Friday, February 23, 2018

  • Friday, February 23, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
Dervish protest on February 19th that turned violent

This report from Iranian mouthpiece PressTV needs to be read between the lines:

Iranian mourners have held a funeral ceremony for the police forces who lost their lives in a recent wave of attacks by members of a Dervish cult in northern Tehran.

The attacks took place overnight on Monday during an unauthorized gathering by the so-called Gonabadi Dervishes near a police station, during which they engaged in clashes with ordinary people and police forces, according to officials.

During the clashes, an attacker ploughed a bus through a group of policemen, killing three of them.

Two members of the Basij volunteer force also lost their lives in separate car-ramming and stabbing attacks at the site. A funeral ceremony was also held for the pair on Wednesday.

Speaking at the Thursday funeral, the Iranian interior minister said the deadly riots in northern Tehran were yet another plot designed by enemies to put pressure on Iran.

“Over the past months, we have witnessed a host of pressure tactics in various areas...which are indicative of hostilities by the US and the Zionist regime,” Rahmani Fazli said, adding, “We are well aware of their plots.”

The Iranian police chief also addressed the crowd of mourners, vowing that law enforcement forces will give a firm response to any group seeking to disrupt public order and security.

“We do not at allow any cult, group or political movement to endanger security, and we will decisively deal with them,” Ashtari added.

More than 300 people, among them the drivers of the bus and the car as well as the main elements behind the incident, had been arrested.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Dervish cult strongly condemned the attacks, calling for the perpetrators of acts of violence to be brought to justice.
The Gonabadi Dervishes are a Sufi group which has been persecuted by Iran for decades, but there is hardly any information about this. A good description of their persecutions comes from, of all places, Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board, as help to determine if this group can be considered potential political refugees:

Radio Free Europe gives a synopsis:
The Nematollahi Gonabadi order is Iran's largest Sufi order, with members across the country, including in major cities like Tehran and Isfahan. Like most Iranians, they are followers of Shi'a Islam. They pray five times a day and fast during the month of Ramadan. Their rituals include reading spiritual poetry.

The Gonabadi dervishes view Sufism as a way of life through which one can find God. They strongly oppose the use of drugs and preach tolerance. Perhaps more crucially in the current context, they believe that religion and politics should be separated.

Their leader or "pole" is 90-year-old Paris-educated lawyer Nurali Tabandeh, who defended several political prisoners before and after the 1979 revolution. Dervishes have said that Tabandeh's safety is their "red line."

In recent weeks, dozens of dervishes have staged a sit-in outside Tabandeh's residence in northern Tehran to protect him. They say they became concerned after at least one occasion in which plainclothes agents, believed to be affiliated with security organs, swarmed his street, with clashes ensuing.

Iran's clerical establishment has long opposed any group that it regards as a threat to its monopoly on religion.

Dervishes say their growing popularity is the reason behind the state pressure they face. They claim to have between 2 million and 5 million members in Iran and abroad. They say their tight-knit community also concerns Iranian authorities.

Some conservative clerics have called the Sufis a danger to Islam. Ayatollah Hossein Nuri Hamedani, a high-ranking cleric in Qom, said in 2006 that by not engaging in politics, Sufis weaken Islam. Hard-liners have also accused the dervishes of being used by foreign powers to create discord within Iranian society.

In 2007, a letter was published by a group describing themselves as seminarians of Qom in which the signatories warned of the "dangers" of Sufism and called on authorities to deal with it "more firmly." They added that the "Hizbullah nation of Iran" is ready to cooperate and assist officials.

Amnesty International says the persecution of dervishes increased after an October 2010 speech by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who denounced "newly created circles of false mysticism."

Sufis, who believe one can reach a direct union with God, and Orthodox Muslims have long been at odds in Iran. The tensions have worsened since the creation of the Islamic republic as state tolerance for Sufis has decreased.

What Kind Of Pressure Have They Faced?

Dervishes have complained of state pressure and harassment for years.

Some of their houses of worship have been destroyed in past years, while hundreds of members have been detained and more than a dozen have been sentenced to prison terms, lashes, or internal exile.

In 2006, a Sufi house of worship was destroyed in Qom and 1,000 dervishes were detained following clashes that reportedly left 100 injured. Authorities claimed the Sufis had illegally turned a presidential building into a center of worship and had refused to vacate it.
There is a systematic oppression and demonization of a Muslim group in Iran that has millions of members - and the media essentially ignores it.

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Thursday, February 22, 2018

From Ian:

Sohrab Ahmari: The New Old European Obsession Some things never change.
Does Europe still want its Jews, and can the Jews still find belonging in Europe? Ask the likes of Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron, and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, and they will answer firmly and decisively in the affirmative. Yet their assurances ring hollow amid a resurgence of Europe’s old and unhealthy obsession with Jews.

The latest signs came this month from Brussels and Warsaw, which nicely illustrated both the geographic span of Europe’s Jewish obsession and the diverse forms it can take depending on the political context.

Start with Brussels and the European Parliament. The EU legislative body is hosting a conference on February 28 on Israeli settlements–a perennial Brussels bugbear, despite the fact that a few Jewish communities in the West Bank are far from the region’s most pressing issue. Among the speakers is the Qatari-born Palestinian activist Omar Barghouti. The invitation to Barghouti came courtesy of Ana Gomes, a Portuguese member from the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, the second-largest bloc in the European Parliament.

As European Jewish leaders noted in a letter to Antonio Tajani, the president of the European Parliament, Barghouti advocates a total economic, cultural, and academic boycott of Israel and denies the Jewish state’s right to exist. Barghouti says he opposes a “binational” solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, on the ground that such a solution “makes two problematic assumptions: that Jews are a nation, and that such a nation has a right to exist as such in Palestine.” Barghouti, in other words, isn’t just another critic of the settlements but a bigot, who would invite Europeans to isolate the Jewish people and their state.

Economic boycotts of Jews have a long and odious history in Europe, but they are now getting a replay at the European Parliament under the respectable guise of high-minded Israel critique.
Cape Town May Dry Up Because of an Aversion to Israel
Even more confounding, the South Africans turned to Iran for help. In April 2016, when there was still enough time for a smart plan to make a difference, South Africa’s water minister visited Tehran. She brought home a memorandum of understanding in which Iran agreed to help develop South Africa’s water infrastructure.

Unlike Israel, Iran is not known for its water-management expertise. Anger over water shortages was a feature of the recent Iranian protests. Even before the South African visit, a former Iranian agriculture minister predicted that as many as 50 million Iranians—around two-thirds of the population—would need to be uprooted because of growing water scarcity.

As in South Africa, Iran’s water shortages can’t be blamed only on the weather. Water infrastructure projects in Iran are controlled by the Revolutionary Guard Corps, which diverts water to favored ethnic and political groups. In Tehran largely untreated sewage is discharged into nearby waterways, a waste of water that creates health hazards. Years of regime-encouraged overpumping of groundwater has left agricultural districts without water for crops.

Two months after the South African water minister’s Iran trip, Israel brought a team of water professionals to Cape Town. Neither the mayor, also strongly hostile to Israel, nor any senior municipal official would see them.

If the South Africans are snubbing the Israelis out of solidarity with the Palestinians, they might want to consider this: The Palestinian Authority has worked with Israel on a range of water projects since 1995. Israel offers training for Palestinians in wastewater management, infrastructure and security. Israel also provides the Palestinian Authority with more than half the water for domestic consumption by Palestinians in the West Bank. And it pipes more than 2.5 billion gallons of water into Hamas-controlled Gaza each year.

Why does South Africa feel compelled to be so anti-Israel? The question has no rational answer.
150 years ago, the UK’s first and only Jewish leader changed politics forever
Many British Jews, as the Jewish Chronicle put it, recognized that the Turks were the “real protectors of the Jews in the East” and were understandably wary of Russia’s threats to intervene.

But Disraeli’s actions were not, as his critics suggested, the result of his “Jew feelings” or a reflection of an “Oriental indifference to cruelty” but a realpolitik calculation, strongly shared by Queen Victoria, that Russian expansionism posed a danger to British interests.

Even Disraeli’s eventual triumph — at the Congress of Berlin in 1878 he thwarted Russian designs on the Balkans — did not satisfy Gladstone, who continued to charge that Britain’s Jews had proved themselves “opponents of effectual relief to Christians.”

Watching Disraeli in Berlin, Bismarck proved more complimentary: “Der alte Jude, das ist der Mann [the old Jew, he is the man],” he remarked.

“One Nation” conservatism has gone through many iterations since Disraeli’s day. It is, though, a testament to the longevity of its appeal that, the morning after he was reelected in 2015, David Cameron pledged to lead a “one nation” government.

Perhaps more remarkable still, both Cameon’s defeated opponent – the Labour leader, Ed Miliband – and his successor in Downing Street, Theresa May, have both attempted to don the “one nation” mantle.

Disraeli’s conservatism was deeply held. The purpose of the Tory party, he believed, was “to maintain the institutions of the country” — the monarchy, the Church of England, the aristocracy. But that belief also necessitated knowing when it is best to reform in order to preserve.

It is this philosophy of governing that has been perhaps Disraeli’s greatest legacy to the Conservative party and which has allowed it to become the most electorally successful political party in the world.

  • Thursday, February 22, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon

Jerusalem Post reports:
Soldiers in the IDF’s Unit 8200 played a large role in thwarting a major Islamic State terrorist attack this past summer, which aimed to bring down a civilian airliner headed from Sydney to Abu Dhabi, the army has revealed.

In cooperation with Israel’s intelligence community, soldiers provided exclusive intelligence that they had gathered on an attack that was being planned. The intelligence led to the arrest of the suspects, who were in a very advanced stage in executing the plot, the army said.

“The thwarting of the attack led to the saving of the lives of dozens of innocent people and demonstrated that Unit 8200 is a player in the intelligence war against Islamic State,” the army said. Regarded as Israel’s equivalent of the National Security Agency in the US, the soldiers of one of the IDF’s most prestigious units, Unit 8200, intercept and collect digital communication and intelligence on Israel’s enemies.

Spread across the country, these online soldiers of Unit 8200 are on the front line of Israel’s cyberwars 24/7, 365 days a year, to identify possible threats and effectively neutralize them.

“About half of Unit 8200 is engaged in operational activity beyond Israel’s borders,” a senior officer in Unit 8200 told military reporters on Tuesday, referring to the interception and analysis of signal intelligence gathered by troops. “Because of our abilities, we are very attractive to foreign countries,” he added.

The ISIS-inspired attack against an Etihad Airways flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi was thwarted, according to Australian officials, in July. Four men were arrested in Sydney suburbs for planning two separate attacks, including one where a bomb, which was to be carried onboard the plane by an unwitting “mule,” would be detonated while in the air.
This was widely reported in mainstream media as well. It was also reported in plenty Arabic language news sites in the PA, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

But as of Thursday morning, I cannot find any mention in any English language UAE media, even though it was an Emirates plane that was saved.

Just a reminder of what an unfree press looks like.

It is also an indicator that the story is true - because there is no denial from the Arab state whose citizens were saved.

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 Vic Rosenthal's Weekly Column

I was talking with a friend yesterday. He is very well-informed and concerned about Israel and the Jewish people, and the prospects for our survival. But he does not live in Israel, so he asked me “what about the legal problems facing the Prime Minister? Would he provoke an international crisis to distract attention from them?”

Well, what about them? It’s something I generally avoid talking about, probably for the same reason that I avoid talking about the US President. I just don’t want to hear, yet again, the talking points of both sides. But since this blog can be a one-way conversation – I can choose to ignore comments if I wish – I am going to say a few words about Mr. Netanyahu.

Let me get this out of the way: I voted for him in 2015 and I would vote for him again if an election were held today. Of course he has his flaws, but I think I join many Israelis who do not see among the potential candidates to lead the nation one that could better ensure our security. And that is the issue, light years ahead of the price of apartments and his wife’s taste in champagne.

Not that I think that all of his policies are optimal. I would like a Prime Minister who pushed harder to settle Jews in all of the Land of Israel (my friend and I also talked a lot about this), because I think that – after dealing with the Iranian threat – is the single most important thing we can do to ensure the survival of the Jewish people.

I would like a Prime Minister who is a little less obsequious toward the US, and who does more to reduce our dependence on it (although Netanyahu has made some very significant accomplishments in improving our relationship with other nations, like India, China, Russia, and some Eastern European and African countries).

Personally, he is arrogant, he holds his cards very close to his vest, does not delegate authority well, and tries too hard to prevent potential rivals from gaining strength. Sometimes he makes enemies out of those who should be allies, because he’s threatened by their potential as possible challengers.

In order to understand the PM’s legal troubles it’s necessary to understand something about the social and political ocean that he swims in. Netanyahu represents the continuation of Menachem Begin’s revolt against the domination of Israeli politics, culture and economy by the Ashkenazi socialist Left. But Israel is a democratic country and not a fascist dictatorship, so the revolution (some might say unfortunately) did not include a purge of the old guard in politics, the legal system, academics, culture and – definitely not least – the media.

The disasters wrought by the Oslo accords and the resulting Second Intifada (some call it the “Oslo war”) and the withdrawal from Gaza sealed the demise of the Left as a political bloc. The Left keeps trying, but Israelis haven’t forgotten what was done to them in the name of ‘peace’, and won’t vote for them. But even though polls show that the right-wing parties are much more likely to come out on top in an election, the media and other unelected elites are strongly in the camp of the left. And their attitude toward PM Netanyahu is much like that of the Democrats in America toward Donald Trump: they hate him passionately.

There are at present at least four police investigations that to some extent relate to the PM and, naturally, his wife, who is also a prime target for his enemies. He is accused of 1) providing favors in return for cigars, champagne and other presents, of 2) making a deal with the publisher of the Yediot Aharonot newspaper to receive favorable coverage in return for acting to suppress the circulation of Yediot’s competitor, the free Israel Hayom newspaper, of 3) being somehow connected to a kickback scheme in connection with the purchase of submarines from a German company, and of 4) providing favors to the management and important shareholders of telecommunications company Bezeq in return for favorable coverage on a Bezeq-owned news website). Sara Netanyahu is accused of using public funds for her private benefit.

Overall, some of this is invented, much of it is exaggerated, some is probably true, some is politics as usual, and most comes from informants that the police have put the squeeze on. The police have recommended to the Attorney General that the PM be indicted on charges related to 1) and 2) above, and that his wife be indicted for her actions as well. In my opinion, even if the worst accusations are true, none of them move the needle for corruption by a head of state by world standards. Nevertheless, the law is the law. It is up to the Attorney General to decide whether to indict Netanyahu or drop the charges.

What is outrageous here – and Netanyahu is perfectly right in calling this out – is the behavior of the police and news media (did I mention that the media, especially the broadcast media, are almost 100% on the side of Netanyahu’s political foes?).

The investigations have been going on for at least a year, with Netanyahu or his wife being interrogated by the police multiple times for hours at a time. Every time he or one of numerous others is questioned, including those who have agreed to be state’s witnesses in order to avoid possible prosecution themselves (among them his main political rival Yair Lapid), the nightly “Hadashot” newscast that most Israelis watch leads with a story based on unsourced leaks from the police and other parties involved in the cases against Netanyahu. Newspapers echo the accusations the following day. It’s hard to imagine a clearer case of the media appointing itself judge, jury and executioner.

Note that most of this took place before the investigations were complete and the police had transmitted their recommendations to the Attorney General, who of course has not yet decided whether to indict the PM (there have been weekly demonstrations calling for him to do so led by Netanyahu’s opponents in front of the Attorney General’s home, and demonstrators even entered a synagogue where the AG was saying kaddish for his mother). 

Netanyahu  likes to say that his opponents, unable to beat him at the ballot box, are trying to force him out undemocratically. It’s hard to disagree with this assessment. He is not required by law to resign even if he is indicted and possibly not even if he is convicted of a crime, but practically speaking, an indictment would put him in hot water with his own coalition. It could also bring about a constitutional crisis between the government and the Supreme Court.

One can understand why the Americans require a process of impeachment to remove a sitting president. There is an overwhelmingly political aspect to the prosecution of a head of state which cannot be ignored; the American system makes it explicit, while the Israeli system tries to shut its eyes to it. There was an attempt to pass a law that exempts a sitting PM from prosecution for certain kinds of crimes, but it didn’t get off the ground. A law did pass that will prevent the police from making public their recommendations to the Attorney General, but it will not apply retroactively to Netanyahu’s cases.

As I said, Netanyahu has his flaws; but his claim to have dedicated his career and his life to the security of the state of Israel is indisputable. So when my friend asked me if I thought Netanyahu would provoke a crisis in order to draw attention from his legal issues, my answer was “absolutely not.” Although his enemies like to attribute every imaginable moral defect to him, there isn’t the slightest doubt that he puts the state and the Jewish people ahead of his personal interests.

I think a plurality of Israelis agree. A new poll, taken immediately after the latest “revelations” of possible misconduct in the Bezeq affair shows the Likud winning 34 seats in the Knesset, as opposed to the 30 that it holds today.

Hashem and history will ultimately pass a final judgment on Benjamin Netanyahu, regardless of what the temporal courts here decide. I believe that judgment will be that he was one of our greatest Prime Ministers. 

Despite everything.

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From Ian:

John Podhoretz: A New Realism: America & Israel in the Trump Era
Of all the surprises of the Trump era, none is more notable than the pronounced shift toward Israel. Such a shift was not predictable from Donald Trump’s conduct on the campaign trail; as he sought the Republican nomination, Trump distinguished himself by his refusal to express unqualified support for Israel and his airy conviction that his business experience gave him unique insight into how to strike “a real-estate deal” to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. In addition, his isolationist talk alarmed Israel’s friends in the United States and elsewhere if for no other reason than that isolationism, anti-Zionism, and anti-Semitism often go hand in hand in hand.
But shift he did. In the 14 months since his inauguration, the new president has announced that the United States accepts Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and has declared his intention to build a new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, first mandated by U.S. law in 1996. He has installed one of his Orthodox Jewish lawyers as the U.S. ambassador and another as his key envoy on Israeli–Palestinian issues. America’s ambassador to the United Nations has not only spoken out on Israel’s behalf forcefully and repeatedly; Nikki Haley has also led the way in cutting the U.S. stipend to the refugee relief agency that is an effective front for the Palestinian terror state in Gaza. And, as Meir Y. Soloveichik and Michael Medved both detail elsewhere in this issue, his vice president traveled to Israel in January and delivered the most pro-Zionist speech any major American politician has ever given.

Part of this shift can also be seen in what Trump has not done. He has not signaled, in interviews or in policy formulations, that the United States views Israeli actions in and around Gaza and the West Bank as injurious to a future peace. And his administration has not complained about Israeli actions taken in self-defense in Lebanon and Syria but has, instead, supported Israel’s right to defend itself.

This marks a breathtaking contrast with the tone and spirit of the relationship between the two countries during the previous administration. The eight Obama years were characterized by what can only be called a gut hostility rooted in the president’s own ideological distaste for the Jewish state.
Benny Morris: The Father of the ‘Special Relationship’
Quite a few celebrities, such as Leonard Bernstein and Edward G. Robinson, passed through Israel/Palestine in 1948 and 1949, especially during the lengthy truces between the bouts of combat in that first Arab–Israeli war. Many of them met with James McDonald, who was President Harry Truman’s first “Special Representative” in Israel and then, from February 1949 until the end of 1950, America’s ambassador. Among the visitors was Arthur Koestler, the Hungarian-born journalist and novelist, who had already lived in and reported from Palestine in the late 1920s and again in 1945. For years, Koestler had identified with the Revisionist Movement (the progenitor of today’s Likud), before growing disillusioned (as was his wont with most things he touched). On September 20, 1948, he arrived on McDonald’s doorstep for “tea and sherry.”
In the fourth volume, just published, of his diary—Envoy to the Promised Land, the Diaries and Papers of James G. McDonald 1948–1951—McDonald characterized the meeting as “delightful and civilized.”1 Koestler avowed that his “chief interest in this country is its intellectual future,” by which he meant its cultural-ideological-political evolution. “He sees three possibilities,” McDonald wrote. “A) Levantinism; b) Clericalism; c) Westernization.” McDonald explained: “By [Levantinism], he means the kind of superficial culture such as is prevalent…in the Arab states with a shallow but non-understanding knowledge of the West. Under [clericalism], he would lump the various possibilities arising from undue rabbinic influence.…[Westernization] is self-explanatory.” Koestler, he said, doubted that would happen. The sabras, native-born Palestinian Jews, had a “limited provincial outlook,” in Koestler’s view, and lacked “knowledge of the West” or “interest in Western Europe.”

In his quiet way, McDonald sprang to the defense, arguing that Israel was “a pioneer country in which it was natural for a generation or two or three [that] the emphasis would be on material development and perhaps rather crude nationalism rather than on culture.” This had been the case with “pioneer America and pioneer South Africa.” Koestler “seemed inclined to agree.” Somewhat contradictorily, McDonald then added that Israel was sui generis, and that all comparisons were unreasonable. What neither he nor Koestler could have foreseen was that Israel would develop simultaneously in all three directions, as it has done in the past seven decades.
Evelyn Gordon: Do Arabs Back Israel in a Clash with Iran?
What Al Jazeera’s informal poll shows is that this argument is simply false. It’s not just in Arab capitals that Iran is now more widely loathed and feared than Israel, but also on the Arab street, to the point that Arabs are even willing to openly back Israel in a clash with Iran. If Israel and its treatment of the Palestinians were still their top concern, they would instead be rooting for Iran against Israel–just as most of the Arab world did back in 2006 when Israel fought a month-long war with Iran’s wholly-owned Lebanese subsidiary, Hezbollah.

This sea change in Arab attitudes has serious foreign policy implications for anyone who calls himself a realist. As John Podhoretz correctly argued in COMMENTARY’s March issue, the realist view that Israel was the source of most Mideast problems could always more properly have been termed “fantasist”; most of the Arab world’s ills have nothing to do with Israel. But realists did have one unassailable fact on their side: When you stack Israel up against the Arab world, the latter has both the numbers and the oil. Consequently, it was at least tenable to argue–as long as you ignore all the other considerations Podhoretz cites–that America’s interests were better served by siding with the Arabs against Israel.

Today, the Arab world still has the numbers and the oil, but it’s siding with Israel against Iran. So for any realist who holds that America should align itself with Arab concerns because numbers and oil are crucial considerations, the top priority now shouldn’t be another fruitless Israeli-Palestinian peace process, but reining in Iran’s malignant behavior. To its credit, that is something the Trump Administration is trying to do by threatening to scrap the nuclear deal unless the four Israeli-Saudi-American concerns cited above are addressed.

As for all the self-proclaimed realists who remain fixated on Israel despite the change in Arab attitudes that has destroyed their main argument, perhaps it’s time to drop the “realist” label. The more accurate term for people who see Jews as the root of all evil under any and all circumstances is “anti-Semite.”

1. Our health care is pretty good

Israelis like to complain, it’s a kind of national sport. The truth is that our health care is pretty good.
At the same time, there is a bizarre dichotomy between cutting edge medicine and the overly complicated bureaucracy of socialized medicine. In hospitals that may have leaky ceilings and be in need of a paint job and new lightbulbs, you can find, in other wings of the hospital, laboratories in which groundbreaking experiments are taking place in partnership with the most innovative medical/biology/technology startups in the world. The things that are being worked on are nothing less than breathtaking.

There are pros and cons to everything – while everyone can get treatment, sometimes wait times are too long and not all illnesses are covered in the government mandate.

When seriously sick in Israel, it is necessary to have an advocate, a friend or a family member, who can navigate the process with or instead of the patient as dealing with the bureaucracy is sometimes enough to make a healthy person exhausted. In addition, as medical staff (particularly hospital staff) is overworked and underpaid, sometimes they need the help of an insistent relative to draw attention to what the patient needs.
There is an enormous debate about the balance between socialized medicine and private medicine in Israel. The doctors who have private practices are, more often than not, the same doctors who work in the public system so the private medicine does not provide better care, only faster treatment. 

2. "Apartheid"

Health is a great equalizer. In Israeli hospitals religious Jews and religious Muslims are treated side by side. The medical staff consists of Israelis of all backgrounds: Sabra Israelis, new immigrants from Russia, America, South America and Argentina, Ethiopian Jews, Arab Muslims, Arab Christians… the entire spectrum of the Israeli population can be found in patients and caregivers.

There is no differentiation in types of treatment, quality of treatment or what is provided to the patient. The idea that there could be a differentiation is seen as abhorrent, inappropriate and simply ridiculous.

In the surgical department of one of Haifa’s hospitals the Chief Surgeon is an Arab. He is world-renowned for his skill in laparoscopic surgery. Doctors from all over the world come to Haifa to learn from him. His second in command is a Jew. Most of the surgeons on staff are Arabs. The man in charge of making sure all the equipment in the surgeries operate perfectly – including the laparoscopic equipment and the anesthetics – is an Arab.

Apartheid much?

3.  We built that

As you walk down the halls of the hospital, something stands out. Plaques on the walls, dedicating rooms, areas and equipment to the memory of departed Jews.

The tiny State of Israel has minimal resources but the Nation of Israel, Am Yisrael, around the world, has enormous resources. We have much of what we have because Jews invested in Israel, in the people of Israel. They did it to honor the memory of their loved ones but at the same time they pass on the legacy of life for their people - literally.

We are one family and we need each other. It is important to remember this. Everything we have came from hard work and sacrifice. Nothing came easy. We are all part of this amazing enterprise called Israel, together we make it the wonderful place that it is. We are Israel. We built this.

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  • Thursday, February 22, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon

From JTA:

The baby daughter of a French rabbi was burned after being exposed to acid placed in her carriage.

The 14-month-old girl suffered burns on her back and thighs Monday in the city of Bron, near Lyon, Le Parisien daily reported Wednesday. The baby is not in danger, according to the report.

The acid had been placed inside a carriage that the baby’s grandmother had parked in a communal space inside her apartment building overnight from Sunday to Monday. The grandmother rushed the baby to the hospital after noticing a severe irritation on the baby’s skin after taking her for a walk in the stroller and then bringing her inside.

Police are looking into a possible anti-Semitic motive, perhaps by a neighbor, a police source told Le Parisien. The stroller was taken into police custody as part of the investigation, according to the newspaper.
I'm sure it is because of the "occupation."

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  • Thursday, February 22, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
In the wake of the Oxfam sex scandal, there are a number of articles in the European press about the dark side of NGOs: how aid workers can get addicted to the power that comes from disbursing funding, and how their aims are often more geared towards keeping themselves afloat - competing with other NGOs for funding - rather than towards helping the people they pretend to be helping.

I've mentioned how UNRWA itself violates by its very existence the fundamental guiding ethos of aid workers: "Do No Harm." But the entire NGO industry in the Palestinian territories is guilty of the same, to some extent. Their aid money distorts national priorities and the equally corrupt PA is happy to let others take care of their issues rather than take control of responsibility for its citizens. The absurd situation now in Gaza where the PA is cynically withholding funds and directly hurting its own people is partially possible because NGOs are so willing to step in and make up for the shortfall, and reporters will not criticize them.

As the Conflict Sensitivity Consortium notes, which I have quoted before:
Aid is not neutral in the midst of conflict. Aid and how it is administered can cause harm or can strengthen peace capacities in the midst of conflicted communities. All aid programmes involve the transfer of resources (food, shelter, water, health care, training, etc.) into a resource-scarce environment. Where people are in conflict, these resources represent power and wealth and they become an element of the conflict. Some people attempt to control and use aid resources to support their side of the conflict and to weaken the other side. If they are successful or if aid staff fail to recognise the impact of their programming decisions, aid can cause harm.
This is the larger context of the Oxfam scandal, but it is also the exact problem with the multiplicity of NGOs competing for funding for their Palestinian pets. And that funding very often comes from sources that would otherwise fund people who are far more in need than Palestinians are. As a result, Palestinian NGOs are encouraged to exaggerate the problems that ordinary Palestinians have far beyond reality. I recently documented how a consortium of 70 NGOs in the territories go out of their way to twist basic economic data to make it appear that the Palestinian economy is worsening under "occupation" when, by any measure, it has been improving year over year.

That is 70 well-known, respected NGOs publicly misleading their donor communities in order to get more funds. Why is no one outraged? But they have to misrepresent the facts, because otherwise they won't get any money.

Meanwhile, the corruption from both NGOs and the Palestinian leadership that takes advantage of foreign aid money keeps happening. i24News reports:

A corruption case involving senior Palestinian Authority (PA) officials who allegedly embezzled part of EU funding for personal gain was revealed by i24NEWS .

While the opaque - or "obscure" - links between the PA and foreign donations transmitted by Brussels have already been mentioned in the past, the information obtained by i24NEWS via sources in Gaza and abroad is particularly compromising, especially in regards a particular man.

It is Marwan Darzi, former director of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and head of the Palestinian coordination office in Zone C (an area under Israeli security and administrative control), whose structure receives grants from the EU through international organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) from Switzerland, France, Belgium and Germany.Even in 2017, Darzi would have taken advantage of his position to travel abroad to the tune of 100,000 euros. Members of his family also participated in these "business trips".

In addition, he would have bought for himself, his family and relatives for more than 60,000 euros of computer equipment through the entry of 3G in the Palestinian territories as he would have bought more than 80,000 euros of clothes and jewelry for his relatives and started repairs to his garden up to 200,000 euros.

According to i24NEWS sources , the office does not report the total amount of donations received through international organizations, even going as low as 70% of their original value.

Indeed, i24NEWS discovered that Marwan Darzi would have benefited from the links between his office and the Palestinian Investment Fund headed by Tareq Abbas, the son of the Palestinian President, accused in the past of embezzling hundreds of millions of euros via organizations and society screen.His name appeared in particular in the scandal of "Panama Papers" of the consulting firm Fonseca.

They would have also benefited from the help of Yaya Rabah, the spokesman of the PA. The latter has recently acquired a luxury jeep without paying taxes, a fraud punishable by imprisonment in the Palestinian territories.
This is the norm, not the exception, in the PA and with the aid distributed by the EU. There is no insistence on sound accounting and audit of the funds. Palestinians know that their officials are corrupt, as this political cartoon shows:

Europeans are waking up to the idea that their aid money to third world countries is going to enrich corrupt politicians and actually hurt the people meant to be helped. It won't take long before they see the exact same issue in the Palestinian arena, which gets aid that is massively disproportionate to the problems that ordinary Palestinians have.

(h/t Yoel)

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Antisemitism in Poland a Symptom of a Larger European Problem
The crisis in relations between Israel and Poland over Warsaw’s desire to ban honest discussion of Poland’s role in the Holocaust has eclipsed every other issue relevant to Israeli-European ties. No air is left in the room to consider, for instance, the physical peril in which the Jews of France now live. No one is talking about Europe’s role in protecting Iran from U.S. sanctions. All anyone can find time to talk about is Poland and its law banning discussion of the truth about the Holocaust.

Due to the extensiveness of Polish antisemitism, it would be foolhardy for Israel or Poland to aspire to a long-term resolution of the problem. But in the interest of maintaining mutually beneficial bilateral relations, both sides are going to have to make some difficult accommodations to one another.

Israel is going to have to acknowledge that living with officially supported antisemitism is the price of relations with European states, just as it is the price of doing business with Arab states. Part of this accommodation will involve backing off its efforts to change or abrogate the Polish law.

For its part, the Polish government is going to have to restrain its anti-Jewish reflexes at least publically. To this end, the Polish government should avoid additional antisemitic and fraudulent remarks about the Holocaust and about Jews more generally.

The world is often an unpleasant place. Europe in particular has never kicked its antisemitic habit. It isn’t Israel’s job to transform Europe. It is Israel’s job to secure its interests, and when necessary, to do so in cooperation with governments it doesn’t like that have values it abhors.
When Angela Merkel started to fail the Jews and Israel
With her summer 2015 announcement of the welcoming policy for refugees, German Chancellor Angela Merkel damaged Germany, her party, her image and probably her place in history.

She has also caused damage to German Jews and Israel. Until summer 2015 Merkel had a very good record on both these issues.

In November 2005, Merkel became chancellor. In January 2006, she visited Israel and the Palestinian Authority. In 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2014 she also came to Israel. In the latter year Merkel was accompanied by 16 German ministers to discuss collaboration between the two countries. She had no problem in admitting German guilt toward the Jews. In January 2018 on the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Merkel called for a new culture of remembrance in view of the shrinking number of Holocaust survivors.

Merkel’s attitude greatly differed from that of several senior leaders of the Christian Democratic Union’s junior coalition partners, the Social Democrats (SPD). Their previous leader, Sigmar Gabriel, currently German foreign minister, is a consistent anti-Israel inciter.

Recently he again accused Israel of apartheid.
Melanie Phillips - “No Liberty, No Equality, No Fraternity: Dealing with the Failure of the West”
Melanie Phillips has never shied away from the battle of ideas. As someone who has lived as both a hero and villain of the social and political Left, her career as a journalist has been marked by controversy over the expression of some relatively uncontroversial ideas. Her fierce independence, and tenacious defense of civil liberties has lead her to becoming one of Britain’s leading voices on a variety of topics like Brexit, the increased threat of radicalization, and how the mainstream media treats Israel. Don't miss it!

Squirrel Hill may not be all Jewish, and the majority of the residents of this Pittsburgh neighborhood may not be Jewish, but it’s where the Jews have, for the most part, settled in Pittsburgh, and it’s where I grew up. I’ve heard non-Jews refer to Squirrel Hill as “Kike’s Peak,” and whenever I’m asked where I’m from and I say, “Pittsburgh,” the response is, “Squirrel Hill?”

To which I always answer, “Of course!”

But on my last visit to my hometown, and even my last three visits, I witnessed a neighborhood in flux. Because Pittsburgh is also a college town, this conveniently situated neighborhood attracts many Asian exchange students. Restaurants have popped up to serve these students, replacing the kosher bakeries, butchers, and delicatessens of my youth. Synagogues are closing their doors, unable to sustain a membership substantial enough to stay afloat.

On accompanying a blind relative to Jewish Family and Community Services for an evaluation, I notice something else. The waiting room is filled with Arabs, my relative and I the only Jews in this packed space, where we wait to be seen by a social worker. From their accents and colloquialisms, I gather these immigrants are from my neck of the woods, meaning from Israel and the disputed territories. I note that the walls are decorated with posters detailing the rights of and services provided to Holocaust survivors, which gives me an eerie start, and a feeling of cognitive dissonance.

One day earlier, in fact, I’d walked to the kosher grocery store and was stopped along the way by an Arab couple with their child. They’d asked me which way they might reach the downtown area, this way or that way, which was not a question I could easily answer, since downtown was not within walking distance. Later, I realized they must have just left the nearby JFCS to which I escorted my relative the following day.

As I sat in that waiting room at JFCS, I imagined what those Arabs might be thinking: The Yahud exist only to wait on us and give us services.

They might wish to smile approvingly at the informational Holocaust survivor posters, as they waited patiently for (probably Jewish) social workers, remembering with joy the extinguishing of over 6 million Yahud.

Haj Amin el Husseini and Hitler have a friendly chat, 1941
(see: The Mufti and the Führer)
I wondered why, in this still largely Jewish neighborhood, there were mostly Arabs in the waiting room of JFCS. The history section of the JFCS website was helpful in explicating the reason. In 1998, the JFCS received a grant from the Jewish Material Claims Conference Against Germany to help it “identify and assist elderly Holocaust survivors in need.” But times change, so much so, that in 2017, JFCS changed its name from Jewish Family and Children’s Services to Jewish Family and Community Services, rebranding its "service programs to better reflect clients served and services offered."

In other words, the JFCS is no longer doing so much for the Jews. Because the Jews are leaving Squirrel Hill. So JFCS is doing stuff for the “community.”

And that means immigrants. In many cases, Muslim immigrants, who may or may not take joy in a poster that reminds them of the genocide of Eastern European Jewry, and who may or may not take it for granted that the Yahud is there to serve them. They may or may not pass the candy when Jews are brutally murdered in a far off land called Israel.

The Jews meanwhile, God bless their liberal hearts, are treating these immigrants with respect and kindness, giving them all sorts of help and support. Instead of helping their own. Oblivious to the fact that Jews in a similar situation, for instance, seeking help at a Gazan social services center (were Jews allowed to enter Gaza, which they are not), would be raped, lynched, and dismembered.

I wanted to rip that poster off the wall. I didn’t want to remind these immigrants of a “victory” against my people—didn’t want to give them joy over the vanquishing of so many Yahud. I felt shame that we offered them services, serving as stooges, subordinate to Dar el Islam

This swirl of thoughts in my brain, stayed in my brain. To outside appearances, I sat, calm and collected, patient, awaiting my turn. No one there would have any inkling that I was braver than that. That I lived in my ancestral land of Judea with pride, though their cousins pick us off, on a regular basis, using rocks, bus bombings, hatchets, firebombs, car-rammings, and kidnappings.

One month on, I am home again. I visit a Jerusalem Terem, one of a chain of immediate care clinics founded by Dr. David Applebaum, may Hashem avenge his blood. Applebaum and his daughter Nava were murdered by terrorists. David and Nava were having a father and daughter chat over coffee at Hillel Café, in Jerusalem.

It was the night before Nava’s wedding.

I sit in the waiting room of Terem. All kinds of people are here, reflecting the tapestry of Israeli society: people of all colors and religions, women with wigs, women with hijabs. No Apartheid here, no siree bob.

Then I notice it: up high on the wall, a photo of Terem’s founder, just a hint of a smile on his face. A second framed item hung alongside the first, this one a document summarizing Applebaum’s vision for immediate care in Jerusalem, and his murder by terrorists. Dr. Applebaum’s visage looked down on all of us sitting there awaiting treatment: Jew and Arab, alike.

To the liberal heart, this fact would bring joy: in spite of Arab terror, we Jews remain democratic, offering an equal standard of care to all, regardless of religion or nationality. But I felt no joy, no pride. Instead I had an overwhelming desire to cover up Applebaum’s photo. Why should they get to murder him, then benefit from his vision? Why should they sit smug in the knowledge of taking his life, while begging to have their own lives saved?

To tell you the truth, it vexed me.

On the one hand, there is no question that David Applebaum deserves recognition and honor for his far-seeing vision and contribution. On the other hand, it’s a chutzpah to allow his memory to be exploited by those who might or might not have passed round the candy, on hearing the news of his murder (and that of his daughter). It’s awful to extend a hand to people who might not think twice about murdering Applebaum’s people, just because they are Jews—people like me—just because, to their mind, we are Jews who live on soil that became part of Dar el Islam during the Muslim Conquest.

Here is the truth: Dr. Applebaum, HY”D, saves lives from beyond the grave, even the lives of those people whose culture is a culture of death. Because Applebaum’s culture—Jewish culture—is the culture of L’chaim, of life.

And rather than fill me with pride, the inequity of this “equality” infuriates me.

As it should, you.

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gavelRosh HaAyin, February 21 - A crane operator whose negligence resulted in the death of an Israeli Jew filed a lawsuit against the Palestinian Authority today after discovering he was not eligible to receive a lifetime pension that the Authority pays to killers of Jews.
Poel Rashlan, 44, filed papers in Tel Aviv District Court this afternoon, naming Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and several other Palestinian officials as defendants, and accusing them of refusing to pay him thousands of shekels per month for the rest of his life simply because he is Jewish, whereas non-Jews who kill Jews receive such payments without even applying.

Rashlan was convicted of criminally negligent homicide following a 2017 incident in which, under the influence of drugs, he failed to adhere to basic safety procedures and caused the collapse of his construction crane. The falling segments of the ten-story device fell on a car, killing the driver. Rashlan expected to receive the same monthly stipends that the Palestinian Authority pays others who have killed Jews, but received nothing, his lawyer asserted.

"I am filing this lawsuit on behalf of Mr. Rashlan to call attention to the discriminatory practices of the Palestine National Authority with regard to to their pay-for-slay program," stated attorney Ron Scheister. "While non-Jewish killers of Israeli Jews, and of others, receive monthly payments, my client has received nothing. Even those whose actions fail to result in the actual death of Jews receive payments, albeit lower ones, whereas my client, whose actions led directly to the death of an Israeli Jew, remains suspiciously absent from the rolls of those whom the Palestinian Authority pays a generous lifetime pension."

Scheister noted that while both Israeli and American pending legislation might pressure the Palestinian Authority to cease such payments, his client cannot wait until the legislation goes into effect for justice. "It would be one thing if the Taylor Force Act were to go into effect tomorrow," he explained, referring to a bill under Senate review. "Then we could anticipate all such pay-for-slay payments to come to an end, and hold off on filing the suit. However, with the timetable of such legislation and its impact still undetermined, Mr. Rashlan decided to address the injustice that prevails in the interim."

Scheister also revealed that he considered making the case a class action suit on behalf of any Jew convicted of homicide since the Palestinian Authority began making payments to killers of Jews decades ago, but decided against the move for reasons of expediency. "It would take much longer for a class-action suit to proceed," he noted. "By then the Authority may bow to the financial pressure of the Taylor Force Act and other laws, rendering the lawsuit pointless. So we proceeded with just a regular lawsuit."

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From Ian:

PMW: Fatah honors terrorist who led murder: “Martyr who sat on shoulders of Heaven and smiled”
One of the latest new Palestinian "heroes" is "Martyr" Ahmed Nasr Jarrar - the terrorist who led the terror cell that murdered Rabbi Raziel Shevach, a father of six, in a drive-by shooting on Jan. 9, 2018, near Havat Gilad in the Nablus area.

Terrorist Jarrar was shot and killed during an exchange of gunfire with Israeli soldiers while resisting arrest near Jenin on Feb. 6, 2018. Palestinian Media Watch has documented that Abbas' Fatah Movement has honored him several times, and continues to do so as seen in additional Facebook posts below.

Palestinians have also named sports tournaments after the terrorist. A futsal championship was held in the Nablus area:

"The Martyr Ahmed Jarrar Futsal Championship"
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 12, 2018]

In Gaza too, terrorist Jarrar is a hero with two sports tournaments having already been named after him:

"The Martyr Ahmed Nasr Jarrar Table Tennis Cup" (to be held later this month)

"The Martyr Ahmed Jarrar Handball Cup" (date to be announced)
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 19, 2018]

The following are 10 Fatah posts on Facebook glorifying terrorist Jarrar:
IDF reveals it thwarted attempted Islamic State bombing of Australian flight
The Israeli army on Wednesday revealed that the Military Intelligence Unit 8200 foiled an Islamic State attempt to bomb a flight from Australia last August.

“The unit provided exclusive intelligence that led to the prevention of an air attack by the Islamic State in 2017 in Australia,” a senior IDF officer said.

“The foiling of the attack saved dozens of innocent lives and proved Unit 8200’s position as a major player in the intelligence fight against the Islamic State,” the officer said, on condition of anonymity.

Wednesday’s revelation was an unusual move for the Israeli army, which generally keeps mum on the operations of the secretive Unit 8200, which is similar to the American National Security Agency, collecting information from electronic communication, also referred to as signals intelligence.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Munich Security Conference that Israeli Military Intelligence “helped prevent dozens of terror attacks in dozens of countries by the Islamic State.” (h/t Yoel)
Exclusive: Senior PA official embezzled EU aid money
A top Palestinian official spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in aid money provided by the European Union on personal expenses like overseas travel, electronics and landscaping, according to information obtained by i24NEWS.

Sources in Gaza, Ramallah and Europe said that Marwan Durzi, the ex-head of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in the West Bank and the current head of the Palestinian co-ordination office for Zone C (the part of the West Bank under full Israeli military control) took advantage of his position overseeing grants provided by the EU for humanitarian purposes.

The sources said that in 2017 Durzi was found to have taken 100,000 ($123,000) euros worth of business trips, many accompanied by his family.

He also purchased 60,000 euros ($74,000) of computers, phones and tablets for himself and associates after a 3G communications network was finally established in the West Bank, more than 80,000 ($98,500) euros worth of clothes and jewelry and 200,000 ($247,000) euros on gardening.

Sources said that the office he runs do not keep accurate records of the amount of funds received by the EU, and in some cases reported them to be 70% lower than they actually were. (h/t Yenta Press)

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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