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HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Tue 12 May 2015, 8:43 pm

Islamic Charity Gives Iran a Gaza Foothold
Israel Daily News Stream6 hours ago
Today’s Top Stories
1. Nepal was hit by another 7.3 magnitude earthquake this morning, strong enough to be felt in parts of India and Bangladesh. As this roundup was published, at least 60 people were reported killed, and 1,000 injured. Israel may send another aid team to the stricken Himalayan nation; 133 Israelis have taken shelter in Kathmandu’s Chabad House.

On a related note, check out Diary of an IDF Rescuer.
Canada2. Is the Canadian government’s going to fight the BDS movement by invoking hate crime laws? There’s a lot of discussion sparked by Neil Macdonald’s CBC report.
The government’s intention was made clear in a response to inquiries from CBC News about statements by federal ministers of a “zero tolerance” approach to groups participating in a loose coalition called Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS), which was begun in 2006 at the request of Palestinian non-governmental organizations.
Asked to explain what zero tolerance means, and what is being done to enforce it, a spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney replied, four days later, with a detailed list of Canada’s updated hate laws, noting that Canada has one of the most comprehensive sets of such laws “anywhere in the world.”
But officials in Ottawa denied Macdonald’s report:

“This story is inaccurate and ridiculous. These laws have been on the books for many years and have not changed,” said the spokesman for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney. “We won’t dignify this bizarre conspiracy theory with further comment.”
That said, the minister’s office refused to say unequivocally the government would never apply Canada’s hate laws to people who encourage, plan or take part in boycotts.
The CBC released its email exchange with Public Safety Canada spokesperson Josee Sirois. You’ll have to judge this one for yourself.

3. The Iranians are getting a foothold in Gaza: Beholden to Tehran, Hamas is allowing a Shiite group to operate in Sunni Gaza.
A-Sabrin runs several Shiite charity organizations, which benefit from full Iranian support and encourage the spread of Shiite Islam.
The presence of such a movement in the Gaza Strip is unheard-of, as is the fact that the Sunni Hamas movement – apparently due to the financial support it receives from Shiite Iran — has been tolerating its presence.
4. Disgusting Exploitation of a Disabled Palestinian Child: After a Gaza child’s life was saved by Israeli medics, an award-winning journalist used a photo to disingenuously claim the boy’s injuries were the result of Israeli atrocities.

5. Fighting Anti-Semitism in the Media: HonestReporting will be at the 5th Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism, presenting on anti-Semitism in the media.
6. HR Radio: Photo Abuse, Damaging Headlines, and Anonymous Sources: Yarden Frankl reviews this week’s media coverage of Israel. Click below to hear the Voice of Israel interview.
Israel and the Palestinians
• The New York Times takes the pulse of Bir Zeit University, where Hamas-affiliated candidates overwhelmingly won student elections.

• The Netherlands regrets cutting the pension of a 90 year-old Dutch Holocaust survivor because she lives in a West Bank settlement.
• With small shifts, Israel eases restrictions on some Palestinians, reports NPR.
Mideast Matters
• Mahan Air, an Iranian airliner, managed to acquire new air craft despite international sanctions. Is Mahan owned by the Revolutionary Guards? Is it ferrying weapons to Syria and Yemen? Were European companies hoodwinked by front companies? Both Eli Lake and the Financial Times (click via Google News) took closer looks.

• Iranian nuclear talks resume in Vienna.
• A Mideast nuclear weapons ban proposal is stumbling over UN politics, Reuters reports.
• CNN visited injured Syrians being treated in Israel’s Ziv Hospital.
• Kids — possibly thousands of them — have joined the fighting in Yemen’s civil war. According to the Washington Post, money and regular meals are difficult for poverty-stricken parents to turn down.
Many are between the ages of 13 and 16, the groups say. Experts cite worsening poverty in the Arabian Peninsula country as a major reason children are joining armed groups.
The child soldiers are found in nearly every faction battling in Yemen. According to some estimates, boys younger than 18 form nearly a third of the Houthi rebel force’s approximately 25,000 fighters.
• Egyptian-Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy is suing Al-Jazeera, claiming the network failed to protect him. Fahmy, along with Peter Greste and Baher Mohammed, were arrested in December, 2013. CNN writes:

According to his attorneys, Fahmy accuses the network of “epic negligence” by misinforming him about its legal status in Egypt and airing his reports on its Egyptian channel Jazeera Mubashir Masr, which was banned by an Egyptian court for alleged biased reporting favoring the Muslim Brotherhood . . .
Fahmy expanded that on Monday, stating that during his imprisonment, he learned that the network had been supplying cameras to Muslim Brotherhood members and sympathizers and using their footage without sourcing. “This is not journalism, this is propaganda,” Fahmy said.
• Tweet of the Day: Avi Mayer, in response to this report on civilian deaths in Yemen.

Avi Mayer
• Journalist Seymour Hersh is in the news for up-ending the White House’s story on Osama Bin Laden’s death.  There’s a lot to digest in his report, published in the London Review of Books. Fortunately, Mashable condensed the revelations and rounded up key responses — including NBC News corroborating one of Hersh’s tidbits.
Around the World
• Anti-Semitic attacks in Germany rose 25 percent in 2014.

A November poll in Germany showed that one in four Germans equated Israel’s policies toward Palestinians with Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews during WWII. Survey results showed a spike in negative views toward Jews and Israel between June and September, during the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
Saudi soldiers
Saudi special forces, April 2015

• Gilad Sharon argues why it’s in Israel’s interest to see Bashar Assad toppled (it would be a crippling blow to Hezbollah and Iran, and it would ease pressure on Israel to return the Golan). But what about ISIS taking over Syria?
Islamic State – unlike Assad and unlike Hezbollah – is the enemy of an international coalition that is fighting the organization; thus Israel wouldn’t have to face this new threat alone.
But Zalman Shoval urges Israelis caution: Beware the pan-Arab army.

• Breaking the Silence bids to (immorally?) place IDF, Hamas on level field.
• Snippet of the day: Eugene Kontorovich on the tale of two blockades: Gaza and Yemen
One also wonders whether the Yemen blockade, which by Oxfam’s description of it has turned it into what one would elsewhere call “the world’s largest open air prison” will manage to get half the international attention as the Gaza one.
• Other commentary I’m reading today:

– Ben-Dror Yemini: Using Bedouin issue as an anti-Israel propaganda tool
– Jonathan Tobin: Why the snub? Saudis know Obama replaced them with Iran
– Ariel Ben Solomon: Gulf states’ behavior against Obama unlikely to pay off
– Marni Soupcoff: BDS as “hate crime”: Do we believe in free speech or not?
– Washington Post (staff-ed): Israel’s fragile government
– Abdullah Bozkurt: Turkish Islamists exploit Palestine
– Moshe Zimmermann: Israeli-German golden jubilee; a tale of asymmetry

Featured image: CC BY flickrSilecyra with additions by HonestReporting; CC BY-SA flickr/RicLaf; soldiers CC BY-SA Wikimedia Commons/Alhadramy Alkendy;

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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Mon 11 May 2015, 10:46 pm

New Gaza Flotilla Underway
Israel Daily News Stream8 hours ago
Today’s Top Stories
1. Bashar Assad reportedly placed his intelligence chief under house arrest on suspicion he was planning a coup, according to the Daily Telegraph. As battlefield losses pile up, Assad’s inner circle is reportedly divided by Iran’s creeping takeover of the battles.

Was spy chief Ali Mamlouk looking to bring back Bashar Assad’s exiled uncle, Rifaat Assad?
2. Gulf state monarchs are snubbing President Obama’s upcoming Camp David summit. The president is expected to offer the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) arms sales and a defense agreement. Four of the GCC states, including Saudi Arabia, are sending lower-ranking representatives. More at the Wall St. Journal (click via Google News) and CBS News.
Senior Arab officials involved in organizing the meeting said not enough progress had been made in narrowing differences with Washington on issues like Iran and Syria to make the Saudi ruler’s trip worth it.
3. A new flotilla hoping to break the Gaza blockade is underway as a trawler, “Marianne of Gothenburg,” left Sweden. Two other vessels will meet up with the Marianne en route. Israel has blockaded Gaza since Hamas took over the strip in 2006. Egypt has also tightened its blockade of Gaza while fighting jihadists in Sinai. Times of Israel coverage.
4. Misleading and Accusatory Headline in The Times: Did the evil Israeli regime silence a dissident or persecute human rights activists?
Israel and the Mideast
• A 19 year-old Israeli was stabbed near a checkpoint by Maale Adumim. The victim, was moderately injured. That’s all YNet reports for now.

• Iran’s funneling money to the West Bank to buy influence with the PA.
The only thing that is clear is that Tehran, through its renewed support for Hamas and its coordination with the PA to fund payments to the families of “martyrs” in the West Bank, is seeking a key position of influence in the Palestinian territories. So far, in the West Bank at least, the sums involved have been relatively modest, but as Iran is itself infused with tens of billions of dollars in imminent sanctions relief, there is no telling what the scale of its future role may be.
• Israel’s purchasing four German-made Saar class missile boats to protect offshore gas sites. According to the Times of Israel, they’ll be delivered over the next five years

• Reuters: Weapons inspectors found undeclared sarin and VX traces in Syria.
• Saudi King Salman is pursuing a more active foreign policy to confront rising rivalries with both Iran and ISIS. According to the New York Times, this is fueled by frustration with the US and risks escalating tensions with Tehran.
• JTA: Two Spanish language news networks (the Iranian-run HispanTV and Venezuela’s national public TV channel, Telesur) claim that Israel’s humanitarian aid mission to Nepal was a cover for baby trafficking.
• Palestinians recently marked the 10th anniversary of the Mahmoud Abbas presidency that expired six years ago. Sean Savage examines the “political and economic muck” Abbas has left the Palestinians mired in.

• Is the Camp David summit a marketing tool for the Iran deal?
• A staff-ed in the New York Daily News blasts the BDS movement and its sore reaction to a defeat at New York City’s Park Slope Food Coop.

The BDS brigades seek to delegitimize Israel as punishment for the sin of existing.
• What else I’m reading today . . .

– Jonathan Marks: Anti-Israel course is a campus farce
– Danny Rubinstein: The Salafist “nuisance” in Gaza
– Doyle McManus: What the Persian Gulf states want: Iran kept at bay
– Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (staff-ed): UN Watch: Predictable anti-Israel bias

Featured image: CC BY-NC-SA flickr/Stefan Georgi via flickr with additions by HonestReporting; missile boats CC BY-NC flickr/Israel Defense Forces;

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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Mon 11 May 2015, 1:50 pm

Britain’s Pro-Israel PM Re-Elected
Israel Daily News Stream23 hours ago
Today’s Top Stories
1. David Cameron was re-elected Prime Minister of Great Britain by a surprisingly wide margin. George Galloway, the UK’s best-known anti-Israel politician, was voted out of Parliament by his Bradford constituency. He’s already in trouble for using his parliamentary aid for personal business and for a tweet that violated election laws.

2. Here’s a by the numbers look at Israel’s relief efforts in Nepal. An IDF search and rescue team is returning, as is the field hospital (source: Jerusalem Post).
10: days the field hospital was in operation
150: field hospital staff
60: beds
1,600: patients treated
85: operations performed
8: babies delivered
332: buildings scanned by Israelis for stability
605: Israeli safety courses given to Nepalese
7,900: Nepalese death toll
519,000: homes damaged or destroyed
3 million: Nepalese living in tents
$2 billion: cost of reconstruction’s “first stage”

3. The US Senate votes 98-1 for Congressional Iran review. The bill is expected to pass a House of Representatives vote next week, the Washington Post reports.
If the House and the Senate passed resolutions disapproving of the Iran deal, including overcoming a possible presidential veto, then Obama would be forced to leave in place those congressionally mandated sanctions.
4. The Latest Jewish Dilemma on Campus: Jews on both sides of the aisle are forced to choose between Israel and alliances with minority student groups.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Reuters looks at Hamas-Fatah divisions and what they mean for the Palestinians:

The impact of the stand-off is widespread, but in two areas it is particularly problematic: it is stalling rebuilding in Gaza after the war and it is undermining democratic legitimacy, with the last Palestinian elections held nearly a decade ago.
• The Palestinians are pushing to put Israel on a UN list of child absuers, but agreeing to pursue dialogue regarding their efforts to suspend Israel from world soccer.

However, FIFA did not say whether the Palestine association (PFA) had agreed to drop a proposal for a vote at the FIFA Congress later this month to suspend Israel from international football.
• Israeli soldiers who served in Gaza are rebuffing Breaking the Silence’s collection of “testimonies” alleging IDF human rights violations in Gaza. They “flooded” Shai Levy with their own accounts contradicting Breaking the Silence. Elder of Ziyon translated Levy’s Hebrew article. See Gerald Steinberg’s response to BtS in the Sydney Morning Herald.

• Saudi Arabia cancelled a contract with a Portuguese company that flew one of its empty jumbo jets to (gasp!) Israel for repairs.
• The New York Times takes a closer look at how US campus debates over Israel are driving a wedge between Jews and other minorities.
Mideast Matters
• The Saudis are considering nuclear weapons to offset Iran, reports the Wall St. Journal (click via Google News).

• After Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif told Charlie Rose (full interview), “We do no jail people for their opinions,” Iranian activists took to social media begging to differ. Radio Free Europe rounded up some of the online reactions. Here’s the key outtake.
• According to Syrian rebels, 40 Hezbollah fighters were killed on Friday night, including a high-level commander.
• Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels accepted a 5-day truce.
• The US put an Al Jazeera journalist on terrorism watch list. Ahmad Muaffaq Zaidan, the network’s Islamabad bureau chief, denies being part of Al Qaida or the Muslim Brotherhood. Details at The Independent.
Around the World
• Four Copenhagen busses were found torched while a fifth was sprayed with anti-Israel graffiti. According to the BBC, the attack may be linked to the bus company’s recent refusal to run advertisements promoting a boycott of Israeli goods.

• Danish intelligence chief steps down over failure to avert anti-Semitic attack:
His resignation came hours before the publication of a police report that revealed it took almost four hours from the moment gunman Omar El-Hussein shot dead a filmmaker outside a cultural center, until police were deployed outside Copenhagen’s main synagogue, where a Jewish man, Dan Uzan, who was securing a bat mitzvah celebration, was later killed.
• Quote of the day:

“The way we want to live our lives is no longer possible.”
Jonathan Fischer, vice president of the Danish Jewish community, on anti-Semitism and the government’s response to it.

• Britain’s Archbishop of Canterbury calls on Christians to fight “horrendous” violence against Jews.
• The Sunday Times Magazine (of London) looks at the attitudes of UK Jewry on the question of staying in Britain or moving to Israel.
• The New York Times room for debate section tackles the question: Can the U.S. Make Peace With Netanyahu’s New Government? Weighing in are Jonathan Schanzer, Ehud Eiran, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Zaha Hassan, and Omar Barghouti.

• For more on what others are saying about the new Israeli government, check out, David Horovitz, Nahum Barnea, Dan Margalit, Anshel Pfeffer, Shmuel Rosner, Jonathan Tobin, David Ignatius, Fareed Zakaria, plus staff-eds in the Irish Times and Financial Times (click via Google News).
Free and democratic elections are the last thing the Palestinians need now. Such elections would only pave the way for a Hamas takeover of the Palestinian Authority and plunge the region into chaos and violence. As long as Abbas’s Fatah faction is not seen as a better alternative to Hamas, it would be too risky to ask Palestinians to head to the ballot boxes. Instead of pressuring the Palestinians to hold new elections, world leaders should be demanding accountability and transparency from the PA.
They should also be urging the Palestinian Authority to pave the way for the emergence of new leaders and get rid of all the corrupt old-guard representatives who have been in power for decades. Finally, the international community should be urging the PA to stop its campaign to delegitimize and isolate Israel, which drives more Palestinians into the open arms of Hamas and other radical groups, who assume that if the Israelis are as terrible as they are told, they might as well join the group dedicated to killing them rather than to discussing peace.
• A Bowdoin College student referendum on boycotting Israel lost because the pro-Palestinian “absolutism” was too much for the progressive student body. Yet Students for Justice in Palestine spun the results as a victory. William Jacobson explains why:

That argument, that a loss is a win, is common when SJP loses divestment motions in student government. As long as the topic of campus discussion is how bad Israel is, the anti-Israel movement considers the experience worth the effort, because the goal is not to pass resolutions, although it’s a plus if that outcome it achieved. The goal is to raise a generation of opinion leaders who hate Israel.
So from SJP’s point of view, the fact that 200 Bowdoin students voted for the full academic and cultural boycott of Israel is a win. Those 200 can fill plenty of academic-tenure tracks, newsrooms, NGOs, and government agencies. And they will.
• The comparisons made by today’s burning question are apt:

• I’m also reading:
– Noah Pollak: A reset button for Israel?
– Yoram Ettinger: Iran and suspension of disbelief
– Elliott Abrams: Reminders about Iran
– Eugene Kontorovich: Release of ship by Iran is really a ransom
– Jerusalem Post (staff-ed): Anti-Semitism in Argentina
– New York Times (staff-ed): Beyond the Iran nuclear deal

Featured image: CC BY flickr/A? with additions by HonestReporting; Nepal CC BY-NC flickr/Israel Defense Forces; Copenhagen CC BY flickr/Thomas Rousing; Mashaal via YouTube/Face the Nation on CBS; Abbas CC BY-NC-ND flickr/Cabinet Office

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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Thu 07 May 2015, 5:52 pm

Netanyahu Achieves Last Gasp Coalition
Israel Daily News Stream6 hours ago
Today’s Top Stories
Naftali Bennett: A big winner in coalition negotiations.

1. Israel finally has a new government but the new coalition was only agreed with under two hours remaining before the deadline. By making concessions to Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party, PM Netanyahu reached 61 out of the 120 seat Knesset, giving the coalition government a razor-thin majority of just one.
The new coalition, while in theory dominated by Likud’s 30 seats, made significant deals with the center-right Kulanu, the ultra-orthodox Shas and UTJ as well as the right-wing Jewish Home. It appears, however, that Netanyahu is keeping the Foreign Ministry in his pocket as a possible incentive to bring the opposition Zionist Union into an expanded national unity government later.
According to The Times of Israel:
Netanyahu was understood to have capitulated to the demands of the Orthodox-nationalist Jewish Home, the final recalcitrant coalition partner, and agreed to appoint Bennett as education minister, MK Ayelet Shaked as justice minister, and another Jewish Home member, Uri Ariel, as agriculture minister.
Shaked, 39, has only been in politics for two years. Netanyahu and Bennett were negotiating Wednesday over the scope of her authority in the job. Shaked will also have a seat in the key decision-making security cabinet, by virtue of being justice minister.
Netanyahu is likely to appoint several senior Likud colleagues to the security cabinet too, to offset their unhappiness at missing out on top cabinet posts, and to ensure that the security cabinet supports him on key decisions.
Predictably, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat slammed the new government. It “will be one of war which will be against peace and stability in our region,” he told AFP.

AP has list of challenges facing new government while Financial Review (via Reuters) has a list of the most controversial legislative proposals from the new government.
See below for more commentary and reaction.
2. So much for the much-touted destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons. NY Times reports:
Two years after President Bashar al-Assad agreed to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile, there is mounting evidence that his government is flouting international law to drop jerry-built chlorine bombs on insurgent-held areas. Lately, the pace of the bombardments in contested areas like Idlib Province has picked up, rescue workers say, as government forces have faced new threats from insurgents.
3. Haaretz reports that Israeli defense officials assume the terrorist cell that intended to place an explosive charge on the Israeli-Syrian border in the Golan Heights 10 days ago was operated by Samir Kuntar, who was working on instructions from Iran.

The incident, in which four militants were killed, took place less than 48 hours after an air strike attributed to Israel had destroyed weapons that were supposed to be handed over to Hezbollah.
Despite the proximity of the events, Israel believes that Iran had operated the terrorist cell, rather than Hezbollah. Israel also believes that the air strike in April was not connected to the attempt to plant explosives on the Israel-Syria border.
Israeli officials believe the terrorist cell’s activity near the border fence could be part of Kuntar’s attempt to reinstate the terror network he had set up in the Golan Heights.

Israel and the Palestinians
• Is Hamas digging a possible attack tunnel beneath a Gaza border kibbutz? The residents of Nirim think so and the IDF is going to investigate.

• Just what is a Saudi aircraft doing on the tarmac of Ben-Gurion Airport?

• The Egyptian military Wednesday shot dead three Palestinian gunmen who infiltrated through a smuggling tunnel in the Sinai town of Rafah on the border with Gaza, security officials said.
• Lawyers representing the widow of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on Wednesday denounced a French decision to close a murder inquiry into his 2004 death and vowed to ensure the investigation continued.
Around the World
• Iran has released a Marshall Islands-flagged container ship and its crew which were seized last week in one of the world’s major oil shipping lanes, the official IRNA news agency reported.

• Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has acknowledged that his regime is suffering military defeats, amid reports of splits and defections within his core supporters.
aljazeeraamerica• Just what is going on at Al-Jazeera America? Following allegations of sexism and anti-Semitism in the workplace, CEO Ehab Al Shihabi has been fired. It seems, however, that he has, in fact, been demoted and replaced by a new CEO. More at the Daily Beast.
• A British theater has publicly apologized for boycotting a Jewish film festival during the 2014 Gaza war.
• Haviv Rettig Gur comments on the new coalition:

Netanyahu did better at the ballot box than any ruling party since the 2003 election, but can’t seem to translate an electoral victory into strong governance. The question that now looms over the political system is, why?
At the immediate tactical level, it’s clear that the most significant factor in Netanyahu’s embarrassment was Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog. It’s an open secret, already acknowledged by Likud officials, that Netanyahu turned to Herzog in recent days (and informally, weeks) in the hopes of piecing together a truly impregnable and effective coalition of as many as 77 seats (Likud, Zionist Union, Kulanu and the ultra-Orthodox parties).
Herzog said no, leaving Netanyahu with only one route to the premiership, a rightist-Orthodox 67-seat coalition. Then Yisrael Beytenu’s Avigdor Liberman dramatically bowed out of that coalition on Monday, taking his six seats with him and bringing Netanyahu’s best-case scenario down to the minimum required to form a government, 61 seats. With just two days left, Netanyahu had no choice but to acquiesce to nearly every demand made by Jewish Home, which held the last eight seats the prime minister needed to reach 61.
• Times of Israel editor David Horovitz isn’t impressed:

If Netanyahu had known how this would all play out — if he had foreseen the humiliating reality of Wednesday, May 6, when he found himself reduced to imploring Naftali Bennett to help him muster a wafer-thin majority — would he have put himself through all this? Would he have put the country through this whole election nightmare? Would he have dissolved his previous diverse coalition more than two years early, only to return with a smaller, narrower, potentially far more problematic one?
I greatly doubt it.
One thing is for certain: The coalition whose construction he breathlessly announced to President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday night is not the “better, more stable… broad-based government” that he rightly told us we deserve.
• Sima Kadmon echoes similar sentiments:

Even a particularly wild imagination wouldn’t have been able to come up with such an ironic script, in which the prime minister – who was on the top of the world only six weeks ago and was certain that he would be able to put together his government with his hands tied behind his back – comes to the president at the very last moment, breathless, with a narrow coalition in which all the ingredients – including his friends in the Likud – despise him, while he, on the other hand, can’t tolerate them. …
What happened here in the past six weeks, and how a crushing election victory turned into a farce which Israel had yet to see, will be discussed for many years to come. How did negotiations with parties that had no other alternative end in a way which is worse than what any fresh intern at a law firm would have been able to come up with.
• The Washington Post contends:

The government will back Netanyahu’s position that the accord pushed by the Obama administration to restrain Iran’s nuclear ambitions is “a bad deal.”
The coalition, too, is composed of members unlikely to press for resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians, talks that consumed U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry for nine months last year until they collapsed in a round of bitter recriminations.
“This is not the government that will be able to bridge the gap between Israel and America and Europe,” said Reuven Hazan, a top political scientist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
“They will also be unified in their stand that they don’t trust the Palestinians and don’t want to make concessions to them,” he said.
• Following the shooting attack on a Texas community center hosting a Mohammed cartoon exhibition, Pamela Gellar’s case that the art display was a case of free speech is challenged by the NY Times, which called it hate speech:

Some of those who draw cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad may earnestly believe that they are striking a blow for freedom of expression, though it is hard to see how that goal is advanced by inflicting deliberate anguish on millions of devout Muslims who have nothing to do with terrorism. As for the Garland event, to pretend that it was motivated by anything other than hate is simply hogwash.

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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Thu 07 May 2015, 7:07 am

Israeli Airstrike on Sudan?
Israel Daily News Stream17 hours ago

Today’s Top Stories
1. Did Israel launch an air strike on Sudan overnight? Something attacked an unspecified military target near Khartoum. While the Sudanese army claims it downed an Israeli drone north of Khartoum, Israel hasn’t commented. YNet coverage suffices.

Israel has attacked Sudanese arms facilities and convoys in the past, destroying weapons destined for Hamas.
2. Making the sausage: As today’s roundup went to press, the Israeli media reported that Benyamin Netanyahu and Naftali Bennett reached a coalition agreement ahead of tonight’s deadline. It means the Knesset will be run by a one-seat majority. Haaretz explains the significance of the midnight deadline you’ve been hearing about:
But the coalition agreements don’t actually have to be signed by midnight; it’s enough for Netanyahu to inform President Reuven Rivlin that he has the necessary 61 votes. He then has a week to actually present his government to the Knesset.

3. The New York Times takes a closer look at the PA’s unpaid electricity bills to Israel. It’s a complicated, uh, power struggle.

The Israelis and the Palestinian Authority cannot agree on the amount of energy consumed, how bills should be calculated or how payments should be collected . . .
The World Bank estimated in November that Palestinians had failed to pay for 58 percent of the power they used in 2013, up from 37 percent in 2010.
About 40 percent of the power debt is from Gaza . . . The World Bank says that Hamas collects payments from Gaza’s 1.8 million residents but refuses to hand the money over to the Palestinian Authority because of its rivalry with Mr. Abbas and his Fatah party.

Israel and the Palestinians
• French judges wrapped up their investigation of Yasser Arafat’s death and passed along the dossier to prosecutors. Even if there’s evidence of foul play — a big if — there may be no one to prosecute. AFP explains:

The prosecutor now has three months to prepare his submissions on whether to dismiss the case or put it forward to court.
In the meantime interested parties can produce written depositions. However if, as is currently the case, there is no defendant’s name attached to the proceedings, the case is likely to be dismissed.
Asa Kasher
Professor Asa Kasher

• Thumbs up to one French paper for the most original fresh quote of an Israeli reaction to the latest allegations from Breaking the Silence. Here’s the European Jewish Press‘ translation of the key snippet from Le Figaro.
Asked by French daily Le Figaro to comment the Bts report, Israeli philosopher Asa Kasher, who drafted the Code of Ethics of the Israeli army but has campaignedfor its flexibility, declared: “No state has the duty to guarantee the same security for enemy civilians as to its own population.”
• The California Community Colleges system shot down a resolution supporting divestment from Israel. It’s significant because the CCC, as it describes itself, ‘is “the largest system of higher education in the nation, with 2.1 million students attending 112 colleges.”
• Post script on an issue of anti-Semitism at UCLA: The coalition of student organization that questioned Rachel Beyda’s fitness for a leadership position solely because she’s Jewish was voted out of government.
• It’s not often we see Big Media shine a spotlight on Palestinian governance. Today, the Christian Science Monitor looked at Mahmoud Abbas’ mandate to lead, while The Media Line reported on a new Hamas import tax that grumbling Gaza merchants say will increase hardship.
South China Morning Post• HonestReporting got a nice shout-out from Hong Kong. South China Morning Post columnist Alex Lo picked up on our fight against reporters referring to Tel Aviv as Israel’s capital.
He cited our successful battle with The Guardian and the British Press Complaints Commission back in 2012. Just a few days ago, HonestReporting secured a Sky News correction over the same problem. I can relate to Lo’s exasperation.
Around the World
• The Saudi city of Najran was shelled from Yemen. The Saudis blame pro-Iranian Houthi rebels.

The attack was the first significant offensive against a Saudi city since a Saudi-led campaign of airstrikes began in March . . .
Footage broadcast on state television from the city showed debris-strewn streets, destroyed cars and a blackened room in a building where one of the munitions hit.

• Hezbollah supporters explained to NOW Lebanon how and why teens come to fight for the organization.
• Hezbollah, Nusra square off for rematch
Around the World
• Czech anti-Semitism rose 200 percent in 2014.

“It is clear that the Czech Republic’s Jewish community becomes a target of anti-Semitism in relation to the situation in the Middle East,” the chair of the Jewish community of Prague, Jan Munk, said in a statement. “Czech Jews are perceived by some groups as envoys of the State of Israel and are blamed for its political decisions.”
• Ahead of tomorrow’s UK elections, Politico’s Ben Judah visited Bradford to see what it’s like to be A Jew in George Galloway Country.
• As this roundup went to press, Or Asraf was due to be laid to rest in Lahavim, his Negev hometown. The 22-year-old was the sole Israeli fatality of Nepal’s earthquake. The death toll from last week’s earthquake rose to 7,500.
• Anti-Semitism on US campuses is on the rise. Ruth Wisse asks where it comes and if it can be stopped.

At any rate, the basic truth is this: Israel and the United States, unlovingly paired by their Islamist enemies as the Little Satan and the Big Satan, are prime targets of the same antagonists. It remains to be seen, then, whether the rise of anti-Semitism in America—itself an extension of the Arab- and Muslim-led war against Israel and the Jewish people—will fatally penetrate America’s thick constitutional culture, in which some of us still place our trust.
Universities are the obvious place to begin investigating that question.
• Daniel Gordis and Steven Cook weigh in on the bizarre criticism of Israel’s humanitarian aid to Nepal.

• More commentary I’m reading:
– Ron Ben-Yishai: A battle of wits on the northern border
– Ahmed Charai: The perils of non-engagement in the Mideast
– Arif Tekdal: Turkish-Israeli relations hurt by hate speech, not Mavi Marmara

Featured image: CC BY-NC flickr/Mo Riza via flickr with additions by HonestReporting; Knesset CC BY-SA flickr/Edmund Gall; Kasher CC BY Wikimedia Commons/David Shay;

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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Tue 05 May 2015, 4:37 pm

Israeli Coalition Talks Go Down to the Wire
Israel Daily News Stream3 hours ago
Today’s Top Stories
1. Hamas and the Salafists are duking it out in Gaza. I’m not clear on the chronological order of events here, but here’s what’s going on in Gaza:

– A bombing outside the Hamas security headquarters (a perimeter wall was damaged).
– An ISIS threat of “dire consequences” if Hamas doesn’t release a detained Salafist sheikh.
– Hamas demolishing a Salafist mosque.

Foreign Policy ties it all together, suggesting that the rivalry is spilling over from the Yarmouk refugee camp. Or are they competing for Gaza too?
2. Making the sausage: As Wednesday evening’s deadline for a governing coalition looms, Israeli politics is shifting into overdrive. Likud already had coalition agreements with Kulanu and United Torah Judaism (see YNet for the contents of their agreements), while Shas signed on yesterday.
Avigdor Lieberman resigned as foreign minister, saying he’ll take the Yisrael Beiteinu party into opposition. That leaves HaBayit HaYehudi’s Naftali Bennett, who may try leverage himself for control of the foreign ministry or other concessions.
Shas urged Yitzhak Herzog to bring the Zionist Union and its 24 seats in for a unity government but “Buji” isn’t budging.
Assuming Bennett joins the coalition, Likud would have a razor-thin 61-seat coalition, which Haaretz says would be sworn in Monday. If Benyamin Netanyahu is unable to form a coalition, President Reuven Rivlin will task Herzog with building a government. As things go down to the wire, last word for now goes to Chemi Shalev.
3. In the wake of allegations of anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism, and gender bias against Al Jazeera America, a third executive resigned. Mary McGinnis was AJAM’s senior vice president of news gathering, a very high level position. According to Dominic Patten, more resignations may be coming. Is AJAM in turmoil? The allegations surfaced in a $15 million lawsuit by ex-employee Matthew Luke.
Luke claims Mahmud made remarks including, “whoever supports Israel should die a fiery death in hell.” The suit also alleges that Mahmud exhibited “overt misogynistic behavior,” including removing female employees from projects and excluding women from certain emails and meetings.
The network’s interim CEO, Ehab Al Shihabi, called the charges “absurd.”

4. Breaking the Silence: A Middleman For Anonymous Sources: Breaking the Silence’s report doesn’t meet accepted standards that journalists themselves apply to their own reports.
5. Is it Time for a New Law of War? Which side has the advantage – terrorists firing rockets behind human shields or armies trying to stop them?
6. HR Radio: The BBC’s Guerin Defense and Jimmy Carter’s Praise for Hamas: Yarden Frankl discusses the BBC and its woeful response to complaints when its reporter claimed there was no evidence of Hamas using human shields. Click below to hear the whole interview on the Voice of Israel.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Lauryn Hill cancelled her show in Rishon LeZion. The BDS movement campaigned vigorously on social media to get the R&B singer to back out. The Grammy Award-winning singer wrote on her website that she called off the gig because she wasn’t able to schedule another appearance in Ramallah:

I’ve wanted very much to bring our live performance to this part of the world, but also to be a presence supporting justice and peace. It is very important to me that my presence or message not be misconstrued, or a source of alienation to either my Israeli or my Palestinian fans.
Whatever you make of her statement, she didn’t endorse the boycott movement. As Avi Mayer points out:

• Fatah accuses Hamas of seeking Saudi role in Palestinian affairs.
Last week, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh appealed to Saudi Arabia to replace Egypt as the main mediator between the Islamist movement and Fatah.
Saudi Arabia’s new monarch has reportedly indicated his desire to improve the kingdom’s ties with Hamas, which has been largely isolated by the Arab world and is seeking urgent financial support.
George Galloway
George Galloway

• Did UK public money support George Galloway’s work for Viva Palestina? That’s what a former Galloway is claiming: The Times of London writes:
A former aide to George Galloway claims that she spent just a quarter of her time on his parliamentary duties.
Aisha Ali-Khan says she was kept busy running errands, buying his underpants, helping with his wedding arrangements and working for his political and charitable interests.
She has lodged an official complaint alleging that he paid her public money to pursue his private agenda during her working day. She said that she spent most of her time working for his Respect party, for the Viva Palestina charity and doing chores for him.
Mideast Matters
• In their efforts to take over the Yarmouk refugee camp, ISIS and the Nusra Front are borrowing a page from Hamas-style “resistance.” A commander of one of the armed Palestinian groups fighting the Islamists told Foreign Policy:

The Palestinian group’s enemies, evidently, have adopted the same strategies. In a video Daham filmed just days ago, he shows the entrance to a tunnel he says was dug out by the Islamic State and Nusra. Seconds later, a Katyusha 107 mm rocket with more than 100 pounds of explosives wrapped around it was fired from the fifth floor of the neighboring building into the hole, bringing down rubble around it.
“They’ve built tunnels, which they learned from Hamas,” said Daham. “Who taught Hamas and even Hezbollah how to build tunnels back in the day? We did.”
• People are only bothered when things like fertilizer destined for Gaza are held up by Israel.

Fertilizer, also suited for bombs, flows to ISIS territory from Turkey
• Imagine the outrage if Israel did this:
Major hospital in Aleppo shuts because of bombing
• Rafael Medoff says the Palestinians should learn from Baltimore mom Toya Graham, who became famous for slapping her son after catching him throwing rocks during recent riots. Medoff was reacting to a New York Times report about Israel arresting two Palestinian kids (ages seven and 12) for, uh, throwing stones in eastern Jerusalem.

The contrast between the mother in Baltimore and the relatives in Jerusalem could not be more striking.
The Baltimore Riot Mom saw her son throwing rocks, and she responded by pulling him away from the rioting mob, slapping him, and administering a thorough tongue-lashing. She made it unmistakably clear to her son that his behavior and was immoral and unacceptable, and that she, as his parent, would not tolerate it.
The Jerusalem Riot Relatives saw their grandson and nephew throwing rocks, and they responded by denouncing the authorities for arresting him. The grandfather and uncle did not exhibit an ounce of sympathy for the innocent bus passengers who could have been maimed, or even murdered, by the rocks that their boy threw.
When Palestinian kids throw stones, the New York Times called it a “a rite of passage.”

Toya Graham
Palestinian mothers could learn from the “Baltimore riot mom,” Toya Graham.

• Experts at a Shurat HaDin conference on the laws of war discussed how to combat terror groups that use human shields. Unfortunately, the media’s part of the problem.
Col. Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, told a legal conference that the Western media have encouraged terrorists to use human shields in war by focusing attention on civilian casualties in such a way that Western military forces were effectively deterred from responding to terrorist attacks. He suggested that legal doctrines might need to be adjusted in order to remove the operational advantage human shields provide terrorists . . .
Later in the day, Prof. Geoffrey Corn of the South Texas College of Law disagreed, saying that the international law was flexible enough as it is currently understood, and that it does not need to be changed. Rather, he said the problem was that the doctrine of proportionality had been distorted in public debate, and had become a way for critics to undermine military tactics. He said that lawyers had “hijacked” the original doctrine, which had been meant to prevent truly “excessive” force.
Retired IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz described to the conference how Hezbollah and Hamas use civilian areas to cover their tracks and what it means for the IDF.

• For more commentary, see:
– Jennifer Rubin: Obama is again driving a wedge between allies
– Elie Barnavi: The UK elections and the Jewish question
– Rob Swift: What a would a new UK prime minister mean for Israel?
– Barcin Yinanc: Will Turkey learn to live with the bitter truth of the Mideast conflict?
– Hussain Abdul-Hussain: The Iran you see is not the Iran you get

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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Mon 04 May 2015, 6:16 pm

Soldiers’ “Testimonies” Break Credibility, Not Silence
Israel Daily News Stream5 hours ago

Today’s Top Stories
1. A few papers picked up on Breaking the Silence’s 240 page collection of soldiers’ testimonies about last year’s Gaza war. But not complaining to superiors about ethical issues — rather anonymously slinging mud about unverifiable incidents — breaks credibility, not silence. This Washington Post snippet aptly sums up what you need to know.

The Israeli Defense Forces spokesman declined to respond to details in the report, saying Breaking the Silence refuses share information with the IDF “in a manner which would allow a proper response, and if required, investigation,” and ” indicates that contrary to their claims this organization does not act with the intention of correcting any wrongdoings they allegedly uncovered.”
The soldiers who testified received guarantees of anonymity from Breaking the Silence.
Aside from the International Business Times, which got a fresh quote from the IDF, I didn’t see much skepticism in other papers. The testimonies served as today’s unquestioned affirmation of Israeli guilt in The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Sydney Morning Herald, The Independent (links one and two), Financial Times (click via Google News), and the London Review of Books (by radical left-wing Israeli Professor Neve Gordon).

2. YNet: In the face of BDS pressure on social media, Lauryn Hill, the American R&B and hip hop singer, is seriously considering cancelling an upcoming Israel concert. Hill is scheduled to perform in Rishon Lezion this week:
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement has been urging Hill to boycott Israel for the past month. Last week, pro-Palestinian activists posted a video edited to the sounds Hill’s performance of “Killing me Softly” as part of her former band The Fugees, which shows her alongside IDF soldiers in the territories and compares Israel to an apartheid state.
3. Memo to the Gaza Salafists tortured by Hamas: The world’s only outraged when Israel is accused of torturing you. Unfortunately, raising awareness of human rights violations by Hamas or the PA ruins longstanding narratives of Israel as Public Enemy No. 1,  as Khaled Abu Toameh points out.
4. “Might Have Been Better Worded”: The BBC offers the weakest excuse for botched journalism.
5. Correcting the Record: Tel Aviv Is Not Israel’s Capital: When Sky News labeled Tel Aviv as Israel’s capital, HonestReporting stepped in.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Security guards shot a suspected Palestinian terrorist at a Jerusalem’s light rail today. YNet coverage.

• Two UN peacekeepers in the Golan were injured by Syrian mortars today. The Jerusalem Post reports that the IDF believes the shells were errant fire from Syrian civil war fighting.
• From the Times of Israel:
The mortar round that killed four-year-old Daniel Tragerman on the second to last day of the war in and around Gaza last summer was fired from a United Nations installation, Lt. Gen. (res) Benny Gantz, the commander of the army during the 50-day war, said on Monday.
• Worth watching: Scott Pelley of 60 Minutes looked at the effects of the Gaza war on Israeli and Palestinian children.

Around the World
• The body of Or Asraf was extracted from a Nepalese mountainside by a search and rescue team accompanied by Asraf’s army buddies. See Israel HaYom coverage.

• Iran stepping up covert activities in Latin America?
• Dallas police killed two gunmen who opened fire on a controversial Mohammed art conference. A security guard was injured. More at the Dallas Morning News.
• The Times of Israel notes an Israeli angle to the big question of what name will be given to Prince William and Princess Kate’s new daughter. Alice is popular among British bookies, and would stir Israeli interest too.
The newborn’s great-great-grandmother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, is buried in Jerusalem, and was recognized by Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial as a “Righteous Among the Nations” and by the British government as a “Hero of the Holocaust.”
During the Nazi occupation of Greece, Alice hid a Jewish woman and two of her children from the Nazis.
No name was announced when this roundup was published.

Prince William and Princess Catherine with new baby; Princess Alice of Battenberg is the newborn’s great-great grandmother
• It’s in Israel’s interest to just let Gaza collapse on Hamas. There’s no other way to dislodge it from power, argues Danny Rubinstein.

• More of today’s commentary:
– Alex Fishman: Israel’s up to its neck in Syria
– Michael Curtis: UN guilt and Hamas war crimes
– Jonathan Marks: When students vote on Israel’s demise
– Gary Rosenblatt: Israel, the canary in the coal mine
– Reuven Berko: Noose tightens around Bashar Assad

Featured image: CC BY-NC flickr/European Journalism Observatory with additions by HonestReporting; Hill CC BY flickr/The Come Up Show; royal family via YouTube/CNN; Princess Alice via Wikimedia Commons;

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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Sun 03 May 2015, 9:56 pm

US to Sacrifice Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge for Iran Deal?
Israel Daily News Stream6 hours ago

Today’s Top Stories
1. Might the White House sacrifice Israel’s qualitative military edge for the sake of achieving a nuclear deal with Iran?

According to the Wall St. Journal (via Google News), the White House may offer “loose” defense pacts and increased arms sales to the Gulf states for their support of a nuclear deal. Gulf state leaders are due in Washington for a summit on the matter with President Obama this month. The Journal writes:
The Persian Gulf countries say they need more drones, surveillance equipment and missile-defense systems to combat an Iranian regime they see as committed to becoming the region’s dominant power. The Gulf states also want upgraded fighter jets to contain the Iranian challenge, particularly the advanced F-35, known as the Joint Strike Fighter . . .
The challenge Mr. Obama faces at Camp David is to assuage growing fears among those Sunni countries that want military superiority over Shiite-dominated Iran, while not undermining longtime U.S. security guarantees to Israel.
Current law mandates that the U.S. uphold Israel’s qualitative military edge over its neighbors.
The New York Times adds

Defense analysts say that with the balance of power in the Middle East in flux, that could change. One possibility would be to wait three years after delivering the F-35 to Israel and then approve it for sale to the United Arab Emirates — the Arab ally most likely to get the first chance to buy the stealth fighter — which would give Israel a three-year head start.
2. Damascus reportedly gave important Alawite families 48 hours to leave Damascus for Latakia. Rebels are threatening to ancestral Alawite lands along the Syrian coast that — in a last ditch scenario — would form an Alawite rump state. It’s all hands on deck. The Jerusalem Post picked up on Arab media reports. It’s all hands on deck.
On Friday, sources belonging to rebel groups boasted that their battles against the Syrian army were taking place in the highlands of Jabal al-Akrad, a range that includes some of the highest peaks in Syria.
A commander of the Ahrar al-Sham, a faction belonging to the rebel coalition fighting Assad’s forces, claimed that “the capture of the peaks would put the Alawite villages in our firing range,” communities that include Qardaha, the hometown of the Assad dynasty. On Friday, sources belonging to rebel groups boasted that their battles against the Syrian army were taking place in the highlands of Jabal al-Akrad, a range that includes some of the highest peaks in Syria.

3.  As the Nepal death toll passed 7,000, the search for Or Asraf came to a grim end as searchers found the 22-year-old Israeli’s body on a mountainside. Due to difficult terrain and weather, efforts to retrieve the body will begin tomorrow. Asraf was the only Israeli fatality in Nepal.
Israel also announced it would adopt a Nepalese village to rehabilitate. One member of the IDF rescue mission, Dr. Ariel Bar, shared his observations of the crisis
Israel and the Palestinians
• Fulvio Martusciello, the EU’s “Israel-relations czar” demanded better controls and accountability on EU aid to the Palestinians. According to the JTA, Martusciello cited an EU audit  slamming wasted aid money to the PA, a nonbinding resolution raising concerns about money laundering and terrorism financing, and the PA’s “salary payments” to families of terrorists jailed in Israel.

• In a Haaretz interview, ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said low-ranking IDF soldiers, as well as Palestinians, could be prosecuted for war crimes.
• The Palestinians are still pushing to get Israel kicked out of FIFA, international soccer’s governing body. According to Reuters, the Palestinians are confident they’ll get the necessary three-quarter majority of FIFA’s members.
• Hamas announced one of it’s people died in a tunnel collapse near the Israel-Gaza border.
• The Indiana General Assembly became the second state legislature to pass a bill formally opposing the boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign (BDS) against Israel. Resolution 74 follows a similar move by Tennessee lawmakers.
• Coming attractions for this summer: ‘Freedom Flotilla III’ to embark for Gaza.
• The Government Press Office is giving the 50 new Knesset members training in how to address the media and more effectively represent Israel. YNet coverage.
Mideast Matters
• The US Navy’s now escorting cargo ships near Iran. More at CNN.

• Boycott of Iranian goods gains Arab traction
• It appears that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi suffered a severe spinal injury in a US more than two months ago. Media reports say the organization’s new leader is former physics professor Abed al-Rachman Mustapha (a.k.a. Abu Alaa al-Afri).
• NOW Lebanon: After seeing what ISIS did with the advanced weapons taken from the Iraqi army, Hezbollah’s keen to get its hands on Bashar Assad’s rockets before ISIS does.
• ISIS slaughtered 300 Yazidi captives in Iraq.
Around the World
• Ukrainian aliyah tripled the first quarter of 2015.

• CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, has raised issues of ethical journalism. Gupta, a neurosurgeon and journalist, was filmed performing emergency medical procedures on Nepalese earthquake victims.
In one video, Gupta says he was asked to help operate on an eight-year-old girl. In another video, he resuscitated a woman in a helicopter going into cardiac arrest. He certainly deserves praise for saving lives, but was it proper to keep the cameras filming? Should CNN have aired the footage?
• Two young Paris Jews were attacked by mob of 40 people.
• A memorial plaque for Ilan Halimi, a  French Jew who was kidnapped, tortured, and brutally murdered in 2006, was found desecrated.
• Looking at the possible outcomes of the British elections, Melanie Phillips is underwhelmed by what the results will mean for Israel and UK Jews.

In short, the UK’s election alternatives on Israel would seem to be between decent but ignorant and thus incoherent on the one hand, and poisonous, existentially agonized and lethal on the other.
• Judith Bergmann wonders about the hypocrisy of European consumers too socially conscious to purchase Israeli produce.

While nothing on earth makes their blood pressure soar quite so much as encountering Israeli produce in their local supermarket, they happily stuff themselves with Iranian dates and pomegranates, Egyptian carrots and green beans and Turkish cherries and grapes. They dress themselves in cheap clothes produced by overexploited, underpaid children working under slave-like conditions in Bangladesh and Pakistan, and they do not give it a second thought if young women on death row in China sewed their jeans, as long as they get their money’s worth. If North Korea produced anything other than grief and nuclear weapons, they would rush to consume its produce, as well.
• More commentary to ponder.

– New York Post: UN report outlines how Hamas used kids as human shields (staff-ed)
– Professor Eyal Zisser: Hezbollah is raising its head
– Elder of Ziyon: Why doesn’t anyone compare Baltimore to Hamas police?
– Amir Taheri: Why Iran can’t deliver what Obama hopes
– Michael Totten: The Iranian leader’s bizarre Twitter feed
– Aaron David Miller: Is Assad finished, for real, this time?
– Michael Crowley: Iran’s dire Strait

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Post  Admin on Thu 30 Apr 2015, 7:27 pm

Hezbollah Mourns Child Soldier
Today’s Top Stories
1. Britain disclosed to the UN that Iran has an illicit nuclear procurement network linked to a pair of blacklisted firms. That’s according to documents seen by 

The existence of such a network could add to Western concerns over whether Tehran can be trusted to adhere to a nuclear deal due by June 30 in which it would agree to restrict sensitive nuclear work in exchange for sanctions relief.
2. A US-Israel anti-tunnel project got initial approval by Congress. According to Globes:

The joint R&D financing project will be on the same lines as the US-Israeli project for the development of anti-missile systems.
3. Hezbollah mourns child soldier: Mashhur Fahd Shamseddine, reported to be 15 years-old, may have been killed in an Israeli air strike a few days ago, but Arabic reports cited by NOW Lebanon paint conflicting pictures. How many other junior jihadists have died for Hezbollah?

Israel and the Palestinians
• Jimmy Carter cancelled plans to visit Hamas leaders in Gaza today, then visit Mahmoud Abbas. The ex-president’s visit was on behalf The Elders, a group of former world leaders working for peace and human rights. No reason for the cancellation was given. Associated Press coverage.

• Reuters picked up on Hamas police breaking up a Gaza youth rally calling for national unity and reconstruction.
• The University of California-Riverside is giving chick peas a chance: The Los Angeles Times reports that after initially caving in to demands by Students for Justice in Palestine to remove an Israeli brand of hummus from campus, UCR officials reversed their decision and are bringing it back.
That would be deja vu for Wesleyan University and SJP.
LA Times
• Shira Klein, who was injured by a Palestinian who deliberately plowed his car into a Jerusalem bus stop, was released from the hospital. YNet says the 24-year-old said she plans to spend time resting and rehabbing before returning to her studies for a Master’s degree in psychology. Shalom Yochai Sharki was killed in that attack.
Around the World
• In Nepal, the death toll climbed to 5,500. On its first day of activity, the IDF field hospital in Kathmandu treated 100 people and delivered a baby. The search continued for Or Asraf, the only Israeli unaccounted for in Nepal. Asraf’s father and army buddies flew to Nepal to look for the 22-year-old Or. More on the search for Asraf at the Times of Israel and YNet.

• It’s not just Palestinian supporters hijacking the Baltimore riots for their own purposes. MEMRI found that ISIS supporters on Twitter are using the #BaltimoreRiots hashtag to urge attacks against policemen and put their own spin on race issues. Here’s one tweet MEMRI screengrabbed before it was removed.
Abu Tawbah
• Assad’s army is utterly crumbling. According to the New York Times, its due to pro-regime families refusing to send their sons to fight, dwindling foreign currency reserves, and tensions between local soldiers and Hezbollah imports.
• Can you imagine what would hit the fan if this reaction to the Baltimore riots came from the mayor of Jerusalem instead of the mayor of Ankara? Hurriyet explains:
“Come on blonde, answer now,” Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek said in a tweet early April 29. The tweet also included an image from the recent riots in Baltimore, as well as the photo of Marie Harf and a caption that reads: “Where are you stupid blonde, who accused Turkish police of using disproportionate force?”

• Yakub Halabi urges Israel to establish a security zone in southwestern Syria, to protect Druze and other minorities trapped between the Assad regime and ISIS. It’s a moral duty,

This security zone should be founded on the same model as the “Security Belt” that Israel established in southern Lebanon up until the year 2000. Based on this model, Israel would occupy the area and establish an army composed of local citizens who would protect it. This zone should mainly constitute a refuge for Syrians who are fleeing the fighting, but are blocked from either entering neighboring countries or seeking shelter in Europe . . .
Israel’s humanitarian intervention is not purely humanitarian, however. The potential liquidation of these minorities means that Israel would lose its best sub-state allies in the Middle East. These minorities have always been the gatekeepers of secularism and modernity in the Arab/Muslim world.
Featured image: CC BY-NC flickr/Einstraus with additions CC BY Lauren Michell Rabaino and HonestReporting

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Post  Admin on Wed 29 Apr 2015, 2:44 pm

Al-Jazeera America Executives Resign Amid Anti-Semitism Lawsuit
Israel Daily News Streamabout 1 hour ago
Today’s Top Stories
1. The White House is nudging France to hold off on measures in the UN to restart Mideast peace talks. According to Foreign Policy, this “reflects concern over the potential political perils of pursuing dual initiatives that are deeply unpopular with Israel and its supporters in the U.S. Congress.”

The American pitch for a delay, which has not previously been reported, comes just weeks after French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced that he would push in a matter of “weeks” for a new U.N. “parameters” resolution that would set a fixed timetable for negotiating a political settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.
But U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has appealed to his French counterpart to put the decision off until at least after the deadline for Iran talks wraps up at the end of June, or possibly even later, after the administration has secured congressional support for the deal, according to diplomatic sources.

2. A former employee of Al Jazeera America is suing the network, alleging anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism, and gender bias. Two Al Jazeera America executives resigned but the key figure at the eye of the storm denied everything in an email to Washington Post.
3. The death toll from the Nepal earthquake passed 5,000 as aid efforts continued.
The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel is still searching for Or Asraf, the only Israeli still unaccounted for. 40 other Israels whose locations were known haven’t been reached yet. According to the Times of Israel, Israeli officials hope to finish extricating everyone by the end of today.
YNet adds that “around 70 Israelis who arrived in Kathmandu earlier in the week decided not to evacuate on the state-funded El Al flight.” More at Haaretz.
Israel and the Palestinians
• According to Israeli press reports, Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif has returned to active duty. Deif has survived a number of IDF assassination attempts — most recently an airstrike during Operation Protective Edge which it is believed critically injured the terror mastermind.

And related Israeli reports say Deif had planned a large-scale terror attack during last year’s Gaza war, only to have the attack vetoed by Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal.
• AFP: Gaza youths demonstrating for reconstruction and national unity were beaten by Hamas policemen.
• Whoda thought Mohammed Dahlan — the rival to Mahmoud Abbas — was capable of this?
• So much for spinning Bashar Assad as the protector of the Palestinians:

Damascus cancels meeting with PLO over Yarmouk crisis.
• The US put three Hezbollah operatives on a special “terror watch list.” Two are responsible for the 2012 bombing of a bus full of Israeli tourists in Burgas, Bulgaria which killed six people. The third was involved in a terror plot in Thailand. More at the Times of Israel.
Around the World
• In Yemen, Saudi-led aircraft destroyed the runway of Sanaa airport to prevent an Iranian plane from landing. Taking out the runway complicates the delivery of humanitarian aid. According to Reuters:

Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, told Reuters that the airport was bombed after an Iranian aircraft refused to coordinate with the coalition and the pilot ignored orders to turn back.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef

• Saudi King Salman appointed his nephew, Mohammed bin Nayef as crown prince. Nayef currently serves as the kingdom’s “counter-terror tsar” and interior minister. The Guardian notes that Nayef is the first of generation to reach this standing: all of the country’s kings till now were sons of the kingdom’s founder, King Abdulaziz al-Saud.
In 2011, Nayef sued The Independent for slander after Robert Fisk incorrectly wrote that the prince gave police orders to fire on unarmed protesters during the early days of the Arab Spring. The paper published a correction and paid substantial damages.
• Thank you NPR, for reminding us of something so obvious, we take it for granted. Baltimorons who injure cops, start fires, loot stores, or vandalize property are not “protesters.” They are rioters. Words matter. Keep this in mind next time there’s a debate about Palestinian activists vs. Palestinian terrorists.
• Berlin police apologized for making soccer fans remove an Israeli flag.
• Thumbs up to Facebook for taking action against a Russian anti-Semitic slur:
Facebook has taken down dozens of pages containing a Russian-language phrase that combines a Ukrainian pejorative for “Jew” with the name of a nationalist whose troops murdered Jews.
• Iran seized a cargo ship in the Straits of Hormuz. The Maersk Tigris is owned by a Danish company and flagged to the Marshall Islands. More on the story at Bloomberg News.

• Haviv Rettig Gur‘s fed up with people tying together Israel’s humanitarian aid to Nepal with the Palestinian conflict.

The IDF doesn’t go to Nepal to avoid the Palestinian issue. It goes because Israelis have honed emergency medicine into an art form, and because the IDF has never quite shed its founding culture of adventurousness, and, above all, because there are people out there who desperately need help.
• Tweet of the day from David Hazony:

David Hazony
• It wasn’t major news in Israel that the government refused to allow South Africa’s Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, into the country to meet his Palestinian counterpart in Ramallah. While South African Jews oppose the ban, Ben Levitas, of the South African Zionist Federation, got op-ed space in the Pretoria News to argue in favor of the snub.
• For more commentary, see
– Khaled Abu Toameh: The Palestinians the media doesn’t talk about
– Emmanuel Navon: How Israel appoints judges is none of the EU’s business
– Eliezer Marom: Israeli strike to thwart arms to Hezbollah worth the risks
– Alex Ryvchen: Activists corrupt free speech in defense of Jake Lynch
– Kai Bird: The ghosts that haunt an Iran accord
– Wall St. Journal: The pirates of Tehran (staff-ed, via Google News)

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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Tue 28 Apr 2015, 7:07 pm

Palestinian Activists Hijacking Baltimore Riots?
Today’s Top Stories
1. A UN inquiry into attacks on its Gaza facilities during Operation Protective Edge released a summary of its findings. As you’d expect, the summary blames Israel for attacking schools where refugees were sheltered and faults the Palestinians for stashing arms in the schools.

The story’s splash will be limited for two reasons. First, the findings were completely overshadowed by the Nepal earthquake and the Baltimore riots. Secondly, Israel and Palestinian advocates won’t score many points off a mere summary. The BBC says more significant “full 207-page report will remain private.”
2. Anti-Israel activists are trying to hijack the Baltimore riots. While William Jacobson points out what he sees from Palestinian supporters, I wonder what Freddie Gray would make of it all.
When there is a riot or other protest in the U.S., particularly if involving minority communities, “pro-Palestinian” activists try to hijack it and turn it into a criticism of Israel.
We saw it in Ferguson where “pro-Palestinian” activists spread lies that Israel trained the Ferguson police, and actually embedded themselves in the protests to try to turn the protests into anti-Israel protests.
Max Blumenthal

3. The Nepal earthquake death toll’s at 5,000. Casualties are expected to reach 10,000 as information from devastated, remote villages becomes available.
Israeli relief planes finally arrived in Nepal after being delayed by a series of aftershocks and limited parking space for the influx of aircraft. Israelis returning home from the stricken Himalayan country shared their stories with YNet. Most Israeli trekkers have been located, but 11 remain unaccounted for.
4. HR Radio: Rude Tweets and Misleading Headlines: Yarden Frankl discusses a human rights executive’s inappropriate response to Israel’s humanitarian aid to Nepal, some terrible New York Times headlines, and whether Jewish doctors boycotting The Lancet are violating free speech. Click below to hear the whole interview on the Voice of Israel.
Israel and the Palestinians
• In yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream, I mentioned a report by two leading experts in military law assessing the IDF’s targeting practices during last year’s Gaza war. (The Jerusalem Post picked up on Michael Schmitt and John Merriam’s summary at Just Security.) I want to thank readers who sent me a link to the full 52-page report.

• Israel accuses Hamas of recruiting students in Malaysia for military training. Haaretz writes:
According to the Shin Bet, Hamas men in Malaysia actively recruit for military training Palestinians who are studying there. Recruiters also put the students through ideological preparation that includes joining the Muslim Brotherhood and Palestinian charities that operate there.
After their training, the operatives are sent to set up military networks in the West Bank, act as messengers between the territories and foreign countries, and carry out secret transfers of funds to meet Hamas’ needs.
Last year, Israel foiled a terror attack involving Palestinians trained in Malaysia.

• Times of Israel: Khalil Afaneh, a PA civil servant, was arrested for liking his niece’s comments on Facebook denying that Yasser Arafat was a martyr. And the consequences for his niece, Namir Moghrabi, a student at Bir Zeit University?
Sources close to the university’s administration told the news site that she would be expelled, and a letter issued by the ministry of education would ban her acceptance to any other Palestinian university.
• Is there a connection between Swedish aid and Hamas institutions?

• Israelis in the Golan scrambled to bomb shelters today as two mortar shells landed in a field near Kibbutz Ein Zivan. The army believes they were errant fire from nearby battles between the Syrian army and rebels. No injuries or damage reported.
• Two of the four terrorists killed while trying to plant a bomb along the Israel-Syrian border were Druze brothers whose father was a former Israeli security prisoner. Hezbollah has a track record of recruiting Druze, Christians, and Sunnis to fight Israel.
• Hezbollah’s devising all kinds of methods for covering up its casualty figures in Syria, reports NOW Lebanon.
• A Lebanese man living in Texas was sentenced to five years in jail for lying to US immigration authorities about his ties to Hezbollah.
• Jonathan Tobin raises an important point about how the emerging nuclear deal with Iran will impact Hezbollah.

But even if Iran never takes advantage of that opportunity or never uses the bomb if it gets one, this deal places Hezbollah and Hamas under a potential nuclear umbrella. That gives the terrorists more freedom to operate and to foment and commit violence against both Israel and the United States. That’s why it’s a mistake for the United States to separate the issue of Iran’s support of terrorism and its desire to eliminate Israel from the nuclear issue.
• For more commentary, see

– Mitch Ginsburg: For Israel and Hezbollah, a high-stakes balancing act
– Yehuda Balanga: Syria: A quagmire of interests

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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Mon 27 Apr 2015, 7:13 pm

Hamas Confirms Dialogue With Israel
Israel Daily News Stream5 hours ago
Today’s Top Stories
1. Today’s big story is that Israel has been in secret dialogue with Hamas for several weeks. Both sides have an interest in keeping Gaza calm. The cooperation is “partly direct” and partly through Qatari and European mediators, according YNet. (Hamas official Ahmed Yousef confirmed to Maan News that Hamas is having “chats” with Israel through mediators but denied direct contacts.)

Defense establishment officials believe that the absence of a dialogue that will help ease the living conditions in Gaza will lead an armed conflict in the summer, and Operation Protective Edge will be perceived as a colossal failure. The person pushing for talks with Hamas is the coordinator of the government’s activities in the territories, in cooperation with new IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot and with his encouragement, while the political echelon is making these moves possible.
The official Israel continues to conceal the dialogue with Hamas: It would have disrupted the elections, it’s not good for the image of a right-wing government, and it gets in the way of continuing to define Hamas as a terror organization in the world.
The PA is fuming with anger. The media in Ramallah are accusing Israel of helping Hamas in Gaza establish itself as a rival leadership. There is some truth in that. The PA is failing to take control over the Strip’s reconstruction, and Israel has no time to wait . . .
Besides, the dialogue with Hamas also serves as a sort of whip in Israel’s hands against an oppositional PA in Ramallah: Is Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas threatening to open the economic and security agreements with Israel? Well, Israel can adopt an oppositional policy of its own.

2. The northern border heated up with reports of air strikes both confirmed and denied by Israel.
Israel confirmed it foiled a terror attack along the Israeli-Syrian border. Soldiers spotted four armed terrorists on the Syrian side of the fence near the Druse village of Majdal Shams placing a bomb. Aircraft was called in, killing the four. It’s not clear who the terrorists were affiliated with, though Ron Ben-Yishai‘s pretty sure it was Hezbollah. See Haaretz coverage and Avi Issacharoff‘s take.
Meanwhile,  someone attacked a Syrian base this morning. According to initial Arab reports, it was an Israeli airstrike. According to other reports, the explosions at a Syrian missile base were the work of the Nusra Front. Israeli officials usually refrain from confirming or denying these things, but this time, Israel denied this attack.
3. As aftershocks continued, the death toll from the Nepal earthquake climbed to 3,700. The first plane bringing Israelis home returned. Last I saw, the Times of Israel reported 100 Israelis remained unaccounted while YNet reported others desperately pleading to be evacuated (four were rescued from the slopes of Mt Everest).
Last, but not least, sympathy to  the 3,400 Nepalese in Israel going through a lot of anxiety now.
4. Human Rights Watch’s Disaster Effort: Shame on Human Rights Watch and its obsession against Israel.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Gregg Carlstrom on the perils of Palestinian democracy:

• NPR (audio or transcript) just discovered how complicated West Bank land ownership is.
• Arduous journey from Gaza to London sheds light on desperate plight.
• German police removed an Israeli flag from a soccer game “for fear of Palestinian violence.” The Jerusalem Post picked up on German coverage after Almog Cohen, an Israeli midfielder for FC Ingolstadt, tweeted what he saw.
• Resolution could prompt more Tennessee support of Israel
• Your daily dose of sleaze: Human Rights Watch director Kenneth Roth takes advantage of Nepalese suffering to take a dig at Israel.
Mideast Matters
• Reuters: For the first time in 20 years, Israel will participate as an observer at a major annual conference on nuclear arms. Israel has boycotted the Non-Proliferation Review Conference for 20 years in protest against biased resolutions.

• President Obama channels his inner Santa.
The Hill

• Iran’s furious with President Obama’s compromise with Congress on oversight of any nuclear deal. I don’t see why the Times of London thought this particular insight was so important to justify an anonymous source. For shame . . .
Worse still, in Iran’s eyes, are the signs that Israeli lobbying in Washington has borne fruit. “Obama was boxed in politically on this last agreement. Never underestimate the Israeli pressure on the US Congress,” one American government official admitted.
• Satellite images reveal a Hezbollah airstrip for its aerial drones. Jane’s Defense Weekly simply looked at Google Earth and worked it out.

• A Turkish “documentary” purporting to reveal Jewish conspiracy is raises questions about anti-Semitism spreading into mainstream Turkey. According to The Media Line it’s fueled by the ruling AKP Party.
The film, called Ust Akil (Mastermind) and also published on major pro-government newspaper websites such as Sabah, claims that Jewish people have conspired to dominate the world for 3,500 years . . .
“This is pretty much the worldview in the AKP now,” says writer and political commentator Mustafa Akyol, referring to Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party.
Turkish journalist Burak Bekdil also spoke out against the video.
• A Harvard conference on economic collaboration in the Mideast is a critical victory over the BDS movement. Eliana Rudee explains its significance

• Two heavyweight military law experts concluded that IDF targeting during last year’s Gaza war didn’t run afoul of international law. Michael Schmitt and John Merriam wrote a 52-page report on their findings — you can see a summary at Just Security.
Broadly speaking, we concluded that IDF positions on targeting law largely track those of the United States military. Moreover, even when they differ, the Israeli approach remains within the ambit of generally acceptable State practice. The IDF is served by a corps of highly competent and well-trained legal advisors who operate with a remarkable degree of autonomy, and its operations are subject to extensive judicial monitoring. While there are certainly Israeli legal positions that may be contentious, we found that their approach to targeting is consistent with the law and, in many cases, worthy of emulation.
Schmitt and Merriam are big names. According to the Jerusalem Post,

Because of the authors’ prominence and the unprecedented inside access they were given to IDF operations, the impact of the report could be wide-ranging and even influence decisions by the International Criminal Court on the issues.
I couldn’t find Schmitt and Merriam’s 52-page report online, but if you want to read more, here’s their 15-page abstract. (UPDATE: Thanks to the readers who sent this link to the full 52-page report).
• Eyal Zisser: Saudi-funded French weapons recently delivered to the Lebanese army are already falling into Hezbollah’s hands.

• Anti-Semitism is becoming more acceptable through the use of language, argues French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy.
• After Nepal, seismologists ask: Is Israel prepared for its own Big One?
• For more commentary, see:
– Iran won’t give up on its revolution
– US-Saudi differences on Iran’s role in Yemen

Featured image: CC BY flickr/John Ragai with additions by HonestReporting; law books CC BY-NC-ND flickr/Mr.TinDC

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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Sun 26 Apr 2015, 8:03 pm

Nepal Quake: 250 Israelis Unaccounted For
Today’s Top Stories
1. Nepal hit by massive earthquake and aftershocks; as this roundup went to press, the death toll passed 2,200. Israel dispatched a team of experts to assess the situation and is preparing to deploy a field hospital, search and rescue personnel, and a Magen David Adom team.

According to Israeli press reports, 170 Israelis were camped out in tents in the Israeli embassy’s garden while more have sought refuge in Kathmandu’s Chabad House. Another 250 Israeli citizens are currently unaccounted for, but one embassy staffer noted,
The inability to contact trekkers on long hikes, unfortunately, is normal and, therefore, makes missing persons estimates irrelevant, he added.
2. Israeli jets reportedly hit Syrian army and Hezbollah targets in Syria. The Times of Israel quoted Arab sources saying the targets were missile depots.

With the proverbial “rules of the game” along Israel’s northern border in flux, Amos Harel, Ron Ben-Yishai and Yoav Livnor wonder if, when and how Hezbollah will respond.
3. Jerusalem’s heating up. A Palestinian was arrested overnight for plowing his car into three border policemen in eastern Jerusalem. Ambulances responding to the attack were attacked by rock-throwers. The Israelis are not reported to be in life-threatening danger. More at the Jerusalem Post and YNet.
4. Lancet Under Pressure to Retract Anti-Israel Letter: Threatening a boycott, 500 doctors, including several Nobel laureates, demand The Lancet remove an anti-Israel letter.
5. . . . After Attacking Officers With Knives . . .: The New York Times serves up today’s headline fail.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Palestinians fired a rocket at Sderot over Independence Day; the IDF retaliated with an airstrike on unspecified “terrorist infrastructure.” Nobody injuries were reported. The rocket launch was the first in four months.

• In separate incidents, Palestinians trying to stab Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem and Hebron were shot and killed. If you only skimmed the headlines of the New York Times, you’d have a different impression of what happened:
• After years of Israeli objections, Palestinian police patrol Jerusalem suburbs.
• Saeb Erekat to reporters: The PLO’s executive committee will meet on Wednesday to redefine relations with Israel. I really feel sorry for the reporters who have to cover his press briefings.
Matthew Kalman
• Times of Israel: Hamas won a decisive victory in Bir Zeit University’s student council elections, taking 26 of 51 seats. The Fatah bloc only won 19 seats. Khaled Abu Toameh explains the significance:
The Hamas victory at Bir Zeit University shows why it is not a good idea, at this stage, to hold parliamentary or presidential elections in the Palestinian territories. Abbas himself has long been aware that a free and democratic election would result in another Hamas victory. That is why he has been in no rush to call on Palestinians to head to the ballot boxes.
But Abbas is not the only one who should be worried about the Hamas electoral victory. This is also bad news for efforts to revive the stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. In wake of the Hamas victory, it is hard to see how Abbas or any other Palestinian leader would sign any peace agreement with Israel.
For comparison, see AFP‘s way-too-rosy Bir Zeit coverage.

US Capitol• The Senate Finance Committee unanimously voted against the BDS movement. The committee was specifically targeting boycott efforts in the European Union.
The amendment, which was tacked onto a larger piece of trade legislation that establishes Congressional trade objectives, is intended to apply specifically to an emerging free trade agreement between the U.S. and Europe.
While the language of the amendment does not directly specify punitive action toward countries that boycott Israel, the implication is that U.S.-E.U. free trade relations are conditional upon European countries abstaining from the BDS movement.
The senate committee’s amendment specifically targets an E.U. decision to cut economic support for Israeli settlements.
Iranian Atomic Urgency
• Russian foreign ministry official: Don’t hold your breath waiting for Moscow to transfer the S-300 air defense system to Iran. Read the tea leaves at Reuters:

• Israel’s Iranian Jews worry about the nuclear deal
• China put the State Department on the defensive. See the Wall St. Journal (click via Google News) and AFP.
Mideast Matters
• An Iranian general advising Syrian forces was killed and his body captured by rebels over the weekend. This Daily Star snippet made my antennae twitch:

Many observers have recently spoken of large numbers of non-Syrian fighters among the ranks of the regime’s southern-based forces, with hardly a role for Syrian personnel.
• In case you’re wondering about Yemen’s death toll, the UN reports more than 1,000 people died in the past month.

• Warren Weinstein, a Jewish American hostage held by Al-Qaida was accidentally killed in a US drone strike in Pakistan in January, US officials revealed. The 73-year-old aid worker from Rockville, Maryland, was abducted in Lahore in 2011. CNN had good background info and links; George Packer and Elliott Abrams paid tribute.
Warren Weinstein
Warren Weinstein, 1941-2015

Around the World
• Unnerved by the death of Alberto Nisman and fearing for his own life, Argentina’s spy chief flees country.

• Washington Post: NBC News finds Brian Williams embellished at least 11 times. Among them are the anchor’s tall tales from the Israel-Hezbollah front.
• In the wake of anti-Semitic attacks, increasing numbers of French Jews see Canada as a haven, reports the National Post reports.
• Imagine the outrage if Israel did this?
India takes Al-Jazeera off the air in Kashmir map row
• Israel would do well to pay closer attention to two sets of ticking time bombs — a growing Hezbollah presence in Gaza, and Palestinians increasingly entangled in the Syrian civil war. Yaron Friedman looks at how they unfolded, and their ramifications for Israel.

• According to Aaron David Miller, the cold war between Netanyahu and Obama isn’t really over, just paused. So buckle up.
The final 20 months of the Obama administration won’t be easy. The U.S.-Israeli relationship is too big to fail, particularly as the Arab world melts down and Washington needs friends. But neither does there seem to be much hope for a marked improvement at the top. Enjoy the time out between rounds–because sooner or later Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu will be back in the ring.
• For more commentary/analysis see:

– Charles Krauthammer: Obama’s Nixon doctrine: anointing Iran
– Mort Zuckerman: The President daydreams on Iran (via Google News)
– Dore Gold: Why does the West apologize to Iran?
– Jeff Jacoby: Believe the mullahs
– Wall St. Journal staff-ed: China’s nuclear warning (via Google News)
– Shahrzad Elghanayan: Jews have good reason to be wary of Tehran’s rhetoric
– Thomas Friedman: Deal or no deal?

Featured image: CC BY flickr/Pedro Ribeiro Simo?es with additions by HonestReporting; US Capitol CC BY-NC flickr//Steve; Weinstein via Facebook/BringWarrenHome;

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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Wed 22 Apr 2015, 5:53 pm

US Confirms Israeli Assessments of Iranian Breakout Time
Israel Daily News Stream4 hours ago

Today’s Top Stories
1. Eli Lake got the scoop: De-classified US documents confirm what Israel has said time and again: Iran is just two or three months away from enriching enough uranium to make a nuclear bomb. Moreover, the Obama administration has held this assessment for several years. What changed?

Here is the puzzling thing: When Obama began his second term in 2013, he sang a different tune. He emphasized that Iran was more than a year away from a nuclear bomb, without mentioning that his intelligence community believed it was only two to three months away from making enough fuel for one, long considered the most challenging task in building a weapon. Today Obama emphasizes that Iran is only two to three months away from acquiring enough fuel for a bomb, creating a sense of urgency for his Iran agreement.
Benyamin Netanyahu addressing the UN in 2012
2. The Wall St. Journal (via Google News) takes a closer look at rekindled Hamas-Iran ties. Right now, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards is essentially sponsoring the rebuilding of Gaza’s tunnel network and replenishing depleted stocks of rockets. The money quote:
For the West and for Israel’s allies, the renewed relationship between Iran and Hamas raises a larger concern. Given that Hamas is designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. and its allies, Iran’s fresh outreach to the group should raise another caution flag as world powers negotiate with Tehran over the Iranian nuclear program.

3. Saudi Arabia announced an end to its coalition’s airstrikes on Houthi targets in Yemen, then resumed the airstrikes after Houthis attacked a government army brigade, CNN reports. The Saudis said earlier the coalition was ready to end Operation Decisive Storm and focus on restoring Yemen’s government.
According to the New York Times and McClatchy News, the Saudis initially suspended their strikes in the face of a growing outcry against mounting civilian deaths. I’m not clear on the civilian casualty figures.
4. Recognize Israel’s Accomplishments: If there were more honest reporting, you would know more about these accomplishments.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Jerusalem Post: An IDF military court ordered two Palestinians to pay a terror victim’s family NIS 3.3 million in punitive damages. Asher Palmer lost control of his car during a 2011 stoning attack near Kiryat Arba. Palmer’s infant son, Yonatan, was also killed. Waal al-Arjeh and Ali Saada are already serving life sentences for their role in the attack.

• Britain, France and New Zealand are restlessly pushing for a UN Security Council resolution to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, according to Reuters.
• Scotland’s parliament discussed recognizing Palestine, but the debate turned out to be a big yawn.
The parliament in Edinburgh did not vote at the end of the poorly attended session, but most speakers expressed support for the motion, several of them criticizing Israel for running an “apartheid” regime and “inhumane” policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians.
• Last year’s brutal murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir — burnt alive by Jews who wanted revenge for the murder of three Israeli teens — was a terrible stain on Israel. There was a lot of public discussion about his name being including on a memorial listing Israeli terror victims. The talk was mooted by the Khdeir family’s objections and Israel removed Mohammed’s name from the memorial. Most headlines said the name was “removed” but The Guardian could imply Israeli malice.

The Guardian
• Palestinians in Lebanon’s Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp have managed to cobble together a microcosm of “national unity.” Time reports the various factions created a unified armed force to keep ISIS out of the camp. How did the refugees get into this situation?
Camps like Ain al-Hilweh are a convenient base for militants because since 1969, Lebanese security forces haven’t policed the 12 Palestinian camps in the country, due to an agreement struck by the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Now, Lebanese soldiers go no further than the checkpoints at the entrances to Ain al-Hilweh, where they search vehicles and check IDs. This has allowed the camps, specifically Ain al-Hilweh, to become lawless enclaves on Lebanese territory. “We face two problems in the Palestinian camps, one is drugs and the other is religious fanatics,” says Maqdah.
• Newsweek: It’s Israel’s fault. Sheesh.

 Israel’s population, by the approximate numbers (Central Bureau of Statistics figures via the Jerusalem Post).
- 8,345,000: total Israeli citizens today:
- 6,251,000: Jewish citizens (74.9 percent of population)
- 1,730,000: Arab citizens (20.7 percent of population)
- 364,000: citizens of other religions (Druze, etc) and those with no religion listed in the population registry (4.4 percent of population)
- 364,000: population growth in last year
- 806,000: total Israeli citizens in 1948

• Here’s some thoughtful Yom HaZikaron and Independence Day-related material that might interest you:
Israel’s conflicted president wrestles with democracy and Jewish historical rights
One Israeli Soldier, 23 Namesakes and a Day of Remembrance
Debate ignites over Arab journalist’s role in Israeli independence event

 Gil Troy weighs in on the memory of the Israeli soldiers who fell in Operation Protective Edge.

They died so no rockets would reach us in Jerusalem. They died so that Hamas’s Mass-Murder-By-Tunnel plan would only remain an elaborate plot The New York Times and other media outlets can continue to ignore, rather than a bloody reality memorialized today . . .
Mourning is not enough. Thanking these heroes – or now their loved ones – is a moral necessity. We also must remember why they fought because much of the world has forgotten.
In too many headlines, in too many hearts, the Gaza war of just months ago is not about Hamas attack tunnels and Kassam rockets targeting civilians. It is only about an exaggerated Palestinian death toll, blurring together terrorists who fought, random citizens who died of disease or old age, with the unfortunate number of innocent bystanders who perished in that awful, preventable war – which never would have happened without repeated attacks from Hamas and its proxies.
• For more commentary, see

- Efraim Halevy: Israel is “indestructible”
- Aaron David Miller: How Iran outfoxes the US
- Cnaan Liphshiz: Will Russia’s missile deal with Iran end Israel’s silence on Ukraine?
- Barbara Kay: In France, there’s no hatred for any group equivalent to that of Jew hatred
- Hanin Ghaddar: Hezbollah will become more aggressive as Iran loses ground

Featured image: CC BY-NC-SA flickr/Stephen Coles with retro media icons designed by Freepik and additions by HonestReporting; Netanyahu via UN Photo/J Carrier; soldiers CC BY-NC flickr/Israel Defense Force

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Post  Admin on Tue 21 Apr 2015, 8:42 pm

Morsi Sentenced to 20 Years in Jail
Israel Daily News Stream4 hours ago

Today’s Top Stories
1. You’ll be floored to learn that replacing a carpet in the Dome of the Rock is raising an unholy controversy. Israeli antiquities officials say the Islamic Waqf isn’t letting them document previously unseen floor designs; the Waqf called the Israeli charges threadbare. Are archaeologists’s concerns being swept under the rug? AP leaves us with “he said-she said” (which explains the latest from UNESCO).

The cryptic geometric designs have sparked the imagination of some researchers about what secrets may lay beneath.
Ancient Jewish traditions say the gold-cased Ark of the Covenant, which contained the Ten Commandments, may have been hidden away in a chamber when the First Jewish Temple was destroyed some 2,500 years ago. It’s an Indiana Jones-type mystery that touches upon a holy grail for biblical enthusiasts.
While Jerusalem may be the most excavated city in the world, the Dome of the Rock and its hilltop plaza are an archaeological gold mine that has never been properly dug because of the political sensitivities surrounding the site.
What would Indiana Jones say about Israel and the Waqf?

2. An Egyptian court sentenced former president Mohammed Morsi to 20 years in prison. He dodged the death penalty after being found guilty for ordering the arrest and torture of protesters in 2012. BBC coverage suffices. You’ll better understand the story if you read Calvinball in Cairo.
3. ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was reportedly injured in a March air strike; The Guardian‘s source says Baghdadi’s making a slow recovery but isn’t currently involved with running ISIS day-to-day.

4. Success: Times of London Removes Claim That Israel Restricts Basic Goods to Gaza: HonestReporting corrects the record.
5. HR Radio: Students, Bus Stop Terror, and Jerusalem: Yarden Frankl discusses anti-Semitism and BDS activity on college campuses, a report on Arab harassment of Jews at a holy site that omits key context on Jerusalem, and more. Click below to hear the whole interview on the Voice of Israel.

Israel and the Palestinians
• Jerusalem Post: Khaled Koutineh confirmed to police that he deliberately set out to hit Israelis when he plowed his car into Jerusalem bus stop. Shalom Yohai Cherki, 25, was killed; another woman remains hospitalized.

• A delegation of PA ministers visiting Gaza to work out problems with salaries for the strip’s civil servants left early after Hamas placed them in virtual house arrest. According to the Jerusalem Post, the ministers and other senior PA officials were prevented from leaving their hotel, receiving visitors, or talking to anyone. See also Reuters and Maan News.
• The PA received $450 million in previously frozen tax revenue from Israel yesterday.
• New Hamas import taxes leave Gaza merchants fuming
• Yom HaZikaron, by the numbers (based on Jerusalem Post)
23,320: dead soldiers and victims of terror since Israel’s founding
9,753: bereaved families
4,958: widows
2,049: orphans up to age 30
553: soldiers whose burial place is unknown
116: soldiers and terror victims who died in the last year
131: bereaved families from the fatalities of this past year

Yom HaZikaron
• Word up to the US ex-pats living in Jerusalem: The US Supreme Court is taking of care of unfinished business, and may announce a ruling on the Jerusalem passport case on Tuesday morning.
The two yet-to-be-announced decisions from late last year involve who in the government can list the word “Israel” on a passport for a person born in Jerusalem, and what is the boundary between protected free speech and threats made on Facebook.
Zivotofsky v. Kerry was argued on Nov. 3, 2014 and it remains one of two cases from November that haven’t been decided or rescheduled for arguments.
Around the World
• The State Department said it’s open to Iranian participation in Syrian peace efforts — if Tehran changes its policies. Spokesperson Marie Harf was asked to react to Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif’s New York Times op-ed. At least the White House reaction to Zarif’s piece was more clear cut than the State Department’s. Reuters coverage.

The White House suggested that it viewed the Iranian foreign minister’s appeal as disingenuous, particularly regarding Yemen. The United States says Iran has armed Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who have taken control of much of the country.
amnesty• The only motion that failed to pass at Amnesty International’s annual conference was a proposed campaign against anti-Semitism. The human rights organization, which often campaigns against Israel with singular focus, explained why,  with the money quote from the Jewish Chronicle.

Amnesty International UK press officer Neil Durkin said: “After a really interesting debate where everyone condemned discrimination against all ethnic and religious groups, our membership decided not to pass this resolution calling for a campaign with a single focus.
• Argentine prosecutors dropped charges against President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who was accused of covering up Iran’s role in the 1994 bombing of the Buenos Aires Jewish community center. CNN coverage.

• The JTA reports a number of Australian food companies are removing symbols of kosher certification from their packaging amid questions about Islamic halal certification. Rumor has it that fees from halal certification are funding Islamic terror, and “the companies reportedly believe it is better to have no identifying religious certification at all.”
So, does Australian halal really fund terror? Yes. No. Maybe.
• A Bloomberg News poll of partisan support for Israel is used by Slate‘s William Saletan to question the loyalty of Israel’s supporters. James Taranto (Wall St. Journal via Google News) debunks the argument. In a nutshell:

It should be obvious that supporting allies is in itself in the national interest.
flags• Bret Stephens (Wall St. Journal via Google News) nailed my own thinking on where the Israel-US relationship is headed.

Beginning with Franklin Roosevelt, every U.S. president took the view that strength abroad and strength at home were mutually reinforcing; that global security made us more prosperous, and that prosperity made us more secure.
Then along came Mr. Obama with his mantra of “nation building at home” and his notion that an activist foreign policy is a threat to the social democracy he seeks to build. Under his administration, domestic and foreign policy have been treated as a zero-sum game: If you want more of the former, do less of the latter. The result is a world of disorder, and an Israel that, for the first time in its history, must seek its security with an America that, say what it will, has nobody’s back but its own.
I’m not against nation-building, but see how Tom Friedman made the case for isolationism and my response about the US making itself irrelevant in the Mideast.

• Today’s recommended reading:
An Expat Reflects on Israel’s Memorial and Independence Days
• Other commentary/analysis that caught my eye:
- Khaled Abu Toameh: Why Arabs loathe Hezbollah
- Dennis Ross: How to save the Iran deal
- Eliana Rudee: We need to start taking anti-Semites at their word
- Matthew Kroenig: A nuclear turning point
- Roger Cohen: Muslims and Jews on the Seine
- Norman Bailey: Putin throws a spanner in the works
- Diana Moukalled: From Aleppo to Yarmouk, all is “unreasonable”

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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Mon 20 Apr 2015, 8:33 pm

Saudis Arrest Hamas Treasurer
Israel Daily News Stream6 hours ago

Today’s Top Stories
1. According to unconfirmed media reports, a high-level Hamas treasurer was arrested in Saudi Arabia.

The report stated that Maher Salah had been apprehended in the gulf state several months ago on suspicion that he laundered money and illegally smuggled funds across the Saudi Arabian border, according to Israel Radio.
2. Der Spiegel got itself a heckuva scoop, obtaining papers showing how ISIS developed from the meticulous planning of Samir Abd Muhammad al-Khlifawi (a.k.a. Haji Bakr), a former colonel in Saddam Hussein’s army.

But when the architect of the Islamic State died, he left something behind that he had intended to keep strictly confidential: the blueprint for this state. It is a folder full of handwritten organizational charts, lists and schedules, which describe how a country can be gradually subjugated. SPIEGEL has gained exclusive access to the 31 pages, some consisting of several pages pasted together. They reveal a multilayered composition and directives for action, some already tested and others newly devised for the anarchical situation in Syria’s rebel-held territories. In a sense, the documents are the source code of the most successful terrorist army in recent history.
Screengrab from video of ISIS mass execution of Ethiopian Christians.
3. Yarmouk’s not the only problematic Palestinian refugee camp. The woes of Lebanon’s Ain al-Hilweh camp are flying below everyone’s radar. However, the issues of armed factions and jihadists (with shifting alliances) controlling parts of the camp are deja vu.
Both Hezbollah and the Lebanese army have warned that Ain al-Hilweh could be the next Yarmouk, but the 2007 battle of Nahr al-Bared may be a better comparison.
4. Can You Capture Your Home? Readers are misled when the media omits important conte
Israel and the Palestinians
• Soccer executives are preparing to fight a Palestinian effort to suspend the Israeli Football Association from two key soccer organizations. A Palestinian proposal is on the agendas of upcoming meetings of the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). Reuters coverage.

• A Ramallah court dismissed corruption charges against Mohammed Dahlan. A rival to Mahmoud Abbas and former Gaza strongman, Dahlan has been living in exile and many view him as a possible successor to Abbas.
• Netanyahu to Putin: We’ll hit Russian arms going to Hezbollah
Mideast Matters
• Scott Pelley of 60 Minutes took a very gripping and eye-opening look at the Syrian army’s use of sarin gas against civilians. It’s a powerful story that needs to be told,  but it’s also graphic and disturbing. So while I do urge you to watch, I’m not embedding it. Click to watch, but be prepared.

See also Pelley’s separate video explaining why network felt that showing the footage was the right thing to do. Meanwhile, Dr. Mohammed Tennari shared his account of a chemical weapons attack with Foreign Policy.
If you’re interested in learning more about the journalistic guidelines behind the use of graphic footage, check out the Poynter Institute
• Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammed Javad Zarif, got op-ed space in the New York Times. Bottom line: We’ve made a lot of progress, but more political courage is needed to seal the deal, while the conflicts in Syria and Yemen require “regional dialogue.”

• Could Israeli F-35s turn the tables on Iranian S-300 missiles?
Purchase of the costly jets has provoked years of controversy. But with Russia now to deliver its air-defense system to Iran, the IAF’s chief acquisition officer stands firmly behind much-maligned aircraft.
• For more commentary/analysis see
- Noah Horwitz: BDS motives go beyond justice for Palestinians
- Yaakov Amidror: The US could halt Iran’s nuclear program, but chooses not to
- Sharif Nashashibi: How the jihadist seizure of Yarmouk benefits Assad
- Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (staff-ed): US should withdraw UNRWA funding
- Wall St. Journal: Whatever the Ayatollah wants (staff-ed)

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Hamas to Declare Gaza Sovereignty?
Israel Daily News Stream 8 hours ago
Today’s Top Stories
1. Israel and the PA reached an agreement on tax transfers that were frozen when the Palestinians joined the International Criminal Court. The Times of Israel reports that unpaid electricity bills were factored in.

2. The White House suggested that Iran could get significant economic relief immediately after signing a nuclear deal. The Wall St. Journal (click via Google News) got the scoop. The president’s comments about this and Russia’s S-300 sale stunned Israeli analysts.
The Obama administration estimates Iran has between $100 billion and $140 billion of its oil revenue frozen in offshore accounts as a result of sanctions. U.S. officials said they expect Tehran to gain access to these funds in phases as part of a final deal. Iran could receive somewhere between $30 billion and $50 billion upon signing the agreement, said congressional officials briefed by the administration.

3. Is Hamas moving towards an independent state in Gaza alone? Hamas officially denies this, but sources tell Khaled Abu Toameh otherwise:
If and when Hamas carries out its plan and establishes its own sovereign state in the Gaza Strip, the international community, primarily the U.S. and EU, will have to come to terms with the fact that the two-state solution has finally been realized; the Palestinians ended up with two states of their own — an Islamist emirate in the Gaza Strip and a PLO-controlled state in the West Bank.
4. Real People — Not Bus Stops: Memo to the New York Times: A Palestinian driver plowed his car into Israeli people, not a bus stop.

Israel and the Palestinians
• Saying it was deliberate, Israeli police arrested Khaled Kotina for ramming his car into two Israelis on Wednesday night. Shalom Yohai Sharki 25, succumbed to his injuries and was laid to rest. Another woman hit by the car, Shira Klein, remains in intensive care. Kotina says he lost control of his car in inclement weather. Times of Israel coverage.

• Junior jihad, or collateral damage waiting to happen? I think these photos picked up by the Daily Mail (story or tweet) are Palestinian child abuse. See Khaled Abu Toameh‘s take on Hamas and Fatah’s cynical exploitation of the youngsters.
Daily Mail
• More info than you need to know about the UN’s peacekeepers in the Golan (especially the Irish contingent) at the Irish Times.
• Any BDS activists want to complain to ISIS about this?
Iranian Atomic Urgency
• Iran accused an Israeli journalist, Orly Azoulay, of being a spy after she spent two weeks visiting the Islamic Republic. Tehran officials insist that her YNet dispatch was full of falsehoods:

Armed with a visa issued by the Iranian Foreign Ministry, and without making any efforts to conceal her identity, Azoulay went to Iran as part of a delegation organized by the New York Times – and was warmly welcomed by her hosts.
• A released Iranian fact sheet of the nuclear agreement — not surprisingly — is significantly different than the US fact sheet.

• Vladimir Putin to Israel: Do as I say, not as I do.
i24 New
Around the World
• Reuters: Members of the UN Security Council were left in tears after watching footage of doctors trying to resuscitate three children caught in a chlorine gas attack. The children, ages 1, 2, and 3, along with their parents and grandmother, all died when Syrian helicopters dropped barrel bombs on a northwestern village in March.

• France announced a three-year $108 million-plan to fight anti-Semitism and racism. The New York Times reports that the program includes “a nationwide awareness campaign, harsher punishments for racist acts and increased monitoring of online hate speech.” See also Roger Cohen‘s related commentary.)
• British Prime Minister David Cameron discussed anti-Semitism in the UK and Europe with Jeffrey Goldberg.
As well as the new threat of extremist Islamism, there has been an insidious, creeping attempt to delegitimize the state of Israel, which spills over often into anti-Semitism. We have to be very clear about the fact that there is a dangerous line that people keep crossing over. This is a state, a democracy that is recognized by the United Nations, and I don’t think we should be tolerant of this effort at delegitimization. The people who are trying to make the line fuzzy are the delegitimizers. And I have a very clear view, which is that if you disagree with the policies of Israel, fine, say so, but that is never a reason to take that out on Jewish communities. We have to be very clear about threats—this is a dangerous line that people keep crossing over, that says that anti-Zionism is a legitimate form of political discourse.
• Reporter Miri Michaeli Schwartz of Israel’s Channel 10 was harassed in Paris when some people noticed the Hebrew letters on her microphone. William Jacobson rounded up the key links.

What happened next was much more stressful, they surrounded me. Four or five men and began to swear at me, the word “Jew” was repeated. My hands are shaking three weeks after, when I think of the things they said. I stood in the street, I did not bother anyone and I got curses. threatening gestures, and actual threats. I looked around, the street was crowded with people who paid attention to what happened, viewing from the sidelines. A person who filmed what happened smartphone, but no one came to my aid. I felt threatened when I ran (yes, the right word) to the train station, there were soldiers. Only then they left me
• Argentina‘s Senate unanimously approved a bill offering one-time payments to victims of the 1994 AMIA bombing. Eighty five people were killed and more than 100 were injured in the car bombing which has been tied to Iran.
• Madison police won’t charge anti-Semitic February vandalism as hate crime.
• Worth reading: Natan Sharansky speaks out on the Iranian talks, fears America has lot its way.

As a former Soviet dissident, I cannot help but compare this approach to that of the United States during its decades-long negotiations with the Soviet Union, which at the time was a global superpower and a existential threat to the free world. The differences are striking and revealing.
atom• David Rothkopf‘s reaction to the White House’s suggested economic concessions to Iran got a lot of buzz this weekend. He certainly hits the nail on the head.

Few would debate that Iran would be entitled to the restoration of funds and normal economic status should it end its nuclear program. Were Iran to do that, then clearly the sanctions program would be seen as a success. But the question the world is now confronted with is: Should Iran then also be entitled to economic normalization and the boon it would entail simply by putting is program on hold for a specified period of time?
Such a deal — in that light — sets a new standard. The underlying message effectively says that the United States and other major powers will only impose sanctions on countries that get very, very close to having nuclear weapons — say less than a year away. But so long as those countries’ nuclear weapons programs remain in the state at which we are willing to freeze Iran’s, then those countries are still free to go about their business and run their economies in ways that enable them to better fund those programs in the future.
• Former Secretary of State James Baker weighed in with his concerns on the nuclear deal with an op-ed in the Wall St. Journal (click via Google News).

• More commentary on the Iranian talks:
- Michael Gerson: What is the president doing on Iran?
- Abdulrahman Al-Rashed: Iran’s first acquisition after the deal
- Jay Nordlinger: The curious case of the missing nuclear fatwa
- Amir Taheri: Has Obama made agreement with Iran more difficult?
- Benny Avni: Amid talks, Mideast nightmare looms
- Mort Zuckerman: Obama’s unforgivable betrayal

• Assessing the likelihood of the PA accomplishing anything in the International Criminal Court, The Daily Beast‘s Andrew Novak raises this interesting point:
Finally, Palestinian membership may be part of a domestic political chess game between Hamas, which controls Gaza, and Fatah, the ruling party in the West Bank. Fatah, the party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, made the ICC referral, but Hamas was primarily responsible for the alleged Palestinian war crimes. Although Fatah would be loathe to admit it publicly, an ICC investigation into the Palestinian situation could be an effort by Fatah to strengthen its position against Hamas.
• For more commentary/analysis, see Elliott Abrams (Settling settlements: Netanyahu’s post-election choices),”Jamal” (Inside Yarmouk, ISIS deepens Palestinian misery), and a New York Times staff-ed (Anti-Semitism in the soccer stands).

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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 8:20 pm

Nusra Front Takes Control of Yarmouk Refugee Camp
Israel Daily News Stream5 hours ago
Today’s Top Stories
1. The good news from the Yarmouk refugee camp is that ISIS is gone. The bad news? The Al Qaida-affiliated Jahbat al-Nusra (better known as the Nusra Front) controls the camp. Moreover, the Irish Times reports that the Nusra Front colluded with ISIS to weaken a rival Hamas-linked group calling itself Aknaf Beit al-Maqdis.

The degrading of the Hamas offshoot may also have prompted the PLO to deny Yarmouk’s defenders support from Fatah and Democratic Front fighters. PLO envoy to Damascus Ahmed Majdalani initially pledged support for the campaign against Islamic State, but he was contradicted by Ramallah, which claimed the PLO had to remain “neutral”.
For more on Hamas-ISIS tensions (in Gaza) see Al-Monitor.

2. European foreign ministers (16 out of 28) signed a letter urging the European Union to move forward on labeling products made in West Bank settlements. Haaretz obtained a copy.
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3. US intelligence sources told the Washington Free Beacon that North Korea sent several shipments of missile components to Iran during the nuclear talks. The report adds that the White House was aware of this all along, but didn’t notify the UN.
Since September more than two shipments of missile parts have been monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies as they transited from North Korea to Iran, said officials familiar with intelligence reports who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Details of the arms shipments were included in President Obama’s daily intelligence briefings and officials suggested information about the transfers was kept secret from the United Nations, which is in charge of monitoring sanctions violations.
4. Does Fighting Anti-Semitism Provide Cover for BDS Activity? Are Jewish students pushing anti-Semitism resolutions on campus unwittingly giving cover to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel?

Israel and the Palestinians
• An Israeli man hit by an Arab driver died of injuries overnight in what police suspect was a deliberate terror attack. What’s known is that Khaled Kotina hit 25-year-old Shalom Yohai Sharki and another woman at the French Hill junction in northern Jerusalem. The woman is hospitalized in very serious condition. Investigators haven’t ruled out an accident though. YNet coverage.

• The EU appointed Italian diplomat Fernando Gentilini as its special envoy to the Mideast process. The European Jewish Press reports that his role will be different from that of outgoing Quartet envoy Tony Blair.
• Israel’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal against an anti-boycott law:
While Justice Hanan Meltzer, who wrote the majority opinion, agreed that the law limited free speech, he asserted that the limitation was in this case proportionate as boycotts were, in general, an undesired measure.
• According to Haaretz, Hamas is badly divided on whether to move closer to Saudi Arabia or Iran:

Israeli defense experts think the split could make it difficult for Hamas to maintain long-term ceasefire agreements with Israel. It could also lead to the military wing initiating attacks on the border without coordinating them with Hamas political leaders.
• Hamas accelerates its tunnel-building, using heavy machinery

• 130 New York University professors signed a petition “seeking only divestment from companies that are linked to Israeli operations in Gaza and the West Bank.”
• Hezbollah has lost the support of Palestinian refugees who talked to The Media Line. What does this mean?
“The group is no longer widely considered the axis of resistance, even if they claim to be,” said Atrache.
Those close to the group insist otherwise. Historically framing their movement as a struggle against oppression, Hizbullah’s declining popularity among Palestinians is of symbolic importance. Heba, a journalist for a pro-Hizbullah Lebanese newspaper, says Palestinians who no longer support the movement are compromising the ‘resistance’ against Israeli occupation.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• The Times of Israel takes a closer look at what’s known about the S-300 air defense system Russia will deliver to Iran.

An additional variable — and one that will become an intelligence priority if the sale goes through — is to determine which system Russia has agreed to provide. There are roughly two dozen versions available, equipped with different sorts of radars and different sorts of missiles. “That’s the biggest question of all,” said Yiftach Shapir, a former IAF officer, who heads the INSS think tank’s Middle East Military Balance project. “It determines everything.”
He said Russia was unlikely to reveal, in the event of a sale, which system it had provided and that it was Israeli intelligence that would have to deliver that information to the IAF.
• Iran Is raising sophistication and frequency of cyber attacks, study says

• NBC News revised its account about the five-day abduction of reporter Richard Engel back in 2012. Prompted by new information uncovered by the New York Times, NBC revisited the incident.
According to the Times, the network was aware of possible discrepancies in their original story, which originally blamed the kidnapping on a pro-Assad Shiite group. The shadow of Brian Williams still looms over NBC News.
NBC executives were informed of Mr. Ajouj and Mr. Qassab’s possible involvement during and after Mr. Engels’s captivity, according to current and former NBC employees and others who helped search for Mr. Engel, including political activists and security professionals. Still, the network moved quickly to put Mr. Engel on the air with an account blaming Shiite captors and did not present the other possible version of events.
• Some of the propaganda issues raised in a Congressional hearing (addressing Russian “pseudo-journalism” against the US) may apply to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict too. I like the term, “weaponization of information.”

The real aim, however, was not merely humiliation but to make the point that “Western, and specifically American, promises of security are empty.”
“And once the NATO alliance has been undermined and Americans influences weakened, then the Kremlin will have a stronger hand to play–economically, politically, culturally–in Europe and around the world.” . . .
And in a line that might have inadvertently summed up the thrust of the entire morning-long hearing, he said, “The Kremlin wants a PR war. What it is bad at is media that deals with reality.”

diploma• Gary Rosenblatt‘s letter to high school seniors getting ready to move on to college is very worth reading, urging Jewish students to read up on Israel before moving onto campus.

These days, unfortunately, the government in Jerusalem is a target of widespread criticism, particularly regarding its Zionist ideology and its dealings with the Palestinians. I worry that too many Jewish students are not aware of what they will face and what they will be hearing in the classroom and on campus, from professors and fellow students, about Israel the oppressor, Israel the apartheid state, etc.
The tactics of the BDS advocates often are over-the-top. They are meant to shock and grab attention and they can be disturbing to encounter. You may face “die-ins,” where pro-Palestinian students play dead in protest of civilian deaths during the most recent Gaza war. You may face mock checkpoints, where you will be asked for your ID, echoing the treatment of Palestinians seeking entry into Israel proper. And you may face mock eviction notices where students find notes taped to their dorm room doors in objection to the fact that some Palestinian homes are cleared out to make room for Jewish residents.
Many of you have positive feelings about Israel in your gut, developed over the years from your home life or involvement with a synagogue and/or Jewish education in your early years. Perhaps even a trip to Israel. But you may feel less than confident if called on to explain or defend some of Israel’s controversial policies.
• For more commentary/analysis, see Israeli ambassador to India Daniel Carmon (Nuclear understandings: A prize for bad behavior) and Alex Fishman (Israel saving its anger for White House, not Kremlin).

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Post  Admin on Wed 15 Apr 2015, 10:41 pm

What’s Behind Series of Israeli Gestures to the PA?
Israel Daily News Stream9 hours ago
Today’s Top Stories
1. The Jerusalem Post and i24 News note that Prime Minister Netanyahu has made quite a few goodwill gestures to the Palestinians of late, most notably allowing the deployment of armed and uniformed Palestinian policemen in certain areas near eastern Jerusalem for the first time since the Oslo accords were signed more than 20 years ago.

Are Israeli-Palestinian ties thawing? Is Bibi simply bolstering Abbas against Hamas? Did the US apply pressure? Your guess is as good as mine . . .
2. The White House blinks as Congress is conceded a role in the unfolding Iranian nuclear deal. Take your pick of Reuters or New York Times coverage.
Israeli officials say they’re pleased with the compromise; Amir Taheri lays out how the politics played in Persia.
3. It’s just symbolic, right? A Houthi spiritual leader who frequently liaised between Hezbollah, Iran, and Syria was buried in Beirut by Hezbollah. According to NOW Lebanon:
“Sheikh Mohammad Abdulmalak Shami was buried in the Rawda Martyrs [Cemetery] in Beirut’s southern Dahiyeh near the tomb of [assassinated] Hezbollah military commander Imad Mughiyeh,” Lebanese daily An-Nahar reported Tuesday.
“The burial was held amid a Hezbollah media blackout.”
The report added that Shami had been injured in the March 20 bomb blast that killed dozens Houthi worshippers in a Sanaa mosque after which he was transported for treatment in Tehran, where he passed away.
NOW Lebanon adds that on Friday, Hezbollah’s Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah is expected to address the Yemen situation and perhaps endorse Hezbollah involvement there.

4. BBC’s Bowen: Palestinian Christians Threatened by “What the Israeli Government Might be Doing”: The Beeb’s Mideast editor plants a seed of prejudice to leave the uninformed listener associating Israel with the persecution of Christians.
5. HR Radio: Do News Stories Have Borders? Yarden Frankl challenges a New York Times marketing slogan and questions media coverage of the Yarmouk refugee camp crisis. Click below to hear the interview on Voice of Israel

In the News
• The IDF’s building a 7 mile (11 km) dirt berm along the Lebanese border to impede possible Hezbollah attacks, according to Israeli media reports.

• Members of the Stanford board of trustees to BDS activists: We’re not divesting from companies operating in Israel. Period.
• Study: Anti-Semitic violence around the world rose nearly 40 percent in 2014.
• I wonder if busy Hamas tunnelers had anything to do with this.
Maan News Agency
• Over at the University of Alaska Anchorage, Maria Lilly nicely takes down the Israel apartheid libel:

Associating a free and democratic state with an institution which wronged and abused thousands because of racism ultimately results in the negation of what apartheid is and how it looks. It is the dissolution of justice in valid cases of racism and a discredit to every person who has ever faced racism. It is the equivalent of spitting in the face of Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King Jr., giants who looked racism in the face challenged it and suffered for the cause of justice.
By contrast the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, the groups governing the Palestinian territories, persecute, discriminate against, confiscate without just cause the property of and even kill Christians, homosexuals, and anyone who disagrees with regime policy. They murder those brave enough to defend their right to free speech and independent thought.
• For more commentary/analysis, see Ariel Ben Solomon (Russia-Iran missile deal challenges US influence in Mideast) and Thanassis Cambanis (Iran’s winning the war for Mideast dominance).

For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream and join the IDNS on Facebook.

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Post  Admin on Tue 14 Apr 2015, 6:59 pm

Syrian Army Resumes Chemical Weapon Attacks
Israel Daily News Stream4 hours ago
Today’s Top Stories
1. Palestinian gunmen in the Yarmouk refugee camp told AFP and Channel 4 that ISIS forces have largely withdrawn from the camp. Don’t hold your breath for waiting for any media conversation on matters like disproportionate force, civilian casualties, attacking hospitals, etc. What happens in Yarmouk stays in Yarmouk.

“Today there are no more IS militants inside Yarmouk,” said “Mustafa Ahmed”, who uses a pseudonym to disguise his identity. “Most of the militants are at the frontline between IS and the Aknaf brigades in the south eastern part near the hospital.”
Last Wednesday night Syrian government aircraft dropped barrel bombs on the Palestine Hospital, the only functioning healthcare facility in Yarmouk, after IS militants started to use it as a base.
2. While the world’s distracted by Iranian nukes and Yemen, the Times of London reports Bashar Assad’s forces are back to using chemical weapons.

Chemical weapons inspectors have begun investigating new attacks in Syria, as two sets of tests carried out for The Times and medical charities reveal that President Assad is continuing to use chlorine and is almost certainly using cyanide against his own people.
Nobody’s accusing the Syrians of using chemical weapons in the refugee camp, but you have to wonder . . .

chemical weapons
3. Nuclear talks to resume on April 21, reports Reuters. The location hasn’t been specified yet.
4. The Blankfeld Award for Media Critique: Are you a student and an aspiring writer? If so, send us your articles on Israel and apply for this year’s Blankfeld Award of $2,000 and the opportunity to be our HonestReporting Campus Fellow for 2015/16. Click here for details.
Israel and the Palestinians
• For the first time in 15 years, some cars with Palestinian license plates were allowed to enter Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Post explains

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai approved the entry of the vehicles for Palestinian doctors who work shifts and other hospital jobs in Israel, where immediate response time is essential.
• Foreign Policy‘s dispatch from Gaza is worth reading.

For all the bark and bluster, the fighters begrudgingly acknowledge that the civilian population probably cannot weather another war.
• Nice roundup of creative ways Jewish students are opposing boycott, divestment and sanctions efforts against Israel on their college campuses.

Around the World
• Iran expects to receive its shiny new Russian S-300 air defense missile system by the end of 2015.

• Molly Horwitz, the Jewish Stanford student running for a seat on the student senate, filed a formal complaint after being asked how being Jewish would impact her decisions.
The Stanford Daily published Horwitz’s first-person account of her meeting with the Students of Color Coalition, whose endorsement she sought, as well as the SOCC’s response denying the charges. For more background, see HonestReporting’s post, Echoes of UCLA Discrimination Alleged at Stanford. Students vote on Wednesday.
• Arrest made after man shouting “Allahu Akbar” threw firecrackers inside a New Jersey synagogue.
• Police in Nashsville are beefing up security at local Jewish institutions after shots were fired at synagogue hours before a Holocaust memorial ceremony. Nobody was injured.
• Openly criticizing Hezbollah in Lebanon carries risks. That makes this clip of Beirut’s Future TV anchor Hanadi Zeidan (MEMRI video or transcript) especially eye opening.
• Ron Ben-Yishai and Amos Harel aren’t happy with the S-300 sale, but caution everyone to take a deep breath. The final agreement won’t be signed for another two-and-a-half months, Moscow could deliver an older version of the system or even halt the sale again. Harel explains why the game changer label may over-exaggerate:

Since Israel must ready itself for a scenario under which Iran violates the agreement and succeeds in developing nuclear weapons, this is an obstacle to be reckoned with.
Still, it is not an insurmountable obstacle. The Israel Air Force believes any defense can eventually be breached with the appropriate investment of thought and resources.
Syria possesses relatively advanced surface-to-air missile systems, yet foreign media reports say Israel has breached its air defenses time after time. Nevertheless, the proliferation of advanced surface-to-air missile systems in the region will require the air force to make finding ways of dealing with them a very high priority.
Israeli Air Force

• Elliott Abrams and a Wall St. Journal staff-ed (click via Google News) also weigh in on Moscow’s move. The latter writes:
Now Mr. Obama wants to delegate responsibility for enforcing his nuclear deal with Iran to the United Nations, which means that the Russians will have a say—and a veto—there, too. Think of this missile sale as a taste of what’s to come.
• Plenty more commentary on the Iranian nuclear issue.

- Aaron David Miller: Bad Iran deal kills US leverage to mediate Mideast peace
- Kristina Wong: 5 key demands US dropped in Iran talks
- Ben-Dror Yemini: Why defeating Obama’s deal could spark anti-Semitism.
- New York Post (staff-ed): King Abdullah echoes Bibi: How will White House react?

• For more commentary/analysis, see Pastor Dumasani Washington (Israel and the African-American vote).

Featured image: CC BY-NC-SA Ed Yourdon via flickr with additions by HonestReporting; F-15 CC BY-NC flickr/Israel Defense Forces

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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Mon 13 Apr 2015, 8:44 pm

Russia to Supply Advanced Air Defense System to Iran
Israel Daily News Stream6 hours ago

Today’s Top Stories
1. Russia lifted a ban on selling Iran an advanced S-300 air-defense missile system as part of a larger oil-for-goods deal. Israeli officials told the Times of Israel that if the sale goes ahead, it’ll change the Mideast balance of power. More at Reuters.

Israeli officials said supply of the system to Iran could prevent any military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, Channel 2 news reported.
Stanford2. The Stanford Review is looking into a case of anti-Semitism remarkably similar to what happened at UCLA earlier this year. Molly Horwitz, who is running for a seat on the student senate, sought the endorsement of various student groups. What happened when she met with the Students of Color Coalition?

Accounts of what transpired during the interview vary and, without any recording of the interview, no single version can be verified.
Ms. Horwitz told The Stanford Review that one of SOCC’s leaders asked her, “Given your strong Jewish identity, how would you vote on divestment?” In February, the Undergraduate Senate approved a controversial resolution calling on Stanford to divest from companies aiding Israel’s “occupation” of the West Bank. Ms. Horwitz explained how she asked for clarification, and the SOCC member subsequently alluded to Ms. Horwitz’s application and asked how her strong Jewish identity would affect her decision in the Senate . . . .
While SOCC has every right to select candidates it believes will advocate for its agenda, it does not have license to judge candidates purely on the basis of their religious beliefs. Perhaps more importantly, the question reveals an assumption that a student’s Jewish identity inherently compromises his or her ability to serve effectively on the senate. Religious discrimination, like discrimination on the basis of race, gender, or sexuality, is banned by Stanford’s Acts of Intolerance Protocol.
See HonestReporting’s response: Echoes of UCLA Discrimination Alleged at Stanford: Is the divestment debate leading to outright discrimination against Jews?

3. Is the promise of 72 virgins passe? Iran is building a fleet of suicide kamikaze drones. The Washington Times picked up on a publication by the US Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office (pdf format, scroll down to page 9). The FMSO adds that Tehran could create problems for Israel by exporting the technology to Hezbollah.
While it is easy to dismiss the idea of a suicide drone as more symbolic than real in an age of cruise missiles and precise Predators, utilizing suicide drones is an asymmetric strategy which both allows Iran to compete on an uneven playing field and poses a risk by allowing operators to pick and choose targets of opportunity over a drone’s multi-hour flight duration.
4. Book a Speaker from HR in Your City: Gary Kenzer, HR’s USA director, is pleased to announce his spring and early summer travel schedule. Find out where Gary will be, and learn how you can book him for a speaking engagement in your community.
Iranian Atomic Urgency
• The Jerusalem Post and YNet made my antennae twitch. The Israeli opposition is demanding the US commit in advance to support an Israeli strike on Iran.

• Who to believe? Khamenei says the US fact sheet on the nuclear understandings “was wrong on most of the issues.”
• A poll conducted by NBC News found that most Americans don’t trust Iran to abide by an agreement restricting its nuclear program. Slightly more than half the respondents also felt that the Islamic Republic’s atomic program represents a major threat to the US.
• The Australian discussed Iran with former Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Gazans report a weapons shortage, and they’re blaming Egypt. Khaled Abu Toameh explains what this means for Israel:

It is hard to see how Hamas will rush into another military confrontation with Israel — where Palestinians would once again pay a heavy price — at a time when Sisi’s army is working around the clock to destroy smuggling tunnels, and the prices of rifles and bullets in the Gaza Strip are skyrocketing.
By the way, Egypt announced that anyone caught digging or using a cross-border tunnel now faces life in jail. Reuters coverage. Might this have anything to do with 14 Egyptians killed in Sinai terror attacks over the weekend?

• A mere quarter of the $3.5 billion pledged to rebuild Gaza has been delivered. The Jerusalem Post picked up on a report by The Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA) explaining why:
Yet, some international donors have been hesitant to disburse their reconstruction pledges due to the tense relationship between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, who have bickered over control of Gaza’s border crossings. The plethora of other crises in the region, which also require donor attention, has further stalled the delivery of aid, al-Jazeera adds.
AIDA also called on Israel to end its Gaza blockade.

• AP picked up on a new Human Rights Watch report accusing Israeli settlements of exploiting cheap Palestinian child labor for farm work in dangerous working conditions.
The head of the Jordan Valley regional council, David Elhayani denied any of the farms employ minors, telling Israeli media that:
A) The agricultural work is too complicated for children.
B) Farmers caught hiring minors risk losing their export license.
C) A recent survey found that Palestinians working in Israel and in settlements are paid double or even triple what they would earn in the PA or Gaza.

• Kanye West can’t visit Israel without proposing his own Mideast peace plan. Never let me down . . .
Federal Way Buzz
Around the World
• Is Iran trying to send surface-to-air missiles and other game-changer weapons to Yemen’s Houthi rebels? The US Navy has already stopped and searched one suspected vessel. The Wall St. Journal looks at American efforts to block Iranian arms from reaching Yemen.

• Yemeni militiamen claim capture of two Iranian military officers
• Reuters: Islamists arrested in Spain eyed attacks on Jewish targets.
• Hezbollah defendants at large, but journalists in the dock at UN tribunal investigating the Rafik Hariri assassination. The two are charged with contempt of court and could face prison time, reports The Guardian.

• Mehdi Hasan weighs in on the world’s reaction to the Yarmouk refugee camp.

Those who try to use the tragedy of Yarmouk to excuse or downplay Israel’s 48-year occupation of Palestine should be ashamed of themselves. But what of the rest of us? Can we afford to stay in our deep slumber, occasionally awakening to lavishly condemn only Israel? Let’s be honest: how different, how vocal and passionate, would our reaction be if the people besieging Yarmouk were wearing the uniforms of the IDF?
Our selective outrage is morally unsustainable. Many of us who have raised our voices in support of the Palestinian cause have inexcusably turned a blind eye to the fact that tens of thousands of Palestinians have been killed by fellow Arabs in recent decades: by the Jordanian military in the Black September conflicts of the early 1970s; by Lebanese militias in the civil war of the mid-1980s; by Kuwaiti vigilantes after the first Gulf war, in the early 1990s. Egypt, the so-called “heart of the Arab world”, has colluded with Israel in the latter’s eight-year blockade of Gaza.
• Is Zionism racism? asks Anne Roiphe.

• More commentary/analysis on the Iranian nuclear understanding:
- David Brooks: Where’s the evidence that Iran wants to change?
- Jackson Diehl: Obama rolls the dice on Iran
- Eli Lake: Iran’s supreme leader gets to no
- Smadar Perry: Why Khamenei prefers sanctions over an agreement

Featured image: CC BY Hendrik Wieduwilt via flickr with additions by HonestReporting; drone via YouTube/epsil2; Cordoba CC BY-NC flickr/Sean Wallis;

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Post  Admin on Mon 13 Apr 2015, 8:23 pm

Bankrupting Terrorism One Lawsuit at a Time
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of Shurat HaDin, the Israel Law Center spoke to over 500 people at HonestReporting's Jerusalem headquarters on tackling terrorism through the courts.

Over 500 people joined HonestReporting at its Jerusalem headquarters on April 5 to hear Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of Shurat HaDin, the Israel Law Center. For 19 years, Ms. Darshan-Leitner has led the international efforts to cut off terror groups’ financing and has fought the boycott-and-sanctions movement through the courts.
We are sick and tired of sitting in the military courts watching the defendants from Hamas who are looking at the judge smiling at him and promising him that they will win. They will not win – we will win because we are fighting for our national survival.
You can watch the entire speech below.
 Find out what she had to say here. VIDEO

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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Sun 12 Apr 2015, 10:24 pm

Palestinians Join Forces With Assad Against ISIS

Israel Daily News Stream8 hours ago
Today’s Top Stories
1. After a week off from the computer, there’s a lot developments and fallout with the Iranian nuclear understanding to catch up on. The White House is touting an understanding but contradictory accounts of what’s been agreed to and criticisms from heavyweight personalities like Henry Kissinger and nuclear experts are dogging the deal.

So where does this leave Israel and the rest of the Mideast? See below for all you need to know on the disclosures, commentary, and spin games.
2. Closing in on Damascus, ISIS overran the Yarmouk refugee camp, reducing most of the camp to a “smoldering rubble,” and beheading Palestinians in the process. YNet was in contact with some of the camp’s desperate refugees. The Palestinians are joining forces with Bashar Assad (Officially or unofficially?)  to oust ISIS.
Meanwhile, Hamas is allowing ISIS-affiliated jihadists injured in the Sinai to be treated in Gaza’s Shifa Hospital, according to Israeli media reports.
The report did not specify how many jihadists were being treated.
Hamas was making significant efforts to hide the patients’ identity in order to avoid being seen as affiliated with the radical Sunni organization, the report said.
More on the Yarmouk situation at the Washington Post.

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3. It’s looking less likely that a government coalition will be formed by the April 22 deadline, and that Prime Minister Netanyahu will ask President Reuven Rivlin for a two-week extension. Details at YNet.
4. Video: Bankrupting Terror One Lawsuit At a Time: More than 500 people gathered at HonestReporting’s Jerusalem headquarters to hear Nitsana Darshan-Leitner discuss the Israel Law Center’s legal battles against terror groups and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
The Iranian Atomic Understanding
• Understanding what’s been agreed to or not is rather difficult with conflicting versions coming from too many sides. This New York Times snippet sums up the problem:

On Tuesday, Wendy Sherman, the chief negotiator for the State Department, acknowledged that anyone listening to the descriptions of the agreement in Washington and in Tehran might wonder if they were hearing about the same one.
“We understood that our narratives were likely to be somewhat different but we pledged to try not to contradict each other,” she said on MSNBC.
Indeed, Iran’s Persian statement on ‘deal’ contradicted Obama’s claims, and a French document seen by the Times of Israel raised more discrepancies between US and Iranian explanations of centrifuges, sanctions relief, and access for inspectors.

And while the US says sanctions will be gradually removed as Iran demonstrates compliance, Hassan Rouhani said there will be no deal unless all sanctions are lifted at once. All this left State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke struggling to reconcile the contradictions. More on the conflicting “agreements” at Business Insider.
• President Obama admitted to NPR (video or transcript) that Iran could have an almost “zero breakout point” to nuclear weaponization in 12-14 years according to the understandings reached. This sparked a rare endorsement from Prime Minister Netanyahu. You can skip to the 4:15 point of the NPR video.
What is a more relevant fear would be that in year 13, 14, 15, they have advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium fairly rapidly, and at that point the breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero.

• While the White House touts “snap back” sanctions that can be quickly reimposed if Iran violates the deal, AP reports problems with all the mechanisms under discussion.

• Iran rules out inspections for military sites.
• Iranian officials say they’ll use their fastest centrifuges once the deal takes effect. Picking on Fars News, the Times of Israel writes:
If accurate, the report makes a mockery of the world powers’ much-hailed framework agreement with Iran, since such a move clearly breaches the US-published terms of the deal, and would dramatically accelerate Iran’s potential progress to the bomb.
• Israel set out a list of key changes to improve the nuclear understanding.

• The 6 key aspects of the deal that Israel and the US are at odds over
• President Obama sparked further debate while plugging the understandings in an interview with New York Times columnist Tom Friedman. Prime Minister Netanyahu appeared on US talk shows criticizing the deal. The Times of Israel and Khaled Abu Toameh rounded up Arab reactions.
Last but not least, Elliott Abrams wrote a withering response to the Friedman interview, especially Obama’s comment that “If anybody messes with Israel, America will be there.”
• The Washington Post looks at how American-Israeli dual citizens relate to the tensions between their two countries.
Former Secretaries of State George Shultz and Henry Kissinger

• Sparking a lot of buzz, ex-Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz panned the understanding, raising serious questions in a Wall St. Journal op-ed (click via Google News). Former IAEA deputy chief Olli Heinonen also spoke out against the deal.
By the way, State Department spokesperson Marie Harf got herself into some hot water when she dismissed Kissinger and Shultz’s criticisms as “a lot of big words and big thoughts.”
• Does Iran have nukes in North Korea?
• During the nuclear talks, the Pentagon upgraded its biggest bunker-busting bombs with improved guidance systems and protection from Iranian jamming. The Wall St. Journal (click via Google News) says the system was most recently tested in mid-January, and that US military officials have shared info about this with their Israeli counterparts.
To destroy or disable the underground facilities, the Pentagon envisages guiding two or more of the bunker busters to the same impact point, in sequence, extending the weapon’s burrowing power, the officials said.
Testing a 5,000 lb. laser-guided “Bunker Buster” in 2003.

Israel and the Palestinians
• The plight of Palestinian women

The position of women today in the West Bank and Gaza provides chilling insight into what life in a Palestinian state will be like if that state ever becomes a reality.
• The Arab Bank lost a bid to dodge liability for Hamas attacks. The Jordan-based bank may have turned a blind eye to transactions facilitating terror attacks during the Second Intifada, but a US federal judge didn’t. Reuters coverage:

U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan in Brooklyn, New York found “ample” evidence for jurors to conclude last Sept. 22 that Arab Bank knowingly provided services directly to senior Hamas officials like Osama Hamdan, a well-known spokesman who often appeared on television to claim responsibility for attacks.
Cogan also found a “cornucopia” of circumstantial evidence to show that Arab Bank knew or was “willfully blind” to the charities’ Hamas affiliations.
• A number of news services, including Reuters, picked up on British Labor Party leader Ed Miliband saying he would recognize a Palestinian state if it would help advance Mideast peace. The British House of Commons voted in October for a non-binding symbolic resolution recognizing Palestinian statehood. Miliband was responding to a question from a Times of London reporter. British elections are on May 7.

• FIFA brass are trying to get the Palestine Football Association to drop efforts to kick Israel out of the world soccer body.
• Iran intensifies efforts to support Hamas.
• Nice profile of Ghajar, the  village split in two by the Israel-Lebanese border, and close to the Syrian border. As Israel’s only Alawite community, residents vote in Israeli elections, support Bashar Assad, and don’t consider themselves Lebanese. They told Time they’re terrified of getting dragged into Syria’s civil war or getting caught between another Israel-Hezbollah conflict.
Mideast Matters
• Sudan is shifting away from Iran, joining the Saudi coalition against the Houthis, shutting down Iranian cultural centers, and is moving towards towards refusing to let Iranian ships dock at Sudanese ports. That should nicely hobble Iranian arms smuggling to Gaza.

• Hezbollah’s Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah told Syrian TV his group isn’t capable of starting a war with Israel by itself. Judge the tea-leaves from MEMRI‘s translated video and judge for yourself.

• Argentina is declassifying all its documents related to its investigation of the 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires. A suicide bomber believed to be sent by Hezbollah drove a pickup truck full of explosives into the embassy’s entrance, killing 29 people and injuring more than 220.
• Paris supermarket hostages from January’s Hyper Cacher attack sue media over live coverage, saying it endangered their lives. Meanwhile, French media reports say terrorist Amedy Coulibaly originally intended to kill children at a Paris Jewish school. More on that at the European Jewish Press.
• An Egyptian court sentenced to death Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie and 13 others for inciting violence and chaos. Another 39 members were given life sentences.
• Does the world’s low-key reaction expose a double standard against Israel? Brendan O’Neill, Khaled Abu Toameh, and a New York Post staff-ed say yes, while Haaretz’s Bradley Burston challenges the Left to raise its voice. Batya Ungar-Sargon makes some thought-provoking points arguing that there’s no double standard at play.

Meanwhile, Dr. Gabi Avital argues that Palestinians of Yarmouk paying the price for the PLO intransigience on the “right” of return and Ksenia Svetlova wonders where the the Mohammed Dura of Yarmouk is.
• Israeli officials speaking out against the Iranian nuclear understandings included Moshe Yaalon (Washington Post op-ed), Yuval Steinitz (Times of Israel interview), and Naftali Bennett (CNN interview and a Chicago Tribune op-ed via Google News). David Makovsky analyzes the criticisms coming out of Jerusalem.
• Emily Landau rounded up what Israeli nuclear experts had to say. And Business Insider spoke with Thomas Moore, a longtime nonproliferation expert for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
• Loads more commentary/analysis on the Iranian deal. Here are the most noteworthy you might have missed.
The Israeli voices
- Michael Oren: The Iran deal and how not to buy a Middle Eastern carpet
- David Horovitz: The unfolding farce of Obama’s deal with Iran
- Efraim Halevy: Obama was right, Iran capitulated
- Dore Gold: Pakistan built its bomb with only 3,000 centrifuges
- Amos Yadlin: The Lausanne statement: Insights and recommendations
- Dr. Ephraim Kam: Deal makes Iran stronger than ever
- Aluf Benn: Iran deal can be scaffolding for unity government
- David Weinberg: The fantasy of snap-back sanctions

The American voices
- Jeffrey Goldberg: The least-worst option
- Jonah Goldberg: Can Iran really be brought out of the cold?
- Frida Ghitis: Why is Obama too desperate for an Iran deal?
- Clifford May: The win-win delusion
- Bret Stephens: Mutually assured obfuscation (via Google News)

The international voices
- Tariq Alhomayed: Obama is always wrong on the Middle East
- Michael Weiss: The agreement’s more than about nukes
- Abdulrahman Al-Rashed: The growing Iranian threat to the Gulf
- Greg Sheridan: Obama’s capitulation leaves the world exposed (via Google News)

• Last but not least: Is the Iran deal a requiem for Israeli nuclear ambiguity?

Featured image: CC BY Pedro Ribeiro Simo?es via flickr with additions by HonestReporting; Shultz via YouTube/Realenlighten; Kissinger via YouTube/Realenlighten; bunker buster CC Wikimedia Commons;

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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Thu 02 Apr 2015, 9:19 pm

Hezbollah Might Fire 1,500 Rockets a Day in Next War
Today’s Top Stories
1. Hezbollah might fire 1,500 rockets a day in next big war, according to source in Home Front Command.

“The scenario we are looking at is not a prediction of what will be. It spells out what we are building up our capabilities against. We believe we can stand up to the challenge,” the army source said.
Meanwhile, media reports claimed that Israel successfully tested the new David’s Sling defense system, which should be ready for deployment as early as 2016.

2. Turning sports into politics. The Palestinians chose to hold their marathon in Bethlehem to make a point about travel restrictions. The New York Times reports:
The Palestine Marathon, held last week, is a hemmed-in affair, much like the city where it is run. “In Bethlehem, there’s not a continuous 42 kilometers,” huffed Marwa Younis, 32, as she ran. “You have to run back and forth.”
But that is exactly why the organizers of the Right to Movement: Palestine Marathon chose to stage it here. What better way to draw attention to the constraints Palestinians say they face in their daily lives?
Exploiting sports for political gain is a growing trend among Palestinians. Just yesterday we reported on efforts by the Palestinian Football Association to seek a FIFA ban for Israel in international soccer competition.

3. Hague-based NGO reports a 71% increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the Netherlands.
  Israel and the Palestinians
• Israeli documentary on Hamas’s use of children in combat presented at UN forum. Evidence from the film is intended to question whether the UNRWA, which runs a network of schools in Gaza, is being exploited by Hamas.

According to its own 2014 figures, UNRWA received a budget of $1.32 billion from international donors, of which $409 million was donated by the U.S. alone. It runs 245 schools in Gaza, more than one-third of which were impacted in last summer’s fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, according to UNRWA spokesperson Christopher Gunness. Given that Hamas is in charge of Gaza, and UNRWA’s website makes clear that “Schoolchildren in UNRWA schools follow the host authorities’ curricula and textbooks,” the film suggests that the very group training children in military camps may also be dictating what they are taught in schools.
• Polls show US public support for Palestinian state is at a new low. According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, only 39% of the public supports a Palestinian state while 36% oppose it. That’s a significant drop from the 58% supported it in 2003.

• LA Times op-ed comes out against US efforts to cultivate Arab partners in the fight against IS.

U.S. officials continue to insist that our Middle Eastern allies are crucial to the fight against Islamic State and to other Middle Eastern conflicts. But are they? To judge by the chaos their help has created in Syria, we’d be better off without them.
Meanwhile, IS fighters have reportedly captured a large Palestinian refugee camp near Damascus, gaining a foothold close to the Syrian capital, though some of the area was retaken by Palestinians loyal to Hamas. The UN reported this week that 25,000 foreigners from 100 countries have joined IS and al-Qaida.

Rest of the Roundup
• Pro-BDS students at Edinburgh University in Scotland scheduled a vote on a BDS measure for the day before Passover, ensuring that many Jewish students would be unable to attend. The university’s Jewish Society president Emma Dubin blasted the failure to change the date. “I am worried that this is a framework that makes it impossible for Jewish voices to be heard. It is an anti-Semitic process to not have Jewish students’ voices being heard at this stage,” she told the Jewish Chronicle.

It’s the second year in a row that a BDS group attempted to steal a vote by scheduling it just before Passover. The same thing happened at Cornell in 2014, However, after the maneuver received substantial attention, the BDS motion was withdrawn.
Join the Fighting BDS Facebook page and stand up against the delegitimization of Israel.
• Israel applies to join China Development bank despite disapproval from the U.S.
Featured image: CC BY Giulio Bernardi via flickr, CC BY-NC Natasha Mileshina via flickr with modifications by HonestReporting

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Post  Admin on Thu 02 Apr 2015, 8:49 pm

Palestinians Join the International Criminal Court
Today’s Top Stories
1. The Palestinian Authority has officially joined the International Criminal Court as of April 1 opening the possibility that Israeli politicians and military leaders could face war crimes charges in the future.

The Daily Telegraph asks what this could mean for Israel and the PA:
The Palestinians intend to formally lodge two cases with the court on or after April 1, 2015. One case will deal with Israel’s settlement construction, which is illegal under international law. The second case will investigate Israel’s conduct in the recent Gaza conflict.
In addition, the Palestinians have already lodged an ad hoc investigation with the court, also on the 2014 Gaza conflict. The decision whether or not to take up the full investigation rests with the ICC prosecutor General Fatou Bensouda, but she is obliged to at least open a preliminary examination, which was done in January 2015.
Israel, like the US, is not a state party to the ICC’s Rome Statute, but its citizens could be tried on accusations of crimes on Palestinian land.
Meanwhile a Palestinian official has denied Israeli media claims that the Palestinian Authority (PA) signed a secret deal with the government of PM Benjamin Netanyahu to grant the release of taxes.

2. PM Netanyahu continued on Wednesday to rail against the Iranian nuclear deal being negotiated in Lausanne, saying it was outrageous that the world negotiates with Tehran as one of its military leaders says Israel’s destruction is “non-negotiable.” This in reference to the commander of the Basij militia of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards who said that “erasing Israel off the map” is “nonnegotiable,” according to an Israel Radio report Tuesday.

3. Amid claims that it committed war crimes in the last Gaza conflict, Hamas’ political leader Khaled Meshaal has condemned what he referred to as “Israeli extremism,” telling the BBC in an interview aired Wednesday that the Palestinian attacks against Israel would continue “as long as there is occupation, aggression, war and killing.”

“We’re not looking for any escalation, but we will defend ourselves,” Meshaal told BBC Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen in an interview from his headquarters in Qatar, adding that Hamas will be “careful to respect international humanitarian law and to target only military targets.”
4. We think that Jeremy Bowen gave Meshaal a free platform to make some laughable statements that went virtually unchallenged. Watch the interview and see HonestReporting’s reaction: BBC Interview Treats Hamas Leader With Kid Gloves.
Israel and the Palestinians
• The Palestinian Football Association will ask the FIFA Congress in May to suspend Israel, accusing it of continuing to hamper its football activities.

• Dennis Ross says Iran will remain a threat with or without a nuclear agreement with the West. At best, he argues, the deal with give the West a year’s notice if Iran is pushing towards a nuclear arms program.

At some point, the Obama administration changed its objective from one of transforming the Iranian nuclear program to one of ensuring that Iran could not have a breakout time of less than one year. The former was guided by our determination to press Iran to change its intent about pursuing or at least preserving the option of having a nuclear weapon. The latter clearly reflects a very different judgment: that we were not able to alter the Iranian intentions, so instead we needed to focus on constraining their capabilities.
By definition, when we speak about a one-year breakout time, we are accepting that Iran will have the means and infrastructure to produce nuclear weapons and we are trying to develop impediments to its doing so—even as we also create indicators that alert us to any such Iranian effort.
• And if you think that’s setting the bar pretty low, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius has begun to refer to the process itself as “nearly as important” as the result.

First, there is the fact of U.S.-Iranian engagement. For more than 18?months, Iran has been in direct talks with a power it once demonized as the “Great Satan.” Iranian hard-liners certainly remain, but the nation that chanted in unison “Death to America” is probably gone forever.
This process of engagement is a significant achievement of the Obama administration, even if the nuclear accord unravels. Iran is now a diplomatic and political factor in regional and world politics, for better or worse. The right U.S. strategy was to prevent this rising Iran from getting nuclear weapons, not to pretend that it didn’t exist.
• Former Ambassador to the U.S. and new Member of Knesset, Michael Oren, warns that Israel could lose trust in the U.S. if a bad deal is signed.

“There will be a greater tendency to address challenges in the region within the region, rather than calling on the U.S.,” he said. “It is a sea change. It will compel us to revisit some of our long-held assumptions and think seriously about how to defend ourselves in the future.”
• Roger Boyes in The Times of London (pay wall) says that as Tehran stirs up trouble across the Middle East, it’s time to support Saudi-led efforts to tackle Iranian expansionism.

Much hinges on Iranian intentions. The US and its allies have chosen to believe in a modernising Iran that has more to lose than gain from regional unrest and bloodshed. The Saudis cannot see the evidence for this. Rather, they judge Iran by its current attempts to subvert its neighbours, by behaviour patterns set by centuries of rivalry and by the balance of forces within the clerical regime that indicate a resurgence of the hardliners. I’m with the sceptics, indeed with anyone who makes policy on the basis of close and sober observation. We should have learned by now that the Middle East and Dreamworld are separate places. It is natural to have reservations about Saudi Arabia, but this Sunni coalition deserves our political support.
• Mahdieh Javid and Firuzeh Mahmoudi argue that the Iranian nuclear talks shouldn’t overshadow any focus on Iran’s human rights abuses.

With progress being made in the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, it’s time for a new conversation about Iran – one about the country’s dismal human rights record. The international community’s diplomatic efforts should be deployed to improve the basic tenets of democracy – freedom of speech, freedom of press, right to information, equality of citizens, and free and fair elections. …
Iran’s hardliners remain fearful of a diplomatic rapprochement. The impact of any shift in emphasis from the nuclear conversation is not lost on Iran’s hardliners. As Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, said on his official website: “If we didn’t have a nuclear program [the Americans] would look for another excuse, like human rights concerns … therefore, it’s best for us to continue with our progress with all force and refuse to respond to bullying”.
• Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor gets space in the New York Times to demonstrate the utter failure of the UN as an institution.

I am often asked how I can stand the tide of hatred aimed at Israel. Our response to the United Nations’ accusations is to speak tirelessly for those who are denied a voice in most of the Middle East — women, minorities, the L.G.B.T. community — and to fight daily efforts by totalitarian regimes to undermine democratic societies. Based on the fact that Israel is a thriving society, I believe we are winning.
• Quartz Magazine lists the four strategic challenges facing the next Israeli government, including the slide towards partisan support in the U.S, Iran’s nuclear ambition, the Palestinian shift away from cooperation towards diplomatic confrontation, and the trend towards delegitimization in Europe and the U.S.

Hussein Ibish says that the split in Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood party might herald a new direction for Islamic parties across the Arab world:
Arab societies have Islamist constituencies, and therefore will have Islamist parties and organizations. Ultimately, even those states most opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood must think about how to accommodate those supporters.
Much now depends on the outcome of the Jordanian Brotherhood’s split. It seems almost certain that one faction will come out on top and the party will reunify. If the moderates prevail, this could provide a new model — alongside Ennahda — for other Arab societies seeking to integrate Islamist constituencies into stable political systems.
• Elliott Abrams asks why the different reactions to Yemen and Gaza.

So, taking fire from a civilian area in which shooters were hiding, the Saudis struck back. When Israel does that in Gaza, where it is the common practice of Hamas to hide in and shoot from civilian areas, and to store weapons in schools and hospitals (including those run by the United Nations), what happens? Israel is universally condemned. UN investigation commissions are appointed, and reports such as the egregious “Goldstone Report” (officially, the “The United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict”) are issued. The UN Security Council holds special sessions, and the UN Human Rights Council adds additional “hate Israel” meetings to its usual list.
I cannot recall an incident where Israel struck at a refugee camp and killed 40 people all at once, also injuring 200 others, but I am willing to bet on the world reaction to this Saudi attack: zero. No meetings, commissions, no reports.
Rest of the Roundup
• The appointment of Trevor Noah as Jon Stewart’s successor on The Daily Show has caused a backlash over the South African comedian’s views on Israel and other offensive tweets. Israellycool takes a look.

Featured image: CC BY Keijo Knutas via flickr with additions by HonestReporting

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