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The Rogue’s Gallery at the UN Human Rights Council

September 17, 2017

The Rogue’s Gallery at the UN Human Rights Council | Anne’s Opinions, 17th September 2017

In the unlikely event that we might have forgotten what the UN is really about (hint: it is not all sweetness and light, or democracy and peace), here is UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer to remind us, as he reports on last week’s Human Rights Wrongs Council debating imposing sanctions on dictatorships. The panel of course was populated by a rogue’s gallery of dictators:

Even within the rogues’ gallery that is the U.N. human rights Council, today’s council panel attacking Western democracies for imposing sanctions on dictatorships was the mother of all rogues’ galleries.

The panelists:

1. Lead panelist was UN expert Idriss Jazairy, who described Putin’s Russia as a human rights victim. Coincidentally, as UN Watch revealed today, Jazairy received $50,000 from the Russian government. As Algerian ambassador to UN, he once said “antisemitism targets Arabs.”

2. Alena Douhan, a Belarus academic with a soft spot for Russia, whose doctorate was on the principle of “non-interference” in countries’ “internal affairs.”

3. Alfred de Zayas, the Cuban-appointed expert for a “democratic and equitable international order.” Zayas has defended Iran’s right to nuclear weapons, and writes books claiming Germany suffered a “genocide” in 1945. Zayas is a hero to Holocaust deniers.

4. Jean Ziegler, co-founder & 2002 recipient of the Qaddafi Human Rights Prize. In his presentation, Ziegler actually defended the murderous Maduro regime of Venezuela, which he said was being victimized by a U.S. “economic war.”

5. Panel Chair: the ambassador of Venezuela’s Maduro regime, Jorge Romero. He effusively thanked Ziegler for his kind words.

6. Peggy Hicks, a top official in the office of UN high commissioner Zeid, delivered the opening statement. A former Human Rights Watch official, we hoped she would provide a dissenting voice. Instead, she echoed the same line. And when Ziegler spouted pro-Maduro propaganda, Hicks was silent.

Welcome to the U.N. human rights council.

Watch the video:

 

UN Watch was also busy with Venezuelan opposition figures who held a panel objecting to the plenary address by the Venezuelan Foreign Minister at the Human Rights Council:

GENEVA, Sept. 11, 2017 – Venezuelan opposition figures, family members of political prisoners, and human rights activists gathered today at the 47-nation U.N. human rights council to refute the plenary address by foreign minister Jorge Arreaza.

Venezuelan opposition figures, family members of political prisoners, and human rights activists protest the plenary address of the Venezuelan FM at the Human Rights Council

UN Watch, the Geneva-based non-governmental human rights group, together with Venezuela por Iniciative, organized a panel of leading Venezuelan voices, at a side event held below the human rights council chamber, to represent the views of the pro-democracy opposition.

UN Watch has submitted a draft resolution (en español) calling or the suspension of Venezuela from the UNHRC, which has been published as an official UN document. Executive director Hillel Neuer urged member states, especially Peru on behalf of the Lima Group, to adopt a resolution.

Diego Arria, the former Venezuelan ambassador to the UN and Security Council president, called for the dictator Nicolas Maduro to be indicted by the International Criminal Court. Click here for Arria speech | En Español

Julieta Lopez, aunt of pro-democracy leader and political prisoner Leopoldo Lopez. Click for speech.

Rosaura Valentini, wife of political prisoner Yon Goiechocheca, said people are completely dehumanized. Child mortality declined to 1950s figures. Elderly die for lack of essential drugs. There is widepsread malnutrition. Mayors have been taken prisoner, despite having been chosen by the vote of the people. Violinist playing music was also taken as a prisoner. Hundreds of protesters are taken as prisoners. Click here for UNHRC plenary speech.

Unfortunately it appears that UN Watch’s appeal to bar the Venezuelan Foreign Minister has fallen on deaf ears at the UN HRC. Sadly that was unsurprising. Our expectations from that rogues gallery of villains could hardly sink any lower.

Nevertheless Hillel Neuer and UN Watch have to be commended for their unstinting work in pursuing dictators and tyrants at the UN, showcasing their bias and hypocrisy for all the world to see.

Stupidity or malice? The US plans to return stolen Jewish artifacts to Iraq

September 12, 2017

Stupidity or malice? The US plans to return stolen Jewish artifacts to Iraq | Anne’s Opinions, 12th September 2017

Looted Jewish artifacts from Iraq

When the news hit the headlines this week that the US plans to return Jewish artifacts to Iraq – artifacts, it should be noted, that were stolen from the Iraqi Jewish community by the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq and rescued by US forces – I thought the story sounded familiar. A quick search on my blog revealed that this decision had already been discussed 4 years ago! To be honest, I thought that this absurd decision to return the artifacts to their unlawful owners had been shelved once Donald Trump became President. Sadly this is not the case.

The JTA reports:

NEW YORK (JTA) — The United States will return to Iraq next year a trove of Iraqi Jewish artifacts that lawmakers and Jewish groups have lobbied to keep in this country, a State Department official said.

A four-year extension to keep the Iraqi Jewish Archive in the U.S. is set to expire in September 2018, as is funding for maintaining and transporting the items. The materials will then be sent back to Iraq, spokesman Pablo Rodriguez said in a statement sent to JTA on Thursday.

Rodriguez said the State Department “is keenly aware of the interest in the status” of the archive.

“Maintaining the archive outside of Iraq is possible,” he said, “but would require a new agreement between the Government of Iraq and a temporary host institution or government.”

Detail of Tik (Torah case) and Glass Panel from Baghdad, 19th-20th centuries, part of the Iraqi Jewish Archive. (National Archives)

The archive was brought to America in 2003 after being salvaged by U.S. troops. It contains tens of thousands of items including books, religious texts, photographs and personal documents. Under an agreement with the government of Iraq, the archive was to be sent back there, but in 2014 the Iraqi ambassador to the U.S. said its stay had been extended. He did not say when the archive was to return.

Democratic and Republican lawmakers and Jewish groups have lobbied to renegotiate the deal, arguing that the documents should be kept in the U.S. or elsewhere where they are accessible to Iraqi Jews and their descendants. JTA reached out to lawmakers who have sponsored resolutions urging a renegotiation of the archive’s return but did not hear back in time for publication.

Iraq and proponents of returning the archive say it can serve as an educational tool for Iraqis about the history of Jews there and that it is part of the country’s patrimony.

Addressing the points that I highlighted above in bold, Caroline Glick scathingly attacks the “State Department’s strange obsession” while also answering the question in my headline:

The law of Occam’s Razor, refined to common parlance, is that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.

If we apply Occam’s Razor to recently reported positions of the US State Department, then we can conclude that the people making decisions at Foggy Bottom have “issues” with Jews and with Israel.

The books and documents were looted from the Iraqi Jewish community by successive Iraqi regimes. They were restored by the National Archives in Washington, DC.

Before Treatment: Passover Haggadah, 1902. One of very few Hebrew manuscripts recovered from the Mukhabarat, this Haggadah was hand-lettered and decorated by an Iraqi youth.

The Iraqi Jewish community was one of the oldest exilic Jewish communities.

It began with the Babylonian exile following the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem 2,600 years ago. Until the early 20th century, it was one of the most accomplished Jewish communities in the world. Some of the most important yeshivas in Jewish history were in present-day Iraq. The Babylonian Talmud was written in Iraq. The Jewish community in Iraq predated the current people of Iraq by nearly a thousand years.

It was a huge community. In 1948, Jews were the largest minority in Baghdad.

Jews comprised a third of the population of Basra. The status of the community was imperiled during World War II, when the pro-Nazi junta of generals that seized control of the government in 1940 instigated the Farhud, a weeklong pogrom. 900 Jews were murdered.

Thousands of Jewish homes, schools and businesses were burned to the ground.

With Israel’s establishment, and later with the Baathist seizure of power in Iraq in the 1960s, the once great Jewish community was systematically destroyed.

Between 1948 and 1951, 130,000 Iraqi Jews, three quarters of the community, were forced to flee the country. Those who remained faced massive persecution, imprisonment, torture, execution and expulsion in the succeeding decades.

When US forces overthrew the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003, only a dozen or so remained in the country.

Today, there are none left.

As for the current Iraqi government that the State Department wishes to support by implementing its 2014 agreement, it is an Iranian satrapy. Its leadership and military receive operational orders from Iran.

The Iraqi Jewish archive was not created by the Iraqi government. It is comprised of property looted from persecuted and fleeing Jews. In light of this, it ought to be clear to the State Department that the Iraqi government’s claim to ownership is no stronger than the German government’s claim to ownership of looted Jewish property seized by the Nazis would be.

On the other hand, members of the former Jewish community and their descendants have an incontrovertible claim to them. And they have made this claim, repeatedly.

To no avail. As far as the State Department is concerned, they have no claim to sacred books and documents illegally seized from them.

When asked how the US could guarantee that the archive would be properly cared for in Iraq, all State Department spokesman Pablo Rodriguez said was, “When the IJA [Iraqi Jewish archive] is returned, the State Department will urge the Iraqi government to take the proper steps necessary to preserve the archive, and make it available to members of the public to enjoy.”

It is hard not to be taken aback by the callousness of Rodriguez’s statement.

Again, the “members of the public” who wish to “enjoy” the archive are not living in Iraq. They are not living in Iraq because they were forced to run for their lives – after surrendering their communal archives to their persecutors. And still today, as Jews, they will be unable to visit the archives in Iraq without risking their lives because today, at a minimum, the Iraqi regime kowtows to forces that openly seek the annihilation of the Jewish People.

And the State Department knows this.

The question then arises, surely this new American administration under President Donald Trump would be more sympathetic to Jewish concerns, and would overturn this surreal decision made by the Obama administration?

Apparently it’s not so clear-cut. It appears that Trump’s Chief of Staff John Kelly has been blocking most conservative news sites from reaching Trump, thus limiting his awareness of what is happening outside of his immediate circle (h/t Dan Miller in Panama).

Daniel Greenfield reiterates his call to the President – which he made in 2013 to Barack Obama (and which I quoted in my blog post at the time) – and demands that Trump should block Obama’s move to return these stolen artifacts to Iraq: (emphases are added):

… The archive doesn’t belong to the Iraqi government, but to the Jewish population that was ethnically cleansed from Iraq.

The United States recovered the archive and should have turned it over to the Jewish community. Instead we had a bizarre Kafkaesque process in which the archive was restored to be turned over to the thieves who stole it.

Jewish political leaders have invested a lot of energy into looted art in Europe. And that’s a worthwhile cause. Yet this is a far more compelling issue. The archive contains the history of a Jewish community. It matters far more than a Klimt painting. Sadly, the priorities are those of a secular Ashkenazi leadership that is uninterested in the Iraqi Jewish archive because it’s Sephardi and religious.

“This is Jewish communal property. Iraq stole it and kept it hidden away in a basement. Now that we’ve managed to reclaim it, it would be like returning stolen goods back to the thief,” Urman told JTA on Friday.

It’s exactly like it. Meanwhile here’s the bizarre anti-Semitic justification on the Iraqi side for wanting the archive. Here’s Al Arabiya’s explanation

Experts add that Israel is keen on obtaining the manuscripts in order to prove their claim that the Jews had built the Tower of Babel as part of its attempt to distort the history of the Middle East for its own interests.

Wonderful.

Harold Rhode, who discovered the trove while working as a Defense Department policy analyst assigned to Iraq’s transitional government, said he is “horrified” to think the material would be returned when it had been “stolen by the government of Iraq from the Jewish community.”

“It would be comparable to the U.S. returning to the German government Jewish property that had been looted by the Nazis,” he told The Jewish Week.

It’s exactly like it.

I don’t expect Tillerson to care. Between McMaster at the NSC, Mattis on Defense and Tillerson, foreign policy is under the control of the usual Islam Firsters who are very concerned with Muslim feelings, particularly in the oil states, and very little else. And so the old Obama plan to turn over stolen Jewish religious items to a hostile Islamic regime is moving forward.

But President Trump can and should block the move. It’s the right thing to do. And Jewish activists should make that case.

If at the end the State Department’s decision cannot be overcome by President Trump’s executive veto (or whatever it is called in American politics), we can safely say that this decision is motivated more by malice than stupidity.

As before in 2013, there is a petition (possibly still the same one) which you should all sign, demanding that the artifacts do not return to Iraq.

Please sign and share the petition.

Update on Al-Aqsa unrest

July 21, 2017

Update on Al-Aqsa unrest | Anne’s Opinions, 21st July 2017

Just a quick update with what’s been happening today on the Temple Mount and Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa.

Last night, as the cabinet discussed the measures to be taken on the Temple Mount, the Arabs continued to riot violence, leaving 42 Arabs and 5 policemen injured:

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri said Palestinians threw rocks and glass bottles at the officers outside the Old City’s Lions Gate following evening prayers. Police responded with tear gas and riot dispersal methods. Samri said 5 officers were hurt.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said that 36 of the protesters were taken to the hospital for treatment. Two of them were in serious condition after being hit by rubber bullets.

As I mentioned last night, Israelis were worried that our government would cave in to pressure to remove the metal detectors at the entrance to Al-Aqsa. Thankfully, the cabinet did NOT surrender.

The Political-Security Cabinet decided on Thursday night, after a four-hour meeting, that the magnetometers will remain at the entrance to the Temple Mount as part of the new security measures at the compound. The decision was taken the evening before the Friday prayerrs at the site, when large numbers of Muslims ascend the Mount..

The Cabinet also authorized the police to make every decision “in order to ensure free access to the holy places, while maintaining security and public order” on the Temple Mount.

“Israel is committed to maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount and the freedom of access to the holy sites. Israel is committed to protecting the safety of all worshipers and visitors to the Temple Mount,” said a statement.

Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan told Channel 2 News in an interview that the metal detectors must remain on the Temple Mount because “the security interest in preventing future attacks in the wake of a desire to imitate what happened [last week] has to prevail.”

“We must continue to install them (the metal detectors) on all roads to the Temple Mount. If the Shin Bet is opposed to the security measures, then it should offer alternatives, and that did not happen.”

They also instructed to prevent under-50 year old men from entering the Mosque. Yisrael Katz, Likud Minister for Transportation, said “we won’t concede our sovereignty on the Temple Mount“.

Israeli Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud), who serves as a member of Israel’s Secrity Cabinet, on Friday said that the Cabinet decided to keep magnetometers on the Temple Mount and did not leave the decision up to the police.

“The Temple Mount is in our hands,” Katz said, quoting the soldiers who liberated Jerusalem’s Old City during the Six Day War. “We will not cede sovereignty. The State of Israel is responsible for preserving law and order on the Temple Mount.””Contrary to reports, the Security Cabinet decided to continue using every security precaution which was begun immediately following the despicable terror attack, including the use of metal detectors. The State of Israel is responsible for implementing this policy.”

Earlier on Friday, Israel Police announced that entry to the Old City and the Temple Mount would be closed to men below the age of 50, and that private vehicles would not be allowed to enter the Old City or the nearby Sultan Suleiman Street.

The police also closed certain roads around the Old City area:

Following internal police consultations on Friday morning, Jerusalem Police chief Yoram Halevy ordered the continued operation of the metal detectors and restricted entry to young men, allowing only those over 50 or women of any age to enter the Old City.

Muslim worshipers perform noon prayers by the Lions Gate, outside the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem’s Old City, July 20, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Checkpoints at the entrances to Jerusalem will also be bolstered, as well as police patrols in the alleyways of the Old City and on paths taken by Jewish and Muslim worshipers to the Temple Mount and Western Wall.

Police also announced that some roads around the Old City will be closed to vehicles, including Sultan Suleiman Street and various circumference roads in the Old City basin.

Halevy issued a special notice to officers posted at the metal detectors “emphasizing the importance of ensuring the dignity of the worshipers” as they pass through the gates.

It is important to note that the directive emanated from the government to the police. If the choice had been left up to the police themselves, they might well have removed the magnetometers simply in order to “keep the peace”. This is certainly a short-term measure but that is how the police operate if left to their own devices. But they would not act against government directives. This is the way the government should act also regarding Jewish prayer rights on the Temple Mount – they should instruct the police to permit it, and it is up to the police then to enforce those rights.

In protest, the Mufti of Jerusalem called on Muslims to pray outside the Mosque rather than go through the security gates. I’m pretty sure that suits us all fine. It leaves the Temple Mount free for the Jews, and the Muslims can pray wherever they want.

Muslims pray outside Al-Aqsa, pointing their backsides towards the mosque

A win-win situation for all, as long as the Muslims stop their rioting.

I will update here if there is any more news before Shabbat.

UPDATE: 3 Palestinians killed, 200 injured in further riots.

The Israel-India renewed friendship

July 7, 2017

Good News Friday Part I – The Israel-India renewed friendship | Anne’s Opinions, 7th July 2017

The visit this week of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the first ever official visit of an Indian Prime Minister to Israel, is too important to relegate to a small item in a regular Good News Friday post, so this week you shall receive a double portion (just like the Manna in the wilderness 😀 )

Indian PM Narendra Modi and Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Israel’s welcome of Modi was almost ecstatic. Not only the Prime Minister and the government, but the people of Israel too were delighted with the visit of this remarkable man. The warmth between the two nations was expressed right from the start, on Modi’s descending from his plane onto the tarmac. Watch just the first minutes of PM Modi’s (25 minute long) video to understand:

As Modi said:

Israellycool’s Aussie Dave remarks on Modi’s choice of clothing:

But there is even more to the level of respect and affection than meets the eye. The Times of India explains that even PM Modi’s fashion choice was meant as a tribute to Israel.

He wore a white suit with a blue handkerchief to represent the colours of Israel. What a beautiful gesture! What a mensch!

As to the substance of the visit, Vijeta Uniyal, writing at Israellycool, gives us some more background to the visit:

With bilateral relations at all-time high, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has embarked on a 3-day visit to Israel today. Prime Minister Modi becomes the first ever sitting Indian premier to visit the Jewish State.

Developmental issues such as agriculture technology and water management will be high on agenda during the historic visit that marks the 25 years of bilateral diplomatic ties. Both countries are expected to sign an agreement setting up a $40 million innovation fund to finance joint research in agriculture, water, energy and technology during the prime ministerial visit.

“In the last few years the world has seen the India Israel relationship come out from the perception of just Defense related activities to showcasing a fantastic connection in agricultural, educational, entrepreneurial & cultural cooperation. It’s these new areas which are making this bilateral a model for the rest of the world to follow.” Rishi Suri, senior international affairs editor at Indian newspaper Daily Milap, told Israellycool.

Vijeta Uniyal wrote another piece at Legal Insurrection on Israel and India’s newly upgraded ties during the historic visit:

“Narendra Modi receives extraordinary welcome as he begins path-breaking visit to Israel,” noted Indian financial daily Economic Times. “The personal chemistry and the warmth between Modi and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was apparent in their remarks and their hugs.” The newspaper noted the significance of the visit that goes beyond the impressive personal rapport that both world leaders have managed to forge:

Behind the overt affection and friendship, lies deep political significance as India for the first time has delinked its relationship with Israel from its traditional support to Palestine. But, India now hopes to leverage its relationship with Israel to attract more investment, and gain from Israeli cutting-edge technology and defence.

“Investments to boost tourism, education and cultural ties and building bridges with the Indian diaspora in Israel can help boost ties between the two countries,” wrote the leading Indian business daily Mint. “Indeed, these are the low-hanging fruits in the bilateral relationship that can be plucked right away.”

Indian PM Narendra Modi and Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu on Modi’s arrival in India

“Red carpet welcome done, PM Narendra Modi gets down to business in Israel today,” reported the Indian news channel NDTV. “Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu, who usually meets visiting heads of government for a meeting and over dinner or lunch meeting, will accompany PM Modi to most engagements.”

On a historic visit that started with firm handshakes, hugs and a smattering of Hindi and Hebrew, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will get down to business today with back-to-back meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders that will focus on cooperation on defence, security, water and more. Apart from the multiple pacts that the two strategic partners are expected to seal at Wednesday’s meetings, the two leaders are also expected to deliver a strong message against terrorism in their joint statement. Both leaders had yesterday spoken in one voice to resolutely combat terrorism and radicalism.

India-Israel partnership in the field of start-up alone has a revenue potential of $25 billion, projected NASSCOM, the association of Indian IT companies. Indian daily Financial Expresspublished the excerpts of a report compiled by NASSCOM and consultancy firm Accenture:

Revenue worth USD 25 billion can be generated in India and Israel through cumulative cross- border investment into start-ups in these two countries, a joint report by Nasscom and Accenture today said. The report titled ‘Collaborative Innovation: The vehicle driving Indo-Israel prosperity’ noted India and Israel’s innovation ecosystems share unique innovation complementary traits in three areas — temperament, talent and technology.

The reaction in India to Narendra Modi’s visit was surprisingly very positive across all sectors of the country, even among their large Muslim minority as Vijeta Uniyal reports:

In a stunning display, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel received favourable coverage from across the Indian media landscape. The Indian Prime Minister was in Israel on a 3-day visit, first ever by an Indian premier.

Prime Minister Modi’s visit lays “the foundation of a new chapter in relations with Israel,” commented the country’s leading business daily Economic Times. Both countries took “historic steps towards a new engagement,” wrote newspaper Hindustan Times. Like many Indian newspapers, The Hindu described the visit as “ground-breaking” and noted the “extraordinary welcome” Indian leader received in “the Jewish nation.”

“In reorienting India’s foreign policy, Narendra Modi is responding to history and realpolitik,” commented the often left-leaning Indian news website, FirstPost.

“It is time Muslims rethink their idea of Israel,” wrote the Indian-Muslim commentator Tufail Ahmad. “Muslims in India must keep in mind that their success lies in India’s prosperity. As India makes rapid progress, the fruits of economic development and growing educational opportunities will inevitably reach Muslims as well. However, India’s economic progress lies in its strong security partners: Israel and the US.”

There were prominent voices in support of Prime Minister’s visit, even within the main opposition Congress Party. The former Deputy Foreign Minister Shashi Tharoor praised Prime Minister Modi’s diplomacy on Israel. “[This] shows our relationship has reached a level of maturity which makes it possible for us to contemplate first ever PM visit [to Israel],” Tharoor said.

SwarajyaMag, India’s leading centre-right magazine with a young readership, praised Prime Minister Modi’s diplomatic initiative, urging the government to “disassociate itself completely from the Palestinian question” and seek greater strategic cooperation with Israel. Ahead of Modi’s visit, the publication was blunt in its assessment of India’s foreign policy, stating “[the Visit] does not upend India’s decades-long policy by betraying a tilt towards the Jewish state.” Criticising India’s track record at the UN and other international fora, SwarajyaMag wrote:

A truly historic moment would be if India were to disassociate itself completely from the Palestinian question – it is not as if it has contributed in any meaningful way all these years. The issue does not affect India and is best left to the concerned parties to resolve, much as India insists on Kashmir. If India’s voting at international fora were to shift to reflect this new position, such a move would give Israel much diplomatic room to manoeuvre.

Of course there was whining from the Palestinian camp, but that is hardly news. It would only be newsworthy if they had welcomed such a visit.

As for Israel, PM Modi’s visit and the deepening of bilateral relations has very important implications on the diplomatic front. Firstly, it shows that Israel can improve foreign relations even in the absence of a peace process, as Raphael Ahren writes in the Times of Israel:

But amid all the compliments paid and deals struck, perhaps most striking about Modi’s historic visit were the things that weren’t mentioned. Iran — a close Indian ally — for example. The Islamic Republic’s ongoing destabilizing actions in the region and continuous calls for Israel’s destruction were not raised, or at least not publicly.

In meetings with world leaders, even those with good relations to Tehran, Netanyahu usually doesn’t shy away from talking about Iran. Last December in Astana, for instance, he asked Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev to send a message to Tehran. “Ask … why Iran continues to threaten us with annihilation. Don’t you understand: we’re not a rabbit. We’re a tiger,” he said.

Hosting Modi, Netanyahu refrained from belligerent statements directed at Tehran, despite the fact that Iranian terrorists were responsible for a 2012 terror attack in New Delhi, during which an Israeli was wounded. India never made any arrests in this case.

More importantly, the Palestinian issue was entirely absent from Modi’s visit. The Indian leader’s intention to separate Delhi’s friendship to Israel from its support for the Palestinians was evident once it emerged that Modi would visit Israel but skip the Palestinian Authority. But it was even more remarkable that in several speeches Modi made in Israel, he never cited the issue.

In a two-page joint statement the governments of Israel and India released Wednesday, the two leaders dedicated but one of 22 paragraphs to their discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. “They underlined the need for the establishment of a just and durable peace in the region,” the declaration read. “They reaffirmed their support for an early negotiated solution between the sides based on mutual recognition and security arrangements.”

The premier of India — a state which in 1947 opposed the UN Partition Plan and, 65 years later, supported granting the “State of Palestine” nonmember state status at the UN General Assembly — did not endorse Palestinian statehood once during his time here. He did not mention the two-state solution or the principle of two states for two peoples.

Herb Keinon in the Jerusalem Post similarly notes that Narendra Modi spent over two days in the country – and never once mentioned the Palestinians, nor did he visit them.

But one of the most refreshing aspects for Netanyahu was certainly that Modi did not publicly lecture or hector about the Palestinian issue. Had he come here and not coupled his visit with a quick trip to Ramallah to see Palestine Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, that – in Netanyahu’s eyes – would have been enough.

But Modi did even more than that. He didn’t even mention the Palestinians in public. He didn’t slam Israel for the settlements. And in the joint statement carefully drawn up by both sides spelling out the underpinnings of the relationship, the Palestinians were not mentioned until the 20th clause of a 22-clause document.

And even there, India – which was the first non-Muslim country in 1987 to recognize “Palestine” – spoke only generically about a “just and durable peace in the region,” without explicitly calling for a two-state solution.

Netanyahu had to wish that all his guests – especially those from Europe – behaved like Modi.

Why? What happened? How come Modi, whose country for decades was at the forefront of championing the Palestinian cause, did not even give the issue public lip service while here.

There are many reasons, some having to do with how Asians do business, others with how Modi prepared the ground for the trip, and still others dealing with India’s emerging power and status in the world.

First a word about style. India, unlike many of the European countries, does not like “megaphone diplomacy.”

One of the reasons, the officials said, is that India detests when other countries lecture and hector it about its fraught relationship with Pakistan, an indication New Delhi has internalized – at least when it comes to Israel – Hillel’s famous dictum about not doing to others what is hateful to you.

Secondly, Modi could get away with making this a strictly bilateral trip because he carefully prepared the ground for it.

Elected in 2014, there was talk that he would come to Israel already in the summer of 2015. He didn’t. He waited. He first went to Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar and Iran, where he obviously explained the nature of India’s relationship with Israel, and that improved ties with Israel would not come at their expense.

He also invited PA President Mahmoud Abbas to New Delhi in May, publicly supported a Palestinian state, and pledged that India’s historical support for the Palestinians would not waver.

In other words, he got all his ducks in a row before making his historic trip to Israel, something important from an Indian perspective considering that more than seven million Indians live and work in the Persian Gulf.

One of the reasons often given in the past for the brakes the Indians put on the relationship with Israel, was that a high-profile relationship would infuriate India’s Muslims.

It doesn’t.

India’s Muslims did not take to the streets when it became clear Modi wanted to visit, they didn’t raise a hue and cry. One conclusion is that the resonance of the Palestinian issue on the Muslim- populations in non-Arab countries is not as great as is often imagined. Another conclusion is that with all the turmoil in the Middle East, with the hundreds and thousands who have died in the region since the Arab Spring, the Palestinian issue has simply dropped as a priority issue.

If only other countries could learn from India and follow their lead, how different would the world, particularly the Middle East, look today.

And lastly, some highlights from PM Narendra Modi’s visit via the ToI link above:

The three-day visit was brimful with grand gestures — including plenty of Modi’s trademark hugs — and mutual declarations of love and admiration. Modi’s jam-packed itinerary comprised political talks with the government and the leader of the opposition, and secret talks on improving counter-terrorism coordination. There was an emotional meeting with an 11-year-old Jewish boy who lost his parents in the 2008 terror attack in Mumbai. Modi addressed a Bollywood-infused concert/rally for Israelis with Indian roots. And after paying his respect to the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust, he spontaneously visited the nearby grave of Zionist visionary Theodor Herzl.

A floricultural center named a flower after him, and he took a stroll with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the beach. The photos of the two leaders, their bare feet in the water as they chatted about Israeli desalination techniques, will go down in history as one of the most iconic images to come out of Israel since Netanyahu and Barack Obama took off their suit jackets at Ben Gurion Airport in March 2013.

 

Watch the two leaders at the beach. 🙂

 

On the economic front, too, the visit will have an impressive lasting impact. Israel and India established a $40 million Industrial R&D and Innovation Fund, and individual companies from both nations signed deals worth millions. Jerusalem and Delhi signed seven bilateral agreements, covering technology, agriculture, water and even space research. “We already agreed that the sky is not the limit because we’re doing it in space, but I think that the talents that we have in India and Israel are amazing and the possibilities are amazing,” Netanyahu said Thursday at the launch of the Israel-India CEOs’ Forum.

Modi formally invited Netanyahu to visit India, something the Israeli leader had dreamed about for years.

On a more serious note, in a very moving and emotional moment , Modi met with Moshe Holzberg, the little boy who was saved by his Indian nanny during a terror attack in Mumbai in which his parents, Chabad emissaries Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holzberg Hy’d, were killed.

The 11-year-old son of Chabad emissaries who were murdered in a 2008 jihadist rampage in Mumbai told visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he loves India and wants to return to complete the mission of his slain parents, during an emotional meeting Wednesday.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C-L) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C-R) meet with Moshe Holtzberg (C), and his nanny Sandra Solomon and with other relatives at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on July 5, 2017. ( AFP PHOTO / POOL / ATEF SAFADI)

Modi met with Moshe Holtzberg, pulling the boy close for an embrace and telling him that he would always be welcome in India.

Moshe’s nanny, Sandra Samuel, escaped from the Nariman Chabad House carrying 2-year-old Moshe in November 2008 after the building came under siege. Four Jewish victims were killed, including Moshe’s parents, Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg. Samuel has remained in Israel and was at the meeting as well.

At their meeting at a hotel in Tel Aviv, Modi immediately embraced Moshe, pulling him close and cupping his head against his chest before inviting him to come back to India.

The boy, accompanied by his grandparents who are raising him, welcomed the Indian premier to Israel.

Wearing a lapel pin with Indian and Israeli flags, he read out a message in halting English, telling Modi, “I hope I will be able to visit Mumbai, and when I get older, live there. I will be the director of our Chabad House” in place of his murdered father. “With God’s help, this is my answer.”

“Dear Mr. Modi,” Holtzberg concluded, “I love you and your people in India.”

I challenge you to have a dry eye at seeing this courageous little boy, all grown up, speaking two or three languages, and having developed so well thanks to his brave nanny Sandra Solomon and his wonderful grandparents and family.

And one more item from Modi’s visit to conclude this enjoyable post:

The Indian-Israeli community went gaga over Modi’s visit, celebrating in a jubilant fashion:

On Wednesday, thousands of Indian Israelis gathered in the city to greet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a glitzy, wild welcome for the first premier from their home country to visit the Jewish state.

Brightly colored Indian saris mingled with jeans and t-shirts — and not a few kippot and religious headscarves — at Wednesday’s event, which began with several Bollywood dance acts and a concert.

Members of the Indian community in Israel celebrate during the official visit of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at the Convention Center in Tel Aviv, on July 5, 2017. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

 

Bollywood dancing at festivities celebrating Modi’s visit to Israel

“It gives me chills,” said Naomi Yakub, who immigrated to Israel from India in the early 1970s and is part of a community of some 100,000 Indian Jews living in the country. For the Jewish community in Israel, “a meeting like this we haven’t had in 45 years,” she said.

“We love India, because we were born there and our parents are there,” added her friend Tal Shulamith, now a resident of Be’er Yaakov in central Israel. “It’s very emotional.”

But the culmination of the community’s raw elation was reserved for the moment Modi and Netanyahu walked on stage to Academy Award-level applause and a solid two-minute standing ovation. The leaders — Modi dressed in blue-and-beige, Netanyahu in a blue tie — clasped hands triumphantly in the air.

“Modi! Modi! Modi!” chanted the observers, some of whom wore “I am a fan of Narendra Modi” t-shirts.

Hailing the strong bilateral ties between the two countries for 25 years, Netanyahu noted that “we always remember that there’s a human bridge between us — you. We admire you, we respect you, we love you.”

Taking the stage after Netanyahu, Modi gave a lengthy speech in Hindi to the crowd of mostly Indian immigrants.

“For the first time in 70 years an Indian PM has got an opportunity to visit Israel,” his office wrote on Twitter in English simultaneously. “This is a matter of joy.”

For Israel’s Indian community, it certainly was.

Not only for Israel’s Indian community. For all of us.

Safe journey home Mr. Modi. May our two countries continue on the path to deep and warm relations for our mutual benefit.

Shabbat Shalom everyone!

Ayala Shapira’s mother: Why I didn’t go to court to see the terrorist sentenced

July 6, 2017

Ayala Shapira’s mother: why I didn’t go to court to see the terrorist sentenced | Anne’s Opinions, 6th July 2017

(Ayala Shapira is a young teenager (and one of my granddaughter’s best friends) who, two and a half years ago, at age 11, was horrifically injured in a firebomb attack by a Palestinian terrorist.

The open letter below, in the body of my article, was written by her mother Ruth, and I would stress that I have translated it and posted it with her permission. — anneinpt)

You may remember that Ayala Shapira was the 11-year old girl who was terribly injured in December 2014 by a Molotov cocktail (i.e a firebomb) thrown by a Palestinian terrorist at the family car. She suffered horrific burns to her face and upper body, and was more dead than alive for a while. She has made a miraculous recovery but still suffers from the burns, has endured many operations and skin grafts, and will have to undergo still many more until she is completely rehabilitated. She has to wear a pressure mask for much of the time as well.

Ayala Shapira before the terrorist attack

Ayala has shown remarkable courage and stoicism in coping with the terrible pain and disfigurement, as well as her missing schoolwork and social life. Her friends (I’m proud to say my own granddaughter is one of her best friends) and her parents’ friends, family and community have been fantastic in helping out, whether practically or giving moral support, and of course the State has given the support that it gives to all victims of terrorism in Israel. Yet none of this compensates for the damage done.

Ayala Shapira in her pressure mask addressing the EU

Ayala recently addressed the EU, recounting the attack and the story of her not-yet-finished recovery, stressing that she is determined to continue her life as normally as possible.

The terrorists were arrested shortly after the attack, and this week the adult terrorist (the second was a minor) Muhammad Badwan, was sentenced in court to 18 years in prison and fined NIS 50,000 ($14,200) for the attack.

If you think that 18 years and a paltry fine is not enough for this attempted murder, you are not alone.

But it is not only the sentence that is infuriating the Shapiras and their supporters. It is the confused response of the Israeli government, that can’t decide whether this attack is a criminal offense or an act of war (which is what terrorism essentially is) which is angering not only them, but all victims of terrorism and their supporters, and probably most Israelis.

Below is an open letter written by Ruth Shapira explaining her thoughts and reactions, (you can read the original letter in Hebrew here) which I translated myself with her permission.

—-

Please share and distribute as much as possible.

After the sentence of the terrorist, I sent an article to all the media outlets in Israel. Unfortunately most of the media are not built for serious articles and therefore the article was cut and distorted. I would be happy for your assistance in distributing the original article:

So why did not I go to court?

Today, the trial ended of one of the two terrorists who threw firebomb that turned our lives upside down.

The defendant admitted to the court two incidents of throwing Molotov cocktails – the first lightly damaged our family car, and the second almost killed Ayala, my eldest daughter.

We often hear from families of victims of crime who came to court to “look the defendant in the eye.” We chose not to come.

The reason for this, we feel, is that the state has not really decided whether this is a specific criminal incident or an event on a national level.

On the one hand, the state recognizes us as victims of hostile acts, finances for us for the (very expensive) medical care and all the accompanying expenses, and supports and accompanies us in the long process of rehabilitation. The media interest in the story also seems to reflect public opinion and the ready spirit that is beating in the heart of the people.

Thus, in effect, the state recognizes Ayala as having been harmed by an act directed against the state, similar to a soldier who was injured during his army service.

(Or in the language of the law: harm from hostile acts by military or semi-military or irregular forces of a state hostile to Israel, from hostile acts by an organization hostile to Israel or hostile acts carried out while assisting one of them, as their emissary or on their behalf or in order to advance their objectives – The Law of Compensation for Victims of Hostilities, 5730-1970).

On the other hand, the same state treats the terrorist himself as a criminal transgressor and not as an enemy soldier and accordingly puts him on trial for “three attempts of murder” (mine, Avner’s, and our daughter Ayala’s) and not (if already) on assisting the enemy.

And the terrorist himself?
He would certainly agree to the language of the law. After all he does not know Ayala personally (in fact, I have difficulty remembering his name) and has nothing personal against her. Did he know, at the time of the act, that she was the one in the car? Definately not. Did he commit “three attempted murders”? He made two attempts to murder as many Jews as possible, with the clear intention of harming the sovereignty of the State of Israel.

But he did not look like a soldier! One of them is even a minor! Well, that’s exactly what “irregular forces of a hostile organization” look like.

How do you distinguish between irregular forces and a “regular” criminal? There are two easy tests:

1. The test of intention: Was the intention to harm the sovereignty of the State of Israel or a specific person?

2. The test of the environment: Was the arrest carried out as an ordinary police action, or was it more like a military operation? If there was a need for large forces to stop the terrorist, and there was a fear that someone might try to harm these forces during arrest, well, this is not a regular criminal, but an irregular combatant of a hostile organization (the hostile organization in this case, forms the hostile environment in which he lives).

And me? As a mother, of course I would like to see the terrorist punished. I would like him to suffer as Ayala suffers. That his mother will go mad with worry as he hovers between life and death. That he will writhe in pain even while he is asleep, and the percentage of painkillers in his blood will exceed all imagination. That he will undergo surgery, after surgery after surgery, without knowing when it will be over. Since there is no clause in Israeli law that matches such a sentence, I would have been content with the death sentence or life imprisonment.

But aside from being Ayala’s mother, I am also an Israeli citizen, and I care about the country’s future as well, so I can not come to terms with his being tried on a clause so far from the act he committed.

It is important for me to clarify that I have no complaints against the military prosecution, which does its work faithfully. The problem is with the government, which prefers to escape responsibility for managing the war, and to transfer it to the legal system.

Who is the main victim of this policy?
Well, the answer is easy. The State of Israel is losing a great deal of money, both on the rehabilitation of victims of hostile acts and on the holding of terrorists in prisons, it is losing the international public relations arena, and slowly losing its sovereignty.

So I should look at the terrorist in the eyes?

It is more important and urgent for policymakers to look into the eyes of the people.

Ruth Shapira, Tammuz 5771
4.7.17


(Translated by “anneinpt”).

Another terror attack in Jerusalem

June 18, 2017

Another terror attack in Jerusalem | Anne’s Opinions, 18th June 2017

Border Police Sgt. Hadas Malka Hy’d, murdered outside the Old City

After a few weeks of deceptive quiet, Palestinian terrorists carried out another terror attack on Friday night at their favourite haunting ground, Shaar Shechem (Damascus Gate) outside the Old City walls of Jerusalem. The attack was similar to previous attacks, involving both shooting and stabbing in a coordinated attack, and Border Police Sgt. Hadas Malka was murdered in the attack, stabbed to death as she tried to draw her weapon:

The Border Police officer killed in a coordinated stabbing and shooting attack in two areas in Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday evening was identified late Friday as Hadas Malka, 23. The three attackers, all of whom were members of Palestinian terrorist groups, were shot dead in the course of the attacks.

Malka was critically injured in a stabbing attack on Sultan Suleiman Street near Damascus Gate on Friday evening. She was transferred to Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus in Jerusalem where she underwent emergency surgery but later succumbed to her injuries.

She fought her attacker for several seconds while attempting to draw her weapon, according to a Border Police statement. Nearby troops shot and killed the assailant.

According to the Border Police statement, Malka was part of a group of officers responding to sounds of gunfire near their area of patrol close to Damascus Gate, when she was attacked.

The gunfire was coming from an attack seconds earlier in which two assailants attacked Border Police troops with a homemade Carl Gustav sub-machine gun and knives, at Zedakiah’s Cave in the Muslim Quarter. Some reports said the gun used by the attackers jammed, preventing further casualties. The two attackers were killed.

While on her way to the scene, Malka was accosted by a third attacker.

“Hadas fought her attacker for several seconds, while he stabbed her repeatedly and while trying to reach for her weapon,” the statement read.

Nearby troops opened fire and killed the attacker.

At least four more people were injured in the attacks, including another cop. They all sustained light to moderate wounds and were being treated in hospital.

Hundreds of people attended Hadas’s funeral last night including several politicians and police brass:

Participating in her funeral were family, friends, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud), opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog (Zionist Union), Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh, Border Police Commander Major General Yaakov Shabtai, Human Resources Department Head Major General Gila Gaziel, Ashdod Mayor Yehiel Lasri, and various MKs, regional council heads, police commanders, ministers, and Jews of all stripes and factions.

“Hadas’ memory will never leave us,” Erdan said. “We will do everything to ensure that just as her life was worthwhile, her death will be the same. We will continue to develop our land, and to protect Zion, our home.”

“We will continue to walk in Hadas’ path. We will not surrender and we will not bow our heads before these accursed terrorists. We will pursue our enemies and those who seek our downfall.

“Hadas, you were one of our best fighters.”

“Dear Hadas! Today you join a long list – over 1,460 – of fallen police officers,” Alsheikh began. “Your life and personality were a microcosmos of the entire police force.”

“I learned that you were a different species of fighter. You fought out of a feeling of mission, out of a desire to contribute. You insisted on transferring to the Border Police and becoming one of us. As soon as you finished your mandatory service, you signed on for five years of voluntary service. You wanted to take an officers’ course, and you remained faithful to yourself and to the values you learned at home. Your friends say you were an entire world. You were moral, you loved Israel and its people.

Shabtai said, “Four hundred ninety one Border Police officers have fallen since our founding. Each of these was an entire world. This one is Hadas – a symbol of patriotism and ZIonism.”

“Hadas’ commanders say she was an excellent fighter, who aspired to excellence, and who dotted every i and crossed every t. On Friday night, three evil terrorists came to kill, to kill Jews.

“Hadas and her partners worked bravely to neutralize the terrorists, who were armed with a rifle and knives. Unfortunately, Hadas paid with her life.

Hadas’s friends mourned her as a “true Wonder Woman“:

Hadas Malka, 23, the Border Police officer stabbed to death by a Palestinian assailant in a terror attack outside Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday evening, had sent a final selfie to her friends just minutes before the attack, wishing “Shabbat Shalom to my loving friends.” Those friends on Saturday remembered her as loving and fearless — a “real-life Wonder Woman,” said one.

Hadas Malka Hy’d

The friends spoke of how Malka had been in the navy, but wanted to be a combat soldier and transferred to the Border Police where she did the rest of her mandatory military service and then extended it 15 months ago and became an officer.

They also recounted how she was never afraid, despite all the attacks that have occurred in and near the Old City in Jerusalem, where she was on duty. “No one will come approach me … They won’t dare even come close to me,” she would tell them, according to Ynet.

Amit Azulai, a friend of Malka’s, told Channel 22 that Malka was “a real-life Wonder Woman… good-hearted and optimistic.”

What a terrible loss to her family, her friends and the people of Israel. May the memory of Hadas Malka Hy’d be for a blessing and may her family be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

As for the terrorists:

The Shin Bet security service named the three assailants as Adel Ankush, 18, Bra’a Salah, 19, and Asama Ahmed Atta, 19, all from the West Bank village of Deir Abu-Mash’al near Ramallah.

All three had been arrested for or involved in “popular terror activity,” a Shin Bet statement read.

The attack was carried out by “two Palestinians from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and a third from Hamas,” Hamas said early Saturday, dismissing a claim of responsibility by Islamic State.

Israeli officials cast doubt on both claims, saying there was no indication of IS involvement, and that the attack did not appear to have been directed by any group.

The ISIS claim, if true, would make it the first ISIS attack on Israel.

But a more important truth hides behind these claims of responsibility, as Israellycool points out:

So here we have IS, Hamas and PFLP claiming the murderers belonged to them, while the father of one of them claims otherwise. Clearly, at least one of the terror organizations is lying, yet they do so because it enhances their reputation.

Imagine that – boasting of killing a woman as being good for business. Sick does not begin to describe it. Yet we are somehow supposed to sit down and negotiate peace with such people?

No, we should negotiate with the PA, you might say. Well, this is what Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah had to say about the attack:

Fatah “condemns the war crime carried out by Israeli occupation forces in Jerusalem against three Palestinian teens,” spokesperson Osama al-Kawasme said in a statement. Fatah added that “the international community’s silence emboldened Israel to further spill the blood of Palestinians.”

Back to the terrorists claiming responsibility – IS and Hamas are Islamist terror organizations (the PFLP is secular Marxist). The IS statement makes clear their views on why killing Zionists Jews is a good thing:

“Let the Jews expect the demise of their entity at the hands of the Caliphate soldiers,” it said, calling the attack “revenge for God’s religion and for the violated sanctities of Muslims.”

Nope, not anger and frustration over the so-called “occupation.” This is about Islamic plans to re-establish a Caliphate.

Hamas are the same.

Israellycool then talks about the vile international media response to the attack:

Yet AP ends the report as follows

Palestinians say it stems from anger over decades of Israeli rule in territories they claim for their future state.

Are we surprised? We are not. Are we disgusted? Yes we are! The BBC lived down to its antisemitic reputation as its initial headline read:

This led Donald Trump Jr., the President’s son, to blast the BBC for its bias:

Trump Jr. immediately tweeted back: “You mean after they stabbed a female Israeli police officer to death… right? This is as close to being misleading as possible.”

“Need a new term for this nonsense. Sort of the opposite of victim blaming. How about Culprit Coddling? Maybe Criminal Cozying? Thoughts???,” he tweeted.

The battle was “won” by Binyamin Netanyahu who demanded that the BBC change its headline to accord with reality:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to reproach the BBC after the British news channel released what the premier deemed to be a biased report describing Friday’s terror attack, which resulted in the death of a 23-year-old border policewoman.

According to the MFA, prompted by the ministry’s request, the BBC has since changed the headline of the article.

The current headline now reads: “Israeli policewoman stabbed to death in Jerusalem.”

The tweet that the media outlet published on its official handle and which linked to the article with its previous headline has since been removed.

This is not the first time Israel lashes out at the BBC for what it says is a biased coverage of the conflict.

You can read about that spat here – but nothing changes, the BBC, AP and most of the rest of the international media continue with their anti-Israel bias, blaming the victim (Israel) and exonerating the perpetrators, while slanting their headlines and reports to cast Israel into the worst possible light.

It is a fight that never ends, almost like our fight against the terrorists.

Antisemitism Updates

June 1, 2017

Antisemitism Updates | Anne’s Opinions, 1st June 2017

The celebrations and festivities are over (for now) and it’s back to normal programming. I’ve not been online much these past few weeks (family stuff) so it’s time to catch up on all the horrible stuff out there (not necessarily in chronological order).

The worst act of antisemitic violence in recent weeks was the vicious murder of Dr. Sara Halimi, an Orthodox Jewish woman, by a Muslim attacker in Paris. The attack has been compounded by the lackadaisical approach by the French police which has enraged the French Jewish community:

As further details emerge of the brutal murder of an Orthodox Jewish woman in a Paris suburb at the hands of a Muslim assailant last month, French Jews are increasingly worried and angered by what one prominent member of the community called an “organized silence” surrounding the case.

Dr. Sara Halimi Hy’d, murdered by a Muslim terrorist in Paris

Dr. Sarah Halimi — a 66-year-old pensioner living in the Paris suburb of Belleville — was murdered in the early hours of April 4 by Kada Traore, a 27-year-old immigrant from Mali. After breaking into the neighboring apartment of another Malian family at 4:25 a.m. — whose terrified inhabitants locked themselves away as they heard him recite verses from the Quran — Traore jumped over the balcony and forced his way into Halimi’s apartment. As he beat the elderly lady savagely, her screams prompted neighbors to call the police.

Three officers arrived at 4:45 a.m. But on hearing Traore yelling “Allahu Akhbar!” and “Shaitan!” (Arabic for ‘Satan’), they feared a terrorist attack was taking place, and called for backup. Anti-terror officers did not arrive until 5:00 a.m., by which time Halimi had been thrown by her attacker from the window of her third-floor apartment to the ground below. Traore, reported to be a drug dealer and addict with a criminal record, then returned to the apartment of the Malian family where he resumed his prayers, and was not taken into police custody until almost 6:00 a.m.

Shock over the barbaric nature of the murder has been compounded by the reluctance of both the media and French authorities to recognize it as an antisemitic hate crime — even after a silent march of remembrance on the Sunday after the murder was met by local youths chanting “Death to the Jews” and “We Own Kalashnikovs.”

In an open letter to new French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, Alexandra Laignel-Lavastine — a French journalist and expert on antisemitism — charged that “in the advanced decadence that reigns today in the country of (antisemitic comedian) Dieudonné, for whom ‘the Jews are dogs’ (and people laugh hysterically), it seems that a run-over dog deserves more attention than a murdered Jewish woman.”

Laignel-Lavastine also quoted William Attal, Halimi’s brother, who stated, “I have waited seven weeks before I said anything. The absolute silence about my sister’s murder has become intolerable.”

Since the murder, official and media accounts of what transpired have played up claims that Traore was suffering from mental illness, while virtually ignoring the antisemitic element of the crime.

A common theory is that the recent French election encouraged — in the phrase of Michel Gurfinkiel, a leading French political analyst and president of the Jean-Jacques Rousseau Institute in Paris — an “organized silence” around the Halimi murder.

“Such a story would benefit the Right and the National Front,” Gurfinkiel said. “Everyone is convinced this is why there has been such an organized silence around the story.”

But as more time passes in the wake of Halimi’s murder, the calls to recognize its antisemitic nature are growing. Interviewed by the Le Parisien newspaper last week, the lawyers for the Halimi family, Jean-Alex Buchinger and David Kaminsky, said in no uncertain terms that Sarah Halimi had been “targeted, tortured and killed by her assailant because she was Jewish.”

Halimi’s murder robbed the Jewish community in Paris of one of its most loved figures, known for her work as a doctor and as a kindergarten teacher. “She was very well known and respected, a great person,” Gurfinkiel said. “The tragedy is that she was living in that part of Paris where Jews are gradually leaving, since the security doesn’t exist anymore.”

It also brought forth reminders of the 2006 kidnapping and murder of a young French Jew, Ilan Halimi — no relation to Ruth Halimi — whose body was left for dead by a mostly-Muslim gang who seized him out of the belief that Jews were wealthy and willing to pay ransom money.

“The French police were of no help during the whole (Ilan Halimi) episode, rejecting any idea that antisemitism could have played a role in the affair and preferring to believe the absurd notion that this was the result of some war between rival gangs,” Laignel-Lavastine noted in her letter about Ruth Halimi to French Interior Minister Collomb. “Ten years later, we have reached the same point.”

This story is shocking on so many levels that it’s hard to take in: the viciousness of the attack, the helplessness of the police and the stonewalling by the judicial system are each condemnable in their own right. When taken together, it is an outrageous attack on Jewish human rights. If the French really do not want to see their Jewish community fleeing en masse, they are going the precisely wrong way about it.

May the memory of Dr. Sara Halimi be for a blessing and may her family be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Moving to the UK, in the wake of the horrific Manchester bombing, in which 22 young people leaving a pop concert were murdered by a British-Libyan jihadi, it did not take long for people to blame a Jewish conspiracy for the bombing:

Whilst politicians urged unity and “#WeStandTogether” trended on social media, people from around the world took to Twitter, Facebook and other platforms to claim that the suicide bombing was a plot by Jewish conspirators to fuel wars against oil-rich Muslim states, or some other variant of the depraved conspiracy myths that place Jews at the centre of the world’s every ill.

You can read multiple examples of this virulent antisemitism at the CAA’s post.

Still in the UK, in very unsurprising news, it has been revealed that in 2014, the execrable head of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn visited the grave one of the Munich Olympics terrorists in Tunisia:

Jewish community leaders in Great Britain expressed shock and outrage Monday after it was revealed over the weekend that UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn had attended a ceremony honoring a Palestinian terrorist partly responsible for the 1972 Munich killing of Israeli Olympians.

Corbyn posing with Hezbollah flag

Corbyn, who is currently campaigning to become Britain’s next prime minister, reportedly traveled to Tunisia in October 2014 to visit the grave of Atef Bseiso, the former head of intelligence for the Palestine Liberation Organization and direct accomplice involved in the Munich terrorist attack.

Jewish leaders called the revelation, reported by the Sunday Times, “beyond the pale,” and demanded Corbyn make his views known about Palestinian acts of violence.

“In light of today’s news reports, it is high time that Jeremy Corbyn clarify his views regarding Palestinian terrorism,” said Simon Johnson, the CEO of the Jewish Leadership Council.

According to the Jewish Chronicle, Corbyn had described visiting Bseiso’s grave in a column he had written for the communist- founded Morning Star newspaper, recalling that “wreaths were laid… on the graves of [those] killed by Mossad agents in Paris in 1991,” while commenting that the day was “poignant.”

This was too much even for members of his own party:

Members of Corbyn’s own party also lashed out at the faction leader, with Jennifer Gerber, director of Labour Friends of Israel, stating: “It is almost unbelievable that any Labour MP would participate in a ceremony honoring a man involved in the vicious murder of innocent Israeli athletes. Unfortunately, this appears to be part of a very disturbing pattern of behavior, and we are seeking urgent clarification from the leader’s office on this matter.”

My question is why haven’t the Labour Party members thrown out their leader already?

In the international arena, the UN doesn’t give up on its demonization of Israel. Their latest outrageous act was for the World Health Organization (WHO) to ignore a positive report about Israel in order to condemn it once again at the behest of that oh-so-enlightened and civilized and human-rights supporting country – Syria! UN Watch reports:

GENEVA, May 26, 2017 – The U.N.’s World Health Organization “decided to hide a positive report on Israel from the public eye” under pressure from Syria’s Assad regime, according to Israel’s representative, Ambassador Aviva Raz-Shechter, as the world body’s annual assembly adopted a resolution co-sponsored by Syria yesterday that targeted Israel over “Health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.”

The resolution, which will cost $10 million to implement, renews the annual naming and shaming of Israel by renewing a special agenda item on the country at next year’s session, as well as mandating a report by WHO’s director-general, measures of scrutiny applied to no other country.

In an unusually refreshing turn of events, civilized Western countries sprang to Israel’s defence – only to be ignored:

Confirming Israel’s account, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, and 10 other countries (see list below) took the floor to express regret that while Israel co-operated with a WHO mission to the Golan, “the report of that mission was not published, not even the parts which had already been completed.”

“This is clearly due to the Syrian behavior,” said the EU countries, “which we can only condemn in the strongest terms. This is particularly deplorable in view of the abysmal health situation in other parts of Syria. According to the UN, last year alone, more than 300 medical facilities in Syria were targeted.”

WHO hid the positive report “rather than standing up to the brutal Syrian regime,” tweeted Raz-Shechter. In its report, the WHO—falsely, it would appear from the EU statement—blamed its omissions on “time constraints” and “additional information needed.”

The vote to maintain the WHO spotlight on Israel for next year was 98 to 7, with 21 abstentions. (See full voting chart at bottom.)

The UK changed its vote from last year, switching from Yes to No, joining Australia, Canada, Guatemala, Israel and Togo in the opposition.

Those abstaining were Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Bulgaria, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, DR Congo, Dominican Republic, Gabon, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Malawi, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Saint Kitts and Nevis, East Timor, and Tuvalu.

“For the U.N. to allow Syria’s Assad regime to influence its focus on health conditions is absurd,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch, a monitoring group accredited with consultative status at the United Nations.

“It is the height of cynicism for Syria to introduce a resolution on the health of Druze residents of the Golan Heights, who in fact live very well under Israeli jurisdiction, even as Assad bombs his own hospitals, ambulances and medical workers. The U.N. should reject the hijacking of its world health agenda by Arab regimes and allied dictatorships like Cuba and Venezuela.”

“Notably, the UN assembly will not address Syrian hospitals being bombed by Syrian and Russian warplanes, or millions of Yemenis denied access to food and water by the Saudi-led bombings and blockade, nor will it pass a resolution on any other country in the world.”

“Out of 24 items on the meeting’s agenda, only one, Item No. 19 against Israel, focuses on a specific country. And the only mention of Syria is not focused on Syria, but rather on Israel.”

“The U.N. discredits itself by enacting a resolution which effectively accuses Israel of violating the health rights of Syrians in the Golan, when in reality Israeli hospitals continue their life-saving treatment for Syrians fleeing to the Golan from the Assad regime’s barbaric attacks.”

It is staggering to think that anyone, even the UN, would bow to Assad’s Syria rather than listen to the EU and other Western countries. This leads me to wonder what hold has Assad got over the WHO? I think an international investigation should be started. It boggles the mind to think that Syria should take precedence over the West – even if Israel is part of that region.

Then again, is anyone really surprised? The UN has no use at all except to promote global warming through all the hot air it generates.

It therefore comes as no surprise at all that the Palestinians should consider the UN the right place to turn to in order to complain about the “Judaization of Jerusalem“. Please stop guffawing. Yes, I know that’s like complaining about the Catholicization of the Vatican or the Islamization of the Ka’aba, but you know the Palestinians – never accepting reality, even when it bites them on the nose.

Since we’re on the subject of compulsive, repetitive antisemitism, here is our old “favourite” the (British) Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) doubling down on their previous resolution in 2011 to reject the then-accepted international definition of Antisemitism, the EUMC working definition of antisemitism. That definition has now been updated into the new International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition – and the UCU, true to form, has once again rejected it. You see, they obviously know better than the Jews what antisemitism really is – and according to them it has nothing to do with them at all! After all, if they “only” hate Israel, they can’t possibly be antisemitic!

An academics’ union has passed a motion distancing itself from a controversial new definition of anti-Semitism at its annual congress.

University and Colleges Union (UCU), which has 110,000 members, rejected the new International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition, because it “conflates anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel”.

Simon Johnson, chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, said the motion was “an attempt to discredit the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism” and while “deeply offensive,” he said it came as no surprise.

“UCU has a history of attempting to define anti-Semitism on behalf of the Jewish community as opposed to consulting with them,” he said.

“Thankfully UCU find themselves fighting a losing battle with the IHRA definition having been officially adopted by the Government as well as the Opposition, National Union of Students, the Greater London Assembly, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and numerous other local authorities.

Board of Deputies’ president Jonathan Arkush condemned the motion, calling it “retrograde and deeply disappointing, not least because of similar motions in the UCU in the past.”

“Despite past form, it beggars belief that anyone in the UCU would want to dictate to Jews what constitutes anti-Semitic abuse against them.”

“This resolution seeks to deny victims of anti-Semitic abuse the right to call it out for what it is – particularly when it is dressed up as extremist and dangerous demonisation of Israel or when Jews are harassed or intimidated because of their connections with Israel.”

These smug, self-righteous bigots wouldn’t dream of telling blacks what racism really is, or telling Muslims what Islamophobia is. The only acceptable racism in British academia today is antisemitic racism. And yes, I do include anti-Israel racism in that, for you cannot deny the Jews what is acceptable in any other race: the right to define for themselves what is hatred against themselves.

And to finish off this sad post, academia is no less biased on the other side of the pond, where City University of New York (CUNY) has invited the anti-Israel, pro-terror activist Linda Sarsour to speak at their graduation ceremony:

For its June 1st commencement, The CUNY School of Public Health and Health Policy has invited Linda Sarsour. Sarsour’s record is replete with anti-American values, degradation of feminists and others who disagree with her, unbridled hatred of the State of Israel and those who support it, and the promotion of violence. This shocking choice of speaker, by a City University, should be changed.

Linda Sarsour, anti-Semite, anti-Israel, bigot

In the United States, violence and terror are not recognized as legitimate means to accomplish goals. Sarsour’s support of violence and terror include: praise of the intifada- the Palestinian terror war against Jews in Israel, through suicide bombings, car rammings, stabbings, bus bombs and other attacks,—as “invaluable on many fronts;” warm words of endorsement for convicted murderer Rasmea Odeh, who murdered two college students in a supermarket bombing in Israel (Odeh will be deported for concealing her terrorist crimes on her US immigration forms); and admiration of Palestinian youths throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers as “the definition of courage.” In our civilized society, these are the definitions of crimes. Sarsour supports barbaric methods that are incompatible with American law.

Regarding feminism, a woman’s right to bodily integrity is a fundamental right. Yet Sarsour denigrates feminists who speak out against the role Islam plays in tolerating the abuse of women, such as genital mutilation and honor killings. She urges, in a tweet, a “whippin” of Somali human rights activist Aydan Hirsi Ali, a victim of female genital mutilation, who speaks out against Islam’s acceptance of abuse of women. Sarsour tweets Ali doesn’t “deserve to be a woman.” Sarsour’s attempted delegitimization of women who speak out against abuse is incompatible with feminism.

Additionally, Sarsour defends Saudi Arabia’s oppressive treatment of women. In Saudi Aarbia, women cannot vote, study, work, marry, or open bank accounts without permission from male guardians. Women’s clothing is strictly regulated (they must be covered from head to toe, and only eyes and hands may show). Yet Sarsour tweets Saudi Arabia “puts us to shame” by providing “10 weeks of PAID maternity leave … and ur worried about women driving.” Sarsour’s defense of subjugation of Saudi women disqualifies her as a feminist.

Ironically, Sarsour excludes Jews and other Israel supporters from the feminist movement. This is anti-Semitic and spreads a lie about Israel’s treatment of women. There is absolutely no conflict between Zionism and feminism. In Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, all citizens have equal social and political rights, regardless of gender, religion or race. All citizens of Israel, be it Arab, Christian, or Jew, no matter what gender, have equal access to voting, transportation, hospitals, universities, swimming pools, public restrooms, etc. Israeli Arabs are Supreme Court Justices and have seats in the Knesset, and these positions can be held by men or women. Israeli Arab women have won or been runner-ups in The Voice (Israel), Master Chef, and Miss Israel. Moreover, sexism and discrimination perpetrated by Palestinian men against Palestinian women is pervasive, as described in a recent New York Times article, “In Gaza, Bicycles Are a Battleground for Women Who Dare to Ride,” February 22, 2016.

Sarsour’s unbridled hatred of Israel is prevalent. She advocates for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (“BDS”) movement against Israel, which seeks to cripple and delegitimize the State of Israel, while she ignores the world’s many countries with egregious human rights violations. Further, Sarsour tweets: “Nothing is creepier than Zionism;” and “(Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu is a waste of a human being.” When Sarsour was justifiably criticized for extolling throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers, she tweeted, “The Zionist trolls are out to play. Bring it.”

CUNY in particular should be sensitive to anti-Semitism. Last year, Jewish students at CUNY suffered many anti-Semitic incidents. At a CUNY rally sponsored by Students for Justice for Palestine, protestors screamed at Jews to “go back home and get the (expletive) out of my country” and chanted “Jews out of CUNY” and “death to Jews.” Given these recent events, it is all the more appalling that a CUNY school would invite a divisive person with Sarsour’s record to deliver the commencement address.

Knowing all this, CUNY’s refuses to rescind Sarsour’s invitation. It would be atrocious for CUNY to host a commencement speaker with a history of bigotry towards the LGBTQIA community, African Americans, women, or Hispanics. CUNY should treat Sarsour’s hate-mongering towards Jews and Israel in the same manner.

If the above hasn’t sickened you enough, Michael Cohen of the Simon Wiesenthal Center adds more, calling Sarsour “an arsonist in our midst”:

Last September, I stood along with many of my colleagues at a New York City Council Public Hearing on that body’s resolution to officially condemn the BDS movement — a hearing at which all those in favor, including myself, were shouted down as “Jewish pigs” and “Zionist filth” from provocateurs strategically placed in the audience. It was Linda Sarsour who was at the forefront — manipulating the camera shots and sound bites. It was Linda Sarsour who sat for hours listening with great satisfaction to the libelous rants and screamed obscenities alleging that Israelis murder Palestinian babies. It was Sarsour who nodded approvingly and congratulated individuals who were kicked out of the hearing room for being out of order, for walking in front of individuals providing testimony in support of the resolution, and for shouting down our supporters with anti-Semitic slurs — all in the name of protecting free speech.


However, inviting an obvious antagonist of the world’s largest Jewish community outside of Israel, an individual who doesn’t shirk from using controversial tactics against Israel’s supporters, to speak at CUNY is a bewildering act by its leadership sure to inspire only more hate, harassment and confrontations perpetrated against the Jewish student body. CUNY’s invitation to such an individual, an invitation I remind you not requested by students but rather by the administration itself, will provide cover to those seeking to legitimize her message. Her commencement speech belies CUNY’s stated commitment to fighting anti-Semitism.

CUNY owes an explanation and a huge apology to its Jewish students and alumni – but I doubt any will be forthcoming. For shame!