a press release, the AJC forum will be celebrating the 70th anniversary of the state of Israel, the first AJC forum to be held outside of the United States. Netanyahu will be the forum’s keynote speaker. Other speakers will include Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Affairs Ministry Legal Adviser Tal Becker.

The forum will also feature discussions on a one-state solution versus a two-state solution on the Israel/Palestine conflict, Iran and relations between Israel and the Diaspora as well as honor past world leaders such as former President Harry Truman and former prime minister of Greece Costantinos Mitsotakis.

The AJC will be handing out two Moral Courage Awards to Sandra Samuel, who saved the life of a two-year-old during the 2008 Mumbai bombing and the Galilee Medical Center’s leadership for providing treatment to Syrians caught in the crossfire of the country’s civil war.

“We enthusiastically are coming to Israel, to the capital city of Jerusalem, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Israel’s rebirth, and to demonstrate by our presence our deep solidarity with, and enduring support, for Israel,” AJC CEO David Harris said in the press release. “The 2,100-plus attendance is way beyond our most optimistic projection, underscoring the strong ties between Israel and the AJC global community.”

Episode 92 – Taking Israel to the Moon

Yariv Bash had a simple idea: taking Israel to the moon, for the first time. To pursue his new dream he quit a luxurious job in the prime ministers office, and founded the NGO SpaceIL. Together with his co-founders, they quickly joined Google’s spaceX competition, battling with groups from all around the world to be the first to send a spacecraft to the moon.Together with his co-founders, they quickly joined Google’s spaceX competition, battling with groups from all around the world to be the first to send a space ship to the moon.

For many years, spaceIL was leading the competition. But then something unexpected happened. Bash, an enthusiast of extreme sports, had a severe ski accident, which left him on a wheelchair.

Yariv Bash joins us today to talk about Israel’s race to the Moon, and his journey race to get his old life back.

SpaceIL’s English website

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Ayatollah Khamenei Tweets That Israel Is A ‘Cancerous Tumor.’ Israel Claps Back

REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl/File Photo

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei called Israel a “cancerous tumor” on Twitter, prompting Israel to clap back with a gif from “Mean Girls.”

On June 3, Khamenei tweeted, “Our stance against Israel is the same stance we have always taken. #Israel is a malignant cancerous tumor in the West Asian region that has to be removed and eradicated: it is possible and it will happen.”

The Israeli embassy in the United States responded with only this:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also addressed Khamenei’s tweet.

“Just yesterday, Iran’s leader said again that Israel is a cancer that has to be and will be eradicated,” Netanyahu said. “It’s amazing that in the 21st century, somebody talks about destroying Israel. It means destroying another six million plus Jews. This is what we face.”

Khamenei’s tweet was issued in response to the violence ongoing at the Gaza border, where a well-known female medic was shot and killed by Israeli gunfire. The IDF is investigating the matter.

Haley Calls U.N. Security Council’s Refusal to Condemn Hamas ‘Outrageous’

Screenshot from YouTube.

United State Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called it “outrageous” that the U.N. Security Council refused to condemn Hamas for firing missiles and mortars into Israel.

Haley had attempted to pass the condemnation at the Security Council’s May 30 emergency meeting on Hamas’s actions but Kuwait prevented the condemnation from happening.

“You might think that the rest of the security council would join us in condemning a terrorist organization like Hamas,” Haley said. “There shouldn’t be any debate about this. But of course, since this attack involves Israel, the standard is different.”

Haley said it was a “no-brainer” to call out Hamas for “aiming to cause as much civilian death and destruction as possible” and pointed out that the Security Council likes to criticize Israel even before knowing all the facts.

“Hamas’ stated purpose is the destruction of Israel,” Haley said. “That is its purpose when it fires rockets into Israel. That is its purpose when it builds terror tunnels underneath Israeli territory. And that is its purpose when it orchestrates violent protests and riots at the boundary fence calling for a march for return.”

Haley added that Hamas is what endangers Palestinians, not Israel, pointing to Hamas rockets destroying power lines that resulted in several Gazans losing power.

“To allow Hamas to continue to get away with its terrorist acts and to somehow expect Israel to sit on its hands when it is attacked is the height of hypocrisy,” Haley said. “To continue to condemn Israel with actually acknowledging what is coming from the leaders of Gaza makes me question who actually cares about the welfare of the Palestinian people.”

The full speech can be seen below:

H/T: Washington Free Beacon

When Jews Turn On Each Other

Screenshot from Facebook.

Arguing is part of the Jewish DNA, from the time that Korach stood against Moses. The Talmud devotes far more space to disputes than to agreement.  Sessions of Knesset never, ever can be misconstrued as the local chapter of the Oxford Debating Society. Jews are used to arguing with each other. They can’t be expected, however, to politely cede the mike to those working – intentionally or not – for our undoing.

Suddenly we’ve experienced some developments where Jews may be endangering our collective future. No,​ we speak not of lunatics like Neturei Karta, who kiss-up to Iranians working feverishly to nuke Israel.

But rather we are experiencing the drilling of holes under the collective ship of the Jewish future.

First example: A Jewish summer camp. Traditionally, camps have provided our kids with exposure to Jewish values – and many other things that inspired Jewish novelists and filmmakers. Many camps have strong ideological bents that differed entirely from the next one down the rural road. That was part of the “differences-within-the-family”. But no one – until recently – trained​ young Jews to work for the weakening and possible destruction of the Jewish State.

But it’s happening now. IfNotNow hosted counselors from around the country on May 27 to teach the occupation and Palestinian narratives. They tweeted: “Today counselors from 8 Jewish summer camps are coming together for a first-of-its-kind Camp Counselor Training on the Occupation. These courageous leaders are committed to teaching the Occupation and Palestinian narratives to other staff and their campers this summer. Following ongoing Israeli violence on Palestinian protesters in Gaza, this education has never felt more urgent.”

Another example: When a Chabad outreach worker offered to put tefillin on a passerby at Ben-Gurion Airport recently, one person readily agreed. According to this man’s Facebook page, “a woman with a crazy look jumped up and began to abuse, harass and disturb!” The woman was Professor Penina Peri, who teaches at the Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies at the University of Maryland, and the American University in DC. She is an expert on multi-culturalism and authored, Education in Multi-Cultured Society: Pluralism and Congruence Among Cultural Divisions.  Her husband, who directs the Institute, is a former head of the New Israel Fund.

Apparently religious Jews didn’t make the cut in Peri’s universe of multi-culturalism. Should our young people be exposed to this especially in an Israel Studies department?

Third example: Hebrew Union College (HUC). Its leadership is anything but anti-Israel. Which is why it is impossible – not just difficult – to understand why it invited – (and then defended) – Michael Chabon to deliver the commencement speech to its graduates. Chabon is a well-known author and Israel basher. He shared his core beliefs with HUC and the Jewish world. He used the lectern to sermonize on the evils of Israel, mock the Bible, and advocate that Jews should preferably marry non-Jews. One graduate walked out, and wrote about the event in the Jewish Journal, “As I heard Chabon’s simplified takedown of my country, the room began to spin. I turned back to look at my brother, who served in a combat unit in the Israel Defense Forces. He looked sick to his stomach…I asked my mother if not seeing me graduate would disappoint her. She responded that she would feel ashamed to see me walk on that stage after what had been said. We stood up and left the sanctuary. Standing outside, I was nearly brought to tears as I heard the crowd of Jews give Chabon a thunderous applause.”

Perhaps the most shocking example was the recent gatherings of young Jews to say Kaddish for Hamas terrorists trying to topple the international border with the Jewish State. Hamas has made clear the goal of their riots are not about “occupied territories” but murdering Jews in Israel proper.

Today, these Jews abandon the world’s largest Jewish community, with the largest number of Shoah survivors and their families. They no longer share the destiny of the Jewish people.

Without realizing it, those who said Kaddish were not saying it for innocent, peaceful Gazan protesters. They were saying Kaddish for themselves – and the others like them, who have traded a proud legacy for the vagaries of self-loathing, and compromising the safety of their brothers and sisters as well as the Jewish State. We weep for their loss—and for ours.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper is the Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action for the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein is Interfaith Director for the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Hamas, Islamic Jihad Launch Over 60 Missiles Toward Israel

Black smoke is seen near the Israel-Gaza border, east of Gaza city May 29, 2018. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Hamas and Islamic Jihad launched over 60 mortars and missiles from Gaza toward Israel on May 29, resulting in at least three Israeli soldiers and one civilian injured, all of whom are expected to survive.

Additionally, the Netivot town suffered minor damage after parts of a rocket struck down by the Iron Dome hit part of the town.

According to The Times of Israel, Hamas and Islamic Jihad took responsibility for the attacks launched from Gaza in a joint statement, claiming that they were retaliatory measures for Israeli strikes.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) responded by launching over 35 strikes against Hamas and Islamic Jihad strongholds in Gaza, followed by strikes against 25 Hamas military targets.

“We will work in every way to ensure security and calm for the citizens of Israel,” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman tweeted.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted:

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called for the U.N. Security Council to hold an emergency meeting on Hamas and Islamic Jihad’s attacks against Israel.

“The Security Council should be outraged and respond to this latest bout of violence directed at innocent Israeli civilians, and the Palestinian leadership needs to be held accountable for what they’re allowing to happen in Gaza,” Haley said.

The meeting is set to occur on Wednesday.

The strikes against Israel have been roundly condemned by the international community.

“The rocket and mortar fire by Palestinian militants from Gaza towards Israel must stop immediately,” the European Union said in a statement. “Indiscriminate attacks against civilians are completely unacceptable under any circumstances.”

The ‘Blame Game’ Doesn’t Alleviate Palestinian Suffering

A proposal drafted by Kuwait to deploy an international force to protect Palestinians along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip currently is circulating among member-states of the United Nations Security Council. This, after the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) voted overwhelmingly to establish a commission of inquiry into allegations of possible war crimes committed by the Israeli military during the recent chaos along the frontier, which resulted in the deaths of at least 60 Gazans and injuries to some 2,000. Kuwait also pushed for the Security Council to adopt a statement expressing “outrage and sorrow at the killing of Palestinian civilians” and reiterating the call for an independent investigation, although the United States vetoed the move.

In response, Israel’s U.N. ambassador issued a statement decrying the “shameful … attempts to distort reality,” while declaring that Israel’s military “will continue to defend its sovereignty and the security of its citizens against the terror and murderous violence of Hamas.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the UNHRC a “biased body whose goal is to harm Israel and to back terrorism.”

Indeed, many independent observers have agreed with Israel’s supporters regarding what they see as elements of hypocrisy in the international community’s treatment of Israel when viewed against the backdrop of the carnage taking place in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp, located south of Damascus, where Syrian regime forces have for weeks been waging a fierce campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS). The camp was once home to more than 200,000 Palestinians, yet today only a few thousand remain, many on the brink of starvation. An estimated 4,000 Palestinian civilians have been killed during the Syria civil war, more than the combined death toll in all of Israel’s conflicts with Hamas over the past decade.

Despite this seemingly abject abuse of Palestinian refugees, there are no concerted calls for any probes into the ongoing devastation in Yarmouk, nor is Syrian President Bashar Assad in the crosshairs of the International Criminal Court despite clear evidence that he has perpetrated crimes against humanity by repeatedly using chemical weapons against his own citizens.

In the same vein, ISIS, arguably one of the most insidious terrorist groups of modern times, is virtually being ignored vis-à-vis its Yarmouk travesties in stark contrast to the across-the-board condemnations of the ISIS massacre of Yazidis in Iraq, for example. This apparent “exception” blurs another peculiar reality: namely, the widely drawn distinction between ISIS and Hamas, even though both are incarnations of the same radical Sunni Islamic ideology.

That Kuwait is leading the drive to place Israel in the docket is also paradoxical given that it expelled some 400,000 Palestinians during and after the first Gulf War because of former Palestinian chief Yasser Arafat’s support at the time for Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

While it is clear to many that Israel is not without responsibility and that its policies have contributed to Palestinian suffering, many also assert that decades of attributing blame exclusively to the Jewish state for all Palestinian suffering has in no way furthered the Palestinian cause.

“The question is not whether the response from the international community is right or wrong, but if it solves the problem,” according to Maj. Gen. (Res.) Nathan Sharony, president of the Tel Aviv-based Council for Peace and Security, which promotes a sustainable political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “And the only way to do so,” he told The Media Line, “is to elevate the standard of living in Gaza from the absolute minimum to something substantial. Once the people are relieved from the daily trouble they are experiencing they have something to lose and their motivations become different.

For Israelis, the singular focus on the Jewish state’s alleged crimes only reinforces their world-against-us mentality.

“Years have gone by, though, and there has been nothing but military collisions,” Sharony concluded, “so with no water and no electricity the situation in the Strip has become critical and needs to be solved now. This has to be an international effort, but Israel has to show that it means business.”

But a growing number of sources suggest that the UNHRC offers merely symbolic condemnations of Jerusalem, which, predictably, reacts with Pavlovian-like fury, while the U.S. is forced to go it alone and defend its ally by wielding its veto power in the Security Council. In other words, the status quo is effectively propagated, thereby ensuring that the cycle of violence repeats itself, even as other causes of Palestinian suffering are obfuscated.

This includes, for instance, the obvious deleterious impact of Hamas’ iron-fist rule, manifest in the crushing of all internal dissent and the pursuit of an external strategy of unending war, which, taken together, greatly reduces the possibility of improving the humanitarian situation in the enclave and thus the lives of Palestinians. Also overlooked are the millions of Palestinians who continue to languish in refugee camps throughout the Middle East — as opposed to being integrated into their host countries — a reality that has denied them any personal agency, thus leaving them totally vulnerable to assaults such as in Yarmouk.

For Israelis, the singular focus on the Jewish state’s alleged crimes only reinforces their world-against-us mentality, which, in turn, expresses itself through increasingly right-wing governments with more and more members that reject Palestinian statehood outright.

According to Gershon Baskin, an expert on Israeli-Palestinian affairs, “what we are seeing is a lot of the same-old, same-old because there are not many viable options. The international community is trying to figure out how to address the humanitarian situation in Gaza but, given the rivalry between Hamas and the PA [Palestinian Authority] and the fact that many countries do not deal with [the former] as it is considered a terrorist organization, there is only so much that can be done.

“I don’t see any solution coming from the U.S., Europe or, of course, Israel,” he told The Media Line. “One possible initiative could come from the Arab world, such as when countries sent a joint force to Lebanon to end the civil war there.”

Many agree that a change of approach is sorely needed. But as things stand, the headlines about Gaza will, as they have in the past, inevitably be pushed to the back pages. Given historical precedent, Israel will have weathered the storm and be left as it was, if not stronger because of its growing economic and military clout coupled with the diplomatic protection afforded by its alliance with the U.S.

The Palestinians, meanwhile, will have little to show other than additional suffering.