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Wednesday, September 02, 2015

EoZ interviewed by TheBlaze on UNRWA hate

Yesterday I was interviewed by TheBlaze about my research into UNRWA's online hate.

The news site nicely went through all of my research since 2012 revealing UNRWA's violations of its own policies:

The author of a pro-Israel blog who has been investigating United Nations’ employee Internet activity said he has found numerous anti-Semitic and jihad-encouraging posts from U.N. school principals and teachers.

In response to the allegations, a spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency Wednesday asserted that three postings it examined were from “imposter” accounts.

“We always investigate credible reports of neutrality violations by our staff and take appropriate action, including disciplinary action where violations by UNRWA staff members are established,” UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness told TheBlaze in an email, adding that the organization condemns “unreservedly” exhibitions of racism. He declined when asked to forward two of the offensive posts that he described as containing “racists incitement.”

If any of the allegations are true, Gunness told Israel’s Channel 10 earlier this week, “it is indeed a very big problem, and we will deal with it.”
Imposter accounts?

Let's look at the person who posted the antisemitic graphic I pointed out on Monday, Ramy Alshorbasy, making fun in Arabic of Jews being targeted by terrorists in cars:



As I noted then, his photo collection includes dozens of photos taken at his UNRWA school.


He lists scores of UNRWA employees among his many online friends.

His UNRWA affiliation is not by any measure the primary way he identifies himself, he has many posts on many topics. 

You are invited to browse his page yourself. To pretend that it is an elaborate hoax, among scores of other people pretending to be UNRWA employees who also happen to post antisemitic and pro-terror images, is one of the most bizarre excuses I can imagine.

Yet Chris Gunness would rather make that claim than admit that there are serious problems with UNRWA teachers and staff.

The rest of the Blaze article is very good too. Excerpts from my interview:

One of the more incendiary images a pro-Israel blogger found posted on the Facebook page that appeared to be by an UNRWA employee. It showed a stereotypical Jew draining the blood of a child. UNRWA’s spokesman declined to comment to TheBlaze about this or 11 other images forwarded by a U.N. watchdog to the international organization. (Image courtesy: Elder of Ziyon blog)
One of the more incendiary images a pro-Israel blogger found posted on a Facebook page that appeared to belong to an UNRWA teacher. It shows a Jew draining the blood of a child, using a stars and stripes fork. UNRWA’s spokesman declined to comment to TheBlaze about this or 11 other images forwarded by a U.N. watchdog to the international organization. (Image courtesy: Elder of Ziyon blog)
“I have discovered dozens of examples of jihadist, anti-Semitic and even pro-Hitler posts on Facebook by UNRWA employees. And I find more every day,” the author of the Elder of Ziyon blog told TheBlaze.
Since starting his probe in 2012, the blogger has found posts including Jews drinking the blood of Palestinian children, Palestinians running over Jews, Jews portrayed in stereotypically negative ways, anti-Jewish citations from Islamic texts, and incitement to terrorism.
The blogger said that nearly every time he has exposed the virulent posts and alerted the U.N. agency, they have been “silently removed” from the Internet without a public acknowledgement or apology from UNRWA.
The pro-Israel blogger Elder of Ziyon last week found this photo on another apparent UNRWA teacher’s Facebook promoting Palestinian violence. (Image courtesy: Elder of Ziyon blog)
The pro-Israel blogger Elder of Ziyon last week found this photo on another apparent UNRWA teacher’s Facebook promoting Palestinian violence. (Image courtesy: Elder of Ziyon blog)
Accusing the U.N. agency of exhibiting “reprehensible” behavior, the blogger said some teachers and principals “are not embarrassed in the least about their explicit anti-Semitism.”
“There is no doubt that their attitudes are being given over to their students, many of whom become UNRWA teachers themselves,” he said.
The blogger in 2012 found an elementary school lesson posted online that appeared to glorify jihad “against the Jews and the Crusaders” and the beauty of becoming a “martyr.” He said that after his post, the link was “silently removed.”
He also found that in both 2013 and 2014, UNRWA schools in Gaza apparently claimed to cite an Islamic text to support a clean schools initiative by suggesting it was a way they differentiate themselves from unclean Jews.
As an aside, the blogger pointed out that some of the students were being taught Koran at the U.S.-funded U.N. schools, even though some of the students are Palestinian Christians. The Bible is not taught in American taxpayer-funded U.S. public schools, but at least some students at the Palestinian schools were studying with Koran teachers.
 I'm keeping the pressure on UNRWA - more and more people are waking up to the fact that the system is based on lies that they tell the West, and this scandal proves it in a way that anyone can check the facts for themselves.

09/02 Links Pt2: The Original Truck People; Antisemitic Cartoon on Norwegian Credit Card

From Ian:

The Original Truck People
Austrian authorities on Thursday discovered an abandoned truck on a highway near the Hungarian border, packed with the decomposed bodies of 71 dead migrants, including four children. While migrants have perished at sea in the multitudes, this tragedy has put Europe on notice: The horrors from which the migrants flee, and that regularly play themselves out in the middle of the Mediterranean, will soon become commonplace in the heart of the continent unless something changes.
Now how addled and obsessed must one be to use this event as a stick to beat Israel? About as addled and obsessed as Juan Cole, professor at the University of Michigan and popular blogger on the edge of the left. See as evidence this post: “Austrian Truck Tragedy echoes Palestinian Story, reminding us of 7 million still stateless [Palestinians].”
What is that Palestinian story? It is a 1962 novella by the Palestinian writer Ghassan Kanafani entitled Men in the Sun. The allegorical storyline is about three Palestinians who flee the misery of Lebanon’s refugee camps to Iraq, in the hope of reaching the Xanadu of Kuwait. They are smuggled across the desert from Basra in the empty barrel of a water tanker truck. But because of a delay at the Kuwaiti border, the three suffocate to death. (The novella was made into a film in 1972.)
I won’t make an issue of the “seven million still stateless” Palestinians. (The upper-end estimate is closer to five million.) And far be it from me to quibble with anyone’s free associations. But Cole tops off his with this statement, which purports to be historical: the Palestinians’ “home has been stolen from them by the Israelis and they were unceremoniously dumped on the neighbors or in the West Bank or in the Gaza Strip. They are stateless. They are the original truck people.”
This concluding dramatic flourish, identifying the Palestinians as “the original truck people,” jolted me. The first people made stateless, dispossessed, stripped of their humanity, and packed into sealed trucks where they died horribly, all in the very heart of Europe, were many thousands of Jewish victims of the Nazi extermination machine.
Gaza could be 'uninhabitable' by 2020, UN report warns
Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade of Gaza since the Islamic terrorist group Hamas violently seized control of the territory in 2007.
The U.N. report came as Egyptian military bulldozers pressed ahead with a project that effectively would fill Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip with water and flood the last remaining cross-border underground smuggling tunnels, which have brought both weapons and commercial items into Gaza.
The report called the economic prospects for 2015 for the Palestinian territories "bleak" because of the unstable political situation, reduced aid and the slow pace of reconstruction.
UN official to JPost: Lift blockade, reconnect Gaza to the world
The agreement "called to reconnect Gaza with the West Bank and the rest of the world and to construct a seaport in Gaza and to start negotiations on establishing or constructing an airport in Gaza," he said.
UNCTAD argues that support from donors is important for Gaza's recovery and reconstruction, but will not reverse the ongoing de-development and impoverishment in Gaza if Israel's blockade of the Strip is not ended.
"Since 2014 no major reconstruction has been done. No major rehabilitation has been done. Only minor things," Elkafif emphasized.
If the blockade is not lifted and Gaza is not given the opportunity to rebuild, "I think the situation will be even worse than what the UN has forecasted for 2020," he predicted.
Both Israel and Egypt maintain a blockade of the Gaza Strip, whose Hamas leadership they deem a terrorist organization. When asked whether the Egyptian blockade was taken into account in UNCTAD's research, the project coordinator asked, "What Egyptian blockade?" (h/t The_Kenosha_Kid)
Hillary-Sidney Emails Herald Demise of a Pro-Israel Democratic Party
Despite what Clinton may tell her many pro-Israel donors, keeping a man like Blumenthal in her inner circle is a telling indication of her true feelings about a lot of issues, but especially that of the state of Israel. If she were to become president, Sidney’s voice would continue to have great weight in her counsels. Just as dangerous, it would help legitimize Max Blumenthal’s views.
During the course of the debate about the Iran nuclear deal, we have already witnessed the collapse of the pro-Israel wing of the Democratic Party. Faced with pressure by President Obama, most liberal Democrats, even many with strong pro-Israel records, caved into administration pressure and backed the agreement despite the fact that it fell far short of Obama’s own criteria for success when the negotiations started.
Despite the rearguard efforts of some figures in the party to keep it at a distance from Obama’s antagonism to the Jewish state, Democrats are largely abandoning Israel on Iran. The Blumenthal emails make it clear this won’t be a passing fancy if Hillary becomes president.
The assumption has been that if Clinton were elected, the damage done to the U.S.-Israel alliance by Obama would begin to be undone. Clinton was, we were told, the adult in the room. Her backers assure us that she has a tougher-minded foreign policy approach than that of a president who is clearly committed to prioritizing détente with the Islamist regime in Tehran over strengthening the alliance with Israel. But so long as Sidney Blumenthal, and by extension his son Max, are going to be treated as valued voices within the Clinton camp, Hillary’s pose as a defender of Israel is no longer credible. She may not go as far as they like in distancing herself from the pro-Israel community. But the notion that she will restore the closeness Obama wrecked is obviously untrue. With Sidney whispering in her ear, there will be plenty more of the dangerous “daylight” that Obama has done so much to create between the two nations.
While Clinton has more to fear from the email issue than fallout about Blumenthal, the Hillary-Sidney emails show just that the pro-Israel community will be on thin ice if she recovers and wins in November 2016.

The Houseboat Summit (Mike Lumish)





Pow Wow A Gathering of the Tribes largeIn 1967, shortly after the Gathering of the Tribes - or the first Human Be-In - in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, Zen and counterculture philosopher Alan Watts held a "hippie summit" on his houseboat in Sausalito, just north of the city.

They called it the "Houseboat Summit."  The idea was to push momentum coming out of the "tribal" gathering in the park and plan for the future.  In attendance were Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg, and Gary Snyder, along with some small percentage of the Bay Area's counterculture kids at the time.

The summit actually resulted in the splitting of what historian Terry Anderson referred to as The Movement between the political-types from places like Berkeley versus the hippie-types from places like Haight-Ashbury in SF.  It was Leary who did the most to split the movement by suggesting that the political-types were, essentially, young men with "geriatric minds."  Leary did not want politics, which he basically considered to represent outmoded and counterproductive thinking.  What he wanted was to transcend politics entirely with massive doses of lysergic acid diethylamide # 25 and then float away into the nether reaches of his own mind.

It was Ginsberg, far more than Leary, who was dedicated to strengthening the counterculture / anti-war coalition, which was the whole point of the Gathering of the Tribes to begin with.  Leary, in his arrogance and stupidity, even suggested that by the turn of the century we would see deer grazing in Times Square, Manhattan, as people left the cities and joined whatever strange, hybrid, sex-and-drug-fueled kibbutzim that the guy had in his head.

I am put to mind of Alan Watts and his "houseboat summit" due to the fact that the East Coast - Boston, specifically - recently saw its own little pro-Israel / pro-Jewish "summit" at the home of professor Richard Landes of Boston University.

Ted Belman of Israpundit fame writes about it here.

There were about ten people in attendance of whom I am familiar with four.  Belman, Landes, Melanie Phillips, and our friend Vic Rosenthal of both Abu Yehuda and the Elder of Ziyon.  My guess is that two of the four would recognize my name... maybe three.

I was very pleased to read about this meeting and I would have loved to have been there myself.

Each of these four individuals have something important to say.

Dr. Richard Landes

Landes is a professional historian with Boston University who specializes in religious history and who has a recent book out from Oxford University Press entitled, Heaven on Earth: The Varieties of the Millennial Experience.  He is also championing the case of philosophy professor Andrew Pessin who has been harassed at Connecticut College for daring to say mean things about Hamas.  I cannot imagine why any Jew would compare Hamas to a vicious caged dog when they are better compared to vicious caged rats.  The dog is man's best friend, after all.  Hamas is nobody's best friends and screams from the hillsides for the genocide of the Jews.

Aside from his academic work, Landes is best know for maintaining the important pro-Israel Augean Stables blog.  In my opinion, the most important significance of Augean Stables is Landes' work on "Pallywood" and what he sometimes calls "lethal journalism."  Landes played a significant role in examining the Al Durah Affair in which the IDF was accused of killing children, thereby essentially justifying violence against Jews anywhere in the world.  The analyses of Landes, and others concerned with the Al Durah case have demonstrated that this kid was not killed by the IDF, but Arab-Palestinian fighters.  Nonetheless, it fueled the Second Intifada resulting in thousands of dead.

Ted Belman

There is much to be said about the excellent work that Belman is doing over at Israpundit, but the powerful and concise message that sits on the top of his page is exceedingly worthy of discussion.  It reads quite simply, "THERE IS NO DIPLOMATIC SOLUTION."

Belman is probably correct and it took me quite a number of years - all through the Oslo process - to come to something approaching that conclusion.  Well-meaning, left-leaning, liberal Jews want a two-state solution, as did I.  Unfortunately, the two-state solution is absolutely dependent upon Arab agreement.  For at least 80 solid years the Arab peoples have told us very clearly that they will not accept a Jewish state on any part of historically Jewish land for any reason whatsoever.

There must come a point when we accept the fact that "no means no."  Belman got there a few years before I did.

Melanie Phillips

I have to tell you, I love Melanie Phillips not only because I agree with her on Israel - if not global warming - but I admire her audacity.  I like Phillips for much the same reason that I appreciate Caroline Glick.  The woman has guts and calls it like she sees it.  In books like Londonistan, Phillips rings the alarm bell ("alarum bell?") about the consequences of massive Arab and North African migrations into Europe.  Sometimes people despise her as a "racist" for such sentiments, but there simply is no question that the changing demographics in Europe are altering European culture in a way that directly clashes with western Enlightenment values.  That is not her fault.  Melanie is just delivering the news.

One of Phillips' main points, as Belman notes in his piece, is that the Israeli government has got to get out there and make its case.  Belman writes:
She divides her time between London and Jerusalem and is a highly regarded journalist. She expressed her pet peeve about the Israeli government which is AWOL when it comes to public diplomacy. She said she has tried talking with government officials who she said don’t have a clue about what’s going on out there and who are unwilling to do something about it.

Vic Rosenthal

Vic started writing the exceedingly interesting Abu Yehuda blog after he made aliyah from California and thereby gave up his exceedingly interesting Fresno Zionism blog.  Vic was practically a neighbor, given that Fresno is not really that far from the Bay Area, and I am pleased to say that I played a significant role in bringing him over to the Elder of Ziyon where he now publishes a weekly column.

One idea that Vic and I have in common is opposition to "politically correct" discourse when that discourse stands in the way of the truth and thereby stands in the way of the well-being of the Jewish people.  As he writes:
PC is all about making rules about things that cannot be said, and punishing transgressions. But it is not ideologically neutral. It supports universalist, cultural relativist, and multiculturalist ideologies, and insists that a subjective sense of ‘injury’ can be the arbiter of legitimate discourse, rather than ideals of truth or logic. It provides a way to bypass the ideal of free speech and to shut down speech that is uncomfortable.
The Houseboat Summit

Alan Watts and his hippie-counterculture "houseboat summit" went nowhere.  By the middle of the 1970s the western counterculture was dying, if not dead, and when Reagan came into office as president in January of 1981, he stomped the life out of what was left of it.  By the time that I got to the University of Connecticut in the early 1980s the counterculture was over with.  Students had become more interested in business than in bullshit and no one believed that LSD represented a pathway to a better life or a more "spiritual" existence.

{Or, almost no one, anyway.}

What Landes, Belman, Phillips, Rosenthal, and the rest of those sitting around that table did is different precisely because they are not counterculturalists.  These are not hippies.  These are people with their feet firmly grounded on planet Earth.  I can say that with terrific confidence because I read each of them on a regular basis.

What is needed is for Richard Landes or Melanie Phillips, or whoever has the most pull, to turn this into an annual event and to expand on it.

I want to be there next year.



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

Pre-Muhammad Quran Suggests Muslims Also Stole 'Apes And Pigs' Epithet (PreOccupied Territory)


Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory

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old QuranBirmingham, England, September 1 - Scientists examining the newly discovered Quran segment in a Birmingham library revealed today that the document may be older than Muhammad himself, leading scholars to consider reassessing the early history of Islam. Among the issues being revisited is the origin of the depiction of Jews as the descendants of apes and pigs, since, if the document's pre-Islamic pedigree is established, it indicates that in addition to appropriating the Holy Land given to the Jews, Muslims also stole credit for originating that insult.

Descriptions of  Jews as descended of simian and porcine forebears occurs multiple times in the Quran, and remains a popular motif in Islamic culture and religion. Most notably, preachers in mosques invoke the apes and pigs epithet, usually in the context of opposing Jewish political and religious rights in their ancestral homeland. It has become the exclusive province of Muslims, and its place of pride in the Quran was heretofore assumed to represent an original thought. However, if the dating of the Quran fragment indeed reflects an origin from before the birth of Islam's prophet, then yet another achievement of Islam becomes merely a usurpation of earlier material.

Scholars remain divided on the implications, primarily because the dating of the document cannot be pinned down precisely. "There is a range of possible years for the Birmingham Quran piece, extending from several years before Muhammad's birth until close to his death," explained Goril Laswine, who studies the early Islamic period. "Whether or not you see this as a case of divine revelation or yet another thing that Muhammad and his followers unjustly put forth as their own depends, to a great degree, on your assumptions regarding this document." Laswine said he was leaning toward an early date for the document, as such cultural and political appropriation constitutes an essential element of Islam.

Other experts are reserving judgment, given the ambiguity surrounding the date. "I can understand the interpretation that 'Jews are the sons of apes and pigs' was taken wholesale by the early Muslims and presented as Muhammad's original words," said Oren Gutan-Hazir of the University of Haifa. "But I'd be hard-pressed to make a thoroughly convincing case, because it's still quite possible those are Muhammad's own words. The forcible appropriation, distortion, and bloody usurpation of other cultures' territory and output might well have begun slightly later, and only then become characteristic."

At press time, students of the two academics were engaged in a violent, thousand-year-long dispute over the legitimacy of each one's claims.

09/02 Links Pt1: With only one third of Senators voting for the Iran deal, Obama 'wins'

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Losing the war of ideas
We have arrived at the point where the consequences of the West’s intellectual disarmament at the hands of political correctness begins to have disastrous consequences in the lives of hundreds of millions of people.
Speaking last month at the memorial service for the five US marines massacred at a recruiting office in Chattanooga, Tennessee, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said, “The meaning of their killing is yet unclear, and what combination of disturbed mind, violent extremism, and hateful ideology was at work, we don’t know.”
US Vice President Joe Biden claimed, the “perverse ideologues...may be able to inspire a single lone wolf, but they can never, never threaten who we are.”
Both men were wrong, and dangerously so.
The meaning of the killings was no mystery.
Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez shot his victims down in cold blood because he was a jihadist. He wrote of his devotion to the Islamic war for global domination on his blog. He downloaded messages from Anwar Awlaki, the American al-Qaida commander killed in a drone attack in Yemen in 2011.
Awlaki’s most prolific follower to date was US Army Major Nidal Malik Hassan who massacred 13 soldiers and wounded 32 in his November 2009 assault at Ft. Hood, Texas. Yet, just as the Obama administration denies to this day that Hassan operated out of devotion to the cause of Islamic global supremacy through genocidal war, so Carter pretended away Abdulazeez’s obvious motive. And Biden stood before those whose lives were shattered by jihad last month and told them that jihad was not a threat to their way of life.
White House wins support for passage of Iran deal through Congress
The Obama administration has secured the support of 34 senators for its landmark nuclear agreement with Iran, ensuring its safe passage through a vote scheduled in Congress this month.
Senator Barbara Mikulski, Democrat from Maryland, announced her support for the deal on Wednesday morning. She followed announcements from two Democratic colleagues, senators Chris Coons of Delaware and Bob Casey, Jr. from Pennsylvania, the previous day.
US President Barack Obama only needs one third of one house of Congress to ensure passage of the accord, because that number is the minimum necessary to uphold a presidential veto. Congress may still vote and pass a resolution disapproving of the deal when it reconvenes next week.
That will be the fight ahead: Over whether a vote of disapproval will take place at all. For such a vote to occur, 60 members of the Senate will have to agree to proceed with debate and break filibuster. Currently, opponents are four votes short of that threshold, with 56 publicly against.
MEMRI: Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei In Mid-August 2015: 'The U.S. Is The Perfectly Clear Embodiment Of The Concept Of The Enemy'; 'We Must Combat The Plans Of The Arrogance With Jihad For The Sake Of Allah'
On August 17, 2015, just over a month after the announcement of the JCPOA in Vienna, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said in a speech at a conference held by the Iranian Shi'ite Ahl Al-Bayt organization that the U.S. is the embodiment of the enemy of the Islamic peoples and of Iran. It must be fought with military, cultural, economic, and political jihad, he said, adding that Islamic Iran is not interested in reconciling with it. He further claimed that the U.S. is attempting to divide the Islamic world into Shi'ite and Sunni camps that will wage a religious war against each other, and in this way gain it will be able to gain control over the peoples of the region.
Iran, he stressed, stands behind the resistance axis, opposes the division of Syria and Iraq, and will continue to support anyone who fights Israel.
Following are excerpts from a report on the speech that was posted on Khamenei's website (Leader.ir):
"[Khamenei said:] 'We must combat the plans of the arrogance [i.e. the West, led by the U.S.] with jihad for the sake of Allah.' The Leader pointed to 'America's efforts to exploit the results of the nuclear talks and exert economic, political, and cultural influence in Iran' and to the plots of the power-hungry order aimed at sowing conflict and gaining influence in the region. The Leader called for 'adopting the correct plans in order to wisely and consistently fight this plot, in an offense against it and a defense against it.'
"[Khamenei said:] 'Jihad for the sake of God does not only mean military conflict, but also means cultural, economic, and political struggle. The clearest essence of jihad for the sake of God today is to identify the plots of the arrogance in the Islamic region, especially the sensitive and strategic West Asian region. The planning for the struggle against them should include both defense and offense.

Support for BDS drops significantly among Palestinians

The Jerusalem Media and Communications Center, an Arab research group, has released a poll that shows a significant drop in support for boycotting Israel among Palestinian Arabs.

It was clear from the poll that there has been a distinct setback in the level of support for and practice of boycott campaigns of Israeli products in general. The percentage of those who support the boycott of all Israeli projects dropped from 59.2% last March to 49.1% this August. Moreover, the percentage of those who support the boycott of Israeli settlement products only rose from 7.6% last March to 9.4% this August.

In response to a question about their direct practice of boycotting, the percentage of respondents who said they boycott all Israeli products dropped from 48.8% last March to 34.1% this August.
Apparently the Palestinians are interested in boycotting BDS.

UNRWA teachers laugh about Har Nof massacre of four rabbis

Last November 19, the day after Arab terrorists murdered four rabbis with axes and knives as they were praying in Jerusalem,, UNRWA teacher Omar Hussein posted this "joke" on Facebook:


The caption has the Jewish man saying "Oh Lord, let me die (as a result) of a stroke, and not (as a result) of an ax" - which rhymes in Arabic.

The second commenter, Mohammed Abu Amra, said "Amen" and added other methods to kill Jews.

Abu Amra says that he works for UNRWA as well as a technology education manager. He also posted a photo of a young girl with an automatic weapon with the caption "Everything in Gaza is beautiful."

Does UNRWA condone its teachers laughing about the murder of rabbis? Based on their lack of action from the other disgusting Facebook posts I have uncovered, one can only conclude that the answer is "yes."

And their claims to take these charges seriously is nothing but a smokescreen for their underlying antisemitism.

(h.t Ibn Boutros)

"Scandalously dressed women near Al Aqsa Mosque"

Palestine Press Agency is very upset. over "Israeli women dressed scandalously."

Israeli media displayed images of girls wearing revealing clothes near the wall of the old city of Jerusalem.

The photos show the girls as they danced in the vicinity of Al-Aqsa without any objection.
It is so scandalous that the news agency felt compelled to publish several photos:


This is an exercise from JPole Fitness, a Jerusalem-based workout center.  They do call it "pole dancing" but it does not have the connotations that the term has elsewhere.
These photos were of course taken outside the Old City walls.

Interestingly, the first Arabic articles about this were copied word for word from a Zionist Arabic website, Al Masdar, and were quite positive about the program, emphasizing that the classes are meant to empower women and are open to all races and religions.

It took a couple of days for Arabic media to decide to be angry at women dancing on poles in Jerusalem.

Coons then: "I won't support a bad deal." Now: "I will support a bad deal"

On July 14, U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) issued the following statement:

The United States must not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapons capability. A nuclear-armed Iran would threaten our national security, the security of Israel, and the stability of the entire Middle East.

I will review the details of this agreement promptly, and I will only support it if this deal prevents every Iranian pathway to develop a nuclear weapons capability. In conversations with senior Administration officials, I have been clear about the specifics of what I want to see from this nuclear agreement. The inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) must have timely and effective access to military and sensitive facilities in Iran, and be able to fully assess Iran’s past illicit nuclear weapons efforts. The agreement must include strict limits on advanced centrifuge research and development to prevent a rapid upgrade of Iran’s future capacity to enrich uranium. Any sanctions relief must be based on Iran first meeting its obligations under this deal. Finally, the international community must maintain its ability to re-impose sanctions should Iran violate the agreement.
Virtually every condition he gave to endorse the deal has been broken.

And Coons knows it.

His speech yesterday saying that he supports the deal is highly critical of the deal he is supporting:

Frankly, this is not the agreement I hoped for. I am troubled that the parties to this agreement – particularly Iran – have differing interpretations of key terms, and I remain deeply concerned about our ability to hold Iran to the terms of this agreement as we understand them. Under this agreement, Iran retains a civilian nuclear enrichment program that grows steadily in scope and the hardened underground nuclear facility at Fordow continues to exist filled with centrifuges which, while sidelined from enrichment for fifteen years, are not permanently shelved. Once Iran verifiably meets its obligations, it will gain access to tens of billions of dollars in Iranian assets frozen by our sanctions. We should expect that Iran will use some of those funds to support and arm its proxies in the region - terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah that threaten and attack Israel, or to support the murderous regime of Assad in Syria and the Houthis in Yemen. Five years after the agreement, the UN’s embargo on conventional arms shipments to Iran will end, and eight years after the agreement, the UN embargo on ballistic missile technology will end.

I have a number of serious concerns based on Iran’s past behavior of cheating on nuclear agreements and our experiences trying to block other countries from developing nuclear weapons. The Islamic Republic of Iran has long threatened the United States and Israel in both fiery speeches and terrorist acts, and it continues to support terrorist groups across the region. Even as the P5+1 representatives were meeting to finalize this agreement, Iran tried an American Washington Post reporter for spying and other Americans remained jailed on trumped up charges in a notorious Iranian prison. So let’s be clear - no one should mistake Iran for a friend of the United States.

One of the most important aspects of the agreement is the enforcement mechanisms. Here, too, this is not the agreement I would have preferred. We cannot trust the Iranians, and from the requirements and scope of snapping back sanctions to the timing and mechanisms of inspections, I found several areas in the text of the agreement where I would prefer the terms of enforcement to be clearer and stronger. I also stand with my colleagues who have raised real questions about the details of the IAEA’s agreement with Iran over the assessment of past nuclear weaponization activities at Parchin and the integrity of future inspections and enforcement as a result.

I have deep concern about the scope and implications of Iran’s permitted centrifuge development program after ten years and its nuclear enrichment capacity after fifteen years. Even if the Iranians comply with the letter and spirit of the agreement as negotiators for the United States understand it, a stronger, financially stable, and economically interconnected Iran will develop an expanded nuclear enrichment program after a decade which – if it then chooses to violate the agreement – would allow it to quickly develop enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon. This agreement – at best – freezes Iran’s nuclear enrichment program - it does not dismantle or destroy it as I hoped it would.

Beyond the terms of the agreement, opponents decry the singular focus of the negotiations on the nuclear program to the exclusion of human rights issues and Iranian support for terrorism. I share their frustration. Iran’s record of arming terrorist organizations, imprisoning people of faith, accusing Americans of spying during visits to see their family, and stifling all forms of civil society, is well known and among the worst in the world. We cannot begin to consider a constructive dialogue with Iran until these issues are addressed. Frankly, I do not share the optimism of those who believe Iran is on the verge of truly opening to the West or of becoming a moderating force in the region. While we can hope and pray that someday the people of Iran will push their extreme leaders to moderation, we cannot count on that happening and we have to consider our path forward with a deserved and deep distrust of Iran's intentions.
But, in the end, Coons feels that he had no choice:

Ultimately, after consulting with financial and policy experts, I'm convinced that the potential turmoil for our key alliances in Europe and Asia and the uncertainty of the outcome of forcing our reluctant allies back to the table are not worth the uncertain possibility that we could secure a stronger deal. Thus, in a very hard choice between either rejecting the agreement and taking on the uncertainty and risks of compelling a return to sanctions and negotiations or a path that accepts the positives of this deal and attempts to manage and minimize the short and long term consequences of its flaws, I choose the latter.
This is the stated logic of many senators, although we cannot know how much White House arm-twisting was happening behind the scenes to buttress the pro-deal arguments.

It is clear that Coons has violated his own conditions for supporting the agreement. And so have many other senators.

What this shows, quite clearly, is that the White House bluster that "no deal is better than a bad deal" has been fiction all along. The entire point of the White House political efforts during the negotiations was to hammer out a deal no matter what, to gather UN and world support for the bad deal especially among Iran's trading partners, and then to give what Alan Dershowitz called a "Hobson's choice" to Congress where they are forced to choose between a manifestly bad deal or the uncertainty of no deal where the sanctions regime has already been destroyed by US actions.

No one outside the White House and J-street likes this deal. Any support of the deal is a result of creating an environment where opposition appears as distasteful as support.

The most ironic part of Coons' speech is this:
Finally, I will support this agreement despite its flaws because it is the better strategy for the United States to lead a coalesced global community in containing the spread of nuclear weapons....Right now, we have an opportunity to lead our allies in containing a dangerous nation’s ability to secure a weapon of mass destruction. We can do this through a combination of diplomacy and deterrence that gives our allies in the region the support to defend themselves and the confidence that if diplomacy fails, we will invoke military options to achieve it.

Yes, the US has been the leader - in ensuring that Iran will have nuclear weapons in 15 years. The idea that the US can lead the coalition opposing Iran, when it has done everything possible to strengthen Iran, is a triumph of after-the-fact justification on Coons' part.

These negotiations have destroyed the US' ability to lead the world against tyranny.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

09/01 Links Pt2: Candidate for UK Labor Leader Campaigned to Free Israel Embassy Bombers

From Ian:

UK Labor Front-Runner Campaigned to Free Israel Embassy Bombers
The man likely to be elected head of the UK's major opposition party, Labor MP Jeremy Corbyn, campaigned in support of two terrorists convicted for bombing Jewish and Israeli targets in London, it has been revealed.
It is just the latest disturbing revelation of the Labor front runner's connection to extremists, including terrorists and virulent anti-Semites.
Corbyn led the campaign to release Palestinian terrorists Jawad Botmeh and Samar Alami, who were convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison for bombing the Israeli Embassy and a Jewish charity headquarters in 1994.
14 people were injured in the embassy attack, while six were wounded in the attack on the offices of the United Jewish Israel Appeal (UJIA) just one day later. Both attacks involved car bombs packed with high explosives.
Botmeh and Alami were found in possession of five pounds of explosives, which investigators say were were used to make the bombs, and a sizable cache of guns. But while they admitted possession of the arms the convicted terrorists protested their innocence, saying they weren't intended for use in the UK. Botmeh even claimed Israel had bombed the sites themselves to gain sympathy.
But a 2001 appeal against their conviction was rejected, with the prosecution noting the "overwhelming" evidence of their involvement in the plot - though their suspected accomplices have never been caught.
Undeterred, Corbyn took up their cause in 2002, signing five early day motions in Parliament between 2002-2006 and calling for their parole, according to the Jewish Chronicle. He called for the pair's release repeatedly, and in 2003 questioned then-Home Secretary David Blunkett over the investigation, suggesting the men had been framed.
His support for the bombers continued after their release from prison as well.
Douglas Murray: Jeremy Corbyn isn’t alone in thinking that Osama bin Laden’s death was ‘a tragedy’
The news that Jeremy Corbyn thought the death of Osama bin Laden ‘a tragedy‘ because he was never put on trial is not very surprising. Nor is it as far-out-there as most of his comments.
I did a BBC Question Time immediately after bin Laden’s death where I got the impression I was the only person in Britain not to feel sad about the terrorist’s death. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Paddy Ashdown and most of the audience seemed horrified by the terrorist’s early demise and were most exercised of all over whether or not he had been given an appropriately ‘Islamic’ burial.
Fortunately there was a woman in the audience (in Hammersmith, London) who had been on the Tube on 7 July and had seen people ripped from their lives far more brutally and with far less reason than Osama bin Laden was. But most people in the room were far too high on ‘liberal’ fury to care about that or about commuters murdered on the transport most of them would use each morning.
All of which is to say that people should beware of thinking Corbyn is in a minority on this one. It is possible – I have certainly thought for some time – that a liberal death-wish, as exemplified by weeping over your enemies, is fairly mainstream in our country these days.
Emails Show Blumenthal Pushed Son’s Anti-Israel Activism On Hillary
In response to a tweet from The Daily Caller’s Jamie Weinstein asking the younger Blumenthal if he was an “informal adviser” to Clinton, Blumenthal responded, “I warned her about the danger of #JSIL. She didn’t listen.”
The JSIL (The Jewish State of Israel in the Levant) hashtag on Twitter is the creation of Max and fellow anti-Israel writer, Rania Khalek. The hashtag is meant to compare Israel to the terrorist organization ISIL.
In June 2010, Sid sent Clinton a piece Max wrote about the Gaza-bound flotilla carrying pro-Palestinian activists, which ended in a deadly raid by Israeli commandos after the flotilla refused to turn around when it attempted to break through Israel’s coastal territory.
The incident remains in dispute to this day. In his piece, Max claims that Israel provided no proof the flotilla passengers had terrorist connections and Israeli media was playing along with whatever the Israel Defense Forces told them.
Sid sent Clinton another Max article that attacked Israel over the flotilla incident in June 2010. The piece is titled, “The Flotilla Raid Was Not ‘Bungled.’ The IDF Detailed Its Violent Strategy In Advance.”
A few months later in August, Sid sent Clinton an email with Max’s piece that described Israeli teenagers who spent their summer demolishing Palestinian structures in the Bedouin village of Al-Arakib. Max calls it the “Summer Camp Of Destruction.” (h/t Effect)
Israeli-Palestinian Faceoff - on a Welsh Mountain?
Now that's commitment: When a group of British pro-Israel activist got wind of a fund-raising event for a terrorist-linked charity they decided they had to act.
Dozens had already signed up for the fundraiser for Interpal, a charity which is banned in the US for funding Hamas, but which is still legal in the UK, despite Hamas also being a proscribed terrorist group there.
Hamas is responsible for the murder of thousands of Israelis and the maiming of many more, mostly civilians. Its charter details its commitment to the destruction of the State of Israel and the ultimate genocide of the Jewish people.
Joseph Cohen, founder and leader of the Israel Advocacy Movement, decided to arrange a counter-protest in response. A simple enough task - except the fund-raiser was a hike up the highest mountain in England and Wales, Mount Snowdon.
But that didn't deter the half-dozen Israel activists who, together with Cohen, schlepped all the way from London to Wales for a mountaintop showdown.
They decided the most appropriate response would be to dedicate their own hike to the One Family organization, which helps survivors of terrorist attacks and bereaved families deal with their physical, psychological and emotional wounds.
However, not wanting to tip-off the pro-Palestinian group, they only announced their own fundraiser after the event.

UN Watch ratchets up the pressure on UNRWA

UNRWA's Chris Gunness did not want to get on Hillel Neuer's bad side.

Since Gunness essentially threatened UN Watch on Twitter, Hillel has been nearly as obsessed with proving Gunness is a hypocrite as, well, me.

Yesterday, Neuer was on WSJ video news.slamming Gunness.



Today, UN Watch issued another press release based partially on my research:

GENEVA, September 1, 2015 - UN Watch today expressed alarm at Facebook posts by UNRWA officials (see sample below) that openly incite to antisemitism and terrorism, and urged UNRWA chief Pierre Krähenbühl to take immediate action by terminating the officials, and issuing an apology.

“The pattern and practice of UNRWA school principals, teachers and staff members posting antisemitic and terror-inciting images suggests a pathology of racism and violence within UNRWA that must be rooted out, not buried, as UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness has attempted to do by calling for boycotts of newspapers or NGOs that report these incidents of hate,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a non-governmental Geneva watchdog organization.

“The UN must recognize that these disgusting posts, published on Facebook accounts run by people who identify themselves as UNRWA officials, constitute a gross violation of Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which prohibits “incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence,” said Neuer.

“Enough of the UNRWA strategy of impunity, denial and deflection. It’s time for the perpetrators to be held to account. They must be fired, immediately.”

Also today, they linked to the video of my interview on Israel's Channel 10 about UNRWA

UNWRA spokesperson Chris Gunness promised to fire UNRWA officials who promote antisemitic violence, a pledge that will be put to the test this week as UN Watch submits detailed evidence of such incitement to the United Nations.

Gunness’ comments were made in response to information documented two weeks ago by the blogger Elder of Ziyon.

Gunness’ comments, recorded at 4:00 in the video above, from August 19, 2o15:

If there are allegations, and if this is true, it is indeed a very big problem, and we will deal with it. Where we find credible allegations of neutrality violations among our staff, we investigate and where it’s appropriate we take disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. And that process is audited by our major donors, with the United States and the European Union who are the biggest suporters of Israel on the international stage.

Which clearly UNRWA isn't doing, nor do they have any intention of doing that unless forced to by public pressure.

Which means that UNRWA does not take these allegations seriously at all.

I'm working on other angles to publicize UNRWA's hypocrisy, but meanwhile the independent petition to investigate Gunness keeps on adding signatures. 

Abbas' Palace

From Newsweek Europe:

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is constructing a $13 million palace in the West Bank, despite the country being crippled by financial woes.

The project, titled the Presidential Guest Palace in Surda, Ramallah, is listed as an ongoing project on the official website of the Palestinian Economic Council for Development & Reconstruction (PECDAR). It is due to take two years to complete, though the project's start date is not clear from the website.

The complex will include a 4,700-square-metre guest palace and two helipads, as well as a 4,000-square-metre administrative building. It will be constructed over a total land area of 27,000 square metres. PECDAR said on the website that the project will be financed by the Palestinian Ministry of Finance.

The objectives of PECDAR, as listed on its website, include "coordinating the flow of international assistance for the benefit of the Palestinian people" and "identifying investment projects and other activities to be financed by the donor countries." It is accountable to a Board of Trustees, headed up by President Abbas. Most of the other ongoing projects listed on PECDAR's website are being funded by foreign donors, including a $4.5 million drug warehouse in Nablus being funded by the French government and a $7.2 million judicial court complex in Hebron, funded by the Government of Canada.

PECDAR was not immediately available to comment on the purpose of the palace and how it would benefit Palestinian people.

JTA quotes Haaretz, however, as saying that the palace is being paid for by donations, not the Palestinian Authority.

I find that a bit hard to believe and the PEDCAR page for the palace itself says no such thing (at the moment.)

This is not the most expensive project on the PEDCAR page that is being paid for by the general PA budget. They are also building a $15 million national garden.

(h/t MtTB)