January 22, 2019

Rep. Omar on Anti-Israel Tweet: ‘Only Words I Could Think About Expressing’

Screenshot from Twitter.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) said that her 2012 tweet accusing Israel of hypnotizing the world “were the only words I could think about expressing” at the time.

Omar tweeted in November 2012, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”

When asked by journalist Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday about that tweet, Omar explained that during the 2012 Israel-Hamas conflict she felt that the media coverage made it seem like “no other life was being impacted” by the conflict.

“Those unfortunate words were the only words I could think about expressing at that moment,” Omar said, “and what is really important to me is that people recognize that there is a difference between criticizing a military action by a government that has exercised really oppressive policies and being offensive or attacking to a particular people of faith.”

When Omar was confronted on Twitter about the tweet in May, she responded, “Drawing attention to the apartheid Israeli regime is far from hating Jews. You are a hateful sad man, I pray to Allah you get the help you need and find happiness.”

Shortly after Omar was elected, she came out in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement after saying during the campaign that she was against it. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called Omar’s BDS support “alarming.”

“BDS doesn’t just criticize Israel’s gov., it denies its right to exist as a Jewish State,” the ADL tweeted. “@IlhanMN also said she supports a two-state solution. Rep-Elect Omar, you owe it to your new constituents to clarify your views.”

Sodastream to Open Manufacturing Plant in Gaza

Sodastream is planning to open a manufacturing plant in Gaza, its CEO announced on Thursday.

“We want the people in Gaza to have jobs—real jobs—because where there is prosperity, there can be peace,” said Daniel Birnbaum at the Globes Conference in Jerusalem, without going into detail.

In 2014, the originally owned Israeli carbonation-product company closed its factory in Judea and Samaria, and moved to a bigger plant in the Negev Desert.

Birnbaum said efforts to boycott Sodastream at the time only had a marginal effect on the company. These boycotts were, and still are, advocated by the anti-Israel BDS movement, which includes calls to not purchase products made in the West Bank.

The carbonation-product company was acquired this year by PepsiCo for $3.2 billion.

Making Loss Matter

Photo from Wikimedia

On April 10, 1995 — at the height of the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process,” a year after Nobel Prizes had been awarded to Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat — Alisa Flatow, a Brandeis honors student spending her junior year in Israel, boarded a public bus for a brief vacation in Gaza at Gush Katif. 

As the bus entered Gaza, a Palestinian terrorist rammed it with a van filled with explosives. Flatow and seven others died. Later, in federal court in Washington, D.C., it was proved that a faction controlled, financed, and directed at the highest levels of Iran’s government had carried out the attack. In a 35-page opinion, Judge Royce C. Lamberth awarded the Flatow family $20 million in compensatory damages and $225 million in punitive damages.

The lawsuit was the result of the indefatigable efforts of Alisa’s father, Stephen M. Flatow. In the moving memoir “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror” (Devon Square Press), he writes that he believed his obligations to his daughter continued after her death. Asked in court whether he had been Alisa’s father, he answered, “No – I am Alisa’s father.” In testimony before Congress he said, “A father’s responsibility to his child does not end with her murder.”

Flatow lobbied Congress to pass what became known as the “Flatow Amendment,” allowing victims of terror to sue the state sponsors of it. Then he found a lawyer to take his case (Steven Perles), and a witness (Patrick Crawford of the Washington Institute) to provide expert testimony. He eventually collected a portion of the damages (roughly $25 million) through intricate legal proceedings he describes in this book, and he used the money to fund the Alisa Flatow international programs at Nishmat in Jerusalem, which enables others to follow in Alisa’s footsteps in Jewish studies.

“Stephen M. Flatow lobbied Congress to pass what became known as the “Flatow Amendment,” allowing victims of terror to sue the state sponsors of it. “

Flatow’s memoir covers conversations with former President Bill Clinton and various senators during the legislative process, court proceedings that were alternately empowering and frustrating, as the Clinton administration suddenly backed Iran against his efforts to levy upon its property in the United States (imagine, Flatow writes, if Nazi Germany had financed terrorist operations against Americans and the U.S. had tried to prevent families from being compensated from German assets), and the search for Iranian assets to pay his judgment. Barack Obama’s administration eventually returned $400 million plus interest to Iran from a blocked Iranian account in the United States that Congress had intended to be used to cover judgments such as Flatow’s.

The most moving parts of the memoir, however, are those that cover his relationship with his daughter. It had been Alisa who had introduced the Flatow family to Judaism, when she had insisted at age 4 that she go to a Jewish school with her friend. From his studies of Torah and Talmud and books about them, Flatow learned to love a religion about which he writes in engagingly straightforward terms. Here is how he describes his fascination with Judaism:

In how many other religions do you see your heroes do bad things and then have them tell you about it? So many want to have a perfect religion, to be able to say “My God is the best.” That attitude is what destroyed the Roman gods, because they were held to be above all others — until people realized they didn’t exist. Judaism endures in part because it acknowledges imperfection. What bends is much harder to break.

In her short life, Alisa visited Israel six times, the first at the age of 11. 

As a little girl, she had a bike accident that severely injured one of her toes, requiring surgery that had left two toes permanently sewn together. On the car ride to the hospital, she had asked her father, “Daddy, why do these things happen to me?” He had explained to her that things happen we don’t understand, and she had simply been in the wrong place at the right time. 

A decade later, when Flatow rushed from the U.S. to the hospital in Israel to identify his daughter, he did so by lifting the part of the sheet covering her feet, saw her toes, and knew it was she. Years later, as he thinks back on what happened to her, he says to her in his mind: “This time, Alisa, you were in the land you loved, among the people you loved, studying the religion you love, you were in the right place.”

Then he ends his memoir, a story of a continuing effort now in its third decade, with this: “I can only hope that I will find my right place.”

Rick Richman is the author of “Racing Against History: The 1940 Campaign for a Jewish Army to Fight Hitler” (Encounter Books, 2018)

The Road To Middle East Peace Starts with Regime Change in Iran

In recent weeks we have witnessed yet another round of deadly horrific rocket attacks by Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip against innocent Israeli civilian cities nearly. A Christian Zionist friend of mine contacted with a sense of hopelessness and worry about Israel’s future security and almost inability to fight back against the Hamas terror group which has embedded itself among Gaza’s innocent civilian population. My response to him was simple…  the ultimate solution to the current wars waged against Israel and moderate Arab countries in the region is the demise of the Iranian regime. The current regime of the ayatollahs is perhaps the largest financier of Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist groups targeting Israel and the Arab world today. The regime not only provides billions of dollars in free cash to these terrorists, but also arms them with advanced weaponry and rockets. When this heinous regime is overthrown in Iran today, so will these key terrorist groups be greatly weakened or possibly destroyed forever.

While the current Trump administration and previous U.S. administrations for the last 40 years have refused to carry out a policy of regime change in Iran, the ayatollahs in that country have only strengthened in power. They have continued their nefarious terrorist actions against Israel and the rest of the Arab world. Earlier this year, Sigal Mandelker, the U.S. Treasury under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, stated in a speech that Iran provides upwards of $700 million a year to their Shiite terrorist organization Hezbollah, which is based in Southern Lebanon.  Likewise earlier this year, out-going Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot also reported that Iran spends a combined $100 million per year supporting Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

One is left wondering what would happen to these terrorist groups if the Islamic Republic of Iran no longer existed and billions of dollars would not be funneled to them? No doubt, the Hamas grip of power in Gaza would collapse and their ability to launch rockets into civilian Israeli cities would stop. Perhaps with a weakened Hamas or a Gaza without Hamas, a more moderate Palestinian regime could take control of that area and even negotiate a lasting peace with Israel instead of seeking constant war and destruction? Perhaps Hezbollah would be driven out of their stronghold in Southern Lebanon by moderate Lebanese groups and eventually collapse without the backing of their parent country, Iran.  Perhaps the Shiite terrorists who control parts of Yemen would cease to exist without funding and weapons from the Iranian regime. Even to a mere child, it is obvious that without the money and military backing of the ayatollahs in Iran, a great deal of the terrorism and conflict in the Middle East would significantly be reduced. Therefore in my humble opinion, the road to peace in the Middle East is largely possible if there is regime change in Iran.

A new free, secular, democratically elected government in Iran which is not corrupt and answers to the people of Iran, would perhaps become a beacon of peace in the Middle East instead of a source of instability in the region. Today we hear Iran’s majority young population protesting in the streets of the country chanting “Not Gaza, No Lebanon, My life is only to be sacrificed for Iran”. This proves that Iran’s population has no taste for funding terrorist groups and would prefer to use the country’s oil and gas revenues to improve their own living conditions. Regime change in Iran today could crush the Iranian-back terrorist groups and encourage moderate Arab forces in the region to encourage Palestinians to make a real compromising peace with Israel. Today much of the Arab world’s leaders do not see Israel as their enemy but rather their friend in light of the Iranian regime’s threat to their stability. It seems as if Arab leaders and many Arab intellectuals want some sort of resolution to the conflict with the Palestinians, in an effort to enjoy the economic benefits of trade with a technology powerhouse like Israel. What stands in their way? Iran’s funding of terrorist groups that continue to perpetuate the conflict with Israel.

Many on the political left in America and much of Europe disapprove of regime change in Iran because they believe they can do business with the ayatollahs in Iran and the regime is not a threat to the Middle East. They claim that regime change in Iran is not a path to be taken because “the world” should not interfere with the internal affairs of other countries. Some on the political left and in Europe even claim that regime change in Iran means a violent military overthrow of the ayatollahs in Iran. This is NOT my interpretation of regime change in Iran! The U.S., Europe and the entire free world must bring tremendous economic pressure on the current Iranian regime to expedite its collapse from within. The ayatollahs in their radical revolutionary guard corps must be weakened financially to the point where they have no means to neither operate in Iran against their own population nor fund terrorism in the Middle East. Economic suffocation of the Iranian regime and its thugs will embolden forces of democracy in Iran to internally overthrow their radical Islamic oppressors without any interference from outside governments or sources. Today, the Trump administration refuses to carry out a policy of regime change in Iran. However the administration has rightly taken steps to increase sanctions and economic pressure on the Iranian regime. Yet more of such steps are still needed to push the ayatollahs to brink of collapse financially. Just as the Soviet Union collapsed from within due to dire economic conditions applied to them by America and the West, so too must the radical Islamic Iranian regime collapse from within due to dire economic conditions.

The ultimate overthrow of this radical Islamic regime in Iran is the ONLY path to helping to bring about peace in the Middle East because without the ayatollahs in power in Tehran, their many terrorist proxies in the region cease to exist. Today Iran is a major stumbling block to stability in the Middle East and when it is removed from the equation, the possibilities for Middle East peace and prosperity are endless. The only thing we need now are bold and courageous leaders in America and the western world who are willing to carry out steps that will lead to the ultimate collapse of this Iranian regime.

Netanyahu Steers Clear of Special Elections

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a bilateral meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 26, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was able to narrowly maintain his coalition and avoid early special elections after Avigdor Liberman resigned from his position as defense minister last week.

Liberman’s resignation threw Netanyahu’s coalition into jeopardy, especially with pundits thinking that Education Minister Naftali Bennett would follow suit after Netanyahu rebuffed his efforts to succeed Bennett.

But Bennett didn’t step down, announcing on Nov. 19 that he has decided to “stand by the prime minister’s side” for the time being. While he was critical of Netanyahu’s handling of Hamas, he declared that he would help steer Netanyahu in the right direction.

“We think that there is no answer to terror, to rockets and mortars, but there is an answer — we can get back to winning,” Bennett said.

Netanyahu’s coalition currently hangs on by one vote. If Bennett resigned, Netanyahu’s coalition would have been in a minority, thus triggering early elections. Israel’s elections are currently set for November 2019.

Liberman’s resignation was sparked by the Israeli government’s most recent ceasefire agreement with Hamas after the Islamic terrorist group launched more than 460 rockets toward southern Israel; Liberman argued that the ceasefire amounted to surrender.

Defense Minister Out: Israel on Road to New Election Over Gaza

Updated: If you already read this, jump to the last comment – more information following the first post-resignation polls.

Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman resigned from his post. His reason, or excuse: “we buy short term quiet but in the long term we hurt Israel’s security.” The ceasefire in Gaza is his reason. His marginalization as Defense Minister – Netanyahu calling the shots – is his reason. Is Israel going to new election? That’s almost a certainty. Without Lieberman, the coalition is becoming smaller – too small to pass legislation or have a coherent policy. Without Lieberman, all other partners have to play tough so as not to be seen as weaker than Lieberman on security and terrorism.

Here are a few comments on the resignation and the coming election.




Going to a new election over Gaza is not necessarily a bad idea. Political calculations aside – the positioning of parties, the amalgamation of camps – there is a debate worth having on the policy towards Gaza. By choosing to accept a cease fire and let Israel suffer an image setback Netanyahu made his position clear. By resigning from his coveted position Lieberman made his opposite position clear. Now the people will have a choice. Which of our leaders do they trust? Which of the two positions (restrain, attack) do they favor? In a few months, not many, we will get the answer.




Lieberman made a solid political calculation. As Defense Minister, he is criticized for any inaction, and does not get the credit for restraint (this goes to Netanyahu). His resignation turns him into a hero of those wanting to see a bolder, tougher, less compromising Israel. Israelis who believe that accepting a ceasefire was a show of indecisive weakness might give him their votes. His main rival will be Naftali Bennet of The Jewish Home – another contender for a tougher Israel.




This makes Netanyahu the centrist, adult candidate. Yes – the centrist.




All polls still predict a right-religious victory in the next election, that is, the same coalition or a similar coalition for yet another term. But there are complications:


The ultra-Orthodox camp is in disarray, as Jerusalem’s elections demonstrated yesterday (there was a divide in the Haredi vote in Jerusalem).


We do not yet know if the investigation against Netanyahu will produce more headlines before Election Day.


New candidates are going to enter the fray and might change the political landscape.


Netanyahu just hurt his own image by his decision not to expand the IDF operation in Gaza.




Beware of conspiracy theories, although some of them are quite appealing. Such as: This is a Netanyahu-Lieberman coordinated move. Netanyahu wanted an election and needed an excuse to get one. Lieberman needed a cause around which to rally his voters (and to steal some from Bennet).


A likely scenario: These two will have to reunite following the next election. A likely scenario: Lieberman will once again become Defense Minister.




Was he a good Defense Minister? Lieberman was right to argue in his press conference that his term was quiet, that he handled the job with dignity. And yet, with Gaza in the background he has a problem.




Netanyahu, speaking an hour or so before Lieberman announced his resignation, defended his decision to keep the calm in Gaza. He will get a lot of credit for this position – but not from rightwing voters. Left-wingers will give him credit for Gaza, and vote for someone else. Netanyahu needs to solidify his base amid this decision. If Hamas makes noise again, political calculations will force the PM’s hands.


8. Update


New elections can always provide surprises, but don’t hold your breath. The polls from the last 24 hours show a somewhat weakened Likud Party and yet a clear advantage for the current coalition over all other possible coalitions. In fact, some of these polls even show the potential for a larger right-of-center coalition that could get as many as 73 seats (the numbers from a Ch. 2 News poll).



UC Berkeley SJP to Host Vigil Equating Pittsburgh Shooting to Israel’s Actions in Gaza

Photo from Flickr.

UC Berkeley’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter will be hosting a vigil with Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) that equates the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh to Israel’s actions in Gaza, according to Berkeley SJP’s Facebook page.

The vigil was initially scheduled for Thursday; Berkeley SJP’s post described it as an event to honor “the lives of those lost to violence and hate at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and the Palestinians killed in Gaza by settlers and Israeli state violence in the month of October.”

“Eleven people were killed after a gunman opened fire on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Saturday, October 27th,” the event page read. “That same weekend, three children in Gaza were murdered in an Israeli airstrike of the thirty-one Palestinians killed by the Israeli military in the month of October alone. From Pittsburgh to Gaza, we condemn violence in the name of white supremacy.”

Tikvah, a pro-Israel student organization at UC Berkeley, posted on Facebook in response that they were “disgusted and appalled” by the vigil.

We are utterly disgusted and appalled by the audacity of SJP to hold their vigil tomorrow night. Students for Justice in…

Posted by Tikvah: Students for Israel on Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Tikvah also promoted an event on their Facebook page scheduled for Nov. 22 to stand up to anti-Semitism.

Nathan Bentolila, president of Tikvah and a third-year bioengineering student at UC Berkeley and a StandWithUs fellow, told the Journal in a phone interview SJP never once reached out to them or any other Jewish organizations regarding Sunday’s vigil and they did not represent themselves at the vigil.

“They’re not doing it for the victims, because if they were, they would have participated in our vigil, they’re doing this to promote a political agenda, and frankly it’s really disgusting they’re doing this, and it’s anti-Semitism” Bentolila said. “There’s no other way to characterize it.”

Berkeley’s SJP’s event page for the vigil was deleted; their page now shows the vigil being held on Nov. 22 instead with the accompanying statement from JVP:

We deleted the original event page out of concern for attendees’ safety and the threat of online harassment. We will be rescheduling promptly at a later date. 

Our intention for this event is for our communities, Progressive Jews and Palestinians, to come together to grieve during these difficult times. Just as we organize in solidarity, we mourn in solidarity. We reject any attempts to politicize our communities coming together to mourn.

Rooted in Jewish values of social justice, Jewish Voice for Peace believes that safety comes through solidarity with marginalized communities rather than militarization. Together we heal, united we fight.

Bentolila said that the university should address the matter by issuing a public statement condemning the vigil and look into sensitivity training regarding anti-Semitism.

“Clearly there is a lack of sensitivity on campus toward Jewish students,” Bentolila said, pointing out that SJP once protested a mural celebrating Jewish life in Israel.

Bentolila added that he didn’t think the university was doing enough to address anti-Semitism on campus in general.

“Jewish students have felt this way and have experienced these sort of problems for many years, so clearly something isn’t being done,” Bentolila said.

UC Berkeley’s SJP, JVP and the university did not respond to the Journal’s requests for comment as of publication time.

Rocket Fired at Be’er-Sheva: Is War in Gaza Imminent?

Palestinians celebrate after Hamas said it reached a deal with Palestinian rival Fatah, in Gaza City October 12, 2017. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem


Gaza is, again, on the verge of war. Israel has no desire to have such war, but when rockets are fired at Beer Sheva and towards Gush Dan – the urban center of Israel – it might have no choice other than to act. Hamas’ calculations are more complicated. War is dangerous for Hamas, but apparently its leaders concluded that they can no longer sustain the current, miserable economic situation. Egypt is trying to mediate, but a war in Gaza is faraway – a headache, not a crisis. The Palestinian Authority seems to want war. If Gaza burns it puts the Palestinian issue back on the table, it gives the PA a little hope that a Hamas defeat would make it – the PA – the alternative. And of course, a war in Gaza would provide the PA with an opportunity to attack Israel in international forums.

A war in Gaza is a small victory for the Palestinian Authority.


Many critics of the above-mentioned players complain that they have no strategy for Gaza. This is true – because no one wants to have a strategy for Gaza that comes with responsibility for Gaza.

Israel pulled out and wants to have nothing to do with Gaza.

Egypt is wise enough to never take over this mess again.

The PA wants to rule Gaza – but not to pay the price of having to fight for Gaza.

For Hamas, Gaza is merely a launch pad for greater enterprises.

So it’s true: everybody uses tactics, some tactics of delay, some tactics of inflammation. The players have no long-term plan. The critics have no long-term plan. And even in case they have a plan, there is no one to implement a plan.


What Gaza needs is what used to be called – in the good old days – nation building. But we all remember how difficult, unsuccessful, costly, demanding, violent and deadly nation building can be.

Any takers? I didn’t think so. Israel will definitely not be a nation builder in Gaza. If that’s the strategy proposed by outsiders – Israel is likely to stick to tactics. Contain, deter, delay – and from time to time have war.

Six Palestinians Dead in Latest Gaza Riots

A Palestinian hurls stones at Israeli troops during a protest calling for lifting the Israeli blockade on Gaza and demanding the right to return to their homeland, at the Israel-Gaza border fence east of Gaza City September 28, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

At least six Palestinians died, and more than 500 were injured, during Friday’s Hamas-led riots at the Gaza border, including a 14-year-old and a 15-year-old, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

The Israel Defense Force (IDF) has stated that there were 20,000 Palestinians at the riots, many of whom threw rocks, burning tires and explosives at IDF soldiers. No IDF injuries were reported.

Additionally, the IDF said that there were Palestinians who breached the border fence, but retreated to the Gaza side of the border.

The 20,000 rioters were an increase from the more than 10,000 rioters in the week prior, as Hamas called for more Palestinians to riot at the border. Israel has stated that the increase stems from deteriorating ceasefire negotiations with Hamas.

The Man Who Makes Tech Go ‘Boom’

Hillel Fuld

Editor’s note: This interview was conducted before the death of Fuld’s brother, Ari, who was stabbed by a Palestinian terrorist on Sept. 16. Fuld tweeted shortly after Ari’s murder: “He lived as a hero and died as a hero. My big bro is gone. Thanks for the messages. Really. Just looking for oxygen now …”

In the summer of 2014, Steve Wozniak ­­— the man who helped develop the personal computer — visited Israel for 24 hours. He invited Hillel Fuld, a keen-eyed, peppy Jerusalemite who takes the term “tech aficionado” to a new level, to a breakfast meeting at the David InterContinental in Tel Aviv. It was the height of the Gaza War, and in the middle of their meeting, a siren blared, warning of an incoming missile.

“I had to rush the founder of Apple to the bomb shelter,” Fuld breathlessly recounted. “It was so surreal.”

Wozniak is one of Fuld’s 34,200 followers on Twitter, along with Ellen DeGeneres, Yoko Ono, Ashton Kutcher, Arianna Huffington, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and a host of brands including Coca Cola, Tommy Hilfiger, United Airlines and Windows. 

Today, Fuld is the strategic adviser to around 20 Israeli tech companies, advising on all things growth, from social media, content, PR and fundraising, to the art of pitching. He also collaborates with tech giants including Google, Oracle and Microsoft as a mentor and influencer. 

 “I help Israeli tech go ‘boom,’ ” is Fuld’s self-styled tagline. 

When he was 15, Fuld made aliyah from Queens, N.Y., to Jerusalem. For as long as he can remember, he has had a passion for technology, although his wife prefers the term obsession. After completing his military service and receiving a degree in political science anthropology, Fuld wanted to pursue something in the tech arena. At the suggestion of a friend, he took a job as a technical writer at Comverse Technology but was totally unaware that the position entailed drafting user manuals. 

Still, his experience at Comverse — which at the time was the biggest tech company in Israel — was invaluable, he said. At the same time, he began scribbling his thoughts on tech for what he called a “diary on the internet.”

“Today we call that a blog and it turns out that was set to become a thing,” Fuld noted. He amassed a large following and entrepreneurs soon began approaching him for advice. He had no business model and refused to take a dime. “People kept telling me to monetize but I said no. I’m happy to help and money will follow,” he said. 

“I had to rush the founder of Apple to the bomb shelter. It was so surreal.” — Hillel Fuld

He kept his job at Comverse and blogged on the side. “In time, those two things merged and my job became my passion and my passion became my job,” he said. 

“Now I’m living my dream,” Fuld said. “I wake up in the morning, I head to Tel Aviv and meet with truly legendary entrepreneurs who are building world-changing technology. It still makes me pinch myself that they’re taking my advice.”

He credits Twitter for contributing to his success. “I was able to leverage Twitter’s culture of openness 10 levels above what I ever could have dreamed of,” he said. Through the social media giant, Fuld met and interviewed his idol, Marc Andreessen, the billionaire entrepreneur credited with inventing the first web browser. He also met his teenage crush, “Who’s the Boss?” actor Alyssa Milano, with whom he talks regularly. He was recently named the 15th most influential tech blogger on the internet.

“The amount of influence that you can have sitting in your living room wherever you are in the world is phenomenal,” he said.

Fuld is selective about the companies he chooses to work with but said the most important aspect is the people. “At the end of the day, technology doesn’t win, people win.”

Where does he plan to go from here?

“If I won the lottery tomorrow, I wouldn’t change a thing,” he said.

180 Palestinians Reportedly Injured in Latest Gaza Border Riots

REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

Another round of riots at the Israel-Gaza border occurred on August 31, resulting in 180 Palestinians wounded, the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry is claiming.

The Times of Israel reported that around 5,000 Palestinians rioted at the border; the rioters threw rocks and burning tires at the border as well as incendiary kites. An incendiary balloon was flown into southern Israel and ignited a fire at the Be’eri Forest, but Israeli firefighters were able to extinguish the fire before it spread.

A grenade was also thrown at an Israeli soldier, although no injuries to Israeli soldiers have been reported.

The rioters are proclaiming that they were able to strike down an Israeli drone that was firing tear gas grenades to control the riot, however the IDF is claiming that the drone simply malfunctioned from a technical error.

“The marches will not end until all goals are achieved,” Deputy Hamas leader Khalil al-Hayya declared at the riot. “As long as the occupation continues, our people have the right to resist in all ways.”

The Hamas-led riots at the border have been occurring since March to protest in favor of the Palestinian Right of Return and attempt to penetrate the Gaza border fence. Israel and Hamas are currently in talks for a long-term truce.

WATCH: 13-Year-Old Gaza Boy Reveals Hamas Torture

Screenshot from Twitter.

A 13-year-old Gazan boy explained in a clip released by Palestinian Media Watch how Hamas fighters subjected him to brutal torture for fighting with the son of a Hamas commander.

The boy, identified as Muhammad Adham Abu Anzah, said in the video as he wiped away with tears with his hand in a cast that the Hamas terrorists smacked him “with daggers and a whip” and “broke my finger.”

“When one finished or tired out, another came and continued to hit me with a belt,” Anzah said. “They broke iron on my neck. Six people – they continued to hit me until the police came.”

The police arrested Anzah and detained him until the police acquiesced to his father’s screaming demands to let him go.

“There is no need for this barbarity,” Anzah’s father said. “To torture him and hit him inside the mosque, to tie him up, to break sticks on him, and to hit him with chains, his soul was broken.”

Anzah’s father acknowledged they were taking a serious risk by speaking out, pointing out that his son has received death threats and that Hamas typically executes people who are critical of them, claiming that they are either prostitutes or Israeli collaborators. But the family felt like they had to speak out to raise awareness about Hamas beating a child.

“I implore the human rights organizations, the Arab states, and all organizations to stand with us,” Anzah’s father said.

State Department Announces More Than $200 Million in Cuts to Palestinians

REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

The State Department announced on August 24 that there are going to be more than $200 million in cuts from Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The announcement states that the department reviewed the aid they are giving to Palestinians at the behest of President Trump and concluded that the millions of dollars will instead go to “high-priority projects elsewhere.”

“This decision takes into account the challenges the international community faces in providing assistance in Gaza, where Hamas control endangers the lives of Gaza’s citizens and degrades an already dire humanitarian and economic situation,” the statement reads.

The Trump administration had initially planned to provide $251 million in funding to the Palestinians in 2018. According to the Washington Free Beacon, the decision to make the cuts came from the administration’s desire to “no longer enable the Palestinian Authority and those in the Hamas terrorist government to use aid dollars in their war against Israel.”

Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)’s executive committee, called the cuts “cheap political blackmail.”

“There is no glory in constantly bullying and punishing a people under occupation,” Ashrawi said. “The U.S. administration has already demonstrated meanness of spirit in its collusion with the Israeli occupation and its theft of land and resources; now it is exercising economic meanness by punishing the Palestinian victims of this occupation.”

According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), “The PLO was responsible for scores of acts of terrorism from its creation, resulting in the deaths of thousands of civilians.”

Palestinian Gunman Targeting Israeli Soldiers May Have Worked for Doctors Without Borders

Photo from Flickr.

After conducting an investigation into a Palestinian gunman who was shot and killed at the Gaza border after he was targeting Israeli soldiers, Israel is saying that the gunman worked for Doctors Without Borders.

Reuters reports that the gunman, identified as 28-year-old Hani Majdalawi, shot at Israeli soldiers and tossed a grenade at them. A spokesman for Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) told Reuters that they would be reaching out to Doctors Without Borders for an explanation.

No Palestinian terror groups have claimed that Majdalawi was one of their members. Majdalawi’s brother said on Facebook that Majdalwai was acting on his own and praised him as a “martyr.”

NGO Monitor researcher Yona Schiffmiller has argued that Doctors Without Borders is biased against Israel, citing their past support for Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian girl who has thrown rocks at Israeli soldiers and even slapped one of them. Tamimi was recently praised by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah; she praised him in return.

Israel Defense Minister Calls on Gazans to Overthrow Hamas

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman is using the recent calm between Israel and Hamas to urge Gazans to overthrow the terror group, arguing that the “peace and quiet” is preferable to Hamas’ constant state of warfare.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Lieberman announced that the Kerem Shalom crossing and a fishing area near the Gaza coast were going to be re-opened, saying that it shows Gazans that “peace and quiet are worth it.”

“The residents of Gaza have much to gain when the citizens of Israel enjoy peace and security, and much to lose when quiet is disturbed,” Lieberman wrote.

Lieberman added that he hopes Gazans realize “that Israel is not the problem, but rather the solution.”

“The problem is the Hamas leadership, which uses civilians as live ammunition and as human shields,” Lieberman wrote.  “We hope for you, the residents of Gaza, that all of the budgets of Hamas and the international community will be channeled towards your welfare and to the development of the Gaza Strip, instead of to terrorism.”

After a recent escalation between Israel and Hamas, there has been relative calm on the border of Israel and Gaza Strip, although a long-term ceasefire agreement has yet to be reached.

The Times of Israel reports that the re-opening of the Kerem Shalom crossing and the fishing was part of a temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas negotiated by Egypt and the United Nations.

However, Israel maintains that no long-term ceasefire agreement can be reached until Hamas agrees to releasing the four Israeli soldiers they have held captive since 2014, two of whom are dead.

Minnesota Congressional Democratic Candidate: ‘Israel Has Hypnotized the World’

Screenshot from Twitter.

One of the Democratic candidates in a Minnesota congressional race has a history of anti-Israel statements, most notably that “Israel has hypnotized the world.”

Ilhan Omar is a Somalian woman who came to the United States through a Kenyan refugee camp at the age of 12 and was elected to the Minnesota House in 2016; she is currently running for Congress in the district vacated by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), who is running for Minnesota attorney general and has past associations with Louis Farrakhan. As she is gaining notoriety, some of her past tweets on Israel are coming under scrutiny.

In 2012, Omar tweeted, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evils of Israel.” When someone on Twitter accused Omar of being “a proud Jew hater” over the tweeted, Omar responded:

Additionally, in 2017, Omar voted against a bill in the Minnesota House that outlawed state vendors and contractors from engaging in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

“As many of you know I come from Africa and I wasn’t old enough to know all that was happening in South Africa when the apartheid was prevalent there, when South Africa was apartheid state,” Omar said on the floor of the House. “But I remember my grandfather talking to me about the stories of apartheid South Africa and telling me how that conversation shifted because so many people of conscience, so many people who understood that it was obviously for countries to continue to support South Africa have decided that they were going to engage in boycotts of that government so that that system would go down.”

Omar added that while she is “certainly saddened by the rise of anti-Semitism,” she had to vote against the bill because “what governments do and what is based in systems are very different.”

“I would love to have voted for a bill that would have expanded our ideals of fighting against discrimination and being a body that actually stood up against all discrimination,” Omar said. “I don’t want to be part of a vote that limits the ability of people to fight toward that justice and peace.”

In the foreign policy issues section of her website, Omar expresses her support of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and states that she wants to “uplift the voices of Palestinians demanding an end to the occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and end the siege of Gaza” and is against “the killing of civilians in Gaza and the expansion of settlements into the West Bank.”

Omar has been endorsed by Democratic congressional candidates Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib.

Omar’s campaign has not responded to the Journal’s request for comment.

Video: Israeli Child Recalls When Hamas Rockets Hit His Home

Screenshot from Twitter.

StandWithUs posted a video of an Israeli boy sharing the details of a Hamas rocket striking his home while he’s in a room with his dad, who was hospitalized in the strike.

The boy, identified in the video as Shalev Levy, said that when the first rocket alarm went off, he and his dad, Avi, stayed in a bomb shelter; when it ended Avi went outside.

Suddenly, another rocket alarm sounded and then Shalev heard a “boom.”

“When I went out to see what was happening, I saw that in my sister’s room there was a smoke and fire and I went to the living room and dad shouted and told me to leave the house quickly,” Shalev said. “When he said that I saw that his arm was bleeding.”

The video ends with Shalev saying that he used a cloth to bandage his father’s arm and then asked his neighbors for help.

According to the UK Guardian, Hamas and other Gaza terror group launched more than 180 projectiles into Israel; Israel has responded with 150 airstrikes into Gaza. Three Palestinians have died and numerous Israelis have been injured.

Hamas is claiming that there is a ceasefire agreement between them and Israel; Israel is denying this but acknowledged “that quiet would be met with quiet,” per the Times of Israel.

To get an idea of the constant barrage of threats those in southern Israel have to had to deal with lately:

Oshrit Sabag, who resides in Nahal Oz, told the Guardian, “We’re mostly scared that there will be another war. We’ve had tens of fires. Houses were burnt. Now rockets and mortar bombs. It’s chaos.”

Latest from Gaza: Hanging by a Thread

REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

On Thursday afternoon, a rocket from Gaza hit the city of Beer Sheeba for the first time since the Gaza war of 2014. This was an escalation of an already tense situation, after a long day and night of fire — an escalation of potentially grave consequences. Israel was forced to make two quick decisions. The first one: How to respond to this provocation? The second: Should an international soccer match, scheduled for this evening in Beer Sheeba, be canceled?

The decisions Israel made could seem contradictory. The match was to be played; the military response was to be immediate and high profile. So, as Israel was taking the risk of having thousands of people under the threat of rockets during a soccer match, it also sent the Israeli Air Force to take down a building in the center of Gaza.

In the last war, taking down two high rises in Gaza was the last straw that led to a ceasefire. It was a message: From now on, if the war doesn’t stop, all hell will break loose.

Today, taking down a building was meant to prevent a war that hasn’t yet started, but could start very soon. Israel does not want this war, but cannot tolerate for much longer the drip drop of fire from Gaza. Thus, it is now in Hamas’ hands.

The building went down in flames. Hamas surely got the message. If this message doesn’t sink in, there could be only one reason for it: Hamas wants war.

Palestinians’ Latest Method of Terror: Burning Condoms!

Screenshot from Twitter.

The Hamas-led riots at the Israel-Gaza border that have occurred at least once a week since March have featured Palestinians launching fiery kites and balloons laced with explosives as a means to terrorize southern Israel. Now they have found a new weapon: condoms.

Yes, you read that correctly. No, it is not a joke.

On June 21, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) shared part a Palestinian video on Twitter that a provided a how-to guide on how to create an explosive condom balloon:

Even though it’s incredibly juvenile, it’s no laughing matter.

According to a June 20 Times of Israel (TOI) report, the use of kites, balloons and condoms as weapons are “dead simple and dirt cheap methods” to cause terror, citing one instance where an explosive balloon emblazoned “I <3 YOU” landed on Israeli highway, forcing that section of the highway to be shut down until the police were able to conduct a controlled detonation of the balloon.

Another instance involved a group of balloons that had an explosive on them landing onto a trampoline in an Eshkol backyard.

Meirav Vidal, who lives in the home where this occurred, told TOI, “Balloons on a trampoline in the backyard — that’s a decorative play area and beckons the most innocent ones, and yet our children have lost their innocence because of this phenomenon.”

In the case of the kites, Israeli farmers have been particularly burdened by them since their fields have been wiped out by the fiery kites.

Israel has responded to these actions of terrors by firing warning shots at the encampments launching them as well as launching strikes against Hamas.

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.

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.”

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.

A Tribute to Terrorists

As a New York City parent, I knew something like this was in the offing. I just never thought it would be this egregious.

The Beacon School, a “highly selective” public high school in Hell’s Kitchen, held a moment of silence last week for the 62 Gazans killed trying to storm Israel’s border, 50 of whom were confirmed as Hamas terrorists while several others allegedly were part of Islamic jihad.

Before jumping to conclusions, we should put this into the proper context.

The Beacon School never had a moment of silence for the dozens of Syrian children gassed to death by President Bashar al-Assad, nor for the scores of Palestinians slaughtered in Syrian refugee camps. Though the school bills itself as progressive, it has never mourned the gay men that the Iranian theocracy has executed by hanging, nor Pakistan’s enforced honor killings or its stoning of women.

In fact, silent tributes at the school are very rare. So, just like the United Nations, the mainstream media and an alarming number of universities across the country, the Beacon School has a “social conscience” only when the perpetrators are Israelis, and even if the victims are mostly terrorists.

As one Jewish father put it: “I did not send my child to a New York City public school to pray for Hamas operatives.”

Principal Ruth Lacey has yet to be available for comment. A Department of Education spokesman told the New York Post: “We support civic engagement and advocacy amongst students, and encourage schools to provide inclusive environments where students are able to respectfully discuss current events.”

But there was no discussion before or after the moment of silence. And from what I heard, many Jewish students at the school did not feel respected at all.

As one Jewish father put it: “I did not send my child to a New York City public school to pray for Hamas operatives.”

Jewish parents at my son’s elementary school — all Upper East Side Democrats — were aghast at Beacon’s illiberal political act. It was the only reassuring aspect about the incident.

Hearing the truth straight from the terrorists’ mouths doesn’t seem to matter to most progressives. Hamas asserts time and again its intent to murder “every Jew,” and it makes little difference.

The Forward published a bizarre piece on the Beacon controversy that literally made no mention of Hamas. Who was killed? “Dozens of Palestinians.” It’s almost as if they are trying to signal Hamas: “Don’t worry; let us do the talking.” How progressive.

Progressives buy into every lie about Israel because they have been taught to replace critical thinking with victimhood ideology, and victimhood ideology teaches that Israel is the absolute worst “white colonialist offender.” The fact that Israelis are not white; that Jews have been occupied, persecuted and slaughtered en masse throughout history; that Israel has made repeated offers for peace that have been rebuffed; and that Israel doesn’t start wars but defends itself against forces indoctrinated to hate Jews — all of this is conveniently ignored.

I hope someday someone examines how Israel came to be seen as the worst “white colonialist” offender. Was it a coincidence, or perhaps the remarkable success of the propagandistic theories espoused by people like Edward Said, a Palestinian American professor at Columbia University, 70 blocks north of Beacon? Said is best known for wiping away centuries of Arab conquest and occupation and blaming it on the West.

None of this, of course, is to suggest that Israel is immune to criticism. The sharpest criticism can be found in Israel’s vibrant media, something sorely missing in its neighborhood. I wonder if students at Beacon have been taught this balanced perspective.

Meanwhile, about a week after Beacon’s “tribute” to Hamas, the third grade at my son Alexander’s school had a special “Journey to America” musical performance. Unlike Beacon’s moment of silence, this was completely apolitical: they told the story of immigrants’ journeys to America, an essential part of the American story.

So, the question remains: Why can’t progressive administrators in high schools and progressive professors in academia understand the difference between blatant politicization and proper education? I don’t know the answer, but for America’s sake, I just hope it’s not that their goal is indoctrination.

Karen Lehrman Bloch is an author and cultural critic.

Should Jews Feel Guilty About Gaza?

A Palestinian demonstrator uses a slingshot to hurl stones as another takes cover during a protest demanding the right to return to their homeland, at the Israel-Gaza border, east of Gaza City May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Whatever your politics, the violence that unfolded last week on the border between Israel and Gaza should provoke a collective Jewish experience of soul-searching and empathy. That the maintenance of our precious homeland sometimes demands violence and death is something to lament and interrogate, not justify.

It is understood that Israel does what it must to defend itself. During a visit to Los Angeles last week, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak — who offered the Palestinians more than any other Israeli leader in history in the way of a two-state solution (which Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat rejected) — said the Israel Defense Forces had no other recourse to manage the recent border protests than the method they chose.

“We have extremely sophisticated means and tools to suppress and control riots when the riots are about the size of several hundred [people] and from distances of 10 to 30 yards,” Barak said. “But there are no effective means as of now to suppress riots when the audience is many thousands [of people] and the distance is 300 yards. It’s a pity we have not developed it.”

This pity left many of us helpless but to watch with deep concern and aching hearts as the Hamas-led suicide protest, intent on transgressing Israel’s border, forced Israeli soldiers to take up arms. The wrenching scene and misguided international outrage that followed placed many of us in an uncomfortable liminal space between defensiveness and empathy; blame and responsibility; justification for war and heartache in the face of tragedy.

But must we feel guilty? To what extent is the humanitarian crisis in Gaza the result of Israeli policy and how much responsibility should be laid at the feet of Hamas and its frenemy in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority (PA)?

For Palestinians and much of the world, the Jewish original “sin” is that Israel was born at all.

“There’s a joint responsibility for the current situation in Gaza,” Avi Issacharoff, an Israeli journalist and co-creator of the Netflix show “Fauda,” told me.

It’s no secret that Gaza is in dire straits, swiftly careening toward an iceberg of uninhabitability: Water quality is poor; food insecurity affects most of the population; unemployment is ferociously high; hospitals lack life-saving materials; and Gazans subsist on only a few hours of electricty per day. For stated security reasons, Israel restricts the flow of people and goods going into and out of Gaza through the Rafah and Kerem Shalom border crossings. But sometimes those restrictions do not relate to security at all, like the barring of apricots and avocados as “luxury” items, or Israel’s inexplicable and unconscionable refusal in 2008 to allow Gazan students awarded Fulbright scholarships to leave the Strip. That kind of policy ensures that an alternative to Hamas will never emerge. In more ways that I can elucidate here, Israel has contributed to Gaza’s worsening problems. But it is not responsible for them.

“The greatest responsibility falls on Hamas,” said Issacharoff, who has covered Gaza and the West Bank for many years. “If Hamas would stop building their military force and start building infrastructure, there wouldn’t be any humanitarian crisis. If Hamas would change its ideology and strategy, suddenly you’d see Gaza flourishing.”

That may be overstating things since the West Bank — which is not run by Hamas — is hardly flourishing under Israeli occupation. Still, by comparison, quality of life there is better. And even though there is cooperation between the PA and Israel, the leadership in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip share the same delusion that Israel will one day vanish and that the Palestinian right of return is a viable negotiating option.

“Hamas is not saying, ‘OK, give us two states,’ ” Issacharoff said. “Hamas is saying, ‘Without the right of return, we cannot even talk about a ceasefire; we cannot talk about anything.’ They know that the right of return is the end of the Israeli state, and this is their vision.”

One of the most worrying things about Hamas is that its existence has emboldened Israel’s one-state hardliners. “I think Israelis and Palestinians share the same fantasy,” Issacharoff said. “Make the other side disappear.”

For Palestinians and much of the world, the Jewish original “sin” is that Israel was born at all. Both by flight and by force, Palestinians were consequently displaced.

Should Jews feel bad about that? Of course. But should we undo what was necessary to reclaim our home?