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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

#BDS_Fail: American Studies Association drops boycott of Israel, claims there never was one

As you might recall, in December 2013, the American Studies Association adopted a boycott of Israel. They have now dropped that boycott. In fact, they have gone so far as to claim that it never existed.
What is clear is t[h]at the ASA decided, in a widely-publicized move, to discriminate against some Israeli academics. Now, the ASA says it will not discriminate against any Israeli academics. The Conference is open to “everyone,” the group says, even, as the ASA’s executive director explained to me, “representatives of Israeli institutions.”
That is a clear revision of the original boycott action. Indeed, as David Bernstein noted at the time, the boycott was always narrow potentially to point of irrelevancy; narrowing it further constitutes a complete retraction of the boycott as applied to academics. The remaining portion of the boycott bars formal relationships with Israeli institutions, which required no change in the group’s action – the boycott is a null set.
But the ASA does not just say that they’ve jettisoned their discrimination against Israeli academics. Worried about potential civil rights litigation threats from the intrepid American Center for Law and Justice, they claim there never was any boycott of any Israelis at all. As evidence of this, the say no one falling within the parameters of the boycott tried to participate in the conference, and thus no one was subject to national origin discrimination.
This argument is beyond silly. When one hangs a sign on the door, “No Blacks Allowed,” or in this case, “Entry by Israelis Restricted,” it is not a defense to a civil rights action that none ever try to get in. The purpose of the policy is to turn them away before they even knock. The deterrent effectiveness of their policy does eliminate its discriminatory nature.
The ASA also says that even its original ban on Israel academic “representatives and ambassadors” was quite narrow. This would not be clear to an outside observer. Academics typically go to conference as representatives of their schools – going to conferences is part of their job. The institution’s name appears on their name tag. People who are not at schools may be identified as “independent scholars,” but people who are at an institution are not independent, they are with that institution.
Much of the credit for the boycott being dropped goes to Cornell Law Professor Bill Jacobson, who has been all over the ASA since the beginning through his blog, Legal Insurrection

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A different take on the Death of Leon Klinghoffer

As you can see from the picture, there was a pretty substantial protest on Monday night outside the opening of the Metropolitan Opera's production of The Death of Leon Klinghoffer. Walter Russell Mead is far more knowledgeable about opera than I will ever be. I don't want to focus on his artistic review of the production, but rather on his comments on the demonstration outside and on the question of whether the opera itself should ever have been staged. Here's what he says about the demonstrators.
Not everybody in New York shared my opinion; protestors blocked the street in front of Lincoln Center and we had to pass through police lines and barricades to get to the show. The lines at the entrance stretched far out into the plaza as the ushers conducted unusually thorough searches of bags at the door. With protestors shouting “Shame! Shame!” and speakers addressing the crowd in heavily miked voices, it was easily the most dramatic moment I’ve ever seen at a New York arts venue.
The excitement continued inside; some of the people opposed to the performance had tickets, and dozens stood to boo or cry out slogans like “Klinghoffer’s murderers will never be forgiven!” at various points during the performance. For history of opera aficionados, it was like a revival of the nineteenth century drama in European opera houses as rival factions of fans cheered or booed politically or musically controversial works.
Or the 21st century at the London Philharmonic

Mead also has some on-point comments about the production itself.
The real problem, and it is a serious one, involves the decision by John Adams and Alice Goodman to use a family’s tragedy for their art without the permission of the family’s members. Leon Klinghoffer was not a public figure; nothing gave Adams and Goodman a moral right to profit from his death or to use it for political or artistic purposes of their own without the permission of his loved ones. The opera not only shows the death of Lisa’s and Ilsa’s father, putting words in his mouth, it presents a fictionalized portrait of their mother’s shock and reaction on hearing the news.
No family not already in public life deserves to have their most intimate and painful moments taken over and made into a public spectacle against their will. You couldn’t take liberties with Mickey and Minnie Mouse without having Disney lawyers come at you with cease and desist orders; Leon Klinghoffer’s family deserves more consideration than a fictional rodent and without in any way seeking to curtail free speech, one can regret the decision of two famous and well established artists to turn someone else’s private grief into a public entertainment.
If I were Peter Gelb, I would have declined to put the opera on, but not on political grounds. I would not have wanted to associate myself with what amounts to psychological rape, and I would not have staged it against the wishes of the murdered man’s family. Dehumanizing Leon Klinghoffer, turning him from a human being into a symbol in their political theater, is what the terrorists did on the Achille Lauro; John Adams and Alice Goodman echo this violation by trampling on the family’s privacy and wishes, stripping the Klinghoffers of their rights and dignity and using them as props. There were other ways to write an opera about the tragic conflict between the Palestinian and Jewish national movements.
Compare that with the New York Times' critic avoiding the issue
Yet, in death, Leon Klinghoffer became a public figure, an innocent but defiant hero, lost to what still seems like a never-ending conflict in the Middle East.
No, he didn't. He never made that choice in life, and his family - who were the only ones who could have done so - never made that choice for him in death.

Read the whole thing

UPDATE 8:19 PM

Some of you might question why one of the labels I put on this post is "anti-Semitism." Please consider this Facebook comment from Steven Plaut:
Friends I need your help. I have written a new Opera and I need you to help demand that the Metropolitan Opera in New York stage it. It is an opera about the lynching of black people in Alabama and Mississippi by the Ku Klux Klan. The opera presents the moral ambiguity of the struggle for self-determination of the Klan members against the harsh and cruel behavior of the pickaninnies. The opera is careful not to pick sides and it presents both sides with musical delight. After the Klansters lynch the darkies, they take off their hoods and paint themselves as minstrel singers to show their common humanity with the dead. I am sure you agree that this is a must performance that the Metropolitan Opera needs to stage! Write the Opera chairman today!
We all know that hell will freeze over before the opera suggested by Plaut is staged, don't we? 

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New term enters our lexicon: 'Post-Congressional foreign policy'

A new term has entered our lexicon: The 'post-Congressional foreign policy.' It refers to Czar Barack's circumvention of Congressional approval of his termination of sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran by calling it a suspension. And he's betting that Congress cannot or will not do anything about it (Hat Tip: Memeorandum). Or about several other breaches of Congressional oversight authority.
Only Congress can permanently lift the sanctions--which it’s unlikely to do even if Democrats hold on to the Senate—but the deal could be structured in such a way that this wouldn’t happen until Iran meets certain internationally verified benchmarks. In other words, it could be years.
It’s not unusual for presidents to look abroad in search of monsters to destroy late in their terms, as they have more authority to conduct foreign as opposed to domestic policy independently of Congress. But even by historical standards, the Obama administration seems to be particularly interested in freezing Congress out.
Given that it’s virtually impossible to get any multilateral treaty ratified by the Senate—some obscure fishing regulations are the exception that proves the rule—the administration’s plan for a long-awaited climate change deal will involve “politically binding” commitments rather than legally binding ones, which Congress would have to approve.
In the case of what’s been dubbed “Operation Inherent Resolve,” the campaign of airstrikes to counter ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the administration never sought congressional approval. The 60-day deadline, after which Congress must authorize military action under the War Powers Resolution, has long passed. (Obama did issue a letter to Congress in September informing them of the operation and noting, somewhat vaguely, “I appreciate the support of the Congress in this action.”)
Yale Law professor and constitutional scholar Bruce Ackerman has described the operation against ISIS as “a decisive break in the American constitutional tradition” that outdoes anything attempted by the Bush administration. But interestingly, congressional Republicans who normally jump on any chance to accuse the administration of imperial overreach, have been fairly blasé about these strikes. House Speaker John Boehner says that Congress should debate the use of military force against ISIS but only after the newly elected legislative body convenes in January—a lifetime in terms of a fast-moving military operation like this one.
Read the whole thing.  As Israelis say, maybe there are things that Obama (who was opposed to unilateral Presidential actions in the foreign policy field under Bush) didn't see from there that he sees from here. On the other hand, I am very opposed to any weakening of the Iran sanctions regime....

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A video Barack Obama does not want you to see

What effect has Barack Obama had on Israel? Let's go to the videotape.



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Monday, October 20, 2014

Thousands expected to protest 'Death of Klinghoffer'

In a bit more than an hour, thousands of people are expected outside New York's Lincoln Center to protest the premiere of 'Death of Klinghoffer' by the Metropolitan Opera.
The Lincoln Square Business Improvement District sent an email last Friday, alerting area businesses and residents about the protests:
We have been informed by the New York City Police Department that there will be a protest on Monday, October 20, 2014, between the hours of 4:00pm and 8:00pm in and around Dante Park (across from Lincoln Center between 63rd and 64th Street), in connection with The Metropolitan Opera's Opening Night Performance of The Death of Klinghoffer. It is our understanding that the NYPD expects 3,000-4,000 people to attend, with protesters gathering at approximately 2:00pm. The parking lane alongside Dante Park on Columbus Avenue between 63rd and 64th Street will be cordoned off with police barricades, which may be moved further west to close traffic lanes if necessary. It is also our understanding that there will be a platform set up in the parking lane near West 63rd Street.

The majority of the demonstrators will be in Dante Park; however, there will be approximately 40-50 additional demonstrators in front of Lincoln Center's Josie Robertson Plaza. Expect to see "No Parking" signs around the perimeter of Dante Park on Monday, October 20 and, depending on the turnout, there may be temporary lane/crosswalk closures in and around the Dante Park area. The NYPD will maintain a presence throughout the event. We will also have our public safety officers present.
On Monday, the Anti-Defamation League issued a statement by Lisa and Ilsa Klinghoffer, the daughters of Leon Klinghoffer HY"D (May God Avenge his blood). The statement also appears in the Metropolitan Opera's Playbill program that is being distributed at the Opera, a measure of how much impact the protests have had.
Twenty nine years ago, our 69 year old, wheel chair-bound father, Leon Klinghoffer, was shot in the head by Palestinian hijackers on the Achille Lauro cruise ship.  The terrorists threw his body, along with his wheelchair, overboard into the Mediterranean.  A few days later, his body washed up on the Syrian shore.
Tonight, as you watch The Death of Klinghoffer, a baritone will play the role of Leon Klinghoffer, and  sing The Aria of the Falling Body as he artfully falls into the sea.   Competing choruses will highlight Jewish and Palestinian narratives of suffering and oppression, selectively presenting the complexities of the Arab-Israeli conflict.  The terrorists, portrayed by four distinguished opera singers, will be given a back story, an "explanation" for their brutal act of terror and violence.
We are strong supporters of the arts, and believe that theater and music can play a critical role in examining and understanding significant world events. The Death of Klinghoffer does no such thing. It presents false moral equivalencies without context, and offers no real insight into the historical reality and the senseless murder of an American Jew. It rationalizes, romanticizes and legitimizes the terrorist murder of our father. Our family was not consulted by the composer and librettist and had no role in the development of the opera.
Our father was one of the first American victims of Middle Eastern terrorism. Nearly three decades later, after PanAm 103, 9/11, and countless other attacks and threats, Americans live under the deadly threat of terrorism each and every day.
For our family, the impact of terrorism is obviously deeply personal. We lost our father because of the violent political agenda of these terrorists. The trauma of his murder never goes away. Our father was caring, creative, thoughtful and smart. As a young man, he invented the rotisserie oven, the first of its kind. After his stroke, our father continued to use his one good arm to repair anything that needed fixing. With the help of our mother, he never allowed his disability to limit his enjoyment of good times with his family and friends, who meant everything to him. He loved life and lived it to the fullest. He was an inspiration to us. It is particularly sad that the life of such a vibrant and gentle man could end suddenly in such a hate-filled and violent manner.
Our father is also a universal symbol of the threat terrorism poses to our societies, our values and our lives. Indeed, we have dedicated our lives since this tragedy to educating about terrorism, and putting a personal face on the victims and their families.
Terrorism cannot be rationalized. It cannot be understood. It can never be tolerated as a vehicle for political expression or grievance. Unfortunately, The Death of Klinghoffer does all this, and sullies the memory of a fine, principled, sweet man in the process.
In June, following series of conversations between Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, representing the wishes of the Klinghoffer family, and Peter Gelb, General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera, the Met announced that it would cancel a global simulcast of the controversial John Adams opera in response to concerns that the opera’s biased portrayal of events surrounding the hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro could foment anti-Semitism globally or legitimize terrorism.  At that time, Mr. Foxman said:  "Obviously from our point of view and from that of the Klinghoffer sisters, we would have hoped that the Metropolitan Opera would have stayed away from mounting such a problematic opera," Mr. Foxman said. "We certainly did not want to see the Met production simulcast into theaters around the world. The Met was very open to hearing our concerns. After listening to our views, they have agreed to cancel the simulcasts and to take steps to ensure that the Klinghoffer family’s perspective is clearly heard by opera patrons."
In 1986, the Klinghoffer family established the Leon and Marilyn Klinghoffer Memorial Foundation of the Anti-Defamation League, which is dedicated to which is dedicated to developing educational, legislative and legal responses to terrorism.
Even Metropolitan Opera director Peter Gelb understands that the public is furious over the eight performances that are to begin tonight in Lincoln Center. 
In anticipation of the rally, there will be a “heavy police presence” at Monday night’s opening, the New York Post reported, citing police sources.
“It’s been a steady diet of e-mails, phone calls and letters for a couple of months now,” Met director Peter Gelb told the Sunday Times. “The people who don’t want this opera to be performed are not silly; they are very angry.”
The Jewish organizations will host a press conference at 5 p.m. ahead of the protest. Rabbi Avi Weiss and other rabbinical leaders are set to host a vigil outside Lincoln Center in memory of Klinghoffer ahead of the protest.
The rally is organized by some 50 Jewish and Catholic groups, including the Zionist Organization of America, One Israel Fund, One Family Fund, Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Catholic League. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani reportedly will be the keynote speaker at the event.
I hope that Gelb has trouble sleeping at night, and that the Met loses enough money on this fiasco to force it to close. Arrogant _ _ _ _ _ _ _ s.

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US and European aid money going to support Islamic State

Humanitarian aid being provided by the United States and European countries and intended for Syrian refugees is instead going to support the Islamic State terror group (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
The aid—mainly food and medical equipment—is meant for Syrians displaced from their hometowns, and for hungry civilians. It is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, European donors, and the United Nations. Whether it continues is now the subject of anguished debate among officials in Washington and European. The fear is that stopping aid would hurt innocent civilians and would be used for propaganda purposes by the militants, who would likely blame the West for added hardship.
...
“The convoys have to be approved by ISIS and you have to pay them: the bribes are disguised and itemized as transportation costs,” says an aid coordinator who spoke to The Daily Beast on the condition he not be identified in this article. The kickbacks are either paid by foreign or local non-governmental organizations tasked with distributing the aid, or by the Turkish or Syrian transportation companies contracted to deliver it.
And there are fears the aid itself isn’t carefully monitored enough, with some sold off on the black market or used by ISIS to win hearts and minds by feeding its fighters and its subjects. At a minimum the aid means ISIS doesn’t have to divert cash from its war budget to help feed the local population or the displaced persons, allowing it to focus its resources exclusively on fighters and war making, say critics of the aid.
...
“I am alarmed that we are providing support for ISIS governance,” says Jonathan Schanzer, a Mideast expert with the Washington D.C.-based think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “By doing so we are indemnifying the militants by satisfying the core demands of local people, who could turn on ISIS if they got frustrated.”
...
Aid coordinators with NGOs partnering USAID and other Western government agencies, including Britain’s Department for International Development, say ISIS insist that the NGOs, foreign and local, employ people ISIS approves on their staffs inside Syria. “There is always at least one ISIS person on the payroll; they force people on us,” says an aid coordinator. “And when a convoy is being prepared, the negotiations go through them about whether the convoy can proceed. They contact their emirs and a price is worked out. We don’t have to wrangle with individual ISIS field commanders once approval is given to get the convoy in, as the militants are highly hierarchical.” He adds: “None of the fighters will dare touch it, if an emir has given permission.”
...
Many aid workers are uncomfortable with what’s happening. “A few months ago we delivered a mobile clinic for a USAID-funded NGO,” says one, who declined to be named. “A few of us debated the rights and wrongs of this. The clinic was earmarked for the treatment of civilians, but we all know that wounded ISIS fighters could easily be treated as well. So what are we doing here helping their fighters, who we are bombing, to be treated so they can fight again?”
What becomes even more bizarre is that while aid is still going into ISIS-controlled areas, only a little is going into Kurdish areas in northeast Syria. About every three or four months there is a convoy into the key city of Qamishli. Syrian Kurds, who are now defending Kobani with the support of U.S. warplanes, have long complained about the lack of international aid. Last November, tellingly, Syrian Kurds complained that Syria’s Kurdistan was not included in a U.N. polio vaccination campaign. U.N. agencies took the position that polio vaccines should go through the Syrian Red Crescent via Damascus when it came to the Kurds.
...
Mideast analyst Schanzer dismisses the notion that ISIS can use an aid shutdown as leverage in its PR campaign: “I think this is false. In areas they control everyone understands they are a brutal organization. This is their basic weakness and by pushing in aid we are curtailing the chances of an internal revolt, which is the best chance you have of bringing down ISIS.”
 Does anyone believe that it's any different in Gaza?

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Oh my: IDF officer claims Hamas continuing to fire rockets, IDF covering it up

An IDF major claims that Hamas is continuing to fire rockets at Israel and the IDF is covering it up.
Major (res.) Ran Levy, a social activist who heads the 'Hadromiyim' ('The Southerners') organization, that fights for the rights of residents of Israel's embattled south, accused the IDF of lying Sunday when it said the sirens that sounded in the morning hours were false alarms.
He insisted that rockets had, indeed, been fired from Gaza at southern Israel.
"I am an officer in the Home Front Command and I say, as a resident of Ashkelon, that there is no such thing as a false alarm and there never was,” he determined. “Once the system identifies a launch, it calculates within a short time the area in which the rocket is expected to fall, so there is no such thing as a false alarm.”
Levy alleged that the IDF is continuing to hide the truth from the residents of Israel for political purposes. “It may be receiving instructions from the prime minister and the defense minister, so that Israel is not required to respond, since we are in a ceasefire now. I regret to say that [Hamas] are continuing to equip themselves with raw materials, cement and iron, and carry out tests, and they tell us these are false alarms so that we do not respond.”
There were no false alarms during Operation Protective Edge, either, the officer said. “I don't believe the IDF Spokesman and the denials,” Levy repeated. “There were no false alarms during the war, so why are they occurring now? What are they waiting for? For a rocket or mortar shell to strike a school or kindergarten? And when that happens. G-d forbid, the government will have to resign, because it will not be able to lie to the citizens and I will not be the only one who doesn't believe the IDF Spokesman.”
The IDF Spokesman's Unit responded by simply stating: “The sirens that sounded this morning were false alarms.”
Hmmm. 

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@SamsClub (a subsidiary of Walmart) donates $2,500 to Florida mosque named after Hamas 'military wing'

It was recently discovered that the popular American wholesaler Sam's Club, a subsidiary of Walmart, donated $2,500 to a Tampa, Florida mosque named after Hamas' al-Qassam Brigades (Hat Tip: Ellen S).
A Florida Family Association supporter happened to look up at the wall behind the checkout line at the Sam’s Club located at 2021 Brandon Boulevard in Brandon, Florida.  He saw a large photograph of a check made out from Sam’s Club in the amount of $2,500 payable to the Islamic Community of Tampa located in the top left prominent position on the wall.  Florida Family Association snapped a cellphone photograph.   Photographs indicated that no other non-profit organization received more than $500. 
...


  • The Islamic Community of Tampa is also known as the Al-Qassam mosque.    The Military Wing of the Palestinian Hamas is called the Al-Qassam Brigade. InvestigativeProject.org reports “The mosque, according to Sami Al-Arian, was named after Izzedin al-Qassam.   Al-Qassam, a Syrian killed fighting the British mandate in 1935, ‘is the main source of inspiration for the Islamic Jihad movement’ Palestinian scholar Ziad Abu Amr wrote in his book, Islamic Fundamentalism in the West Bank and Gaza. ‘The Islamic Jihad’s supporters have elevated him almost to a saintly status.’” 
  • ...
  • Sami Al-Arian was indicted in February 2003 on 17 counts under the Patriot Act for allegedly being the leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).   In 2006, Al-Arian pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to make or receive contributions of funds, goods or services for the benefit of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and was sentenced to 57 months in prison. 
  • Sami Al-Arian refused to testify before a Federal Grand Jury regarding other Jihad activities.  U.S. District Judge James Moody ruled that Al-Arian must testify. A Virginia District Court held that Sami Al-Arian had no legal basis to refuse to testify. The court held him in civil contempt, and imprisoned him on November 16, 2006.  Sami Al-Arian was released from prison on June 27, 2014 after the United States Department of Justice dropped charges.
Read the whole thing

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Poll: 75% of Israeli Jews oppose 'Palestinian state' on '67 lines,' redivision of Jerusalem

A new poll indicates that 75% of Israeli Jews are opposed to a 'Palestinian state' based on the 1949 armistice lines and to the redivision of Jerusalem.
According to the latest poll conducted on October 12-14, 2014, by Shivukim-Panorama for the Jerusalem Center, 75% of the Israeli Jewish public continue to oppose Israel’s withdrawal from the Jordan Valley and the division of Jerusalem.
Moreover, the rise of the Islamic State in the Middle East has made the Israeli public even less ready for territorial concessions in the West Bank. While 70% report that the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) has not affected their position, 17% say it has made them less ready for concessions, while 5% say they are more ready for concessions.
Some 75% of Israeli Jews oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state if it means an Israeli withdrawal from the Jordan Valley. A similar percentage would oppose the replacement of the IDF with international forces in the Jordan Valley. Notably, 52% of Israelis who identify with “the left” oppose the replacement of the IDF with international forces in the Jordan Valley.
Overall, 74% of Israeli Jews oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines, while 76% oppose a Palestinian state if it means the division of Jerusalem.
Full poll numbers here

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It figures: Klinghoffer creator a (former) Jewish anti-Semite

Alice Goodman - the creator of the terror-glorifying opera 'Death of Klinghoffer' - is a former Jew turned Anglican Priest (Hat Tip: Dan F). Going back to the prophet Isaiah, we have been warned that those who would destroy us will spring forth from among us. A quick review of Goodman's recent Twitter entries shows a visceral hatred for Jews, and for Israel and those who support it. Here are some examples.
Not really. In fact, most American Jews support a 'two-state solution.' If the protest were taking place in Israel, Goodman might have a point. Unless, of course, she supports the extirpation of Israel's existence (maybe she does).

It's apparently inconceivable to Ms. Goodman that anyone could feel revulsion at the use of dead Jews as 'art,' and at the glorification of terrorism that her 'opera' aims to accomplish.

It should also be clear to all of you that Ms.Goodman's motivations have nothing to do with art and everything to do with hatred of Jews and Israel. There is indeed no anti-Semite like a Jewish anti-Semite. 

For those who can make it this evening to protest in New York:


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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Call your Representatives!

Something all Americans should think about in light of the explosion at Parchin earlier this month.

From here.

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Rudy Giuliani will be there, will you?

Former Republican Presidential candidate, New York City Mayor and US Attorney Rudolph Giuliani will be holding a press conference on Monday in connection with the protest against the opening of the Death of Leon Klinghoffer at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. (Received by email).
There will be a press conference at Lincoln Center on Monday evening, October 20th at 5:00 PM, across the street from the Lincoln Center Plaza at Broadway & 65th Street to protest the first evening that “The Death of Klinghoffer” will be shown at the Metropolitan Opera.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani will be the keynote speaker at the press conference, which will be followed by a protest.
Additional confirmed participants include Congressman Peter King, Former NY Governor David Paterson, Criminal Defense Attorney Ben Brafman, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, and Rabbi Joseph Potasnik.
Giuliani famously expelled Yasir Arafat from a concert for world leaders at Lincoln Center in 1995, explaining he could never forgive Arafat’s acts of terror. As the Mayor famously said, "I would not invite Yasir Arafat to anything, anywhere, anytime, anyplace. He has never been held to answer for the murders that he was implicated in." The Mayor said at the time, "The U.N. is one thing, the peace process is another thing. When we're having a party and a celebration, I would rather not have someone who has been implicated in the murders of Americans there, if I have the discretion not to have him there."
Rabbi Avi Weiss and a group of Rabbinical leaders will hold a prayer vigil commencing at Noon at Lincoln Center Plaza at Broadway & 65th Street in memory of Leon Klinghoffer's soul, being desecrated by the opera.
This is the continuation of a series of efforts opposing Lincoln Center’s decision to air this play.
If you're in the New York area tomorrow, you should be there. 

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'Babes of Hamas' pinup calendar not selling very well

A pinup calendar that Hamas is trying to use to raise funds doesn't appear to be selling very well.
The “Babes of Hamas” pinup calendar was intended to support the cash-strapped organization in its efforts to rebuild its arsenal, tunnels, and logistical operations in the wake of a punishing war this past summer with Israel. However, the publication has sold anemically, forcing the organization to absorb tens thousands of dollars in expenses and to dispose of the hundreds of thousands of copies it had ordered several weeks ago.
The calendar features twelve wives and daughters of Hamas operatives, including those of senior Hamas officials, clad only in a full-body chador, hijab, and niqab, completely revealing their eyes. The photographs were taken at various romantic or scenic locations in the Gaza Strip early last month, such as the beach at sunset with a boatload of weapons being smuggled in the background, or in the cleaning products aisle of a well-stocked supermarket, to emphasize the privation caused by the Israeli blockade. As a bonus feature, the calendar also includes a life-size, fold-out poster of a well-oiled Kalashnikov automatic rifle completely uncovered, positioned such that its magazine intake socket is showing.
Hamas spokesman Ashudda Nohn told reporters that slow demand and difficulty in delivering the calendars in any significant quantities to the West Bank were both to blame for the paltry sales. “We may have overestimated the popularity of the genre in the Gaza Strip,” admitted Nohn. “And that’s weird, because despite the morality patrols and enforced separation of men and women in all sorts of venues, pornography consumption here is on par with anywhere else in the world.”
Analysts say they are not surprised at the lack of revenue from sales of the calendar. “The real action is in Syria and Iraq, where people can get actual women for just a few dollars in the areas under control of the Islamic State,” says Hugh Mantraffy-King, who studies societal developments in the region. “Who’s going to plunk down forty shekels for a few photos when you can get the real thing just a few hundred kilometers to the north for a only slightly more?” Forty shekels equals about 12 US dollars. Christian, Kurdish, and Yazidi women are available for purchase as sex slaves in IS-controlled areas for as little as ten dollars, but transportation and smuggling fees add to the total.
Heh.

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Because there's no 'Palestinian state': 'Israeli Arab' doctor killed fighting for Islamic State terror group

Barzilay Hospital in Ashkelon has confirmed that Othman Abdal Kian, a Bedouin doctor who was killed while fighting for the Islamic State terror organization, did his residency at the hospital.
Arab media reported that a Beduin doctor from Israel had been killed while fighting with the terrorist group.

According to the statement released by Barzilai, Othman Abdal-Kian finished his medical degree in Jordan and began doing his residency at the hospital in Ashkelon in February after passing tests qualifying him to temporarily practice medicine in Israel.

He chose to do an elective month at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba which he was supposed to have started  in May.

Abdal-Kian failed to show up at the hospital on the prescribed date and all contact with him was lost.

Security authorities questioned the hospital administration at Barzilai about Abdal-Kian's tenure at the facility, informing them that he had foregone his medical career to join Islamic State forces.
I'm sure that if there were a 'Palestinian state,' Abdal Kian would never have done something like that. Just ask John FN Kerry.

/sarc

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Breaking: 'Palestinian' suicide bomber caught near Jenin UPDATED

Lest you think they've given up on trying to murder us....



UPDATE 2:32 PM

The 'bomber' was unarmed.

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LA hotel won't exclude Israelis in compliance with academic boycott

As you might recall, the American Studies Association has implemented an academic boycott of Israelis. The group is holding its annual meeting at the Los Angeles Westin Bonaventure Hotel and the Washington Post reported last week that, in compliance with the group's wishes, the hotel planned to exclude Israelis from staying at the hotel during the meeting.
In early November, the American Studies Association will be having its annual meeting at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles. Per the ASA’s recently adopted policy, Israeli academics will be subject to unique exclusionary restrictions based on their national origin.
The use of a public accommodation for such a discriminatory event has led a civil rights group to warn the hotel that hosting the conference could violate California’s civil rights laws. The Unruh Civil Rights Act provides that “no business establishment of any kind whatsoever shall discriminate against, boycott or blacklist, or refuse to buy from, contract with, sell to, or trade with any person in this state on account of” national origin and other characteristics. It also extends liability to those who “aid or incite” a denial or rights under the law.
I am not an expert on the application of California’s anti-discrimination laws, but the notion that a public accommodation cannot host an event that itself violates the law would at least seem consistent with the text of the statute. I also happen to generally disfavor anti-discrimination laws on, among other things, First Amendment (free association) grounds, but unfortunately for the ASA, these arguments do not fare well in courts.
The ASA’s argument that it does not bar Israelis, but only Israelis who attend as representatives of their academic institutions, will not likely help them much, as the normal way for academics to attend academic conferences is as representatives of their institutions. In any case, this argument amounts to saying the ACA is not discriminating as much as they could have, which is not an advisable defense in discrimination cases.
But even the International Tennis Federation eventually got it. And so did the ASA. They've backed off.
Professor Kontorovich’s blog post apparently got under the skin of the ASA, as it wrote to Prof. Kontorovich claiming that there was no boycott of any individuals whatsoever, as Prof. Kontorovich describes in a follow up post, ASA pretends to partially drop Israel boycott:
The ASA’s executive director, John Stephens, wrote to me demanding a correction, claiming that my description of their policy was entirely “false.” Stephens claims that despite the boycott
Our conference is open to anyone, including Israeli academics and non-academics. If someone were to register for the conference as a representative of an Israeli institution, he or she would not be turned away.
* * *
Stephens went on to write that:
[The ASA] does not bar Israelis, it does not bar Israeli institutions. Prime Minister Netanyahu can attend if he wants to.
But their very own policy makes clear that it excludes Israeli institutions and their “representatives,” as well as those of the “Israeli government,” of which Netanyahu would be a prime example.
As Prof. Kontorovich further demonstrates, since the ACLJ letter, the ASA has added language to its policy (indicated by an asterisk):
Heh. Read the whole thing

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'Israeli Arab' soccer team pays tribute to traitor Azmi Bishara

Many of you might recall former Balad MK Azmi Bishara who fled the country and resigned from the Knesset after it was discovered that he helped Hezbullah spot rockets during the Second Lebanon War in 2006. On Saturday, the soccer team in the 'Israeli Arab' town of Bnei Sakhnin - which is part of Israel's national league and plays games against teams from all over the country - paid tribute to Bishara, prompting calls to suspend the team from the league.
At the beginning of the Bnei Sakhnin vs. Hapoel Tel Aviv game, the team held a ceremony thanking a wealthy man from Qatar for contributing $2 million to the team.

Balad party representatives accepted the award, mentioning Bishara’s name.

Bishara founded Balad and was an MK in the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th Knessets.

He fled Israel in 2007 while under investigation for passing information to Hezbollah during the previous year’s Second Lebanon War. He currently resides in Doha, where he is the director of a think tank and is reportedly close to Qatar’s royal family, a major sponsor of Hamas.

Fans in the stands Saturday night waved banners reading “Jerusalem is ours,” with an illustration of the Temple Mount wrapped in a keffiyeh, and “The police are whores.”

Earlier this week, there were violent clashes between Muslims and police on Temple Mount.
I'm wondering what HaPoel Tel Aviv did during the 'ceremony.' In any event, Israel's 'Football Association' is claiming they were tricked.
The Football Association said Bnei Sakhnin asked only to give certificates of honor to the team’s sponsors and did not mention Bishara, and the association will put the team’s management on disciplinary trial.

FIFA and UEFA rules do not allow soccer teams to mix politics and soccer. 
Hmmm.

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#Caring: Lebanon slams the door on fleeing Syrians

Lebanon has slammed the door shut on Syrians fleeing from civil war in their own country.
Lebanon has all but closed its borders to refugees fleeing Syria’s civil war, overwhelmed by an influx of more than 1 million people displaced by fighting, U.N. and Lebanese officials said Saturday.

Quoted by Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar newspaper, Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas said Lebanon “no longer officially receives any displaced Syrians.”

He said exceptions were available for refugees for “humanitarian reasons” to be judged by Lebanon’s social affairs and interior ministries.

“We informed [the U.N. refugee agency] UNHCR that we are no longer able to receive displaced people,” he added.

Ninette Kelley, UNHCR’s representative in Lebanon, confirmed increased restrictions at the border with Syria.

“Our understanding is that people who are coming to claim refugee status are not being permitted to enter in the way that they were previously,” she told AFP.

“What we’ve seen over the last two to three weeks is that there are greater restrictions ... We’ve seen that there are fewer people approaching us for registration which is also indicative of tightening of the border.”

Kelley said there were no precise figures on the number of refugees allowed to enter.
How brotherly.... 

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'Peace partner' calls Jews a 'herd of cattle'

'Moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen has stepped up his attack on Jews ascending the Temple Mount, calling them a 'herd of cattle.'
"The Palestinian leadership will be taking the necessary legal measures, at the international level, regarding the aggression of settlers on the Al-Aqsa mosque," Abbas said in a speech to the Revolutionary Council of his Fatah party.
"We will not allow settlers to attack the mosque," he added, referring to Jews visiting the site as a "herd of cattle." 
On Saturday, Abbas called all Israelis "settlers" for visiting the site, which is besieged by Arab rioters who have forced Israel's police to close the Mount to Jews over the past several weeks on multiple occasions. 
"It is not enough to say the settlers came, but they must be barred from entering the compound by any means. This is our Aqsa... and they have no right to enter it and desecrate it," Abbas said.
I think someone needs to ask the State Department on Monday how Abu Bluff's comments advance the cause of peace. 

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

'Screening airline passengers for Ebola with infrared cameras a no-brainer...US is lagging behind'

An American-Israeli expert in infectious diseases has attacked the United States' failure to screen airline passengers by taking their temperatures using infrared cameras as a means of preventing passengers with Ebola from boarding planes.
According to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Professor Leslie Lobel, “the world has been asleep for 50 years regarding infectious diseases and Ebola is the wake-up call.”
Lobel is a world-recognized virologist who has studied the virus and others emanating from the African continent.
“Fifty years ago, we were dealing with eradicating polio, smallpox and yellow fever which had similarly high mortality rates. Today, most of the world seems to understand the need to screen passengers in airports using infrared cameras for elevated temperature as a simple precaution — the US is lagging behind,” said Dr. Lobel.
The American-Israeli professor has been researching a cure for hemorrhagic fever viruses, including Ebola, for a decade, the university said in a press release.
...
Earlier Friday, the World Health Organization admitted that it botched attempts to stop the now-spiraling Ebola outbreak in West Africa, blaming factors including incompetent staff and a lack of information.
“Nearly everyone involved in the outbreak response failed to see some fairly plain writing on the wall,” WHO said in a draft internal document obtained by The Associated Press, noting that experts should have realized that traditional containment methods wouldn’t work in a region with porous borders and broken health systems.
Of course, if TSA ever started screening passengers for fevers, you can bet that (a) it would be done randomly rather than targeting people carrying the passports of affected countries and (b) it would cause long lines at the check-in counters. 
 
As to WHO, anyone who depends on any UN agency to do anything reliably (other than hate Israel) is simply detached from reality.

What could go wrong?

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'Most pro-Israel administration evah' refused to assist Israel in locating body of missing IDF soldier

I'm sure that many of you recall the incident from this past summer in which the body of IDF soldier Oron Shaul was snatched from a burnt out APC in Gaza City's Shujaiyya neighborhood. It now turns out that the IDF requested assistance from the FBI in finding Oron's body and was turned down. Why the FBI? Because Hammas hacked into Shaul's Facebook page and Facebook's servers are located in the United States. The IDF hoped that it could find out where Hamas was located using the IP address from which Hamas was posting to the Facebook page. Walla.com (via Israel Hayom) explains.

On July 22, as international news reports carried Hamas' claim of Shaul's capture, the IDF really had no idea whatsoever what happened to the Israeli soldier. The only statement made by the IDF at that point was that Shaul was missing in action. Even two days later, the IDF still did not know if Shaul had been kidnapped by Hamas or whether he was dead.
Kidnapping an Israeli soldier is one of the highest priorities for Hamas, since Israel has in the past proven willing to trade large numbers of imprisoned terrorists to get back just one soldier, as happened in the case of Gilad Schalit. The news of Hamas' alleged kidnapping triggered wild celebrations in Gaza.
The IDF and Israeli intelligence agencies initiated a massive man hunt for Shaul, but to no avail. "We simply did not know whether he was alive or not," an Israeli military official told me, "or whether Hamas had killed him or whether Hamas had simply kidnapped his body. But we had immediately set up a dragnet around the entire area to encircle the terrorists and prevent them from leaving the general area. We knew we did not have much time."
The dragnet proved porous, as Hamas terrorists had many ways of escaping especially through the network of underground tunnels they had built.
But in hacking Shaul's Facebook page, Hamas may have inadvertently given away the location of the terrorists who had Shaul or his body. That's because whenever a Facebook account is accessed, Facebook's servers would automatically keep a record of the Internet Protocol address where the account was accessed. IP addresses are leased, which then can provide a geographic location of the IP address where the Facebook account was hacked. In addition, there was also a remote possibility that Shaul had been carrying his cell phone although Israeli soldiers are not supposed to take their cell phones into battle. But if he had done so, then it was also theoretically be possible that Hamas had hacked into the mobile Facebook application on Shaul's phone. If the Israelis could obtain the Facebook server data as soon as possible, they thought they might have had a chance to find the whereabouts of the Hamas terrorists who took Shaul.
Israel made an urgent appeal to the FBI for help in trying to determine the remote source or information that would be stored on Facebook servers indicating the location where Shaul's page had been hacked. Upon receiving the request from Israel in Washington on July 21, the FBI immediately issued a "preservation letter" to Facebook ordering them to preserve all data saved on their server pertaining to the Shaul's account.
At 4:25 p.m. on July 21, the FBI contacted a United States Attorney's Office in a nearby district to initiate the legal process to get a court order to serve Facebook for server information on the account belonging to Israeli soldier Oron Shaul.
"Due to HAMAS status as a Designated Terrorist Organization (DTO), there is a great effort to locate those who kidnapped and/or killed ORON," read an FBI email to the U.S. Attorney's Office, "HAMAS is already using the kidnapping as propaganda, which is material support to a DTO."
In the email, the FBI noted there was unusual activity on Shaul's Facebook account after the time of his kidnapping and said it needed more information from Facebook that it could only obtain with a court order to be able to fully determine what "HAMAS was doing with Oron's Facebook account and possibly his phone." Was the U.S. Attorney's Office in a position, the FBI wanted to know, to immediately obtain a court order for the FBI to deliver to Facebook?
Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Attorney's Office thought it was near ready to be able to immediately obtain a court order. But before it could obtain such an order, it needed specific information on Shaul's Facebook account that it could present to the judge. 
...

But the next day, July 22, the U.S. Attorney's Office received a startling response from the FBI: "Thank You for your effort, input and assistance. I regret to inform you we have been denied approval to move forward with legal process. We were told by our management we need a MLAT [Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty] in order to continue to assist our partner with the request in question." Those words put an immediate halt to the Israeli request.
An MLAT is a standardized legal agreement between the United States and other countries that spells out the legal and diplomatic protocols in processing requests for legal information pertaining to court cases in either the United States or in another country. MLATs go through various bureaucratic channels, usually take weeks to process and would generally be used for non-pressing legal matters in which the United States or another country was carrying out a legal process such as a prosecution involving a citizen of another country. 
Prosecutors familiar with their use say that an MLAT would definitely not be used in an urgent life-or-death intelligence or counter-terrorist incident, especially with a close ally such as Israel. "In a pressing court matter, there is no way the USG would invoke an MLAT with a close ally," said a veteran prosecutor who has worked on international counter-terrorism cases. 
Law enforcement officials knowledgeable about this incident say both prosecutors and FBI were shocked at the sudden turn of events. "This sudden reversal was devastating," said one law enforcement official who was intimately familiar with this incident. "For those working this case, they felt this decision was tantamount to a death sentence. Nothing less." 
And thus, the FBI was never able to supply Israel with any information on Shaul's Facebook account that might have led to the location of the soldier or his remains that had been seized by Hamas.

 Most pro-Israel administration evah?

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Abu Bluff calls on 'Palestinians' to resist Jewish presence on Temple Mount 'by all means'

Shavua tov, a good week to everyone.

'Moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen is calling for 'Palestinians' to resist any Jewish presence on the Temple Mount (including visitors) 'by any means.' That's a code for terrorism.
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas on Friday encouraged Islamists to continue efforts aimed at preventing Jews from visiting the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, calling on Palestinian Arabs to prevent "settlers" from entering the site using "all means" necessary.
His comments came days after Israeli police once again clashed with Muslim extremists protesters violently demonstrating against Jews visiting the Temple Mount, which is Judaism's holiest site and also the location of the Islamic Al Aqsa complex.
"It is not enough to say the settlers came, but they must be barred from entering the compound by any means. This is our Aqsa... and they have no right to enter it and desecrate it," Abbas said.
The PA president was speaking at a conference in Ramallah after a spate of clashes this week since a Monday confrontation between Palestinian youths and Israeli police.
Abbas insisted that "defending Al-Aqsa" was tantamount to defending Jerusalem, which the Palestinians are demanding as the capital of a future state.  
"Jerusalem is the jewel in the crown and it is the eternal capital of the Palestinian state. Without it, there will not be a state," he said.
"It is important for the Palestinians to be united in order to protect Jerusalem," he added.
Funny. Abu Mazen himself is afraid to visit the Temple Mount and has not done so in years. 

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Friday, October 17, 2014

US embargo of Israel during Protective Edge was total

I only have this story in Hebrew (link here) (Hat Tip: David K). Maariv is reporting that the US arms embargo on Israel was worse than previously reported, and the result is that Israel will transfer the manufacture of sensitive weapons to Israel rather than having them manufactured in the US, despite the fact that this will cost Israel more money because it cannot use American aid money for items manufactured in Israel.

You might recall that the US stopped shipments of hellfire missiles to Israel during Operation Protective Edge. Maariv now reports that for 'days' the US totally cut off all communications with the Israeli Defense Ministry purchasing agent in the US.

The cutoff started ten days after the war began(!) when the Obama administration decided that too many civilians were being killed in Gaza.

Maariv reports that the order to cut off supplies came from the White House itself and that similar cutoffs happened in 1982 (First Lebanon War) and 1973 (Yom Kippur War).

However, the US continued its strategic cooperation with Israel, and did allow Israel to use weapons that were stored in Israel.

For those who read Hebrew, read the whole thing. I don't have time now to translate.

Shabbat Shalom. 

UPDATE SUNDAY 11:44 AM

I have now been told that this was not from Maariv, that the NRG website is now owned by Israel HaYom and that it acts de facto as the front page of Makor Rishon.

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Kerry's Obsession

Bashar al-Assad has been murdering Syrians for three years. Islamic State is overrunning parts of Syria and Iraq. Turkey is going Islamist and destroying Kurdistan. Iran is developing ballistic missiles to deliver its nuclear weapons. So what should be the biggest priority for the Middle East? If you're US Secretary of State John Kerry, it's the holy grail of 'peace' between Israel and the 'Palestinians.'
"I think that it is more critical than ever that we be fighting for peace, and I think it is more necessary than ever... As I went around and met with people in the course of our discussions about the ISIL (Islamic State) coalition, the truth is we – there wasn’t a leader I met with in the region who didn’t raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation that they felt," Kerry said.
The US leader added that in order to achieve peace, both sides must make compromises.
"So what we need to do is recognize that we need to build peace through specific partnerships. One partnership is specifically the effort to try to drive towards this peace, to have a compromise, to find a way to create two states that can live together side by side, two peoples, with both of their aspirations being respected. I still believe that’s possible, and I still believe we need to work towards it," he said.
What could go wrong?

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#Caring: Red Cross delivers medical supplies to 'Palestinian refugee camp' in Syria for first time in over a year


For the first time in over a year, the Red Cross has succeeded in delivering medical supplies to the 'Palestinian refugee camp' in Yarmouk, Syria.
"This is the first time in over a year that we have been able to deliver aid to the people in the camp, we hope to do more," Daphnée Maret, the deputy head of the ICRC delegation in Syria, who oversaw the operation, said in a statement. 
"We remain extremely concerned about the hardships being endured by the people living there, in particular the limited access to food, water and health care." 
Syria's ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, Hussam Eddin Aala, said that the ICRC delivery was "the result of continued cooperation" with authorities and the Palestinian Red Crescent. 
"We have been sending humanitarian assistance in cooperation with UNRWA to the camp on a daily basis whenever the security situation allows since January 30," Aala told Reuters, referring to food parcels delivered to Yarmouk by the U.N. agency taking care of Palestinian refugees throughout the Middle East. 
"We have been exerting continuous efforts to send assistance and evacuate those civilians who need evacuation," he added.
You didn't hear about this, did you? You can bet that if this were a 'refugee camp' in the 'West Bank,' the UN Security Council would have condemned us six times already.

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